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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Touched by an Angel: Season 1
Touched by an Angel: Season 1
Paramount // Unrated // August 31, 2004
List Price: $49.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted August 30, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

This is the first season of this popular and long-running CBS series (1994-2003). The set includes the following episodes:

Season 1
The Southbound Bus
Show Me the Way Home
Tough Love
Fallen Angela
Cassie's Choice
The Heart of the Matter
An Unexpected Snow
Manny
Fear Not!
There, But For the Grace of God
The Hero


The DVD

VIDEO: The episodes of "Touched By An Angel" are presented here in their original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. The picture quality is certainly not unwatchable, but I was a little surprised that some of the presentations appeared rather disappointing. This may stem from the fact that there is a little over three hours worth of material on each disc, although this hasn't been an issue as much on other TV on DVD sets.

The main issue is that the picture appears somewhat grainy and "digital" throughout most of the episodes. What the picture doesn't suffer terribly as a result, it is somewhat distracting at times. Patches of episodes appear cleaner than others, but this was a concern. Otherwise, edge enhancement, shimmering and other flaws were not noticed.

Sharpness and detail are satisfactory; the show does seem to be intentionally shot with a slightly soft appearance, but the problems previously mentioned do take away from the detail a step or two more at times. Colors remain bright and vivid, with no smearing or other faults. Flesh tones looked accurate and natural. These presentations were not terrible, but they were a little less than I'd expected, overall.

SOUND: The 2.0 soundtracks for each episode remained perfectly fine, with clear dialogue, music and sound effects. These are fairly basic tracks though, focusing mainly on the dialogue.

EXTRAS: On the pilot episode, producer/creator Martha Williamson and producer Jon Andersen provide a full-length audio commentary. This is a terrific, warm and very involving discussion. Coming in with little support, the show wasn't even offered offices, instead having to find themselves workspace at the local Holiday Inn. The production crew was largely inexperienced, but the cast and crew quickly began working as a unit and became something of a family. The pilot also had to be completely redone, forcing the creators to try and come up with the character arcs, plot and the "rules" for the characters and situations in a matter of only a few weeks. The commentary is spotty - there are definitely some patches of silence - but the information offered was very good.

"Tough Love" offers a commentary by director Tim Van Patten and actress Phylicia Rashad. The two also provide a commentary that has some gaps of silence, but when they do speak they do offer up some very good tidbits. We learn more about the working environment on-set, learn about the development and challenges of the episode and also, hear more about the early days of the series.

"Fear Not!" offers commentary by director Tim Van Patten, creator/producer Martha Williamson and producer Jon Andersen. The three discuss their task to try and put together the kind of Christmas show that the audience expected from this kind of series, as well as the network's continued reluctance to try and support the series, given the somehwat struggling early ratings. We also learn more about how this episode was a favorite of both fans and creator Williamson, as well as casting and story development. Finally, "There,but For The Grace of God" is presented with audio commentary from guest star Gregory Harrison, producer Jon Andersen and creator/producer Martha Williamson.

There are more bonus features, however: fans get to see the end of the series, as well: the two part series finale is offered on the fourth disc (the entire first season episodes are on discs 1-3). We also get a brief interview with creator Martha Williamson, an extended version of Williamson's "60 Minutes" interview with Ed Bradley and a short piece about the finale.

Final Thoughts: Although I was never a fan of the series when it was broadcast, I found these episodes to be well-written and moving. The DVD provides adequate picture quality that becomes a little better at times, fine sound and a very nice helping of supplements. Recommended for fans.

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