Vinnie Terranova (Ken Wahl), a tough, street-wise undercover agent, infiltrates the organized-crime syndicate in Atlantic City where, with one slip of his cover, he could end up a dead man. Partly because of his smarts and... more » "wiseguy" attitude, special Agent Terranova has been trained by the Organized Crime Bureau (OCB). In his precarious position, only a select few know his true identity including Frank Mc Pike, his supervisor in the OCB and "lifeguard" his only communications link to the Bureau while undercover. In Sonny Steelgrave & the Mob, Federal Agent Vinnie Terranova establishes an ex-con rap to infiltrate the organized crime of Atlantic City.« less
"Despite music omissions, I bought the earlier 3 volumes of this fantastic show and enjoyed them immensely, particularly the first 2 sets, which had some great extras. It was all downhill from there, as this set was vomited out of the factory and onto the store shelves by Cannell Productions and Studioworks! As others have pointed out, disc 1/episode 3 has practically unwatchable video due to poor compression, and disc 4 has no option for show only audio, you are stuck with Ken Wahl's audio commentary and nothing else. Even Ken Wahl must have been frustrated by this when he got his comp set, as the 2 episodes on the set are 2 of his most favorite, and even he can't watch them without listening to himself talk over it! The only good thing about this set is disc 3, which has the great Washington, DC story arc. However, Cannell messed that up, too, as the opening title credit sequence features the one from the prior storyline, whereas I clearly remember that the DC episodes had a title sequence featuring characters from that arc! And finally, more music has been replaced, as Ken Wahl HIMSELF points out on his commentaries! What a cheap, shoddy job--I will not be fooled into buying further volumes of this series (and there are supposedly 2 more to come!) I will be sticking to my own VHS tapes instead! (And by the way, I've read on Studioworks' own site that the manufacturers'suggested retail price was something like $39.99, so I'm not sure how other sites are charging more for it)"
StudioWorks offers a fix
Mike | 01/23/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Studioworks oversight of the missing 'setup' feature on the bonus disc is simply inexcusable. However, Tony Mills, who is the account executive at SW sent me this response about a possible replacement...
Thank you for purchasing Wiseguy: Between the Mob and a Hard Place. We have received your correspondence regarding the box set. We apologize for any inconvenience and will gladly send replacements. Please email email@example.com with your mailing information including phone number. Your replacement should arrive within 3-4 weeks.
Sincerely, StudioWorks Entertainment
Hopefully, there won't be any technical 'oversights' on the replacement copies.
After reading some of the other reviews, hopefully I can answer a few of the questions other fans have posted here.
The 'official' story behind the first 15 minutes of "A Rightful Place" is that the original master tape was in extremely poor condition. What is on the disc now is the best that Studioworks could do as far as cleaning it up.
Yes, the 'music arc' was to come after the 'garment district arc', but due to all of the copyrights that have to be obtained to keep the music in those episodes, SW decided to release that box set last, so that no legal issues hold up the release date. No word yet on whether or not those rights were obtained.
Visit the alt.tv.wiseguy newsgroup for further information and/or discussion about the best dramatic series ever made. "
Garment Story & Return of Sonny Steelgrave are worth it !!!
Robert Brant | Miami, FLA | 07/02/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I got hooked on Wiseguy when it was a late-night staple on CBS 1989ish. After seeing all the garbage TV shows released on DVD I sent many an e-mail to Stephen Cannell's website asking if and when Wiseguy would be released on DVD. I was thrilled when I saw the Steelgrave Arc released and was hoping that it was not just a one time experiment. The first 2 sets were great. The interviews with Johnathan Banks and Stephen Cannell in the first set along with Kevin Spacey, William Russ & Joan Severance's in the second set were a terrific bonus treat for any fans of the show (or especially fans of Kevin Spacey). The Mel Profitt Arc was released four months after the Steelgrave Arc and when nothing else was released four months later, I guess they figured: Thats all the buying fans would be interestred in. As the other reviews stated, it was definetly a let down going from the Millionare Mob Boss of Atlantic City (Ray Sharkey as Sonny Steelgrave) and the Billionaire, International Drug & Weapon's Contractor (Kevin Spacey as Mel Profitt) to the small time White Supremacy Group "The Pilgrims of Promise". Yeah Vinny's brother was killed but I guess they didn't think past those first 2 guys and were trying to keep it simple. It was still great story telling for broadcast tv at that time and I especially enjoyed the suspenseful "Revenge of the Mud People" where Vinny is wrongfully arrested for murdering a cop and the local police pull a Rodney King on him, while Vince is cut off from McPike and the Lifeguard.The short four-story arc is a good appetizer to the brilliant Garment story with Jerry Lewis, Ron Silver and Stanley Tucci. Even though most of it was without Ken Wahl, the show never misses a beat. Thats because the catalyst isn't Vinny or his replacement John Raglin, it's the brilliant Jerry Lewis. Watching him struggle to hold on to what's left of his little piece of the 7th Avenue Garment District is powerful and is probably the best pure performance of the series. Great Wiseguy suspense and suprises.(However the finale was way too easy. I guess Joel Surnow was saving something for "24").THE BIG BONUS on this set is a great return by Ray Sharkey as Sonny Steelgrave. While Vinny is in a rehab center healing his leg, he is mistakenly thrown in the Psyche Ward. There he is drugged, abused by the staff and has a nightly hallucination of Sonny. It's a great "What If?" when Sonny torments Vince about his betryal, and dual identity. One of the few episodes I could never tape when the show was rebroadcast on WGN and Court TV in the last few years.Well worth the $60 MSRP. Four more VHS Tapes in the trash. Thanks guys, looking forward to the return of Don Iuoppo when he and his stepson Vinnie Terranova take back New York. (Due out December 2004). Will they release the "Washington Arc" (The revenge of Admiral Stryken), the "Stranger in a Small Town Arc" (the Return of Roger Loccoco), or even the regrettable Steven Baeur era? Only the toes knows."
