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Nurse Jackie: Season Three(TV) (2011)
Jackie Peyton is a nurse trying to survive the chaotic grind of saving lives in a hectic New York City hospital. Sharp-tongued and quick-witted, Jackie's a woman of substance who knows how to handle it all. With a white lie here, a bent rule there, and a steady dose of pain relievers for her chronic back pain, Jackie does whatever it takes to get the job done.
For more about Nurse Jackie: Season Three and the Nurse Jackie: Season Three Blu-ray release, see Nurse Jackie: Season Three Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on February 9, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Edie Falco, Anna Deavere Smith, Paul Schulze, Eve Best, Peter Facinelli, Dominic Fumusa
Directors: Randall Einhorn, Scott Ellis
» See full cast & crew
Nurse Jackie: Season Three Blu-ray Review
Physician's assistant, heal thyself.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, February 9, 2012
One of the unexpected hazards of being a stay at home Mr. Mom is the vast wasteland of afternoon television, when even cable choices dwindle to Lifetime movies and NFL films from the mid sixties. Channel surfing can only lead to disaster, and I must sheepishly admit to having been sucked into a Dr. Phil episode a few weeks ago that had a highly articulate, seemingly together woman who happened to be a highly trained and paid nurse. So why was she on the good doctor's "analyze-a-thon"? It turns out this woman was addicted to prescription drugs and had repeatedly stolen from various employers of hers to nourish her need for everything from pills to injectables. It of course immediately reminded me of Nurse Jackie, a midlevel success for Showtime which presents Emmy winner Edie Falco as one Jackie Peyton, an emergency room nurse with an addictive personality that spills out into all sorts of unexpected ways including (yep, you've guessed it) stealing prescription drugs from her employer. Nurse Jackie has raised the ire of some professional nursing organizations, who lament the show's kind of cavalier attitude about drug use, not to mention its undeniably troubling focus of a nurse on various mind altering substances. This series bears a certain resemblance to that other Showtime enterprise with drugs at its core, namely the Mary Louise Parker starrer Weeds, but unlike Weeds, Nurse Jackie has a somewhat harder time maintaining a carefree attitude about its heroine and the various predicaments she finds herself in, many if not most of which she has brought on herself. But as the Dr. Phil episode proved, as sensationalized as it was, there are those in the medical community with addiction problems, and so it's perhaps a little less easy to just casually dismiss Nurse Jackie's premise as a "high concept" approach that might have sounded better in a pitch meeting than it ended up playing on screen.
The same strengths and weaknesses that were on display in Nurse Jackie: Season Two are still very much in evidence throughout the third season of the series. Jackie's duplicity only ramps up in this third season, and one of the most troubling aspects of the series, other than the fact that one of her main suppliers is the hospital's pharmacist, Eddie (Paul Schulze), is how sanguine everyone around Jackie tends to be, even when confronted with her "condition." The fact that she's also dallying with Eddie in an extramarital affair makes Jackie one of the most curiously unlikable major characters in a supposed quasi-comedy (or perhaps more accurately dramedy) series, and even the charms of Edie Falco can't completely overcome how kind of smarmy the character is at virtually every turn.
As with the previous seasons of the show, it's the supporting characters who manage to endear and sustain entertainment value more than the focal character (never a great sign for a series' longevity, and one has to wonder how many mini-seasons Showtime can suck out of this premise). There are several enjoyable arcs to this season, including hospital administrator Gloria Akalitus (Anna Deveare Smith) desperately trying to get the religious statuary returned to the hospital's chapel, and charming but slightly (or maybe more than slightly) neurotic Doctor "Coop" Cooper (Peter Facinelli) attempting to find true love and tie the knot.
