Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Review: Dark Oracle: The Complete Series

Dark Oracle Season Two


Starring:
Alex House (Todd and the book of Pure Evil, Degrassi: The Next Generation), Paula Brancati (Degrassi: The Next Generation, Being Erica), Jonathan Malen (Charlie Bartlett, The Rocker), Danielle Miller (Celine, Take This Waltz)

The Show:
15 year old twins Lance (Alex House) and Cally Stone (Paula Brancati) are your typical teenagers. Cally is bright and practical while Lance is a slacker who prefers comics and online RPG's to being a part of the crowd. After a visit to the local comic book store the two find themselves in possession of a comic that seems to foretell their future. At first only showing a few frames that hint at what's to come, as they progress, the comic slowly fills in. Periodically new issues mysteriously appear, and as the mystery deepens, it darkens. It soon becomes clear that the comic may be more than telling their fortune; but could be an alternate reality and one that's trying to get out.


Dark Oracle

My Take:
The show ran for two seasons and managed to create an intelligent blend of fantasy, humor, and horror. While it was intended for teens the show is so well done that people of all ages should enjoy it. I first got into it after Alex House and Danielle Miller (Gabrielle Miller's sister) appeared on an episode of Corner Gas. I was quickly sucked in. While there are some of the standard rough spots in the acting that comes with any teen show (no offense to Canada as I grew up on its TV, but especially with Canadian teen shows), the leads are solid and show flashes of brilliance. More impressively, the show is a mix of live action and animation, giving the actors double duty, performing voice over work as well.

At 13 episodes per season, many of the usual problems with these kinds of shows are eliminated. There aren't too many reused plot lines (a couple places, but forgivable). The characters do grow as the series progresses, but with so much focus on a few main characters, others have to settle for being 2 dimensional. The concept is brilliant, and well executed. I tried not to give too much away for anyone who might be interested. In terms of quality, it's smarter and better done than a lot of kid's shows these days. I can't help wishing there had been at least one more season. Though they do manage to tell a complete story in 2 seasons, the ending left an obvious opening for a third.

For the show itself I'd give it an A-


Dark Oracle

The Packaging:
Horrible to say the least. Laughably bad in fact. I've never before seen a 3 disc set treated this way. Normal case, with average artwork on the front, but inside... Another story altogether. Instead of a nice flip trey containing the discs, they come separated, floating around inside in paper slip covers like computer software. But considering that I keep my DVDs in a big zip case anyway, it doesn't really matter much to me.

Too silly to rate anything higher than a D




Content:
There are no extras here relating to the show. Instead, almost as an afterthought towards advertising, two episodes of two different cartoons (one that's styled like Rugrats but way stupider, and a British cartoon that reminds me of old French animation) and a cheesy teen movie are included. Instead of putting these on one disc and giving each season its own disc, they split both seasons over all three discs. It's pretty ridiculous, but it's something I can live with. I certainly didn't buy the set for the extras so it really doesn't matter.

For absolutely no effort involved C-




Final Thoughts:
Overall it's a brilliant show and while it didn't get the release it deserved (It did win an International Emmy for best kids show for crying out loud!) I'm just glad it made it to DVD. And while I have a link at the bottom to Amazon (out of laziness), should anyone be interested in getting it, I'd recommend Target online which is where I got it. And this was the ultimate selling point for me; I got it new for $9.99. For 2 seasons, that's pretty darn cheap and to me justifies the crappy packaging and lack of extras.


Overall because of the price and the quality of the show I give it a B+

13 comments:

  1. Interesting! Never heard of this one. Guess I was too old when it came out, huh? Boo.

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  2. Just how dark is this oracle? Is it creepy dark like a zombie-ninja's closet, or demented dark like Kal's soul? I need to know before I can even consider watching it. I'm a mild oraclephobic, and I can't find my medication.

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  3. It's so easy to mess up such a high concept but this one was done very well. It happened to be on YTV late late at night so it was easy for me to catch. It's too bad that it only lasted a couple of years.

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  4. I'm a sucker for these Buffy like shows. Although this ones sounds a bit like cool world or that McCawly Kulkin animated one.

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  5. Nice! Thanks for reviewing a show that looks a good amount of geeky and that I had never heard of.

    Plus, cheap = good.

    Wonder if netflix has it though ...

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  6. great blog followed! check out my blog at www.samboism.blogspot.com

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  7. Maybe I'm too old, or just HUA, but I missed this one...

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  8. I absolutely hate it when companies or whatnot don't put thought into the packaging and content for box sets and such. It's a let down.

    That said I've never heard of this series. It sounds uber neat though.

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  10. Sounds like a nice one to watch even if I haven't been a teen for decades...

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  11. sound nice! strange i never heard it before, anyways cool blog, following!

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  12. i wouldn't want to mess with them.

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