DVDs in Review #56: Rescue Me: The Complete First Season

Category: , , , By Rev/Views

Denis Leary as Tommy Gavin
Mike Lombardi as Mike Silletti
Steven Pasquale as Sean Garrity
Andrea Roth as Janet Gavin
Daniel Sunjata as Franco Rivera
John Scurti as Kenny Shea
Callie Thorne as Shelia Keefe
Jack McGee as Jerry Riley
and James McCaffrey as Jimmy Keefe

The Show:

Written by Denis Leary and Peter Tolan, Rescue Me has been a staple flagship show on FX since 2004. It stars Denis as troubled firefighter Tommy Gavin, a man quite literally haunted by the events of 9/11. Since his cousin Jimmy was killed during events on that day Tommy has suffered with visits from him and other deceased people. Tommy is an exceptionally troubled man; he's going through a divorce, suffering from alcoholism, dealing with an exceptionally dysfunctional family and the rigours of life as a fireman in New York.

With a framework like this you'd be forgiven for thinking that Rescue Me is a dark show filled with bleak despair, sadness and haunted by the ghosts of the dead. Fortunately for us Rescue Me is far removed from that, Denis mixes his comedy brilliance (see No Cure for Cancer for an example) with solid drama to result in a show which mixes up the 'supernatural', the action, danger, drama and comedy with effortless ease.

When I first read that Tommy was haunted by ghosts I was worried that it would detract from the show and make it feel unnatural; but Rescue Me takes a page out of Six Feet Under's book, not really making it clear if Tommy is being visited by ghosts or hallucinating them out of his own guilt and as such it avoids going to exceptionally weird places. Also bringing a great deal more depth to the show are the other members of 62 Truck, each of them dealing with their problems in their own (often hilarious) manner.

Through the course of the first season the men of 62 Truck have to come to terms with gay firemen, unexpected family, a female firefighter and in a particularly brilliant episode they compare their "little firemen" and wager on the outcome. Every episode is well crafted and holds on it's own while also building the ongoing story lines. Also the action sequences are just top notch and there will be at least one firefighting sequence that will have you holding onto the arm of your chair for dear life.

The Other Stuff:

The Packaging:
The packaging comes from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Inc. This is a group who've figured out the standardised design they're going to use and stick with it (with one annoying exception) as such this means each and every season of Rescue Me is identical in style not only in region but also when comparing DVD sets from different regions. The design is so distinctive and standardised that you can even place Rescue Me next to The Shield and they match up well.

Outside there is a clear and well designed dust sleeve which has a stylish and distinctive front cover and a back cover which clearly presents everything you need to know. The interior is the same two page book that is used in The Shield's packaging, it holds all four DVDs cleanly and is easy to use.

The Extras:
There are a selection of extras spread across the four discs.

-- Commentary for the first and last episode of the season with Denis Leary and Peter Tolan
-- Blooper Reel
-- Four Behind the Scenes Featurettes
-- Deleted Scenes

It's not a massive amount, a few cast commentaries would have been nice. The episode 'Inches' would have made a great episode for cast commentary. But there is at least a few things to keep you entertained if you enjoy extras.

The Details:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78.1 Wide screen
Number of Discs: 4
Rating: 15
Region: 2 (But region 1 is identical to region 2 as far as I can tell)
Runtime: 9 hours 13 mins
Soundtrack: English Surround
Subtitles: English - HOH, Hindi

The Price:
Sendit have the first season available for the rather ridiculous price of £12.89, this works out at 2.3ppm.

The Bottom Line:

The first season of Rescue Me is a superb piece of modern drama mixed with a healthy dose of black comedy and a smidgen of sex appeal (there's plenty for both the men and the ladies to ogle). As such I have no hesitation when it comes to recommending it highly.


2 comments so far.

  1. Random 13 May 2009 at 13:51
    I have just finished watching the first 8 episodes of season 1 and I do agree with you that there's a lot going on with this show. It's creative and well done. The issue I have with the show is that the characters aren't all that likable. Let me state up-front, I don't mind a show about villains or anti-heroes because I was/am a huge fan of FX's other hit show The Shield and I like movies on the dark side at times.

    With movies, you only spend a couple hours with the characters, but with a show like this, you're spending hours with them and I can say after 8 shows that I don't see these characters getting a lot more likable. I mean these are sexist, misogynists, and basically shallow people. Sure there interesting but basically because they make all their own messes.

    Will it stop me from giving the show more episodes? I will probably finish out the first season and while I see the appeal of the who I have to ask; how much time can you spend with people you don't really like?

    To each his own, though, but I have a feeling that this show isn't my cup of tea.
  2. Rev/Views 18 May 2009 at 11:45
    Hah, yes. The characters in Rescue Me can be a little - unlikable - personally I enjoy watching them and I'm rather fond of several cast members so it's enough for me to keep watching.

    I can say things don't change too much for the personality of most cast members in later seasons. But some of them do have personal revelations and try to better themselves.

Something to say?