NUMB3RS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
While I am particularly found of the police procedural, this type of drama is starting to crowd or maybe overcrowd the television landscape. Because of glut of series of this sort, each show really needs some way of differentiating itself from the rest of the pack. I guess one could say that each new police procedural needs some kind of gimmick to stand out. NUMB3RS is a solid series with a great gimmick, although the gimmick is far from the best reason for watching the show. What I like best about NUMB3RS is the fact that it is very much a character driven series, with a genuine human component, instead of just being about cold forensic science, or mathematics for that matter, which just happens to be the show’s gimmick.
NUMB3RS has a very human, family oriented connection, thanks to the excellent characterizations of its three lead male performers. The basic premise of NUMB3RS finds FBI agent Don Eppes (Rob Morrow) calling on the services of his brilliant younger brother Charlie (David Krumholtz), a math professor, whom consults for the FBI and other agencies that require the type of mathematical analysis that he can provide. The brothers Eppes professional interactions also spill over into the personal lives, where their father Alan (Judd Hirsch) plays a key role, not to mention him being crucial to the series human element. The cast of NUMB3RS also features Sabrina Lloyd as FBI agent Terry Lake (who abruptly left the show during season one), Peter MacNicol as Charlie’s best friend and colleague theoretical physicist Dr. Larry Fleinhardt and Navi Rawat as Charlie’s potential love interest, mathematician Amita Ramanujan.
NUMB3RS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON ($55) comes to DVD in a four-disc set that features the following thirteen episodes that were aired in that first year: Pilot, Uncertainty Principle, Vector, Structural Corruption, Prime Suspect, Sabotage, Counterfeit Reality, Identity Crisis, Sniper Zero, Dirty Bomb, Sacrifice, Noisy Edge and Man Hunt.
Paramount Home Entertainment has made all of the episodes that comprise NUMB3RS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON available on DVD in 1.78:1 wide screen presentations that feature the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. This being a new show that is also broadcast in HD, the episodes look quite good on DVD. The levels of sharpness and detail are about what one would expect for this type of television production. There is some softness here and there, but it never detracts from the presentation. Colors reproduce with strongly saturated hues and attractive looking flesh tones. The photography shies away from flat sitcom lighting; therefore the contrast is quite good for this type of production. Film grain is noticeable in more than a few places, but the elements are free from blemishes. Digital compression artifacts are never a concern.
All of the episodes that constitute NUMB3RS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON come with Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtracks. There are distinct channel separations in the sound mixes here, that one will not find matrixed television surround sound material. Sure, the sound design isn’t at the theatrical level, as the episodes prove to be more front-loaded, than reliant on the surround channels, but it is all very impressive for primarily talky television fare. Fidelity is excellent for this type of production; with the soundtracks have very good musical presence and sound effects with a genuine sense of heft. Dialogue is crisp and always easy to understand. No other language tracks or subtitles have been provided.
Animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as a few nice extra features that have been spread throughout the set. Running audio commentaries with cast members, as well as members of the production team are offered for the following fives episodes: Pilot, Uncertainty Principle, Counterfeit Reality, Sniper Zero and Dirty Bomb. Disc four also offers the remaining supplemental materials: Crunching Numb3rs: Season One is a twenty-minute featurette that looks at the creation of the series and its first season. Point Of Origin: Inside The Unaired Pilot offers a twelve-minute look at a different conception of the series with a very different cast. Audition Reels offers a look at the first of auditions of David Krumholtz and Amita Ramanujan; casting director Mark Saks provides an optional commentary. Do The Math: The Caltech Analysis features the series mathematics consultant talking about some of his favorite moments from season one. Charlievision: FX sequences 1.0 looks at the series special effects sequences that give an insight into the brilliant mathematical mind of the series central character. A Blooper Reel closes out the supplements.
Being very much character driven, NUMB3RS is something more than the typical police procedural. Paramount’s DVD release looks and sounds quite good. If you are a fan, or someone looking to experience the series for the first time, the DVD is definitely the right way to go. Recommended.
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