Starring Peter Kraus, Donald Sutherland, William Baldwin
Created By Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim
Desperate Housewives and Sex and the City have spurred interest in telling these kinds of high concept dramas lately and the idea of bringing in the old style family based soap opera into the fold to an almost spoofing degree sounds like a good time. Right?
Peter Kraus (Six Feet Under) plays, Nick George, an attorney whose father was the business manager for a large family of eclectic individuals all having more money than they know what to do with. When George’s father passes away the patriarch of the family, Tripp Darling (Donald Sutherland) comes to Peter and convinces him to take his father’s old job.
Taking care of the Darling family isn’t just a full time job for Nick; it eats away at his entire life. He has to balance putting out family fires, whether it be bailing a member out of prison or helping another hide his transsexual affair, with his life with his wife. The family and their situations are parodies of various tabloid families from the Hilton’s to well, the Hiltons. While it is modern as far as some of the situations the style of the show is very retro in its pacing and presentation. It’s actually even more than retro; this show has shades of old school shows like a Payton Place, to the extreme of course.
Like every modern series this show also has a mythology, a running story arc that is supposed to keep viewers coming back each week. In the opening episode George discovers that his father’s death may not have been an accident and in fact the family may be connected to his father’s death. George gets determined to discover the truth so he sticks around working for the family and looking for clues that might help him discover the truth.
Dirty Sexy Money features some humorous moments and Peter Kraus is a great actor that can do a lot with just a little in a script. Unfortunately that’s not enough to keep me coming back though. Often this show just feels extremely forced and winking at the audience. It’s like “look at us we’re being extreme and crazy!” None of the edgy content feels like it flows naturally into the show. It feels more like snippets from a tabloid magazine that have been pushed into spoof territory. The ensemble cast is also really huge and the episodes feel like they zoom back and forth among the members to much sometimes, not giving each story enough time to be than a quick joke.
Again there are some funny moments and along with Peter Kraus Donald Sutherland is a great actor and an interesting pick for a series like this one. Subsequent seasons could find the show getting more interesting but this season is not the one to pull in fans that wouldn’t normally watch a nighttime drama of this kind. On the other hand if you’re into old shows like Payton Place and some 80’s installments such as Falcon Crest then this show is definitely worth a look.
The image quality is quite strong here with great colors and very little artifacting. There is some typical TV grain present throughout but detail is good and black levels are stable and within acceptable limits. It looks good for a modern TV to DVD presentation.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation here is solid but unimpressive. Score, sound effects, and dialogue are all well mixed and clean making the show easy to watch. There’s little in the way of dynamic range and immersive-ness though.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The three disc set comes packaged in a slim box with basic artwork with the title in huge font, which should make it easy to see on store shelves even if it’s not innovative in any way.
There’s a cast commentary available that’s a fun listen even if it’s not that deep. Everyone seems to be having a good time working on this series, which is the most that you’ll get from the commentary. Fans should check it out at least once though. There’s a brief “Making Dirty Sexy Money” featurette that covers the show via cast and crew interviews. It feels pretty marketing-ish and is built on some sound bites. There’s also some deleted scenes and even a tour of the mansion, which is kind of fun.
None of the bonus features are very deep or enhancing of the viewing experience but there’s still more here than on most TV to DVD releases.
Overall (Not an Average) 6.5/10
The Season 6/10
The Video 8/10
The Audio 7/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 5/10
Overall (Not an Average) 6.5/10