Review: Rogue: The Complete First Season (DVD)

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Title: Rogue: The Complete First Season
Format: DVD
Release Date: March 11, 2014
Studio: Entertainment One
Original MSRP: $34.98
Number of Discs: 4
Language: English
Subtitles: English
MPAA Rating: NR
A copy of this DVD was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy.

Audio Review:
The audio review for this DVD is available on Episode 362 of the podcast.

Story:
Rogue’s story is immersed in the underworld of organized crime on the docks in the San Francisco-Oakland Bay area. Airing exclusively on DirecTV I’d actually never heard of it until we were offered a review copy, but the plot and the cast immediately grabbed my attention.

The story revolves around Grace Travis (Thandie Newton), an undercover cop investigating the corruption at the docks and specifically a crew run by Jimmy Laszlo (Marton Csokas). She’s pulled out when her seven-year-old son is killed in a drive by shooting. Her obsession with finding the killers leads her to connections back at the docks and even though she’s officially on leave, she dives back into her cover and begins a relentless search for the killer a the cost of her marriage, career, friendships, everything.

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Spread across ten one-hour episodes, the story moves along at a good pace. We see Grace fall further and further down the rabbit hole with just how far she’s willing to go and what she’ll sacrifice to find some sense of justice. Newton gets to show a wide range of emotion and even fighting skills while Csokas, a true Jonathan Frakes doppelganger here, brings everything he has to the role of Jimmy, elevating him above just another run-of-the-mill gangster.

The writing is excellent throughout as the tension builds from episode to episode. Every time I thought I had something figured out a new wrinkle was added. Almost none of the characters are black and white in their motivations and over the course of the season we’re given the opportunity to delve into some of the driving forces behind them with each getting some good screen time and character development.

That supporting cast is stacked with some really good actors, some you’ll recognize, some you won’t, but they all bring great performances to bear here. Standouts include Kavan Smith (of Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis and Eureka fame) as Grace’s husband and Joshua Sasse and Matthew Beard as Laszlo’s sons. Ian Hart (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) as Detective Buddy Wilson just about steals every scene he’s in with the lines he’s given and the way he delivers them.

This is a very adult drama, so expect as much with plenty of language and nudity from episode to episode. They really didn’t pull any punches here in trying to give you a real flavor of an undercover cop spiraling out of control in a sea of corruption.

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Video:
Having never seen the original broadcast on DirecTV I have nothing to compare it against but either way, Rogue ends up looking really good on DVD. While there’s a good mix of day and night scenes, the show tends to skew darker with a lot of low lit interiors. It’s a conscious choice and works well in adding to the darkness of Grace’s story.

There’s never any banding or crushing which is good with all the darker scenes in the show. There are however some odd choices with lens flares and for a few episodes it gets heavy to the point of distracting, but overall things look great and the crew made some excellent choices with locations and set design.

Audio:
While there’s action here, it’s primarily a dialogue-driven show and the surround mix does a good job separating out the background noises and music. The music itself tends to be ominous in tone, always building tension from scene to scene, but it mostly just stays in the background as it should.

Bonus Features:
There’s some interesting stuff here but it’s all best watched after viewing the entire season. Too much is spoiled otherwise.

  • Trailer (2:10) – Standard trailer
  • Script to Screen Featurette (23:14) – A pretty informative behind the scenes with the producers and cast
  • Webisodes – A series of shorts that follow Ian Tracey’s character Lucas Mitchell. This all runs in parallel with events in the first episode and even ends with a partial scene from it
    • Sam (6:36)
    • Loretta (5:50)
    • Wilson (5:11)
    • Mrs. Parker (5:43)
    • Billy (4:18)
    • Dr. Parsons (4:25)
    • Santino (5:37)
    • Dash (5:53)
    • Mitch (4:19)
    • Grace (5:30)

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Conclusion:
I had no idea what to expect going in but a few familiar faces, good scripts and great acting kept me on the edge of my seat through all ten episodes. Just to give you an idea of how gripping I found it, I sat down to watch the first episode… then watched nine more. Yes, all ten in one sitting because I really wanted to see what would happen next.

The one thing that threw me off is the actual ending of the last episode. This really felt like a self-contained, complete story. It could have ended here and I’d have been completely satisfied. I’m guessing that it did well enough that DirecTV wanted more so the ending was tacked on, at least it felt that way to me. I’m at least interested to see where they take the story when the second season airs this May.

If you’re looking for a good, action-filled, tense thriller, Rogue has got you covered.

Score:
9.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the movie using the Elgato Game Capture HD Pro screen capture feature.

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Written by Josh Langford

Josh Langford

Josh has been gaming since 1977 starting with the Atari 2600.
He currently owns 25 different consoles and 6 different handhelds (all hooked up and in working condition) including all consoles from the current generation – minus the Switch.

Josh is currently the US PR & Marketing Manager for Fountain Digital Labs and has recused himself from any involvement on PS Nation arising from posting or editing any news or reviews stemming from FDL.

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  • Joshua SmallArms Simpkins

    That’s a pretty decent score on your write-up review, Josh. I’ll check out the audio review on episode 362 of the podcast as well. Seems like a decent show.