DAMAGES ($50) is a kick-ass, takes no prisoners type of television series, and certainly one of the most engrossing one-hour programs airing on any cable television network. The premise of the series follows a young lawyer named Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne), who quickly finds herself swimming with sharks, when she accepts a position at a prestigious law firm headed up by Patty Hewes (Glenn Close). Patty is a high profile litigator who has a track record for winning cases and a notorious reputation in legal circles for winning them at any cost.
Season one of DAMAGES follows Ellen as she enters Patty’s world as a relative innocent, and after a baptism by fire, finds her own world irrevocably and tragically turned upside down. Glenn Close is a tremendous presence, even on the small screen, and her performance as Patty earned her a Golden Globe. Ted Danson does some of his best work in the role of Arthur Frobisher, the billionaire whose shady business dealings cost his employees their futures, and lands him in the position of defendant in a class action lawsuit that leaves him on the wrong side of Patty. To say anymore about season one of DAMAGES would spoil all of the show’s surprises. The cast of DAMAGES also includes Zeljko Ivanek, Noah Bean, Tate Donovan, Takako Haywood, Anastasia Griffith, Casey Siemaszko and Maya Days.
DAMAGES: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON ($50) comes to DVD in a three-disc set that features the following thirteen episodes that were aired in the series first year: Pilot, Jesus, Mary And Joe Cocker, And My Paralyzing Fear Of Death, Tastes Like A Ho Ho, A Regular Earl Anthony, She Spat At Me, We Are Not Animals, Blame The Victim, Do You Regret What We Did?, Sort Of Like A Family, I Hate These People, There's No 'We' Anymore and Because I Know Patty.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made has made all of the episodes that comprise DAMAGES: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON available on DVD in 1.78:1 wide screen presentations that feature the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. Image sharpness and detail are great for a television production. There are some very stylized moments where the image looks iffy, but they are intentional. Colors are rendered strong saturation and appealing flesh tones. Blacks are accurate, as are the wholly stable whites. Contrast is better than typical broadcast fare. The film elements from which the episodes are transferred appear clean, but there is some grain, which can be exceptionally heavy during the more stylized moments. Digital compression artifacts are never a concern.
All of the episodes that constitute DAMAGES: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON come with Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtracks. Considering that DAMAGES is a talky legal drama, the sound design is surprisingly strong. The 5.1 channel sound design allows for active effects placement during key moments and effective musical cues. Of course, this being a television production, the sound is front-loaded much of the time. As for the rear channels, much of the activity is limited to ambient sounds and musical. Fidelity is excellent for a television show. Dialogue is crisp and always easy to understand. No other language tracks have been provided, but French subtitles are 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 the supplemental materials. Running Audio Commentaries are included on Pilot and I Hate These People. Deleted Scenes have been included for eight episodes. Willful Acts: The Making Of Damages is a better than average look behind-the-scenes with a focus characters and actors. Trust No One: Insight from The Creators is pretty self-explanatory. Understanding Class Action: Interactive Guide will give one a Cliff Notes version of the legal system.
DAMAGES is great television that gets even better on DVD. Recommended.
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