I'm a fan of Dog the Bounty Hunter. I'd hope folks knew this by now, particularly if they've read my review and thoughts on fourth season and Crime is on the Run specials. And whether you think he's some crazy looking guy who's married to a woman with huge boobs or perhaps you think he's some tweaked old man who might utter a racial epithet now and again, the passion he has in his work and his remarkable sympathy for those he catches is something to watch.
Duane "Dog" Chapman is a former convict from Texas who later moved to Hawaii and formed a bail bonds company. He runs the company with his wife Beth and his children Duane Lee, Leland and Lyssa. The first two children are with his first wife and Lyssa was with his third (Beth is his fifth). There are various members of the extended family who help the Chapmans out here and there, and the Dog the Bounty Hunter show on the A&E Channel shows them as they capture fugitives in Hawaii, though some chases are done in the Chapmans' home state of Colorado.
The boxed set of eight discs in this package (titled "The Wild Ride Megaset") includes the origins of Dog's success with the show, and shows the highlights and lowlights of a pursuit. During a particularly hairy moment in the first season, the Chapmans are in a particularly hairy part of Hawaii (yes, there ARE places like that even in Hawaii) when Leland is accidentally maced and everyone has to leave the area without their fugitive. That's possibly the most eventful chase of the bunch, there are others were there is some friction from the locals but nothing to be alarmed about. Through the seasons, some members of the team come and go (Tim, Dog's "spiritual" brother left and returned later in the show, along with Dog's nephew, Justin. Duane Lee and Lyssa eventually appear during the series and are given increased screen time), and there are memorable moments in the lives of the family.
One of the more emotional points is when Dog finally marries Beth after years of living together in 2006, but tragedy struck Dog when on the day before the wedding, one of his daughters was killed in a car crash in Alaska. The decision to proceed with the wedding was surprising, but the dichotomy of the joy and the sorrow made for excellent viewing nonetheless. This was part of an eventful year for the Chapmans, as months later Federal agents arrested Dog, Leland and Tim and took them to prison. This was resulting from a charge from the Mexican government, who arrested the trio while they were pursuing Andrew Luster, heir to the Max Factor throne (the charges were later dropped).
For as wild and enthusiastic as Dog's hunts may be, it's the afterwards that presents the most intriguing moments for the show. The gang gets amped up for the chase and getting their man (or in many cases, woman), but on the rides to prison, Dog and Beth get a chance to connect with the fugitive. They find out what's been going on in their lives that got them to that point, or even giving them the next steps that they need to take to get on a path to redemption and have others accept them for who they want to be. Silly as that may sound, it sounds like something we all could use a bit of from time to time.
Overall, The Wild Ride Megaset paints a great picture of where Dog was and what he's become over the years that the show has evolved. One would presume that the show's coming into the home stretch and fading away, but Dog and Beth will still be in paradise, hunting down those who flee their fate whatever it may be.
Full frame video. As most of the discs are older editions that are just reprinted for this boxed set, I wasn't expecting anything new and that's what I got. The action is almost exclusively with handheld cameras and cameramen leaping out of SUVs and filming things (along with lipstick cameras in said SUVs when transporting a fugitive to jail), so it's a natural image without edge enhancement or haloing to speak of.
Two-channel Dolby stereo on all the discs. There is no mosquito noise and hissing on any of the discs and the songs from little-known artists and musical acts sound clear and all the upfront action makes for perfectly acceptable listening.
As these are repackaged discs, extras are on some discs, and not so much on others. Disc One includes "Take This Job...Catch 'Em If You Can" (45:07), an A&E show that examined bounty hunters, paparazzi and other chase-related jobs and showed Dog in his pre-Dog days doing his job. Six on-air promos follow (6:36), along with biographies on the cast starting out. Disc Three has a stills gallery, and Disc Four has additional footage (11:45). Disc Seven has 'featurettes' that are extra footage more than anything (14:45), along with some stills from the Chapman wedding. Disc Eight has "Year of the Dog" (43:42), a separate episode of the show that examined the Chapmans' 2006 year, along with five additional scenes (4:24).
I personally grate when I hear a reality personality use any form of hyperbole, but The Wild Ride Megaset does sum up what's been an incredible journey for the Chapmans and for their business. One can hope they get a little 'boring' in the future so that they can enjoy life in the islands a little more. Definitely worth checking out if you've peripherally heard of Dog or his exploits.