Wednesday, June 4, 2014

TV on DVD Review: Graceland - Season 1

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Mike and Paul and their story
Cons: The rest of the characters just blend together
The Bottom Line:
Well developed leads
Rest of cast blends together
Could be much better

"In a Place Like Graceland, Sometimes It's Good to Keep Secrets."

For years, I've been following every new show that the USA Network produced (a habit I might be ending as none of their new shows appeal to me).  That means last summer, I tuned in to season 1 of Graceland.  Despite being from Jeff Eastin, creator of White Collar, a show I love, I knew going into it that this would be a darker show.  Despite it being a year later, I'm still trying to decide what I think of Graceland, and the tone of the show wasn't my problem with it.

Mike Warren (Aaron Tveit) is thrilled to be graduating from his class at the FBI academy.  A career minded recruit, he is ready to get out in the field and prove himself so he can start climbing the ranks.  However, his first assignment surprises him.  He is sent to Graceland, a house on the beach in Los Angeles that houses under cover members of the FBI, DEA, and Boarder Patrol.  These people live and sometimes work together on various cases.

Soon after arriving, however, Mike learns the reason for being assigned there.  He is to investigate Paul Briggs (Daniel Sunjata), the other FBI agent in the house who might be working both sides.  The trouble is that Paul is the unofficial leader everyone looks up to who saves Mike's life not too long after he arrives.  With conflicting loyalties and clues that something isn't quite right, can Mike figure out the truth?

The show definitely has an interesting premise going for it, and the more I watched, the more I found myself drawn into the complex relationship between Mike and Paul.  These two characters work, and when they were on screen, I really found myself caring about what happened.

The problem comes with the other residence of the house.  I never could keep them straight - names, who they worked for, their story lines (if they had one), anything.  Often, the scenes with just them bored me.  So much time was obviously spent on Mike and Paul that the rest of the cast was underserved.

Now I won't fault the actors at all.  They did the best they could with the limited material they were given.  The performances from everyone were great.  I just didn't find myself caring.

I was certainly intrigued by Mike and Paul's story enough to keep tuning in each week.  However, I'm trying to decide if I will be back for season 2.  I have a feeling I will give it a couple of episodes, but if it doesn't grab me right away, I may tune out.  The reason for my thinking?  The USA Network's show In Plain Sight.  I wasn't crazy about the first season, but I kept watching.  I decided to give season 2 just a couple of weeks, but by the time I was done with them, I was hooked and went on to enjoy the rest of the five year run.

This set collects all 12 episodes from the first season on three discs with full surround and wide screen picture.  The extras include deleted scenes, a gag reel, and a featurette on the real Graceland since this series is inspired by a true story.

If you haven't seen the show, my advice is to try to find some way to watch it for free before you plunk down your money for season 1.  If you enjoy Graceland, you'll enjoy this set.  Otherwise, you can just move on to another show you will like.

Season 1 Episodes:
1. Pilot
2. Guadalajara Dog
3. Heat Run
4. Pizza Box
5. O-Mouth
6. Hair of the Dog
7. Goodbye High
8. Bag Man
9. Smoke Alarm
10. King's Castle
11. Happy Endings
12. Pawn


  1. I started to watch this, but then changed my mind since I already watch so many series.

    1. I watch plenty in the summer, mainly from the USA Network, although that will be changing soon, I have a feeling. Still, I may drop this one depending on how the first couple of episodes back go.