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3.7 out of 5 stars
Harsh Realm: The Complete Series [DVD]
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 11 April 2005
I for one would like to know how to go about getting a job on a TV Network in the USA. Obviously you don't need any kind of quality control credentials. You just cancel what you like when you like!
Harsh Realm is a show that was cancelled before it was ever given a chance to shine, and while there are are a few duff episodes, on the whole it is an excellent slice of TV Sci-Fi. The computer program/alternate universe theme is always a good one and Scott Bairstow plays his role well. Although the stand-out character in my opinion is D B Sweeney's Pinocchio. Cynical to a fault, while always entertaining.
Yes, the show is a bit underdeveloped, but with less than half a normal season of episodes thats only to be expected. And it does get very good towards the end of the season.
Highly recommended. Harsh Realm is dfinitely worth buying. And considering how unlikely it was that UK viewers would ever get to watch it, you can savour it all the more. Buy it. You never know, maybe if enough are sold then we might get more never-seen gems!!
We can hope!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 12 December 2005
I was initially put off by some of the negative feedback this DVD had been given, however finally I bit the bullet and gave it a go. I wasn't disappointed. In fact, by the end of the series, it really had left me wanting more. It certainly should have been allowed to continue and didn't deserve to be cancelled, and you are left with the strong impression that this was a show just finding it's feet - the episodes move from strength to strength, and I am certainly pleased that I took a chance and bought this one, it now has a proud home amongst my collection. Had it not been cancelled, I think it would have become a hit show, and it's a shame that it will never achieve the success it (in my opinion) so richly deserves.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 2004
With Harsh Realm, Chris Carter tried to hit off his third television show after "The X-Files" and "MillenniuM" back in 1999. For reasons that were never really explained, the Fox network cancelled the show after only 3 (in words: THREE!!!) aired episodes, because ratings did not seem to be what they had expected (after three episodes, please keep in mind!). So, although nine episodes had been produced, only three had been aired. Of course, this DVD-set contains all the nine produced episodes.
In short, this is what the show is about: Lt.Thomas Hobbes, portrayed by Scott Bairstow, returns from military duty in Sarajevo after rescuing his friend Waters there, asking himself what exactly guides his life. He now lives on a military base with his beautiful fiancé Sophie, played by Samantha Mathis, only to be called to a secret meeting in the middle of the night. There he is told by a general, played by Lance Henriksen, that there actually is a virtual computer simulation created by the US government, which had the purpose of serving as an almost perfect virtual environment for training soldiers and had been obtained through scanning of the real world, so that, in a sense, a true parallel world exists: Harsh Realm, a synthetic world filled with virtual characters in the image of real people in the real world. The problem is that a certain Omar Santiago, played by Terry O'Quinn, has entered Harsh Realm, basically conquered it and now rules part of it as a Hitler-esque General in his very own city complex, Santiago City. This city is shielded from the rest of the realm, so that the people inside can live by his cruel rule of intellectual suppression, yet in material richness and pompous lifestyle, while the world outside is a Mad Max-like postwar wasteland, parts of which Santiago tries to conquer to expand his empire. After several soldiers had been sent into the realm to assassinate Santiago but did not succeed, Hobbes is the next one to be sent, and so he enters the realm. Here he meets another hard-ass soldier, whom he finally finds to be an ally: Mike Pinnochio, played by D.B.Sweeney. He also meets his old friend Waters, played by Max Martini, whom he had saved in Sarajevo, only to find out that he is now Santiago's right hand and husband of his fiancé Sophie, who does not recognize him, and who, in the real world, is told that Hobbes has been killed in action. There also is the mysterious character of Florence, portraied by Rachel Hayward, who is mute, but who can heal a wound inflicted on Hobbes with her bare hands. Where does she get that power from within this game? In the end, Hobbes must accept and deal with his new situation, try to survive, to kill the tyrant Santiago and somehow get back to Sophie or at least to let her know he is still alive. This brings the character Inga Fossa, played by Sarah-Jane Redmont, into action, a mysterious double-agent working for Santiago, but also aiding Hobbes. Also, she knows how to cross between the real world and the realm, so that she is Hobbes' only possibility to reach Sophie outside. To make the drama perfect, in the final shot of the pilot it is revealed that not only Hobbes and some other "real people" exist along the virtual characters in the realm whilst their wired bodies are lying in a secret facility in the real world, but literally thousands of them.....
This plot marked the beginning of an incredible show, which had a greater impact on me with just it's first, and sadly last, nine episodes than any other first nine episodes of any other show ever. The X-Files/Mad Max/military feel is just perfect and gives the whole thing a wonderful post-apocaliptic, pessimistic, yet adventurous and thriller-like feeling, paired with a truly wonderful cast and crew, who supply superb work on par with other Carter productions, right down to the writers and to Mark Snow, again the brilliant composer that he always was. The drama is intense and lets you really dive in and feel with the characters, so that even within the small number of episodes a true bond is created between the characters and the audience, just like it should be. Several mysteries are begun to be explored, but sadly, as said before, the show was surprisingly cancelled, so most of them, as well as the premise of the show, are never solved or explained.
