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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Mind Games: The Complete First Season
Mind Games: The Complete First Season
Other // Unrated // December 3, 2014
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted January 15, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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Review:

The first rule of watching TV today is very simple. It's don't become too connected to what you're watching, as it's become increasingly less likely that what you are watching will last past a season or two. The last few years have seen a number of terrific shows ("Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23", "Happy Endings", the underrated recent "Selfie") be cancelled. Jerry Seinfeld recently talked i n interview about how "Seinfeld" was allowed to go on as long as it did thanks to the demographics of the show's viewership. I'm not sure that even plays a factor anymore.

"Mind Games", a rather compelling new series on ABC, didn't even reach a full season (or half a season, at that.) The series starred Christian Slater, who I thought was terrific on Fox's clever (and cancelled) "Breaking In". On that series, Slater really revealed himself to be a surprisingly good fit on the small screen and that continues on this series.

The show stars Slater and Steve Zahn (great casting, work well together) as Ross (Slater) and Clark (Zahn), brothers who come together to form a business that effectively "negotiates" on the behalf of clients to get what they need. In other words, they're like lawyers, only outside of the courtroom and they use their insights into people's psychology in order to help their clients (the series was originally called "Influence", which I think is a more engaging title, but that's just me.)

Ross is a former con man who knows how to manipulate people and Clark is a bipolar former psychology professor and an expert in human behavior. The brothers run Edwards Agency in Chicago, with the core of the agency being years of research into human behavior to work from. The show's writing is generally sharp and smart, although I would have liked to have had the supporting characters get a little more definition. The series also doesn't go too deep into some of the slightly more dramatic aspects of the show, including Clark's illness. The series also brushes off the complex moral questions behind their manipulations of various people, even if it is for a positive outcome.

The show isn't really easily defined ("Ocean's Eleven" crossed with a legal drama with no courtroom and the "Jedi Mind Trick"?) and in a TV landscape of legal dramas, bad comedies and CBS cop dramas, something new is refreshing. The stories are generally engrossing, including the opener where the brothers have to find a way to approve an experimental treatment that could very well save her son's life. Other cases include a wife worried about her husband, who's a professional fighter and trying to rescue a college student who's joined a cult.

Overall, "Mind Games" performed an unintended mind trick on its potential audience, convincing them - apparently - that this was not the new show they were looking for. It's too bad, as Christian Slater continues to prove himself on the small screen and no one's tuning in. "Mind Games" may have been cancelled early, but it's worth a look. Recommended.

1 1-01 25/Feb/14 Pilot
2 1-02 04/Mar/14 Asymmetric Dominance
3 1-03 11/Mar/14 Pet Rock
4 1-04 18/Mar/14 Apophenia
5 1-05 25/Mar/14 Cauliflower Man
6 1-06 UNAIRED Texts, Lies and Audiotape
7 1-07 UNAIRED Judge Not
8 1-08 UNAIRED Royal Fiasco
9 1-09 UNAIRED The Sweet Science
10 1-10 UNAIRED N.D.E
11 1-11 UNAIRED Embodied Cognition
12 1-12 UNAIRED As God Is My Witness
13 1-13 UNAIRED Balloon Boy

This set includes the complete first (and unfortunately, last) season.

Video: "Mind Games" gets an excellent presentation on this release from Fox (produced MOD by Amazon.) The presentation offers the show in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Sharpness and detail are quite pleasing, as the image remained clear and smooth throughout much of the running time. No artifacting or other issues were noticed and colors remained warm and well-saturated. Overall, certainly a solid presentation that looks to be about digital cable quality.

Audio:
The show's Dolby Digital presentation lived up to expectations. While mostly dialogue-driven, the rear speakers did provide a little ambience at times. Audio quality was just fine, with clear, well-recorded dialogue and score.

Extras: Zip.

Final Thoughts: It's not without a few faults, but "Mind Games" is (well, was) an enjoyable new series with a great pair of lead efforts from Zahn and Slater. The DVD set is bare bones, but the show deserved a bit better treatment then it got. Recommended.
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