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COPS: Wildest Chases DVD Review

COPS: Wildest Chases DVD cover art - click to buy from Amazon.com COPS: Wildest Chases (2013-14)
Show & DVD Details

Executive Producers: John Langley, Morgan Langley

Running Time: 144 Minutes (7 episodes) / Rating: Not Rated (TV-PG on air)

1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Stereo 2.0 (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired; Not Closed Captioned
Originally Aired November 2, 2013 - July 26, 2014
DVD Release Date: May 19, 2015 / Suggested Retail Price: $16.99
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (DVD-9) / Black Eco-Friendly Keepcase

Buy COPS: Wildest Chases on DVD from Amazon.com

"COPS" is the best. I'll always remember when watching reruns of it was a treasured weekly late Sunday night tradition for me.
Now if I'm ever flipping through channels on a TV with cable and it's on, there's a great chance my channel-surfing has come to an end.

Seven years and three months ago, I lavished praise on the series in my review of Fox's two-disc 20th Anniversary Edition DVD. Much has changed since then, such as the fact that studios are now unlikely to release anything but the previous television season's scripted programming to DVD. My opinion of "COPS", however, remains high.

Practically the only reality television I can tolerate, it is compelling entertainment. Ostensibly intended to celebrate the men and women of law enforcement, this exciting documentary series' real value lies in the candid looks it provides of the desperation that comes with a life of criminality. Opening voiceover reminds us that all suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, but no suspect comes off looking innocent or good. (Somehow, that doesn't stop people from signing the release and getting their 6 minutes of fame/infamy.) The foggy thinking, dubious explanations, and overt culpability all became key ingredients to Comedy Central's long-running, on-target improvised mockumentary "Reno 911!" and they're enough to keep you watching even if you have reason to resent police or sympathize with criminals.

This Palm Beach poker player is handcuffed after a field sobriety test raises suspicion of DUI charges.

After twenty-five seasons on Fox, where it was long a Saturday night fixture along with "America's Most Wanted", "COPS" moved to the cable channel Spike in 2013. It has remained there, with new episodes still premiering on Saturday nights and the more recent of the nearly 1,000 episodes produced over the years still being aired heavily (nine will run today and twenty tomorrow). "COPS" is like "The Simpsons" or "Wheel of Fortune", losing old fans and winning new ones all the time with never a fear of being incompatible with the general public's always-evolving television tastes. Any random episode of the show is bound to have some value, be it entertainment or sociological.

Being a "Spike original" series now means the home video rights of "COPS" have also moved to Spike, part of the giant Viacom family.
Next week, Spike's home video arm, one of several within Paramount Home Entertainment, will treat the series to evidently its first DVD release since 2007's 20th Anniversary Edition in "COPS": Wildest Chases.

As far as "COPS" goes, I prefer the more character-driven bits (roadside and domestic interrogations, for example) to plain old car chases. Fortunately, despite the DVD's title, this compilation provides some variety. Car chases (which often evolve into foot pursuit) typically only account for one of the three segments that comprise these recent episodes, all but one of which were a part of the 2013-14 season.

Wildest Chases fills a single dual-layered disc close to capacity with seven episodes from the first two Spike seasons.

This cornrowed man disputes his wife's account of their domestic incident. A Stockton, California car search turns up guns and drugs.

1. Cell Phone Secrets (20:36) (Originally aired November 2, 2013)
In Sarasota, Florida, teenagers flee in a high-speed chase. In Amarillo, a young man is accused of armed robbery. In Nevada, a girl is beaten by her boyfriend, who is caught running through the Olive Garden parking lot.

2. Guns, Hash, and Fire Hydrants (20:36) (Originally aired November 9, 2013)
In Indianapolis, a late night car chase turned foot chase yields a dreadlocked man on house arrest now looking at 12 years in jail. In Stockton, California, police respond to a domestic spat and then find a family with a huge supply of drugs in their car believed to have just shot up a house.

