'Dominion' is an epic supernatural drama set in the near future. Specifically, 25 years after "The Extinction War," when an army of lower angels, assembled by the archangel Gabriel, waged war against mankind. The archangel Michael, turning against his own kind, chose to side with humanity. Rising out of the ashes of this long battle are newly fortified cities which protect human survivors. At the center of the series is the city of Vega, a glistening empire that has formed from the ruins of what was once Las Vegas.
The SyFy network has been desperately trying to find a show that will be as big a hit as their recent 'Battlestar Galactic' reboot series, which ended in 2009. A lot of shows have come and gone since then, but none have had the critical acclaim, the ratings, or the genius of Ron D. Moore's 'BSG' series. Back in June of 2014, SyFy tried again with a new series called 'Dominion', which has a lot of similarities to 'BSG'. However, they couldn't muster up the top-tier talent both in cast and crew to produce an iconic series like 'Battlestar Galactica' did.
Instead of having a thoroughly thought out story arc with progressive characters and good dialogue, 'Dominion' is rather unremarkable, whether it be because we've seen this done better before elsewhere, or the production is so cheesy that it musters laughs rather than thrills and suspense. It's rather unfortunate, because I'm a big proponent of the SyFy network, and I want to see them with another hit show. 'Dominion' is actually a sequel to the 2010 film 'Legion' that starred Paul Bettany and directed by Scott Stewart. I guess since 'Legion' did just okay at the box office, we didn't receive an official movie sequel, but it was good enough to warrant a SyFy series. Go figure.
'Dominion' takes place about twenty five years after the events of 'Legion' with Earth torn apart with a few reinforced cities still standing. The main city we see is called Vega, formally titled Las Vegas, where God has left his angels and universe to their own devices. Basically, God has disappeared, and this has pissed off the angels, particularly Gabriel, who blames the humans out of all things for the reason God has vanished. So what does Gabriel do? He forms an army of other angels who can possess humans to betray other humans, which will lead to death and carnage, in the hopes that God will show up again and makes things better.
But don't worry, the humans have an angel on their side by the name of Michael (no, not John Travolta), who helps the humans to defeat Gabriel. Paul Bettany played the Michael character in 'Legion'. It is foretold that a single human would rise up and be the leader of the resistance to restore balance between the heavens and Earth, and that man is named Alex, who figures he is the chosen one in episode one.
From here on out, it's Michael's army vs Gabriel's army, as Alex tries to figure out the best plan of action to prevent human extinction. It's a solid set up for sure, but the execution is pitiful. Each character seems to be very mundane or over-the top without a middle ground ever to be had. The dialogue is always cheesy and the story plots have the same angels and twists that 'Battlestar Galactica' had. Only this time, they don't pack the same punch. And since this series relies heavily on visual effects and CGI, you'd think more than ten dollars would have been spent to make the show and effects looks quality. But unfortunately, that's not the case here.
Pretty much every CG shot is laughable and completely takes you out of the moment when it's shown on screen. But it's not all bad though. There are some genuine instances where 'Dominion' shows promise, particularly in a flash back sequence towards the end of the season, and in the finale where it sets up a second season, which is set to air this year. I don't know how much more steam this series has, considering the failed attempts of the first season, but let's hope the second season has learned from this season's mistakes, because 'Dominion' definitely has potential.
'Dominion: Season 1' comes with a very good 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The overall image looks great with a crisp and clear picture. However, there are a few problems. Like I mentioned above, the visual effects and CGI are laughable and do not look realistic or in any way shape or form, good. This is where the very sharp and vivid detail tends to go soft murky a bit along with video noise and some crush. Too bad there is quite a bit of visual effects shots.
Other than that unfortunate business, this picture looks great, with well defined closeups revealing every makeup effect, scar, wrinkle, and individual hair. Wider shots also look great and give the image some depth when there are no heavy CGI backgrounds. Colors are well saturated and balanced as well, with colors popping off screen from time to time. Black levels are deep and inky and the skin tones are natural when they need to be. If it weren't for the shoddy CGI here, this would have been a perfect video presentation.
This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix that sounds quite good. The fact of the matter is that this show is a low budget science-fiction show, and much like the inexpensive work on the above visual effects, the sound design was scrimping by too. While this audio mix does sound great, it's just not all that big or full. Sound effects sound good and mostly realistic, but it tends to be front heavy.
The ambient noises and environment sounds to creep up on the rear speakers, providing a bit of immersion into this world. Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to follow, and free of any high shrills, pops, cracks, and hissing. The big battles and gun blasting fights do pack a punch, but not as loud or big as it should, considering the "epic" material we're dealing with here. The LFE is great and the dynamic range is fairly wide with some decent bass coming in ever so often, leaving this audio mix with solid marks.
Alternate Extended Episode (HD, 81 Mins.) - The extended episode in question is the season finale or last episode of the first season here. Instead of the normal hour long episode, we have an extra twenty minutes here, which was far better that what was shown on television. My advice is to watch this version.
Deleted Scenes (HD, 14 Mins.) - There are five different episodes that have deleted scenes in them, all of them are worth watching if you enjoy the show, but were better left on the cutting room floor for time.
Gag Reel (HD, 3 Mins.) - Here is a funny look at actors missing cues, flubbing lines, laughing and having problems with some of the props and sets.
'Dominion: Season 1' is actually a decent show, but it tries to hard to be 'Battlestar Galactica', even to the point of acting out and executing the same story lines and scenes. It never quite engages you as much as 'BSG' did or still does, probably because of the lackluster acting, visual effects, and poorly executed plot points. But it still has its moments from time to time. The video and audio presentations are both very good here, but the extras are kind of lackluster. If you're unsure on the show, give it a rent first, before purchasing, but if you're a big fan of the show, you'll want to add this to your collection.