It can be a somewhat daunting task to cover a 5-season, popular TV show in a single review, but I wanted to give Damages a shot, especially after hearing enough good things about it. It’s a legal drama that originally aired on FX, a network that had many high quality shows. While this one didn’t impress me like I had hoped, I know it has its fans and they should be more than pleased have the entire series in a convenient box set. On one hand I want to say the show doesn’t have strong replay value, but on the other, one might like to look for plot twists and things that make more sense upon a second look. To say the show has a convoluted plot would be an understatement as there are several twists upon twists. How invested one will be isn’t for me to say, but I couldn’t find myself caring too terribly much. I recently reviewed The Shield, another series from FX which I absolutely loved. Its plot-lines also had much more going on, but I found it to grip me more. But to each their own. For newcomers, it should be noted that this is more of a drama, taking a lot of time outside the court room, rather than in it.
Glen Close plays Patty Hewes, a no nonsense attorney who is used to winning and getting her way. Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) comes into the picture as a fledgling lawyer that Patty takes on and works with. Ellen is much more mild mannered and dare I say, kinder than Patty probably ever has been, but the two do have a good thing going. The first season introduces us to many characters, including Arthur Frobisher (Ted Danson) as a billionaire who is accused of insider trading. There’s also a defense attorney, Hollis Nye (Philip Bosco) who knows all about Patty and her ways. Later seasons maintain the core cast while bringing in several other popular stars such as William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden, Martin Short and John Goodman to name a few. It’s always nice to see familiar faces playing well drawn out characters. Throughout the first season, we get a subplot involving Ellen and an incident from her past that may lead to a shocking revelation about her. We follow this as it’s told in flashbacks and is carried through several episodes. There are frequent trials where we’re introduced to the new set of characters and follow Ellen and Patty as they’re assigned a case. It should be noted that there is plenty of legal terminologies heard throughout the series, but it never becomes overly confusing. The episodes themselves have plenty of twists that do complicate things, however.
To its credit, Damages does an admirable job of juggling multiple characters and story-lines, even if I didn’t find myself caring too much about the outcome. The writers clearly had their work cut out for them, but I wish the show would’ve forgone the flashbacks and making everything add up to one whole and just presented things in a linear fashion. It can become a bit of a frustrating experience being constantly jerked between one plot-line to the next, with past and present being tangled on a frequent basis. I still think that for fans of legal dramas such as this then the show will probably right up your alley.
Video: How’s it look?
The AVC encoded 1.78:1 transfers on the episodes are quite sharp, with strong details throughout. Expect some grain during many flashback sequences that’s obviously intentional. Otherwise there is strong contrast throughout the many episodes. Colors are accurate and background shots strong, too. I really can’t think of anything negative to say as the quality is pretty consistent. The grain, though intentional, is the only obvious thing I can think, but it’s to depict the time shifts.
Audio: How’s it sound?
We get DTS HD tracks that serve the show well. Vocals dominate, but the city background comes through when needed as well as other little details here and there. The vocals have the clarity and crispness that I expect and want from a series like this and brings out the best.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This set contains no supplemental materials.
The Bottom Line
Try as I might, I just couldn’t get into Damages. I can appreciate that it lasted a strong 5 seasons and has its fans, but after seeing it, I just don’t count myself into that group. The ever evolving plot lines just didn’t cut it for me, and I couldn’t bring myself to care. For fans of the show, you can rest assured that this package delivers solid A/V specs, but there are no extras to speak of. If you feel you want to own it, Mill Creek has done a fine job bringing it to Blu-Ray even if there are no extras.