Harsh Realm: The Complete Series

DVD Reviews | Mar 4th, 2005

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Starring Scott Bairstow, D.B. Sweeney, Terry O’Quinn, Max Martini, Rachel Hayward, Sarah-Jane Redmond, Samantha Mathis
Written By:
Directed By: A bunch of people
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Buy on Amazon.com link

I never heard about this show until one of my friends wouldn’t shut up about it. I decided to check out some of the episodes and it’s actually a decent series, though it only lasted 3 episodes on FOX.

Harsh Realm is based on a comic book series. From what I gathered, it’s loosely based off the comic. The TV series is about a Lt. named Tom Hobbes (Scott Bairstow) who gets picked to test a new Military virtual reality game simulator called Harsh Realm. Once inside Harsh Realm, his mission is to kill Major Omar Santiago (Terry O’Quinn) and then the game is over. He finds out from other solider’s (who were sent in, just like him) that he can’t get back into the real world and that he’s stuck in a coma. The only way to get back to reality is killing Santiago but it’s not exactly a piece of cake. Santiago hijacked the program and is now a Saddam Hussein type of person within Harsh Realm. There’s pictures all over the place of him, he’s an evil dictator and he simply wants to control the Realm. A solider named Major Mel Waters (Max Martini), who Hobbes rescued back in a war, now works for Santiago and there is conflict between the two. Hobbes meets up with another mysterious soldier who at first, wants to kill him and eat his pet dog but eventually helps Hobbes out. The character’s name is Mike Pinocchio (D.B Sweeney) and used to work for Santiago. Pinocchio and a mute female solider (Rachel Hayward) help Hobbes try to get back to reality and defeat Santiago, which is the only way he could return.

Like I said above, I never saw this show but I liked the episodes I’ve seen so far. It’s like a mixture of X-Files, Matrix and some others shows that I can’t put my finger on. The series is only 9 episodes becuase it got cancelled, and lasted about 3 on FOX. I’m surprised FOX even released this DVD since it cancelled it so quickly, maybe they owed Chris Carter a favor or something. 6 episodes aired later on FX network and now they are all on the DVD. I think the show is really well done though, and has a cool concept. Each episode brings something different to the table. I think my favorite episode right now is episode 4, “Kein Ausgang.” Hobbes and Pinocchio get stuck in a part of Harsh Realm, which was used for the original beta-testing of the game. It takes place during WWII and over a few days, and then it goes back to the beginning of the simulation. One solider sent into Harsh Realm, has been permanently stuck in that simulation for a long time and he can spot out when things happen and what people do/say. Hobbes and Pinocchio encounter him and Pinocchio knows him as a coward and deserter from the real world. Well let’s say he gets his at the end. I didn’t get to see the rest of the season after that episode but I plan on watching the rest of the series. The show also has some cool CGI work. People in Harsh Realm that aren’t sent into the game, are VC’s, virtual characters. When you shoot them, they are erased and blink into thin air. Um, what else can I talk about. Hmm, can’t think right now. Jesus I suck at reviewing.

There’s a couple of extras on the 3rd disc. There’s a decent featurette about the show called “Inside ‘Harsh Realm’. The filmmakers talk about the characters of the show, the comic book, the show in general, the design, score and other aspects that you usually see in Making Of’s. There’s also some TV spots, and a small featurette on logos and the title sequence. I liked that one because I’m a designer and it’s neat to see all the work put into making the artwork for the show. Harsh Realm is not the best show in the world, but it’s got a cool concept and is really fun to watch. If you are the least bit interested in this type of show, check it out. You can rent or buy the DVD set now.

– Audio commentaries (Pilot Episode) by series creator Chris Carter and director Daniel Sachkheim.
– “Inside Harsh Realm” making-of featurette
– TV spots
– and more!

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Surround CC
FRENCH: Dolby Digital Surround

Standard 1.33:1 Color


Favorite Scenes: Pilot, Kein Ausgang
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 387 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating: