Lethal Weapon or Rubber Bullets? Season One on DVD

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Lethal Weapon Season One on Blu-ray

When LETHAL WEAPON hit the big screen starring DANNY GLOVER and MEL GIBSON, the SHANE BLACK screenplay was a hit with audiences. Roger Murtaugh was an aging cop looking forward to keeping a low profile in the last few years of his career before collecting his pension. He gets saddled with a new partner, Martin Riggs, who is suicidal after the loss of his wife, and takes death-risk chances that endanger not just himself but Murtaugh. It worked.

The television series on FOX starring DAMON WAYANS and CLAYNE CRAWFORD as Murtaugh and Riggs, respectively, and tries to follow in the footsteps of the movie...but misses on some beats. Riggs is a Texan who transfers to Los Angeles after his wife is killed through a favor of his politically-connected father-in-law. Murtaugh is returning to work after having recovered from a heart attack, wearing a wristband that monitors his heart rate and blood pressure, serving as a signal device to the audience when things are getting stressful until he abandons it within the first few episodes.

Riggs chooses to live in a camper trailer on a stretch of public beach, and looks a bit like a ruffled Tom Selleck, while Murtaugh dresses sharply and lives in a well-to-do suburban neighborhood with his district attorney wife Trish (KEESHA SHARP). In ways the show is partly a remake of THE ODD COUPLE as the two take on a series of high-profile cases that result in a growing tab of damages the city government begins to track.

Like the film, the series doesn't scrimp on explosions or on the humor. The pair's boss, Brooks Avery (KEVIN RAHM), constantly berates them for the collateral damage they leave behind; but when Riggs calls in for backup, you can tell that he thinks it must be World War III if it's bad enough for Riggs to make the request, and he sends in the whole force.

One thing that I do like about the series is that each episode is almost entirely self-contained. Yes, there are subplots that wind their way through the episodes, but these are largely to fill in backstory and push character growth. You don't have to have seen the episode prior to enjoy the episode you're watching.

On the other hand, that same character growth happens a tad too quickly. It would feel more natural if there was more of the antagonism of the film for at least half the first season, but very quickly Riggs becomes part of the Murtaugh family and earns Murtaugh's sympathy. And when the characters are on their own, Riggs' life is MAGNUM PI, while Murtaugh is more of a slightly-more-serious MY WIFE AND KIDS.

Overall, LETHAL WEAPON is a good series. Not a great series, but a good one--the kind where you can come across an episode while flipping channels and feel comfortable staying there to watch it, but not so much that you'll set your DVR a week in advance.

Disc One Disc Two Disc Three
01. Pilot
02. Surf N Turn
03. Best Buds
04. There Goes the Neighborhood
05. Spilt Milk
06. Ties That Bind
Bonus: Extended Pilot (Uncensored)
07. Fashion Police
08. Can I Get A Witness
09. Jingle Bell Glock
10. Homebodies
11. Lawmen
12. Brotherly Love
13. The Seal is Broken
14. The Murtaugh File
15. As Good As It Getz
16. Unnecessary Roughness
17. A Problem Like Maria
18. Commencement
Bonus:
- Reloading Lethal Weapon
- Gag Reel

 

Grade: 
3.5 / 5.0