Crime Story - Season One
DVD | Box Set
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Following the phenomenal success of MIAMI VICE, Executive Producer Michael Mann returned to television with a new kind of gritty crime drama, one that talked tougher and hit harder than anything the small screen had ever seen before. For two explosive seasons, CRIME STORY told the hard-boiled saga of hair-trigger cop Lieutenant Mike Torello [Dennis Farina] and his obsessive pursuit of ruthless gangster Ray Luca [Anthony Denison] from the mean streets of early 60s Chicago to the neon nights of mob-run Las Vegas. Today, CRIME STORY is considered a true cult classic as well as one of the most startling series in television history. THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON features a stellar supporting cast that includes Stephen Lang, Bill Campbell, Ted Levine, Darlanne Fluegel and Joseph Wiseman, and such guest stars as David Caruso, Michael Madsen, Pam Grier,Ving Rhames, Lorraine Bracco, Gary Sinise, Deborah Harry, Vincent Gallo and Julia Roberts.
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Crime Story TV Series Seasons 1 and 2:
The original Crime Story series (1980's) produced by Michael Mann was a superb drama that had everything; a great cast, great writers, great producer (I have bought many DVD's on the strength of the producer alone, Michael Mann), and as always great music that perfectly blended with every scene. I do not regret buying both seasons on DVD, but I agree with others that justice was not done with regard to the music and other production details - the RIAA and the MPAA are to blame for this, in my opinion, and I think Michael Mann should sue both the RIAA and the MPAA for compromising the integrity of his masterpiece but short-lived series.
I purchased both seasons around Christmas time because together I got them for under $40, yet if I had read the reviews first I might not have purchased them even at that very low price. I bought partly because of the great music that accompanied the Crime Story "sound-track" (does one exist?), and partly because I loved the story, the acting, and everything else about the show - Mann put together an incredible cast and wonderful guest stars that might amaze people unfamiliar with the show.
Since what I purchased was presumably crippled intentionally by the contentious RIAA and their insistence that the record industry get a cut of almost every bit of accompanying music, and I presume that the MPAA imposed limits on the quality of the video reproduction, I still rated Crime Story a 4 out of 5; the story, the characters, and writing still stand up well enough to make it excel despite being deliberately sabotaged by above-mentioned, but of course, "well-intentioned" organizations.
In spite of being pained by watching scenes where the original music has been substituted with elevator music - if you were a fan of the series when it came out, you will wince at the banal substitutions - and the low resolution (I'm sure that the original tapes could provide much better resolution) of the video, the story and the acting is still wonderful, and I do not blame Anchor Bay for the audio and video shortcomings; I blame the blind and greedy music and movie controllers who have stolen, by means of the DMCA and DRM restrictions, "fair use" from their own customers and from companies who, by distributing original reproductions intact would ultimately lead to greater profits to the RIAA and MPAA.
I'm glad I bought it, but I would recommend that other fans wait until it comes out in a fully restored version with the original soundtrack and higher resolution. Still, if one has not seen the original series, I'd recommend buying it, but not at a price-point one penny over $19.99 per season.
Well, now I own the first season of the show and can enjoy it as much as I like. Watching it on DVD reminds me of how great the film really was, how it captured the mood of an era - and it just wasn't period music being played in the background.
Dennis Farina's cop against Anthony Dennison's hood is a great story of near epic proportions as Turillo's obsession in busting Ray Lucca finally consumes him. Thinking about it, could the series have ended any other way? (No, this is not a spoiler, consider it a tease).
What can I say? If you love crime dramas - this is the show for you. Even if you don't love crime dramas, you might find this a pleasant surprise. It's good TV, good story telling, and reminds one of what TV can do when it really tries.
Can that Michael Mann (Miami Vice, Last of the Mohicans, Heat) tell a story or what?