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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Mole - Season 1
The Mole - Season 1
Eagle Vision // Unrated // March 8, 2005
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted March 8, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

One of the very best shows ever in the "reality" genre, "The Mole" nevertheless had a difficult time finding an audience in its first year, largely thanks to a time slot that wasn't optimal. The second season of the series found itself in an even worse slot, and suddenly, it dissappeared from the airwaves, only to reappear several months later after people were upset that the series was seemingly going to end without a conclusion.

For those unfamiliar with the series, it features a group of 10 people who travel around a few continents, performing different challenges in order to add money to the "pot". But, in reality, one of them is "The Mole", a player that is secretly working against the rest of the team. Each week, the players all take a quiz about who they think is the Mole, and the person who gets the most wrong answers is eliminated. In other words, we get a little touch of "Amazing Race" (travel), some "Survivor" (team contests), a little "Fear Factor" and some helpings of "Clue"-like mystery. It all adds up to a tense, compelling series that deserved a wider audience.

Hosted by the terrific Anderson Cooper (now a news anchor, but he still remains one of the best reality hosts ever), the show takes itself seriously (much, much moreso than the goofy, but entertaining, "Celebrity Mole"), but still remains fun. The challenges are a terrific mixture of physical challenges and challenging memory tests. One time, members of the team have to go through a small Spanish town with a Spanish/English dictionary, looking for different locations that offer old, traditional wash basins to do the other player's laundry. It sounds tough till the other players roll the dice to find out what they have to do: one has to pose nude, another has to put his legs in casts for a day, another has to walk around in a stockade and another has to shave her head. Only one completes her task.

There are twists and turns about, as well - while it seems like a team has failed, one of the players may have done a secret assignment to get themselves an exemption from the next quiz or other prize. Depending on how well the players do, the pot could be $1,000,000. It's a smart series - the challenges often involve some definite thought - and it's also a nice series, as the players reflect thoughtfully on the player eliminated, and we see a montage of their moments. It's really too bad that the series didn't have a particularly long life, but hopefully, someone will give the show new life on a new network.

All 467 minutes/9 episodes of the first season are presented here, in this 3 DVD set.


The DVD

VIDEO: Eagle Rock Entertainment is presented in 1.33:1 full-frame, the show's original aspect ratio. Image quality remained quite good, as the picture looked bright, crisp and vivid throughout. Sharpness and detail were first-rate, as the image remained well-defined - even showing nice small object detail at times.

The picture did show some slight shimmering at times, but really very little overall. No edge enhancement or pixelation were spotted, and the elements appeared to be in perfectly fine condition. Colors were bright and vibrant, with no smearing or other faults.

SOUND: The show is presented with its original stereo soundtrack. General ambience, dialogue and music remained crisp and clear.

EXTRAS: deleted scenes, casting tapes and post-execution reactions are available on the last disc.

Final Thoughts: "The Mole" is an intelligent, tense, entertaining series that didn't last nearly as long as it should have. Eagle Rock has put together a nice DVD set, with good audio/video quality and a dirt cheap price - I bought the set for $13.99. Very highly recommended.

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