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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Event
The Complete Series


Starring: Jason Ritter, Blair Underwood, Laura Innes, Sarah Roemer, Ian Anthony Dale, Željko Ivanek, Taylor Cole and Clifton Collins, Jr.
Universal Playback
RRP: £39.99
Certificate: 15
Available 03 October 2011

The American government has being kept a secret from the world. In the 1940s an alien craft crash landed on Earth, the surviving occupants were rounded up and held in a secret facility while experts determined whether they posed a threat to mankind. Now, as a new American president takes office, he makes to decision to free the aliens and let them live amongst us. However, on the day that the aliens are to be released an attempt is made on the president's life and the leader of the aliens, when a plane is flown at their location. But when the place vanishes into thin air the president and his advisors have to rethink letting the aliens free. If they can make a plane disappear they are obviously hiding powers that could see them taking over our planet with ease...

The Event is a 22 episode series which, rather sadly, was cancelled after its first season. I say sadly because of how well written the series is, though in truth it wraps up everything rather neatly. Yes, it does end on a cliff-hanger, but the direction in which the second season would invariably have to have gone in would have made it feel like a completely different show.

The series is one long story arc that can be split into three main acts. There's act one, which deals with opening up the story and answering the questions set up by the first episode; there's act two in which Sophia, the alien leader, and her people are introduced into the human population; and act three where, without spoiling too much, the big plan gets underway.

What's really impressive about this show is the way that the writers mess with the audiences minds. There are few truly good or evil characters and those we think are evil or good tend to be flipped as the series progresses and we learn more about their characters. This makes the characters more likable and believable than most TV shows around today. And even the bad characters believe what they are going is for the good of the majority.

Extras are pretty impressive. These include Deleted Scenes on each disc; Audio Commentaries for episodes 1, 6, 11, 12, 18 and 22; Building Collapse Scene (4 min, 47 sec look at the effects used for the building collapse scene in episode 6); Visual Effects Magic for Inostranka (4 min, 30 sec look at the computer effects used to create the exterior shots of the alien detainee centre); Magic Behind The Events Special Effects (8 min, 02 sec which looks at various scenes including the SUV plane chase and the plane crash from the first episode); The Event's Visual Effects (1 min, 45 sec look at the effects used to create the alien satellite); Unaired Dempsey/Thomas Storyline (11 min, 32 sec look at how Dempsey was originally going to get dragged into the story. Thankfully they ended up going with a completely different idea. There's a full introduction to explain what the original thinking was for these scenes); Creating an Event (11 min, 20 sec behind the scenes look at the show); A Day in the Life of Jason Ritter (11 min, 16 sec featurette in which actor Ritter takes us around the set and explains various jobs that have to be done to get the show to air. This is a tongue in cheek extra that has Ritter pretending that he does every job including catering, camera operator, editing and composing and performing the soundtrack - very amusing); and Photogallery.

The acting is faultless, the writing way above the norm for TV and the effects make this feel more like a movie than a TV show. I think the main problem was that the show really needed to connect with an audience that could follow the complex story arc from week to week. And, sadly, in a world where shows like Two and a Half Men are the height of sophisticated comedy, it's not a great surprise that the viewing figures gradually fell off. While it's a shame, it's not a great surprise. What does concern me is that shows like this will eventually stop being made and more lowbrow productions will be commissioned as networks push to capture those all important loyal viewers.


Darren Rea

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