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Raising the Bar: Season 1

38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Step into the courtroom wtih Raising the Bar, the compelling legal drama from Emmy Award winning executive producter Steven Bochco. Witness the drama unfold, as this ensemble cast led by Mark paul Gosselaar tackles issues of life, love and the law from opposite sides of the system.

Bonus Features Include: Roundtable with cast, bloopers, deleted scenes

Mark-Paul Gosselaar stars in Raising the Bar as a crusading public defender whose passion gets him in as much trouble as it gets him out of. As Jerry Kellerman, Gosselaar (NYPD Blue) is damp-eyed and earnest, off-kilter and rebellious (indicated by taking his tie off whenever possible), but he’s one of the top lawyers of a firm headed by cool-as-a-cucumber Rosalind Whitman (Gloria Reuben, ER). He also has connections across the aisle with rising prosecutor Michelle Ernhardt (Melissa Sagemiller, Sleeper Cell), a beautiful blonde who tolerates sleazy behavior from her boss Nick Balco (Currie Graham, Suddenly Susan). Both Jerry and Michelle regularly appear in the court of loose cannon Judge Trudy Kessler (Jane Kaczmarek, Malcolm in the Middle), who’s having an affair with her clerk, Charlie Sagansky (Jonathan Scarfe), who just happens to be gay and closeted. Clearly, Raising the Bar emphasizes behind the door machinations, both political and sexual.

It’s familiar stuff, which is both a strength and a weakness. For fans of producer Stephen Bochco (creator of Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, NYPD Blue, and much more), Raising the Bar will work like comfort food. Each case unfolds capably, with thorny moral conflicts and compromising private interests, complicated by human weakness and bureaucratic callousness. Maybe too capably; the gears spin so smoothly it’s hard to get emotional traction with the characters, whose personalities seem secondhand from other legal shows. Entertaining histrionic cross-examinations abound, as do wild case-saving coincidences and compassionate looks between lawyers and defendants. The 10-episode collection of Raising the Bar: The Complete First Season also has an engaging featurette focused on the show’s other co-creator, David Feige, a real-life public defender whose experiences are the series’ inspiration. Feige's genuine enthusiasm and engagement may inspire viewers to give the show a chance. --Bret Fetzer

Stills from Raising the Bar: The Complete First Season (Click for larger image)

Special Features

Audio Commentaries -- Insights From The Cast And Series Creators|Sworn Testimony: True Stories Of A Public Defender -- Producer And Public Defender David Feige Reveals The Genesis Of The Series|Behind The Bar: An After Hours Roundtable With The Cast -- The Cast Dishes The Dirt On Season One|Mistrials: Bloopers From Season One

Product Details

  • Actors: Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Gloria Reuben
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: TNT
  • DVD Release Date: June 2, 2009
  • Run Time: 430 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,241 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Raising the Bar: Season 1" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Layton E. Huskey on June 17, 2009
Format: DVD
Rasing the Bar is a great and upcoming court/law drama that I have throughly enjoyed. I highly recommend it to others. If your a Gloria Reburn (ER) or Mark-Paul Gossellar (Saved by the Bell, NYBD Blue) fan you will especially enjoy these characters reprise their career. The new season is now on TNT and it's looking good for a second season. I'm enjoying it and I highly suggest it even though it is only 10 episode pilot type season. Go get a copy today!
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Anna on June 12, 2009
Format: DVD
The concept is okay if a little worn out: A bunch of attractive young lawyers on opposite sides of the fence; public defenders vs. prosecutors. Mark-Paul Gosselaar is oh so passionate about his clients' innocence and badly in need of a haircut. There are little touches to try and spice it up - the Judge's illicit relationship with a clerk who has a secret and you do get to see a few of the lawyers without much clothes on.

So why did I stop after the first DVD? Part of the reason has to do with the fact that there is only one judge 99% of the time, and this show is not set in some small town where that would actually happen. Raising The Bar is supposed to take place in Manhattan where an actual public defender would have cases in front of dozens of judges.

