Delve deep into the international conspiracies at the heart of Dig: Season One, the epic global thriller featuring an all-star cast led by Golden Globe nominee Jason Isaacs (The Harry Potter series, The Patriot) and Anne Heche (Donnie Brasco, Six Days Seven Nights). When FBI agent Peter Connelly (Isaacs) investigates the murder of a beautiful American woman in Jerusalem, he soon discovers that the holiest city on earth hides an unholy secret. Now, in a race against time, Peter must stop the schemes that threaten to bring about an ancient prophecy and change the course of humanity. From the executive producers of Homeland and Heroes comes an immersive, heart-racing 10-part TV event presented uninterrupted and back-to-back.
"None of it makes any sense to me."
When you're creating a new television show or a planning a long story that spans two or three movies, naturally you want to structure your content in such a way that it hooks your audience from moment one, keeps people guessing, and ultimately provides some sort of resolution. The trick is this resolution needs to not only answer the questions that came up throughout the series or movie and at the same time it amply set up the next adventure. 'Dig' Season One offers up a unique conspiracy theory for the story foundation that leads through an incomprehensible plot maze filled with thin characters that ends up leading to a resolution that may best be described as a "cheat."
Peter Connelly (Jason Isaacs) is an F.B.I. agent stationed in Jerusalem as part of the State Department envoy. When he isn't assisting local authorities or helping to stop acts of terrorism, Peter is usually drinking a bit too much for his own good while also sleeping with his boss Lynn (Anne Heche). And when he's not doing all of this, he will randomly call his ex-wife and not actually speak to her. What prompts this destructive behavior? Years ago Peter's daughter was killed and he was never able to come to terms with his own grief. He's fled his marriage, his home life, and is burying himself into any case he can just to stay sane. When a man wanted for murder named Yussef Khalid (Omar Metwally) flees from America to Israel, Peter is put onto what seems like just another case helping local police Detective Golan Cohen (Ori Pfeffer).
After a quick chase, Yussef is apprehended but Peter runs into a young woman, an archeology student named Emma (Alison Sudol) who is working on an important dig. Peter is drawn to Emma; not by her beauty or because of what she's doing with her life or her passion, he's drawn to her because she looks exactly like his deceased daughter. Peter spends that night with Emma down in her caves and archeological dig locations. That next morning, Peter is called into Lynn's office and handed a case file for a murder from the night before. When he opens the file, Peter sees photos of Emma's dead body. As he soon learns, his case involving Khalid and Emma are intertwined. Peter will then go on to discover that his case is part of a larger international conspiracy that dates back to the Old Testament involving the birth of a pure red heifer, and the breeding of identical children - who may or may not bring about the end of days.
Perhaps it's old wounds from the days of 'Heroes' speaking when I say this, but 'Dig' is very much a Tim Kring show. 'Dig' is a show that is filled with entirely too much plot, too many characters, and way too much conspiracy mumbo jumbo before any sort of explanation as to what the heck is going on is given. If your goal is to tantalize an audience and tease them into caring about the situation the characters find themselves in, you need to let people in on the joke so to speak. It's only after a 90-minute pilot, and three 40 minute episodes that only the faintest glimmers of a clear plot thread even begin to emerge. Unfortunately, any information that is given just spins about to revealing more questions and adding to a sense of confusion. If you're up on even a little bit of religious scripture it's not too difficult to start to figure out the mystery for yourself - but then that's something the storyteller is supposed to do through the characters. The audience is supposed to be along for the ride. If the person watching the show has a leg up on the religious iconography and the meaning, that's fine, but if personal experience is a prerequisite for enjoying your show then you've got a serious story structure issue.
Structure is absolutely a big problem spot for 'Dig.' While it was shot all over the world and it does make fantastic use of the Jerusalem locations, the show has a hard time pacing itself. 'Dig' is at its best when we're watching Peter and Golan follow the little scraps of paper and random bits of religious text as clues. Things spiral outward into story structure no man's land when we're stuck with Fay (Angela Bettis), Josh (Zen McGrath) and their pseudo Jewish/Evangelical cult in New Mexico or if we have to watch a young Jewish man transport a red heifer in the storage hold of a ship. While these elements are absolutely part of the primary plot, they're horribly shortchanged to the point that their presence becomes an irritation. These are moments that should propel the narrative in some interesting or exciting direction only they grind the thing to a dead stop. Even when these aspects start to come together, it just leads to more story mess that takes a long time to clean up.
