Absentia: Season Two (2019) (NTSC)

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Released 1-Jan-2020

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category TV Series None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2019
Running Time 423:03
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Oded Ruskin
Adam Sanderson
Kasia Adamik
Studio
Distributor
Sony Pictures TV
ViaVision
Starring Stana Katic
Patrick Heusinger
Angel Bonanni
Cara Theobold
Neil Jackson
Natasha Little
Christopher Colquhoun
Patrick McAuley
Matthew Le Nevez
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music Nami Melumad


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     In Absentia: Season One FBI agent Emily Byrne (Stana Katic) was abducted and tortured by a serial killer for six years. Declared dead, her husband Nick (Patrick Heusinger), also an FBI agent, married Alice (Cara Theobold) and the two bring up Emily and Nick’s young son Flynn (Patrick McAuley). After Emily is found alive, but badly traumatised, the hunt was on to find and catch her abductor and, finally, the case seemed resolved.

     As Absentia: Season Two commences, Emily is still traumatised and suffering flashbacks to her ordeal while trying to reconnect with her son, who is having mental issues of his own. , With the help of Boston PD Detective Tommy Gibbs (Angel Bonanni), now her lover, she is investigating her past. Her brother Jack (Neil Jackson), a recovered alcoholic, has set his life back on track and works as an ambulance paramedic. Then the Federal Annex in Boston is targeted in a deadly nerve gas attack in which over 120 FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) employees die horrible deaths and FBI Chief of Station Crown (Christopher Colquhoun), Emily’s husband Nick and Special Agent and profiler Julianne Gunnarsen (Natasha Little) work the case. Tommy is also working on another serial killer case where the killer injects a lethal dose of Fentanyl into his victim’s necks. But when a prominent person is murdered the case is taken away from Tommy by the FBI. One of the serial killer’s victims was close to Emily, so hiding her connection with the victim Emily re-joins the FBI and is assigned to work with Agent Cal Isaac (Matthew Le Nevez) to track down the killer.

     These intersecting stories make up season two; indeed, when the serial killer murders the perpetrator of the deadly gas attack it is clear that he is a professional, working to someone’s orders; but whose? The killer is tracked to a private security company operating out of Moldova and Emily and Cal are sent undercover to Moldova to find him. But, of course, things don’t go according to plan.

     Absentia: Season Two is a more straightforward thriller / drama mini-series than season one; in the first season nothing was simple and there was enough misdirection, false leads and red herrings to open a fish market! In season two there is still mystery but in the main the series moves in more of a straight line, at least as far as the investigation of the crimes is concerned, becoming a more conventional thriller. Indeed, the pace of the series drives the investigation forward relentlessly, through suspects, gunfights and explosions, although the more the series moves forward the more the clues and events cycle backwards linking to Emily’s imprisonment and torture in season one. Where Absentia: Season Two also scores is on the interrelationships between the main characters where Emily, Nick, Alice, Cal, Jack and Flynn all are impacted by the events, past and present, and relationships are placed under tremendous stress and, in some cases, reach breaking point. None of these individuals are perfect, Emily least of all, and their dilemmas and their choices made feel realistic helped by excellent performances from Stana Katic, (best known for her role in the TV series Castle from 2009 to 2016), Patrick Heusinger (who actually did appear in one episode of Castle), Cara Theobold and Neil Jackson.

     Absentia, is an intense and gritty thriller but, for all its good points, it feels contrived and implausible. And, true to form, the final episode of Absentia in season two adds a massive twist that I struggled to accept!

     The 10 episodes of Absentia: Season Two were streamed in the US in 2019. This three DVD set Absentia: Season Two contains all 10 episodes. Season Three is in production.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Absentia: Season Two is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the original broadcast ratio, in NTSC, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a dark and gritty TV mini-series and the print reflects this. There are lots of scenes in dark rooms or at night, all of which have a murky brown look while the fluid handheld style results in some scenes being very murky indeed, which is, I think, deliberate to obscure detail. Especially in Emily’s flashbacks there are single frames and other quick fire editing, meaning that detail is lost. Colours, even in the glass and chrome FBI offices, are dull and muted with few splashes of brighter colours. Blacks are strong, skin tones natural, brightness and contrast consistent.

     I noticed no marks although there was some aliasing against vertical blinds and some motion blur.

     No subtitles are provided. Small white subtitles translated sections of non-English dialogue.

     The layer change on Discs 1 and 2 was not noticeable. On Disc 3 there was a noticeable pause during a scene in episode 9 “Committed” at 7:18.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps.

     This is a front oriented presentation. Dialogue is generally easy to understand. The rears and surrounds mostly featured music and some thunder and rain but even in the bar or the party sequences little sound was redirected to the rears. Shots were loud, and loud audio accompanied the jump frames in Emily’s memory flashbacks. The sub-woofer added depth to the music and heartbeat sounds.

     The score by Nami Melumad, who did not provide the music for season one, was good.

     I did not notice any lip synchronization issues.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     No extras. The menu of each disc allows access to the episodes on that disc, or there is a Play All option.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Absentia: Season Two is a Prime Original TV mini-series available in the US on Amazon for streaming but our Region All DVD release is the only one currently listed on sales sites.

Summary

     Absentia: Season Two is a more straightforward thriller series than season one. The action moves relentlessly forward, the complicated personal interrelationship are well handled and Stana Katic remains good to watch. However, the series still feels contrived and the final twist may be a pretzel too far. I guess that will be a matter of taste!

     The video and audio are fine. No extras.

     The Absentia: Season Two was supplied for review by ViaVision Entertainment. Check out their Facebook page for the latest releases, giveaways, deals and more.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Saturday, January 18, 2020
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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