Justified-Complete Second Season (Blu-ray) (2011)
|Category||TV Drama Series||
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-On The Set Of Justified
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Clans, Feuds & Apple Pie
|Year Of Production||2011|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (3)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,4||Directed By||
Raymond J. Barry
Brad William Henke
Joseph Lyle Taylor
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 (3254Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
I'm going to need an ambulance, and a coroner.
In the traditional western spotting the good guys and the bad guys was always easy. The hero had a white hat, was polite to the women and horses, and had a respectful demeanour. Clint Eastwood’s "man with no name" provided a gritty edge to our hero, and by the time Deadwood reached our TV screens the distinction between good guy and bad guy became distinctly blurry. The first season of Justified introduced Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), a no-nonsense lawman with a white cowboy hat and a distinctly black edge to his character. Lovers of Deadwood will instantly see the resemblance between the Givens character and Sheriff Seth Bullock. No one does the dead-eye stare better on TV than Olyphant, and although his character is less dark in Justified, the tormented personality is pretty much the same. You could imagine Marshal Givens being time shifted into 19th century Deadwood and embracing the lawless atmosphere with enthusiasm. In Justified however, Givens has to take the lawful route mostly – that is unless the violence is justified of course.
In season one’s finale Givens has the criminal Crowder family of Harlan County on the back foot and has an ally in his boyhood friend and newly converted ex-crim Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins). His clashes with a murderous drug cartel from Miami have also quietened down, but even living in backwoods Kentucky does not guarantee immunity from the settling of old scores. With the demise of the Crowder gang’s power base the new criminal king-pins of Harlan are the Bennetts, led by ruthless matriarch Mags Bennett (Margo Martindale), and her three boys Coover (Brad William Henke), Dickie (Jeremy Davies), and Chief of Police Doyle (Joseph Lyle Taylor). Dickie has a personal grudge against Givens after he was partially crippled by Givens as a boy during a baseball game. The incident was at Dickie’s instigation but nevertheless revenge is always close to his simple mind. Coover is the big doofus of the family who is constantly demeaned by Mags, whereas Doyle is the enforcer – especially in his guise as a police officer. Apart from Mags are a number of strong female leads including Raylan's ex-wife Winona (Natalie Zea), Crowder (Boyd’s brother) widow and Givens ex-girlfriend Ava (Joelle Carter), deputy U.S. Marshall Rachel Brooks (Erica Tazel), and lastly the fourteen-year-old girl Loretta McCreedy (Kaitlyn Dever). Loretta's circumstances become symbolic of the rotten core of Harlan County, where natural innocence is undermined with a layer of corruption, perversion, and evil just bubbling beneath the surface. Harlan County is a place where a sampling of "apple pie" might just result in biting a grub.
The Moonshine War (47:38)
Picking up from the Season One cliff-hanger Givens and Boyd Crowder are in hot pursuit of Miami thug Pilar which leads Givens back to Miami to settle the feud. Apart from this Givens has to deal with his criminal father Arlo (Raymond J. Barry) who is less of a father than a protagonist, and a runaway sex offender working for the criminal Bennett family who has an unhealthy interest in young Loretta.
The Life Inside (41:09 or 42.14 with recap)
Loretta’s father apparently goes missing so Mags Bennett offers to look after the young girl. Mags treats Loretta like the daughter she always wanted much to the dismay of the disappointing son Coover, Boyd Crowder has apparently now got honest employment in a mine but Raylan is unconvinced. A pregnant fugitive who has fallen into the hands of human traffickers diverts Raylan’s attentions however.
The I of the Storm (41:36)
Oxycontin peddler Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman) gets his shipment hijacked and is convinced that Boyd Crowder is involved. Dewey think impersonating Raylan Givens is a good idea and Boyd is made an offer by fellow mine employees.
