Plot: What’s it about?
Although we’ve all seen news reports and other stories about various gangs, the inner workings of these violent crews is not one that is often shown. In The History Channel’s Gangland, we’re shown the inside view on numerous gangs, infamous gang members, and landmark gang related events. Each episode hones in on one specific element, be it an entire gang, the gang’s leader, or a certain event, which means there is ample time devoted to each topic. As you watch, you’ll see actual photos and video record of those involved, as well as hear from law enforcement agents, historians, and experts. You might even hear from undercover officers who witnessed the inner world of these gangs first hand. So if you’ve ever wondered what went on inside these violent worlds, this is as close as you’ll ever want to be to the real Gangland.
I have to admit, I haven’t been won over by The History Channel’s trend of more and more reality shows. I like some of them, but others fall short and in the end, enough is enough. Gangland is a return to form of sorts, a show that deals with reality, but in the old school History Channel fashion. This series pulls back the curtain on the world of gangs, from Chicago’s Almighty Black P. Stones to MS-13 to the Hell’s Angels, with all stops in between. Each gang has their own inner world, with rituals, politics, goals, and more, all explored in depth in this series. Some episodes work better than others, depending on how many of those involved were available for interview, or the amount of actual footage in hand. But if you’re interested in the subject matter, even the weaker episodes prove to be informative, so this season is more than solid. This is one of The History Channel’s better shows if you ask me, so Gangland earns a high recommendation.
Video: How does it look?
The episodes are presented in 1.78:1 non anamorphic widescreen. As always, I have to mention my dislike for non enhanced transfers, but then again, that is well known. This is a dark series in terms of visuals, but contrast performs well, while colors aren’t vivid, but look fine. The clarity and condition of the elements depends on the source, as some vintage materials are shown and of course, they’re not as polished as the new interviews. So these episodes look solid, but a little more effort could have bumped up the score a notch or so.
Audio: How does it sound?
The stereo soundtrack here is basic, but adequate. The show never needs much beyond dialogue, but the occasional musical cue sounds fine in this mix. The focus is on dialogue and interviews sound great, while the narration is clear and crisp at all times. Not a memorable audio presentation, but it gets the job done.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release includes some additional scenes.