As I am a HUGE James Caan fan, I found that not liking Las Vegas - Season Two was going to be hard. Granted, he’s not playing a character such as Frank in the movie Thief, but I will take him as Ed Deline on this show. He is tough and no nonsense, but you can tell that there is actually a human being behind all that backed-up bravado. This show, which focuses on the Montecito Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, is interesting just by association. Martin Scorsese’s Casino has been heavily pillaged as far as the look of this show, but then who hasn’t borrowed from Scorsese?
What I liked about Las Vegas - Season Two, is that it really captures the casino vibe of Las Vegas. It just feels right. The good looking people, the sounds of the machines, the action at the tables, everything feels spot on. Part of what makes this show so authentic, I think, is that it has a freewheeling feel amongst the people playing in the casino, yet, there really is a big brother (Caan and his people) aspect to it all. You can do whatever you want in a casino, provided that it benefits the casino. The moment that that stops... you’re out. This aspect of “casino culture” is at the heart of why this show worked for me. It wasn’t so much the plotlines, some based in reality, others completely preposterous, but then nobody is watching this show to get a dose of reality. We want to escape. To be taken into the world that Las Vegas - Season Two gives us. Sure, we might object to some of the subject matter, but that’s only because we relate so well to so much of it.
Gag Reel and VIP Access Only
The gag reel is pretty standard. The actors mugging for the camera, or messing up a line, or delivering a line and then laughing because they are not happy with it. I enjoyed this and what’s really cool is that it covers both Seasons 1 and 2. “VIP Access Only” takes us inside the Palms and, with the help of a “High Roller” Executive, shows us what goes on behind the scenes for the more “high profile” clientele. Okay, I am sure that this treatment is great, and the few times I have had it I will admit that I liked it. However, I am just not all that impressed with the “see and be seen crowd” and overall, the people on this featurette, and the whole feel of this “inside look” seems rather empty and dull.
Anamorphic Widescreen - 1.78:1. I love the quick pace of this show. Because of that, Las Vegas - Season Two doesn’t feel overly staged even though that’s precisely what it is. The colors inside the casino, mixed with how the actors dress, just explode off the screen. While I can’t say for certain what this show is shot on (the type of camera used), I can say that it looks state of the art. This show looks so good that it’s almost hard to watch at times because everyone looks great. Even Jon Lovitz! The widescreen aspect ratio and the way the DVDs are compressed, combine to give this show a very solid look from episode to episode.
English Dolby Digital 5.1. Subtitled in English and Spanish. Mixing the sounds of Las Vegas, with a lot of dialogue all centering around very fast paced events, I have to give the audio department a lot of credit for how good this show sounds. Even watching it on my crummy TV with one speaker, I got a sense for just how big this show really is. In fact, it was really nice seeing a show move the way this one did and not miss a single word the actors were saying. Yeah, there were times things felt a little stagey, but something about Las Vegas - Season Two sets itself apart from the other shows on the air today. I didn’t mind it that much but maybe the pacing of the show made it so I didn’t have to think about it.
There is a bluish, purple color to the the entire outside cover of Las Vegas - Season Two. Mr. Caan and Mr. Duhamel stand with the rest of the cast and everyone looks dressed to the nines. Even when these characters are having moments of downtime, they still look this good! My favorite thing about the front part of this vinyl cardboard cover is that a pair of dice stick out in an almost 3-D fashion. The back features a description of the show, an extras listing, a cast list and some technical specs for these discs. There are also small pictures of all the main cast members. Each disc is house in it’s own plastic case, with the same front cover as the main one. The back of each disc features an episode index giving you a brief blurb of what each episode is about. As this is a digipack, Las Vegas - Season Two gets extra points for economical packaging!
I was very impressed with Josh Duhamel. I had only seen his performance on this show in a peripheral way, and he just looked like another good looking guy to play off of James Caan. And, he very much is a just another good looking guy to play off of James Caan. However, he does bring a certain weight to his role of Danny McCoy. While it is always clear that James Caan is the brains of this surveillance outfit, McCoy is there to prove that an old dog can be taught new tricks. The conflicts between them seem real and genuine, but so does their respect. While this is certainly one of those shows where all the main characters happen to be VERY good looking, I think that working in a Las Vegas g like that is not too far off the mark. Especially at the high profile Montecito Resort and Casino.
While I don’t think Las Vegas - Season Two breaks any new ground, I found this show to be entertaining. Merging gambling and CSI, both of which are very much on the public consciousness, this show seems to he able to fire on all cylinders and thus attract a very large audience.