12 Monkeys: Season Two (Blu-ray) (2016)

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Released 4-Dec-2019

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Deleted Scenes-and extended scenes
More…-Gag Reel
More…-Inside 12 Monkeys x 3
Audio Commentary-x 4
More…-Webisodes
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2016
Running Time 557:50
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Various
Studio
Distributor
ViaVision Starring Aaron Stanford
Amanda Schull
Kirk Acevedo
Barbara Sukowa
Emily Hampshire
Noah Bean
Alisen Down
Todd Stashwick
Tom Noonan
Case ?
RPI ? Music Paul Linford
Trevor Rabin


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
French DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Dutch
Finnish
French
Norwegian
Danish
Swedish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     12 Monkeys: Season Two commences with Dr. Cassandra “Cassie” Railly (Amanda Schull), who was shot in 2016, being sent by James Cole (Aaron Stanford) into 2043 where he hopes that Katarina Jones (Barbara Sukowa), who runs the time machine facility, will be able to heal her. Cole and Ramse (Kirk Acevedo) remain in 2016. Cole to try to stop the release in 2017 of the deadly plague virus by Jennifer Goins (Emily Hampshire) that will wipe out 7 billion people and Ramse to try to avoid being killed by the minions of The Watcher led by the beautiful and deadly Olivia (Alisen Down) and the “Pallid Man” (Tom Noonan), who do not, however, both always see eye to eye.

     Cassie is healed by Jones. However, the time machine facility has been taken over by the mysterious, ghostly, hooded “Messengers”, allied to the Watcher, who force Jones to send some of them back in the past before Cassie, now allied with the scavenger leader Duncan (Todd Stashwick), retakes the facility, although not without doing major damage to the time machine so that it requires extensive repairs, leaving Cole and Ramse stranded in 2016. There Cole and Ramse discover that Jennifer, aided by the followers of The Watcher, will release the plague virus in New York on Chinese New Year, before she flies around the world to release more of the virus. With the help of Cassie, who arrives back in time, Jennifer is persuaded not to release the plague virus and Cassie, Cole and Ramse destroy all the vials of the virus, thus, they think, saving the world and securing the future. But it soon becomes apparent that while the future has changed it is not in the way they thought it would be. Instead, there is an alternative future, a shift in time lines, where the virus may still be released at a later date and the fate of the world’s population is still uncertain.

     While the time travel to save the world premise of Terry Gilliam’s film Twelve Monkeys and the 1962 French film La Jetee remains, 12 Monkeys: Season Two steps right away from the constraints of those films on which it is originally based. The alternative time line of events and Messengers being sent into the past gives the series the opportunity to delve into more time periods as Cole, Cassie and Ramse travel back in time to try to protect Primaries (people who are interconnected with time itself, including Jennifer) from being killed by Messengers. Sequences are set in New York in 1944 and 1975 (where the Primary is a serial killer, so there is an ethical paradox (should they protect a serial killer?), upstate in 1957 to 1959 and also 1961 and 2016 Berlin. The series also extends into 2044 where a Red Storm is covering the land and an older Jennifer with her band of women, The Daughters, may hold the key to the survival of humanity. And while the plague may have been delayed, the Watcher, operating from a place called Titan and controlling the Army of the 12 Monkeys, is seeking the destruction of time itself.

     In freeing itself from the constraints of the earlier film, 12 Monkeys: Season Two in the main provides a more varied story. For example, the series has a lot of fun with the reconstruction of 1944 and 1957, including the cars, clothes, fashions and buildings. The changes don’t mean that the series becomes more logical; the basis of time travel stories, someone going back to the past in order to change the present, has never been logical or even consistent, and within the series there are still sections of time travel within time travel, time loops and a major character meeting their dying self. There are still, as well, episodes that go nowhere, many mini-climaxes plus a major climax in Episode 12 but the paradox is that however often Cole and his companions time travel to alter the past they really don’t change much at all. Season Two also adds twists, betrayals and fractured loyalties and a couple of major shocks for Jones. However, the increase in the scope of the story and the different time periods does allow for an entertaining ride as long as you don’t think about it too much. As Cole comments “I’ve done trying to make sense of everything”. Right on!

     In Season two Aaron Stanford and Amanda Schull are growing into their roles but it is still the supporting cast that sell the show; Emily Hampshire, Kirk Acevedo, Barbara Sukowa (best actress at Cannes in 1986 for Rosa Luxemburg), Todd Stashwick and Alisen Down are all excellent. The series also finds time to add an appearance by Madeleine Stowe, who played the Dr Railly role in Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys.

     12 Monkeys: Season Two consists of 13 episodes which aired in the US between April and July 2016; all 13 episodes are included in this set of three Blu-rays. In Episode 13 the show jumps momentarily to scenes set in 1917 and 2163 opening up even wider possibilities for future seasons of 12 Monkeys; indeed, the series is up to Season Four which was shown in the US in 2018.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Except for the recap of Season One at the commencement of Episode 1 which is in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 12 Monkeys is presented in the 1.78:1 original broadcast ratio, in 1080p utilising the MPEG 4 AVC code.

     This is a very dark looking series, set mostly in a wintery and destroyed world, the underground bunkers controlling the time machine or at night which gives the series a dull monochrome look. The episodes set in the 1950’s and 1944 have a brown sepia look while blues dominate 2044, and even the colours in the sequences in 2015 lack vibrancy while Berlin 1961 is basically in black and white. There are splashes of bright colour in explosions and especially the vividness of the red forest and the impending red storm. Within this colour palate detail is decent although the constant “jumpy cam” camera work, which is utilised often and not only during the action sequences, and jump cuts sometimes makes it difficult to focus on details. Close-ups, such as Cole’s whiskered and battered face, are firm enough. Skin tones are muted and brownish in time travel sequences, brightness and contrast is consistent.

