DVDs in Review: #17 - Homicide: Life on the Street - Series 1

Category: , , , By Rev/Views


"You have the right to remain silent; although personally, I don't feel remaining silent's all it's cracked up to be... Smoke? " - Beau Felton

Homicide is a critically acclaimed, multiple award winning drama which I've mentioned before a couple of times (here and here). A show that was described by TV Guide as "The best show you're not watching", a show that in part gave birth to the greatest TV show on earth. Homicide is a show that was utterly ground breaking for its time, it changed the landscape of television as profoundly as Six Feet Under did in later years.
Set in Balitmore, Maryland; Homicide is an iconic police procedural show that really captured the feel of the word 'gritty'. The first season introduces the viewer to the members of the Baltimore P.D. Homicide Division and throws them headlong into Charm City. This boxed set contains the complete first and second seasons, which number at thirteen episodes in total (9 for season 1, 4 for season 2). Each episode runs at around 45 minutes and tends to contain multiple plot lines on different cases, the first "series" includes a powerful guest star spot from Robin Williams, the first season itself won two Emmys (Best Director, Best Writer) and the episode "Night of the Dead Living" won a WGA award.

The cast itself are a talented bunch of actors and gel together almost instantly, ranging from the legendary genre hopping character John Munch, through the shift Lieutenant Al Giardello to the new member of the division Tim Bayliss (who lands a nightmare case for his first ever) and his partner the powerhouse Frank Pembleton every character is well realised and rounded. If you enjoy well written crime drama Homicide is a winner. The only reason this doesn't hit a 10 is some people may begrudge the lack of traditional gunfights and car chases that normally occur in US police drama.


"It's hard to meet single woman on this job. You meet plenty of widows, but the timing just don't seem right." - Stan Bolander

The UK packaging for Homicide is iconic and in my opinion superior to the USA version, it's a fold out book contained in a dust sheet with striking box art. I really love the noir feel to this packaging and I'm a fan of the cardboard construction as it feels nice to touch when you take it off the shelf. The look of the DVDs is continued throughout the set, but there is a switch to plastic casing for the 4 and 5th series, this breaks the unity of the set on the shelf so loses a couple of marks.



"Ho-ho-homicide." - John Munch (answering the phone at Christmas)

The region 1 version of this DVD is stuffed to the gills with extras but for some reason not one of these made the transition across the Atlantic, sadly the region 2 viewer gets no insights into the making of the show, no deleted scenes... nada. There doesn't really seem to be much reason for this decision, it's a bit of a kick in the head to be honest.


"You know, sometimes you're funny. Then there's now." - Frank Pembleton

Running at 613 minutes the first series of Homicide will set you back a meager £13.99 from play.com and send it have it for a staggering £11.89 right now. This is 1.9p per min, which is just astronomical.


Show: 9
Packaging: 8
Extras: 0
Price: 10

Final Score: 67.5%

Final Word:

The complete first series of Homicide: Life on the Street is a seminal piece of television programming, it's provided plenty of quality programming with enough of David Simon's influence in it to stave off any cravings for "The Wire" until "Generation Kill" arrives. Sadly the overall product is let down by the almost inexplicable exclusion of the extras from region 1, so it's worth investing in those versions instead if you want the extras. Lets face it, regions on DVDs are optional these days anyway (as they should be). Regardless, the first season of this show is gripping, powerful and well worth your time.

Homicide, our life starts when yours ends.


0 comments so far.

Something to say?