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Miami Vice - Season One



DVD Release Date: February 8, 2005 (Universal Home Video)
MSRP: $59.98
Number of Discs: 3 (double-sided)
Number of Episodes: 21 one-hour episodes and the two-hour pilot
Running Time: 1105 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: 28 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: Closed Captioned; English and Spanish subtitles
Special Features: "The Vibe of Vice," "Building the Perfect Vice," "The Style of Vice," "The Music of Vice," and "Miami After Vice" featurettes

Miami Vice - Season One DVD Menu Miami Vice - Season One Bonus Menu


The music... the fashion... Ferraris... the druglords... Miami... the 1980s... mix all of these together and you certainly don't have The Golden Girls. But what you DO have is one of (well let's not even say "one of") the greatest cop dramas of all time... Miami Vice! And what can be greater than the greatest cop drama of all time? Season One of Miami Vice, of course! And now, it is available on DVD for the first time ever, unedited, untampered, and better than ever before! Even fans that have been watching the program since it premiered in 1984 will be amazed by how great this set is!

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

The two hour pilot episode of the show ("Brother's Keeper") lays out the fundamentals of the show. A Colombian druglord named Calderone involved in a string of murders, and among those that are murdered are Sonny Crockett's (a Miami police detective) partner and Ricardo Tubbs' (a fairly inexperienced New York police officer) brother. Tubbs decides to make his way down to Miami, creating a past that is not his own, in order to seek revenge, where he meets Crockett and they somehow (against each other's will) become partners. We even get a chance to see Jimmy Smits play Crockett's partner in this episode--well, until he is blown up a few minutes later at least. The Calderone plot even develops later in the first season with the two part episode, "The Hit List" and "Calderone's Demise." Ed O'Neill plays a federal agent that may or may not be on the "good side" in "Heart of Darkness." Glenn Frey (a musician who may have perhaps been made famous BY Miami Vice) appears in "Smuggler's Blues," an episode in which Crockett and Tubbs go undercover as drug smugglers so that they can find a cop that has been murdering drug smugglers. Crockett and Tubbs must protect a witness from the Mafia in "Lombard." Also, Bruce Willis (pre-Moonlighting) makes a guest appearance in "No Exit." Other guests include Dennis Farina and sitcom veterans Mark Linn-Baker and William Russ.


The packaging for this set is quite simple. Universal has done some very creative packaging for certain sets in the past, but this is not one of them. Basically, a four panel digipak is inside of a cardboard box. The digipak does not slide out from the sides of the digipak, but rather slides out from either the top or the bottom. The colors are all in a (fitting) metallic blue. The box art also contains many different pictures of Crockett and Tubbs. Inside the digipak, the first panel is like a folder and holds a guide that promotes other Universal releases, and the other three panels hold the discs. On the back of the panels, there is a listing of which episode is on which disc, with just titles and no descriptions. What I don't like about this set though is the fact that it doesn't include an episode booklet. A special pocket was created to hold the promotional booklet, but an episode booklet with detailed information couldn't also be contained in there?

There are three discs in the set, all of which are double-sided. Side A on Disc 1 contains the two hour "Brother's Keeper" episode, as well as another regular episode and all of the special features. Every other side on every other disc contains exactly four episodes and nothing more. Disc 1/Side A also contains some Universal trailers at the beginning of the DVD. It is possible to hit the Menu button to skip past these trailers, but they are still somewhat annoying to wait on.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menu screens on this set are very nicely done, although the menus are a bit slow to navigate through. Once you get past the stuff like the Universal logo, FBI warnings, trailers, and material such like that, the Miami Vice theme song starts playing with various snapshots from the show, and a few seconds later, the main menu comes up. The theme song continues to play while you are making a selection. However, I did have one issue with the theme song on the main menu... the music was entirely too loud! I have never seen a DVD set with this problem, but I actually had to turn down the volume on the television just for the main menu. The options on the main menu include Play All (self explanatory), Episode Index, and Languages. Episode Index takes you to a menu where you can choose from the episodes that are on that side of that disc. Once you select an episode from that menu, you go to yet another menu that gives you details about the episode, such as the original air date and a brief synopsis. You can choose to play the episode, go to a scene selection menu, or to go to the Languages menu. In all cases, the Languages menu allows you to turn on subtitles, either in English or in Spanish. In addition to these menus, Disc 1/Side A has a Bonus Materials option.

