Blu-ray: Highly Recommended
4 Stars out of 5
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List Price $49.45
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Release Date: October 23rd, 2018
Movie Release Year: 2004
Release Country: United States
COLLAPSE INFO -

Rescue Me: The Complete Series

Review Date December 21st, 2018 by
Overview -

The hit FX series Rescue Me is finally on Blu-ray as part of a big boxed set. Every episode from its seven-season run is here complete with a 1080p HD transfer and a DTS-HD MA 2.0 or 5.1 mix. Mill Creek also included most of the bonus features from the previous DVD releases, which all are quite impressive. In fact, this might be the best selection of bonus features on a tv series to date. The show follows Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary) and his co-firefighters in the center of the metropolis of New York a couple of years after the events of 9-11. It's a raw, emotional, and often darkly comic look at the lives of the firefighters both in and out of the firehouse. The show is made on a grand scale and it shows in each episode. There are some video and audio issues here and there, but the show speaks for itself and the giant treasure trove of bonus features are all excellent. Highly Recommended!

OVERALL
Highly Recommended
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  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs: 16 50GB Blu-ray Discs
    Video Resolution/Codec: 1080p MPEG-4 AVC
    Length:4022
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):1.78:1
    English Descriptive Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0,English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
    Subtitles/Captions: English
    Special Features: Interviews,
    Behind the Scenes,
    Commentaries,
    Gag Reels,
    Deleted Scenes,
    Featurettes,
    Movie Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
    Release Date: October 23rd, 2018

Story Review Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

4.5 Stars out of 5

Shortly after the attacks on September 11, 2001, Denis Leary and Peter Tolan came up for the idea for a show called Rescue Me, which followed the lives, both in and out of the firehouse, of New York City firefighters a couple of years after the tragic, world-changing event. Tolan and Leary had previously worked together before and are avid fans of firefighters, which eased their chemistry and work into this amazing show that lasted for seven years. Rescue Me certainly has a great deal of chaotic and scary scenarios where firefighters battle blazes throughout New York, but the real meat of the show is the personal lives of characters in and out of the firehouse.

The show starts out a few years after 9-11, where Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary) is still trying to put the pieces together from a terrorist attack that left his figurative brothers and his literal cousin dead. Tommy is one of the best firefighters out there, but his home life is a complete disaster -- his wife left with the kids, he's become a raging alcoholic and, oh yeah, he sees ghosts of the people he was unable to save.

At the fire house, home to 62 truck, Tommy's good friend Lou is the funny Lt. in charge, Franco is the heart throb, Sean is the idiot, and Mike is the new guy in the firehouse. Spending time with these guys can be quite funny throughout each episode as they weave their nightlife and work life through the cracks that can be the cause of the some hilarious jokes.

What makes Rescue Me so good as how raw and realistic it seems. There are so many shows today that try to be politically correct in the current climate, but Rescue Me is anything but politically correct. Each episode feels natural and gritty, along with a group of firefighters that have mutual respect for one another even though they give each other a hard time. Another great aspect of the series is that it can perfectly balance the comedy and super intense and emotional storylines together. One minute, you're laughing at the firehouse trying to go through sensitivity training, but then the alarm sounds off, and everyone turns on the serious cap and it's life or death in a big blaze, where it's not uncommon for a character to perish.

There are a few instances throughout the series where big emotional impacts don't pack a solid punch like they should, which seems to be the result of rushing certain storylines, but this series is often gut-wrenching when it delivers. Rescue Me is one of those rare shows where you grow to love every single character and bond with each other them. It's a tribute to firefighters everywhere in the most realistic way and I still can't get enough of it.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Rescue Me The Complete Series comes with 16 Blu-rays spread across two separate hard, blue, plastic cases. It's a bit flimsy on the inside where some of the disc holders can come loose very easily. There are no digital copies, inserts, or booklets either. The two cases are incased in a cardboard sleeve followed by another hard clear plastic sleeve with artwork.  

  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    16 50GB Blu-ray Discs
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    1080p MPEG-4 AVC
    Length:4022
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    1.78:1
    Audio Formats:
    English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0,English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
    Subtitles/Captions:
    English
    Special Features:
    Interviews,
    Behind the Scenes,
    Commentaries,
    Gag Reels,
    Deleted Scenes,
    Featurettes,
    Movie Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
    Release Date: October 23rd, 2018

Video Review

3.5 Stars out of 5

Rescue Me was actually one of the first TV shows released on Blu-ray back when the format first debuted -- it is a Sony Pictures Television co-production, after all -- but until this full series boxed set, you could only purchase Season 3 in high definition, which has been a shame, because this isn't a show you want to enjoy in SD.

Featuring a 1080p HD transfer in a 1.78:1 aspect ration, Mill Creek drops all 93 episodes plus bonus features onto 16 discs -- about seven episodes per discs -- which seems to hinder the video presentation at times.

The first two seasons, in particular, suffer from hot contrast, which can blowout background highlights. Noise is also an issue. Season 3 improves the contrast, but you'll see noise and grain, especially in darker scenes.

