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Space Precinct: The Complete Series
Image // Unrated // November 23, 2010
List Price: $49.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Gerry Anderson, creator of such cult classic shows as Supercar and Thunderbirds, has always been someone who goes for style over substance. That's not necessarily a bad thing as anyone who has ever been enthralled by UFO or Stingray can attest. After Space: 1999 was cancelled
Patrick Brogan (Ted Shackleford) used to be a
This episodic show plays a lot like a generic cop show from the 70's, even though it's set in the future and a good percentage of the characters are aliens. A lot of the plots revolve around typical police work, though with an alien flare: there's a girl who can kill with her mind, a berserk robot, an imminent alien invasion that has to be stopped, etc. That's fine, but the writers never seemed to know who the show was aimed at. Some of the episodes deal with more adult topics like racism, drugs, or illegal immigration. Other plots, often in the same episode however, are played for juvenile laughs. While Brogan and Haldane search for a murderer who targets young women, other officers are trying to capture a space ape, with (supposedly) comic results.
In addition to the comic subplots, the special effects make the show feel like a kids program too. While Farscape proved that you could have a SF show with puppets and rubber headed aliens and not come across as camp, Space Precinct isn't able to come close to pulling that off. The masks have eyes that blink, which is a nice touch, but they're huge and way too big for the bodies. The result is a guy in a police uniform with a funny mask on. It doesn't feel like an alien at all.
That's not to say the show is worthless. There are some fun episodes and there is a lot of action, which is what you'd expect from Gerry Anderson, but it just doesn't come together as well as his other work.
The entire series arrives on five DVDs that come in a double-width clear keepcase with a two-sided cover.
The Dolby Digital audio track is adequate, but unfortunate since the opening logo says the show is available in Dolby Surround Sound. I can't imagine why they wouldn't port the multichannel audio over to the DVD. I can only assume that it wasn't available. In any case, I was expecting a more separation and use of the front soundstage from a SF show from the 90's, but the dialog was clear and the sound effects came through nicely. Not the most dynamic audio I've heard, but it'll do. There are no subtitles.
Unfortunately the 1.33:1 image looks well below average, even when you take into account it was created in the
Nothing. Not even an episode guide. They refer you to a web page for that.
While I did enjoy some of the shows, the bad effects and very inconsistent writing make this one of Gerry Anderson's lesser series. Add to that the rather poor video quality and it's best just to rent this show.