But more importantly, the break from reality is too complete for me. All the defendants are sympathetic. Every single last one. They are either outright innocent or they had such a good reason for doing what they did that you can't help but root for their side. It's an insult to the watcher's intelligence. Part of the allure of law shows for me is the nuance - this show has no shades of grey. To make matters worse, the prosecutors pull ridiculous stunts to cheat their way to putting innocent people in prison, and the police officers are portrayed as snarling monsters who could have easily been cast for the Sopranos. Watching this show became painful.

If you want to watch a show that's a lot like this one - except that it's actually done right, watch Conviction created by Dick Wolf. The lawyers are just as attractive (one is even the same as in Raising The Bar!) but it's a lot more interesting, nuanced and believable.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lee Deener on July 3, 2009
Format: DVD
A very surprizingly addictive show. The characters grow on you from the start and make you interested in what will happen next to the characters, personally and professionally. Although it can be a bit predictable at times, it has a freshness to its presentation that will get you through wanting more. I worry that the show walks a thin line of being completely unrealistic as far as case subject matter. " is everyone going to be innocent and wrongly accused?" Where are the bad guys?I understand a noble,honest public defender..who happens to only get innocent and wrongly accused clients? That is Matlock/Murder She wrote cheesey and not what I expect from todays law dramas.Out of the whole first season, I think Mark only had one really "bad" guy. Still a great show, really clean cut; can only get better.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kyle Sharp on March 31, 2009
Format: DVD
Raising the Bar is one of the best court dramas I've seen in a long time. The writing is terrific, the acting is great, and they do a great job balancing out serious topic with light hearted humor. Some of my favourite scenes stem from the lawyers meeting up at their usual bar after hours. The budding romance between Bobbie and Jerry is also really entertaining because it gives the viewer something to hope for, giving them a reason to tune in next week. The show can get repetitive at times as Trudy's consistant brash unprofessionalism and unapolagetic hatred of Jerry becomes very annoying at times. That said, Raising the Bar is a fine show and an entertaining way to spend an hour.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The Movie Man VINE VOICE on July 11, 2009
Format: DVD
"Raising the Bar: The Complete First Season" is yet another TV legal drama in the mold of "L.A. Law," "Law & Order" and "Murder One." Created by Steven Bochco ("Hill Street Blues"), the show focuses on idealistic public defender Jerry Kellerman (Mark Paul Gosselaar), who learns to navigate the justice system and the personal politics of the courthouse as he struggles to get a fair hearing for his clients. Jerry and associates Rosalind Whitman (Gloria Reuben), Richard Patrick Woolsley (Teddy Sears), and Bobbi Gilardi (Natalia Cigliuti) often find themselves squaring off against Michelle Ernhardt (Melissa Sagemiller), a prosecutor trying to balance her desire for real justice with her need to placate an assistant D.A. (Currie Graham), whose job is to win cases. None of the characters is painted broadly here, and there are no bad guys among the principals -- just people working in the legal system who believe what they're doing is right. Conflict, of course, comes from the cases themselves. The big buzz when this series first aired was the long hair on Gosselaar. For the second season, his hair style is much more conservative.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. Exner on October 14, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I highly recommend this title. Raising the Bar is a wonderful series that follows the life of recent law school graduates who prosecute and defend the underprivileged of New York. The drama unfolds both in the courtroom and in the personal lives of the lawyers. Writer Dave Feige, a veteran NYC Public Defender draws on his own experience to weave a colorful tapestry that is at times heroic and at times heart wrenching. There are often no winners in the criminal justice system, and the lawyers need to find the delicate balance between truth and practicality as they advocate for their clients. Mark-Paul Gosselaar delivers excellent performances as a brash, young defender who gives the job everything he has, yet often ends up in frustration at the injustice of an inherently flawed system.
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additional languages & subtitles?
I can't tell if there's any subs or captions--none listed on Amazon--but Netflix says there's Spanish and French subs
Apr 21, 2010 by BadDawg |  See all 2 posts
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