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Brotherhood - The Complete First Season

667 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Sep 26, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A working-class Irish family is torn between right and wrong when two brothers live out their destinies on opposite sides of the law. BROTHERHOOD tells the story of two brothers who sometimes share a twisted sense of moral compromise--each with his own skewed, idealistic vision of what makes the American dream.

This riveting Showtime series puts a familial spin on Angels with Dirty Faces, the 1938 James Cagney-Pat O'Brien classic in which two childhood friends take divergent paths--one becomes a priest, and the other a hoodlum. In Brotherhood, Michael Caffee (Jason Clarke) is an idealistic and respectable Rhode Island state representative dedicated to the preservation of his close-knit lower-middle-class Irish neighborhood, the Hill. His older brother, Michael (Jason Isaacs), is a gangster who returns home after a seven-year absence (one step ahead of a hit, two steps ahead of the Feds) to pick up where he left off. The stage is set for backroom skullduggery and mean streets thuggery, as both men pursue their visions of the American dream on opposite sides of the law. At the heart of this series is the conflict between the estranged brothers. With the exception of clueless matriarch MaryRose (Fionnula Flanagan), Michael is not exactly received with open arms. "You're a tornado," Tommy tells him early on. "You suck everything in and spit it out broken." Indeed, the man is a psychopath. When a henchman of neighborhood mob boss Freddie Cork (Kevin Chapman) threatens a woman, Michael not only repeatedly bashes his head against a car, but for the coup de grace, cuts off his ear. In one gut-wrenching scene, he compels a woman to sell him her store by inducing her mentally challenged brother to play Russian Roulette. No wonder Tommy insists, "We're not the same in any way." But don't be too sure. Michael is a good man and devoted father and husband, but he isn't above (or beneath) using Michael's inside information to blackmail a stubborn colleague who won't vote his way on a freeway project that could destroy the Hill.

As the season unfolds, he will be forced to make more ethically challenged deals with the powers behind the scenes, one of whom has a mysterious connection with his mother. Brotherhood mines the clash between personal and professional lives to flesh out its characters. "The people's business" doesn't pay well, and Tommy is forced to moonlight as a real estate developer, and perform all home repairs. Eileen (Annabeth Gish), his picture-perfect politician's wife, smokes pot and is having an affair with a man she knew in high school. Declan Gigg (Ethan Embry) is a conflicted policeman who grew up with the Caffees. Comparisons with The Sopranos are inevitable, but Brotherhood quickly establishes its own unique voice, if not accent. --Donald Liebenson

Special Features

  • 11 episodes from the 2006 season on three discs
  • Power Map: An interactive, graphical guide of the relationships and power struggles among the characters
  • Cast biographies

Product Details

  • Actors: Jason Isaacs, Jason Clarke, Annabeth Gish, Kevin Chapman, Fionnula Flanagan
  • Directors: Brian Kirk, Ed Bianchi, Henry Bromell, Jean de Segonzac, Leslie Libman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Box set, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Showtime Ent.
  • DVD Release Date: September 26, 2006
  • Run Time: 583 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (667 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000GH3CWK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,084 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Brotherhood - The Complete First Season" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

104 of 109 people found the following review helpful By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on September 22, 2006
Format: DVD
Showtime has been trying for years to brand itself as the new HBO, producing programming that it hopes will match the critical and popular success of its rival network (with "Sex and the City", "Sopranos", "Deadwood", "The Wire", "Six Feet Under" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" as a few examples).

To me, most of the shows have fallen short. I did think, however, "Sleeper Cell" was better than most people gave it credit for --and "Weeds" has developed into a tidy little comedy. So check them out, too.

"Brotherhood", in my opinion, is their crowning achievement so far. It is sophisticated, morally ambiguous entertainment. The set-up is not unfamiliar--the classic cops versus criminals in a distinctly Irish neighborhood. Good brother in politics versus bad brother in crime. But how good is the good brother? And how bad is the bad? This show is very much about the choices we make and the complications and compromises that can arise.