Brilliant program finally on video
Deborah MacGillivray | US & UK | 12/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, the packaging of WISE GUY is ticking a few off. In the day when they are releasing whole years of a series in a block on DVD at once, WISEGUY is optioning (more money honey) to package the WISEGUY in the Arcs. They were conceived to follow one storyline for around 13 episodes. The first of the arcs was Sonny Steelgrave (Ray Sharkey). Sharkey gives his roll of a lifetime performance as the mobster Vinnie Terranova is assigned to investigate. Vinnie comes from the background where mobs were the norm, so his gaining Steelgrave's confidence is not hard. Keeping it is another matter. Steelgrave is paranoid when anything is mentioned about the FBI and sees agents lurking everywhere. Soon Vinnie is getting sucked into actually liking the man he is sent to bring down.Keeping Vinnie on the even keel and reminding him what he is there to do is Frank McPike Jonathan Banks and his check-in contact Lifeguard or "Uncle Mike" Jim Byrnes (Highlander). The writing is crisp and incisive, no black and whites drawn in characters, just a thousand shades of grey.Forewarned, music changes were made due to contacts which hurt the anticipation of people who know the series well...ie...NO Nights in White Satin ending. Was back in the days artists were thrilled to see the songs used - now it's show me the money...sigh!It's still a brilliant bit of work that was way ahead of it's time."
Wiseguy -- no bad eps
M. Hughes | Sunny Florida | 07/24/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, the White Supremacy arc isn't the greatest arc. But it does have some great moments. Vinnie and Frank cementing their friendship, which began so hesitantly in the Profitt arc, is terrific. The bad guys aren't as likable in this arc, but maybe it's fun now and then to have someone to gleefully boo and hiss at.
The Rag Trade arc is great for any number of reasons. The tortured trio of Beckstead, Raglin, and McPike show us with their nightmares of longlasting guilt that Vinnie isn't alone -- in fact he has it pretty easy... Jerry Lewis hams it up fine, and Ron Silver's always good. Stanley Tucci's versatility always amazes me. This is a classic textbook case of Murphy's Law; it should've been a cut-and-dried case that Vinnie could easily tie up; after all he'd been brought in by one of the principals and the crime boss was all eagerness in believing his cover if no other reason than his mom's recent marriage to Don Aiuppo. But step by step everything that can go wrong does, the arc ends with most of the principals dead and the ones that survive are broken. It's almost Shakespearean in its tragedy.
The standalones are a lot of fun. It's wonderful to see the characters and what they're like when they're off duty, although it seems that Frank McPike is NEVER off duty in his own mind. However this is where the shortcomings of the DVD set become apparent. Again the music has been changed -- McPike's murder of the jukebox in "Stairway" is never as effective without "Hit the Road, Jack" triggering (pardon the pun) his ire. Ken Wahl's commentary seems limited to griping about the guy playing the doctor or the network itself. I'd have liked to hear more about other stuff such as how the money went from being carefully shrink-wrapped to completely unwrapped and back to shrink-wrapped again over a few scenes or how they managed to tilt that chair up against the fridge without killing anybody...or for that matter what the weather was like in Vancouver since there's snow on the ground and steam coming from everyone who breathes. "White Noise" is great because it's good to see Sonny again, albeit with a bad perm, but don't buy Vinnie's casual brush-off of the ghost; Sonny will haunt Vinnie again next season. "Romp" I have little to say about; it's a pointless episode written to fill a slot as far as I can see, and the most interesting thing about "Reunion" -- aside from the incredibly stupid woman cop whose last great act of defiance ranks right up there with the stupid Klingon in Star Trek III -- is the fact that the lovable dufus Mooch is the same guy in "Where's the Money" who threateningly towers over Frank McPike and commits the capital sin "do you know you have your hand on me?"
I confess to wishing there had been more special features -- an interview with Stanley Tucci or Jerry Lewis would've been great. I resent that we STILL don't have subtitles. But I'm going to keep buying these half-season box sets because I'll take my Wiseguys any way I can get them."