Video and Audio Quality:

The video quality on this set is about what one would come to expect from a show that is over 20 years old. Well, actually, it is a little bit better than one might expect, but it could probably be a bit better. There aren't really any specific problems other than the fact that the video looks a bit dated. The audio quality, however, is a totally different story--it is EXCELLENT! Never before have I seen a TV-on-DVD set with audio quality as great as this set. In fact, I don't even remember hearing audio this good on Miami Vice when it has aired on television in the past. Considering the musical nature of the show, great audio quality is something that I had hoped would be included, but I was not expecting quality this great. For the detail-oriented, the audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound... for those that are detail-challenged, that means that the audio quality is unbeatable.

Each episode on the set is full-length or about 48 minutes. That means that each episode has an additional four minutes worth of material that will likely never be shown on television ever again! Chapter breaks do not really seem to be consistently broken down on each episode throughout the set, but in general, a chapter stop can be expected where commercial breaks were placed originally.

Unlike almost any other show imaginable, music plays a major role in Miami Vice--after all, it is explained that part of the inspiration for Miami Vice came from an idea that former NBC president Brandon Tartikoff had for "MTV Cops." There were some worries that the original music may have been replaced with cheap replacements (think back to reruns of WKRP in Cincinnati on Nick at Nite), but fortunately, these worries seem to be just that--worries. In fact, it appears that Universal has stuck to their word, and actually kept all of the original music in the show! You can hear music from Tina Turner, Eric Clapton, Foreigner, Elvis, U2, and others in the first season! Plus, you can hear covers of songs from Bob Marley and Lionel Richie as well! And what Miami Vice can forget the scene at the end of "Brother's Keeper" with Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" playing in the background? Music is an extremely important element in Miami Vice, and all of the music in the show on this DVD set is kept intact, and fits in with the scene as it was intended to be.

Special Features:

As far as special features are concerned, this set has some fairly decent ones. The only thing that is really missing is episode commentaries. The first special feature is a 5 minute "The Vibe of Vice" featurette. This contains new interviews and interview archives from the past to discuss how Miami Vice was created and what was necessary for a Miami Vice episode from one week to the next, such as the color schemes and such.

An 8 minute "Building the Perfect Vice" featurette goes back to the very early steps of creation, and why the show was created. The featurette also discusses the controversies that were involved with the show, such as the fact that the city of Miami was not pleased with the show, battles over who would play Crockett and Tubbs. It also discussed how the program evolved throughout the first season, to a much more serious program.

There is also a 6 minute "The Style of Vice," which, as the title suggests, discusses the style of Miami Vice and how it affected the way that men dressed in the 1980s. The costume designer from the first season gives an interview in this featurette. It talks about how Don Johnson initially fought against the fashion that Crockett wears in the show, believing that Crockett should wear clothing such as jeans and sweaters instead (in Miami?), but eventually that the fashion was fitting for the character and setting.

There is a 7 minute "The Music of Vice" featurette, which, as it sounds like it would, talks about the music that was used in Miami Vice. Of course, music played an important role in the show, perhaps a role that was just as important as the characters in the show. This featurette also contains interviews with Jan Hammer (the creative musical genius behind Miami Vice) and Anthony Yerkovich.

The final special feature is very unusual. It is a 2 minute featurette titled "Miami After Vice," and basically what this does is visits Miami in 2005 (or probably more likely 2004) to talk about what Miami is like now, complete with interviews from actual people that live in Miami. It seemed at first to be a promotion for the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau... and sure enough, at the end, their website was mentioned. It takes quite a bit of creativity to slip an advertisement into special features in that way.

Final Comments:

This DVD is a must-own for any Miami Vice diehard fan! And, at under $60, you may even consider picking up this set if you have never even seen the show. Considering that this is set is put together better than almost any other DVD set I have ever seen, it is definitely worth the cost.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 4/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 02/01/2005.

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