But it's even more about family, obligations and loyalty. You will see this family for every flaw (and there are so many), but there is also much to be respected. I don't like shows to spoon-feed me ideology and tell me what to think. I like that "Brotherhood" doesn't pass judgment, it respects its characters and each viewer will likely react differently to their goings-on.

Two particular stand-outs in the cast are Jason Isaacs and Annabeth Gish. I've liked these performers for a while, but neither has achieved major stardom. Isaacs is ostensibly the "bad" brother and he is, at once, chillingly cold and charming. And Gish, as the politician's wife, is so lost and hopeless in many regards--but also, strangely, the voice of reason in many circumstances.

"Brotherhood" is complex, you do have to pay attention. It's serious drama done for people who appreciate serious drama. And I do! KGHarris, 9/06.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By N. Durham HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 12, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The more and more that Showtime is premiering new shows, the better they have been. Maybe that's why some people are refering to Showtime as being a "new HBO" (although HBO isn't really HBO these days) with the list of new and original series' that have been very, very good. You have the hilarious Weeds, the riveting Sleeper Cell, the horriffic and addictive Dexter, and the entertaining Masters of Horror to name a few, and you also have this political/gangster drama. Brotherhood follows Irish-American politician Tommy Caffee (Jason Clarke), whose life gets thrown into upheaval when his long departed gangster brother Michael (the excellent Jason Isaacs) resurfaces. As each battles for control over the Hill, we soon learn that there is really not much difference between the two brothers, and the line between good and bad becomes more and more blurred with each passing episode. The supporting cast, including Fionnula Flanagan as the brother's controling mother and Annabeth Gish as Tommy's wife, are great, but it's veteran actor Jason Isaacs who is really the draw of the show, as he gives a masterful performance as one of the most subtley dangerous men to grace a series on Showtime. There's a little uneven feel to the series, but that aside, there is a ton of potential here for Brotherhood to be something really, really special. Comparisons to the Sopranos aside, Brotherhood is a treat.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Malfoyfan on November 21, 2006
Format: DVD
This is such a great show; I would give it more than 5 stars if I could. No, it's NOT an Irish Sopranos; some of the newspaper/magazine reviews were very dismissive in calling it so and I wonder if the reviewers really watched the show. It's very complex (I love DVDs; perfect for watching episodes more than once) and, to me, not predictable. My husband and I watch a lot of TV and we have not sat and discussed a show this much for years. It has a great cast (it is so great to see actors like Jason Isaacs - my favorite actor by far - and Annabeth Gish playing such meaty parts) and the writing is excellent, WAY above what is usually seen on TV and in most Hollywood movies these days. I was hoping for good things when I first heard about this show and I was not disappointed in any way, except that it was over too soon! I look forward to Season 2 and hope they can keep the quality going; too many shows jump the shark in their second season and it would be a shame to see that happen here. (This is my major complaint about most HBO shows - they lose their mojo in the second/third season - witness the recent debacle of "Deadwood", previously my favorite show.) Anyway, give this one a chance and I think you will find it very enjoyable. Yes, it's violent and gritty and sometimes rather sad/depressing, but don't let that stop you from checking it out. It can also be very touching at times. Very high quality all the way around.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Lmaris on October 22, 2011
The previous reviewer apparently expected a G-rated series which this is most definitely not. It is an adult-themed drama with realistic language. If course language offends, this series is not for you. If you like gripping drama, well written scripts, and quality acting, this is right up your alley.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By SilverRhoads on July 18, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Not only is the story of an Irish family (Caffee brothers) living in Providence, Rhode Island compelling, I love the fact that the scenes and names of the places are so authentic and real. I actually lived in the yellow house you see on the screen, on Carpenter Street, as a young boy. But, you don't have to be from Providence to like this story. The filming is well done. The actors are impressive to say the least. With shows like Dexter and now Brotherhood, Showtime is giving HBO a run for its money. Worth seeing.
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