White Collar: The Complete First Season

White Collar: The Complete First Season
The USA Network might have started off as a rather uninspired cable network, but these days it has a roster of shows that regularly win both popular and critical acclaim, such as Monk and Burn Notice. One of the latest additions to that list is White Collar, another one of those series that walk the line between drama and comedy very successfully. White Collar tells the tale of Neal Caffrey (played by Matt Bomer, who also shows up from time to time on Chuck), a forger who escapes from a high security prison in order to try and locate his former girlfriend. He is recaptured by Peter Burke (Tim DeKay), the FBI Agent who put him in jail in the first place, and through the usual sequence of semi-contrived circumstances, Caffrey gets recruited to help out the FBI using his specialized knowledge for good instead of evil. So it turns into a buddy cop show, with a little twist; it's nothing too new or exciting, but the above-average writing and charismatic performances, in particular that of Bomer, although there is a strong supporting cast too, help to cover many of the apparent issues and create a very entertaining show. The 14 episodes that make up the first season are at their best when they're standalone episodes that don't get bogged down with the bigger arc of Caffrey and his ex. That's when things quickly deteriorate into the standard big-time conspiracy where the lines between the good and bad guys are blurred. It isn't awful by any means, but it does come across as more clichéd that the rest. It is a solid show and it wasn't a huge surprise that it was picked up for another season, which just started airing. There's not much that would qualify as exciting in the extras — the usual deleted scenes that don't add much, and a gag reel that stops being funny after about five minutes. Three behind-the-scenes featurettes (clocking in at about 15 minutes) add a little bit of background to how the character of Caffrey came to be, and how the authentic the show is, in regards to the FBI stuff. There are also commentary tracks on five episodes with the show's creator and cast, all of whom obviously get along. (Fox)