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Featured TV on DVD Review: Femme Fatales: The Complete First Season

April 21st, 2013

Femme Fatales: The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon

Femme Fatales in a Noir anthology series from Cinemax. This immediately sets up a few expectations. Cinemax is a cable channel known for showing a little more skin than other cable channels and with a name like Femme Fatales you expect stories about beautiful, but dangerous, women. You don't expect Award-worthy TV, on the other hand. Can the show rise above expectations? Or is it essential that you know what you are getting in advance?

The Show

For the most part, it's a mixed bag. There are some good episodes. Speed Date is the best on the DVD. It is about a computer programmer, Reginald C. Hayes, who lies on his online dating site. He lands a date, Daphne Duplaix, but she turns out to be an assassin. It has the least amount of sex and nudity, but the best story. Girls Gone Dead focuses on a amateur porn crew, Charlie O'Connell and Dean Haglund, that show up at a sorority. The sorority is about to lose their home to foreclosure, at least that's the line they used to lure the guys here. Till Death Do Us Part has a bride-to-be waking up in her hotel room, next to a dead stripper. She then has to piece together the events of the night before. Angus Scrimm shows up in The Clinic, which is about a couple who are desperate to help the wife, who has just months to live. When Angus Scrimm shows up, you know there will be some horror elements here.

About half the episodes are good and I also liked the performance by Tanit Phoenix, who is the hostess. However, most episodes are just average. Some, like The White Flower, have a good ending, but the setup takes too long and there are not enough twists. Others have a good setup, like Behind Locked Doors, which is a two-part episode that looks at a Hollywood startlet sent to prison after killing a family while texting and driving. She uses her acting skills to manipulate to survive in prison. The first part is better than the second part. This is also true of the season finale, Visions, which has a lot of characters from the earlier episodes and ties up the season. It starts out well, but peters out. Overall, if you are looking for a T&A cinema, and that's what this is, it's better than most. If I get a chance to review season two when it comes out, hopefully there will be stronger storytelling to go along with the nudity.

The Extras

There are a ton of extras on the DVD, starting with audio commentary tracks on each episode. Additionally, the third disc is dedicated to extras, starting with three making of featurettes. There is also a 44-minute Q&A panel from 2011 ComicCon. There are five minutes of outtakes and an image gallery. You can watch the director's cut of The White Flower, or listen to the isolated score for Help Me, Rhonda. There are almost 40 minutes of deleted / alternative scenes. And finally, there are some previews.

The Verdict

Femme Fatales shows potential and if they focused more on storytelling than on finding excuses for nudity, it would be a great show. If you are a fan of the genre, then The Complete First Season is worth checking out. And if you liked the show, it is worth picking up, because it is loaded with extras.

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Filed under: Video Review, Dean Haglund, Charlie O'Connell, Angus Scrimm, Tanit Phoenix