For Blood or Money (39:31 or 40:42 with recap)
Raylan confront the Bennetts with the suspicion that they are up to something. The Givens and Bennett families have a history arising from Arlo’s criminal background, and Mags is convinced that Raylan is giving them a hard time as a consequence. Mags is indeed up to something – but it’s bigger than anyone imagines at this stage.
Cottonmouth (39:21 or 40:39 with recap)
Boyd’s conversion as a born-again and lawful Christian seems to have come adrift following influence from fellow mine workers. Dewey Crowe tips Raylan off about forged cheques which seem to lead back to the Bennetts.
Blaze of Glory (38:03 or 39:22 with recap)
Winona is a victim during a bank robbery but something taken from her possession has the potential to cause even more problems. Raylan takes it upon himself to help out his ex-wife by catching the bank robbers before anyone can find what they've stolen.
Save My Love (40:31 or 41:50 with recap)
Winona has an even bigger surprise for Raylan which makes the search for Winona’s stolen money even more urgent. The ex-born-again Boyd’s skills with explosives become more useful as his professional interests take a new direction.
The Spoil (41:00 or 42:25 with recap)
A local mine executive has plans to buy land on behalf of the company but finds spirited resistance from Mags Bennett. Is Mags fighting for the town’s benefit or for her own? Either way it’s up to Raylan to keep the executive out of harm’s way.
Brother's Keeper (42:55 or 44:01 with recap)
Loretta begins to have suspicions about the fate of her father and feels that Mags might know something about it. The Bennetts and the coal mine owners continue their disagreement on the benefits of the mine buying up Harlan County land.
Debts and Accounts (41:07 or 42:19 with recap)
Raylan is disillusioned with his career and personal life while ex-wife Winona seeks divorce from her current husband Gary (William Ragsdale). Boyd Crowder and the Bennetts come to an accommodation but Dickie Bennett takes exception.
Full Commitment (37:14 or 38:16 with recap)
The antagonistic relationship between Dickie and Boyd turns into full warfare when Boyd stakes a claim on the Bennett clan's marijuana business. Raylan meanwhile finds the attempted murder attempt on his life came from an unexpected source.
Reckoning (41:29 or 42:22 with recap)
Raylan is forced to make a deal with his father Arlo to help in catching Dickie Bennett.
Bloody Harlan (43:01 or 44:11 with recap)
The Bennetts and Crowders battle it out to a bloody conclusion and Loretta makes a stand far in advance of her tender years.
Justified – Season Two Blu-ray includes three discs containing the thirteen episodes with extras split across the three discs.
The video is presented in MPEG-4 AVC high definition 1080p 1.78:1 widescreen. The first thing that impresses is the outstanding outdoor scenes where you can almost smell the Kentucky woods under the filtered sunlight. Although not actually filmed in Kentucky the surroundings are familiar enough to be convincing, and the clarity and colours are outstanding. Interior scenes are a bit more mixed however with excellent detail being evident for well-lit scenes but a certain murkiness in dim light. A lot of time and effort went into designing and making the sets and these efforts are often on display, however as soon as the light levels drop the shadows bleed together and the detail vanishes. Digital noise is also evident during the darker scenes but it is by no means bad – just not up to the high standards shown elsewhere. Colour tones including facial features in close-up are accurate with external shots in particular beautifully presented. Green-screen effects are sometimes problematic and contrast significantly in colour tones with the live scenery shots. It is quite obvious when this is happening if you look, but the casual observer would probably not notice. Subtitles are accurate enough with two different styles available in English.
Despite these few issues this is a very good presentation overall but not at the highest level achievable with high definition.
