Judge Bill Treadway will not say "Kevin Sorbo rules!" but does admit that he is a good actor.
Another legendary journey.
If you recall my review of the first season of Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, I was not exactly favorable. Aside from a handful of clever, well-acted episodes, it was an unimpressive maiden voyage. Since that review was posted, I have received many e-mails assuring me that future seasons were indeed superior. With that in mind, I decided to give Andromeda another chance. I'm glad I did. Indeed, the fans are correct.
Why did I enjoy the third season more than the first? Perhaps it is because, since all the setup took place in the first season, I was able to sit back and just allow the stories to seep in. The third season features more stand-alone episodes, allowing the program to be much easier to follow blindly. The screenwriting is stronger, with richer characters and comprehensible plots.
The performances are terrific. Kevin Sorbo remains the pillar of strength for this series. Just as he did with Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Sorbo adds a touch of highly personal humor to an otherwise serious character. That touch gives Dylan Hunt an extra dimension and makes him easier to relate to. While the supporting cast struggled with the premise in the first season, they show growth and depth in their roles this time around. The greatest improvement comes from Lisa Ryder, who plays Beka Valentine. In the first season, she came across as stiff and dull, but her acting has improved to a startling degree. She holds her own against the charismatic Sorbo and creates a vivid, three-dimensional heroine.
Four episodes from the program's third season appear in this two-disc set. On a scale of zero to five stars:
• "Slipfighter: The Dogs of War"
• "The Leper's Kiss"
• "For Whom the Bell Tolls"
• "And Your Heart Will Fly Away"
ADV presents the program in the original 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio, with anamorphic enhancement. The transfers are a great improvement over the original collection. The visuals are crystal clear, with only some light grain and stray specks marring an otherwise perfect image. Colors look appropriately subdued at times and vividly lush at others.
Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. It is every bit as good as the video. Science fiction programs are tricky when it comes time to transfer them to home video, but since this was a television program, the transition was easier. The audio is carefully mixed to avoid a "traffic jam" of dialogue, music, and sound effects. All three are perfectly balanced throughout.
Some extras have been included for your enjoyment. Several deleted scenes and alternate takes for various episodes are presented in anamorphic widescreen. Some of the deleted footage is quite good and should have remained somewhere in the finished product. As for the rest, it is easy to see why it was relegated to the cutting room floor.
"Meet the Cast" is an ongoing series introducing us to the cast of Andromeda. Collection Two features a profile of Kevin Sorbo, who plays Dylan Hunt. It is well worth seeing, as Sorbo is one of the more engaging stars working on television today. Another regular feature is the traditional blooper reel. Bloopers are rarely funny, but I must admit that some of these made me laugh hard. Promotional spots and detailed art galleries complete the package.
I marginally recommended the first-season set. This time around, I definitely recommend checking out the five two-disc collections that make up the third season. However, I think the $39.99 retail price is ridiculous. Most two-disc DVD collections tend to sell for $19.99 to $26.99. As Judge Dozier has pointed out in her Mutant X reviews, in order to complete a seasonal collection, a potential purchaser must spend almost $200 to own the complete season. This is an area in which ADV Films must improve if they want to rack up greater sales.
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