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on 28 November 2005
ReGenesis is a 13-part series from Canada that deals with the looming issues raised by the new frontiers of scientific advancements. NORBAC is a coalition of the best scientists from Mexico, the United States and Canada, working in Toronto, and charged with investigating various events and issues that have an unqualified scientific edge to them – in this first series they investigate the dark side of science, the side where humans appear to be rushing in before the side effects and outcomes can be known. Episodes deal with new viruses, cloning, diseases and bio-terrorism, amongst others.
The focus of the series is Dr David Sandstrom, played by Peter Outerbridge (Millennium Season 3), a brilliant scientist and borderline lousy human being. David is a perpetual teenager who happens to have a very complicated and important job and a teenage daughter, Lil, who features heavily in some of the early storylines. David is joined in his lab by Carlos, a Mexican doctor, Bob, a brilliant analytical scientist with Asperger’s Syndrome, and Caroline, the centre’s leader and a woman with a shady (possibly CIA) background and other recurring characters.
The series kicks off in fine style with a fatal outbreak of an Ebola-like virus that is heading to Toronto itself. Everything you need to learn about ReGenesis is in these opening episodes, as it introduces the themes that will run through the series’ main arc (although some storylines are resolved the majority of plot strands are deftly weaved together at the season’s close), the main characters who populate the show, and the distinctive style of the show.
The show is shot like a film, and opens with a doozy of a hook before zipping back 6 months to begin the series proper. Being on a liberal network in Canada (similar to, say, HBO or Showtime) the series obviously had a reasonable budget behind it: it looks very good, and Toronto is presented on screen very well as a vibrant, bustling city. Universal have provided us with a decent widescreen transfer, and of course considering that this season only finished broadcasting early in 05, the picture itself is pretty much clean of dust and noise.
Opening with a gripping first gambit is all well and good, but any series worth following must maintain that level of involvement throughout. Does ReGenesis manage it? For the most part, yes: it has a trio of uninspiring episodes just after the mid-way point where it seems to be treading water as it approaches the big climax, but even these are relatively entertaining and manage to keep your attention.
The episodes also focuses on the personal lives of the characters but, pleasingly, manage to keep it just above soap opera level so that it doesn’t distract from the meat of the series – the science. From it’s superbly unnerving credits sequence onwards (easily one of the most imaginative for a TV show), ReGenesis deals with the scary side of progress – devastating diseases, outbreaks and the ghosts of past mistakes (their own and those before them) hover over the series. One of the most impressive things about ReGenesis is that it isn’t like any other series – whilst it may share similar themes and framing with dramas like 24 and House M.D. it is frequently unlike anything you will have seen on TV, and even takes a turn for the surreal successfully in the penultimate episode. The twists are frequent and also frequently surprising, the characters are genuinely interesting and complicated, and the series progresses to grab you and involve you emotionally as it leads up to a tight and actually tense finale.
So then, is it worth your money? Although as I’ve said it’s a different beast, I’d recommend ReGenesis if you’re a fan of 24 or House, or simply a fan of well-made, edgy and complex drama. If you’ve ever watched The Shield, or Battlestar Galactica, or Millennium then you’d probably enjoy this show – wildly varying examples I’ll agree, but to me those dramas all share a skewed, nervy reaction to the events of recent years that ReGenesis also has.
Extras are limited to a functional 10-min piece of promo fluff that was obviously designed to get people interested in watching it, and if you’ve already watched the series it will add nothing.
Be advised, ReGenesis is rated 15 for frequent very strong language, sexual nudity, drug references and medical horror, and would not be suitable for younger viewers.
Overall, a very fine series and one well worth checking out for fans of modern drama with a desire for something that little bit different.
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on 26 March 2006
I'm a biochemist, and while I love science-based TV, I almost always have to watch with my suspension of disbelief cranked up to high. Not so with ReGenesis. Real, accurate science, and fascinating storylines. Of course the real genius is that they manage to make it accessible to the layman too without huge indigestible dollops of exposition. I watched the entire first season in less than two days, then made my husband (who wouldn't know a carbon atom from a cheese sandwich) watch it too. He's as hooked as I am, and immediately phoned up a friend in Canada to record the second season for us.
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VINE VOICEon 26 July 2007
Just to reiterate what everyone else is saying:

I had no idea ReGenesis existed and picked the DVD up on a whim because it was a.) cheap and b.) Canadian. (Oh and thanks to positive reviews here on Amazon) Canadians have produced at least two of my favourite TV shows, Due South and Slings and Arrows, so I had high hopes of mature, intelligent writing with strong characters and grounded storylines... and that's what we have here.

NORBAC is an alliance of Canada, Mexico and the US, a thinktank of scientists dealing with as the box of the DVD puts it Genetic Crime. So engineered viruses and cloning are some of the issues dealt with in the first series.

This could all be a bit dry, or as painfully earnest as, say, 24 (a show that clearly thinks it's more intelligent than it actually is), but the scientists are human beings not saints and the lead character particularly has some major flaws, beginning with his relationship with his daughter. However, it is often through this relationship that the issues at play are explained for those of us who aren't entirely up to speed with recombinant DNA and camelpox. There is also a sense of wry humour and all of the storylines affect people in a personal way, whether it is the victims of these crimes or members of the NORBAC team.

