Friday, July 16, 2010

White Collar: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review

Disc 1 Size: 42.0 GB
Disc 2 Size: 43.0 GB
Disc 3 Size: 37.8 GB
TV-Rating: TV-PG
Region: AThe Video
Fox Home Entertainment brings all 14 episodes of season one to Blu-ray with 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentations. The show looks fantastic in high-definition and is definitely one of the better looking Fox television releases on Blu-ray (if not the best).

The high-def quality is undeniable from any frame, everything features a nice level of clarity and an impressive level of detail. Many scenes look like high-res promotional shots used by the studio for online articles and magazine ads, it was really surprising at times.

Colors are rich and vibrant and black levels stay nice and inky throughout. There is some grain throughout, which I welcome with open arms. There are also a few moments which I thought looked a bit sharper than I imagine they actually were when shot, but I don’t blame the video presentation as it would have been much more constant had it been applied after episode production.

While I wouldn’t say the show is always as stunning as Lost or True Blood are on Blu-ray, it definitely comes VERY close. There are some moments which leave a bit to be desired, but overall I found myself constantly impressed and the Blu-ray release definitely surpassed by expectations quality-wise. 9.5/10.

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included for each episode, but there are no other audio options (aside from commentaries) included. Optional subtitles include English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Spanish, French, Portuguese,

The audio quality on White Collar is definitely good, particularly for a television show. We have had some stunning audio tracks on Blu-ray from television shows, especially that of Lost and True Blood. But from much experience with television shows on Blu-ray, I usually don’t expect to necessarily be amazed by the audio experience.

However, White Collar does include a fairly active surround sound experience which I definitely enjoyed. Dialogue is of most importance to me and it is presented as crisp and clear as one could expect. The audio effects expand to the surround speakers nicely, sometimes more front-heavy and other times much more open.

The audio experience is definitely an enjoyable one. I wouldn’t say any of the episodes included provide an audio experience which stands out among most Blu-ray releases, but they definitely get the job done nicely. Overall I think most viewers will be more than pleased by the audio experience on this television release. 8/10.

The Extras

Disc 1:

Audio Commentary on “Pilot”
By Jeff Eastin, Tim DeKay, Tiffani Thiessen, Matt Bomer & Willie Garson.

Disc 2:

Audio Commentary on “Free Fall”
By Jeff Eastin, Matt Bomer, Willie Garson & Tim DeKay.

Audio Commentary on “Hard Sell”
By Jeff Eastin, Matt Bomer & Tim DeKay.

Audio Commentary on “Vital Signs”
By Jeff Eastin, Tim DeKay & Tiffani Thiessen.

Disc 3:

Audio Commentary on “Out of the Box”
By Jeff Eastin, Tim DeKay & Matt Bomer.

Gag Reel (12:21) (SD)
I usually don’t like gag reels, but this one is definitely funny.

Deleted Scenes (10:23) (SD)
Six deleted scenes are included and are presented in standard-definition.

Pro and Con (6:44) (HD)
Jeff Eastin talks about casting and translating the characters on paper to real-life characters. The entire cast talks about character Neal Caffrey and the actor who plays him, Matt Bomer.

A Cool Cat in the Hat (5:41) (HD)
The cast/crew talks about wardrobe and how fashion plays a huge part in the show.

Nothing but the Truth (2:27) (HD)
Jeff Eastin talks about his strive to be accurate in presenting a White Collar agent by finding a real agent to help with accuracy/stories.

The extras on this release are nice, particularly the high-def featurettes. I listened to one of the audio commentary tracks and enjoyed it overall, but that isn’t a selling point to me. The deleted scenes and gag reel are a nice addition, but like I said the real entertainment comes from the entertaining featurettes. 6/10.

The Season
White Collar: Season One debuted on the USA Network late last year, the show received a strong amount of promotion and looked promising. I do watch MANY television shows, but I was thinking this was another Burn Notice (which I know many enjoy, but something about it now just feels so lacking).

Luckily, White Collar is a nice surprise with a very enjoyable cast. The show stars Matt Bomer as Neal Caffrey, a con man who is much smarter than you would think. The show also stars Tim DeKay as FBI Agent Peter Burke who recruits Caffrey (in exchange for eventual freedom) and works closely with him in bringing down criminals.

The show also co-stars the beautiful Tiffani Thiessen, Willie Garson and Natalie Morales. Everyone on the show is great and I do think they make the show as enjoyable as it is. Matt Bomer in particular feels irreplaceable, like Kiefer Sutherland on 24. The show is the show it is because of the actor leading it.

That’s not to say that the writing and storylines aren’t great, because they are, but the show gets an added boost which helps keep it from staying average among television shows. The show is quoted as being “Entertaining As Hell” by the San Francisco Chronicle, and I definitely agree with that statement!

The show is smart, funny and even thrilling which makes for a perfect balance. The show will keep you coming back for more and you better start quickly because season two has already begun airing. The show is definitely addicting and I think most new to the show will absolutely enjoy it. 9/10.

The Blu-news Summary
White Collar: The Complete First Season is fantastic, featuring a visually impressive video presentation. The audio experience is good and the extras are definitely satisfying. Overall I would say the Blu-ray release is “Highly Recommended.

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