HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Power: The Complete First Season
HTS Overall Score:84
I remember when the more mature oriented TV shows were a rarity. Back a decade ago we had a few of them, but mostly watered down or politically correct TV shows that thrived on reaching as many people as possible, down to little Timmy. Shows like “True Blood” and the like came about like a whirlwind and soon enough, everyone wanted a piece of the pie. Now we have so much market saturation that the adult oriented cable television is no longer a rarity or a treat anymore. There are as many shows as there are genres out there and they all want your dollar. “Power” comes in as one of the big three channel’s (HBO, Showtime, Starz) newest entries. Produced by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, it takes gangsters to the street once more, with thugs, businessmen and cops (both clean and corrupt) intertwining into a fascinating expose on the wonderful world of violence and drugs.
James “Ghost” St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick) has got it all. He has a beautiful wife, Tasha (Naturi Naughton), wonderful kids, a brand new Nightclub called “Truth”….oh, and he’s the biggest drug kingpin in all of New York City. He’s raking money in hand over fist from his drugs, and a decent amount from the fledgling nightclub, but there is trouble in Paradise. He’s been hit by an unknown group of people and his relationship with his own boss, Felipe Lobos (Enrique Murciano) is at risk. A slick businessman on the outside and a brutal gangster on the inside, James struggles with the implications of living the rest of his life like this. Truth offers him a way out of this life, a way to enter into the legit business world and live without fear of thugs and gangsters every day of his life. His partner, Tommy (Joseph Sikora) is more than happy to just be king of the street and can’t see why he would ever want to leave the life. Even his wife is happy with the riches that are pouring in from the illicit trade, and has no desire to move back to the simpler life.
Sparks start to fly as Angela (Lela Loren), an old flame of James, moves back to town after being away almost 20 years. James has never gotten over the love of his childhood and her coming back only further complicates the situation. His wife notices the signs and soon enough James is having to fight for whether Angela or his wife are really the true loves of his life. It doesn’t help that Angela is also a government agent, back in town to put the screws to Felipe Lobos and out to turn whoever his supplier into an agent to take down the crime lord. Battling ex-girlfriends, partners, maniacal gang leaders and thugs along with a plethora of other obstacles, James must use and dodge that which drives the entire show, Power.
“Power” the newest in the big market that is adult drama, one that has become so full that “Power” hovers on the verge of being lost in the rest of the forest. It’s a good drama, but it’s also one that treads upon a well-worn path. The plots and premise for the show is one that has been done by many other movies and tv shows, ones which go back decades. The street life, especially the gangster street life is a staple in our society, as organized crime hold sway on the nation just as much today as it did yesterday. Pieces of the show actually remind of “Goodfellas”, and (don’t shoot me on this one) even “Romeo Must Die”. The little bit with James and Tommy disagreeing over going legit really reminded me of Delroy Lindo vs. Isiah Washington’s character, where Isiah just wanted to “be king of the streets”. Still, the show is edgy and keeps a well-crafted set of characters to keep us interested. The show doesn’t run for a whole lot the first season, which gives it just enough of a pull to keep you wanting more, and not too much rope so that it stuffs in way too much filler.
Omari Hardwick is what really pulls this show ahead of all the others. The rest of the actors are very solid, and the direction good, but Omari gives life to James and makes you really care for the man, even if you loathe him at the same time. There is a sense of sadness and a desperation to be out of the life of crime that is a perfect foil for the brutal gangster who does what must be done in order to maintain his rank on the pecking order. He wants out, but the obstacles thrown his way forces him to make hard decisions, some of the right, some of them wrong. These decisions are a product of his time in the life and they are a part of him, no matter how desperately he wants out. The temptation of Angela is both a blessing and a hindrance to the show, as the romantic entanglements become a bit tepid and cliché ridden, but her character drives one of the major plot points forward and gives James the leverage and motivation he needs to break out of the mold he’s in.
Not Rated by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=45010[/img]“Power” comes to Blu-ray with a stellar looking 1.78:1 AVC encoded transfer. There’s a few minor issues that crop up once in a while, mainly some black crush and light video noise, but overall the image is just about perfect. As with most TV shows in the modern age, “Power” is shot on Digital Cameras and the seedy under belly of New York has never looked crisper and cleaner. Ever shot and episode looks pristine, with deep inky blacks (occasionally a bit TOO inky) and rich color saturated light scenes. There’s a light green tinge to the filming for the majority of the episodes, but during a few sequences, mainly restaurants and meeting places, a light golden hue peaks through. Neither color grading is anything short of spectacular, with amazing detail and wonderful colors. If it wasn’t for the very minor black crush and the occasional flicker of noise, this would be pure perfection.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=45018[/img]While the video was just THIS shy of perfect, Starz’s 5.1 TrueHD track is pretty much perfect. It’s a powerhouse track that doesn’t pull any punches and soars on eagles wings when pulsing with the hip hop soundtrack that remains the highlight of the track. Deep, throbbing waves of bass ripple throughout and dominate the sound field, all the while alternating with excellent vocal representation and amazing dynamic range. Gunshots carry a powerful wallop and the club beats always manage to pound away with a ferocious intensity that is riveting and exhilarating. Dialog is always clean and clear and the channel separation is superb. I’m always ecstatic when TV shows can rival movies for excellence of technical features and “Power” shows that it can run with the big dogs. A well done track that really deserves all the praise I’m heaping on it.
• The New Series
• The Style of "Power"
• NYC -- The City of "Power"
• The Music of Power
As a member of one of the top 3 stations for adult dramas, “Power” isn’t the crème de la crème in comparison to others like “Game of Thrones”, “Dexter” or even “Spartacus”, but it falls right in the middle as a well done drama that may not break new ground, but never fails to entertain. The characterization is excellent and “50 Cent” is much more reigned in than he usually is with his DTV movies. Production levels are excellent and I ended up binge watching the first season in a matter of day, which tells you how engrossing it can get. The audio and video presentations are SUPERB, with the only real weak link in the chain being the anemic extras. Definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of brutal gangster flicks like “Goodfellas” and the like.
Starring: Omari Hardwick, Naturi Naughton, Lela Loren
Created by: Courtney Kemp Agboh
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Runtime: 460 Minutes
DVD Release Date: May 12th 2015
Buy Power: The Complete First Season On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Check it out
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