Dirt-Complete First Season (2007)

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Released 21-May-2008

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Celebrity Couple Gets Dirty
Featurette-Through A Lens, Darkly
Featurette-Tabloid Wars
Outtakes
Deleted Scenes
Trailer-Season Two
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 583:57
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (0:00)
Multi Disc Set (4)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Chris Long
Matthew Carnahan
Paris Barclay
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring None Given
Case ?
RPI ? Music Richard Ziegler


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Italian
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Frequent
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Courtney Cox took a bit of a career break to raise her kid following the demise of Friends. During her lax couple of years she stayed a prominent feature in the media, largely thanks to the pursuit of the paparazzi. It is rather poetic that her comeback series is one in which she stars as the editor of a trashy magazine, the likes of which kept the engine running on her career while she took a few years off (sorry to disappoint, Dirt is about those dirty tabloid monsters, not a television realisation of Alice in Chains seminal 1992 album of the same name).

    Cox stars as Lucy Spiller, gossip magazine editor extraordinaire. Spiller runs two different magazines, the glamorous Now and the lurid Dirt. Now is a long running and critically respected magazine that acts as the flagship of its publisher. Unfortunately it is also a big money loser that exists solely for the critical respect it provides its publisher. Dirt, on the other hand, is bottom of the barrel trash and we all know that it is trash that sells. The seedy pages of Dirt magazine essentially pay for the costly respect of Now. In this modern world Internet media has driven down the readership of both magazines, however, and in a desperate move to reinvigorate the market Spiller merges the two magazines into Dirt Now!. The gimmick pays off at first, but only enough to keep the magazine from the chopping block. Lucy desperately needs to make sure she's got a headline to sell each week, and so we dive into a series that thrives on celebrity excess in the media.

    Lucy's right hand man is her long time friend, photographer and delusional schizophrenic Don Konkey (Ian Hart). As Don navigates the streets and back doors of Hollywood looking for a killer photograph each week, Lucy is busy making shady deals with anyone who can sell her a story. In particular, she forms a deal with young indie film star Holt McLaren (Josh Stewart). In exchange for a steady stream of juicy gossip she's happy to make sure the press going his way will help him rise up the Hollywood ladder. The dilemma for Holt being that he is selling out his so-called friends, often with disastrous, and occasionally fatal, results to further his own career.

    Other regulars in the ensemble include the naive Willa McPherson (Alex Breckenridge), a young journalist who looks to Lucy Spiller as a mentor, sleazy publisher's representative Brent Barrow (Jeffrey Nordling) and falling star Julia Mallory (Laura Allen). Each regular typically has a plot line of their own on the go each episode.

    As far as a career revival goes for Courtney Cox, from a critical perspective at any rate (at the time of writing the show has just been cancelled following its second series), Dirt does an arguably decent job. Pretty much every storyline ties back to Cox's Spiller character, but this makes her more of a matriarch than a star. The glue rather than the shiny object that the glue is sticking together. Dirt is probably a bigger career boost for Ian Hart. Hart manages to turn his morbid, schizophrenic paparazzi character into easily the most likeable character in the show and manages to steal literally every moment that he is on screen for.

    Dirt is packed with seedy romance, tabloid excess, some rather black humour and decent drama. Despite this abundance of dark, seedy and sinister plots it always manages to seem a little too sugar-coated. The characters are all a little too nice to be reviled paparazzo, even when they hate each other. That doesn't make for bad viewing, but it does mean the show never quite satisfies the appetite for sleaze that it stirs up. It is a little like sinking your teeth into a ham sandwich when you're craving a juice, heart-stopping hamburger - enough to curb the appetite, but not the craving.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The show is presented in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is reasonably sharp, but suffers from a mild level of low-level noise throughout. There is a reasonable level of shadow detail in darker scenes.

    The colour in the video is rich and bold, particularly reds and browns which the palette accentuates. Skin tones look quite natural.

    No MPEG compression artefacts or film artefacts are noticeable in the transfer.

    English subtitles are present for the show. Based on the portion sampled they appear to be quite accurate and well timed.

    The show is presented on 4 RSDL discs with layer transitions between episodes.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    An English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384 Kbps) audio track, as well as French and Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192 Kbps) audio tracks are present for the show.

    The audio is fairly basic. There isn't a lot of flash or bang in the soundtrack, though there isn't really much need for it either.

    The dialogue is generally at a good level in the mix. A few scenes are a little hard to hear, though these are deliberately so (in nightclubs and such). The audio appears to be well timed to the video, but ADR looping is occasionally obvious.

    The show features a largely electronic score that suits the hip style that show aims for, but it is a pretty generic collage of music. The score does sit well in the mix though.

    There isn't much in the way of surround speaker usage in the soundtrack. Ambient effects are there, but are too quiet to really work up the exciting Hollywood atmosphere they should. The subwoofer fares a little better, particularly when there is call for a boom or deep bass in the score.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Celebrity Couple Gets Dirty Featurette (5:14)

    A short featurette about how the show was co-executive produced by real life couple Courtney Cox and David Arquette. The featurette also discusses the general genesis of the show, but it's pretty dull, self congratulatory stuff.

Through A Lens, Darkly Featurette (6:36)

    A featurette on the development of the show's scene stealing Don Konkey character. Interesting, but rarely does more than state what was obvious to anyone who has watched the show through.

Tabloid Wars Featurette (6:35)

    A brief feature about the similarities of how real paparazzi and gossip rags operate versus how those in the show operate. This is by far the most interesting of the three featurettes, but there isn't a lot of meat to it.

Gag Reel (1:37)

    A handful of bloopers, mostly actors fluffing lines and laughing. Nothing but filler.

Deleted Scenes (18:18)

    11 deleted scenes introduced and dissected by creator/writer/producer Matthew Carnahan. This is by far the meatiest and most interesting of the extras. Fans will be particularly pleased as most of the scenes further Ian Hart's Don Konkey character.

Season Two Preview (1:21)

    A short trailer advertising the show's second season, featuring an introduction from producer/writer Matthew Carnahan

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 edition features French and Italian language tracks not found on the Region 1 edition, otherwise the two versions are identical save for PAL/NTSC formatting differences. This comparison is a draw unless those language tracks matter to you.

Summary

    A reasonably entertaining, but fairly toothless, drama about the paparazzi and a Hollywood gossip rag. Dirt isn't going to reignite Courtney Cox's career, but it won't hurt it either.

    The video features a mild degree of low-level noise visible throughout the duration of the show, but is otherwise pretty good. The audio is a little bland, but conveys the content of the show adequately.

    The extras are fair, but mostly filler.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Friday, June 27, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
Display Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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