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HTF Review: Kyle XY Season One

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#1 of 6 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted May 21 2007 - 01:39 PM

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Kyle XY Season One



Studio: Touchstone Television
Year: 2006
Rated: TV14-DLV
Film Length: 437 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English & Spanish DD 5.1
Subtitles: Optional English, Spanish & French subtitles




US Release Date: May 22, 2007

The Show - Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image out of Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

"If he’s supposed to be so special, why’d you stick him in the bathtub?"

A young boy wakes up naked in the middle of the forest. As he stumbles into town, he is picked up by the police and hauled off to a juvenile detention center where he is assigned to a psychologist, Nicole Trager. Recognizing something extra-ordinary about this young boy with no memory of who he is or where he came from, she takes him into her home with her husband, son and daughter. In the safety of living with this family, Kyle explores the wonders of all things as he experiences them for the first time. From speaking his first words to the awe felt staring up at the star-filled night sky and the elegant poetry of piano music, Kyle represents that sense of curiosity and sensitivity held captive inside all of us.

The opening moment of “Kyle XY” looked and sounded like the “X-Files”, from its subtle piano score reminiscent of Mark Snows soundtrack to slow a spiral aerial shot of the lush green Vancouver forest with the naked Kyle laying in a fetal position on the forest floor. And that works as an intriguing hook to what is ultimately a show about the average American family and the growing pains of American teens with a dark cloud of mystery hanging just above.

Besides a similar initial premise and recognizable faces from the conspiracy laden “X-Files”, “Kyle XY” veers off from that format comfortably and quickly finds its own identity.

The Trager’s are your typical family, a little too typical in some ways with the over-protective mother, Nicole (Marguerite MacIntyre), the chisel-jawed father, Stephen (Bruce Thomas), Lori (April Matson), the sexually promiscuous teenage girl fighting boy troubles, and Josh (Jean-Luc Bilodeau) the overly life-aware, X-Box addicted boy. But, flaws aside, they work well together onscreen and when they fight and rally, there is a likeable familial bonding occurring that helps the show work as a family drama.

This is a show filled with a real sense of wonder and hope, contained in the guise of a sci-fi tainted family drama. And while the episodes are occasionally laced with the tiresome flaw of melodrama and it stumbles from time to time with clumsy editing and a slight listlessness that hurts the pacing a little, this show has real promise.

The revelation of Kyle’s special abilities is slowly paced through this 10 episode first season, a pace that suits the light mystery of the show and never tips the balance of mystery and family to much into X-Files territory.
Interestingly, several “X-Files”/”Millennium” alumni pop-up through this first season, including Robert Wisden (Robert Modell aka Pusher from the X-File episodes ‘Pusher’ & ‘Kitsunegari’,) Sarah-Jane Redmond (Lucy Butler from Millennium) and, as a prominent guest star, Nicholas Lea, the infamous Alex Krycek, long-time nemesis to Agent Mulder, again here playing a mysterious man connected to the conspiracy in shadowy and surprising ways.



The Episodes
Disc One -
1: Pilot
2: Sleepless In Seattle
3: The Lies That Bind
4: Diving In

Disc Two
5: This Is Not A Test
6: Blame It On The Rain
7: Kyle Got Game
8: Memory Serves

Disc Three
9: Overheard
10: Endgame



The Video - Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image out of Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image
“Kyle XY” is filmed in HD and presented in 1.78:1 and enhanced for 16:9 televisions. This is a great looking DVD set. Colors are vibrant; the image is clean and free of any artifacts or debris. The only slight complaint I had was with the black levels, but overall, each of the 10 epsiodes of this clever family show gets a fine transfer to DVD and makes for an excellent looking set.


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This three DVD set is presented with both a Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 surround sound. Sound is clean, especially the center channel where the narration is focused. Matt Dallas’ semi-stoic voice-over is well presented but the surrounds aren’t used as much as they could be. Scenes with rain or the frequent sequences that use today’s songs to provide emotional overlay to the onscreen action, however, come across well. Michael Suby’s excellent score, filled with a solid sense of marvel and poignancy sounds especially good.


The Extra’s - Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image out of Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

Alternate Premiere – This alternate premiere episode, a discarded original version deemed too “poetic and slow” to engage audiences in a new series, does feel a little cumbersome when compared to the extended version. In this version, the narration is not performed by the actor playing Kyle and, since it was filmed a full year before the re-shoots of the extended pilot and rest of the first season, young Josh’s voice is a full octave higher. This version spends more time with Nicole Trager and her work with troubled youth.

Extended Season Finale – Adding approximately three extra minutes, this extended version of the season finale ‘Endgame’, adds a little more context to some scenes, but nothing that stands out as remarkable.

Note: This extended version of the season finale comes with a DD 2.0 track only.


Kyle XY Declassified – A generic 14 minute season recap, a sort of summary of the first season that segues into a 4 minute behind the scenes sneak peak into the second season. Presented in Anamorphic widescreen, this glimpse into the upcoming season does a good job in making a lot of promises as to the plot developments, questions being answered and the anticipation to where this intriguing little series can go.

Audio Commentaries with Matt Dallas, April Matson, Julie Plec for episodes ‘Pilot’ and ‘Diving In’ – These are reasonably interesting commentary tracks that suffer a little from the participants covering the same ground a little too often. But in general, there is enough good conversation and insight, especially from the young actor playing Kyle, to make it worth your time.


Final Thoughts
“Kyle XY” is quite the nice surprise, an often lyrical family show that balances the mysteries of the young boy without a past and the evil company tracking him down against the coming of age stories and turbulence of your everyday suburban family.

While it showed some growing pains and was loose around the edges, “Kyle XY” is a solid first season and good enough to have me eager to see how this family and this young boy without a past will grow.

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Neil Middlemiss
Kernersville, NC
"Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science" – Edwin Hubble
My DVD Collection

#2 of 6 OFFLINE   Pete Battista

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Posted May 21 2007 - 09:08 PM

Thanks for the review...
I may have to give this one a blind buy. Posted Image

#3 of 6 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted May 24 2007 - 09:12 AM

Pete - if you do pick this one up, let me know what you think of it. I am debating if I will wait to watch the second season until it comes out on DVD -or watch it in full-screen on the ABC Family channel....
Neil
"Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science" – Edwin Hubble
My DVD Collection

#4 of 6 OFFLINE   Pete Battista

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Posted May 24 2007 - 12:10 PM

Will do... just not sure if/when I will be able to grab it. Was thinking about next week... then a surprise expense came up.

#5 of 6 OFFLINE   Southpaw

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Posted May 28 2007 - 11:12 AM

Pretty good show. My 8 year old got me watching it last summer after the 1st episode. Looking forward to season 2.

#6 of 6 OFFLINE   buffycritter97

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Posted May 28 2007 - 03:39 PM

This show is amazing, but its one of those shows that you can't figure out why you like it so much. Last summer, being stuck home after my freshman year of college my friends and I watched a lot of TV to kill time, but 'Kyle XY' became an event of sorts - we never planned anything Monday nights because we got so addicted.

On a sidebar. If you go on the companies website that is mentioned towards the middle of the season, it really exist, and their is a whole online conspiracy you can get into if you are really bored...