Saving Grace: Season One – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Holly Hunter certainly has had one of the more interesting careers an actress can have. A four-time Academy Award nominee, including a win for The Piano, she’s run the gamut of roles actress can take. Her latest: a hard-drinking, smoking, screwing detective in Saving Grace.

Grace (Hunter) lives life harder than most. An alcoholic who chain-smokes and curses like a sailor; she’s a mess of a human being but a markedly good detective. Then the divine comes into her life in the form of Earl (Leon Rippy), an angel who stops in periodically to remind her to get on the right path. As she strays from the path sporadically, Earl shows up to remind Grace about the path.

Saving Grace is interesting enough based on the angle of the sinner and the saint interacting, as well as the dialogue about the nature of faith, but what makes it terrific is that its also a solid show about cops investigating crime as well. In between the crimes comes solid scenes with Grace and Earl; their chemistry makes the show as good as it is.

Hunter is an Oscar winner in the past, and nominated for a Golden Globe for this series, and she dominates the small screen. Foul-mouthed and partially naked for large parts of the series, it’s definitely a different role for her and one she embraces whole-heartedly. This is a Hunter we haven’t seen before and she does it well enough that we tend to forget her voicing mother roles in animated films.

Set in Oklahoma City, the series is an intriguing one because of the nature of faith dynamic throughout the film. Not preaching a particular point, or espousing a particular faith, it’s fascinating to watch on a theological level (the implications of an angel sent from God to a sinner of epic proportion), but the continuing investigation of crime is fascinating in and of itself. Grace is a top notch detective with some rather interesting cases than run across the board; it makes for an interesting season.

Presented in a full screen format with a Dolby Digital format, the series has a quality a/v presentation. The film’s audio is in particular very good; the film’s opening credit music by Everlast pushes the system hard and the audio keeps it up throughout the DVD. The video is good but isn’t spectacular by any stretch of the imagination; it’s better than average but the audio is significantly better.

There are two commentary tracks, available on the first and last episodes of the first season.

The music video for the Everlast song “Saving Grace,” which doubles as the introduction music, is included

Behind the scenes with Holly Hunter is a quick look at Hunter and why she was attracted to the series. Shown before films as part of pre-show countdowns the 20 minutes before films in several major chains, including AMC and Regal, it’s a quick EPK piece. All the special features on this disc follow this motif, sans introduction titles reflecting the theatre chain. They’ve also been on TNT as well as bumpers between shows. On the Set is another one of these types of features. No Ordinary Angel ā€“ Behind the Scenes with Leon Rippy is a quick look at Earl, the angel and Grace’s guiding angel. Rhetta ā€“ Laura San Giacamo on her character is another quick piece on Rhetta, Grace’s CSI-inspired sidekick and best friend. Conversation with Executive Producer Gary Randall is a brief aside from Randall about what he liked about the process of making the film, and why he did it.

There’s a Saving Grace Overview that also follows this format, recapping nearly every bit of information provided in the aforementioned EPK stuff.

Saving Grace Season One Rapid Recap is a quick recap of the first series for those who don’t want to take the time to actually watch the entire series before the next season starts.

The series itself is terrific, but the first season release of Saving Grace doesn’t have anything of note to go with it that isn’t formerly a part of an Electronic Press Kit. Buy it for the show, skip the extras.

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20th Century Fox presents Saving Grace. Starring Holly Hunter, Leon Rippy, Kenneth Johnson, Bailey Chase, Laura San Giacamo, Bokeem Woodbine, Lorraine Toussaint. Running time: 576 minutes. Not Rated. Released on DVD: July 15, 2008. Available at Amazon.com.

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