Animal Kingdom: The Complete First Season
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Animal Kingdom: The Complete First Season (BD)
When his mother dies of a heroin overdose, 17-year-old Joshua “J” Cody moves in with his estranged relatives in a Southern California beach town. Heading up their petty crime dynasty is J’s manipulative grandmother, Janine “Smurf” Cody, whose iron-fisted, velvet-gloved tough love controls her four sons: adopted right-hand man Barry “Baz;” intense, mentally disturbed Pope; tough, hyperactive Craig; and troubled “baby,” Deran. As J copes with losing his mom, aggressive rivalry between his uncles, and a helpful high school teacher, his new family incites more danger, excitement and trouble than he’s ever known. Emmy® Award winner* Ellen Barkin rules over a fiercely talented ensemble cast in all 10 episodes of this edgy, crime-fueled series based on the award-winning Australian film of the same name.]]>
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It is mainly told from the perspective of 17-year-old Joshua “J” Cody whose mother is Smurf's estranged daughter, dies of a heroin overdose and he is taken in by Smurf. He is thrown into the crazy world of crime run by Smurf (who rarely gets her own hands dirty) and his uncles, Smurfs adopted right-hand man Barry “Baz (played by Scott Speedman); the fresh out of jail mentally disturbed Pope (played wonderfully by Shawn Hatosy), Craig and the youngest Deran. Each of the characters has their own varying degrees of problems, some that are apparent right away, and some that take longer to be revealed. While there are a few ancillary storylines going on throughout the season, some of which involve just a few characters and some which tie all the characters together, the show is really at its core, about the dysfunctional family.
Barkin's character is really the glue that ties all the characters and storylines together. As the season (a relatively short 8 episodes) play out it becomes apparent just how manipulative and controlling she is, sometimes using money (giving the "boys" and allowance from the take of their various jobs), or with affection (or lack thereof), or with creepy very inappropriate sexuality. While the show does not come out and confirm that there was any incestual relationships in the characters past, it strongly hinted and certainly gave that vibe.
I will not give away any spoilers from the season, but the show manages to pack a lot into a handful of episodes. Much of the season climax revolves around a big score, and an attempt to pull off a very daring robbery. A lot of potential stories for the second season are also set up toward the end of the season that will likely affect various character's relationships with each other and whether the family will ultimately stick together.
For those who get the Blu-Ray, the show looks and sounds great. For extras, there are deleted scenes for many, if not all of the episodes. Then there is about a half hours worth of making of and behind the scenes featurettes. Okay for what is there, but nothing extensive. It is definitely a mature show with mature themes. There is a lot of sex, violence, drug use, and strong language. It earns its TV-MA rating, so if that would turn you off to a show you are better off skipping it. But for those that are not, it is well-written and acted and while the first season is short, it tells a good story and sets up what could be an even better second season.
Highly recommended. I'll most likely watch these season's a few times as I'll likely pick-up more with each viewing.