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Dirt - The Complete First Season - dramatic television series DVD review
DIRT - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON Unrated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 1/2 stars
Actors: Courteney Cox, Ian Hart, Josh Stewart, Alexandra Breckenridge, Laura Allen
Director: Matthew Carnahan   Studio: Touchstone /
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
DVD release: 18 December 2007   Runtime: 607 minutes
(4 discs)
Format: Box set, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
Features: Audio tracka (English, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround), Subtitles (English), 13 Season One episodes, "Celebrity Couple Gets Dirty," "Through a Lens, Darkly," "Tabloid Wars: Totally True Stories from the Celebrity Trenches," Deleted scenes

The FX network carries several excellent shows, such as The Shield and Rescue Me. It is a network willing to take chances and be more cutting-edge. In an age with blogging, Blackberries, and celebutantes dominating the airwaves (and running amok), it was inevitable that a show about tabloid journalism would eventually hit the airwaves - and it has, with FX's Dirt.

Co-executive producer Courtney Cox - hubby David Arquette shares producing duties - stars as magazine editor Lucy Spiller (at the outset, she wears the same hat at two magazines, until she combines them and creates DirtNow Magazine). She displays plenty of cliched characteristics, but that's okay for now. You have to give the show a chance, and some time to grow.

For the most part, the pilot feels slightly desperate to get off the ground quick. Of course, it's understandable they want a hot start, but they throw everything but the kitchen sink at you, and almost none of it works, minus the storyline with Holt Mclaren (Josh Stewart, who's appeared on Third Watch and Criminal Minds) as a tortured, struggling actor who has the chops but no marketing machine behind him until he strikes a deal (a scoop that sends his actress girlfriend into a downward spiral) with Spiller. This first episode is so over-the-top - overdose, death, a car crash, and Spiller stun-gunning a man she had sex with.

However, by episode's end, there's evidence of some potential there, provided they work out enough of the kinks. With fellow FX show Nip/Tuck having moved its location from Miami to L.A., the overly sexualized, salacious natureof the show seems redundant and unnecessary. Two seedy, hypsersexualized shows on the same network is a bit much, especially when there are some pretty good characters to work with on this show that are only a few solid, well-written episodes away from establishing legitimacy for themselves. Though the show is savvy with the Hollywood-speak, it needs a good jolt of drama minus the silly visual graphics.

Which brings you to the emotional core of the show, Lucy's friendship with her functionally schizophrenic photographer, Don Konkey (Ian Hart). You can't but help but like the Konkey character, but as the episodes progress, his surreal visions begin to wear thin. He eventually lost me when his dead (imagined) girlfriend gave birth to kittens. Less is more when it comes to the overly surreal/bizarre visions of Konkey and the overall shallow nature of the show.

It's understandable that Cox wants to get as far away from her Monica character on Friends as she can, but she doesn't have quite enough cunning just yet. She isn't bad by any stretch of the imagination, she just needs to up her bitch quotient to an Amanda Woodward (Heather Locklear's character from Melrose Place) level.

With a little tightening of the scripts, better use of the cameo appearances (Paul Reubens, Grant Show of Melrose Place fame, former L.A. Laker Rick Fox, a completely unconvincing Wayne Brady in a wasted role, and a little help from Cox's Friends co-star Jennifer Aniston), Dirt can overcome the growing pains of its first season and blossom into a show effectively exploring the complex moral issues of Hollywood stardom.
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reviewed by Bobby Blades
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