Cast: Bobby Cannavale, Paul Ben-Victor, Ray Romano
Release Date: Now Available On Blu-ray & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
Richie Finestra (Bobby Cannavale, two-time Emmy® winner, Boardwalk Empire), the founder and president of American Century Records, is trying to save his company and soul without destroying everyone in his path. With his passion for music and discovering talent gone by the wayside, and American Century on the precipice of being sold, he has a life-altering event that reignites his love of music, but severely damages his personal life.
Welcome to the world of HBO’s new series ‘Vinyl’ which takes us back to the sex and drug fueled insanity of the music scene in the 1970’s. The show focuses primarily on Richie Finestra (Cannavale) and his business American Century records as well as his business partners and the individuals whose lives intercede with his own. Making a rash decision not to sell the business as planned Richie throws his entire world and that of everyone around him into chaos as he struggles to try and rebuild his empire, keep his addictions in check and deal with potential trouble from the law as well as resulting problems at home as his wife Devon (Wilde) who is approaching her breaking point. Unfortunately for Richie this seems to be just another hectic day in his life as a record man.
From the creative forces of Terence Winter and Martin Scorsese (TV’s Boardwalk Empire) along with Rich Cohen and music legend Mick Jagger comes the latest impressive achievement in the continuing catalog of downright fantastic television HBO has to offer and featuring a collection of talented individuals comprising the cast including Bobby Cannavale, Paul Ben-Victor, James Jagger, Jack Quaid, J.C. MacKenzie, Ato Essandoh, along with Ray Romano, Juno Temple and Olivia Wilde among others, nearly all of whom deliver solid, if not outstanding performances in each of their respective roles.
‘Vinyl’ is an intense, beautiful, often painful and wildly adrenaline fueled recreation of the music scene during the early 1970’s that captures everything from the stars, the clothes, vehicles and surroundings to what one can only imagine being the outrageous lifestyle of many folks that was a daily occurrence at the time, especially within the record business. Never glorifying the excessive drug use or other questionable activity and never shadowing it by any means either, while providing wonderful varying perspectives from different individuals who each have their own drastically different ways of dealing with their current predicaments and positions in life. This phenomenal series provides a riveting trip back in time fueled by one of the best soundtracks you’re likely to find anywhere. Any fan of quality television, the era or classic rock in general probably won’t want to miss out on this one.
Fans of this fantastic series who caught the debut season when it initially aired on HBO will quite likely want to be sure to pick up a copy of ‘Vinyl: The Complete First Season’ on Blu-ray to add to their collections. The Blu-ray release once again delivers the fantastic high definition video and audio presentations we’ve come to expect from HBO Home Entertainment, as well as a number of notable extras including Audio Commentary tracks on a number of episodes and more (more detailed information regarding the bonus content can be found in the special features section of the technical specification coverage below) which is certain to make this one a definite must own for many fans of the series, and possibly even for a number of folks who have yet to have to check it out, yet are quite confident it’s right up their alley.
Overall, those who are already fans of this wonderful series will want to grab a copy of ‘Vinyl: The Complete First Season’ on Blu-ray to add to your collection and the outstanding video and audio presentations shouldn’t disappoint in the slightest. Those who haven’t yet had the pleasure of ‘Vinyl’ and appreciate outstanding television in general, as well as the era itself and the music that defined it will definitely want to give this one a whirl when you have the opportunity to do so, chances are you’ll absolutely love it.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Vinyl: The Complete First Season’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the show’s original 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio on all of the first season’s episodes. The video presentations look fantastic, delivering a consistently sharp, detailed and glorious presentation on every episode and complimented by a more than substantial bitrate thanks to HBO’s wise decision to spread the ten-episode season throughout four discs in order to provide optimal quality, which it definitely delivers with these nearly flawless presentations that suffer no notable faults of any kind. Overall, these are gorgeous high definition video presentations that should easily thrill fans and newcomers to the series alike.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on all 10 Season One episodes. These lossless multichannel soundtracks provide crisp, clean and often quite aggressive audio presentations for every episode in the debut season. Frequently utilizing all five available channels in order to fully immerse the viewer within the amazing music so often on display, along with plenty of crowd activity, some action effects and more, while never causing any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted, let alone rendered inaudible. Overall, these are fantastic 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtracks that contribute a great deal to the overall experience of the series and can’t possibly disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Vinyl: The Complete First Season’ includes some solid extras. Included on the release are ‘Audio Commentary’ tracks on three episodes with Terence Winter, Bobby Cannavale, Olivia Wilde and more. We are also treated to a behind the scenes look at numerous aspects of bringing the series to life in ‘Making Vinyl: Recreating the 70’s (running approximately 19 minutes in length), in addition to brief ‘Vinyl: Inside the Episode’ Featurettes for 9 of the 10 episodes in the season (running approximately 2-3 minutes each, with the exception of the Featurette for the final episode which runs approximately 6 minutes).