Magic City Season 1 Blu-ray Review
“Magic City” has no identity of its own.
Set in the late 1950’s, this 8 episode Starz series revolves around a Miami hotel owner named Isaac Evans. At the start of the series, Isaac decides to partner up with a dangerous mob boss named Ben Diamond to ensure his hotel makes a hefty profit. Of course, by entering into this deal, Isaac knows it could have some unsavory consequences. Aside from this main story, however, there are also plenty of subplots involving unions, Isaac’s son Stevie’s relationship with Ben’s wife, the DA (who is after Ben Diamond), gambling, hotel business and events, Isaac’s family (his wife Vera, his other son Danny, his daughter Lauren, his father Arthur), and Isaac’s former sister in law (Megg).
At first glance, “Magic City” seems like a lavishly produced pay cable series with superb production values, first rate cinematography, a talented cast, and impressive sets. Unfortunately, underneath all of the glitz and glamor lies a rather flat series that spends more time emulating the style, family elements, and stories of acclaimed shows like “Mad Men,” “The Sopranos,” and “Boardwalk Empire” (all pay cable series coincidentally). While it seems logical for Starz to try to get into that game, the network should be more concerned with developing their own unique material and brands rather than making a mere copycat with no identity of its own. Many people forget that Starz struck gold with the uniquely funny “Party Down,” but ever since then, they’ve batted zero from a creative standpoint. It’s a real shame that “Magic City” has yet to pan out too because there’s a good show somewhere in here. Actors Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Danny Huston in particular give the show real credibility by giving the roles their all. Perhaps the writers can improve upon the mistakes made in the first season in the second season?
The series, which is presented 1.78:1 1080p, may be lackluster content wise, but visually it’s a stunning show. From the darker noir esque shots to the sunny Miami locals, this show was made to be seen on Blu-ray.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track is equally great. The 50’s music, the dialogue, and the action scenes come to life with this hi-def audio track.
* Starz and Anchor Bay trailers.
* “Starz Studios: Magic City”- The obligatory Starz featurette that covers the story, the sets, Miami, history, etc.
* “The Cars Of Magic City”- A short, short piece about the cars featured in the series.
* “The Style Of Magic City”- A featurette about the costumes.
* “Building An Empire”- A featurette about the sets.
* “The Golden Age Of Music”- A piece about 1950’s music as well as the tracks that appear in the series.
* “Miami Beach: The Real Magic City”- Discussions about Miami in the 50’s.
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