Dog the Bounty Hunter: The Best of Season 1

Film:
DVD:

Starring Duane "Dog" Chapman, Beth Smith, Leland Chapman, Tim Chapman, Justin Bihag

Features:

  • TV promos
  • Cast bios
  • Seven episodes from the first season hand-picked by Dog

Released by: A&E Home Video.
Rating: NR.
Region: 1
Anamorphic: N/A; episodes appear in their original 1.33:1 format.

My Advice: Good for a rental; hold out for a season set.

Duane "Dog" Chapman is a man on a mission. First and foremost, he's a bounty hunter that's got his family's well being riding on his ability to go and catch the bad guys. However, he's been a bad guy--and did jail time for being near a murder rather than committing it. So he's been where the folks are going back to...and he wants to try and help them straighten out if he can. He operates out of Hawaii and he's got his family to back him up: his wife, Beth, along with his brother, son and nephew.

At first glance, this show seems like it could be just another attempt to spin reality show gold. After all, anybody who will let somebody stick a camera in their face and follow them around can be a TV star these days. And even from the commercials (many included on this disc), it seems like this is what the show is: here's a guy with some notoriety who does a job that most of America will find novel, let's film him.

But having watched these episodes, some things quickly become clear. First of all, Dog is incredibly sincere. When he talks about hoping that he's made a difference in these fugitives' lives...he means it. And when he talks about the effect his time behind bars had on him...he really means it. If he's playing to the camera, he's a better actor than almost anybody on television. Not to say he's a bad actor...he's actually pretty freaking clever at getting these guys to give up their locations. And he's resourceful as hell: he gets a call from a guy and seconds later is hauling ass to the location. How did he know? He was listening well enough to hear somebody in the background mention the name of the bar.

Dog the Bounty Hunter

The other thing that makes Dog such a likeable guy is his family. He and Beth go at each other like cats and dogs, then when they're apart you'll get, "Well, you know, she's right..." and "He's just got too big a heart sometimes..." so they're really crazy about each other. And his kids are lethally cute. And the guys on the team, all family, really do care about each other. So you can relate even when they do crazy stuff like try to hire a clown for the brother's birthday or put special emphasis on catching a guy because he shares their last name.

I'd like to take a second to say that everyone should probably pick this up to watch the opening credits, if nothing else. They're so wonderfully over the top and it puts you in the right frame of mind for the show. From Dog materializing out of a plume of black smoke to Ozzy Osbourne providing the theme song's vocals, it's just classic.

The DVD is fairly bare bones, having the seven episodes Dog picked from the first season. This is a shame, because two more discs and you've got the first season covered, but oh well. The promos, as mentioned, are included as are bios for the team. But that's about it. I would love to hear a commentary on an episode by Dog and Beth, personally. Maybe on a season boxed set.

If you haven't checked out the show, I'd recommend renting this. It really is fun...I'm tapped out for time to watch TV or else I might get hooked myself--and I hate reality TV. So that says something. But I'd wait to plonk down your coin until a season set appears.

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