Hex-Complete Second Season (2005)

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Released 24-Oct-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 597:56 (Case: 599)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL
Multi Disc Set (5)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Brian Grant
Andy Goddard
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Jemima Rooper
Christina Cole
Michael Fassbender
Anna Wilson-Jones
Colin Salmon
Joseph Morgan
Jamie Davis
Amber Sainsbury
Zoe Tapper
Holly Lumsden
Katy Carmichael
Case ?
RPI $49.95 Music James Seymour Brett


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Picking up right where the first season left off, season two of Hex is a must-see for anybody who has an empty spot in their lives since the end of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and Angel. Alas, Hex would only fill that spot briefly. It never made it to a third season, which is a real shame considering how entertaining it was for the duration of its run.

    Whilst there's no doubting that it came into being thanks to the cult success of Buffy, it is far from a Buffy clone. Hex has a very "British" feel to it. It has a wickedly black sense of humour and is quite macabre at times - certainly more so than Buffy was able to get away with. It seems you can push the envelope a lot further when you're making a show for English pay TV than you can for US network TV! That distinction also allows Hex to be a little more graphic when it comes to human flesh - both in terms of nudie bits and the gruesome bits that may make you squirm in your seat!

    In a nutshell, Hex is a tale of witches, ghosts, fallen angels and high school. An exclusive high school in a magnificent gothic manor named Medenham Hall, to be precise. It is a very dynamic and dark drama guaranteed to keep you hooked.

    Possibly the most refreshing difference with Hex is that it steers clear of vampires in favour of ghosts, witches and the occult, subject matter that hasn't been done to death by every cult movie and TV show under the sun (well, unless you want to include a handful of the painfully PG-rated Charmed). Evil killer fairies, mischievous fallen angels and the diversely wicked Nephilim - Hex has its own take on them all.

    Anybody that has not seen the first season of Hex should probably stop reading this plot synopsis now and jump to the rest of the review - I won't give away any of the big twists and turns (and some of them are pretty big) of season 2, but talking about it at all could spoil the first season for you! Best start by checking out our review of the first season here, as it's highly advisable you watch that series before jumping into the second.

    There are some significant differences between the production style of the two seasons of Hex. Whilst the first season concentrated on a single plot arc over the course of its five episodes, the second season weaves a number of threads into its 13 episode run. The difference is in some ways like comparing a mini-series to a regular TV series - the writing style of this second series is certainly more conducive to keeping a regular show going than the plot arc of the original series. That said, Hex does a good job of avoiding a "monster of the week" formula. Story arcs typically resolve themselves over the course of 3 or 4 episodes, but several arcs are woven together in each episode.

    There are quite a number of cast changes between the two seasons. Most notable is the introduction of the petite but deadly Ella Dee (Laura Pyper) as the last of the anointed ones - witches and warlocks working for the forces of good (although that can be a little grey at times!) to prevent the end of days. Evidently, she was running a bit late and missed her chance in the first season.

    Cassie (Christina Cole), the character around whom the first series revolved and who was in virtually every scene of that series, takes a back seat for much of this series. Instead, the plot threads weave around many of the characters that were only afforded supporting roles in the first series. Fans of the wicked Azazeal (Michael Fassbender) and Thelma (Jemima Rooper) are really in for a treat throughout this season.

    Gone entirely, with the aid of only one throw-away line of dialogue, is Troy (Joseph Morgan), Cassie's pouty love interest in the first series. Troy's first series side-kick Leon (Jamie Davis) does a great job taking over the good-guy male lead, however.

    The plot of this series ultimately revolves around the rise of Malachi, the child of a fallen angel who will bring about the end of days if he isn't stopped in time. The plot twists come thick and fast throughout this series, much more so than the first series, so giving away too much more could spoil it. Suffice to say, it's quite gothic and pushes the boundaries of its storyline much more than the first series. If you're desperate for a rundown of the episodes in this series (beware spoilers - even the episode titles give a bit much away), one can be found on TV.com.

    The 13 episodes are spread across 5 discs, with three episodes on each of the first discs (each dual layer) and one on the fifth disc (single layer).

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The video quality for this set is quite comparable to the first season of the show - watchable, but not particularly good.

    There are two main issues with the video. It is quite grainy throughout, which is particularly noticeable in the many dark scenes, and suffers from poor shadow detail. In some shots, such as at 15:50 in episode 9 when an important makeup effect is hard to distinguish, characters and objects that should be clearly visible are quite hard to distinguish because of the poor shadow detail.

    Colours are bold and quite even throughout the series. Skin tones are very natural.

    There are no significantly noticeable MPEG artefacts in the transfer.

    There is one subtitle set available, English for the hearing impaired. The subtitles are white with a grey border and generally accurate and easy to read. They are also positioned to indicate which character speech belongs to where possible.

    Four of the five discs in this set are RSDL discs. On each of those discs, the layer transition occurs about halfway through the second episode on the disc and between scenes. None of the layer transitions were noticeable on the equipment I played the discs with.

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

Audio

    There is one audio track available, English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kbps).

    The dialogue is clearly audible and in sync throughout the series.

    The audio quality is quite adequate for this type of show, but far from anything special. The mix is quite basic and does not contain any noticeable surround encoding. There is no LFE track present and only a small amount of the bottom end of the mix made its way to the subwoofer.

    The show's theme tune is a slightly awkwardly edited cut of Garbage's #1 Crush. The music throughout the show is a quite fitting and distinct score.

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

Extras

    There are no real extras on this release, save for animated menus (if indeed you consider them to be an extra), which is probably something fans have every right to be annoyed at given that TV.com lists a making of episode to have aired with this series when it was broadcast on British TV that is not included in this set.

R4 vs R1

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

    This title has not been released in Region 1.

    An identical version is available in Region 2.

Summary

    Hex is a refreshing take on what is steadily becoming a tired genre. It is a real shame this is the last season.

    There are no extras in this package

    The video quality is mediocre. A bit too dark and grainy, but watchable.

    The audio is basic but reasonably good.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDLG V8824W, using S-Video output
DisplayLG 80cm 4x3 CRT. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-D512
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

Other Reviews NONE
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