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"Legend of the Seeker": The Complete First Season DVD Review - Page 2

Buy Legend of the Seeker: The Complete First Season from Amazon.com Legend of the Seeker: Season One (2008-09)
Show & DVD Details

Writers: Terry Goodkind (novel), Chad Fiveash, James Patrick Stoteraux, Kenneth Biller, Mike Sussman, Arika Lisanne Mittman, Stephen Tolkin, Nicki Paluga, Erin Maher, Kay Reindl / Repeat Directors: Mark Beesley, Michael Hurst, Jonathan Brough, Charlie Haskell, Garth Maxwell

Regular Cast: Craig Horner (Richard Cypher), Bridget Regan (Kahlan Amnell), Bruce Spence (Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander) / Recurring Characters: Craig Parker (Darken Rahl), Kevin J. Wilson (General Egremont), Tabrett Bethell (Cara), Jay Laga'aia (Chase), David de Lautour (Michael Cypher), Ben Fransham (Gar), Renato Bartolomei (Demmin Nass), Danielle Cormack (Shota), Jeffrey Thomas (George Cypher), Tania Nolan (Dennee Amnell), Jennifer Rucker (Emma Brandstone), Catherine Stephen (Laura Brandstone), Jessica Marais (Denna), Brooke Williams (Jennsen), Andrew Robertt (Ranssyn Fane), Jessica Chapnik (Anna Brighton)

Notable Guest Stars: Laura Gordon (Lilly), Ted Raimi (Sebastian), Rachel Nash (Brigid), Eryn Wilson (Andrew), Benson Anthony (Renn), Calvin Tuteao (Jeziah), Jason Smith (Gryff), Katherine Kennard (Lara), Geraldine Brophy (Queen Milena), Jordana Beatty (Rachel), Maisie McLeod-Riera (Princess Violet), Bronwyn Bradley (Martha), Louise Wallace (Serena), Rachel Forman (Alana), Roy Snow (Finn), Barnie Duncan (Niles Braggindor), Caren Pistorious (Luna), Lauren Porteous (Nella Greenleaf), Phil Brooks (Conor Greenleaf), Michael Hurst O.N.Z.M. (Amfortas), Matt Walker (Kieran), Mia Pistorius (Viviane), Judy Mcintosh (Tarralyn), Don Hany (Captain Ensor), Jason Hoyte (Gwildor), Claire Chitham (Bianca), Steve Rodgers (Frytss), Jacques Drew (Clayre), Carl Bland (King Gregor), Beatrice Joblin (Corah), Joseph Nathan (Aidan), Michelle Langstone (Livia), Jack Hurst (Nicholas)

Running Time: 946 Minutes (22 episodes) / Rating: TV-14
1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French; Closed Captioned
DVD Release Date: September 22, 2009 / Suggested Retail Price: $45.99
Season 1 Airdates: November 1, 2008 – May 23, 2009
Five single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9s)
Clear Dual Amaray with Holographic, Embossed Cardboard Slipcover

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Chase (Jay Laga'aia), Richard (Craig Horner), and Kahlan (Bridget Regan) survey a D'Haran camp in hopes of spotting Chase's kidnapped wife and children. Richard (Craig Horner) and Kahlan (Bridget Regan) share a steamy moment in the lake, but one of these characters is not who they appear to be.

Disc 4

14. Hartland (43:26) Originally aired March 7, 2009)
Richard returns to his hometown and is taken aback by how much has changed since he left.
He intends to restore it but must first reconcile with his brother to do so.

15. Conversion (43:29) (Originally aired March 14, 2009)
Richard and Kahlan break into a D'Haran fortress to save Chase's family. While there, they end up as part of an experiment to give Rahl Confessor powers and finally meet him face to face.

16. Bloodline (43:29) Originally aired March 21, 2009)
The Mord-Sith locate the last box of Orden thanks to Jensen, a girl who is completely impervious to magic. Richard discovers a special connection with her.

17. Deception (43:29) (Originally aired March 28, 2009)
Rahl sets out to destroy every village that has helped the Seeker on his journey. Richard attempts to prevent this by disguising himself as a D'Haran guard but forms an unlikely bond with the captain.

18. Mirror (42:34) Originally aired April 25, 2009)
Petty thieves use a magic mirror to transforms themselves into Richard and Kahlan and take advantage of people's generosity. The real Seeker and Confessor are left to deal with the aftermath.

Aidan (Joseph Nathan) uses his magical painting abilities to transport the Seeker, his friends, and the library in the middle of his own painted world. Richard (Craig Horner) and Kahlan (Bridget Regan) have an intimate sunset to themselves on a beach.

Disc 5

19. Cursed (43:29) Originally aired May 2, 2009)
A King asks Shota to protect his land from the D'Harans, but she does so by transforming him into a savage monster. He asks Richard for help before he slaughters more innocent people.

20. Sanctuary (42:49) Originally aired May 9, 2009)
When it's revealed that a copy of The Book of Counted Shadows exists, Richard, Kahlan, and Zedd search for it with the help of a librarian and a painter with magic abilities.

21. Fever (43:29) Originally aired May 16, 2009)
Jennsen is captured by Rahl, but when she suffers memory loss, Rahl manipulates her in order to find the last box of Orden. Zedd becomes overwhelmed by an epidemic spreading throughout a village.

22. Reckoning (43:29) Originally aired May 23, 2009)
Just as Richard is about to release the power of Orden, the Mord-Sith interrupt the process, causing Richard to travel decades into the future. Here, Rahl has forced Kahlan into giving him a male heir that turns out to be even crueler than Rahl himself.

