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Originating on cable’s Showtime Network, POLTERGEIST: THE LEGACY was a rather enjoyable supernatural series, which attracted a larger audience when it was later distributed to more local outlets through syndication. Of course, since this reviewer never had access to Showtime, my first encounter with POLTERGEIST: THE LEGACY came when the series began appearing late in the evening on a local New York station (the bits of nudity contained in the episodes on the DVD set would seem to indicate the full Showtime versions). Although POLTERGEIST: THE LEGACY bares the moniker of MGM’s reasonably successful film franchise, the television series has nothing to do with the movies. Obviously, the series title is all about brand recognition, as if the series were named by someone in the marketing department at MGM.

The basic premise of POLTERGEIST: THE LEGACY centers on an ancient secret society known only as The Legacy. The purpose of The Legacy is to collect knowledge and supernatural artifacts, as well as to investigate strange phenomenon, and protect the innocent from the forces of evil. POLTERGEIST: THE LEGACY follows the exploits of the residents of the Legacy House based in San Francisco. The cast of POLTERGEIST: THE LEGACY features Derek de Lint as Dr. Derek Rayne, the Precept of San Francisco Legacy House; Martin Cummins as Nick Boyle, a former Nave SEAL and second generation member of The Legacy; Robbi Chong as Alexandra Moreau, a psychic and former student of Derek’s; Patrick Fitzgerald as Father Philip Callaghan, a talented linguist and reluctant Legacy member; and Helen Shaver Rachel Corrigan, MD, a Psychiatrist and newest member of The Legacy.

POLTERGEIST: THE LEGACY- SEASON 1 ($60) comes to DVD in a five-disc set that features all twenty-one episodes that were aired in the series first year. The twenty-one featured episodes are as follows: The Legacy, Sins Of The Father, Town Without Pity, The Tenement, The Twelfth Cave, Man In The Mist, Ghost In The Road, Doppleganger, The Substitute, Do Not Go Gently, The Crystal Scarab, The Bell Of Girardius, Fox Spirit, The Thirteenth Generation, The Dark Priest, Revelations, Bones Of St. Anthony, The Inheritance, The Signalman, The Reckoning and A Traitor Among Us.

Sony Pictures/MGM Home Entertainment has made POLTERGEIST: THE LEGACY- SEASON 1 available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. Image quality is about what one could expect from a mid 1990’s television production, not phenomenal, but pretty solid. Sharpness and detail are at the television level, not startling, but not particularly soft either. Colors are rendered at a fairly natural level, with reasonably accurate flesh tone. Blacks are deep, whites are stable, contrast is respectable, but shadow detail is a bit murky. The film elements are free from excessive blemishes, but a grain structure is noticeable much of the time, but especially during darker sequences, which tend to be numerous in this type of program. Digital compression artifacts can become noticeable during fast moving action.

All the episodes that comprise POLTERGEIST: THE LEGACY- SEASON 1 come with Dolby Digital 2.0 channel soundtracks, which decode reasonably well to standard surround. As expected from the sound mix from this type if television production, the forward soundstage is dominant, with the surrounds adding some ambience and musical fill. Also, channel separations across the front do not overtly call attention to themselves. Dialogue is nicely reproduced and maintains complete intelligibility. French and Portuguese language channel tracks are also encoded onto the DVD, as are English and French subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features. No supplemental features have been included.

As I stated above, POLTERGEIST: THE LEGACY was a rather enjoyable supernatural series. The Sony/MGM DVDs look and sound quite respectable, giving fans little to complain about. If you enjoyed the series, you’ll want to add POLTERGEIST: THE LEGACY- SEASON 1 to your collection.



Poltergeist: The Legacy - The Complete First Season (1996)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2006 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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