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Still one of the greatest shows ever, but slightly flawed box set.
on 23 June 2016
It's great to finally own the entire series on DVD. As a kid of the 80s who spent months, maybe years carefully recording episode after episode of Miami Vice on his VCR back in the day, I have no way of not applauding this DVD box set. This isn't just a piece of television history, it's a big piece of my own youth, being a lifelong fan of the series.
That said, I have a few niggles that I would like to address. Considering that an arguably large sum was spent securing music rights to make sure every episode would come with its original selection of contemporary songs and Jan Hammer's scores, in 5.1 stereo no less, it's unfortunate that not the same care was taken in cleaning up the picture. Being that 35 mm print on which the series was originally shot can be a bit grainy at times especially in low light, it wouldn't have hurt to run the prints through a few digital filters before putting them on DVD. Your willingness to see the nostalgia aspect of it ends at some point. This is also true for recurring white specks and editing marks. Otherwise, the DVD files are decent quality for SD, although you do see occasional quantization artefacts on larger screens.
The sound, however, is flawless. The music should be because it was newly added from digital sources, but also ambient sounds and dialogues are expertly mixed and it's just a joy to listen to the episodes on my Sennheiser headphones.
Unfortunately, there aren't many bonus features. Hidden away a bit on disc 8 of the first season, you've got four, maybe five mini-documentaries of about five minutes each which shed light on the style of Miami Vice, its music, and its production. But that's it. That's it, for an entire 110-episode, 5-season box set. Moreover, they're the same mini-documentaries which were already contained on the separate season one release in 2005, and as such, they also offer no insight into the later seasons.
A few clerical errors were also made with the series box set, in that the order of some episodes on the back covers got mixed up, as well as spelling mistakes, most notably where the episodes "Calderone's Return" part 1 and 2 are listed as "Calderon's Return" on the back of the disc 1 and 2 cover. What's also slightly irritating is that every season has its own, very distinct and different looking menu screens. Of course it was cheaper to use the menu screens that had already been created when the individual seasons were released on DVD (which still doesn't answer the question why they all look so different to each other), but it just would have been a nice touch to have them all looking about the same.
If you're a fan of the show, and if it would mean something to you to have the entire series in a DVD box set, don't hesitate for a moment to buy this set. And even considering its flaws, it will be a huge improvement over the dusty old VHS tapes which you too probably still have in your basement with taped Miami Vice episodes on them. But from a standpoint of what this box set could have been, it leaves a number of things to be desired.