As someone who currently resides in Las Vegas, I get a big kick out of a weekly television series that plays up the glamour and allure of the city whose catch phrase is What happens in Vegas… stays in Vegas. LAS VEGAS the television series is a great deal of fun as it makes the most of everyone’s preconceived notions of what they think Sin City is really like. Set inside a fictional hotel casino on The Strip, LAS VEGAS is one part soap opera, one part action adventure series and two parts eye candy- a perfect formula to grab a viewer’s attention. LAS VEGAS is a really slick production that is fast moving, beautifully shot and edited, which adds even more window dressing to the Vegas styled glitz (if that is even possible). Season two of LAS VEGAS stirs the pot quite a bit, playing up a potential sale of the hotel casino, that could displace its staff, as well as adding new romantic interests for certain characters and dredging up past loves to add a bit of spice to the proceedings.
The cast of LAS VEGAS features James Caan as Big Ed Deline, the Montecito’s President of Operations and head of the surveillance, who just happens to have a CIA background. Josh Duhamel is Danny McCoy, Ed’s right hand man, who does most of the "hands on" surveillance work. Nikki Cox is Mary Connell, Danny’s lifelong best friend and special events coordinator for the Montecito. James Lesure is Mike Cannon, whose engineering degree is put to good work on the surveillance team. Vanessa Marcil is Samantha "Sam" Marquez, the casino hostess, who has a way with the high rollers. Molly Sims is Delinda Deline, Ed’s heartbreaker daughter who works for one of the resort’s high-end eatery/nightclubs. Marsha Thomason is Nessa Holt, the Montecito’s beautiful, but cool pit boss, who has earned the nickname "The Ice Queen."
LAS VEGAS: SEASON TWO UNCUT & UNCENSORED ($60) comes to DVD in a three-disc set that features all twenty-four episodes that were aired in the show’s sophomore year. The twenty-four featured episodes are as follows: Have You Ever Seen the Rain?, The Count of Montecito, Blood Is Thicker, Catch of the Day, Good Run of Bad Luck, Games People Play, Montecito Lancers, Two of a Kind, Degas Away with It, Silver Star, My Beautiful Launderette, When You Got to Go, You Got to Go, Sperm Whales and Spearmint Rhinos, The Lie Is Cast, Whale of a Time, Can You See What I See?, Tainted Love, To Protect and Serve Manicotti, One Nation, Under Surveillance, Hit Me!, Hide and Sneak, Letters, Lawyers and Loose Women, Magic Carpet Fred, and Centennial.
Universal Studios Home Video has made all twenty-four episodes of comprise LAS VEGAS: SEASON TWO UNCUT & UNCENSORED available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. Like season one, this set of episodes looks great on DVD and certainly outclasses the show’s original standard definition broadcasts. The image is generally sharp and nicely defined, with only the occasional slightly soft looking shot cropping up. Colors are bright and well saturated, with appealing flesh tones. Additionally all of the hues are rendered without noise or smearing. Blacks are on the money, whites are crisp and the contrast is quite good for a television level production. The elements from which the episodes are transferred appear clean and there is little grain. Digital compression artifacts are nicely concealed, although the DVDs themselves exhibited some problems with locking and skipping in places.
For this release, all twenty-four episodes of LAS VEGAS: SEASON TWO UNCUT & UNCENSORED have had their soundtracks reworked into the Dolby Digital 5.1 channel format. Just like what was demonstrated in the preceding set, this is great sounding television series. As expected, the forward soundstage is dominant, although the rear channels do engage rather nicely for occasional active effects, as well as ambient sound and musical fill. Fidelity is solid for a television caliber production, with convincing sound effects and good musical presence. Disappointingly, the show’s American theme A Little Less Conversation has been replaced on all of the episodes with its overseas theme music. Dialogue is crisp and easy to understand. The bass channel is fairly solid and keeps everything from sounding anemic. No other language tracks are provided, but English, French and Spanish subtitles have been included.
Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard episode/scene selection and set up features, as well as a couple of extras. V.I.P. Access Only is nearly eight minutes in length and actually offers a look at the VIP areas of The Palms Hotel in Vegas. A fourteen-minute Gag Reel offers amusing clips from the cutting room floor.
As far as I am concerned LAS VEGAS the television series is a whole lot of fun, and at times, may be even more fun than the actual city itself. Personally, I wish the quality control of the DVDs were a little better, as there is no reason why discs should be skipping and freezing this late in the DVD format’s life. Still, LAS VEGAS: SEASON TWO UNCUT & UNCENSORED it an enjoyable television series release that fans will want to add to their collections.
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