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Justin Marks
JK Simmons, Harry Lloyd, Olivia Williams
Writing Credits:

A hapless UN employee discovers the agency he works for is hiding a gateway to a parallel dimension that's in Cold War with our own, and where his other self is a top spy.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English Dolby TrueHD 7.1
Spanish Dolby 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 547 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 7/31/2018

• “Season Outlook” Featurette
• 10 “Inside the World of Counterpart” Featurettes


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver;
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer.


Counterpart: The Complete First Season [Blu-Ray] (2017-18)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 29, 2018)

A series that delivers a thriller with a supernatural bent, Counterpart focuses on a UN agency based on Berlin. It turns out they guard a path into an alternate dimension.

This three-disc package includes all of Season One’s 10 episodes. The plot synopses come from the series’ official website.

The Crossing: “Howard Silk (JK Simmons) discovers the truth about where he works. The Office of Interchange searches for an assassin.”

Most pilot episodes devote their time to a general introduction to characters and situations, and we get that from “Crossing”. However, the show also manages a pretty good level of intrigue and action as well, factors that make it an above-average series opener.

Birds of a Feather: “Howard must work together with his counterpart. Baldwin (Sara Serraiocco) comes face to face with her past. From the other side, Emily (Olivia Williams) tries to make sense of her orders.”

After the grand theatrics of the pilot, “Birds” devotes more time to exposition, and it does fine in that regard. While it seems less thrilling than its predecessor, it gives us the necessary shoe leather.

The Lost Art of Diplomacy: “Both sides turn to diplomacy to resolve a conflict. Emily obtains a special visa. Howard interrogates a suspect.”

Compared to the first two shows, “Art” packs less action. However, it compensates with greater depth related to characters, and the introduction of some potentially significant new roles adds intrigue to this effective program.

Both Sides Now: “Both Howards deepen their investigation of the conspiracy. Quayle (Harry Lloyd) meets one of Howard's sources. Clare (Nazanin Boniadi) must decide what to do about Baldwin.”

The most enjoyable aspects of “Now” come from the scenes in which the two Howards need to impersonate each other. Otherwise, “Now” delivers reasonable plot exposition, even if the rest seems less fun than the interactions between both Howards.

Shaking the Tree: “Howard discovers another side of Emily. Howard and Emily search for answers about a mysterious drop site. Aldrich (Ulrich Thomsen) and Quayle seek intel from an old friend.”

Much of “Tree” wanders down the “plot-thickening” side of the street, and it does well in that regard. The series has been slow to spell out various general narrative themes, so it’s good to get a bit more substance in that regard.

Act Like You’ve Been Here Before: “Aldrich questions a not-too recent death in the office. Emily, Howard and Shaw follow a lead.”

With more of a focus on relationships than usual, “Act” drags a bit. Honestly, the show works best when it deals with plot points and not the characters – well, outside of the Howards, who are always interesting.

The Sincerest Form of Flattery: “Clare's past is revealed. Quayle suffers through his own birthday party.”

After the semi-lackluster “Act”, “Form” brings us a good bounceback, partly because it delivers more formal information about the past. Indeed, we get a rare flashback to see details of Clare’s path to the present. Combined with useful “modern day” material, this becomes the most impactful episode in a while.

Love the Lie: “The aftermath of the Indigo school discovery takes an emotional toll. Quayle grapples with his wife's new identity.”

After the highs of “Form”, “Lie” doesn’t fare quite as well – but how could it? We get back to a broader array of characters and see the narrative advance nicely, especially when the two Howards confront each other and we observe how much they’ve changed across the series’ run.

No Man’s Land, Part One: “Howard attempts to thwart the Guest's plans. Howard and Emily chase Kaspar (Bernhard Forcher).”

When I discuss a two-part episode, I wait until I get to the second segment. So go read that!

No Man’s Land, Part Two: “A crisis at the O.I. leaves both Howards stranded.”

With a season-ending episode like “Land”, we expect to see some character/story points tied up – but not too many, as we need opening for the next year. In this regard, “Land” provides a reasonably satisfying show, mainly in the way it allows the participants to progress.

“Land” focuses mainly on those character bits and leaves the general arc a little in the lurch, but it mostly fares well. While not the most exciting season-ender, it concludes matters in a positive manner.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus D+

Counterpart appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. As expected, the shows looked good.

Overall sharpness worked well, with only a handful of slightly soft wide shots on display. This meant the majority of the material provided concise, accurate imagery.

No issues with shimmering or jaggies emerged, and the episodes also lacked edge haloes or source defects.

Like most action/thriller work of this sort, Counterpart went for a heavily teal palette, with some orange/amber tossed in as well. The hues looked well-depicted within those choices.

Blacks appeared dark and tight, while shadows usually seemed smooth and clear. A few low-light shots could seem a little thick, but they usually became appealing. I felt pleased with the visuals.

I also liked the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtrack of Counterpart. For the most part, the mixes hewed toward the front, where we got nice stereo music and consistently good sense of environment.

With a lot of action on display, the rear speakers added a fair amount of information as well. Gunfire, vehicles, explosions and the like all fleshed out the spectrum in a reasonably satisfying manner.

Audio quality seemed pleasing, with natural, concise dialogue. Music sounded bold and full, while effects appeared accurate and dynamic. The shows came with more than satisfactory soundtracks.

A few extras appear here, and we find a brief featurette called Season Outlook. It goes for a mere one minute, 58 seconds and delivers comments from creator/executive producer Justin Marks and actors JK Simmons, Nicholas Pinnock and Olivia Williams.

They give us basics about the series’ premise and characters. It’s basically a trailer that doesn’t offer anything useful if you’ve already watch Season One.

Under Inside the World of Counterpart, we discover 10 clips – one per episode. These fill a total of 20 minutes, 34 seconds and include notes from Marks.

We learn about story/characters, visual effects and sets. A few production insights appear but much of the time, Marks just explains the episodes. As a result, the “Inside” clips don’t provide a lot of real substance.

An espionage thriller with sci-fi overtones, Season One of Counterpart musters a pretty solid collection of episodes. While the series bogs down at times, it still musters enough compelling drama to keep us with it. The Blu-rays deliver good picture and audio but the set lacks substantial supplements. I can’t claim Counterpart ever becomes a great series, but I like it nonetheless.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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