A DTS Master Audio 5.1 audio track encoded at around 3,500 Kb/s is the only offering and it is a very good one. The ambience of backwoods Kentucky is captured well with constant and enveloping noises and sounds ranging from gates creaking, to winds blowing, to bottles clanking. When the action hots up the gunshots are loud and realistic, and the hand fighting tough and brutal. Dialogue is always clear and easy to understand even through the thick hillbilly accents. There is not a lot of bass with the only consistent presence being in the opening hip-hop style theme song Long Hard Times to Come performed by Gangstagrass. Explosions when they do happen are however well endowed with heavy but tight LFE sonics. The blue-grass style background music is not intrusive and complements the flow of the narrative. This is a very nice and satisfying audio presentation.
|Surround Channel Use|
Nicely animated menu with audio. As is common in box sets the episode selection and extras menu features listings that require the changing of discs. This never ceases to annoy me.
SD 1.78:1 video and Dolby Digital 192 Kb/s audio. Deleted scenes not available from the extras menus are included on episodes The Moonshine War, The Life Inside, For Blood or Money, Blaze of Glory, Brother's Keeper, Debts and Accounts, Bloody Harlan
On every episode apart from one and three is the option to play the episode with a brief introductory recap as would have been included when screened on TV. Omitting episode three is either an odd decision or a mistake.
1080p video and Dolby Digital 2.0 audio at 192 kb/s. Production designer Dave Blass tours the main shooting location at the Disney Ranch in California, and explains the design and construction of the sets.
1080p video and Dolby Digital 2.0 audio at 192 kb/s. Cast and crew interviews give background to the characters and events in season two along with selected excerpts from the episodes. Interesting to see and hear the actors out of character – especially Dickie Bennett (Jeremy Davies) who is polar apart from his on-screen persona. Series creator Graham Yost explains how motives and thoughts of the bad guys are just as important as the good guys in making a compelling story.
SD video and Dolby Digital 2.0 audio at 192 kb/s. The usual stuff-ups and giggles on set.
1080p video and Dolby Digital 2.0 audio at 192 kb/s. Elmore Leonard (who wrote the short story which inspired the series and subsequent novels) with producers Michael Dinner, Graham Yost, and Fred Golan speak in a "round" table setting. Leonard doesn't have much to say but the others and Yost in particular are interesting.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Justified Season 2 Blu-ray seems identical to the Region A offering.
The reason Justified is one of the best TV dramas in recent years lies in the strength of the script and the depth of the characters. The acting is universally strong with impeccable performances from Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins in particular. Olyphant is perfect in the role and is totally believable as the sardonic and steely lawman with a fractured past and a killer’s eye. Goggins portrays the different personifications of Crowder without descending into caricature, and somehow manages to capture the wildly swinging changes in character without losing viewer sympathy. Until quite late in the season the viewer is not quite sure which side of the road Crowder is traveling, and this enjoyable depth to the writing is a real treat. Jeremy Davies as the emotionally and physically crippled Dickie Crowder could have been a dim-witted but murderous clown, but in Justified his flaws are symbolic of most small time thugs – not as smart and flashy as their big city counterparts, but potentially just as dangerous.
The people of Harlan County might include the stereotypical hillbilly, racist, in-bred, and slightly backward characters we associate with backwoods America, but nevertheless they are never treated contemptuously or with ridicule. A polite “howdy” might hide an inbuilt suspicion or prejudice, but mostly they are just simple folks with simple pleasures and universal needs – albeit with a disturbing and unspoken dark side which taints their community. Some of them might sound “dumb” - but don’t let that fool you. Whilst the storytelling and dialogue is not quite at Deadwood standards, Justified comes mighty close in a unique Kentucky-like setting, which mixes the wild west with Deliverance, and where justice comes out of the barrel of a police issue Glock rather than a Colt .44.
The video quality is almost very good.
The audio quality is very good.
The extras are mediocre and would have benefited from some audio commentary on selected episodes.
|DVD||Denon DVD-3910 and Panasonic BD-35, using HDMI output|
|Display||Panasonic TH-58PZ850A. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).|
|Amplification||denon AVR-4311 pre-out to Elektra Theatron 7 channel amp|
|Speakers||B&W LCR600 centre and 603s3 mains, Niles in ceiling surrounds, SVS PC-Ultra Sub, Definitive Technology Supercube II Sub|