Miami Ink: The Complete Season 1
Miami Ink, as the name suggests,
revolves around a Florida-based tattoo parlour and the colourful
personalities that reside therein.
There’s the parlour’s owner, Ami James, a
tough former member of the Israeli army who doesn’t tolerate any
insubordination from his ragtag crew. Co-owner Chris Nuñez, a tattooist
for 13 years, is cut from far a gentler cloth and provides an effective
counterweight against his melodramatic business partner, which may
explain the secret of their success. Rounding out the team of
tattooists are Chris Garver, an extremely talented and widely renowned
artist who taught Ami his craft, and Darren ‘Mr Nice Guy’ Brass, who
sometimes fades into the background against the sheer weight of the
charismatic personalities contained within the small shop, but still
manages to rise to the fore with some excellent and highly original work
of his own. Also along for the ride is universally-beloved Japanese
apprentice Yoji Harada, who has become something of a celebrity in his
native land due to his association with the show.
Season One begins, as you might expect,
with the rather rushed opening of the new shop and a celebrity tattoo to
kick things off – surfing legend Sunny Garcia drops by to get the
Hawaiian islands inked on his torso. Chris helps a young woman deal
with the pain of her brother’s suicide by inking some song lyrics of
particular significance, and reveals of his own struggles with his
father’s suicide several years before. Long-suffering Yoji is sent to
select the sushi for the opening night party (despite the fact he
doesn’t actually eat it), and his pregnant girlfriend drops some fairly
unsubtle hints that it might be time for the pair to wed. Meanwhile the
shop is in disarray, the signwriter has made a complete mess of the logo
adorning the windows and the party is scheduled to begin in just a
couple of hours.
This, in a nutshell, is the secret of
Miami Ink’s success; it’s an excellent blend of drama, emotionality,
celebrity and substance. As the series progresses we come to know the
central characters extremely well, their back stories and desires are
gradually revealed and a real sense of camaraderie develops within this
unique world. The tattoos are first rate, the clientele interesting and
varied – it might be a long-term client looking to complete his ‘body
suit,’ a mother and daughter walk in looking to get their first tattoos
together, or a famous DJ, actor or musician wanting to be inked by the
best in the business. Some of the situation’s feel a little contrived
at times (always a danger with ‘reality’ TV) and the ‘Ami acts like a
jerk to Yoji in order to teach him a valuable lesson’ subplot is a
little overplayed, but all in all Miami Ink is one of the most
consistently enjoyable reality series of all time, and it’s great to go
back to where it all started.
The Complete Season One will be available
from 4 May 2011, and comprises 25 hour-long episodes over seven discs.
Also included are two first-rate specials; one an episode devoted
entirely to Nuñez, another to Darren Brass. As ever there’s plenty of
depth in the Nuñez designs, and it’s also great to see the least vocal
member of the troupe given his chance to shine.
The running time is monumental, the tattoos
top notch, the drama and celebrity cameos come thick and fast and the
bonus disc is a nice touch too; this is a great presentation for this
memorable and oft-imitated show.