As I may have said before, I've got a tattoo. It's nothing special, though the saying about how getting you one leads you to want more. That's the kind of person I am. And while I don't watch it actively, I'll tend to watch L.A. Ink marathons from time to time to listen to some of the stories behind the people who want to paint their bodies with ink and needles. If nothing else they are compelling. That compulsion is manifested in strange and unusual ways in the television show Marked.
Airing on the History Channel, the show focuses on other groups of people who use tattoos as a means of both self-expression and communication. Those groups could be considered as outsiders, frowned upon by more reputable members of society. Groups like bikers, barrio gang members and prison inmates. Those who are in those groups are interviewed and talk about their ink and how it's helped influence and define them. A voiceover talks about the impact of tattoo within the individual cultures, and includes news footage of some of each group's particular actions, legal or otherwise.
At six episodes (split over two discs), it's a relatively painless exposure to the meaning and value of tattoos for them. However at hour-long episodes, each episode of Marked quickly turn into an ordeal to watch. The producers of the show could have easily covered in two to three hours what it took six to complete. Now not every episode focuses on a fringe group; there is a little time spent on the military and the tattoo culture that exists there. And not each episode is completely useless - in fact the stuff showing the prison tattoos and the methods than inmates employ is downright amazing in a MacGuyver kind of way. I just wish I didn't have to sit through six hours of what was essentially repetitive and formulaic documentary to find it out, that's all. And "The Complete Season One" would indicate that there's more of these coming? Oy.
Overall, Marked is an almost textbook definition of the "if you've seen one, you've seen them all" saying. Simply put, an occasional semi-compelling segment does not six episodes of television make. Mostly filler without any real substance, you're better off in sticking to some of the prettier tattoo people on television now.
Full-frame video, in conjunction with their presumed original broadcast format. All of the body ink, new-ish or faded, color or black and gray, is reproduced accurately and without distortion or edge enhancement.
Two-channel Dolby stereo on all of the episodes. There's not a lot of action to be gleaned in the rear channels; everything occurs in the front and sound clear and free of mosquito noise or hissing.
Marked: The Complete Season One is a novel idea that has its moments, it's just got barely any of them and they're spaced in between extended stretches of tedium. Definitely worth skipping and focusing and better fare on the art of skin ink.