Cast: Finn Cole, Ellen Barkin, Scott Speedman
Release Date: April 25, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
Executive produced by Emmy® winner John Wells (Shameless, ER, The West Wing) and developed by Jonathan Lisco (Southland), this series, inspired by the critically acclaimed 2010 Australian movie by the same name, centers on 17-year-old “J” Cody, who moves in with his freewheeling relatives in their Southern California beach town after his mother dies of an overdose. Headed by boot-tough matriarch “Smurf” Cody and her right-hand Baz, who runs the business and calls the shots, the clan also consists of Pope, the oldest and most dangerous of the Cody boys; Craig, the tough and fearless middle son; and Deran, the troubled, suspicious “baby” of the family. It isn’t long before J is pulled into the family’s life of indulgence and excess, but he soon discovers that it’s all being funded by criminal activities. Joining the family comes with more danger and excitement than he might be ready to handle.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
‘Animal Kingdom’ introduces viewers to the Codys, a criminal family in a southern California beach town and living quite comfortably thanks to their lucrative family business of pulling heists. When his mother dies from an overdose, teenage Josh (or J) Cody (Finn Cole) has nowhere to turn but his grandmother (Ellen Barkin) who quickly welcomes him into her home with open arms. Before long, J starts to realize the family’s comfortably lifestyle is likely due to business activity well outside of legal, with his grandmother clearly running the show. Now unbeknownst to J, the family begins to keep a close eye on him in order to determine whether to wholly welcome him into the family business, or remove him from the family for their own safety. In this dangerous and loyalty based family you’re either entirely in, or your days are numbered.
The debut season of ‘Animal Kingdom’ introduces us to the Codys, a tight knit family of thieves operating and living in a southern California beach town, and the various issues and family matters they must tackle, while never failing to fit in plenty of dangerous fun in the process. The first season doesn’t waste any time forcing the viewer to endure a less than interesting exploration of each character, instead making the wise decision of opting for allowing us to get to know each individual more thoroughly throughout the course of events along with the lead character (and latest family member) J. It never shies away from the tension, backstabbing or truly unsettling situations and forms together into a well crafted and consistently intense series that’s only further complimented by a highly capable cast that includes Ellen Barkin, Scott Speedman, and more.
Fans of the series who have been watching since it first debuted last year will likely want to look into picking up a copy of ‘Animal Kingdom: The Complete First Season’ on Blu-ray to add to their collection. The Blu-ray release features fairly impressive high definition video presentations and quite aggressive lossless audio presentations on each of the season’s episodes, along with a few worthwhile bonus goodies such as ‘Deleted Scene(s)’ from the majority 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 altogether should make this Blu-ray collection a must own for many of the show’s fans.
Overall, the first season of ‘Animal Kingdom’ introduces us to some colorful and undeniably interesting characters via a tense, often unrelenting and constantly enthralling look into a loyal criminal family and the plethora of issues they are forced to tackle regularly, both relating to their dangerous profession and the various family troubles that seem to consistently arise. Fans who caught the first season during its initial run on TNT last summer and can see themselves revisiting the series will definitely want to consider picking up a copy of ‘Animal Kingdom: The Complete First Season’ on Blu-ray. The Blu-ray release of the debut season offers quite solid high definition video and audio presentations on each of the included episodes, along with some enjoyable extras and for the most part should satisfy the show’s diehard fans. For those who haven’t yet had the pleasure of ‘Animal Kingdom’ yet enjoy similarly themed shows based on more colorful individuals and filled with tension, backstabbing and plenty of high stakes excitement, I would strongly suggest giving the series a shot before the second season debuts on TNT at the end of May, it’s likely to prove well worth your time.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Animal Kingdom: 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 debut season’s episodes. The video presentations look pretty great as a whole and offer sharp, detailed and relatively clean presentations on every episode. Aside from a few mild (and brief) artifacts on occasion, it holds up quite well even during the darkly lit and/or fast paced sequences, never resulting in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, these are pretty fantastic high definition video presentations for the most part that should have no trouble pleasing the majority of the show’s fans.
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 notably aggressive audio presentations on each episode. They regularly take advantage of all five available channels in order to send nature activity and crowd chatter, along with the occasional bullets, debris, and more throughout the various speakers, along with a few explosive moments that allow the subwoofer a bit of a workout, and always making certain that any dialogue that might be occurring simultaneously remains clean and fully audible. Overall, these are wonderful 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtracks that compliment the show splendidly and shouldn’t disappoint in any way.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Animal Kingdom: The Complete First Season’ includes a few fun and informative extras that take you a bit deeper into the series. Included on the release are ‘Deleted Scene(s)’ for 8 of the season’s episodes (running approximately 28 minutes in length altogether), in addition to a collection of Behind the Scenes Featurettes that include interviews/comments with the cast and crew, behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘Family Comes First’ (running approximately 14 minutes), ‘Inside Animal Kingdom’ (approximately 2 minutes), ‘Animal Kingdom: Stunts’ (2 minutes), ‘Meet the Codys’ (2 minutes), ‘Getting into Character’ (2 minutes), and ‘Setting the Stage’ (2 minutes).