Sunday, June 5, 2016

Blu-ray/DVD Review: Re-Live The Seventies Music Scene Through "Vinyl: The Complete First Season"

On June 7th comes the arrival of the HBO series "VINYL: The Complete First Season" on Blu-ray and DVD. The new release contains all ten hour-long episodes on 4 discs. The series came from the minds of award winners Mick Jagger, Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter along with acclaimed author Rich Cohen. It revolves around the workings of a striving to survive record company lead by recovering drug addict Richie Finestra played brilliantly by Emmy-winner Bobby Cannavale.

The backdrop is New York in the late seventies and a boom of new music (punk, hip-hop, funk) is beginning to change the face of radio airwaves across the country. The story becomes a "what if" scenario as Finestra's record company, "American Century Records" are ready to sign a multi-million dollar deal with a German record label, before Finestra has an epiphany and pulls out of the deal at the last minute. Throughout the series, American Century Records comes into contact with doppelgangers of real artists like Alice Cooper, David Bowie and Led Zeppelin, while telling the fictional tale of running a record company in the seventies through times of excess and over-the-top situations. The writers have done quite a masterful job mixing together real-life historical music events with a fictional story, even if they truth was stretched just enough to make it seem real.

Each episode is lead by a different director with only Allen Coulter pulling double-duty directing three of the first season's ten episodes. The great thing is they all flow together perfectly as if one mind was behind the entire project. As Bobby Cannavale does an outstanding job in the lead role, supporting roles are what give each story it's substance. Ray Romano (Zak Yankovich) and Olivia Wilde (Devon Finestra) shine whenever they are on screen as each has their moment in the spotlight, lending emotion to what becomes an emotionless story of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. The series goes full circle with Richie Finestra receiving a shot of pride that brings new hope to a life that is crumbling all around him.

The new release features bonus commentary from the cast and creators along with "Inside The Episodes," which was featured on HBO following every episode. Fans of the show will fully enjoy the extended version of the "Making Vinyl: Recreating The 70's." To find out more about HBO's "Vinyl: Season One," please visit hbo.com/vinyl

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