This is one of those shows that is likely to be sidelined as genre TV, even though what happens is always in the realm of what is possible today. It deserves a larger audience and if Playback want to put out the 2nd and 3rd series on DVD I'll happily buy them.
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on 23 May 2007
wow! I bought this on offer with no idea what it was about, just hoping for some cheesey series so I could switch my brain of after work. this is one of the best series i've seen in a long time. I've recommended it to all my friends. The main character is very strong, flawed, yet still likeable and plot lines twist and turn throughout the whole series - there's always something to keep you on your toes. Someone else described it as a cross between 24 and CSI with bugs thrown it - I'd agree! Highly enjoyable and can't wait for the next series on DVD.
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on 10 March 2007
An excellent intelligent series about the dangers and problems with the new science of bioengineering. Sometimes this Canadian series is just a bit close to the truth, which is one of the reasons this thought provoking series will br one of my favorite for a long time. With Season 3 starting soon in Canada, I am impatiently waiting for the release of the 2nd season on dvd. Season 1 has only been released in the UK so far, so as an avid tv show dvd buyer, I am looking foward to getting any more Season releases offered through amazon uk.
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on 18 January 2007
It's a shame this never went to a second series....or did it? Some of the content is similiar to "24" and the screenplay is quite similiar too. Outerbridges' performance is excellent, very natural and he is well supported. With todays news of the recreation of the 1918 flu virus in Canada, this series could not be more relevant. In fact, it shows that it was way ahead of it's time.

Buy it. Save a few minor flaws (like not following some of the storylines to conclusion), it's worth the watch and very addictive.
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on 25 November 2008
Both my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed this quirky and interesting biotech series. Like a grown up Eureka with a little less silliness and a little more punch and attitude! It is full of believable and edgy characters, great balance of humour and emotion with the techy stuff. My husband loved all the unusual and slightly crazy plot lines, I enjoyed the human elements: the teenage wildchild daughter's character is very engaging and brilliantly written.

Like many, I have scoured UK sites for Regenesis 2, searched supermarket DVD bins and every shop claiming to sell DVDS. No luck. However, after another post on here, someone mentioned purchasing it from other amazon sites. Sure enough, amazon.de and amazon.fr and others do sell it! So does the forgottenstuff website. The cheapest option I have found so far is amazon.fr: with postage to UK I paid 27.24 Euros. Much much cheaper than the German website and I am guessing forgotten too (Being American site, the postage is higher and you can get stung on import tax - from bitter experience!) Not only that, but if you use the french site, all your details (if you have saved them) from the UK amazon site is already there and you do not even need to type in your address details - just click and purchase. My french is poor but this was a piece of cake. Order to delivery time 3-4 working days apparently.
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on 21 July 2007
This is a really good series, had me hooked from the first episode to the last. Caught season 2 on cable, why is this not yet released on DVD in the UK yet, and I just read that Si-Fi are not going to air season 3 in the UK so the only chance we may get to view this in on DVD. I think there is a market for both season 2 & 3 over in the uk, so come on.....
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on 12 September 2007
Its hardly necessary to endorse this series, given the reviews so far - it is far superior to the pale imitation mini-series "Eleventh Hour" with Patrick Stewart foisted on British audiences. I quite like the Regenesis plot device of starting at the (near) end with the main character's close shave accident in a moment of high anxiety, then using the series to flashback through a kaleidoscope of intertwined events and characters involved, that led up to this crisis.

Some interesting if scary themes of engineered bio-weapons, particularly the opening two episodes involving an Ebola and Camelpox hybrid in a baby. Horrific, because it is just about plausible (especially if you have read Ken Alibek's book about his days with the Soviet Biopreparat programme...)

There was some unintentional dark humour with the boy running round telling everyone he was a clone - until it turns out to be true (his Father grew him solely for the spare parts for his ailing brother).

The series winds down with the rediscovery and release of the Spanish Infuenza virus, but the team seems to get on top of this disaster rather too quickly, given this flu's fearsome reputation for spreading rapidly.

Every character is given a hang up, for the human interest side, which perhaps makes the series a bit soaplike, and there is that incidental music that gets repeated every time the main people furrow their brows, stroke their collective chins and peer knowingly into a testtube before coming up with the idea to save the day - hope they ditch these lame ploys for the follow-up series. Regenesis is good enough to stand without them.

A very good series, all in all. I hope the sales will pick up, and then we can get the other series (2, 3 & maybe 4 by now?) over here in the UK.
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I can't believe I ignored this series solely because the title did not appeal to me, thankfully a chance purchase of this box set changed my mind.
It's a cracking well acted and well directed series based on fears that lurk in the back of all our minds. A whole host of biological threats, viruses, germ warfare, stuff that we know is NOT science-fiction. We understand the cynicism that comes with the idea that Western countries do not produce biological weapons, but keep biological agents as samples to produce antidotes, and they can say it with a straight face.
Sure the fact that it is limited to a series 45 minute episodes and the emergencies tend to be sorted out within 2 or 3 episodes lends itself to charges that it is not realistic. Scientists will argue that they cannot sequence genes this fast etc. it is just a tool to add to the tension, it is solely artistic licence.
The main characters are seen warts and all, the head scientist David is a womanising egotist with alcoholic tendencies as well as being a scientific genius. The supporting characters cover a wide geographic spectrum from Bob, a Ukranian who has Asperger's syndrome who is the most sympathetically handled character of the group. Caroline the American who heads the department, Carlos the Mexican doctor, Mayko the Vietnamese-American researcher, Virologist Jill and Wes the spook.
From pure evil terrorism to vengeance, sloppiness and stupidity the threats keep on coming, but it's not all doom and gloom. There's also hope as the series delves into subjects such as stem-cell research and genetic manipulation to try and find cures for cancer and AIDS, amongst many others.
It all depends on whether the hand that guides the research is benevolent or malevolent and that distinction is as valid in real life as in fiction.
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