TITLE: NURSE JACKIE - SEASON ONE
DVD Release Date: February 23, 2010 (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 12
Running Time: approx. 333 minutes
Runtime of Special Features: approx. 30 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; Closed-captioned
Special Features: Commentaries (4); “All About Edie” featurette; “Unsung Heroes” featurette; “Prepping Nurse Jackie” featurette; Nurse Stories
Naughty nurses? No, it isn’t some kind of pornographic film, and actually they are naughty for the good of their patients. At least that is the way it is on Nurse Jackie, the Showtime series starring Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton. She is the “Dirty Harry” of the medical world, so to speak, the New York City emergency room nurse, who violates every single part of the code of ethics for a nurse in order to do her best at her job, whether that means forging organ donor cards, giving treatments that are not what the doctor ordered, flushing an ear down the toilet, or doing what is a big part of the premise of the series: obtaining prescription pharmaceuticals from the Eddie (Paul Schulze) pharmacist in the hospital whom she is sleeping with. Along at Nurse Jackie’s side is the nursing student Zoey (Merritt Weaver), who doesn’t seem to get along with Jackie too well, overbearing and “by the book” supervisor Gloria Akalitus (Anna Deavere Smith). There are also the two emergency room physicians, the extremely uncaring (but still Jackie’s friend) Dr. Elenor O’Hara (Eve Best) and the young know-it-all that Jackie hates, Dr. Fitch Cooper (Peter Facinelli). She has a home life too, with a husband (who is not the pharmacist) and two young girls.
Nurse Jackie is a lot like the series Weeds, in that it incorporates drama with black comedy and has storylines which continue throughout the series. The first season aired in 2009 and consisted of twelve episodes, all of which are presented on this three disc set.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
We get to know the cast in the “Pilot” episode, where Jackie is already up to no good by forging an organ donor card and flushing a patient’s ear down the toilet out of revenge. In “Sweet ‘n All,” Jackie replaces her artificial sweetener packages with her painkillers, which Akalitus finds--and uses. Eddie is about to be replaced with an automated machine in “Chicken Soup,” which makes Jackie worry about where she will get her pills. Zoey has to deal with one of her first tragedies in “School Nurse.”
Jackie takes matters in to her own hands when trying to assist a 10 year old girl who is taking car of her mother who has lupus in “Daffodil.” Blythe Danner and Judith Ivey guest star in “Tiny Bubbles,” where the hospital staff finds out about Dr. Cooper’s two mommies... and Blythe Danner plays one of them. Akalitus takes in an abandoned baby as her own in “Steak Knife.” Eddie finds out that Jackie has a daughter in “Pupil,” but will he also learn that she has a husband?
The parents of the abandoned baby come to reclaim their child in “Nosebleed,” but will Akalitus be ready to give it back? Jackie is having trouble removing her wedding ring at work in “Ring Finger,” which may cause a problem if Eddie sees that she has a wedding ring. Eddie is replaced at the hospital in “Pill O-Matix.” The season ends with “Health Care and Cinema,” where Eddie finally finds out the truth about Jackie’s family, and Jackie hits a new low with her prescription pill addiction.
The packaging is very simple, with the cover art having a green background and a picture of Jackie in her nurse uniform holding a syringe, with the tagline “life is full of little pricks.” There is another shot of Jackie on the back, along with several episode snapshots. Inside, there is a four panel digipak. The first panel contains a listing of all of the episodes, the second panel contains Disc 1, the third panel contains Discs 2 and 3, and the fourth panel has another picture of Jackie, similar to the one on the cover. The discs have simple artwork, with the Nurse Jackie logo and pills to indicate the disc number. In other words, Disc 1 has one pill on it, Disc 2 has two pills on it, and Disc 3 has three pills on it. This is very similar to what they did on a Weeds release, and it is very creative. Each disc contains four episodes.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The main menu has some music playing (not the theme song, though) with a picture of Jackie (the same one that is on the cover art) with pills falling in the background. The options on the main menu include Play All Episodes, Episode Selection, Set Up, and Special Features. Episode Selections has all of the episodes on one screen with a snapshot from the episode. Set Up allows you to change the audio (Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 are your options) or turn on subtitles. There are chapters placed appropriately throughout each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
I don’t see any issues of concern with the video or audio on any of the episodes, which is what can be expected for a series as new as this one. Of course, I imagine that the episodes probably look better on the Blu-ray release, but the DVDs are perfectly fine as well. The episodes are presented in widescreen, just as they aired on Showtime. Each episode has, as previously mentioned, audio options of Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0, and there are English and Spanish subtitles. The episodes are also closed-captioned.
The episodes on the set seem to be unedited (there is nothing missing as far as I can tell, and I watched them all on Showtime). Runtimes are as follows:
“Sweet ‘n All” (29:16)
“Chicken Soup” (27:49)
“School Nurse” (26:16)
“Tiny Bubbles” (29:22)
“Steak Knife” (28:15)
“Ring Finger” (29:08)
“Health Care and Cinema” (28:51)
There are a few special features on this set, beginning with the commentaries. They pretty much speak for themselves, but they are very interesting to listen to, unlike some of the commentaries for Weeds (sorry, some of those are just a snoozefest). Each episode with a commentary has the same commentators: Edie Falco, Linda Wallem, Liz Brixius, and Richie Jackson. The episodes with commentaries are as follows:
“Health Care and Cinema”
On Disc 1, “All About Edie” (5:26) talks all about Edie Falco, as it would suggest. Basically the development of the series began with the idea of creating a series around Edie Falco. There are several interviews with cast and crew members, including Falco herself, talking about Edie’s portrayal of Jackie in the series. “Unsung Heroes’ (5:32) continues the feature about Edie, talking about nurses (it gives a very positive portrayal of nurses) and responds to the way that the series itself actually portrays nurses.
Disc 2 has “Prepping Nurse Jackie” (10:55), which is more or less a continuation of the previous two special features, this time focusing on creating all of the ideas for the series. It gets a lot more technical than the “All About Edie” featurette and talks more about creating the whole cast for the series. “Nurse Stories” (6:14) is a series of five stories from real nurses talking about real stories of things that have happened in the emergency room, and these are some very bizarre stories that almost make some of the stories on the series seem normal.
It would be nice to see some more creative special features on future sets, but what we have here is generally pretty good.
This is yet another great series from Showtime and Lionsgate! I just happened to catch this series since it aired after Weeds on Showtime during the first season, and I ended up falling in love with it immediately. It is a lot like Weeds, but is also a lot like one of the David E. Kelley dramas (even though he is NOT involved in this series) with the perfect blend of dark comedy and serious drama. It will be interesting to see what direction this series goes in next, and the second season will be premiering in March on Showtime. It is just too bad that the end of this season didn’t have a really big cliffhanger (Jackie overdosing on the pills isn’t that big, because you know she’ll come out of it) to keep viewers more on the edge. Fans of dark comedies are certain to love this series.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 3.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 02/22/10
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