3. This Man Stabbed Me (20:35) (Originally aired November 23, 2013)
In Spokane County, Washington, a couple is caught with drugs following a car chase. In Sacramento, a car chase turned foot pursuit targets a parolee at large and a woman with a 2-month baby. In the episode's longest and best segment, police respond to a young man who was stabbed in the chest outside of Church's Chicken.

Cops swarm to a donut shop after hours...strictly for business. This adorable little runaway in an unlicensed Dallas Cowboys hat ends the disc on a heartbreaking note.

4. Bloods and Scars Bro! (20:35) (Originally aired December 7, 2013)
In Indianapolis, a fleeing scooter is pulled over but not before a passenger falls out. In Spokane, WA, a ranting backyard prophet is caught. In Georgia, neighbors have a dispute over a dog.

5. Late Night Snacks (20:35) (Originally aired January 18, 2014)
In Indianapolis, a man flees a traffic stop over a dime bag of weed.
Also there, cops raid a donut shop after hours to arrest a baker with a warrant who has been hiding out there. In Spokane, a couple is caught with meth, each claiming it belongs to the other person.

6. Dealt a Bad Hand (20:35) (Originally aired March 8, 2014)
In Richmond County, Georgia, a broken taillight turns into much more when three youths flee a van and are found with drugs, a gun, and bullets. In Palm Springs, California, a dispute at an apartment complex breeds two very different accounts. In Palm Beach County, Florida, a young man blames his reckless driving on a fresh poker loss, but suspecting DUI, officers administer a sobriety field test.

7. The Runaways (20:35) (Originally aired July 26, 2014)
In Lafayette, Louisiana, two women crash into an apartment building and are discovered to have stolen the car at gunpoint. In Glendale, AZ, a heroin addict with felony warrants is busted near a known drug house and, in "COPS" at its most adorable, a 7-year-old boy has run away (not very far) from home.

High-speed chases are just one aspect of the COPS: Wildest Chases DVD.

VIDEO and AUDIO

Picture quality is exactly what you expect it to be for a new TV show coming to DVD in 2015. The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentations lack the detail of high definition broadcasts, but also their various bugs, graphics, and other distractions. I can't imagine A/V would be a deal-breaker for anyone considering picking up this disc. Still, most should be perfectly satisfied with the video and the lively Dolby 2.0 soundtrack. Profanity remains bleeped, as it is on air. A butt crack is blurred, too.

The COPS Wildest Chases DVD main menu condenses its options as much as possible. The DVD's episodes menu lists titles, nothing more. At least the titles are more creative than ones used in the first 20 or so seasons.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

No bonus features of any kind are provided here, which would be easier to forgive if the disc
was filled to capacity with another three or four episodes.

The static, silent menus give you the basic options, letting you choose between "Play All" and individual episode access (via a basic title list) and activating English SDH subtitles or not. Episodes are fittingly divided into four chapters.

No inserts or slipcover accompany the black Eco-Box keepcase. The disc itself sports a full-color label adapted from the cover art.

Whatcha gonna do when Sheriff John Brown come for you?!

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Some may question the need for "COPS" DVDs when the show is aired as frequently as it is. But, as someone without cable and little interest in enduring 9 minutes of commercials for 20 minutes of show, I see the value in such a release. Wildest Chases offers a solid two and a half hours of entertainment. Frankly, though, I would much prefer another set compiling episodes from throughout the series' long run. Variety has always been one of the show's strengths, so why not mix things up even more by drawing a little bit of '80s, '90s, Noughties, and '10s "COPS"? Of course that introduces the red tape of multiple companies having to work together and the DVD sales having to be good enough to make it worth everyone's while, two things that seem unlikely to result in anything better than this Best of Season 26 DVD (with one Season 27 episode) anytime soon.

Buy COPS: Wildest Chases on DVD from Amazon.com

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Reviewed May 15, 2015.



Text copyright 2015 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2013-2014 Langley Productions, Spike, and 2015 Paramount Home Entertainment.
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