DVDs in Review: #39 - Homicide: Life on the Street: The Complete Sixth Series

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I've had the complete sixth series for a while now, but I haven't been able to get around to watching it until now. I'm still only part way through, but that just makes it easier to review the final part of this series without spoilering events for those who've not seen this most excellent show.

For the previous reviews in the Homicide series check here:
The Complete First Series (Seasons One and Two)
The Complete Second Series (Season Three)
The Complete Third Series (Season Four)
The Complete Fourth Series (Season Five)
The Complete Fifth Series (Season Six)

And the Why You Should Watch feature on the show is located here.

The Show:

There are two cast changes in the cast for the final season of Homicide brought in to keep the show at full strength after the loss of two other cast members in the previous season. One is no less than the son of Lieutenant A Giardello, Mike (Giancarlo Esposito) - who is excellent. The second is Detective Rene Sheppard (Michael Michele), who's appearance on the shift turns more than a few of the men's heads - she's not as strong a character, but can hold her own.

It's an excellent season (as much as I've seen of it so far), providing many of the strong and interesting cases that are a hallmark of this show, but as always it's the characterisation in the show that will keep you coming back for more. Now I must disclose that there is a fair portion of watchers who really felt that the quality was gone by this point in the series, now I do agree with them that the cast attrition (at this point there are only four original cast members left) did not help the show, but that's as far as I'll go. I do actually enjoy and like the newer members.

Sadly this is the last season of the show, but there is at least a final made for TV movie to tie everything up left after this. It's a great, great show that stands in the vanguard of police procedurals and happily thumbs it's nose at the lesser shows out there who prefer to treat their viewers as kindergarten sheep.

The Other Stuff:

We're back with my old favourite bug bear here. Fremantlemedia Enterprises, now by this point I can actually forgive the packaging. I still feel that the first three series, located in pleasant (to touch) cardboard dust jackets with accurate art and photographs are better. But there is something good to report here, the images on the back of the box are actually taken from the seventh season, as is the cast lists. Compared to previous seasons this is a huge step upwards and I'm glad the quality control has recovered slightly. The only real shame now is that these plastic cases did not come with a cardboard dust jacket, if they had had one of those each the differences between series 1, 2, and 3 would not have been as marked.

On the other hand, here on the extras front the region 2 viewers are once again handled into the lavatory and flushed away. There's absolutely nothing on any of the discs, which is annoying to say the least because every single one of the region 1 versions has extras.

This time we miss out on:
Live Panel Discussion with Tom Fontana, Barry Levinson, James Yoshimura, and David Simon
Barry Levinson's Acceptance Speech for the 2004 Video Software Dealers Association Career Achievement Award
Commentary with Tom Fontana, Julie Martin, and James Yoshimura on the Episode "Forgive Us Our Trespasses"
Cast Biographies

Sure it's not that much, but still. Come on!

Also, much to my annoyance Homicide: The Movie is not included amongst all of the episodes, which means that one is left hanging on Fremantle's less than considerable graces awaiting to see the final story lines resolve. Bah!

Runtime: 960 mins
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Audio: 2.0 Stereo
Language: English
Colour: Colour/Pal
Region: 2
Subtitles: English Hard-of-hearing

Here's the good news, Sendit have this set for the low price of £17.89, which works out at 1.9 ppm. Even HMV in the street has it at £20 right now (in stores). So this is a great time to pick up the set.

The Final Word:

Honestly, as much as I love the show, I can't really run about recommending this version to every man, woman and child I meet. Partly because the show isn't for children but mostly because this version of the product is an inferior specimen. Having bought all of the Region 2 versions I'm left with regret that I didn't purchase the utterly brilliant Region 1 complete set instead. It's just a better, more complete product that is consistent in design throughout, doesn't cut corners and includes both the extras and the movie. Of course, I'm now stuck with the R2 versions, which do have pleasing box art and still contain every bit as great a show inside, but I must admit I love extras and I love matched box sets. So the Fremantle version doesn't come with my recommendation - but Homicide does, it's brilliant.


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