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Blu-ray Reviews

HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Lie to Me - Season 1

TV Reviews

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#1 of 1 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

Cameron Yee

    Executive Producer

  • 10,655 posts
  • Join Date: May 09 2002
  • Real Name:Cameron Yee
  • LocationSince 2006

Posted September 09 2009 - 03:43 PM


Lie to Me - Season 1

Release Date: August 25, 2009
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Packaging/Materials: Three-disc Blu-ray case
Year: 2009
Rating: NR
Running Time: Approximately 9.5 hours
MSRP: $59.99

1080p high definition 16x9 1.78:1 High definition
Audio DTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1 Stereo
Subtitles English SDH, Spanish, French

The Series: 3.5/5

Dr. Cal Lightman (Tim Roth) knows when you're lying. He's an expert on human body language and "micro-expressions," fleeting, involuntary facial cues that reveal the truth behind a person's words. More reliable than a polygraph, Lightman's methods put him and his consulting firm in high demand for law enforcement training and assorted investigations. With his colleague Dr. Gillian Foster (Kelli Williams), and junior investigators Eli Loker (Brendan Hines) and Ria Torres (Monica Raymund) the Lightman Group is hired to find the truth behind everything from murder investigations to political scandals. And they're good at what they do, though their unique knowledge and skills don't always benefit their personal lives, where lies should have no place, but inevitably do, and where dishonesty is sometimes more convenient. It seems truth does not always set you free.

Inspired by the emotion studies of psychologist Dr. Paul Ekman, "Lie to Me" plays like "C.S.I." or "Cold Case" with its story structure and sometimes its content, but with a different (and significantly less visceral) set of tools in the toolbox. Early episodes can be repetitive as characters reiterate their lie detection methods, which are interesting but not exactly rocket science. Granted, repetition is not unusual for a new show trying to establish itself; what's odd is the presentation of the actual body language and micro-expressions, things which are supposed to be subtle and obvious only to the main characters but which the guest actors are clearly being directed to incorporate, in an obvious way, into their performances. No doubt it makes for an interesting challenge for an actor, but more often than not it's distracting in its goofiness. The investigations tend to be pretty predictable as well, with the identity of the liar or the motivation behind the lies sometimes telegraphed well in advance of the conclusion. Not surprisingly, the most compelling parts of the show deal with the characters' personal lives. If you can sniff out even a little dishonesty, how do you raise a teenage daughter, date someone new, or keep a marriage together? It's a thought provoking conundrum, and one the show could stand to spend more time on. As it is, it combines an interesting premise and solid performances with mostly run-of-the-mill investigative stories. It's not a bad show by any means, but one that still has some work to do. Fortunately it has a chance to improve as its second season is set to premiere in a couple weeks.

"Lie to Me - Season 1" on Blu-ray includes all 13 episodes that aired last spring on the Fox Network. The second season will begin on September 28th at 9PM.

Video Quality: 4/5

The film is correctly framed at 1.78:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec. The transfer exhibits solid and inky black levels, though shadow detail is often affected by moderate levels of black crush. Color rendition and flesh tones look accurate and show good depth however, while fine object detail is decent. The pilot episode looks grainier than the rest of the episodes, though there's nothing to indicate excessive noise reduction measures have been applied to them. Overall the transfer looks very good, with only a few occasional, minor issues.

Audio Quality: 3.5/5

Primary surround activity in the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is in support of the show's score, with some light environmental and directional effects depending on the scene. The mix exhibits good balance, with dialogue that is generally clear and intelligible. There were moments when I had to turn on subtitles to make out lines of dialogue and there was at least one moment in the pilot when a character's dialogue levels seemed boosted. LFE activity appears mostly around the show's dramatic transitions to and from commercial breaks, but episodes with gun fire and explosions exhibit good depth and fullness.

Special Features: 2/5

The special features package is slim, but it's not surprising given the show's infancy. All things considered, the thorough documentary and healthy number of deleted scenes offer a decent glimpse behind the scenes.

Deleted Scenes (19:19): Multiple scenes from episodes 101, 103, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, and 112.

The Truth About Lies (26:06): Documentary covers how the show was created, casting of the characters and analysis of the stories and includes interviews with show creator Samuel Baum, Dr. Paul Ekman and members of the cast and crew.


The Series: 3.5/5
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Special Features: 2/5
Overall Score (not an average): 3.5/5

A new TV series with an interesting premise but with some room to improve gets a very good technical presentation but a slim set of special features.

One thing leads to another at cameronyee.com