Conviction: The Complete Series ran thirteen episodes, a run of such brevity that one might ask as he looks at the tag, “From the Creator of Law and Order,” why Dick Wolf finds it necessary to add one more courtroom-based show to his laundry list of similarly themed projects. I was prepared for another simulation of the basic L&O format, and that did not excite me. And who knows? Perhaps Conviction is a needless clone of Wolf’s other more successful ventures. As someone, who has never…seen an episode of his previous material, I really couldn’t say one way or the other. What I can say is that Conviction enjoys the benefits of solid writing, a talented cast, and compelling character development.
While the series can sometimes stretch too far across that line of realism that a good courtroom drama straddles so well, the outlandish idea that all these young attorneys could exist under one roof and get involved in so many perilous physical and emotional ventures never ceases to entertain. Remember, it’s still a fictional series, realistic or not, and while the plots seem like a little much for one core group’s experiences, they have a way of baiting hooks that no unsuspecting viewer with a pulse can fail to bite. The finale goes for the throat and exemplifies this everything-but-the-kitchen-sink mentality of the show, but still layers on enough suspense to quench viewers’ doubts. I wish there had been more than thirteen episodes, but after seeing all the other like-minded shows (most of which were dreamed up by the same creator) that just go on and on and on, it’s refreshing to know we have an example of courtroom drama with a clear beginning, middle, and end.
Visual choices are aptly handled with use of shadow and light that are as close to perfect as any one film or original series can get. The anamorphic 1.78:1 presentation boasts sharp contrast, deep blacks, and rich coloring schemes, that work together to create a picture pound-for-pound better than most widescreen transfers you will find on DVD. It’s the new face of television, and I like what I see.
The soundtrack carries a number of smooth melodies ideal to the show’s central theme. These are hard-working youths forging the world of tomorrow one case at a time in the heart of a city with a high demand for justice. The selections are always mindful, and well-suited to the series. What I love most about this 5.1 track is that it does not overdo anything. It’s high energy, but volume remains at a comfortable, consistent level throughout.
Seven pretty anemic character biographies are the only bonus materials to accompany the set. While informative and worth a glance, there is nothing presented that would not be better learned from a viewing of each episode.
Fun, hip, and refreshing, Conviction suffers from being a late entry in an oversaturated genre. The fact Wolf created this oversaturated genre lends credence to the old adage: You are your own worst enemy. This set has a superb A/V presentation, and is definitely worth a look. Just don’t expect a full plate of extras to enhance the overall experience.
Special Features List
- Seven Character Biographies