Monday, February 15, 2010

Nurse Jackie: Season One Blu-ray Review

Disc 1 Size: 43.9 GB
Disc 2 Size: 42.5 GB
TV-Rating: TV-MA
Region: ABC

The Video
All 12 episodes are presented with 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentations across 2 discs. I’ll start off by saying that this is definitely a grainy show, which I expected. The first episodes (especially the first) featured a very distracting grain that almost looked like it was flashing (of course only during very few scenes).

I could not remember if this was present on the original broadcast so I checked out the high-def broadcast on Showtime and found it to be present there as well. I don’t know what caused the grain pattern, but it was certainly distracting…and I like grain. The issue really is minor and lasts only a couple of episodes and only a couple of moments in those episodes, but thought it was worth mentioning.

The rest of the episodes still feature some very healthy layers of grain and strong levels of detail. I love the look of the show, everything just feels warm and natural and it really is easy on the eyes. Detail is generally very impressive and features a significant amount of depth.

Colors are also very rich and leap off the screen whenever the scene allows. Colors never look oversaturated and skin tones look very accurate. Black levels are generally very good, although at moments I wish they were a bit inkier.

Grain haters may not like the look of Nurse Jackie in high-definition, but it is how it was shot and would suffer detail-wise if it was removed. I personally love the look of the show and I think it looks really great and with very few issues.

I do think the issues are due to the way the show was filmed rather than a technical issue. There is no confusing this release with a standard DVD as the upgrade is clear in every single way. The show features everything to love about a good high-def release and I love it. Who knew a hospital based comedy could look so good? 8.5/10.

The Audio
A 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included for all 12 episodes. Nurse Jackie in particular of all Showtime shows probably screams the least for surround use. The show does feature some intense hospital moments, but nothing that would call for any exciting surround use.

Nurse Jackie is definitely a more front-heavy audio experience. Dialogue is presented front and center, although stays as crisp and clear as the best television shows. Despite little surround use, the mix does feature some good direction with its sound effects.

The show’s opening theme always expands a bit more into the surround area, although very lightly in the additional two speakers. All speakers are used, although this 7.1 track is much more on the lighter side.

While Nurse Jackie may not be the show made to really take advantage of a 7.1 mix, I do appreciate Lionsgate Home Entertainment going the extra mile and I hope it is something we can look forward to more and more on upcoming releases. 8/10.

The Extras

Disc 1:

“Pilot” Audio Commentary
With Edie Falco, Linda Wallem, Liz Brixius & Richie Jackson.

“Tiny Bubbles” Audio Commentary
With Edie Falco, Linda Wallam, Liz Brixius & Richie Jackson.

All About Edie (5:27) (HD)
The cast and crew talks about working on a show with Edie Falco, including original development. They talk about making a show around her and creating the character of Jackie. Edie Falco also talks about playing the part of Nurse Jackie.

Unsung Heroes (5:32) (HD)
The cast and crew talk about the unappreciated job of nurses and why they wanted to tell the story about a hospital through a nurse.

Save your favorite scenes and return to them later.

Disc 2:

“Ring Finger” Audio Commentary
With Edie Falco, Linda Wallem, Liz Brixius & Richie Jackson.

“Health Care & Cinema” Audio Commentary
With Edie Falco, Linda Wallem, Liz Brixius & Richie Jackson.

Prepping “Nurse Jackie” (10:56) (HD)
The cast talks about the many people involved in production, including Directors and the on-set nurse.

Real Nurse Stories (6:57) (SD)
A 2-year old with attitude
Big, tall, cheerful blonde
Love at first boob
The noisy sleeper
The testicle story

Blu-ray Disc Production Credits

Save your favorite scenes and return to them later.

I have to say that I enjoyed all the features on both discs, including the real nurse stories. The featurettes are very informative, as are the audio commentaries. There are not an extensive amount of features, but they manage to cover all levels of production which is great. I wish there were a few more features, but I definitely enjoyed what was included. 6/10.

The Season
Nurse Jackie: Season One is now on Blu-ray and I could not be happier to revisit the show since its original broadcast. When it debuted on Showtime this past summer I made sure to tune in. Showtime made itself worthy of my time with shows such as Weeds and Dexter, so I had high hopes for this latest show.

Nurse Jackie is a series about a nurse named Jackie, if you couldn’t already tell. Nurse Jackie is quite normal, aside from her extra-marital affair and prescription drug addiction. Two big problems, but she tries to do the best at what she does, which is being a nurse and a mother to two daughters.

The show starts off already developed, as we learn about her addiction and affair upfront. But we go through her struggles with her at work and at home. The show may sound like a major drama, but it’s actually a comedy with some drama thrown in from time to time.

Edie Falco (The Sopranos) stars as Nurse Jackie and the casting could not have been better. Edie Falco is extremely enjoyable with both humor and drama. The supporting cast is also very strong, with many new faces with very promising careers.

The runtime of each episode is 29-30 minutes, which I think is great. The show is very easy to find the time to watch, yet still manages to be quite addicting. The series does not end with a cliffhanger, nor does the story develop that quickly, but you still find yourself wanting to watch the next episode until the season ends.

I think the show is very funny and smart, and I find myself very excited for the second season. Nurse Jackie is a winner and a show that is definitely worth anyone’s time. If you love Dexter, you will definitely love Nurse Jackie. 9/10.

Blu-news Summary
Nurse Jackie is an extremely entertaining series and this Blu-ray release is great. Strong video and audio presentations and enjoyable extras are all great, but the show itself is even more redeeming. Nurse Jacke on Blu-ray is ‘Highly Recommended.

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