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Featured TV on DVD Review: Now and Again

August 23rd, 2014

Now and Again - Buy from Amazon

Now and Again debuted in 1999 and while it found a sizable audience, the production budget was biggest than its ratings were and it was canceled after just one season. This means this review is a little different. The question isn't whether or not the TV show is worth watching. The question is whether or not the TV show is worth watching knowing the show ended without a good resolution. That's a higher bar to reach.

The Show

The series begins in Tokyo where we see an older man taking the subway after buying groceries. When he gets off the train, he left several eggs behind on his seat. As the subway bounces on the track, the eggs break and release a nerve gas that kills everyone on the subway car.

We then switch to New York City where we meet Michael Wiseman and his wife, Lisa, and his daughter, Heather. At work, he learns he was passed over for a promotion at the insurance company he works for, because he refused to lie under oath about the cause of a bridge collapse. He and a colleague, Roger, go and get drunk to commiserate. While waiting for the subway, Michael is accidentally pushed in front of a subway and killed.

When Michael wakes up, he is in a hospital and meets Dr. Theodore Morris. Dr. Morris explains that he died, but thanks to billions of dollars and decades of research into a super soldier program. They can create the perfect man, but can't create a mind. Instead they decided to harvest a brain, Michael's brain. Dr. Morris offers him a deal, he can become this new super man, but he must give up his old life. Otherwise, they turn off the machines keeping his brain alive and he dies. Worse still, if he contacts anyone from his old life, the government will kill him and the people he contacted.

When we next see him, Michael Wiseman has turned into Michael Wiseman. He's less of a super soldier and more of a test subject. The government keeps him in a luxury apartment, but he has no access to the outside world, not even a TV. This is to keep him from making contact with his previous life, a rule he breaks nearly immediately and over the course of the season; he breaks it repeatedly. This allows Lisa and Heather, as well as Roger, to be still involved in the plot. The plot mainly involves Michael stopping bad guys, starting with the eggman from the opening scenes.

So how is the show? It has its moments. ... Yeah, that's not a very enthusiastic thing to say. There are some really good performances in this TV series, which really helps the overall quality. I especially like the character moments in the series. Dennis Haysbert and Eric Close have good chemistry together and Margaret Colin and Heather Matarazzo make the family parts of the show engaging. Unfortunately, the main thrust of the show, the super soldier parts, are not as engaging. I already talked about the eggman mission and it had an interesting setup; however, the conclusion was anti-climactic. There's another early mission where Michael has to track down a traitor and I guessed the surprise twist almost immediately, not because they gave too much away, but because this was a twist that had been done before. Finally, the show ends of a cliffhanger, a cliffhanger that will never be resolved.

The Extras

Extras include a 6-minute behind-the-scenes featurette on disc one that was made when the show was originally on the air. Over on disc five there is a four-part, nearly two-hour retrospective on the show. Finally, there is a 34-minute featurette on the writing on the show. That's a lot of extras for a show that lasted only one season 15 years ago.

The Verdict

If Now and Again were entering its second season this fall, then the DVD would be an easy recommendation, as it shows great promise. But it is not. It is a TV show that ends on a cliffhanger, a cliffhanger that will never be resolved. If you liked the show when it came out 15 years ago, then the DVD is a must have, as the extras are much better than expected. If you've never seen the show, then it is probably not worth getting invested in.

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Filed under: Video Review, Margaret Colin, John Goodman, Gerrit Graham, Dennis Haysbert, Heather Matarazzo, Eric Close