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Dirt
The Complete First Season

review by Zach B.

 

 

TV Rating: MA

Running Time: 607 minutes

Starring: Courtney Cox, Ian Hart, Josh Stewart, Laura Allen, Jeffrey Nordling, Will McCormack, Shannyn Sossamon

 

Studio: Disney

Retail Price: $59.99

Features: Celebrity Couple Gets Dirty, Through A Lens Darkly, Tabloid Wars, Gag Reel, Deleted Scenes, Season Two Preview

Specs: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, Episode Selection, Chapter Selection, Four-Disc Set

Released: December 11th, 2007

 

 

The first season of "Dirt" is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, and these episodes look pretty good. A lot of the night scenes look murky and washed out, and there is some noise and edge halos at times, but it's nothing too bad. Detail is excellent though, and fleshtones accurately hit their mark. Color saturation is pretty vibrant and there is no smearing - be it the bright red carpets at a Hollywood premiere, or the steely interiors of the Dirt offices. Except for those darkly-lit scenes, these are strong transfers.

 

"Dirt" also gets the Dolby Digital 5.1 treatment. These tracks are pretty standard: everything sounds nice and is balanced well, but during many of the episodes, nothing really pops out. Subwoofer use is limited, while dialogue is clear and easy to hear. The music of the show is mixed pretty well through the channels, and adds a bit of life to some key scenes. Surrounds are decent, but there are a lot of sound effects that are kept toward the front speakers - and the ones that use the rears are often not as encompassing as I expected. You may not feel like you're in the center of the premieres of crazed paparazzi moments in the episodes, but like reading a tabloid itself, you do feel a bit closer to the story. English subtitles are also included.

 

The fourth disc houses all the bonus features. Celebrity Couple Gets Dirty is a look at the show's inspiration and eventual production. Producers/husband-and-wife Courtney Cox and David Arquette talk about their own paparazzi experiences and ideas for the show, while FX brass, producers and showrunner Matthew Carnahan discuss their roles in forming the series. There are a few tidbits here, but nothing quite new or in-depth. Still, it's not a big time killer at a mere 5 minutes.

Through A Lens, Darkly snapshots the character of Don Konkey the paparazzo, as played by the English actor Ian Hart. The cast and producers praise the actor, and it also leads into a discussion about the character itself - and the blurring of lines of fiction and reality, and aggressive the paparazzi really can be. A bit fluffy, but still nice to single out Hart.

Tabloid Wars is another featurette, lasting about 6 and-a-half minutes. There's some talk about how crazy tabloid culture/false idol worship has gotten, but a lot of it's also on how the series went about going for accuracy in capturing such mania. Cox and Arquette discuss their research, while a former editor at People magazine gives his thoughts in how cutthroat this kind of industry has become. Not that you don't already know it, but the obsession with this kind of thing is scary and sickening.

Rounding things out is a 95 second Gag Reel, 11 Deleted Scenes with an introduction by showrunner Matthew Carnahan, and a Season Two Preview, where Carnahan tells viewers what to look out for next.

 

Some viewers just might find "Dirt" as guilty of a pleasure as the gossip magazines the series bases itself around. The bonus features are on the light side, and the episodes look and sound decent - but fans of the series and those looking to catch up before the second season in 2008 might want to take a look.