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''The Black Donnellys'' is saved by DVD

The New York crime saga looks better in hindsight

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WHAT IT WAS A bloody NBC drama better bred for cable. Jonathan Tucker (In the Valley of Elah) stars as Tommy Donnelly, the Michael Corleone of four fatherless Hell’s Kitchen troublemakers ascending to power during a war between the Italian and Irish Mafias.

WHAT VIEWERS SAW The net aired only 6 of 13 hour-long shows before banishing the series — the brainchild of Crash scribes Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco — to NBC.com. Still, Tommy managed to clip two rival capos, chop up a bookie while wearing just his tighty whities, get busy with crush Jenny (O.C. sex kitten Olivia Wilde), and make an enemy of ax-carrying Celtic henchman Dokey (Peter Greene).

WHAT VIEWERS MISSED The brothers go all Robin Hood and take on the city buildings department; Ma Donnelly (Kate Mulgrew) inadvertently reveals her involvement in the hit that killed Pa; Jenny’s hubby shows up dead; and the Cosa Nostra ”offers” to make Tommy an associate.

WORTH THE RESCUE? Is the Pope Catholic? Donnellys boasted thesps from The Sopranos, The Wire, and Oz (check out Pablo Schreiber as a hothead vet and Kirk Acevedo, above, as a rogue goodfella) and plots that messed with your morals, your mind, and your stomach. A blood debt must be paid.