Profit: The Complete Series

The story of Profit is a perfect illustration of how the landscape of television has been altered in just the last decade. The edgy show, which broadcast a mere four episodes on Fox in 1996, might have flourished in today's cable environs, but on a mainstream network the chronicles of a sociopathic, murderous corporate stooge didn't quite find a place in the heart of middle America. (Express surprise here.) Alas, along with the cable world, DVD has also transformed entertainment, so here comes Profit, from the two hour pilot to the final four never seen episodes. Jim Profit (Adrian Pasdar, a regular on Judging Amy) goes from a difficult childhood to a corporate environment with the scent of fresh blood in his nose. In the two-hour pilot alone he manages to get away with murder, frame various crimes and misdemeanours on higher-up co-workers, and oh yeah, he's also having an affair with his stepmother. (One of the only notes that came from the network: in the original script, yep, it was mom.) The show was the brainchild of David Greenwalt (Angel) and John McNamara (Fastlane), and in the featurette "Greed Kills" they reveal that the show languished in turnaround for more than a year before Fox — in a naïve move of short-lived bravado — gave it a go-ahead. Despite near-unanimous rave reviews, the show hit mainstream audiences with a thud; and within a month the show was dead. But is it worth reviving something that most have never heard of? In this case, absolutely. It's not flawless television — the inside-the-company-computer framing device is both lame and now dated, and the ongoing evil of Profit himself stretches credibility to the breaking point — but it remains a fascinating exercise in what ifs? What if the show had been made now, when cable could provide a home, a budget and less strenuous strictures? Could it have sustained its rich, darkly comic approach? One can only marvel at this historical document and wonder. Plus: select episode commentary. (Anchor Bay)