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Intruders: Season 1
Based on Michael Marshall Smith's 2007 novel of the same name, BBC America's 2014 presentation of The Intruders ran, for its first season at least, eight episodes. Interestingly enough, it was not a BBC (UK) import but a co-production between England's BBC-2 and the BBC America wing. The series was directed by Eduardo Sanchez (the man who helmed The Blair Witch Project and Daniel Stamm (who directed The Last Exorcism) and not surprisingly given their involvement, this mystery/thriller series does occasionally delve into some dark, even spooky, territory. Glen Morgan executive produced the run, and he'll be familiar as the man who produced The X-Files for Fox years back, a series to which this show will no doubt draw some comparisons.
The series revolves around a former Los Angeles Police Department officer named Jack Whelan (John Simm). No longer a member of the force, his life has certainly been better than it is when we meet him, and the stress is starting to show in his relationship with wife, a lawyer named Amy (Mira Sorvino). The distance that is there between husband and wife is pretty palpable but soon she's off on a ‘business trip' and things are weirder than ever. He tries to get a hold of her but it's to no avail. He can't get her on her cell phone and he becomes understandably concerned to the point where, yeah, this has become a big deal.
Not too long after Amy vanishes, Jack gets a visit from an old friend named Gary (Tory Kittles). They went to school together and Gary knows that he can trust Jack and it's for this reason that he comes to him for help solving a case of his own. While this is going on, a hitman named Richard Shepherd (James Frain) is making his way through a list of targets leaving a pile of bodies in his wake. He's after another man named Bill Anderson and doesn't mind taking out his wife and kid to get to him but his mission gets muddied when he meets up with Madison (Millie Brown), a nine-year old girl who is far wiser than her years would suggest. As the series plays out, these storylines begin to intertwine interesting ways and we'll leave it at that.
The Intruders isn't a perfect mini-series but it's pretty entertaining stuff and it's got some neat ideas at play. The story uses a talk radio host as a framing device of sorts, at least early on, in that as he goes on about his various conspiracy theories we see how these theories play out in the events that unfold for the main characters. From here the plot twists and turns and as such, it succeeds in keeping us guessing as to what will happen next. There are some very slick ideas here, and those who appreciate a well-written conspiracy thriller storyline will no doubt find much to enjoy in the way that this story develops and with some of the directions in which it unexpectedly takes us. Additionally there's no shortage at all of impressive visuals and intriguingly dark design work on display. Once things really pick up and we're pulled into the various storylines that make up the whole, the directing team and production crew turn in some undeniably impressive work. In particular as Jack's attempts to find Amy become increasingly distraught and the mystery behind all of this becomes less and less cloudy, the supernatural angle comes into play. This is handled well, it's never too over the top and it stays ground enough to work.
As to the performances, all involved turn in fine work. Some of the characters, Jack in particular, feel a little underwritten, however. For the series' lead, he's not the easiest guy to really relate to and it takes a little while for him to grow on us where we probably should have ‘really liked him' from the start. Simm's acting is top notch though, and he does a fine job here. So too does Sorvino, who plays her character with an interesting duality that suits the storyline perfectly. James Frain is great as the hired killer, chilling at times and always cool while Millie Brown proves to be quite a talented young actress and steals a scene or two from her older, more experienced co-stars.
Intruders: Season One was shot in HD and is presented here in AVC encoded 1080p 1.78.1 widescreen. All of the content here looks very good. This is, both visually and thematically, a very dark show with a lot of scenes that take place in locations that aren't exactly well lit but thankfully a decent encode of the material keeps the picture free of most compression issues. Black levels are also nice and deep here. As this was shot digitally, obviously there are no problems with any print damage. Detail tends to be quite strong here even in all of those aforementioned darker scenes, while texture and color reproduction are typically quite solid as well. This series looks just fine on Blu-ray.
An English language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track is provided for each episode generally speaking the quality of the audio on this disc is very good. There are plenty of effective directional effects used throughout the series to help build mood and suspense while the levels remain properly balanced throughout the run. Dialogue stays clean, clear and appropriately natural sounding and there's not a single trace of hiss or distortion. The Intruders sounds great here. Closed captioning is provided in English, there are no alternate language audio tracks or subtitles offered.
The main supplement on the disc is a ten minute featurette entitled Inside The Intruders which is made up of interviews with John Simm, Mira Sorvino, Glen Morgan, Daniel Stamm, Tory Kittles, Millie Brown, Julie Gardner, James Frann, Jane Tranter. They talk about the casting of the show, the premise behind it, Mille Brown's work in the show, the characters of Jack and Amy as well as Richard Shepherd's role in the show. We get some talking head style interview clips here and a few behind the scenes sequences as well. Aside from that we also get animated menus and episode/chapter selection.
Intruders: Season One offers up eight episodes of suspenseful television with enough interesting twists and solid acting that we can overlook some of the flaws in the show's character development. It's pretty entertaining stuff and well represented on this Blu-ray release that offers up the show in very nice quality. Extras are light, but everything else is pretty solid stuff. Recommended.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.