Crossing Jordon: Season One (US - DVD R1)
Fans of this show: Gabe doesn't like it, please feel free to skip this review...
Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh (Jill Hennessy) is an angsty and angry medical examiner who finds herself in a tight spot thanks to her antisocial behaviour. She returns to Boston, the city in which she was raised by her police detective father, and murdered mother. Jordon finds employment, but her new employers (who happen to be her old employers) don’t fully trust her. Her father has also found a new companion, which rubs the eternally bristled Jordon the wrong way.
I’ve gotten more ravenous and angry responses to negative review of TV series then motion pictures. I thought about it and think it probably has to do with the amount of investment television runs require. It is with this knowledge that I very cautiously say that Crossing Jordon is one of the most well made terrible television shows I’ve ever seen. The production values are sharp and spectacular, the actors are mostly on, and the cinematic nature is effectively thrilling. Unfortunately every word of every script is so blatantly clichéd I can’t help but be constantly revolted.
Characters speak like bad pulp paperback characters without a lick of irony, their character traits so frightfully unoriginal they’re practically moldy. An pretty, adult tom boy (with a male name, in case we freaking missed it) who refuses to play by society’s rules, disapproving of her nice as grilled cheese, widowed father’s new girlfriend? A troubled boss who struggles with her while supporting her? Wacky, mixed-race sidekicks who aren’t given a dramatic arc? I’m not surprised that these boring stereotypes are popular, but is this really a critically acclaimed series?
If I were one of the generally solid actors I’d be insulted by these exhausted tropes, and bad dialogue, but mostly I’d hate myself for being a part of something that awkwardly tries to piece together the most popular elements of Law and Order and CSI, and aim them at a Lifetime Network audience. Lead Jill Hennessy is really trying, I can see it (though her snide smile start to hurt a bit), Miguel Ferrer is actually very good (but what else is new), and the comic relief sidekicks are genuinely amusing, but the actors simply can’t overcome their characters.
I can take the flagrantly ridiculous plots, I can take their holes, I can take the way Jordon figures things out without hardly any logical explanation (she’s like a superhero, I get it), I can take the forced attempts at oddness (really, really forced), but I just can’t take the cookie cutter dialogue and story elements. Despite the impressive production values, effective performances, and cinematic cinematography, I really hated every minute I spent with this series.
Perhaps my eyes have been spoiled watching high definition television as of late, but this video presentation strikes me as particularly weak. The overall look of every episode is very, very soft, and if a dollop of Vaseline were smeared across the lens. Details look decent in nearly still close-up, but as soon as objects and people begin moving further from camera everything tends to blend together. Surprisingly enough, there isn’t a whole lot of compression noise or grain, save for low-lit sequences. The black levels are a bit on the warm side, and skin tones are often noticeably reddish.
The shows clichéd and uninspired streak smears right into the soundtrack, which is bubbling with the same pop tracks we’ve heard a million times in television and film since the turn of the 1990s (the music is apparently to blame for the seven years it took the show to get to disc). It’s like being lectured by some music school dropout working at a small time record store trying to convince you he’s an expert on pop music. The last straw comes at the end of the final episode, when they use Amiee Mann’s ‘It’s Not Going to Stop’ from Magnolia. The original music is equally uninspired, but it’s well produced, and sounds pretty good on the Dolby Surround track. The overall sound is exactly as expected
If I sort of disliked the series while watching it normally, I ended up despising it by the time I was done listening to the commentary tracks, featuring creator Tim Kring, producer/director Allan Arksush, and composers Lisa Coleman and Wendy Melvoin. Basically these people do nothing but talk about their own ‘genius’. It’s so frustrating I began to feel like I no longer held the capacity to review this set effectively. I was starting to feel like I knew these people, and that they were going out of their way to make me furious. My objectivity is in question. Seriously, fans, stop reading this. The top of the bottom comes at the end when the commentators actually comment on how good it is to not allow television characters too much evolution. I just about swallowed my own face my jaw opened so wide when I heard that. Wow. I suppose that would be why I didn’t like this show. I should’ve just listened to the commentary tracks from the beginning. There are a total of four commentaries.
Next is a collection of interviews, which are spread over all five discs. Actually, they’re more like discussions around a meal. These discussions are set up to look all quaint and homey, but the charm only shines when they speak to the actors. Participants include creator Tim Kring, producer/director Allan Arkush, producer Dennis Hammer, and actors Miguel Ferrer Steve Valentine, Ravi Kapoor and Kathryn Kahn. The group actor discussions are the most endearing, Arkush is pretty warm, and Kring has an air of staggering self importance. Ten episodes also feature a couple of deleted scenes, none of which are particularly riveting, or series shattering.
Yuck. This is not for me. I apologise to fans for not liking their show, and for being so tardy with this review (the set was sent to my old house, and I didn’t find out until an old neighbour found it). Besides my general dislike of the series itself, I’m disappointed with the video quality, but assume that fans should enjoy the extra features.
Review by Gabriel Powers
This product has not been rated
Release Date: 7th May 2008
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Extras: Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Interviews
Easter Egg: No
Cast: Jill Hennessy, Miguel Ferrer, Steve Valentine, Ravi Kapoor, Kathryn Hahn
Length: 1017 minutes
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