Probably the most unseemly elements of this season are the intertwined stories of Jackie's drug problem and her infidelity. The first builds to a climax where the hospital's Human Resources department starts demanding random urine tests, and the second builds to a climax where Jackie repeatedly attempts to avoid her husband Kevin (Dominic Fumusa). The fact that both of these elements are dealt with in a completely cavalier manner in the season's final episode may really upset some viewers who have invested so much time and attention in these characters. The supposed twist of the final episode seems especially poorly conceived, and once again puts Jackie in the rare position of being someone who does just about everything wrong but never ends up paying the price.
Despite these missteps, and against rather considerable odds, there's still something strangely winning about Nurse Jackie, at least around the series' edges. The cast has their characters down pat by this time, but the series isn't yet so long in the tooth that the actors have become stultifying in these roles. The writing is often quite sharp, especially with regard to the supporting characters. The problem here is Jackie herself, both as a character and as a focal point for a series that wants to be both wryly humorous and dramatically challenging. Both Nurse Jackie (the character) and Nurse Jackie (the series) are in need of an intervention. There's still hope, but it's starting to dim. Otherwise, Jackie and the other denizens of All Saints Hospital may be hearing the dulcet tones of Dr. Phil informing them, "That dog won't hunt."
Nurse Jackie: Season Three Blu-ray, Video Quality
Nurse Jackie: Season Three is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Lionsgate and Showtime with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1. Perhaps because so much of this series takes place under the harsh fluorescent lights of a hospital, contrast often seems slightly pushed to the point where whites especially tend to bloom ever so slightly and fine detail can be somewhat obscured, especially in midrange shots. A couple of these harshly lit sequences, notably a final showdown between Jackie and Kevin in a basement room that looks like something out of a touring company of Sartre's No Exit, are awash in a really ugly bluish tint that also tends to smooth out surface detail. On the other hand, close-ups offer really fantastic fine detail, and the overall image throughout the season is nicely sharp and well defined, with excellent, accurate looking color. The series makes sporadic use of its New York locale, and fleeting outdoor shots provide some nice depth of field and clarity.
Nurse Jackie: Season Three Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Like Weeds, that other drug fueled Showtime series recently out on Blu-ray, Nurse Jackie has a perhaps unneeded DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track that is fun and involving, but offers little sonic "wow" factor that screams "7.1 surround mix." The best immersion here tends to be in the noisy hallways of the hospital, with are filled with clatter of instruments, the beeps and whirrs of various high tech medical devices, and the low level white noise of the rabble of various people moving through the building. But Nurse Jackie is (again like Weeds) a quieter, dialogue driven show, frequently consisting of two character scenes, and there simply isn't a whale of a lot of opportunity here for a spectacular sonic mix. Fidelity is excellent throughout this season, and the show's sparkling score sounds great on this 7.1 mix.
Nurse Jackie: Season Three Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Nurse Jackie: Season Three Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Nurse Jackie has some built in problems that hobble its effectiveness. How many people want to think that their medical care provider might be high on drugs? When you add in all of the character deficiencies that Jackie Peyton regularly manifests, it deprives the series of a main character that audiences want to root for. Instead we're witness to a sort of personal train wreck, as Jackie stumbles from bad decision to bad decision, never really having any major consequences befall her. That seems especially true of this third season when two plot arcs which might have seriously revitalized the show, one dealing with Jackie's "pee test" and the other with her serial infidelity, are both given short shrift as the season winds to an anti-climactic close. The best thing about Nurse Jackie is the uniform excellence of the performances. While Falco can't quite overcome the unseemly elements of her character, the rest of the cast has a field day with quirky supporting turns that still provide fitful sparks to this show. Fans will no doubt be well pleased with this Blu-ray set's good looking video and fine audio, as well as some decent supplements, but others may want to just watch Dr. Phil instead.
Nurse Jackie: Other Seasons
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Nurse Jackie: Season Three Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Nurse Jackie: Season Three Blu-ray - November 28, 2011
Lionsgate will bring Nurse Jackie: Season Three to Blu-ray next year. The critically acclaimed television program stars Edie Falco (The Sopranos) as the title character, a hard-living New York City nurse who finds it increasingly difficult to manage both her personal ...
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