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Jason Segel
Jason Segel, André Benjamin, Eve Lindley

Feeling as though there's something missing in the lives, four ordinary people stumble across a puzzle hiding just beyond the veil of everyday life, and their eyes are opened to a world of possibility and magic.
Rated TV-14.

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 455 min.
Price: $44.99
Release Date: 8/4/2020

• “About the Series” Featurette
• “Character Profiles” Featurette
• “Inside the Series” Featurette
• “A Love Letter to Philly” Featurette
• “The Making of the Series” Featurette


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-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
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-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Dispatches From Elsewhere: The Complete First Season [Blu-Ray] (2020)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 20, 2020)

A mix of drama, quirky comedy and mystery, we go to AMC’s Dispatches From Elsewhere. This three-Blu-ray set packs all 10 of Season One’s episodes. The plot synopses come from the AMC website.

Peter: “Peter (Jason Segel) is stuck in the everyday routine of his mundane life until the day he meets a group of strangers who all have something in common and together they begin an adventure into a world that has been hidden all around them.”

Elsewhere wastes no time in terms of its Statement of Intentions. The very first scene starts with a silent narrator (Richard E. Grant) as he simply stares at the camera for 24 seconds.

When he speaks, he directly addresses the audience and acknowledges awareness of genre conventions, with the promise to break these.

Which “Peter” clearly does – and clearly does in a self-conscious manner that wears thin quickly. Basically Michel Gondry lite – with some David Fincher as well - “Peter” feels like an active attempt at quirky weirdness that doesn’t pay off – at least for this episode. We’ll see if Elsewhere gets more compelling and less annoying as it proceeds.

Simone: “The game continues as Simone (Eve Lindley) and Peter follow the clues and explore the city. The gang discovers that the game runs deeper then they thought and they have to make an important choice.”

With “Simone”, Elsewhere starts to feel less obnoxiously weird and more like a traditional narrative – sort of. It still comes with oddball flights of fancy, but the characters come across as more concrete and less contrived. That makes it more effective than the pilot, so hopefully the series will continue to progress from here.

Janice: “While searching for Fredwynn (André Benjamin) at the Shareholders meeting, the gang has their first encounter with Octavio (Grant). Janice (Sally Field) explores her past.”

Given her age and matronly impression, Janice becomes the character whose backstory most naturally leans toward sentimentality, and this episode embraces some of that. However, it purses these elements in a clever manner that avoids too much mawkishness as it also helps move along the overall narrative.

Fredwynn: “Fredwynn takes matters into his own hands but he needs his teammates to move on. He searches for the next clue and asks the gang for help. They take it too far in their search for answers leading them somewhere unexpected.”

As the series’ most intense character, Fredwynn lacks natural charm, but Benjamin plays him with just enough wit to make sure he doesn’t turn unbearable. Add some good plot developments and this becomes a pretty satisfying show.

Clara: “The game begins to have a deeper impact on our team's lives in the real world. The mystery of Clara's (Cecilia Balagot) disappearance deepens as the gang learns the full story. Fresh clues take the game in a new direction.”

The mysterious Clara gets some backstory here, and we also see the evolution of our main team in small dollops. This feels like a heavily expository show, and that can make it a little clunky, but it provides necessary information.

Everyone: “With time running out, the gang splits up in an effort to find Clara. Simone and Janice follow her artwork, while Fredwynn and Peter link the game to a large corporation.”

With “Everyone”, we get less exposition as usual, and that allows the main narrative to come to life in a more vivid way than has proven true so far. Throw in some much-needed comedy and this turns into a solid show.

Cave of Kelpius: “The Milkman (Joe Forbrich) leads the gang underground. The players come together while Peter and Simone grapple with their feelings for each other. Janice meets someone who gives her an unexpected clue.”

Though “Cave” seems to wrap up the series’ game, we all can figure out that won’t prove accurate – not with three more episodes to go. Most of “Cave” focuses on character dynamics, and those help it flesh out the roles while it also pursues the arc that’ll carry the rest of the season.

Lee: “The gang reflects on their experiences. Peter and Simone go on their first date together and Janice faces an unexpected decision. Fredwynn is convinced there is more to the story.”

Though ostensibly about the game, it long ago became clear that the show more wanted to reveal the bonds among its characters. “Lee” moves along the overall narrative well while it also expands the main roles.

The Creator: “Simone, Peter, and Janice explore new interests, while Fredwynn finds it hard to let go.”

With only one more episode to go after this, “Creator” also pursues the main story, but it continues the trend toward greater focus on the lead characters. It adds meaningful moments and turns into an effective episode.

The Boy: “A final mystery is solved.”

With a show as self-referential and complex as Dispatches, it becomes difficult to stick the landing and finish on a satisfying note. Tremendously meta and solipsistic, “Boy” ends the series on a sappy, absurd note that doesn’t work.

This misfire disappoints, though I admit it doesn’t surprise, simply because a series as convoluted as Dispatches lacked a natural, logical conclusion. I wish the producers had found something less gooey and New Agey than this, though, as the prior nine episodes were mostly good.

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

Dispatches From Elsewhere appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on these Blu-ray Discs. The episodes came with good but not great visuals.

For the most part, sharpness felt positive. Some scenes could come across as a bit on the soft side, but the majority of the material appeared well-rendered.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and I witnessed no signs of edge haloes. Shot digitally, the shows brought no source defects.

Colors tended toward a lot of teal, with some orange/amber along for the ride as well. These hues were fine given the stylistic choices, though they felt a bit bland at times.

Blacks appeared dark and deep, while shadows seemed smooth and concise. This became an appropriate representation of the source.

In addition, the series’ DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio worked for the story. Much of the time, the episodes came across as focused on dialogue and music, but some exceptions occurred.

These tended to stem from the series’ weirder flights of fancy. Those could offer explosions and action elements that added breadth and impact to the shows.

Audio quality worked fine, with speech that consistently remained natural and concise. Music sounded full and vivid as well.

As noted, effects didn’t often come with much to do, but they seemed accurate and dynamic, with good impact when necessary. This turned into satisfactory audio for the storyline.

Five featurettes appear on Disc Three, and About the Series runs two minutes, 28 seconds. It offers notes from creator/actor Jason Segel and actors Andre Benjamin, Eve Lindley, and Sally Field. “About” essentially acts as a promo for the show.

Character Profiles lasts eight minutes, 44 seconds and brings remarks from Segel, Lindley, Benjamin, and Field. We find general discussions of the series’ four main roles along with a lot of TV clips in this forgettable reel.

With Inside the Series, we get a nine-minute, 12-second reel that features Segel, Lindley, Benjamin and Field. They give us a few decent insights about the series but this largely remains another promotional effort without much depth.

A Love Letter to Philly fills three minutes, 38 seconds with comments from Segel, Lindley, Benkamin, Field, location manager Troy Coffee and executive producers Jeff Freilich and Mark Friedman. Though we find some thoughts about locations, this featurette mostly lives up to its title and becomes a travel ad.

Finally, The Making of the Series goes for six minutes, two seconds and offers material from Segel, Freilich, Friedman, Field, Benjamin, Lindley, production designer Kate Bunch and visual effects supervisor Ed Mendez. It offers general production thoughts to turn into another fluffy piece without much informational value.

In the wrong hands, Dispatches from Elsewhere could become insufferable due to its pretensions, and occasionally it crosses that line. However, most of the series feels engaging and intriguing. The Blu-rays come with generally good picture and audio but it lacks informative bonus materials. Despite sporadic missteps, this becomes a generally intriguing experience.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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