"Flight 29 Down" opens with a group of kids on a trip in a tiny charter plane (without their parents) headed to Micronesia. While they laugh and goof around, the trip suddenly takes a turn for the worse when their little plane goes through a storm and is forced to make an emergency landing on a deserted island.
While the teens initially think they may be rescued, evidence soon points to the fact that they're far from civilization and hopes of rescue soon fade. However, a couple of the kids don't seem to have any idea of their trouble, including rich girl Taylor (Lauren Storm), whose first line after stepping onto the beach is, "This is a really cheesy airport." Later in the first episode, the youngest character in the series explains everything the characters need to do (because, of course, the littlest kid is the one that happens to know everything) that the characters need to do and another character goes, "What's your point?" The other teens look at each other as if the little kid was speaking another language.
This illustrates why I've never really been able to get into this series. While some of the characters have changed since the show started, a few of the characters still remain too dense to be believed. Some of the dialogue also stands out like a sore thumb: whether or not Taylor is a stereotypical rich girl, no one steps away from a plane wreck and goes, "This is such a cheesy airport." Although a few of the characters are dim, Taylor has been written as too dim to be believed.
While much of the show's dialogue is fine enough, some stretches of it can be awfully clunky and, at least in these early episodes, there's a few too many petty teen conflicts to be believed. I could also do without the video diaries that the characters do (with a solar-powered camera) where they essentially look into the camera and tell the audience what's going on.
Still, there's a few things I like about the series, such as the eventual emphasis on teamwork and the performances by Corbin Bleu ("High School Musical") as Nathan and Hallee Hirsch as Daley. These two seem like the most natural and believable, while the other performances can seem forced (or, in some cases, quite forced.) The show's Hawaiian locations also certainly make for some nice visuals, as well.
"Flight 29 Down" has certainly gained a following, but I'm still not sold. This is a kids show and certainly different than "Lost" in many regards, but the series is a little too watered down and the core idea of kids stuck on an island and having to fend for themselves really could have made for a more compelling series.
This set includes the first 4 episodes of the series.
VIDEO: The 1.33:1 full-frame presentation from Genius Entertainment looks quite good. While sharpness and detail aren't outstanding, the picture looks crisp, clean and about broadcast quality throughout. Some slight artifacting and shimmer shows up, but the majority of the running time appeared free and clear of any issues. Colors looked natural and without any flaws.
SOUND: The show's stereo soundtrack offered crisp, undistorted dialogue and sound effects.
EXTRAS: "Crabbin' With Corbin" is a short featurette that has actor Corbin Bleu looking for sand crabs on the beach. Check out the boom mic clearly in frame early in the featurette. "Animal Friends" visits with some of the animals on the set, such as Lucky, a stray dog that was adopted by the series. We also get a set tour featurette and a trailer tour by actor Allen Alvarado.
Final Thoughts: "Flight 29 Down" has certainly gained a following, but I'm still not sold. This is a kids show and certainly different than "Lost" in many regards, but the series is a little too watered down and the core idea of kids stuck on an island and having to fend for themselves really could have made for a more compelling series. The DVD presentation offers very good audio/video quality and a few minor extras. Recommended for fans.