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The Complete First Season
Rating: TV 14 (Dialogue, Language, Violence)
Running Time: 437 minutes
Starring: Matt Dallas, Marguerite Macintyre, Bruce Thomas, April Matson, Jean-Luc Bilodeau Chris Olivero, Kirsten Prout,
Retail Price: $39.99
Features: Audio Commentary with Actor Matt Dallas, Co-Creator Eric Bress, Executive Producer David Himelfarb and Producer Julie Plec on "Pilot," Audio Commentary with Actor Matt Dallas, Actor April Matson and Writer/Producer Julie Plec on "Diving In," Alternate Pilot, Extended Season Finale, Kyle Declassified
Specs: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Surround Stereo, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Chapter Stops (9 per episode), Three-Disc Set
Released: May 22nd, 2007
The series is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen (as it was filmed), and I was really impressed with the show's transfers. Other than some edge halos, slight noise and tiny bit of artifacting, the show looks remarkably pristine and razor sharp. The visuals really just pop out right at you, as the color saturation is so vibrant and formed so spectacularly. Fleshtones are great too, and everything looks so lifelike and realistic. Black levels are perfect, and the details - be it creases on shirts or city backgrounds - are easily notciable and look stunning. Minus the small flaws, this is really as perfect as a DVD's visual presentation can get. It nearly reaches that elusive 5/5 rating.
Further helping make the show a bit more cinematic in presentation is that all the episodes feature English 5.1 Dolby Digital mixes. These are pretty thorough mixes, which really helps set the mood when the show has some tense moments. The show's instrumental score sounds really nice through the speakers, and dialogue is very crisp and easy to hear. There are definitely some nice surround effects that pack a punch, too - particularly when Kyle discovers his abilities, and parts of the world at large. The dynamics for the mixes are strong, and there is some decent use of the subwoofer, too. These mixes are by no means bombastic, and that's not the point. I find it hard to believe that anyone will be disappointed with the mixes presented here.
The first season also includes Spanish stereo tracks, plus subtitles in English and French and English closed captioning.
The first disc has two Audio Commentaries. The pilot features commentary from Actor Matt Dallas, Co-Creator Eric Bress, Executive Producer David Himelfarb and Producer Julie Plec. This is a really good commentary, and you can sense how hard everyone worked on the show and how they all appreciate the cast and crew's work. While the show's origins aren't explained too much, the four really emphasize the differences between this pilot and the original pilot (which is included on the third disc in this season set). The comments are interesting, not just in the changes they made with the new pilot, but also what changes they made that ultimately developed the rhythm of the show. Dallas gets in his comments, but the show's creative forces really dominate the track as far as the pilot talk and and how they went about developing the characters. But it's not all bogged down in those details, so the casual fan is sure to enjoy the typical fun bits of trivia: certain actors that may seem familiar, and what the goo was made of that Matt Dallas was drenched in in the first shot.
The episode "Diving In" has commentary from Actor Matt Dallas, Actor April Matson and Writer/Producer Julie Plec. This commentary is a lot more fun, since the focus is mainly with two of the series stars and they talk about their experiences on the show. A lot of fun jabs are made, and everyone comes across as charming - it's pretty clear that they have a good time making this show. Plec offers a lot of production stories though, be it from the music choices and how in this episode, a pool scene was shot in 42 degree weather. A definite listen for fans of the series.
On the third disc, there is an Alternate Pilot episode. It's in completed form, and in anamorphic widescreen to boot. It's a nice touch, and I'm sure there will be those who will want to compare this version with what became the final pilot. For fans of the show, or those interested to see how a television show can change as far as creating exposition, it is worth seeing. The key differences between the original pilot and what ultimately made it to the air are details concerning the story. In the final pilot, there is some fleshing out of little scenes so that the show makes a little more sense, showing more of the characters, different dialogue for some of the sequences and ultimately showing more of Kyle's journey. The final pilot is definitely a superior effort.
There's also an extended version of the last episode of the season, "Endgame." Don't get your hopes up too much, since compared to the actual cut shown on TV (and also included on the third disc) it only runs about a minute longer. I really couldn't tell you what was added in.
Finally, there's Kyle Declassified. Shown in anamorphic widescreen, this is divided into two parts. The first 13 minutes or so is basically a summary of the entire first season show through clips (I guess it's a good way to refresh before the second season?). The final five minutes are a preview of the second season, with some clips and behind-the-scenes footage. The actors, show's creators and producers rave about how the show is even better in its upcoming season, and what to expect then. Sure, right after the summary it's a hook to want to know what happens next, but why this wasn't broken up into two separate bonus features is beyond me.
As far as serialized dramas go meant for tweens and their families, "Kyle XY" delivers the goods - with a nice mix of characters and science-fiction intrigue. This first season DVD set is a great value, with phenomenal transfers, rockin' 5.1 mixes and nice bonuses that trace the show's evolution. Whether you've seen the episodes on ABC Family or have never heard of the show before, "Kyle XY" is worth checking out.