Starring Johnny Lee Miller, Natasha Henstridge, Victor Garber
Created By Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim
I was honestly not looking forward to watching this series when it landed on my doorstep. Much of the basic tropes of this series have been done many many times before and with only a few exceptions I hated those shows. Highway to Heaven comes to mind as something I really don’t like. On the other hand I did really like Joan of Arcadia so there’s always hope.
Johnny Lee Miller stars as a self obsessed attorney with the great job, the nice car, and the hot girlfriend, who also happens to be his boss’ daughter. He represents large companies and makes lots of money. He’s living a stereotypical life, until one night George Michael appears to him singing his hit song “Faith”. From this point on Eli begins having visions that usually lead him to take jobs representing the underdog. So, it’s Highway to Heaven with musical and some procedural elements. Overall, this could sound like a fun distraction.
The big problem with the series is just what I expected; the show is way to preachy and just heavy handed. The writers have agendas that will likely alienate some viewers. The idea of faith is fine but it can be done in a more even handed way and less obnoxious. Look at Joan of Arcadia as an example. That show was full of the expected morality plays but it never comes off insulting or ham fisted. While I agree with the morality of the series I don’t like to have it banged into my head. On top of all of that the other storylines in the series are way too typical nighttime drama ilk. This show often turns into who’s doing it with whom and who’s mad about it.
On the upside Johnny Lee Miller is charismatic and fun to watch, good enough in fact that his presence alone will be enough to retain viewers. Also, the visions are humorous and a good bit of fun. Overall, this series unfortunately didn’t appeal to me as I had hoped it might. I was really hoping this series would be like Joan of Arcadia and break that Highway to Heaven mold. It is a better show that that but not quite worth of following LOST as it did in its debut season on TV.
The widescreen presentation here is typical of a television show on DVD. It looks good overall but blacks are murky and there is some grain throughout the presentation. It’s definitely watchable but the grain does soften the detail a bit.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation here is solid. The songs blow out o the speakers crisp and clean and the dialogue is well balanced and comes through loud and clear. Often throughout the episodes the rear speakers perk up making the show feel much more immersive than many other modern shows on DVD.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The 13 episodes span four discs in a cardboard case with cover art taken from the ad campaign. The color pallet and the use of the floating head actually can be confused with the cover art and ads for Eureka.
There’s an extended pilot running just about five extra minutes that also features a commentary with the director, producers, and main cast. The commentary doesn’t offer any deep dark secrets but the commentators do share some behind the stories and they discuss the production. They all appear to get along great. There are a couple of other commentaries on other episodes but they seem to cover the same topics as this main one with the addition of another director and some writers.
Turning a Prophet is a standard EPK style making of featurette that offers up interviews and sound bites from the cast and crew. More interesting in this brief featurette is the behind the scenes footage. Acting on Faith is around five minutes of irritating back slapping. Creating Visions focuses on the visual effects but most of its running time is taken up with a scene from the show as an example of the effects, lame. Inside the Firm is a brief set tour done by Natasha Henstridge. It’s short but enjoyable even if you aren’t into the series that much. There’s a set of deleted scenes and a blooper reel rounding out the extras.
Unfortunately a good bit of the bonus stuff here feels like filler. With that said, there are some nuggets of goodness for fans of the show.
Overall (Not an Average) 5/10
The Season 4/10
The Video 6.5/10
The Audio 8/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 5/10
Overall (Not an Average) 5/10