Mutant X 1.8 (2001)

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Released 24-Mar-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Audio & Animation
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 85:55
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By John Bell
Ken Girotti
Studio
Distributor
Force Video
Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring John Shea
Victoria Pratt
Victor Webster
Lauren Lee Smith
Forbes March
Tom McCamus
Case Brackley-Opaque-Lipped
RPI $29.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    These are another two episodes from a spin off series from the original comic book. Although not directly related to the comic book, there is still some similarity here (as well as being produced by Marvel). I noticed that Genomex looks suspiciously like The Centre (The Pretender) which was in Blue Cove Delaware and occasionally popped up on Psi Factor. It's surprising how the same stock shots crop up in different shows. Oh well, it only goes to show that you need to keep the budget in check somehow. I suppose it isn't much of a leap though, since the site is in Toronto where the series is made (amazing how many series they do make there nowadays).

 

Episode 15: - 42:58

    At a local dance club, where our favourite mutants are having a good time, Emma (Lauren Lee Smith) is asked to dance by a stranger to whom she is instantly attracted. After a short dance they take a stroll outside where this stranger kisses her. Brennan (Victor Webster), who is looking for Emma, sees something being drawn from within Emma and breaks the connection when he attacks her mysterious assailant. Taking her back to Sanctuary, they inform Adam (John Shea), who wants to know more about this possible threat. Over at Genomex, Eckhart (Tom McCamus) is having problems of his own. 6 possible mutant recruits have all died mysteriously in the past 5 months and he is not a happy man. He puts his newest assistant on the case with instructions to bring in a new mutant named Caleb Mathias (Andrew Martin) who is suspected of being responsible for the death of all the other mutants. Adam also wants to chase down this man and dispatches Brennan and Jesse (Forbes March) back to the nightclub where they interrogate the barmaid, who isn't being very helpful. While checking out the storerooms, their man appears and Jesse and Brennan have a run in with him, only to have it end prematurely when a GSA agent runs over Caleb and flees the scene. Taking no chances, Brennan and Jesse do likewise. Eckhart, though, isn't impressed when he hears of the death of Caleb and demands the body be recovered so they can perform an autopsy on it. The trouble is that Caleb is a special type of new mutant, one who can regenerate but who needs other mutants to feed off, and now he's after Emma who has fallen under his spell.

Episode 16: - 42:57

    Emma and Shalimar (Victoria Pratt) are accosted by several GSA agents while shopping, but escape after a brief fight. Meanwhile, at a compromised safe house, Brennan and Jesse are checking out the mess left behind when the GSA broke in. The question is, how come the GSA have suddenly become so successful at finding and raiding these previously secure sanctuaries, something to which Adam currently has no answer. At GSA headquarters, Eckhart is both praising and roasting his subordinate Mr Delay (Chris Owens) who ran the infiltration Op. His secret weapon is a mutant with telecyber abilities who can completely control any computers which she can access. A video of the break-in provides Adam with some clues, but Emma with even more as she recognises the telecyber mutant as her old class mate and friend Michelle Bigelow (Danielle Hampton). Contacting her on the net, she arranges to meet with her at a coffee shop, but Michelle is well and truly a part of Genomex and betrays Emma. Convinced her friend doesn't understand who or what she is working for, Emma tries to convince her of Eckhart's true intentions.

 

    This is a very lightweight series in almost all respects. The storylines aren't that involved and there is certainly room for improvement. The acting is at least decent enough, but the lingering shots on shapely rears and comely faces is pretty indicative of where the main thrust is on this series (that and the dreadful sense of fashion which can only be the current trends). The special effects are also reasonably well done without being too obvious. The show is seriously in need of some plot development though. Eckhart is a stereotypical bad guy and lacks any real menace. That, plus the fact that he loses almost every time makes him more comical than threatening. The show is cutesy in the extreme and I have no doubt will stay that way, but it's a relatively harmless way to spend an hour or two since there's no blood and very little guts.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is pretty typical of most television series. It has decent production values but nothing amazing since budget-wise it probably can't afford the very best. Still, it does have some quality and it's hard to be too critical of something of this genre.

    The original aspect ratio of the series is 1.33:1 and not 16x9 enhanced which is what is offered on this disc.

    Apart from some heavy grain (eg: 2:02 in Ep15) which seems dependant upon the camera in use, the overall quality is surprisingly good, within limits. The backgrounds are soft and occasionally shapeless with very little crisp sharpness on offer but if you look closely during the episodes you'll see that the use of edge enhancement is minimal. Fine detail is mostly missing due to the softness, but you won't have any problem with the production quality after a couple of minutes viewing. Low level noise was not an issue.

    No major MPEG artefacts were detected during either episode nor were there any film artefacts spotted which was quite satisfying. Possibly this could be because it was shot on video. Some tape errors were noted from time to time, especially at 36:30 when there is what appears to be a tape tracking error (if you want to know what it looks like, it's like the teleporter effect they used in Blake's 7). Aliasing can be seen from time to time. The most obvious occurrences were in Ep15 at 12:50 and Ep16 at 0:25, but otherwise it's mostly unobtrusive.

    There were no subtitles on this disc.

    The is a single layered disc and therefore there is no layer change.

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

Audio

    A fairly stock standard soundtrack accompanies the video. Similar to previous reviews, it follows the same pattern with the opening title track and variations on a theme. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 at a reasonable bit rate of 224 kilobits per second. As you'd expect from a television show, there isn't a lot of variety on offer but it does have some bite in the bottom end which was surprising. There is moderate separation across the front speakers, but with the voices being placed in the centre channel there didn't appear to be that much width in the soundfield and it was more monaural in nature.

    There were no problems with the dialogue or the syncing.

    The music for the series is by Louise Natale (theme) and Donald Quan (theme and score) and is pretty indicative of similar type series. Nothing spectacular - just enough to make the music identifiable to fans. Both of them have worked on a number of other series, including other SciFi shows.

    There was no surround channel or subwoofer activity noted on this disc.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    Although not what I call an extra, music from the series overlays a static picture of the members of Mutant X with a rotating animation in the background.

R4 vs R1

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

    It appears that both the Region 1 and Region 4 discs are bare-bones releases (in the single disc format). There is a boxed set due out soon, or so I've heard, that may contain bonus features, but I haven't seen any specifications for it as yet. Given that, it's buyer's choice.

Summary

   Another decent effort in the Mutant X series. Nothing too spectacular but more of the same to keep the fans happy. The video is decent without being anything special and the audio is average. The lack of extra is nothing unusual, but they have to start coming out with better plots - hopefully for series 2...

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Carl Berry (read my bio)
Sunday, November 02, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDSony NS-305, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Xelos (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderRotel RSP-976. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationRotel RB 985 MkII
SpeakersJBL TLX16s Front Speakers, Polk Audio LS fx di/bipole Rear Speakers, Polk Audio CS350-LS Centre Speaker, M&KV-75 Subwoofer

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