Scott Bairstow Reviews

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Dead In The Water

Review 21 Episodes. Featuring characters from the original miniseries, Lonesome Dove: The Series revolves around the life and times of Newt Call, the young cowhand who started out as a boy in Lonesome Dove, and now goes on to make his way in the world. The post-Civil War years in the American West are among the most exciting this country has ever known. Peopled with now-mythic figures like Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson, Billy the Kid and Sitting Bull, these were the golden years of the American West before the twentieth century roared in to tame the frontier once and for all. For Newt Call, the fresh-faced cowboy who was brought up with ironclad discipline by the legendary ex-Texas Ranger Captain Woodrow F. Call, this was a world which held great promise. Tangling with outlaws and bandits, revolutionaries, showmen and spirited Western women, Newt participates in all the major events of the Western era. Encountering its legendary figures and witnessing their passage into mythology, young Newt forges his destiny and begins to create a legend of his own.
Open Water 2: Adrift

Review Emotional made-for-TV family drama. After discovering she has cancer, Susan Allen (Nancy Travis) decides to spend what time she has left living life to the fullest with her ten-year-old daughter Carson (Jamie Renee Smith). She also has to make the agonising decision where to 'place' Carson after her death. Into this situation comes the irresistible stranger Michael Blake (Scott Bairstow), and, despite her initial reluctance, Susan finds out that it's never too late to fall in love.
Open Water

Review After Lieutenant Tom Hobbes agrees to test the military's virtual reality war game, he discovers his only way out of the game's deadly world is to kill the top player. The complete series of Harsh Realm.
The Reef

Review The dark and fantastic Harsh Realm, a science fiction series about a war fought by flesh-and-blood humans trapped inside virtual reality, was launched by The X-Files creator Chris Carter in 1999 and died a regrettable, premature death on the Fox channel after three episodes. The remaining six shows found sanctuary on the FX network, and then Harsh Realm slipped into history, its wild story, based on a comic book, far from resolved. Perhaps Harsh Realm's ratings failure had something to do with its broad similarities to the hugely popular The Matrix, released only a few months before, or, for that matter, David Cronenberg's 1999 eXistenZ, in which characters fight for their lives inside a video game. Whatever the reason, enough time has passed to take an objective look at Harsh Realm, and there is a lot to be admired in its high level of imagination, complex plotting, and cutting-edge production values.

Scott Bairstow stars as U.S. Army Lieutenant Tom Hobbes, a decorated hero who risked his life rescuing a buddy, Major Mel Waters (Max Martini), during a peacekeeping mission in the former Yugoslavia. Set to return to civilian life and marry his fiancée, Sophie (Samantha Mathis), Hobbes is summoned by a mysterious superior (Lance Henriksen) and asked to test-run Harsh Realm, a virtual reality war game devised by the Pentagon. Once he begins, however, Hobbes is mentally imprisoned in the dangerous game (his body, along with those of hundreds of other "volunteers," is cared for in a secret military hospital), where he is identified by other, desperate captives as the savior they've been awaiting. D.B. Sweeney is very good as another soldier, Mike Pinocchio, whose sense of mission is re-awakened by Hobbes and who becomes a partner in an endless effort to defeat a madman named Santiago (Terry O'Quinn), who rules Harsh Realm from within. As with The X-Files, the nine episodes in this boxed set are each very striking on their own terms, with post-apocalyptic sets, constant surprises, and that special Chris Carter touch (fans of his Millennium will like Harsh Realm, too) that makes every story look and feel like a collision of a nightmare and a crisis of faith. --Tom Keogh


Bait

Review 21 Episodes. Featuring characters from the original miniseries, Lonesome Dove: The Series revolves around the life and times of Newt Call, the young cowhand who started out as a boy in Lonesome Dove, and now goes on to make his way in the world. The post-Civil War years in the American West are among the most exciting this country has ever known. Peopled with now-mythic figures like Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson, Billy the Kid and Sitting Bull, these were the golden years of the American West before the twentieth century roared in to tame the frontier once and for all. For Newt Call, the fresh-faced cowboy who was brought up with ironclad discipline by the legendary ex-Texas Ranger Captain Woodrow F. Call, this was a world which held great promise. Tangling with outlaws and bandits, revolutionaries, showmen and spirited Western women, Newt participates in all the major events of the Western era. Encountering its legendary figures and witnessing their passage into mythology, young Newt forges his destiny and begins to create a legend of his own.
Briar Patch (aka Plain Dirty)

Review Emotional made-for-TV family drama. After discovering she has cancer, Susan Allen (Nancy Travis) decides to spend what time she has left living life to the fullest with her ten-year-old daughter Carson (Jamie Renee Smith). She also has to make the agonising decision where to 'place' Carson after her death. Into this situation comes the irresistible stranger Michael Blake (Scott Bairstow), and, despite her initial reluctance, Susan finds out that it's never too late to fall in love.
Backcountry

Review After Lieutenant Tom Hobbes agrees to test the military's virtual reality war game, he discovers his only way out of the game's deadly world is to kill the top player. The complete series of Harsh Realm.
A Lonely Place to Die

Review The dark and fantastic Harsh Realm, a science fiction series about a war fought by flesh-and-blood humans trapped inside virtual reality, was launched by The X-Files creator Chris Carter in 1999 and died a regrettable, premature death on the Fox channel after three episodes. The remaining six shows found sanctuary on the FX network, and then Harsh Realm slipped into history, its wild story, based on a comic book, far from resolved. Perhaps Harsh Realm's ratings failure had something to do with its broad similarities to the hugely popular The Matrix, released only a few months before, or, for that matter, David Cronenberg's 1999 eXistenZ, in which characters fight for their lives inside a video game. Whatever the reason, enough time has passed to take an objective look at Harsh Realm, and there is a lot to be admired in its high level of imagination, complex plotting, and cutting-edge production values.

Scott Bairstow stars as U.S. Army Lieutenant Tom Hobbes, a decorated hero who risked his life rescuing a buddy, Major Mel Waters (Max Martini), during a peacekeeping mission in the former Yugoslavia. Set to return to civilian life and marry his fiancée, Sophie (Samantha Mathis), Hobbes is summoned by a mysterious superior (Lance Henriksen) and asked to test-run Harsh Realm, a virtual reality war game devised by the Pentagon. Once he begins, however, Hobbes is mentally imprisoned in the dangerous game (his body, along with those of hundreds of other "volunteers," is cared for in a secret military hospital), where he is identified by other, desperate captives as the savior they've been awaiting. D.B. Sweeney is very good as another soldier, Mike Pinocchio, whose sense of mission is re-awakened by Hobbes and who becomes a partner in an endless effort to defeat a madman named Santiago (Terry O'Quinn), who rules Harsh Realm from within. As with The X-Files, the nine episodes in this boxed set are each very striking on their own terms, with post-apocalyptic sets, constant surprises, and that special Chris Carter touch (fans of his Millennium will like Harsh Realm, too) that makes every story look and feel like a collision of a nightmare and a crisis of faith. --Tom Keogh



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