Lethal Weapon Season 1 Blu-ray Review
"My future self is laughing at my current self."
Season 1 Review
Much better than it has any right to be, Lethal Weapon translates to a fun, funny, action-packed and occasionally quite emotionally adept TV series.Don't let the opening McG-directed (i.e. ruined) episode(s) fool you, the perhaps ill-advised Lethal Weapon TV series adaptation actually has a heart, somewhere beneath all its exuberant style and frothy, throwaway dialogue. And, over the course of it's first, slightly baggy season (the show could have benefited from being a 12-episode 'premium' production) manages to build two genuinely interesting lead characters who have some very palpable chemistry together. Clayne Crawford and Damon Wayans (in a reversal of the role he played in the Shane Black-scripted The Last Boy Scout, but with the same banter) may not be Gibson and Glover, who will always define the roles, but they have their own advantages nonetheless, mostly in the form of affording us a whole lot more time with Riggs and Murtaugh.For those unfamiliar with the basic story, the film series is essential viewing, and certainly no one should watch the TV series without seeing them first (the first two are also scripted by Shane Black) - but there are a few interesting deviations on offer here to turn the stories into an ongoing series. What works primarily is the depth of background they go into, particularly on the Riggs front, with him afforded a far more developed PTSD-style mental problem, which lends the piece some weight in amidst the fluff (the Friday Night Lights-esque scoring helps here too). Ultimately though, it wouldn't be anything without the genuine chemistry between Clayne Crawford's surprisingly capable Riggs and Damon Wayans' Murtaugh and, by the end of the 18-episode run, that may just be enough to win you over.
Picture QualityLethal Weapon Season 1 comes to UK shores on a Region Free Blu-ray set courtesy of Warner, which affords the slick and over-stylised digitally-shot series a strong 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation, in its original airing aspect ratio of 1.78:1 widescreen.
This TV series is a good looking presentation
Although, technically, it's quite cramped on this 3-disc set, the 18 episode run isn't any more packed in than the likes of Warner's DC output, which puts longer seasons onto 4 discs, often with a similar number of episodes per season. Indeed the end result is a good looking presentation seldom betrayed by its sheer bitrate and instead perhaps more limited by the slick production style, which softens and shines the whole affair, often robbing it of any finer nuances that may have otherwise been more apparent. Detail is still generally good, particularly on close-ups, with just enough texture to the clothing weaves and skin flourishes despite the style of the piece. Black levels are strong enough, and the show is a very colourful affair, looking good enough to enjoy on this Blu-ray release.
Sound QualityThere's an impressive accompanying audio track
The punchy, stylised and action-packed series is afforded an arguably far more impressive accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. Dialogue remains firmly prioritised across the frontal array, delivered clearly and coherently, and given enough room to breathe in what is a fairly aggressive sound design that generally favours noisy effects and an even noisier soundtrack.
Effects are obviously frequently ballistic in nature, with plenty of gunshots and a few explosions to boot, delivered with aplomb across the array, exhibiting frequently impressive sound design in the process. The score can be a little generic, and is very insistent, possibly a holdover of that McG influence at the outset, which gives the show a distinctly in-your-face feel, although it's also strangely juxtaposed with the more melancholy moments that borrow from the same style which made the emotional core of shows like Friday Night Lights all the more effective. All of it leads to plenty of material for the array to disseminate, which it does with verve.
ExtrasThe extras package isn't exactly packed but is also far from bare bones
The extras package isn't exactly packed, but is also far from bare bones, with an 'Uncensored' Extended Pilot episode that isn't all that different from the standard one, as well as a quarter hour Behind the Scenes Featurette, Reloading Lethal Weapon, which offers an overview of the production with cast and crew snippets as well as far too much footage from the show itself, a slew of Deleted Scenes strewn across over half of the episodes in the series, and a brief Gag Reel.
Blu-ray VerdictThe ill-advised Lethal Weapon TV series actually has a heart somewhere beneath its exuberant style
Warner's UK Blu-ray release of the first season affords it decent enough video and impressive audio, as well as a few extras to boot so don't let the McG pilot put you off, nor the fact that Lethal Weapon is a bona fide classic. This isn't the Taken TV series; it's actually far better than it has any right to be and is worth giving a shot.
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