Still, despite its flaws, this Blu-ray set is an upgrade over the DVDs. Detail is sharp and vivid in well-lit interiors or sunny outdoor shots. Closeups reveal individual long hairs on Denis Leary's head and his facial stubble quite well here. The firefighter outfits will show the heavy textures and smoke burns and rips here and there, but never in dark sequences. Other aspects of New York and the firehouse never truly show the craftsmanship of the brick buildings or even the fire and embers in each show. It all looks rather flat with the exception of a few scenes here and there. Wide shots of the big metropolis never has any real depth either.

Colors are muted, for the most part too, with flashes of bright red fire trucks or orange and yellow bursts of fire. There is rarely any green or blues in the show, but is rather a muted or decaying look without a ton of primary colors. The skin tones look natural when well lit, but they can jump from warm to anemic from scene to scene. Black levels are never too deep or inky either. These elements do improve as we get further into the series, but it never fully corrects itself. I think if there was more room on the discs or even several more discs to spread the content out, I think some of the issues would have gone away.

Audio Review

3.5 Stars out of 5

While the packaging implies that Rescue Me offers 5.1 DTS-HD MA for every episode, the first two seasons actually feature a 2.0 DTS-HD MA stereo mix. This stereo mix is fine -- dialogue is clean and sound effects and music are full -- but when you step into Season 3 and here the 5.1 mixes, you realize the first two seasons lack both dynamic range and immersion. In truth, from Season 3 on, everything just sounds clearer, and the show's world becomes fuller.

In other words, the 2.0 tracks have some nice moments, but the 5.1 mixes are more vibrant and robust. The opening theme song has more bass and rear instruments and sounds grander. The fires have more room to breath where you'll hear embers cracking and more debris falling around you, along with a heavy low end at times. The sound designers also do a terrific job of recreating New York ambiance, from subways to car horns to people yelling. The dialogue in the 5.1 mix is better as well and comes across richer with the different tones of voices. There are no audio dropouts, pops, cracks, hiss, or shrills of any kind here.

Special Features

5 Stars out of 5

There are a ton of extras on almost every disc in this set. There are select audio commentaries from the cast and crew, behind the scenes, featurettes, deleted scenes, blooper reels, interviews, and more.

Season One

  • Audio Commentary - There are two episodes with commentary tracks on them being 'Guts' and 'Sanctuary'. Both Denis Leary and Peter Tolan are present on both and they provide a very fun and engaging trivia track packed with some behind the scene information, stories from real fire fighters, the script, location shooting, and fun set facts. Definitely worth listening to.
  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 8 Mins.) - There are nine deleted scenes in total.
  • Gag Reel (HD, 7 Mins.) - A montage of missed cues, flubbed lines, laughter, dancing, and issues with sets and props.
  • How It All Began (HD, 14 Mins.) - The cast and crew discuss how the series began, its origins, casting, the writing of the show and the overall tone. There is a ton of behind the scenes footage and interviews throughout.
  • Authenticity (HD, 18 Mins.) - More interviews from the cast and crew that focuses on real life stories from firefighters, and preparation for their roles, complete with behind the scenes footage.
  • The Cast (HD, 17 Mins.) - The cast and crew talk about the casting process for the show, which looks like it was a bit difficult for various reasons.
  • The Look (HD, 11 Mins.) - This set of interviews dives deep into the filming of the show, shooting on location in NY, the fast-paced schedule, and more.

Season Two

  • The Second Season (HD, 9 Mins.) - The cast and crew talk about the changes in season two, the more dramatic moments and tone and the new characters.
  • Shooting in New York (HD, 11 Mins.) - More footage and interviews of shooting live on the streets of New York City and the challenges that brings to the production.
  • The Kitchen (HD, 5 Mins.) - The actual kitchen in the firehouse serves a major setting in the series, and the cast and crew discuss how it serves as its own character.
  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 50 Mins.) - There are 37 deleted scenes in total, which are worth your time if you enjoy the show.
  • Gag Reel (HD, 7 Mins.) - A hilarious, vulgar montage of flubbed lines, missed cues, and laughter on set.
  • Writing For The Cast (HD, 10 Mins.) - More cast and crew interviews that discuss the actual writing process for the main characters.
  • Diane Farr Talks to the Real NYFD (HD, 22 Mins.) - A really cool bonus feature where actress Diane Farr talks with real-life NY firefighters about what the series gets wrong and right, being on the show, and more.
  • Real Life on the Set of Rescue Me (HD, 9 Mins.) - This is quite funny as the show's producers give a small, comical commentary on a montage of behind the scenes footage.

