Profit: The Complete Series

Profit: The Complete Series (1996)
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Cast: Adrian Pasdar,
Extras: Commentary Tracks, Featurette

I had no idea what "Profit" was before being released on DVD by Anchor Bay. When I found out it was one of Fox's casualties, I knew it had to be seen. "Profit" refers to the name of the title character. Jim Profit. Jim will use any means necessary to advance higher at Gracen & Gracen, a multimillion dollar company with numerous skeletons in its closet. Over the course of the series we are treated to an assortment of ways a man can destroy his peers lives and reputations, all for the sake of the job. A drama and dark comedy rolled into one, "Profit: The Complete Series" is now available for all to gain knowledge of how good it is to be evil.

"Profit" is the "American Psycho" of television. The difference is the method of madness. Instead of using chainsaws and axes like Patrick Bateman, Jim Profit prefers blackmail and manipulation. The show started off a little slow for me. To be quite honest, I probably wouldn't have tuned in for the second or third episode if I were watching on television. By the time the episode "Sykes" came on, I was hooked. The clever writing creates great ways for Profit to set someone up, have it backfire, and then come out on top. He uses his charm and wit to kill the reputation of anyone who stands in his way. By the time the series had ended, I was left wanting more. The comments about storylines in season two had me wandering what could have been. "Profit" is an excellent show that would thrive on television today.

One of the reasons "Profit" may have had problems is that it almost glorifies evil. The show is centered around a villain and deals with some sensitive issues for primetime audiences. Alcoholism, incest, and homosexual relationships are just a few subjects scattered throughout the short series. In an age where HBO and Showtime have taken television shows to a new level of drama and realism, it is hard to see why people had such a problem with "Profit". With a villain as your lead, there are so many more options for storylines and it gives viewers a fresh look at what could easily be a run of the mill office drama. Shows like "Profit" show aspiring writers that it is alright to step out of the box now and again. It challenges the mind and brings a new look to the old boob tube.

"Profit" is presented in its intended 1.33:1 full frame ratio. The look of the show is certainly not reference quality as it shows its age. Released in 1996, the show looks faded and drab. Colors are soft and bland and there is an issue with their tone. There is some sort of orange tint to the series. The earthy wardrobes only magnify the problem. "Profit" looks like a show that didn't have a high production value. The episodes don't have the usual gloss we see on television shows, and they come across looking elementary.

Considering the picture has some problems, it is refreshing to hear a good Dolby Digital 2.0 track. Jim Profit's deep voice will fill your front speakers as he unveils and walks you through each of his evil plans. The music is full of healthy strings that add a sense of drama to the series. As with the video presentation, this is not a reference quality track, but it is adequate and supplies a relatively clean sound.

Creators David Greenwalt and John Mcnamara join "Profit" lead Adrian Pasdar for four commentary tracks throughout the course of the series. The Pilot, "Healing", "Chinese Box" and "Forgiveness" give us a deeper look at different aspects of the show as it is played out before us. The commentaries start out strong with information and fade in consistency as the series progresses. The pilot gives us a wealth of information from the show's origins to challenges faced on the set. Greenwalt and Mcnamara even drool over how cool voice Pasdar sounds while he is recording the track. Some of the commentaries aren't quite as consistent with information, but do reveal what could have been. Different plotlines and story arcs are discussed to give us a look at what direction the show was heading. All tracks are great additions and exhibit each contributor's passion for the show. A featurette, "Greed Kills" (66:51) is on disc three and is packed with information as well as its own commentary track. It shows how the show struggled to get picked up due to its controversial stories and villainous lead. We hear from the trio of men from the commentary track as well as producer Stephen Cannell and actresses Lisa Zane and Lisa Blount. The featurette was a great way to round out the series and finalize the set. Anchor Bay provides us with some trailers for "Titus" and Doogie Howser M.D.". Another feature not included on the disc is the inclusion of liner notes. With a nice article covering the life of the series, producer Jo Swerling gives his thoughts on a show that was ahead of its time.

This is a series you cannot pass up. For less than $30, you can watch greed and power consume the lives of various corporate powers. The twist is how Jim Profit stays clean as he manipulates his peers and moves up the corporate ladder. While I was not overly impressed with the look of "Profit", all other aspects make up for the lackluster appearance. "Profit: The Complete Series" manages to be edgy nearly a decade after its debut. The DVD set is an easy recommendation.