I think somewhat quietly the CBS Show Blue Bloods is rising up into Law and Order territory of a show that you are likely to find on television damn near any time of the day. It is kind of impressive, considering Blue Bloods isn't as saturated with content as the Dick Wolf show and it doesn't have a Miami or New Orleans branch like its network brethren CSI. Nevertheless, that it's in its sixth season on air is jaw dropping, and its fifth season (and 100th episode) is what I have in my grimy little hands.
Created by Sopranos alums Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess, Blue Bloods focuses on the Reagans, three generations of a New York family whose lives have been around or in the Police Department. From youngest to oldest, Jamie (Will Estes, The Dark Knight Rises) works the beat, Erin (Bridget Moynahan, John Wick) is an assistant district attorney, and Danny (Donnie Wahlberg, Zookeeper) is a Detective First Grade and the most visible face on the street. Their father Frank (Tom Selleck, Magnum P.I.) is the Police Commissioner, and Frank's father Henry (Len Cariou, Prisoners) was once Commissioner as well, now retired. The family has a Sunday dinner scene that serves as the show's tradition of sorts, and they talk shop, or whatever else goes on in their lives.
Blue Bloods is pretty much a procedural in the vein of Law and Order and CSI and doesn't aspire to be much more than that, so the episodes even in its fifth season are fairly standalone and whether you've seen a few episodes at your Dad's house or not, there's not a lot you need to be briefed on before diving into the material. Season Five tackles various contemporary topics like police violence on minorities and police who came out among their fellow cops. On the former at least, things are handled competently, without too much diving into nuance, though there are tidy bows tied onto the stories around the 35 minute mark or so of each episode. On the latter, things are handled a little less so. Not in the sense that the storytelling is clunky, but the ground has been trod on before and there is nothing new the show brings to the table in that regard.
The show's additional faces are those who work and/or life with the cops. Danny's partner Maria (Marisa Ramirez) holds her own in some scenes, and some of Wahlberg's in others, and Jamie's partner Edit (Vanessa Ray, Frances Ha) is a nice counterpart to Jamie in a ‘will they or won't they?' scenario viewers of most any other show will be familiar with. Toss in a familiar guest face or two, like Selleck's Mr. Baseball co-star Dennis Haysbert as a police chief gunned down in cold blood,
Sure, Blue Bloods has all of the components for decent episodic television, but it doesn't appear to aspire to be more than that. What it's known for in terms of storytelling and story decisions are the things that keep it from being even the slightest change of pace for fans of discerning television. It stands up on its own feet, chest and jaw jutting out proudly. When you ask for its opinion, it stammers and stutters. Its beauty is matched by its vapidness.
Sure, it would be fine if Blue Bloods was another take on Law and Order, but it doesn't seem to want to do that, so you're left with a procedural done in the CBS manner, flash over substance, and despite the familiar faces, does little with the resources at hand. It's a Big Bang Theory for the olds, who think the machinations of Law and Order are too fussy and complicated. But hey, they're in the Top 20 in terms of ratings since they started, so like Big Bang Theory they're doing something right.The Discs:
22 episodes, spread over six discs, all presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, all looking decent. The images are replicated nicely, though they tend to lose a bit of detail and sharpness when trying to pull of wide shots or panning. The show deals with a lot of blues, blacks and some drab winter grays of New York well, but looking at the production values of the show, you would expect a little better. It's watchable.Audio:
Dolby Digital 5.1 surround for all discs, and damned if the theme song doesn't get into your head early and often. But the show does have some nice dynamic range associated with it, and when gunfire is employed, directional effects and even channel panning are present and somewhat effective. Straightforward television fare, with little complaint or issue.Extras:
Deleted scenes appear on all discs, and on 16 of the show's 22 episodes. The scenes, while abundant (24, 32:24) do not add much to the show's enjoyment. There are two commentaries, one on Disc 4 that includes Estes and Ray and another on Disc 5 with Ray that also don't add much to the discussion. The balance of the extras are on Disc 6, with the exception of "A Celebration" (6:47), where the cast and crew share their thoughts on the 100th episode. Disc 6 has "The Story of the Reagans" (28:35), which looks at the themes and intent for Season Five, some of the favorite moments, guest stars and the like. An appearance by the cast on CBS' version of "The View", titled "The Talk", follows (5:07), along with a promotion on a Blue Bloods cookbook which apparently is a thing (7:42). The stunts of the show are examined (13:38), and separate looks at the Commissioner (6:28) and of the set of the Commissioner's Office (5:00) are included, along with a gag reel (5:15).Final Thoughts:
The magical syndication season of Blue Bloods is watchable to an extent with Wahlberg, Selleck et al, yet the material they work with is inconsistent, trending towards the derivative. Technically the discs look and sound okay, and from a bonus material perspective there are a few things here to look at. But like I said before, you're likely to find this show on your many television stations that you have, so take a look at it first before deciding to buy.