All in all, it is completely idiotic and not at all understandable why this show was cancelled, at least not in my opinion, and also not in Mr Carter's, I guess. But that sadly is what happened, at least in the real world, and is therefore something the fans of the show and of Carter's work have to live with. It is a small miracle that this show ever made it onto DVD, so please do not hesitate to buy and experience it. You will not be disappointed, believe me! Maybe the Fox network will finally realize that this unprecedentedly premature cancellation was a mistake after all!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 13 August 2004
This is a must buy for any fans of the X Files. A very dark drama which at times doesn't give you all of the answers, much like the X Files. That is where any comparison with the X Files ends as this is a cracking series in its own right. It has excellent acting throughout and doesn't rely too heavily on effects, which would have been the easy option.
There are no weak episodes and the overall feeling I was left with was one of surprise that such a cracking series only lasted one season before being cancelled.
The extras do not warrant much attention, with the exception of Chris Carter's commentary on the pilot. However, because the series is so good, the lack of extras is a minor quibble.
Give this DVD a try-you might be pleasantly surprised.
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on 20 September 2010
First there was the X-Files, a phenomenon which changed TV forever; than there was Millennium, another masterpiece although criminally undervalued! Chris Carter, creator of those series, is a genius, he is able to create shows that are entertaining, suspenceful, strong, creative and at the same time able to make you question different themes, often without offering answers (answering is left to the viewer)...Harsh Realm, partially inpired by a little known comic series, investigates some of the themes that will make Matrix one of the biggest cinematographic success one year later. The series focuses much, infact, on the topic of reality: what's real and what's not? What makes something real? and so on... HR is the story of lt. Hobbes, who is asked by US Army to enter a virtual reality -Harsh Realm - created by the Army for training purposes. Harsh Realm is a virtual world which reproduces our planet and its citizens perfectly, but there evets take their own turn, which is different from what happens in the real world. Hobbes has to stop Omar Santiago, a soldier and top HR player who has taken absolute power over the virtual world. Soon, Hobbes finds himself allied with a soldier like him and some other peculiar carachters in the virtual world to fight against Santiago, for his life and for an exit from HR. The series is dark, action-packed, well-written and full of sci-fi plots, including some really good stuff creativly speaking and the conspiracy theory themes, beloved by Cater as we all know. Acting was ok too. The fact is that FOX cancelled the show only after 3 episodes (the remaining 6 were shown for the first time on FX), so the series is too short lived and leaves a lot of potentian unexpressed. It is really a pity: this 9 episodes feel like a really promising start for another masterpiece from Chris Carter, but then had no further development and left unfinished. Warned of that unlucky problem, you should watch HR beacuse it is really good stuff. If you loved the other tv shows from Chris Carter, than you HAVE TO watch this!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 March 2007
Kids got me this for Mother's day. They made me a picnic and I stayed in bed ALL day and watched the whole series! Bliss! Couldn't sleep last night though....wonder why!

I thought this had the makings of a really great show and it's a pity it wasn't allowed to carry on. If you want to sit and nitpick for holes and whatever then that's fine, I prefer to just sit back, relax and enjoy when I watch something. I for one thoroughly enjoyed it and it's now going to start doing the rounds with my friends.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 12 October 2004
I initially took a chance with Harsh Realm based on the 2 previous reviews,and was seriously disappointed with Disc One (pilot)+ 3 episodes,the pilot was seriously awful..big style,and the 3 episodes that followed also were very dull.
Its a shame they did not kick of with some episodes from Disc Two,this is where the action picks up,the episode "Three Percenters" stands out on disc two,this is the episode that Chris Carter fans will lap up,its real spooky.
So summing up,the first disc kinda sucks,the second disc all episodes are well worth watching,the 3rd disc leaves you begging for more,but alas their is no more.
I feel ,if the public saw some of the latter episodes maybe Harsh Realm would have made it through FOX`s `harsh` views,then maybe it could have gone onto some kind of cut status in time
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on 4 December 2014
if they have a copy of this for sale buy it it's as rare as hens teeth. a lot of familiar faces from lost prison break etc...
thinking he's doing experiments for the goverment he awakes in harsh realm to what we believe is reality or is it ?
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on 8 December 2014
Starts of well but winds down into chaos. The episodes from about the middle on are not really connected.
Still, for the price, it's entertaining enough.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 26 February 2006
The mix of positive and not so positive reviews are a good reflection of this series - some of it is pretty good some of it is pretty poor. On the positive side some real effort has gone into it and I particularly like the theme tune and the opening credits. Basically, if you're a fan of Carter's or like this type of Sci Fi than it's definitely worth it's current price. However, if you're a bit tired of the conspiracy theory drama that never finds resolution (Is it? Isn't? Is it, in a isn't kind of way?) then steer well clear, especially as there are unlikely to be any more episodes to clear things up......
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