The Deuce appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The shows offered strong visuals.
Sharpness always seemed solid, as the episodes provided tight, concise imagery. Virtually no softness materialized during the programs.
The episodes lacked jaggies or shimmering, and edge haloes also remained absent. Print flaws never became a distraction.
Despite the period setting, Deuce went with a standard orange and teal palette. These choices lacked creativity but the Blu-rays reproduced the tones in an appropriate manner.
Blacks came across as dark and tight, while low-light shots demonstrated nice clarity and smoothness. At all times, the episodes boasted appealing picture quality.
Though not as impressive, the series’ DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio worked fine for the material. The episodes generally concentrated on dialogue and general street/bar atmosphere, so don’t expect a whole lot.
Still, the soundscapes boasted reasonable involvement and created a good impression of the various locations. A few louder scenes added some pep, though the overall scope remained environmental in general.
Audio quality seemed appealing, with dialogue that became concise and distinctive. Music worked well, as these elements showed nice range and punch.
As noted, effects didn’t show great involvement, but those parts of the mix satisfied, with information that appeared accurate and full. The shows didn’t bring us great audio, but they sounded good.
Two episodes come with audio commentaries:
“Pilot”: co-creator/executive producer David Simon, executive producer Nina Kostroff and actor Maggie Gyllenhaal.
“My Name Is Ruby”: co-creator/executive producer George Pelecanos, director Michelle MacLaren and actor James Franco.
Across these, we hear about story/character elements, sets, locations and recreating 1970s New York, cast and performances, period details, music, and the work of the directors.
In a superficial manner, the two tracks touch on the same subjects, but the “Pilot” track tends to be more nuts and bolts. “Ruby” appears less screen-specific, as the participants spend more time on directorial techniques and other background.
That makes “Ruby” the stronger chat of the two, as it gives us a nice mix of insights. “Pilot” starts well but fades as it goes, so it becomes the less successful commentary. Though both deserve a listen, “Ruby” fares better.
All eight shows bring Inside the Episode featurettes. These run a total of 14 minutes, 18 seconds and feature comments from Pelecanos, Gyllenhaal, Simon, MacLaren, director Roxann Dawson, story editors Megan Abbott and Lisa Lutz, and actors Gary Carr, Pernell Walker, Natalie Paul, Margarita Levieva, Lawrence Gilliard Jr., Chris Coy, Michael Rispoli, and Gbenga Akinnagbe.
The programs look at historical elements and recreating 1970s Times Square, cast, characters and performances. For other series, “Inside the Episode” tended to be general story synopses, but these work much better than that. Though they’re too short for real depth, they give us some good info.
Disc Three includes two more featurettes. The Wild West: New York in the Early ‘70s runs 11 minutes, 49 seconds and offers notes from Pelecanos, Gilliard, Simon, Rispoli, Coy, Franco, Carr, Abbott, Lutz, Gyllenhaal, and actors Dominique Fishback, Jaime Neumann, Emily Meade, and Natalie Paul.
“West” offers notes on the historical and sociological elements behind the series. It becomes a decent overview, though some of the material is redundant, as a few of the same snippets appear during the “Inside the Episode” reels.
Finally, we get the eight-minute, 13-second The Deuce In Focus. It delivers info from MacLaren, Dawson and Franco.
This allows three of the series’ six directors to present thoughts about how they approached the material. Like the other features, “Focus” brings out reasonable information but it doesn’t give us great depth.
A series with good promise, Season One of The Deuce mostly lives up to expectations. That said, I think it can be a bit scattershot and not as consistently involving as I might hope. The Blu-rays deliver excellent visuals with generally positive audio and a handful of supplements. While not a great collection of shows, S1 of The Deuce does enough to keep me invested.