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Profit poses many interesting questions, even before you watch the
series. It was applauded by critics and failed when broadcast, so who
got it wrong? The critics, the network, or perhaps it was the audience?
After watching the DVD, I'm convinced. This time the critics were spot on.
The creators looked to the corporate world and brought a complete sociopath into it, then layered style galore, and managed to keep the costs down and still produce some excellent drama which, although slightly dated in looks, could compete well with today's programming with its dark and edgy feel.
Series The series opens strongly in the first few episodes, the dating is apparent more in the quality of picture than anything else although some hairstyles do give away the years quite effectively as well as the phones they use, other than that you'd be forgiven for mistaking the release date.
There's a great sense of direction early on in the series and a real sense of Profit controlling and just how truly amoral he really is. The character is crafted so well and the events of each episode carefully orchestrated to show his slight and careful manipulation of other characters in order to manoeuvre them to his needs and his ultimate goal.
Unfortunately the careful crafting of the episode and the power of the character of Profit seems to dull towards the end of the series. His involvement in events becomes more direct, more obvious, much less clever. He actually feels much more like a henchman running to keep up with events around him than the opening sociopath.
That said, the first half of the series really does keep the focus on his power and manipulation, and to great effect. The whole premise of the show is superb, concentrating on the truly driven character at the centre, a character with no morals at all.
The episodes are multi-layered and complex, weaving multiple threads of the storyline together building them to a strong and very satisfying conclusion. They are dark and edgy yet it's not all serious and there is a far bit of comic value in the series ranging from the darkly comic to the odd moment of silliness. Neither overpowers the main feel of the movie though and these moments are well woven into the series.
One of the main devices used throughout the series is the voice-over of Profit, this is used to open and close each episode as well as providing insight throughout and some further exposition. Surprisingly this works really well as it does make you feel as though Profit is leading you through this journey as he does so many characters in the series. It's not so much used to say "Here's what's happening" but more "Here's what I'm going to make happen", it takes you right into his world from the opening moment.
Pasdar is superb as Profit, as is Szarabajka who plays the MD of G&G, there are some really strong performances from secondary characters throughout the series.
The two man team of David Greenwalt and John McNamara have done a wonderful job of developing this character and threading together the episodes, as well as the threads within each episode.
Sound: DDStereo The audio was clear and a very good soundtrack carried through the series. There was no real need for anything over Digital Stereo as there aren't any moments of loud action or explosions. The contrast of levels between shouts and whispers were good so that no volume adjustments were required.
Picture: 1.33:1 You can tell from the film style that this is from the nineties, it lacks the crispness of today's television, yet that's not a distraction. The picture does look really good, even on the then futuristic computer animation. The picture is good and clear with great colours and lighting particularly when visiting Profit's own private home. There's not an abundance of camera work and hand-held here, but there are some excellently filmed and framed scenes, with great use of crane and dolly shots.
Extras: Seven episodes including two hour pilot, Featurette with interviews and discussion from the creator and stars, Audio Commentaries on some episodes with Pasdar, Greenwalt and McNamara.
The Commentaries are interesting and entertaining, but perhaps the strongest and most revealing is that of the Pilot where the creators and main star give away most of the information you'll hear later on.
There's a lot of insightful discussion into the creation and development of the show and of the Profit character, as well as the story behind the sell of the series. It really does sound as though the show was developed around the character.
The discussions give us an impression of how much the actor was involved, how deep the character development of the series was, and how the relationships between the characters and the people on set developed and grew.
There's not many commentaries I can say this about, but this one really gets you excited about the show, the filming and the acting. Their passion for the character and the series really does get under your skin.
This passion extends into the other commentaries, all except the final episode which is surprisingly disappointing after the bar being raised so high on the first. There's little incisive examination of the episode, what was going to happen, and what could have been.
The featurette takes off where the commentaries left and builds more on the relationships of the characters and crew, as well as delving further into the darkness of Profit the series and the character.
Overall Profit is clever, sharp and superbly directed. It's a very clever and complex tale which when watched now, really does show that it heralded the dark and edgy television which we are now craving more and more of today. Who would have thought that watching someone this evil would be so enjoyable?
Back in 1996 when Fox was not picking up further episodes, I called programming and pleaded with them to reconsider. I have never done that with any show before or since. Profit was by far the most entertaining and compelling drama, ever. Homicide Life on the Street was a close second but lacked the dark intrigue of Profit. The end of each episode always left one awe struck and wanting more. In an era of mind-numbing reality shows who's only virtue is that it's cheap to produce, network prime time is becoming a complete wasteland; pushing even more viewers to cable. Any network picking up the rights and reintroducing this show will have a major hit on their hands.
Caught this series for the first time after waiting for it to be rerun,
and could not believe a show of this calibre was killed. Adrian
Pasdar's performance as lethal executive Jim Profit is magnificent evil
and carnal lust in a polished, yuppie, corporate mode. Each of the nine
episodes brings Profit closer to a one man corporate take-over the old
fashioned way, by killing off the competition and climbing the upwardly
mobile ladder corpse by corpse. Black humor abounds.
