The Good

The Bad

Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary) plays a New York City firefighter who is dealing with many inner demons. He has recently separated from his wife and three kids, and on top of this he constantly has memories of friends and others who lost their lives on 9/11. This show is rounded out in large part by Gavin’s friends (and surrogate family) in the department, who are comprised of a witty and colorful cast of characters. This show moves at such a shot gun “back and forth” pace, that it is irresistibly hard not to get caught up in the drama. When I put this show on I was very tired and I figured it wouldn’t be long before I was counting sheep. Too my surprise, I couldn’t. The show starts and it moves at such a fast pace that it basically doesn’t care if you keep up because it is going to keep going. You also don’t get the feeling that you are just seeing the first season of this show. It seems as if these characters and their situations have always existed, and we as the viewers are just coming in right in the middle.

Rescue Me is a very well done, well written show that doesn’t seem to conform to any of the other plots and ideas that other shows seem to have. The characters are who they are and if you like them that’s great, but if you don’t it doesn’t matter. This show is going to go on and that is where it’s magic lies. You can think all these guys are idiots, you can question everything about their motives and their intentions, but you WILL keep watching. This show just moves and as a viewer trying to keep up you really end up caring about these characters. Even the peripheral ones, who are on screen for maybe 1 or 2 scenes during a show. I just found that I enjoyed all the scenes and scenarios put forth in this well done dramatic piece.

I am also very impressed with Denis Leary. Sure, it hardly ever seems like he is acting. You always get the feeling that he is playing himself...a guy from the East Coast with a chip on his shoulder the size of Cleveland. Now, in Rescue Me it’s not like he is playing somebody that different, but it seems that he goes beyond that in this show. He takes the wisecracking, tough persona that he has created and he expands it to include real emotion. We really get the feeling that this guy has a lot of inner turmoil, that he is truly grappling with all the various upheavals in his life. I never felt like I was seeing an actor playing a part. In fact, it felt more like Leary was lifting up his skin a bit and exposing a side of himself he has longed to share.

Features

Gag Reel

This is pretty much what you might expect from a show with Denis Leary. Since the dialogue usually spits out of his mouth like an uzi, there are certainly going to be a lot of moments where things get messed up. And when they do the f-word is used liberally. This is a pretty standard gag reel but that doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable.

4 Behind the Scenes Featurettes

These are comprised of How it All Began, Authenticity, The Cast and The Look. I find featurettes to be interesting and I find them especially interesting when they get very in-depth. I didn’t think that these were really that in-depth but they do a very good job of showing us how this show came to be. How it got made and how all the right elements came together to make Rescue Me the hard hitting show that it is.

Exclusive Sneak Peak at Season 2

Okay, I don’t think that the second season of this show looks that much different then the first, but I really liked all the characters so much that I don’t think that matters. The entire cast seemed so well versed that the first seem didn’t seem like a first season. They have such an easy rapport with one another and it seems to have just been carried over for the upcoming second season. I look forward to it.

Commentary for 1st and last episodes with show creators Denis Leary and Peter Tolan

It is a lot of fun sitting back and hearing these people talk about the making of this show. At all times it seems like they are trying to push things. To push ideas and characterizations that might otherwise be homogenized. They aren’t doing it for the sake of shock value, but more, it seems, for the good of the material. Denis Leary is clearly an artist who has left the box he started in and is clearly relishing his time on the outside. Personally, I think he is going to continue to expand.

Video

1.78:1 Widescreen. This show looks great. The colors seem condensed and hard. It really seems to capture New York and in the process gives it a different look. No matter what, the city is going to be the city, but it really is such a large part of this show. It is the backdrop and it ends up complimenting the characters really well. As this is a very new show, the image quality is perfect. The DVD compression and transfer process looks great. Sure everything is scripted and the actors are obviously blocked to obtain the best image (everything seems subservient to that nowadays), but within the confines of all this the show manages to stand out. It really isn’t because of the “look” per se, but more because of the action and shows plots. In fact, a lot of this show seems like it may have been improvised. There is a clarity with the picture that I don’t think was available to earlier shows. As the medium of TV continues to grow, expand and explore itself so will the look of the actual shows. Rescue Me clearly demonstrates that.

Audio

Dolby Digital. English (Dolby Surround). As this show moves at such an amazing back and forth pace (as far as dialogue is concerned), good sound seems like it would be paramount. Everything is clearly in order with this 3 disk set. I didn’t have to mess with the volume on my TV at all. I just put the disks in, turned the sound levels up to what seemed like an appropriate level and that was all I needed to do. As this show mixes a good deal of humor and sadness, I also appreciate the fact that the sound design wasn’t used to tell me what I should be feeling. It didn’t seem to try and dictate to my emotions. There are obvious points and ideas this show is trying to get across, and it did use music to underscore this, I just didn’t see it as something that got in the way of my viewing experience. Truthfully, I was more impressed with the breadth and depth of the subject matter that Rescue Me tackled. That in itself was enough to bring all the needed emotions to the surface.

Package

A lot of red is used on this front cover in which Denis Leary and the firehouse ensemble stand. This picture looks more like something an “indie rock” band might do, as opposed to being a picture for a show about firefighters. The back features some good shots of Leary in action, a description of the show , an extras listing and the different technical specifications of all these disks. The cases that house the disks are slim and the overall size of this set is really compact. This should fit easily into any interested parties DVD collection. I am big fan of “TV on DVD” box sets that aren’t too cumbersome. This set is basically perfect for it’s size. While there is really nothing that spectacular about it, it doesn’t lie to us in terms of getting across the point of what Rescue Me is about. This is a raw and gritty account of Firefighters in New York and I tend to think that the shows creators got a lot more right then they did wrong.

Final Word

Rescue Me was a show that when I first saw commercials for it I dismissed it. I don’t really watch a lot of TV as it is, and I wasn’t about to try and add another show to the little amount of TV that I screen. This said, Rescue Me is another show that I am very glad to have been given the opportunity to discover on DVD. I think that it is clever, well written, deftly executed and the kind of TV that shows us possibilities. I know that being on cable, this show can certainly get away with a lot more, but at the end of the day I think that this show is solidly real and shies away from nothing in terms of it’s storytelling.

Great work Mr. Tolan, Mr. Leary, FX and all involved.

Rescue Me was released .