Vegas is a 1 season television show starring acting power houses Dennis Quaid (The Day After Tomorrow) and Michael Chiklis (The Shield.) Taking place in 1960's Vegas, Vegas centers around a rancher named Ralph Lamb (Dennis Quaid.) Ralph wants nothing but a normal life, wanting to live in peace and tend to his herd of cattle... But when the Mayor's daughter is murdered, he calls on Ralph, whom was an old army friend, to help him figure out who did it. Lamb reluctantly takes the case and inadvertently becomes the new Sheriff. Along with his brother Jack (Jason O'Mara) and son, Dixon (Taylor Handley), the Lamb family attempt to clean up Vegas one case at a time with their own form of "justice."
Organized crime is rampant and starting to get hot in Vegas, Vincent Savino (Michael Chiklis), a former mob head from Chicago, is brought to Vegas to head the primary casino called The Savoy. Vincent has come to Las Vegas to capitalize on the cities corruption and expand his empire, but continually ends up on the wrong end of the new Sheriff. Their rivalry is the backbone of the show, and watching Savino and Lamb interact were some of the best moments in the series.
Vegas' formula is a simple one, each episode the Lamb family has a new case of the week that is 99% of the time wrapped up by the end (occasionally assisted by District Attorney Katherine O'Connell, played by Carrie-Anne Moss.) At the same time in the crime world, Savino is the one advancing the plot with the growing problems going on at The Savoy. The main subplots include a nice romance between Jack and the Savoy's count room manager, Mia (Sarah Jones), which brings some controversy with all parties involved, especially Mia's hot headed father, Johnny, a higher up in the mob. The other main subplot is Dixon being a ladies man, hooking up with various women throughout the series, and his relationships with Violet, a rising movie starlet, and Yvonne, The Lamb's secretary.
While I did enjoy Vegas, It had it's fair share of problems, the main problem being it seemed it was not able to grasp it's footing of what it wanted to be. Vegas should have stuck with what worked, it's problem was each episode was a case of the week with a little bit of plot sprinkled in. Vegas excelled when it was a dark, gritty drama in it's few episodes that it was portrayed that way. Too many silly subplots and case of the weeks, instead of focusing on the meat of the series completely bogged it down.
At the half way point, I had my rating at a 2.5 out of 5, Nothing but episodic episodes that did nothing to advance the plot. Vegas had no hook, there really was not anything to the story that would usually keep me clicking next episode. Fortunately the last 3rd of the series picked up substantially, finally progressing the plot of the season. We get some great development for ALL of the characters, we find out more about Ralph's late wife, which was a welcomed touch that added a much needed layer to our (at that point) one note main character. Best of all, Dixon, who up to that point was portrayed as a bumbling ladies man, finally gets to shine when he is rocked by the revelation behind his mothers death.
Dennis Quaid performs quite well in the lead role, he has decent chemistry with the other cast members, especially O'Mara and Handley. Michael Chiklis, who I cannot praise enough for his performance in "The Shield", delivers some great work here as Vincent Savino, it's not surprising that an actor of his caliber delivers one of the better performances in the show. Carrie-Anne Moss, despite receiving 3rd billing, is completely underutilized in her role, and gets considerably less screen time than anyone else in the main cast. She rarely gets more than a couple small scenes in a given episode, thankfully she gets more prominent in the final 3rd of the season and does some solid work. Jason O'Mara & Taylor Handley both do good jobs with their roles as Ralph's family, and both had great chemistry with the other cast members of the show. Lastly, Some of my favorite character actors make some appearances as well, among them are Jonathan Banks (Mike from Breaking Bad) playing Vincent's boss who is losing faith in his abilities to run the Savoy, and Michael Ironside (V: The series, Starship Troopers etc.), who plays a man named Porter looking to move in on Savino's business, and is connected to Ralph's past.
For newcomers that are looking to check Vegas out, do not be deterred from watching just because it's been cancelled... the story wraps itself up nicely in a manner that is satisfying and where it can be considered a mini series. Despite my criticisms, I do wish it had gotten a season 2. Vegas, while good, had a chance to be great if it had been given the time to develop.
- A cast of characters that surprisingly get you invested in their lives.
- The final 3rd of the series makes me wish there was a season 2.
- The setting of Vegas is beautiful to see.
- The cast.
- A lot of wasted potential.
- TONS of cheesy dialogue.
- Lack of focus, way too many of the stories are episodic.
The quality of the DVDs were great, Vegas looks absolutely beautiful, with the colors always popping on the screen, this was my favorite part of the show, so I cannot praise the visuals enough!
We get 2 audio options, 1. English 5.1 and 2. English Stereo. I viewed this set on the 5.1 and it was fantastic. The music was perfectly toned and never drowned out the scenes taking place and I never found myself not being able to hear the dialogue. No apparent distortions stuck out in any way.
Vegas is quite solid in the terms of extra's spread across the 5 discs.
Disc 1 - Audio commentary on "Pilot" with Dennis Quaid, Michael Chiklis, Arthur Sarkissian, Cathy Konrad and Greg Walker.
-Building Vegas: 16 minute feature focusing on the background of the show, the characters, and the story.
Disc 2: Audio commentary on "Bad Seeds" with Dennis Quaid, Michael Chiklis, Greg Walker and Carey Meyer
- A deleted Scene
- Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas: 6 minutes, Showing and talking about the construction of the sets of The Savoy, the Sheriff station and Fremont street
Disc 3: Deleted Scenes
Disc 4: Audio Commentary on "The Third Man" with Taylor Handley, Jason O'Mara, Vanessa Reisen, Greg Walker, and Jim Adler.
- On Set with Savino: 9 minutes, it shows Michael Chiklis' working on the show and talking about his experience directing episode 16.
- Besame Mucho: 3 and a half minutes in length, An intro by Michael Chiklis, followed by the full legth song Besame Mucho sang by the actors, instead of the short clip you get in the show.
- Deleted Scenes
- Cattleman vs The Mob: The Story of Vegas: A half hour documentary on the show, that shows the process of how it's made. A good watch if you enjoy the show.
- Gag Reel: Only 5 minutes, nothing too funny, a one time watch.
- Profile of the Real Ralph Lamb: An 11 minute feature focusing on the real life Ralph, who is a consultant on the show.
- Vegas: Behind the Music: Another 11 minute feature hosted by Jason O'Mara and David Carbonara, who is the composer on the show.
- Deleted Scenes
Vegas is an overall good show, that had the potential to be one of the best on tv. It had interesting characters, and an amazing setting and visuals. It just needed to tighten it's focus a bit in the writing area. Sadly, a little too late. RECOMMENDED.