Richard (Craig Horner) interrupts Renn's (Benson Anthony) screaming match when D'Harans are spotted nearby. While under Darken Rahl's spell, Richard (Craig Horner) dreams he's back home with Anna (Jessica Chapnik), his first love.

VIDEO and AUDIO

"Legend of the Seeker" comes to DVD in the anamorphic 1.78:1 ratio of its high-definition broadcasts. The transfers meet expectations and feature consistent detail, accurate color timing, and clean images. Some edge enhancement crops up on occasion, but not enough to be a distraction. The presentation here is tighter and more satisfying than some other recent ABC shows as of late.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround soundtracks are perhaps some of the most dynamic found for a television series. Dialogue remains centered and clear, but the effects (ranging from clanging swords to magic fire blasts) make use of the surrounds as do natural ambience. Neither these nor the sweeping score overpower the dialogue. The tracks are lively and often feel more feature-film quality than television quality.

Bridget Regan and Craig Horner pose for publicity shots in front of a green screen in "Forging the Sword: Crafting a Legend." Author Terry Goodkind shows off his favorite piece of cover art for his series, done by Keith  Parkinson.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS and PACKAGING

This first season set of "Legend of the Seeker" comes with a few supplements, starting with four audio commentaries. Actors Craig Horner and Bridget Regan participate alongside executive producers Ken Biller and Stephen Tolkin in tracks for the two-part premiere ("Prophecy" and "Destiny"). These are probably the best-rounded of the discussions as topics include adaptation challenges, visual effects, and on-set stories. Both tracks move along at a brisk pace and are neither too technical nor too light.

Horner and recurring co-star Jessica Marais talk about "Denna". This is easily the weakest commentary. Horner shares some interesting anecdotes while Marais offer some nice psychological insight into her character, but these bits are overwhelmed by a constant need to narrate what's on screen. "Puppeteer" with Craig Parker and Bruce Spence fares better.
Bonus feature clip - "Main characters":
It's not as enlightening as the pilot chats, but it's far more entertaining than the "Denna" discussion. Spence spends most of the time reacting to what's on screen as though he's never seen the episode before, but Parker makes up for it with his fun and constant cheekiness.

"Forging the Sword: Crafting a Legend" (16:23) feels a bit promotional in nature, partly because so much of the behind-the-scenes footage is from the two-part pilot episode. It begins with crew members giving their opinions of the actors. More crew appears to explain some of set creations, costumes, and stunts. Interspersed with this is a set tour given by Craig Horner and Bridget Regan. The portions of cast praise are naturally glossy, but a fair bit of information is divulged in regards to the show's technical aspects. It's far from comprehensive, but it provides enough interesting footage and anecdotes to make it interesting.

"Words of Truth: A Conversation with Terry Goodkind" (13:35) follows the Sword of Truth author around his lavish home. Here he credits some of his inspirations, showcases artwork from both himself and the franchise's cover artist, and establishes comparisons between the writing process and other hobbies of his such as racing. It truly is remarkable how many talents and pastimes Goodkind juggles, and this makes for more variety than one would expect from a piece focusing on a book author.

Richard and Kahlan have an honest and upfront moment with each other in this extended scene. Richard is superimposed over the barrier that separates Hartland from the rest of the world on Disc One's main menu.

Finally, eight deleted scenes (23:22) are included, but "extended scenes" would be the more appropriate term. All of these are featured in the final cuts of the episodes, only with less lines and footage than what's here. The most interesting one is actually an alternate version of an existing scene, with the character used in the current version replaced with one killed off several episodes prior. Since these scenes do not include any intros or commentary, it's hard to tell whether the creators considered resurrecting this character or if his death was a late production addition.
The other scenes either drag out what the audience already knows or gives slightly clearer character motivations. It's disappointing that the bits originally seen in the domestic pilot but cut from subsequent versions do not appear here.

Disc One opens with several promos, including ABC on DVD and Blu-ray, "Lost:" The Complete Fifth Season, Cheri, and Blu-ray Disc. Additional trailers can be found on disc five for Up, 10 Things I Hate About You: 10th Anniversary Special Edition, The Proposal, and Old Dogs.

The main menu of each disc starts with Kahlan crossing through the barrier. Inside the barrier are montages displaying clips relevant to that particular disc. Submenus feature only still publicity shots, but these are accompanied by different pieces of score.

All five discs contain full artwork with a different headshot on each. They're placed in a clear Amaray case with hinges holding discs one through four (five is placed on the right interior of the case). The sleeve artwork is double-sided, allowing disc breakdowns and publicity photos to be shown through the interior of the case. A leaflet advertising the show's second season on one side and "Lost" on the other is also included along with a pamphlet for Blu-ray discs. A cardboard slipcover with holographic embossment slides over the casing.

Zedd (Bruce Spence) holds an orb that can erase the false memories that were implanted into Richard's (Craig Horner) mind. Rahl (Craig Parker) uses Jennsen's (Brooke Williams) memory loss as a means of gaining her trust and turning her against the Seeker.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

The quality aspects of "Legend of the Seeker" struggle underneath fantasy clichιs and humdrum story points. It gets noticeably better as it goes along, which may bode well for future seasons but the improvement feels too little too late for this one. There's nothing to complain about in terms of the video and audio presentation, and while the supplements are rather ordinary, some good info can be gleamed. Fans of the producers' "Hercules" and "Xena: Warrior Princess" may want to check this out. Fans of other forms of fantasy, though, may not make it through the seemingly endless territory of familiarity to reach the highlights. A rental is recommended for the curious, otherwise, there are other notable franchises out there from which one can get a more nourishing fantasy fix.

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Reviewed October 18, 2009.