LIFE Season Two DVD Review

     February 10, 2015

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I got sucked into this series during reruns of the first season. Could not turn away. Sure it’s a procedural and we’ve all seen dozens of these, but there was something about this particular version that caught my attention and held it. I’m gonna try to explain what the special ingredient is, so just bear with me…

This is the pitch for this series… You’ve got to imagine the show creator, Rand Ravich sitting in a room filled with stone faced executives and saying, “You know ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’, an innocent man thrown into jail where he is forgotten for 20 years? When he returns to his home after his escape, he does so in the guise of a wealthy man now vowing revenge against all those responsible for his years in jail. Great story, right? Now imagine that character as a detective in Los Angeles, fighting crime with a sexy, sexy female partner…more after the jump:

life_nbc_tv_show_image_damian_lewis__1_.jpgWell? What do you think?”

The unbelievable part of that story is that the executives bought the premise and then put the series on the air. When one considers the number of logical inconsistencies, it’s pretty stunning. For example, how does a man who has been in jail for 15 years, get to be a homicide detective so quickly. Here’s another good one, why isn’t a man awarded millions for being framed for murder by the police constantly hounded by the press. And how does that guy get past the psych evaluation… The mind boggles the second one truly considers the premise…

Strangely, I still liked the show, and that is entirely due to the lead characters portrayal by Damian Lewis. Sure, a lot of what makes the character great is on the page; his obsession with fresh fruit, his use of meditation to quiet the beast within, and finally, his quirky disposition. Interestingly, Lewis makes it all make sense and that’s pretty amazing. You can’t turn away and that’s saying something…

I can easily see how it wouldn’t be for everyone. When you have a lead that much in the stratosphere, someone, who constantly finds himself up against the most outlandish crimes imaginable, while simultaneously piecing together the conspiracy that led to his incarceration in the first place… Well, you can see the problem. It’s same problem that the premise has, you start noting the logical inconsistencies. The garish nature of the crimes makes you wonder what reality this cop lives in. The convoluted nature of the conspiracy that got him arrested is so ridiculous… Blah, blah, blah…

It always returns to the same place. If you think about it, the entire show falls apart…

life_nbc_tv_show_image_damian_lewis.jpgAnd here’s the rub. Now this is just for me, completely subjective, but I found it pretty easy to overlook all these glaring faults. This probably begins with the fact that his sexy, sexy partner is pretty sexy. Played by Sarah Shahi, former NFL Cheerleader of mixed Iranian and Spanish heritage, and one of Maxim’s top 100 of 2005; well she’s a pretty impressive piece of eye candy. Plus, she actually has game. So when you combine her with Lewis, the partnership works.

The supporting cast is pretty good as well. Donal Logue, Adam Arkin, and Gabrielle Union all bring a little something nice to the mix (I particularly enjoyed the episodes when Gabrielle Union’s teamed with the lead to cover for when the actress playing his usual partner went on maternity leave).

So it’s a real mixed bag.

I honestly feel that the premise and execution are ridiculous, but at the same time I feel the show works within it’s unusual perimeters. It’s quirky, it’s fun and I found I couldn’t look away once I’d started…

But here’s what puts it over the top of me. The last five minutes of the final episode are some of the nicest noir scenes that I’ve ever seen put on film/video. It’s the confrontation that longtime viewers had been waiting for since the series began; our hero, confronting one of the men responsible for his years in prison. The scene is hilarious, with a literal twist that needs to be seen to be believed…

life_nbc_tv_show_damian_lewis.jpgSo, thumbs up!

VISUAL/AUDIO:

AC-3, Box set, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen. Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 (I have no idea what that means)…

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Nothing special. The usual deleted scenes and episode commentary….

FINAL WORDS

I like “The Count of Monte Cristo”. It’s one of my favorite novels, so how could I not love this series. Further, the man “returning from the dead” looking to start a new life, had particular resonance for me at this time in my life, so it may make me overlook some glaring problems that others might pounce on. But then again, that’s what makes a horse race…

Take a look and let me know what you think…I’m gone…

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