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DVD Review: The Glades – The Complete First Season

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With so many different kinds of television dramas out there, it’s hard to pick one particular show to watch, what with there being Dexters, Houses, CSIs, and Burn Notices aplenty. It’s doubly hard for writers and producers to choose a single series to mold their new and “original” programming from. So, what do you do in order to combat that vast of a variety when you’re attempting to start up an entirely new series from scratch? Well, you can do like the makers of The Glades did and mash the aforementioned shows together into one big wonder.

The Glades stars Australian actor Matt Passmore, who comes off as a sort of Michael C. Hall/Jason Bateman hybrid, with just a hint of Mark Wahlberg thrown in for good measure. Matt plays Jim Longworth, a detective working for the Department of Law Enforcement in sunny Florida, following his discharge from the Chicago PD — wherein his former superior shot him in the ass. The reason for his previous employer’s disdain is simple: Jim’s a pill. Obnoxious, cheeky, and about as emblematic of a Floridian as you can possibly imagine, Det. Longworth is the show’s slightly-eccentric protagonist.

And yet, those pitiful qualities are what make him so appealing to the increasing number of viewers that have grown quite fond of The Glades since it first hit airwaves in the middle of 2010. Frankly, I’m on the fence with this show. It’s certainly not the best series ever developed; actually, it’s downright laughable at times — and for all the wrong reasons (e.g. far-fetched dialogue, implausible stories, or the inexplicable fact that officers mysterious appear out of nowhere as soon as Jim solves his case of the week). But, still — like many his many other extroverted television counterparts — those qualities wind up being eccentrically-addictive.

In the pilot episode, Jim’s partner and superior is one Mike Ogletree, as played by the great John Carroll Lynch. Personally, I found their relationship to be delightful. And then they had to go and change it all with the second episode (although the alteration is plot-related to the premiere) by adding Carlos Gómez as his medical examiner-cum-partner, Carlos (original), who manages to combine every sidekick from the television universe — ethnic or otherwise — into one clichéd whole; and Michelle Hurd as his uptight supervisor, who single-handedly works as a conduit for every stereotypical police chief character ever. Jordan Wall plays Gómez’s unpaid intern, who adds that necessary geek part to the show.

For our hero’s personal life, we have Kiele Sanchez as a nurse — complete with an estranged felon of a husband in prison (which serves as subplot fodder when needed) — and her 12-year-old son, played by Uriah Shelton. The relationship between Passmore and Sanchez is one that the writers seem very reluctant about developing, really. They display a certain amount of sexual tension, but they’re hesitant to act on it — mostly because of the estranged husband factor (although the original pilot landed the couple in bed almost immediately). It works, but it’s a bit annoying, prompting viewers to shout out “Just copulate already!”

Throughout The Glades: The Complete First Season, Mr. Passmore and his decidedly nonconformist character solve one baffling murder case after another. It’s a pretty standard show for the most part; one that faithful followers can expect a regular routine from. Those of you who prefer a little more diversity in their series will probably want to look elsewhere.

The folks at Fox Home Entertainment bring us all fourteen episodes of The Glades: The Complete First Season in a four-disc set in a 1.78:1 anamorphic ratio. The quality here is quite exceptional (for SD-DVD, that is — where’s the Blu-ray, guys?), and the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack suffices admirably. Optional English (SDH) and Spanish subtitles are included. Several special features are included with this release, including a couple of audio commentaries, a number of deleted scenes, a pair of featurettes, a gag reel, and the usual amount of trailers/promos for other titles you tend to find on home video releases these days.

As I had stated before, the writing in The Glades is a bit messy at times — and some viewers might be averse to tuning in for another episode after their first encounter with this surprise A&E hit (the show debuted with a record-breaking 3.6 million viewers, making it the cable network’s highest-rated series ever). Overall, though, The Glades is rather fun for more jaded individuals such as myself — in a guilty-pleasure kind of way.

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.