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Rookie Blue: The Complete First Season(TV) (2010)
Training's over. Life begins.
For more about Rookie Blue: The Complete First Season and the Rookie Blue: The Complete First Season Blu-ray release, see Rookie Blue: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on May 21, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Missy Peregrym, Gregory Smith, Charlotte Sullivan
» See full cast & crew
Rookie Blue: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review
Everything old is Blue again.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, May 21, 2011
Oh, generic television titles, where would we be without ye? Back in the 1970's there was a television show called The Rookies, perhaps best remembered nowadays for giving weekly viewers their first taste of Kate Jackson, who would soon go on to become one of Charlie's Angels. The 1970's through current times have been littered with so many cop shows with one form or another of the word Blue in them, it's almost hard to keep track. And what do you know, everything old is new again, because one of the shows announced for the upcoming fall 2011 season is tentatively called Rookies, though evidently a new series name is in the offing. And so we at least can thank Rookie Blue for making it all perfectly clear: this is a cop show about, well, rookies. And as much as the advertising hype for this show may promote it as offering "a new breed of blue," Rookie Blue simply can't escape the fact that anyone who's seen a cop show before has seen this show. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with Rookie Blue, and chances are if you enjoy cop shows in general, you'll more than likely find enough merit in this series to give it a go, at least now and then. But despite the show's writers' and creators' insistence that replacing the more typical seasoned cops with untrained newbies is a fresh and innovative take on an age old genre can be proven untrue simply by referring to that long ago 1970's drama which bore part of this series' title.
The pull quote included on this first season's slipcover compares Rookie Blue to "Grey's Anatomy with guns," and in a certain way that's true. Cynics might say the resemblance is mostly limited to muscular hunks stripping down to their skivvies and women wearing push up bras, but I digress. We have a coterie of five rookie cops, all of whom are way too good looking to really be what they're supposed to be, and all of whom have that sometimes ridiculous 20-something baggage trailing behind their glamorous façades. The main focus of the series is on Andy McNally (Missy Peregrym, Heroes), a second generation cop whose Irish surname should tell you everything you need to know. She's feisty and well meaning, but hobbled by fear and unbridled impulses which frequently get her into trouble. And of course she's the daughter of a one-time cop who's into a period of severe dissolution.
The other major cast members are a gorgeous bunch of supporting characters who banter and thrust and parry with the arch dialogue that seems to come naturally to 20-somethings these days, at least in their television drama incarnations. These folks include Dov Epstein (Gregory Smith), our token Jew, and Traci Nash (Enuka Okuma), our token Black female single mother. Just for good measure we have our token blonde, Gail Peck (Charlotte Sullivan) and our token Hispanic, Chris Diaz (Travis Milne). While the names at least may point to Cliffs Notes shorthand to quickly give us a preconception of the characters' ethnicities at least, it must be admitted that the writers of Rookie Blue don't really exploit these stereotypes as much as they might have, and that's a decidedly good thing.
The major problem with Rookie Blue is that it wants to be a devastatingly "real" portrayal of "kids," all with, as the series' creator states, "imposter syndrome," and yet the series continually falls into one completely improbable storyline after another. Over and over again one or more of these neophytes makes a completely boneheaded mistake, often putting either themselves, their police brothers, or indeed even the public at large, at risk. And then they have horrible remorse and set out on their own to make things right, which they inevitably do in an equally improbable heroic wrap up to any individual episode.
The best thing about Rookie Blue is actually the interplay between the more seasoned cops and their new charges. The first season has some great moments as the basically tag-along rookies are assigned to ride with experienced cops, and the culture shock is palpable. These elements in fact play much better and much more realistically than either the rookies' individual exploits (which are often completely laughable) or even the 20-something trials and tribulations they each go through as the season progresses. The show would actually do better to focus more on the "odd couple" relationships between the rookies and the seasoned pros, as that is where this series really finds a convincingly unique voice and tone.
The show does have a tendency to shoot itself in the foot (no pun intended) with an emphasis on overly maudlin storylines that find the cops interacting with well meaning kids who have killed someone (but only with the best of intentions), or abandoned or abducted kids whose storylines seemed usurped from some unproduced episode of Law and Order: SVU. But on the plus side, the show manages to tread a fine line between outright melodrama and some more subtle comedic elements, helping to keep the general goings-on just light enough that these overly dramatic approaches don't weigh the whole enterprise down.
The series is shot in Toronto (it's being co-broadcast in Canada on Global while it airs in the United States on ABC), and it does have a nice visual flair which highlights both the gleaming skyscrapers of the metropolis area as well as the grittier streets and alleyways of both the inner city and some of the suburbs. There's nothing that screams "Canadian" here other than the use of 15 Division rather than the more familiar Precinct in the cop verbiage, but it actually might be more interesting if the show were to exploit its Canadian roots more effectively. Aside from Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties, there really haven't been that many Canadian cops on American television, and that might be where Rookie Blue can really prove itself to be a "new breed."
The episodes of the first season are:
Rookie Blue: The Complete First Season Blu-ray, Video Quality
Rookie Blue comes to Blu-ray with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1. The series for the most part looks very sharp and appealing, though deliberate color and contrast boosting can give a haloing effect at times that can make certain scenes appear a bit soft or gauzy. But a lot of this show bristles with fine detail, and the location shots of Toronto are often incredibly beautiful. Close-ups of the actors reveal excellent fine detail, but again the show seems to be deliberately filtered to almost have a soft focus appearance a lot of the time. Blacks do occasionally crush, especially with regard to the police uniforms in some of the darker locations, but this may be more an issue of the unnatural contrast than a fault with the transfer.
Rookie Blue: The Complete First Season Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Rookie Blue has both a lossless and a lossy 5.1 mix included as audio options, the former a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix and the latter a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is really rather well detailed, with a wealth of discrete channel activity in the action sequences. Shots ring out with the authoritative pop of LFE and a lot of cross-dialogue in confused chase and tackle scenes are artfully mixed, creating a nicely immersive soundfield. On the whole, though, this is a pretty "talky" series, and much of the show plays out in smaller dialogue scenes which by their very nature don't offer a whale of a lot of surround opportunity. The show does utilize a bunch of pop music source cues from time to time, all of which sound excellent and are well mixed. Fidelity is strong on the DTS track, with clear and precise dialogue and an overall very nicely balanced mix between that dialogue, effects and underscore.
Rookie Blue: The Complete First Season Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Rookie Blue: The Complete First Season Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Rookie Blue is harmless, and that may be both its boon and its bane. This is a show that is fairly standard in just about every category. Its stars, while charismatic, easy on the eyes and perfectly competent actors, simply don't have a whole lot to do, at least not yet. And the show too often gets these rookies in completely improbable situations from which they extract themselves with equally improbable heroics. But the show itself is undemanding and essentially escapist fare, so if that's your cup of tea, you could do a lot worse than Rookie Blue. The show will have to try significantly harder, though, to really rise above its trite opening season.
Rookie Blue: Other Seasons
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Rookie Blue: The Complete First Season Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Rookie Blue Season One Blu-ray Coming Up - January 18, 2011
TV Shows on DVD has the scoop that the first season of the Canadian police drama Rookie Blue will get a Blu-ray release on May 31, from eOne Entertainment – although the date may still change depending on the broadcast debut of the second season. List price is ...
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