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Homicide: Life On The Street - Seasons 1 & 2 (1993)

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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: NBC/A&E Television Networks
Genre: Cops
Languages: English
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Synopsis
One of the most critically acclaimed shows in TV history, Homicide: Life on the Street reinvigorated a tired genre by focusing on the grueling work of solving murders instead of an endless succession of bloody crimes and car chases. Inspired by David Simon's Edgar Award-winning account of Baltimore homicide detectives and brought to television by writer Paul Attanasio (Gideon's Crossing) and director Barry Levinson (Analyze This, The Perfect Storm, Oz), Homicide boasted a powerhouse ensemble cast featuring Ned Beatty (Network, Deliverance), Yaphet Kotto (Alien, Midnight Run), Richard Belzer (Law & Order: SVU), and breakout star Andre Braugher (Frequency, Gideon's Crossing). Now this Emmy and Peabody Award winner debuts on DVD with this collector's set featuring all 13 episodes from the first two seasons of Homicide: Life on the Street.

Features:

Commentary with Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana on the pilot episode Gone For Goode; Interview with Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana; About the Board; Music from HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREET; Cast and Crew Biographies; To Catch A Killer: Homicide Detectives Episode of A&E's Signature Series American JusticeŽ ; Interactive Menus; Scene Selection


GreenCine Member Ratings

Homicide: Life On The Street - The Complete Seasons 1 & 2 (Disc 1 of 4) (1993)
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9.18 (22 votes)
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Homicide: Life On The Street - The Complete Seasons 1 & 2 (Disc 2 of 4) (1993)
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8.95 (22 votes)
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Homicide: Life On The Street - The Complete Seasons 1 & 2 (Disc 3 of 4) (1993)
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8.43 (21 votes)
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Homicide: Life On The Street - The Complete Seasons 1 & 2 (Disc 4 of 4) (1993)
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8.70 (20 votes)
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GreenCine Member Reviews

Homicide: Life on the Street by BassGrot April 23, 2004 - 9:12 PM PDT
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3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
This is the beginning of the BEST police drama ever to have appeared on TV. Based upon a book by David Simon (who spent a full year observing Baltimore's Homicide Unit in order to research it), this show is realistic, gritty, and often humorous (if you have the right kind of humor that is). This disc contains the first three episodes, one of them being the pilot that was shown after the Super Bowl and another being the start of Baliss' "Watts" case which spans several seasons.

Homicide's first really great episode by oldkingcole January 7, 2004 - 3:47 AM PST
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Homicide is a cop-show which eschews car chases and gun battles. In other words, it's a thinking person's cop show.

"See No Evil"

The writing (by Paul Attanasio) is outstanding in the A story, which concerns the father of a boyhood friend of Beau Felton's. The father is played by Wilford Brimley, and that never hurts. Brimley's character is dying of cancer and wants to hire a Dr. Kevorkian-type to assist him in committing suicide. This puts Beau, as an officer of the law and a friend of the family, in a very tough position. Dramatically, this plays out in a series of taut, compelling moments and leads to not just one, but two intense show-downs: one between father and son, and one between detective and detective. The "B" story is less successful. It centers on Bolander (Ned Beatty's character) and his unwillingness to participate in the department's mandatory "sensitivity training" program. There is even a C story about an accidental (or is it?) police-involved shooting. This thread is left unresolved, but we'll be picking it up again in the next episode, "Black and Blue". Overall, due to the strength of the A story, and the power of Wilford Brimley's presence, this makes for a compelling hour of television viewing.

"Black and Blue"

This episode has many worthy components, including a strong (if somewhat histrionic) performance from Andre Braugher, and a fascinating thematic argument about justice and loyalty that leaves Giardello (and the audience) speechless. But for my tastes, the episode also relies too much on high-concept ideas -- the magical ability of Pembleton to extract a confession in "the box", Stan and Linda (the waitress) connecting over cello and violin playing, and so on. In the abstract, these might sound like interesting ideas, but played out on screen, their unanchored ascents into fantasy seem at odds with the documentary hyper-realism which is the show's main mode of operation.

"A Many Splendored Thing"

When this episode first aired, it would've been hard to know how pivotal the events it describes would ultimately become for Kyle Secor's character, Bayliss. But the seeds of Bayliss's quest for his identity, sexual and otherwise, can be found, in hindsight, quite clearly here in this episode. There is a great in-car conversation between Pembleton and Bayliss, in which Pembleton's Jesuit education comes to the fore in an impressive display of philosophical elocution, which will have profound consequences for Bayliss later in the series. So although this episode's B and C stories suffer, as did the previous episode, from a certain over-reliance on high-concept, unrealistic ideas which prove impossible to implement on-screen in a convincing way, this is still a critical episode in the development of Tim Bayliss's series-long character arc, and therefore should not be missed.

"Bop Gun"

Wow. This might just be Robin Williams' most convincing and powerful dramatic performance ever. And it's in the service of a knock-out episode that might be Homicide's first really great show. Shot as the last episode of Season 2, it was originally aired early, but the DVD set has reordered the episodes back into production order, so it now appears, as shot, as the last episode of the season. That makes more sense, because in a lot of ways, this really feels more like a 3rd season show.

It opens with a montage set to pop-music, a device that future seasons of Homicide would use to great effect. Gone is the slightly ridiculous, high concept schtick from the previous couple of episodes. Instead, we get a new level of sophistication in the storytelling, acting, and cinematography. This is a powerful and very sad story. Robin Williams is brilliant as a man haunted by the loss of his wife, struggling to hold it together for his kids, and above all, trying not to collapse from the crushing weight of his own self-reproachment. And that's just for starters, because the story of the perpetrators is another heartbreaker. A bravura episode in almost every way. If you've never watched a Homicide episode before, and want to see what all the fuss is about, start here. Afterwards, you'll want to watch every episode leading up to this one, and every episode after. And as good as this episode is, there are some even better ones later in the series, so keep watching!

These early episodes are raw and exude quality by oldkingcole January 1, 2004 - 10:34 PM PST
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1 out of 1 members found this review helpful

Homicide is a cop show with an emphasis on things other than car chases and gun battles. In other words, it's a thinking person's cop show.

"Dog And Pony Show"

The show continues to gel in this episode, with strong scenes between Crosetti and Thormann, and a nice Pembleton/Bayliss discussion about dogs (another of their wonderful in-car conversations). But it's the resolution to the Keene murder case which is most powerful. The case is horrifying and the episode conveys that horror extremely well as Kay Howard gives voice to it at the end.

"And the Rockets Dead Glare"

Not much seems to happen in this episode. Yet, it still exudes quality. Crosetti's excitement about being in Washington, D.C. and visiting all the historical sites related to the Lincoln assassination is palpable, and works thematically to contrast his love of America with that of their host.

"Smoke Gets In Your Eyes"

The writing (by Tom Fontana and James Yoshimura -- an awesome team) has moments of brilliance, chief among them G's oblique explanation to Lewis about why he (Giardello) hasn't remarried. That scene also points out how lucky Homicide was to have actors of the calibre of Yaphet Kotto and Clark Johnson. You can't just read these lines off a cue-card, because the meaning of the scene isn't in what's said. This is some pretty sophisticated television writing which would fall flat without actors who are up to the challenge. These are.

There are also some fantastic passages about the addictive pleasures of smoking.

While watching this episode, I said "wow" out loud once, and laughed in enjoyment of the writers' wit several times. Although some scenes do cross the line and go over the top, overall, the strong parts of this episode outweigh the weak parts. And those strong parts are really surprisingly and satisfyingly well-done.

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