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Miami Vice - Season 1 Box Set (15)



Review: Jack Foley

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: The Vibe of Vice. Building The Perfect Vice. The Style of Vice. The Music of Vice. Miami After Vice. Regions 2/4.

EPISODES: Brother's Keeper, Heart of Darkness, Cool Runnin', The Hit List, Calderone's Demise, One-Eyed Jack, No Exit (a.k.a. Three-Eyed Turtle), The Great McCarthy, Glades, Give a Little Take a Little, Little Prince, The Milk Run, Golden Triangle, Golden Triangle, Smuggler's Blues, Rites of Passage, The Maze, Made for Each Other, The Home Invaders, Nobody Lives Forever, Evan, Lombard.

WHEN it first blasted its way onto our television screens in 1984, Miami Vice represented something of a landmark series.

With its designer violence, designer clothes and stubble and its killer soundtrack, it was to the Eighties what Starsky and Hutch represented to the Seventies, in that it defined the decade.

Time magazine hailed Miami Vice to be 'TV's hottest and hippest cop show', while countless awards were bestowed upon it, including Golden Globes.

And it made instant household names of of Don Johnson, Philip Michael Thomas and Edward James Olmos, who won an Emmy as the intense Lt Castillo.

Looking back, it does look a little dated, but the raw, gritty early episodes maintain a cinematic sensibility that is instantly the hallmark of series producer, Michael Mann.

Indeed, seasons one to three were the best of the lot, tackling the seedy underside of Miami in an unflinching, yet totally stylish manner, and confronting some pretty weighty issues into the bargain.

Series opener, Brother's Keeper, was a classic case in point, focusing on corruption within the police force, drug lords and murder, vice and double-crosses.

It begins as Miami police detective James 'Sonny' Crockett (Johnson) reluctantly teams up with New York newcomer Ricardo Tubbs (Thomas) to solve several murders connected to a mysterious Colombian drug lord, Orlando Calderone.

The episode was notable for introducing the detectives to each other for the first time, as well as featuring a memorable cameo from Jimmy Smits, as Crockett's ill-fated partner.

Future episodes built on the chemistry between the leads, while introducing Olmos as Castillo (replacing Gregory Sierra as Lt Lou Rodriguez), and the eccentric fellow detectives who populated future episodes (such as Switek, Zito, Gina and Trudy).

Classic episodes included No Exit, which featured a pre-Moonlighting Bruce Willis, The Milk Run, which saw Crockett trying to save two naive New Yorkers who were looking for one big score, and Smuggler's Blues, which featured Glenn Frey on-screen and on the soundtrack.

Yet season one boasted a pretty strong line-up throughout, whether in terms of guests (Dennis Farina, Dan Hedaya, John Turturro, etc), directors (Rob Cohel, Abel Ferrara), or musicians (Phil Collins, Eric Clapton and ZZ Top all featured on the score).

It's little wonder that given Hollywood's current appetite for reviving small screen classics, Miami Vice is to be given the big screen treatment (with Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx in the lead roles).

What's more, series creator, Michael Mann, will be writing and directing - making 2006 a very hot prospect for Miami Vice fans at the box office, and this box set a must-have for anyone in need of some 80s-laced nostalgia.

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