Outstanding performances by entire supporting cast, but it's Pasdar's show, esp. at the end of the day as Profit climbs back into a Grayson and Grayson box after a hard day at the office...chilling and adult. Definitely not what the networks wanted. Offensive to the maudlin tastes of mainstream TV viewers, nevertheless this is one program that was just too good for the masses.
I'm right in the middle of downloading all of the "Profit" episodes from the
net and nostalgia just came pouring back into my mind. I was a kid then, but
that first episode I saw really changed my life. I remember hearing the
coolest theme I have ever heard, and a slick, cool and rich businessman that
was kind of taking everyone else for a ride while at the same time having
fun and "entertainment" with each of them. An above our world kind of guy,
Jim Profit instantly became my role model.
No wonder I now love morbid stuff as much as I do, "Profit" was dark and
definitely for acquired tastes only, but hey, all of you "Profit"'s out
there have more of it than the rest of the world:)
I have to admit I don't remember much from the shows, but I was in fact one
of the lucky ones who got to see all of the episodes, so I'm looking forward
to each and every one of them.
Still: DVD's, DVD's, DVD's, DVD's, DVD's, DVD's, DVD's. DVD's, DVD's, DVD's...
Profit was simply AMAZING! I never saw this show when it first came out years ago but I recently got a hold of all the eps and I LOVED IT!! The first thing that came to my mind was that it was ahead of its time. I guess back in 96 or 97, the country just wasn't into this show. But if this show were released today, it would just blow your mind! I would hope some network (how about the original network, FOX?) picks it up and continues it as it relates to today's world? How can people not get this show even if you're not the corporate type? If a show like Desperate Housewives can become a huge hit today, I don't see why this show cannot! I hope somebody consequential reads all these comments from "Profit" fans and picks up this show! Jim Profit is the ultimate antagonist and I for one, would watch this show regularly to the end! LET IT LIVE, DAMMIT!
People often go on about the death of network television and wonder why
networks like HBO are simply crushing network TV, and I can point to
Profit and say here is a primary example of why Networks can't compete.
This show is simply shocking, revolving around perhaps one of the most evil main characters to grace network TV, with a very dark past, and an even darker present. Fox simply got cold feet because it was just too much for 1996 and the majority of the Bible Belt went nuts over the concepts in this show and just crushed it. It was too smart for Fox which is really unfortunate, but if it had been on HBO two or three years later and they would have been allowed to truly get into the dark angle of this show that only cable networks seem to be able to do, we would be discussing how many Emmy's Adrian Pasdar had won.
I never watched it on TV, and the DVD was my first chance to really get a look at it, and it was simply light years ahead of its time.
I have seen this show when I was about 14 and absolutely loved it. Jim Profit is perhaps the most brutal yet extremely likable psychopath in television history, and he's the lead!!! It is unfortunate that the show was cancelled perhaps because the premise and the show's intelligence never appealed to people back in 1996. The Profit DVD is coming out in August 2005 and I've never been more excited over a DVD release since the X-Files sets. I have watched this show in a cranky 14 inch set over aerial antennae when I was a kid and have been looking for this show for years and now it's comin' out! Do yourself a favor and check this one out...
Could PROFIT be the greatest TV series ever made? I think it comes
close. This series is Machiavelli brought to life in the corporate
world of today. Great acting, great story lines, great production
values made this a TV series that is unparalleled. Made in 1996, before
the rise of internet entrepreneurs, before the last leg of the bull
market, before the BBC caught on that there was something brewing in
Silicon Valley, this series was years ahead of it's time.
There are detective series with less complex story lines than any of the six episodes that were made for this gem. This series stood out because of the total lack of remorse from the lead character, his cunning and intelligence and his single minded ambition. At the heart of it, there is the fantastic looking Adrian Pasdar (Near Dark) as Jim Profit, the ultimate psychopath/sociopath and extremely ambitious yuppie, but Lisa Zane, Sherman Augustus, Allison Hossack, Lisa Blount as Profit's breathless secretary and Keith Szarabajka (Mickey from The Equalizer) all more than hold up their ends. I wish they would pick up this series again, especially after the late nineties era with Enron, Worldcom, etc. As it was only made 7 years ago, the cast couldn't have aged that much.
I remember how amazed I was at its wit & originality. It was so damned sharp! It had just the right balance of gut fun, intelligence & surrealism. Pasdar was perfect in the Kafkan lead. What would it take to resurrect it. Or maybe get it produced in the UK & export it here. What a loss!
Good to see that there are other "Profit" fans out there.
Finally I found the original title of my favourite series. have been looking all over the place, not quite been able to remember the title, but then I got some unexpected help form an old friend. Too bad it got cancelled so soon, too soon for my liking.
This is truly one of the greatest tv series of all time...no kidding... Hopefully it will appear on dvd soon (fingers crossed)or appears on tv again some time in the future (fingers crossed yet again...).
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