     I noticed no marks or artefacts except for occasional aliasing against vertical lines although the constantly swaying camera made some things a bit of a blur.

     English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available plus a range of Western European languages.

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

Audio

     The audio choice is English or French DTS HD-MA 5.1.

     Dialogue is fine and the surrounds and rears are frequently in use for the rumble of machinery, voices off camera, shots and impacts during the action, explosions, the roar of fire effects, the atonal rumble of the time machine and the music but the loudest and most chaotic effects are the wind, thunder, lightning and destruction of the red storm, effects which rattle the windows. The sub-woofer added rumble to the time machine and depth to the impacts, fires, explosions and the roar of the red storm.

     The score by Paul Linford and Trevor Rabin is varied and suits the series. Period songs are also utilised.

     I did not notice any lip synchronization issues.

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

Extras

     12 Monkeys: Season Two comes with an impressive set of extras spread over all three Blu-ray discs.

Disc1

Deleted Scenes (4:47)

     Three deleted scenes, although some have scenes within the scene. There is a “Play All:” option. The scenes are from the episodes:

Webisodes (10:22)

     In reality more deleted scenes. The webisodes are:

Inside 12 Monkeys: Season 2 (15:32)

     Four EPK type behind the scenes type featurettes, one for each of the four episodes on Disc 1, concentrating on the events of that specific episode. Each runs about 4 minute and can be selected individually or there is a “Play All” option. They utilise series footage and comments by Terry Matalas (executive producer/ showrunner) and cast Aaron Stanford, Amanda Schull, Kirk Acevedo, Emily Hampshire and Todd Stashwick.

Podcast

     This is really an audio commentary on Episode 2 “Primary” featuring executive producer / showrunner Terry Matalas, writer Sean Tretta and cast Aaron Stanford and Emily Hampshire. Matalas and Tretta dominate the commentary with only sporadic comments from the other two. There is not much about the shooting of the episode and a lot of “this is great” or “I love this”; rather they laugh a lot and talk about plot points, character development and their intentions as well as the decision to destroy the virus which gave them the opportunity to open up many more story lines including the new concept of “Primaries”.

Disc2

Deleted Scenes (1:56)

     One scene from the episode “Bodies of Water” but with multiple takes.

Inside 12 Monkeys: Season 2 (18:48)

     Five EPK type behind the scenes type featurettes, one for each of the five episodes on Disc 2, concentrating on the events of that specific episode. Each runs about 4 minute and can be selected individually or there is a “Play All” option. They utilise series footage and comments by Terry Matalas (executive producer/ showrunner) and cast Aaron Stanford, Amanda Schull, Kirk Acevedo, Emily Hampshire, Barbara Sukowa and Todd Stashwick .

Podcast

     An audio commentary for Episode 5 “Bodies of Water” with executive producer / showrunner Terry Matalas and cast Amanda Schull, Todd Stashwick and Emily Hampshire. They say “I like this”, laugh, speak all at once, sing and talk about teeth but do mention Old Jennifer’s mark-up, other cast members, plot points and deleted scenes.

Disc3

Deleted Scenes (10:30)

     Three deleted scenes, although some have multiple takes within the scene. There is a “Play All” option. The scenes are from the episodes:

Gag Reel (4:29)

     The gag reel starts with a warning to “younger audiences” about language in the gag reel; the series is rated MA here in Australia so violence is OK for young viewers but not bad language. Go figure. In any case, during the reel the audio cuts out anyway. Cast stuff ups and fun on set.

Inside 12 Monkeys: Season 2 (15:32)

     Four EPK type behind the scenes type featurettes, one for each of the four episodes on Disc 3, concentrating on the events of that specific episode. Each runs about 4 minute and can be selected individually or there is a “Play All” option. They utilise series and on-set footage and comments by Terry Matalas (executive producer/ showrunner) and cast Aaron Stanford, Amanda Schull, Kirk Acevedo, Emily Hampshire and Todd Stashwick.

Podcast

     There are two audio commentaries on this disc:

     The audio commentary on Episode 12 “Blood Washed Away”, perhaps the most powerful episode of Season Two, features executive producer / showrunner Terry Matalas, writer Sean Tretta and cast Amanda Schull, Aaron Stanford and Emily Hampshire. There is still a lot of “I love this” or “this is good”, laughing and all speaking at the same time but they do find time to talk about the plot and scripting, locations, colour correction in different time periods.

     This audio commentary on Episode 13 “Memory of Tomorrow” features executive producer / showrunner Terry Matalas and cast Amanda Schull and Aaron Stanford and is rather more focussed on the episode as they talk about writing the scenes of domestic bliss which were very different in tone to the rest of the series, the freeze frame sequences, lines of dialogue repeated from the Terry Gilliam film, getting Madeleine Stowe to appear in the series, trivia, sections of speeches lifted from other films and foreshadowing Season Three.

R4 vs R1

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

     The US Region A Blu-ray of 12 Monkeys: Season Two is identical to our release.

Summary

     12 Monkeys: Season Two breaks away from the constraints of Terry Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys and the original 1962 French film La Jetee to expand the scope and time frame of the basic concept into something very interesting, varied and entertaining. The series looks great, with impressive sets and production design, and while the logic of the time travel within the series remains convoluted and inconsistent, in Season Two the series begins to really hit its stride.

     The video is dark and the audio good. The extras are impressive, including 4 commentaries, and we get what is available in the US.

     12 Monkeys: 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, February 15, 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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