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Persons Unknown: Season 1 (4pc)
Persons Unknown Season 1
Actors: Chadwick Boseman, Jason Wiles, Andy Greenfield
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Television
NR     2010     10hr 10min


Movie Details

Actors: Chadwick Boseman, Jason Wiles, Andy Greenfield
Creators: Lee Purcell, Daisy Betts
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Drama
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 09/07/2010
Release Year: 2010
Run Time: 10hr 10min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 4
SwapaDVD Credits: 4
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

Release Date...
D. Reynolds | Ft. Wayne, IN USA | 09/15/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I got hooked into this show a few episodes late, so I am waiting patiently for it to be released. Best Buy's website lists a release date of 11/2/10."
Shorter, sweeter and more satisfying than "Lost"
Thomas Veil | Cleveland, Ohio | 09/07/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Great series that revolve around paranoia come to TV once in a blue moon, at best.

The one that started it all was, of course, "The Prisoner", Patrick McGoohan's 1968 magnum opus about an ex-spy who is kidnapped and held in a deceptively pleasant seaside town known only as The Village.

Then there was 1995's "Nowhere Man", about an average guy who apparently took the wrong photo at the wrong time and found his entire life erased by a mysterious organization. In a single moment, he ceases to exist as far as his wife, friends and the rest of the world are concerned.

And now we have a trilogy.

"Persons Unknown" bears a closer resemblance to an ensemble version of "The Prisoner" than to "Nowhere Man", but the three programs together are destined to become the Triple Crown of paranoia.

Primarily the show revolves around Janet (Daisy Betts), who -- in a neat twist -- is abducted from the park right under the nose of her preschool daughter. Janet wakes up in a clean yet spooky hotel, locked in her room. She soon gets free only to find that there are other people in the hotel too. How many are abductees like her? And are any of them in on it...whatever "it" is?

And what's with the town in which the hotel is located? It's almost artificial, and devoid of people except for our seven captives...and a few others. And the surveillance cameras are everywhere. Everywhere.

As one might expect, the episodes in "Persons Unknown" revolve around who can be trusted, the reason behind the group's kidnapping, various escape attempts, and whether the group will work together or turn against each other. Particularly troublesome in the latter aspect is car salesman Bill Blackham, the "Dr. Smith" of the group, whose actions are impulsive and irrational and work against the good of everyone else. And then there's the creepy Night Manager, who is so charmingly helpful you just know he's got to be working for "them".

As this thirteen episode series goes on, we come to know more about our victims, and find that virtually everybody in this nameless ghost town has a secret. Are those secrets important...or are they red herrings?

The town itself is arguably the real star of the show. It's quaint, but from its center, it's exactly one block in each direction, where the roads end and meet up with nothing but wilderness. Oh, and if you try to leave, you will be zapped by an intensely painful microwave barrier. Nice.

In spite, or even because, of the fact that the series' premise is so bizarre, its ultimate success depends upon whether it can keep piling on the weirdness. And oh yeah, it can. Objects appear from nowhere, and temptations of freedom are dangled. Like our kidnapped heroes, we are kept constantly off balance, never knowing what to expect next.

The feeling of hopelessness is palpable. My favorite scene of the show's entire run is when an angry Janet shoots out one of the hotel's omnipresent surveillance cameras...and as she turns her back, the camera recedes into the ceiling and is immediately replaced by another one just like it. Cripes....

There are a couple of ways in which "Persons Unknown" is NOT like "The Prisoner". In the latter series, the hero was almost immediately confronted by (one of) his captors and given the ostensible reason for his incarceration. Here, our heroes have to struggle and claw to find out that information, and only manage to scratch the surface. Also unlike "The Prisoner", there is a subplot, regarding a reporter and his editor on the outside who are trying to locate Janet. Although this plot thread seems superfluous at the beginning of the series, it does come together nicely by the end.

Ah, the end. Some people have been whining about that ending. I can't tell you anything about the ending except that (1) you DO find out a lot more answers than some of the complainers would lead you to believe, and (2) the ending will feel perfectly reasonable to anybody who's seen at least one episode of "The Twilight Zone".

