'Flash Gordon: The Premiere Episode'
(Eric Johnson, Gina Holden, Karen Cliche, et al / DVD / NR / 2007 / RHI Entertainment)
Overview: 'Flash Gordon: The Premiere Episode' is a DVD of the 'Flash Gordon' pilot, which was released on August 14, 2007, four days after the airing of the pilot episode. Starring Eric Johnson ("Smallville"), Gina Holden (Final Destination 3, Fantastic Four) and Karen Cliche ("Young Blades"), the DVD features deleted scenes and a sneak peak at the rest of the season of "Flash Gordon" which premieres August 10, 2007 @ 9pm ET/PT on SCI FI.
DVD Verdict: I have been eagerly anticipating the return of “Flash Gordon” ever since we first got wind of it going into production early last year for the SCI FI Channel. I say that because then you will now understand how disappointed I was in this pilot episode of the new series.
The show opened with very brief introductions of Flash, his business partner Nick, Dale and her new fiancé. After that highlight, it began plunging into a mundane, highly predictable, slow moving, jumbled up mess of seemingly unconnected scenes and an unbelievable storyline.
Eric Johnson is adequate as Flash, and given time, he will probably grow into the role just fine. However, the same cannot be said for Jody Racicot as Zarkov and John Ralston who portrays Ming. It seemed as if Racicot was an after thought and he comes off as this bumbling fool…maybe I’ve just been spoiled after watching the wonderful Topol be Dr. Hans Zarkov in the film from 25 years ago. His performance as Zarkov was flawless.
I will give Ralston a break though. I understand that he is trying for a different take on the bad guy Ming. Yet, I kind of liked my Ming the Merciless to be over-the-top and a bit mad. Ralston’s Ming is your typical power hungry, loves-to-hurt-others despot. I don’t need to watch what I see everyday in real life across the globe on Friday night in a television program that is suppose to transport me to a scifi world of make-believe and escapism. Yes,I want my Ming to be ruthless, unscrupulous, vicious, but I also want him to have some flair and a sense of humor. These are sadly lacking in Ralston’s portrayal, at least in this pilot episode. Perhaps he will loosen-up a bit in future episodes.
I think the one bright spot in this series will be Karen Cliche, the young actress who plays the bounty hunter Baylin. She’s smart, brash, very pretty, tough as nails and has got a great sense of humor and almost perfect cadence in how she performs her scenes. She kind of reminds me of Claudia Black in that regard. So, if I would have one really good thing to say about this new “Flash Gordon” it would have to be that the producers were wise to include this actress in the casting because she will be this show’s one saving grace. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.66:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Tin Man Exclusive Sneak Peak
Flash Gordon Deleted Scenes
Flash Gordon Storyboards and Sketches