Surface: The Complete Series (2005)

Genre(s): Adventure / Drama / Fantasy / Mystery / Science Fiction / Thriller
Universal || NR - 635 minutes - $49.98 || August 15, 2006
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2006-08-22


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): James Pate (created by) & Josh Pate (created by)
Cast: Lake Bell, Jay R. Ferguson, Carter Jenkins, Ian Anthony Dale, Leighton Meester, Eddie Hassell


Theatrical Release Date: NA


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Sci-Fi and Special Effects


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Synopsis (from DVD back cover): When young oceanographer Laura Daughtery discovers a massive underwater creature, her obsession to uncover the origins of this dangerous “unidentified species” will lead her and others on a mysterious adventure through the darkest, deepest parts of the sea and the most sinister and shady places on Earth. The fate of the world is in their hands - they just don’t know it.

“Surface” is a short-run TV series that ran on NBC but only spanned 15 episodes. I remember seeing promos for it in 2005 but as someone who limits his primetime TV viewing to only “CSI” and “Lost”, all others fall by the wayside. However, with the first three episodes, this series contained not only some great special effects but suspense classified as “Spielbergian.”

On the series, it splits into two storylines, one with Dr. Daughtery (Bell) and Rich Connelly (Ferguson) working together to uncover what’s happening with Rich’s motivation to try and find out what happened to his brother, killed while diving and encounters one of these sea monsters. Laura and Rich drop their families to seek the truth and come across a government agency hell bent on keeping everything under wraps, led by a Mr. Davis Lee (Dale). The more they dig, the bigger the conspiracy and the more their own lives become endangered.

The other storyline follows 14-year-old Miles Barnett (Jenkins) finding and taking home one of these sea monster’s eggs and after breaking out of the fish tank he placed it in, Miles raises the creature, named Nimrod, and finds is difficult to keep Nim a secret.

“Surface” is certainly a good show in the suspense department and even with a few episodes that don’t really evolve the story as well, the show had some promise. However, compared to others of the same style like “Lost” or even “The X-Files” in its hay-day, “Surface” fails to provide much in the way of character development. While I feel for Rich and his obsession to find the truth about his brother’s death (though I guess it’s only a disappearance as his body was never found) and the character has a personality, I can’t say I really knew him all that well. One could chalk this up to it being freshman season, unfortunately, we’ll never learn more.

This leads me to some spoilers for those who have not seen the show or the entire season. What was supposed to be a season finale turned into the series finale and while some questions were answered as to how these creatures came to be, there were still others like about those behind the conspiracy and not to mention what happens to these characters. It ends with the southeast flooded and the two storylines merged as Laura and Rich run into Miles and his girlfriend trying to get away from the tsunami. The four end up at the top of a church staple, with Nim, with Laura uttering the last line, “It is a new world.”

Disc 1: Episodes 1-3
Disc 2: Episodes 4-7
Disc 3: Episodes 8-11
Disc 4: Episodes 12-15



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Maybe it was too late, but since the series is in all probability finished (I doubt there’ll be a mini-series), one wonders why Universal and those in charge didn’t at least allow the creators to film a short introduction thanking fans for watching and perhaps what their next line of action was.

“Sci-Fi and Special Effects” (7:37) - This all too short featurette gives a little insight into the making of “Surface” with comments from the cast and crew. There’s some footage of how some of the special effects were done from things like Nim to a helicopter or Navy vessel. This was shot before the series was cancelled and is, even on the DVD, promoted as “Behind the scenes look at the first season...”

Deleted Scenes (~25:42) - There are 17 deleted scenes in all with only one or two that are not merely extended scenes with some extra dialogue. While it doesn’t add anything to the series, I am glad they’re included rather than tossed aside.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

The series is presented in anamorphic widescreen, 1.78 aspect ratio. Aside from a couple dark areas (on purpose, maybe), the show looks great and as good as can be expected from the medium.

You’re also given a Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix that helps pick up the deep groans from these sea monsters or just quiet dialogue. Nothing outstanding, but I don’t expect much from a TV series, so this is a definite plus.



.::OVERALL::.

While underdeveloped, “Surface” certainly had some potential... but not as a TV series. All the way through, it felt like a 15-part mini-series and to be honest, it probably would’ve played better as such. Sadly, we may never know all the answers, but hopefully something like the Sci-Fi Channel will go ahead and finish it off.