Season Three

  • Behind the Smoke (HD, 26 Mins.) - More interview with the cast and crew along with behind the scenes footage as they talk about the controversial scenes this season, Marissa Tomei coming aboard, and the tones, themes, and characters this season.
  • Location Tour (HD, 10 Mins.) - The location managers and production designer show and talk about the big locations used for the first three seasons of the show.
  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 21 Mins.) - There are 14 deleted scenes total here.
  • Rescue Me Comedy Short (HD, 14 Mins.) - A short comedic episode where the characters are on the front page of the newspaper and will be presented an award by the mayor, but will they make safely through the night at the firehouse.
  • Being Denis Leary (HD, 3 Mins.) - A comedy interview with the stand in of Denis Leary.
  • Going to the Gay Place (HD, 5 Mins.) - The writers and producers of the show made a fake screenplay where two of the main characters fall in love. Funny stuff.
  • The Bravest Traditions (HD, 6 Mins.) - Real life firefighters talk about some of the traditions and main staples of being a firefighter and living in the firehouse.
  • Fighting Fires in a Vertical City (HD, 6 Mins.) - More real life firefighters discuss putting out firefighters in skyscrapers and big buildings.
  • Behind the House (HD, 9 Mins.) - A montage of behind the scenes footage of the cast and crew having a good time on set.
  • Gag Reel (HD, 7 Mins.) - More flubbed lines, missed cues, and laughter on set.

Season Four

  • This is Not a Drill: Breaking Down Seven (HD, 12 Mins.) - The cast and crew talk about the episode titled 'Seven' which was based on a true life event. They talk about how they brought all the aspects to life on screen for the show.
  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 32 Mins.) - There are 22 deleted scenes in total here.
  • Welcome to the Set (HD, 4 Mins.) - Another montage of the cast and crew having fun on set, where they talk about what Denis Leary is like.
  • Walking Thru Fire: Stories of Rescue Me Season 4 (HD, 30 Mins.) - A ton of cast and crew interviews along with some behind the scenes footage that focuses on the new and old characters, storylines, controversial subjects, and themes of this season.
  • Burned Out: Gag Reel (HD, 4 Mins.) - More flubbed lines, missed cues, and laughter from the set.
  • Tools of the Trade (HD, 6 Mins.) - Niels Jorgensen goes through the firehouse and talks about all of the equipment.
  • Captains (HD, 9 Mins.) - The cast and crew talk about working with the various directors of the season.
  • Burning Embers: Gavin's Girls (HD, 11 Mins.) - More interviews with the cast and crew about the female characters in Tommy's life on the show.
  • Firehouse: Real Stories From America's Bravest (HD, 36 Mins.) - An in depth interview with real life firefighters that discuss the hazards of the job, their first fire, what they think about the police, and yearly calendars. A lot of fun.

Season Five

  • Walking Thru Fire: Surviving Season 5 (HD, 30 Mins.) - The cast and crew come back for some discussing about season 5, including bringing on Michael J. Fox, 9-11, themes, characters, and more.
  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 17 Mins.) - There are 11 deleted scenes total here.
  • Danny Does Danger (HD, 8 Mins.) - The head stunt guy talks about some of the biggest stunts this season along with some more cast and crew interviews about the subject.
  • Gag Reel (HD, 5 Mins.) - Even more fun on set with the cast and crew who flub lines, miss cues, and laugh on set.

Season Six

(All bonus features for seasons six and seven are featured on the Discs for season six.)

  • Kicking the Tires and Mopping Up: An Attempt to Remember Season 6 (HD, 26 Mins.) - The cast and crew talk about season 6 in detail, the major themes and story arcs, character changes and more, along with some behind the scenes footage cut in.
  • The Creator's Last Call (HD, 22 Mins.) - The creator of the show and Denis Leary sit down together and talk about the final season of the series. They talk about Leary's character, the fun they had, ending the show appropriately, and more.
  • Burning the Actors at Both Ends (HD, 7 Mins.) - A montage of flubbed lines, missed cues, and laughter from the set.
  • A Moment of Eloquence (HD, 3 Mins.) - The creator and Denis Leary intro a montage of the characters from the show talking about vulgar body parts.
  • Denis and Lenny: A Match Made in Hell (HD, 5 Mins.) - A funny gag reel of sorts where Denis Leary and Lenny Clark make fun of each other.

Final Thoughts

The Rescue Me Complete Series is definitely worth your time and money. This is an amazing tv show that makes you laugh, brings the tears, and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The acting and camera work are all excellent as well as the story in each season to bring you a little closer to each character, despite a couple of small tangents. As a Blu-ray, the a/v presentation is flawed at times, especially in the first two seasons, but everything improves from Season 3 onward and, regardless, it's an upgrade over the DVD. The massive amount of extras are all fun to watch and are quite informational and funny. Highly Recommended!

Sale Price $42.86
List Price $49.45
Buy Now
3rd Party $29.38
Usually ships in 24 hours
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  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    16 50GB Blu-ray Discs
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    1080p MPEG-4 AVC
    Length:4022
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    1.78:1
    Audio Formats:
    English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0,English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
    Subtitles/Captions:
    English
    Special Features:
    Interviews,
    Behind the Scenes,
    Commentaries,
    Gag Reels,
    Deleted Scenes,
    Featurettes,
    Movie Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
    Release Date: October 23rd, 2018