That isn't to say 'Dig' isn't intriguing because it actually kind of is, only for the wrong reasons. My levels of frustration actually propelled me to get through the material rather than the story or characters. While I was frequently irritated at how the show was laid out, how characters were introduced, and how the mystery seems to go nowhere, I did at least want to finish the thing and see how it all turned out. Only by the time the last episode finishes, it becomes very clear at just how bloated this show really is. With a little trimming, 'Dig' could have easily been a five episode mini-series and end things just fine. This is a show that takes a very long time to essentially become an overly convoluted 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' meets 'The DaVinci Code' meets 'Left Behind.' I'll say the cast is pretty great and it's awesome to see Jason Isaacs not play a bad guy, it's just a shame their efforts didn't go into something with a better sense of purpose. I wanted to like 'Dig,' I really did, but my frustrations outweigh any fun that I had with this one.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Season One of 'Dig' arrives on Blu-ray thanks to Universal. Housed in a standard dual disc case with slipcover, all ten episodes as well as an extended pilot episode are pressed onto two BD50 discs.
Shot digitally on location throughout New Mexico, Jerusalem, and Croatia, the 1.78:1 1080p transfer for 'Dig' is a somewhat intermittently beautiful and at times ugly show to look at. When scenes are quieter, more introspective and characters are just having a conversation, the image can look downright splendid providing wonderful detail levels, shadows, inky blacks and eye-popping color. When action beats kick in, the image can look flatter, contrast fluctuates, and detail becomes soft and waxy - which is a real shame when you consider the scenery. The Jerusalem scenes are where the show looks its absolute best. When the action moves to the religious compound in New Mexico, there is a glaring and irritating blue grading effect in place that pushes out a lot of the fine details and kicks contrast through the roof making the image look hazy and flat. I understand the desire to have a color tone to the location changes, but the blue New Mexico coloring is a really irritating look - especially when some of these characters move from New Mexico to the Jerusalem setting and all of a sudden they look healthy and normal. The show really looks amazing during the few scenes set in Scandinavia where the red heifer was born and the slow journey to Jerusalem offering accurate color notes while also providing healthy detail levels. So depending on the scene, 'Dig' will either look beautiful or dreadful.
Thankfully all ten episodes, as well as the extended pilot episode for 'Dig,' come packed with robust and resonate DTS-HD MA 5.1 tracks. For a show with a fair bit of action, there is also quite a bit of quiet conversation. During these action packed moments, imaging is strong and powerful offering plenty of channel movement and a lot of impact. Dialogue always comes through with crystal clarity. The quieter scenes keep the dialogue front and in the center channels letting the surrounds become the source for some pleasing ambients and atmospheric tones. Music is also a nice element throughout the show. Rather than having a sweeping "epic-sounding" score, much of the music is a series of tones and hums that really set the tone and mood - and can give your subwoofer a bit of a workout every now and again.
International Pilot: (HD 1:20:21) At about fifteen minutes longer - this is a much better cut of the opening episode. Some of the added character beats offer a lot more nuance as well as helping to smooth out some plot details that come back later in the show. It isn't much, but it suggests that more material could have been left in each episode
Deleted Scenes: (HD 5:44) Episodes Catch You Later, Meet the Rosenbergs, and Prayer of David have a few extra beats of material. Some works and could have been left in the final episode - like the added stuff for Prayer of David - but these scenes are mostly filler that don't add a whole lot to the story.
Dig: Unearthing The Mystery: (HD 12:53) If you went to the movies while this show was being hyped ahead of release you saw a lot of this material already during one of those pregame shows - it's a very brief explanation of the conspiracies the show mined for its plot, some character information and details about the location shoots. Considering where this show was shot and the themes it attempts to tackle, this featurette could have and should have been longer.
Deleted Scenes: (HD 9:11) These deleted scenes for the episodes Emma Wilson's Father, The Well of Souls, Sisters of Dinah, and Armageddon Protocol offer up some added details, a couple more interesting character beats, but don't really add much to their respective episodes' final cuts.
'Dig' is one of those shows that I wish had been given the chance to rework itself a little bit more before going into production. At ten episodes, it feels like too much and then at the same time not enough. There is entirely too much plot and story mechanics at work that leaves characters and their motivations feeling a bit thin and undercooked. I know some people loved the show; it just wasn't my thing I guess. With an image that is a bit rough in places and a stellar audio track, Season One of 'Dig' comes with only few extra features. If you're new to the show and didn't watch the initial run on the USA Network, I would consider a rental. A blind buy is a tough recommendation for me to make.