I can tell you, it sent a shudder down MY spine.

Ultimately what makes this a much, much better series than "Lost" (another show some are comparing this to) is that it is clear by the end that the writers know where they are going with this thing. The scripts are fairly taut and direct, and the action and dialogue are devoid of the nebulous new age BS that made "Lost" so annoying to follow. We are never told to accept that things happen "because that's the way it is." There are reasons behind everything.

Had there been another season, we would no doubt have found out even more details about our heroes and their captors. But as it is, the ending is satisfying enough, although admittedly it leaves you wanting more. People who complain about "Persons Unknown" too much need to go back and take a refresher course in "The Prisoner", whose conclusion was literally surreal, and "Nowhere Man", which ended with a cliffhanger that turned the series' premise inside-out. Both of those shows answered some questions, but left other things dangling. Both of those shows are now considered TV classics.

And even if you find you DON'T like the ending, least you only wasted thirteen episodes, not six years, right?"
The way out is the way through?
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 09/05/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Seven strangers wake up in an abandoned town, with no way to leave, cameras watching them, and deadly hoops to jump through. "Persons Unknown: Season 1" has a rather simple premise, but it builds up plenty of claustrophobic, nightmarish tension and a looming conspiracy theory -- the only problem is the disappointing ending.

Seven people wake in the bedrooms of a hotel in a dusty ghost town, with no idea how they got there. They are provided with food, shelter, medicine and clothing, but are closely monitored by microphones and hidden cameras. And if they try to leave the town, they are either knocked unconscious or shocked with a microwave gun.

So the people have no choice but to try to figure out a way out of the town, only to discover that "The Program" has anticipated every one of their plans. Even worse, one of their number vanishes and is replaced by a new arrival, while another one turns out to be a plant by The Program.

In the meantime, the ex-husband of one of the abductees becomes obsessed with finding out where these people vanished to. He and his editor/lover end up racing across three continents, searching for someone who can lead them to The Project. And at the same time, the abductees make a final desperate bid for freedom.

"Persons Unknown" is a little like "Lost," except with no magical island and a much more malevolent, terrifying organization. There are lots of plot twists, mysteries and weird things that are going on, and you won't see most of this stuff coming.

The writers do a good job balancing the two main storylines, one about the abductees and the other about the people searching for them. They paint it with a gritty, grimy atmosphere, with plenty of bloody violence and sudden outbursts of powerful emotion. And the Project's constant monitoring of everybody gives the series a very claustrophobic, paranoid feeling.

The downside? The ending answers a few questions, but it definitely doesn't answer ALL of them... or even most of them. Instead it sets up a brilliant, hair-raising cliffhanger that is almost certain to never be handled.

And the actors all give good performances, slowly revealing all the darker layers of their characters -- Tina Holmes as a peaceful mental patient, Chadwick Boseman as a mellow Marine, and Kandyse McClure as a violent ex-con are especially good. Unfortunately, Daisy Betts' Janet is painfully annoying -- you'll want to scream every time she whines about her daughter.

Best performance of all: Jason Wiles gives a brilliant, star-worthy performance as a man with dozens of layers and facets, whose conscience is reawakened by his love for Janet. He's tragic, strong, sensitive and smart.

"Persons Unknown: Season 1" produces some brilliant twists and turns, and it's just a shame that we almost certainly won't get the full array of answers. Horrific, dramatic and twisty."
MissesMom1209 | 09/12/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Like many other commentators, I think the finale answered absolutely NO questions like it was advertised on the commercials. I watched every episode, faithfully, only to come to no conclusion. I'm supporting P.U. by buying the season because I would really like them to bring the show back for another season, maybe to actually answer some questions. This is a great show and I would definitely recommend giving it a try. I'm not a big t.v. watcher and it takes a lot for me to get into these "lost" type shows. But, if you want a great show with a great cast for great entertainment--this is definitely what you're aiming for."