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THE ZETA PROJECT was a less dark and far more kid friendly spin-off of BATMAN BEYOND that aired on the Kids' WB for two seasons. The series had a lot of likeable qualities, but lacked the dark brooding qualities of the Batman series that launched it. Set in the same future timeframe as BATMAN BEYOND, THE ZETA PROJECT tells the story of a government built humanoid robot (synthoid) called Zeta, who was designed to carry out covert assassinations on the behalf of the NSA. During one of his missions Zeta discovers that one of his targets is innocent, which causes a crisis of programming, thus leading to his development of a conscience and his refusal to carry out any more government sponsored assassinations. Going rogue, Zeta is pursued by a team of NSA agents hell bent on recovering him and reprogramming him to his original purpose. During one such pursuit, an orphaned teenage girl named Ro Rowen befriends Zeta, and the two become inseparable, as he continues his quest for freedom.

THE ZETA PROJECT: SEASON ONE ($27) comes to DVD in a two-disc set that features the following twelve episodes: The Accomplice, His Maker's Name, Remote Control, Change Of Heart, The Next Gen, West Bound, Hicksburg, Shadows, Crime Waves, Taffy Time, Kid Genius and Ro's Reunion. The vocal talent behind THE ZETA PROJECT features Julie Nathanson, Diedrich Bader, Michael Rosenbaum, Kurtwood Smith and Lauren Tom.

Warner Home Video has made the episodes that comprise THE ZETA PROJECT: SEASON ONE available on DVD in the full screen format that is representative of their original television production. For the most part, the animation is flatter, more colorful and a bit more Saturday morning like than the animation style of BATMAN BEYOND. Image sharpness and detail are fine for this level of television animation. Colors are bright and solid. Blacks appear accurate, as do the whites. Contrast is as good as the level of the animation allows. The materials from which the episodes have been mastered are free from flaws, which would be indicative of non-film based animation. Digital compression artifacts are under the radar.

The episodes contained in THE ZETA PROJECT: SEASON ONE are offered on DVD with Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks. These are generally good sounding soundtracks that donít exceed the limitations of Saturday morning television. There are some nice separations across the front. Dialogue is very clean and completely intelligible. No alternate language tracks have been included on the DVD, although English subtitles have been provided.

Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard scene/episode selection and set up features, as well as a few extras. The Making Of Zeta is a sixteen-minute look back at the series with the creative team. Also included are Zeta and Countdown, two Bonus Episodes from BATMAN BEYOND that feature Zeta. Some Bonus Trailers for other Warner animated titles close out the extras.

While not as dark as BATMAN BEYOND, THE ZETA PROJECT was a definite step up from typical Saturday morning fare. The DVD presentations are very solid.



The Zeta Project: Season 1 (2009)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2009 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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