Posted in: Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on September 22nd, 2008
I’ve got this great idea for a new show: it’s about a group of people stranded on a mysterious island after a plane crash. I’ll call it Where Are We? It’s gonna be the biggest ratings hit ever for whichever network is lucky enough to lavishly reward my creative genius.
On the other hand, it might seem like a complete ripoff of Lost, a rehash, old news that will never live up to the glory of the original. You know, like Cashmere Mafia, the Lucy Liu vehicle modeled gene-by-gene on HBO’s mega-hit Sex and the City. It might only last seven episodes before it’s axed. Now on DVD for the first time, Cashmere Mafia: The Complete Series is further proof that the entertainment industry is all out of fresh ideas.
Ok, maybe Cashmere Mafia isn’t a complete replica of Sex and the City. I’ll admit I’ve seen very little of Sarah Jessica Parker’s big series, but I stand by my assertion that — at least on the surface — the two shows (not to mention NBC’s Lipstick Jungle) are bred from the same stock.
Cashmere Mafia is a story about four ambitious women, best friends since business school, trying to balance bigshot careers with complex personal lives by creating their own “boys’ club” (The Cashmere Mafia) to watch each others’ backs and provide a safe haven to dish their own dirt as they try to have it all in the big apple. Mia, Zoe, Juliet and Caitlin deal with the usual stuff: rocky relationships, infidelity, personal crises, work rivalries and all that jazz.
The series was originally slated for a 13-episode run, but due to the chaos of the writers’ strike only seven episodes were produced and aired before Cashmere Mafia was sent to sleep with the fishes. I’m sure a lot of Sex and the City fans were jonesing for a new banner series, even if it meant transferring their love to a non-racy, network show, but it seems Lipstick Jungle took that prize, at least for now — we’ll see how it fares in its second season.
Back to Cashmere Mafia. While I’m no expert on the genre, I think I know why this woman-power dramedy never took off. I don’t think it has anything to do with content. After all, I’ve heard many fans could hardly tell the difference between this show and Lipstick Jungle. It all comes down to the writers’ strike. With only seven episodes available, the series simply never had a chance to grab an audience. The final two episodes begin to show strong potential, and further progress might have generated enough buzz to increase ratings, but the signs of life just weren’t enough to merit further investment from Sony Pictures and ABC.
Cashmere Mafia: The Complete Series is presented on two discs, with all seven episodes in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen format. As you’d expect from a major studio production broadcast in HD, the show looks good on DVD. Overall, the picture is as nearly as luxurious as the chic, high-powered environment in which the mafia girls live, work and play. Almost everything is sharp and detailed, except for a few odd moments of blur, and colours are naturally vivid throughout. Not bad at all.
The sounds are right up there with the sights on this two-disc set. All seven episodes feature Dolby Digital 5.1 audio tracks, and they do a swell job enveloping viewers in the lives of Lucy Liu and the gang. All dialogue is crystal clear, and the other channels offer a decent amount of supporting effects — the sound may not be very big, but it’s not that type of show.
Audio is English only, with subtitles in Korean, Chinese and Thai.
Cashmere Mafia: The Complete Series offers up a few extras, which is a nice plus for a show that barely saw the light of day. We get a set of making-of behind-the-scenes style featurettes, including Revenge Sex: You Get as Good as You Give, Move in or Move Out, Kiss My Glass Ceiling and Pick a Team, Any Team.
Fans of Cashmere Mafia will most likely never find out what happens with Mia, Zoe, Juliet or Caitlin, but they can at least take solace in this two-disc release of the parts of the story that were told. If it weren’t for the big TV-on-DVD market, Cashmere Mafia would never be seen again — now it can be replayed ad nauseam, and in good quality to boot.