Nip/Tuck-The Complete Third Season (2005)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
|Year Of Production||2005|
|Running Time||692:24 (Case: 690)|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (5)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
Michael M. Robin
Warner Home Video
James S. Levine
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Many people will say that Ryan Murphy’s controversial TV show Nip/Tuck ran off the rails in its third season. An outlandish drama that follows the interactions of two plastic surgeons, Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh) and Christian Troy (Julian McMahon), and Sean’s estranged family, in particular his neurotic wife Julia (Joely Richardson) and troubled son Matt (John Hensley) – Nip/Tuck is hardly the bedrock of prime time TV viewing, particularly with its graphic surgery scenes. But over two seasons it has become a major hit, with the “Carver” storyline from season two still unresolved, a major falling out between Sean and Christian, the practice going under, and the necessity of new blood in the form of charismatic plastic surgeon Quentin Costa (Bruno Campos). Everything seemed to be going well, until Nip/Tuck was unceremoniously yanked off-air by Channel 9 halfway through this third season without any explanation.
This is certainly not the first TV series to be treated this way by Channel 9, or indeed many other commercial TV stations. With programming dictated by audience ratings in order to justify advertising revenue, any flag in ratings is liable to result in a show getting thrown on the trash heap. Thankfully this also applies to home improvement shows and reality TV programs as well. That said, audience ratings are also dictated by who has a polling box installed in their TV that tells the ratings pollsters when the TV is on and what the people are watching (presuming they are watching at all and not just using the TV as ambient background noise). Cult shows like Nip/Tuck have a very specific audience – generally people in a position similar to this reviewer who are bored of commercial programming, detest reality television in all its forms, and are fans of shows like Deadwood and The Sopranos.
Nip/Tuck was a massive ratings winner at the 10:30pm / 11:30pm variable timeslot precisely because that’s when people like me tended to get home and want something to unwind with – preferably something that was a little more hardcore than your average show that could pique the interest of your desensitised brain after a 16 hour work day. Shift this show to an 8:30pm or 9:30pm timeslot and chances are the core audience hasn’t walked through the door yet, let alone thought about whether they’re going to watch a little TV. Add to that the fact that Season 5 has just run its course in the US, and the proliferation of high definition TV downloads via various BitTorrent internet sites, particularly amongst the audience sector for shows like this, and it’s no wonder that Channel 9 pulled the plug – they’d already been beaten to the punch by an audience that doesn’t like to wait while the prime time slot gets determined in a Melbourne boardroom.
To be fair, the third season of Nip/Tuck does drag a little there in the opening of its second act – if you look at the season as one big movie, the second act kicks in around Frankenlaura, which is definitely the weakest and worst written episode of the season (if not the series), and the show drags its heels until approaching the end of the second act with Madison Berg. While some were not as impressed with the season finale as they hoped to be, this reviewer felt that there was ample pay-off, but nothing like the astoundingly brilliant conclusion of the second season (overall the best season so far). Those of you who could not wait for the Australian commercial stations to sort out their licensing deals for the fourth season will already know that that season maintains a consistently high quality and brings the show back to its teeth-kicking roots. I cannot wait to get my hands on a review copy and sorely hope that the distributors will see the light and just release seasons four and five straight to DVD in the next 12 months so that we can keep up with our US counterparts.
The following is a breakdown of how these episodes are distributed across the 6 discs of season three. For those of you who need a complete episode summary, you can get one at TV.com.
While certainly not as good as the first two seasons, fans would be wise not to write this show off as some critics did, particularly in light of the upcoming seasons. There is a lull point that spans a few episodes, and this would have been difficult for a commercial audience watching this one episode a week to overcome, but watching it on DVD it does not seem so bad. In short, if the TV stations won’t show you what you want, it’s time to make your own programming schedule. DVD is still, as it ever was, an ideal way of doing so, and definitely the best way to experience this grisly third season.
With my VPL-HS60 out of action (again) and not expected back until mid-August, I was forced to watch this on my considerably smaller 42” Sony E-Series rear-projection TV (which will hopefully hold out until my projector comes back), so bear that in mind when reading this review. I have changed my review gear below accordingly.
Shot and broadcast in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, on what appears to be 16mm film (which would explain the graininess, but this is unconfirmed), this transfer is a little better than the previous two seasons, but there is still room for improvement.
The low-level noise issue that plagued the earlier seasons is still somewhat present here, particularly in the background on things like white walls or even blue skies. In this respect, the TV broadcasts were much clearer.
The grain of previous seasons is still present and visible, though not horrific, and the colour saturation is still extensive, giving this show an almost “larger than life” yet “gritty” feel. I know that’s a contradiction, but that’s how it looks.
Other than the low-level noise issue, the transfer has no glaring MPEG artefacts or film to video transfer artefacts. There’s a bit of dirt here and there, but no serious film artefacts.
Subtitles are available in English, English for the Hearing Impaired. They are white with a black border, clear and easy to read, and follow the dialogue fairly closely.
The tops of these discs claim that they are all dual layer discs. I spotted no dual layer pauses. Chances are, the dual layer changeovers fall between the episodes.
As with the previous two seasons, the audio is limited to an English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo soundtrack.
This can be a little bass heavy, but otherwise there is nothing wrong with it. There is a clear central stereo mix when you sit at the correct point back from the speakers, and I noticed no audio sync faults.
Sadly, no rear surrounds or subwoofer use unless you use your amplifier to redirect the bass.
|Surround Channel Use|
The main menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. They show several of the more brutal cuts from the series, a few graphic surgeries, but nothing that really gives anything away. The main menus have a 2.0 Dolby Stereo audio track, but it’s much thinner than that mastered for the episodes. The other menus are static and silent.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The R1 release also contains two featurettes:
Looks like R1 wins again.
Nip/Tuck season three was given an unceremonious and unwarranted dumping by commercial TV when relocation back to a later timeslot would have been a more appropriate solution. That doesn’t mean that you fans have to miss out, though. While imperfect, this DVD set will give you the chance to see what you missed out on (unless you got frustrated and downloaded it all like so many others I know).
|DVD||Sony DVPNS92, using HDMI output|
|Display||Sony KF42E200 42" Bravia 3LCD Rear-Projection TV. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Jensen QX70 Centre Front, Jensen QX45 Left Front & Right Front, Jensen QX20 Left Rear & Right Rear, Jensen QX-90 Dual 10" 250 Watt Subwoofer|