A very well acted show by our lead stars Jason Isaacs and Jason Clarke.
Sparse special features.
I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed Brotherhood: The Complete First Season. The story story is classically put together like a modern version of Kane vs. Able. Tommy Caffee (Jason Clarke, and a dead ringer for Michael Mann) is a rising politician who has a loving wife and supportive family. His brother Michael (Jason Isaacs) is after a different kind of power, and we see this early on in the show when he is first released from prison. While one might think Tommy is the more bookish of the two, it soon becomes apparent that both of these guys can play their fare share of hardball, and in doing so the metaphors between the mob and politics become ever more apparent.
On top of all this, Eileen Caffee (Annabeth Gish), and Tommy's wife, is having an affair, and the boys mother obviously has a favorite between the two. When you mix in the factors of neighborhood mafiosos wanting political as well as business favors, it would surely seem that the Caffee Brothers are on a collision course. This show is very well done and my biggest problem with Brotherhood: The Complete First Season is that it's only eleven episodes.
It may not be as flashy as The Sopranos, but that actually works a lot more in Brotherhood's favor.
This audio commentary is done by Creator/Executive Producer/Writer, Blake Masters as well as Henry Bromell, Executive Producer/Writer, for Episode 9. These guys don't make too many jokes, but they don't come off like blowhards either. They discuss wanting to make every show it's own tiny drama, shooting conditions like rain which they just incorporated into this episode, the characters playing gin rummy, and how they shot the entire series before it went on the air.
An interesting addition to this DVD in that we are given the Caffee Brothers and then we can choose to see their power network. What stood out the most to me was how much these characters had overlapping people in their lives. This makes sense when you think about the overall theme of the show being the relationship between mob power and politics. The fact that in order to get the most use out of this a lot of reading is required, could be a turn off to some.
Mixing location photos with some promo shots, these color images seem like little more than screenshots that someone might have pulled in editing. Also, there isn't that many of them, and this called my attention to the fact that this three disc DVD set is quite sparse in the supplemental features department. They have biographies on some of the other people involved in the show, but I would have preferred that info in a featurette or even an electronic press kit.
Widescreen Version Enhanced for 16:9 TVs. As Nick Gomez directed this (as well as other Showtime shows like Sleeper Cell), I am not surprised that this show has a visual flair but it isn't distracting. The camera isn't jumping around every five seconds and if anything, it seems like Gomez has kept things simple so that we can just focus on the characters and their day to day lives.
Dolby Digital: English 5.1 Surround. English Stereo and Spanish Mono. I did have to turn the audio on my TV up a bit louder than I thought I would, but that isn't because these characters are speaking in whispers. If anything, the acting on this show is so strong that it seems like it has been preserved by having an unobtrusive sound score to go with it. I am unclear as to why this show seemed so natural while many other dramas today don't, but I figure it's better not to ask too many questions.
As far as I know, the front cover image of the two brothers extending out of one another, is the same one sheet image that they utilized when this show first aired. The back cover features one promo shot of the cast, along with some images from the show. There is a tiny description of what this show is about, a Bonus Features listing, technical specs and a cast list. All three discs come stored in their own slim case, with different characters on each one of them. The back covers list out the episodes and the paltry special features.
I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this show. I think it might have something to do with never having seen many of these actors before, but I just found that it really melded the worlds of politics and the mob without falling into some of the pitfalls that other shows do. It doesn't hurt that Isaacs and Clarke are really good actors, and that we could believe them in these situations. I also felt that the writing on this show made Brotherhood have very rich characters, without making it seem like that was what they were trying to do (are you reading JJ Abrams?). If I had to put my finger on a movie that this reminded me of, I think that it would be The Yards.
This show is riddled (for the most part) with the business aspects of the mafia and politics. As it is a TV show, the creators have made things interesting but it's Brotherhood's ability to be interesting and mundane that really puts it head and shoulders above other shows of this ilk.
Brotherhood was released .