White Collar: The Complete First Season (2009) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Comedy / Crime / Drama
Fox || NR - 617 minutes - $69.99 || July 13, 2010
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2010-07-31


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): Jeff Eastin (created by)
Cast: Matt Bomer, Tim DeKay, Willie Garson, Tiffani Thiessen, Natalie Morales


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Select Episode Commentaries
  • 3 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

The USA Network over the past several years has established itself as a competitor against the old guard networks like ABC, CBS and NBC (which I believe owns USA) with shows like the recently departed “Monk” and current hits including “Burn Notice” and “Royal Pains” getting good ratings. The latest is “White Collar”, a show with a familiar concept of matching up opposites who work together to help those who have been wronged using whatever tool, legal or otherwise, to get the job done.

In this case, the series centers on Neil Caffrey (MATT BOMER), a master con artist who has been caught twice by FBI Agent Peter Burke (TIM DEKAY). In the series opener, Caffrey escapes from maximum security in order but is soon captured by Burke and sent back to prison. But when Burke arrests Caffrey, he discovers and identifies an unknown thread, revealed as a security ribbon on the Canadian currency, on Burke’s jacket and later is offered the chance for a strict work release program to help the White Collar Crime Unit. Of course, Caffrey will have to wear a tamperproof ankle tracking bracelet and if he deviates from his duties, he goes back to prison to serve out his entire four year term.

Being the smooth criminal Caffrey is, after first being set in a skanky motel, he finds a friend while browsing a local thrift shop, an older rich woman whose husband was also a con artist and felon. She has an extra room in her mansion and offers it to him. The apartment has a terrace overlooking the New York skyline for which Agent Burke is flabbergasted that the convict could get.

The show is pretty straightforward as each episode finds Caffrey and Burke taking on various cases and crimes and using unusual methods – and Caffrey using his knowledge of cons and his underground sources/resources – take down bad people in cunning, almost IMF kind of, ways.

As far as specific episodes, I can’t think of one that either stands out as being great or as being average or even utterly awful, though my least favorite is an episode entitled ‘Front Man’ where Neal is kidnapped, during an FBI sting operated headed by guest star Diane Neal of “Law & Order: SVU” fame, by an old foe after this individual had already taken the daughter of the man who Neal had conned (the one that landed him in prison). I guess one of the highlights would be ‘Hard Sell’ and maybe the season finale, ‘Out of the Box’ which wraps up a storyline that wasn’t as interesting or involving as I think writer/creator Jeff Eastin wanted it to be. I just hope that the music box that was at the center of the season long storyline doesn’t turn out to be something to do with Rambaldi (see: “Alias”).

In any case, although this first season may not be perfect and it doesn’t keep up with the level that the pilot episode promised, I still find this new series to be great entertainment and well worth anyone who enjoys a good crime-drama-comedy to give it a shot.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Select Episode Commentaries – The tracks are lively with the participants having a good time while also providing some info on the episodes. I’m glad Fox decided to include commentaries at least for the first season as they seem to be rare on TV sets nowadays.

“Pilot” – Writer/Creator Jeff Eastin and Actors Matt Bomer, Tim DeKay, Willie Garson and Tiffani Thiessen
“Free Fall” – Eastin, Bomer, Garson and DeKay (who comes in late)
“Hard Sell” – Eastin, Bomer and DeKay
“Vital Signs” – Eastin, DeKay and Thiessen
“Out of the Box” – Eastin, Bomer and DeKay

Gag Reel (12:21; SD) – This is your usual, though lengthy, feature with flubbed lines, missed marks and a ton of laughter. On the plus side, they left in the swearing which normally seems to get bleeped out.

Deleted Scenes (10:23; SD) – All told there are 10 scenes from various episodes and were no doubt cut due to episode time constraints but none of them really stand out.

Pro and Con (6:44; HD) featurette goes into the character aspects of Neal Caffrey and Peter Burke and has interviews with Jeff Eastin, Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay amongst others and is sprinkled throughout with clips from the show.

A Cool Cat in the Hat (5:41; HD) covers the wardrobe department on the series explaining how the fashion is important to the characters and stories. Featurettes on clothes don’t do much for me and same goes for this one...

Nothing But the Truth (2:27; HD) is a short featurette covering the White Collar Division within the FBI and getting it right for the show via a consultant who worked within that division.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

“White Collar” comes to Blu-ray with a nice looking, if not unremarkable, 1080p high-definition widescreen presentation. Having not seen the show when it aired on USA, I can’t speak to how it compares, but I would imagine it’s fairly similar if not identical. Colors look smooth and the detail levels throughout the season looks good.

Meanwhile, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track certainly does its job fairly well. Of course, there isn’t a whole lot to judge here since the show is primarily dialogue driven with the occasional use of score or songs giving it some life. I did notice that while everyone else’s voices were smooth and consistent, Tim DeKay must have deepness to his that at times it causes a certain heaviness to kick in during his lines.



.::OVERALL::.

“White Collar” might not be as well polished compared to “Burn Notice” in its freshman season, but it is really entertaining thanks in large part to the main cast. The odd couple-like pairing of Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay is pitch perfect and the supporting cast that includes Willie Garson and Tiffani Thiesson also works so well that even if some of the storylines falter, I won’t mind following so long as the characters are well written.