Taken: Season One (2017)

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Released 22-May-2019

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category TV Series Featurette-Taken: On Set (4:33)
Trailer-Midnight: Texas
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2017
Running Time 423:31
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Various
Studio
Distributor
ViaVision Starring Clive Standen
Jennifer Beals
Gaius Charles
Michael Irby
Jose Pablo Cantillo
James Landy Hebert
Simu Lu
Monique Gabriela Curnen
Jennifer Marsala
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music Trevor Morris


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format ?
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes, the baddie of course
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

†††† 2017ís TV series Taken is a prequel to Liam Neesonís Taken films. It shows, more or less, how Neesonís character Bryan Mills got the motivation, skills and experience he utilised in the film franchise to annihilate those countless adversaries as a one man wrecking ball. The TV series thus fills in a Millsí origin story, something the first film at least made no attempt to do.

†††† Ex-Green Beret Bryan Mills (Clive Standen) is travelling by train with his younger sister Cali to visit their parents when he becomes suspicious of two men who board the train. He decides to take action and in the ensuing fracas Mills kills one man and the other is captured but Cali is shot and killed. However, the audience, and Mills, soon learn that the shooting was not a random act of violence at all but a hit ordered by Columbian drug lord Carlos Mejia (Romano Orzari) whose son Mills had killed during a raid. Cali had been killed on purpose so that Mills would know what it was to lose a family member; now Mejia sends his men after Mills as he wants him captured alive to be tortured. Mills is also being monitored by an off the grid government agency (named the Emergency Covert Action Team) which is headed by Christina Hart (Jennifer Beals), her team including operatives John (Gaius Charles), Scott (Michael Irby), Dave (Jose Pablo Cantillo), Rem (James Landy Hebert), Becca (Monique Gabriela Curnen), Riley (Jennifer Marsala) and Faaron (Simu Lu). They decide to use Mills as bait to draw Mejia into the open. During the operation Mejia is captured but Mills shows himself to be so skilful that Christina recruits him to join her team.

†††† Various operations ensue, the team targeting rogue elements and cover-ups within the US government, corrupt corporations, drug organisations; they foil acts of terror, expose double agents, save hostages and investigate the murder of a senator. There are ongoing plotlines; Mejiaís associates monitor Mills in an attempt to discover where Mejia is being held while Mills remains conflicted by the fact that Mejia, the man who killed Cali, is being held in safe custody. Some of the teamís operations take place outside of the US, most are inside. There are some disturbing elements to the story lines: this is an organisation almost without oversight and their actions, including assassinating government officials, are morally questionable and totally illegal; in another lifetime Jason Bourne could easily have been an operative! And we know from those films where black ops organisations without proper oversight might go.

†††† Taken is a patchy series and nothing new. However, it is decent action television and with each episode running just over 40 minutes the plotting is tight. Episodes feature tense hostage situations, shootouts, hard hitting hand to hand combat, showdowns with cartel gunmen and Mills showing himself to be a resourceful man using whatever comes to hand to defeat his opponents. Standen (Rollo in Vikings) is not Liam Neeson but he is an acceptable, square jawed hero, still haunted by the fact that it was his fault his sister was murdered, but the need for the series to give him a love interest, his sisterís best friend Asha (Brooklyn Sudano), grates and brings the action, and credibility, to a standstill. Familiar actress Jennifer Beals does not have a lot to do, and also gets a love interest; perhaps the best of the team is Gaius Charles as the rather deadpan leader in the field. Daughters / women in danger are a recurring theme of the series, giving it some link to the films.

†††† The first season of 10 episodes of Taken ran on TV between February and May 2017 and ended with a lead into season two, the 16 episodes of which (but with a substantially different cast), aired between January and June 2018. This three disc DVD set of Taken: Season One contains all 10 episodes of the first season.

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Transfer Quality

Video

†††† Taken: Season One is presented in the original 1.78:1 aspect ratio, is 16x9 and in the NTSC format.

†††† This looks as one should expect of a recent TV series. Detail is sharp in exterior scenes and the colours are glossy and bright, with some beautiful autumn and winter scenes shot in Canada. The interiors, especially in the teamís office, are less sharp with a fair amount of glare present while black and white night vision shots or surveillance camera footage are understandably less sharp. Blacks and shadow detail are fine, brightness and contrast consistent, skin tones natural. Other than the glare and some blur with motion artefacts were absent.

†††† English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

†††† Audio is English Dolby Digital 5.1at 448 Kbps.

†††† Dialogue is clear. Effects, such as shots, the impact of punches, car engines in chases and helicopter engines are fine. Surround use includes engines and impacts although this is not an overly enveloping track except for the music by Trevor Morris; he is an experienced TV composer with series such as The Tudors, The Borgas and Vikings on his CV as well as films such as Hunter Killer (2018). The subwoofer was used to give some depth to the score, impacts and shots.

††††Lip synchronisation was fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Trailer

†††† Disc 1 has a trailer for Midnight: Texas (2:56).

Taken: On Set (4:33)

†††† Disc 3 contains this short ďmaking ofĒ with some on-set footage, clips from the series and interview snippets with cast members Clive Standen, Jennifer Beals, Gaius Charles, Michael Irby, Jennifer Marsala and Monique Gabriela Curnen. This is mostly about the character of Mills.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

†††† I can only find details of a Region A US Blu-ray of Taken: Season One; as that has only the same short extra as we have (not to mention lossy Dolby Digital 5.1) I imagine the US DVD would not be any different than ours.

Summary

†††† Taken: Season One is entertaining enough with some good action sequences and tense situations. It contains the usual outlandish situations and the good guys doing their thing to eliminate threats to the US although, interestingly, the terrorist threats to the US do not come from Muslims, but people in the government, while the Israeli secret service is also shown in a less than rosy light.

††††The video and audio are fine, the only extra minor.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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