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Rescue Me—Sony Pictures

Video: 4
Audio: 3
Extras: 3

The TV show Rescue Me may be set in a post-9/11 New York firehouse, but the mere presence of Denis Leary (who also co-created the series and frequently writes the installments) as Tommy Gavin ensures a show that doesn't dwell on dark themes. In the pilot episode, one of Gavin's colleagues says of his sex life, "It's getting slow out there. All that [action] I was getting right after 9/11; now nothing. People forget." According to Leary, in his pilot-episode commentary track with partner Peter Tolan, that line pretty much sets the tone for the series.

Now in its second season on FX, the series reveals the foibles of newly separated Gavin and his fellow firefighters. Gavin, who lost his cousin in the terrorist attacks (echoing Leary's loss of his real-life firefighter cousin in a blaze), is dealing with suppressed anger and visions of dead victims, while he carries on a taboo affair with his kin's widow. Despite—or maybe because of—his comic underpinnings, Leary pulls it off, making Gavin a sympathetic hero with self-destructive aspirations.

The 13 episodes in this three-disc set are presented in a 1.78:1 anamorphic format, and the natural colors perfectly reflect the show's gritty authenticity. The Dolby Digital 2.0 track produces clear dialogue and subtle ambiance when sirens blare and flames engulf Gavin and his crew.

Commentary tracks on the first and last episodes are joined by four featurettes, a fun gag reel, and a preview of the second season. But it's the show's witty writing, well-drawn characters, and spot-on casting that carry the set, creating a compellingly incendiary brew.

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