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Jeremiah - Season 1 Review




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Rating
Video:   8/10
Audio:   7/10
Extras:   5/10

The Big Death
by Gord Lacey (All reviews)
1/18/2004

It's the year 2021, 15 years after the "Big Death" wiped out anyone over the age of innocence (puberty). 6 billion people died in 6 months. Without any parents to guide them, the world has fallen into chaos - with various groups claiming cities and towns. Jeremiah (Luke Perry), affected by the loss of his brother when they were children, is searching for the fabled "Valhalla Sector," something he heard his father mention before he disappeared. He meets Kurdy (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) on the road, and again in a small town ruled by Theo. They find themselves in a sticky situation with Theo, and rely on each other, and two others from "The End of the World." When Simon, one of the others, dies during their getaway, it's up to Jeremiah and Kurdy to deliver a message to Thunder Mountain. Now they have a new mission - help to rebuild the world that's fallen into chaos.

This show, from Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski, is a bleak look at our future. The show was shot in late 2001 and premiered on March 3, 2002. The second, and final, season of the series is currently airing on Showtime in the US, and Movie Central/The Movie Network in Canada.

Purchase this set and you'll also receive Stargate SG-1: Season 1, Volume 1 which contains the first 3 episodes of the series (the first episode is a 90 min premiere).

Video

These DVDs are presented in the same aspect ration as the broadcast airings; 1.33:1. While the picture quality is good for the most part, there are many scenes that are extremely grainy. Effects shots stand out because they are softer than the regular scenes. Colors are subdued, adding to the bleak look of the future. I'm mildly annoyed with the scenes that are played back faster than they were shot, resulting in unnatural movements, but that's more of an issue with the production of the series and not the DVDs.

MGM continues its lack of understanding of TV releases with their latest release. No "play all" feature, and no chapter mark set after the opening of the episode to allow the viewer to easily skip ahead. I don't have any contacts in MGM's DVD production division, or I'd bring this up with them.

Audio

While this is a decent sounding stereo surround track, I was hoping for a bit more. I think sci-fi shows can make the most out of Dolby Digital 5.1, so maybe that's what I was hoping for with this release. Another MGM title, Stargate SG-1 has killer 5.1 tracks, so it's possible that my memories of those are increasing my expectations for this set. Sure, it sounds better than it did when it was broadcast, but the audio did little to bring me into the show. There's an oddity in the final episode - about 14 minutes into it there's music playing, then there's a cut to a different angle of the same scene and the music has stopped. This must be an error of some kind, but I don't know whether it's with the DVD or the original episode. No subtitles, but the set is closed captioned.

Extras - How we rate extras

Audio Commentary on the Pilot
Luke Perry and Malcolm-Jamal Warner provide commentary on the pilot episode. They're very entertaining and provide a few funny stories about the production. They obviously enjoy working together on the series. I wish they spoke more than they did; there were long pauses in their dialog.

Deleted Scenes (15:07)
10 deleted scenes with a "play all" feature. Hey, why not have a "play all" feature for the episodes on the discs as well?! The footage looks a little rough, but it's nice to see these scenes.

Behind-The Scenes-Featurette (5:00)
A short featurette featuring interviews with Luke Perry, J. Michael Straczynski and Malcolm-Jamal Warner.

Photo Gallery (75)
75 photos from episodes in the first season.

Production Design Gallery (54 screens)
There are 54 sketches, 9 of which you can "zoom" in on (just 4 closeup pictures of the larger image). These are extremely detailed drawings, and are some of the nicest ones I've seen on a DVD release.

Other Great MGM Releases (3:45)
A bunch of trailers for MGM movies. One of these trailers is generic (1:15), containing bits and pieces from numerous movies, the other two are for The Terminator (1:07) and Escape From New York (1:23). There are also shots of the first 5 Stargate: SG-1 boxes.

Summary

I'd be a lot happier with MGM releases if they would solve some of the problems that plague every one of their releases; appropriate chapter placement and a "play all" feature. It's always bothered me, but more-so recently because in the last 3 weeks I've reviewed 4 different MGM titles.

I'll admit, when I first caught an episode of Jeremiah on TV it looked pretty....hmm....lame. Part way into the pilot I became hooked, and since finishing this set I've wondered about how society would cope if something like this was to happen. I guess I wouldn't have to worry - I'd be dead! This is a pretty cool series...err...it was a pretty cool series. Sci-fi fans should check it out, or at least rent it if they haven't seen it before.


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