Saturday, February 06, 2010
JAG - The Final Season (CBS, $55.98) is coming to DVD with its final season onto DVD this Tuesday (February 9, 2010). With this set the long running Donald Bellisario classic has finally completed its run on DVD, and the show goes out first with a whimper, but then finally a bang.
In the interest of full disclosure, I had long since stopped watching the show by this point. Really, everything between the 8th season's NCIS pilot and this season's series finale is all a blur to me as I've only seen the occasional episode in reruns. Nonetheless I did follow the general goings on of the show, so I know enough to know I probably wouldn't have liked the show anyway. The focus of the show really began to move away from the classic characters in earnest for most of the season, with more and more emphasis being placed on new characters.
Indeed, had the series been picked up for an eleventh season it's likely the show would have been completely retooled around the younger characters and many of the older ones would have been written out. Indeed, then, CBS' cancellation of the show after 10 seasons was, if anything, a mercy-killing. It also allowed the show to wrap up properly before wandering into the ether. Ultimately, the show ended with Harm and Mac being assigned to separate stations. They decide to get married, and flip a coin to decide who will give up their career to join the other at their new posting. The episode ends on the coin flip, with the answer left deliberately unresolved. Some fans may have preferred a bit more finality, but oh well.
The packaging wrapping on this set on DVD also means we're approaching the end of an era on the technical side of things. Along with sister-series NCIS, JAG was one of the last TV DVD sets to be packaging in traditional slim cases instead of the now-semi-standard thick plastic case packaging. I like slim cases so it's slightly sad to see their use among publishers wane and decline, but that's the nature of the business. Package art features Harm & Mac on the cover and the same patriotic theme as the other DVD sets. Discs are your usual silver with the show logo being slightly debossed and showing the actual disc surface.
Menus are pretty much just, well, there. They're not going to wow anyone in their complexity but they're not particularly bad either. They do their job, they get in and get out. Menu design follows the same basic patriotic theme of the box art. Episode list is contained on the main menu against a dark, gold-framed box in a highly readable white-colored Impact-style font. The menus for the set are just sort of, well, there. Which if anything is a bit of a metaphor for the show itself in it's final season.
Video and audio qualities are nearly flawless, and are about the best you're going to see unless the series is re-released onto Blu-ray. Audio is a standard English stereo track, which for a dialogue-heavy show like JAG is certainly acceptable. Chapter stops are placed at the end of each act. And the episode runtimes are similar to previous seasons.
If you're going for completion then buy the set, obviously. If you're just curious about the show, buy an earlier season or catch reruns on cable. This is the worst season of the show I think, finale aside, and is not the way you want to be introduced to the series. Technically the set is more or less solid. The problem is simply the show itself. Other seasons are better, overall, and I just can't recommend *THIS* season to anyone but the die-hard JAG fan who have all the previous seasons on DVD. The series itself, though, is great and I highly encourage you to give earlier years a look!
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher
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New on DVD/Blu-ray (September)
09/06 - Coach - Season One (Mill Creek) / Season Two / Seasons One and Two
09/06 - South Park - The Complete Ninteenth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season
09/20 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season
09/20 - Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season
09/20 - Modern Family - The Complete Season 7
09/20 - Veep - Season 5
09/27 - The Wonder Years - Season Six
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Monday, October 24
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