Thursday, May 03, 2012





Brittany Frederick
Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Before Season 2 of Suits starts on June 14, are you caught up with Season 1? USA has released Suits: Season 1 on DVD, and here's why you should add this pleasant surprise of a show to your collection

If you haven't already been watching, Suits was unquestionably the best new show of this past summer. It continued to grow USA's successful "Characters Welcome" brand by starting with that philosophy, adding in smart and nuanced writing with plenty of quotable lines, and then finding a cast of under-celebrated actors who truly owned their characters.

Kudos to the casting directors, because they put together what I consider the top one-two punch on television today: series stars Gabriel Macht and Patrick J. Adams. As hotshot Manhattan attorney Harvey Specter, Macht has real presence; when he speaks, the audience listens. When he walks into a room, we notice. What's been a real pleasure is watching the actor, in only his second TV leading role (following the short-lived The Others for NBC way back in 2000), develop the character each week. It's a pleasure to see Harvey evolve, and to get an extended look at Macht, who should be USA's next major award winner if there's any justice.

This is Adams' first major role, after lots of TV guest spots (Pretty Little Liars, Friday Night Lights, Lost), but you wouldn't know that by how he plays slacker-turned-legal associate Mike Ross. There's a maturity about him that's beyond his resume or his age. He's able to hold his own with Macht, and play off him as if they've been doing this a lot longer than they have. He truly takes the role to another level beyond what's on the page. It's easy to see how the part earned him a SAG Award nomination.

Suits surrounds its two note-perfect leading men with a great supporting cast. There's TV veteran Gina Torres (Firefly, Standoff) as law firm managing partner Jessica Pearson, who put Harvey through law school; it's great to see her in a successful series again. Sarah Rafferty is Harvey's assistant Donna, and the two have a great chemistry together (likely in part because the actors have known each other for something like two decades). Meghan Markle plays Mike's love interest, Rachel Zane, and keeps her out of "obligatory love interest" cliches. And then there's Rick Hoffman as Louis Litt, the guy we love to hate and yet still somehow love.

Plus, keep your eyes open for the underrated and lovely Julie Ann Emery (Line of Fire, Alias) in a recurring role as a private investigator who helps out Harvey on occasion. She is a vastly underused actress who will hopefully come back in season two.

None of these people are household names (though they deserve to be!) which also makes it easier for us to see them as their characters, and not the actors themselves.

The writing is a little slow to start, and isn't always perfect, but for the most part it's both a joy as entertainment, and food for deeper thought. I love the pop-culture zingers and in-jokes in the show (Star Trek for the win), but at the same time, I always find myself picking up things about characters arcs, themes and more. This is one of the only TV shows where I will watch reruns - and I still come away with new things when I do.

Now that we've gone over the show and why you should love it, let's talk about what the DVD's come with (sorry, no Blu-Ray release). You'll find all 13 episodes on three discs, plus a solid selection of bonus features. As is seemingly standard for TV on DVD, you get deleted scenes and a gag reel - but unlike most TV on DVD releases, the deleted scenes are worth watching and the gag reel is good for more than a few laughs. Many of them come from guest star Chi McBride (Human Target). You'll also get an extended version of the series premiere.

The real gem here, though, is the commentary included on the set. There are two tracks, on the pilot and season finale, and they include creator Aaron Korsh as well as Macht and Adams, so you get the complete perspective of writer/creator as well as key talent. It's a bit noticeable that these guys haven't done these before, as both are a bit slow sometimes, but it's also very clear just how smart they are as their conversation is about things like set lighting and themes in each episode. The tracks definitely added to my understanding of and appreciation for the show.

The set isn't perfect: there is only English closed-captioning, there are no foreign language tracks (subtitles or otherwise), and it lacks chapter selection. You also don't get the usual "making of" or cast interviews that usually come with first-season TV on DVD sets, which is a bigger shame with this show since there's so much worth talking about. But the video and audio are just a hair less crisp than they were during the original broadcasts I watched on USA HD, and the menus are easy to navigate.

If you've already got the episodes on DVR, this is still a set worth investing in because of the bonus material. And if you haven't watched the show yet, this is a wonderful package to catch one of television's best shows.

Suits: Season 1 is now available on DVD via Amazon or any TV on DVD retailer. Season 2 arrives on USA June 14 at 10 PM ET/PT.



Image courtesy of USA





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