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Second Sight, Vol. 1 & 2
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Taut, styish, and smart, Second Sight is the rare detective thriller with a brutal poetry in its premise. Detective Chief Inspector Ross Tanner (Clive Owen) is a maverick cop and workaholic who solves crimes by putting his faith in facts he can see for himself. What more cruel irony could beset him than a slow and irreversible loss of vision? While a rare disorder attacks his cornea, causing intermittent blindness and hallucinations, Tanner conceals his problem in the pursuit of a murderer who brutally beat a 19-year-old man to death. The suspects are largely people the victim knew well, including his mother (Phoebe Nicholls) and stepfather (Stuart Wilson), the nanny (Louise Atkins) of his young sister, a gardener (Eddie Marsan) who supplied him drugs, and an uncle (Stuart Wilson again, playing twins) who has allegedly been out of the country for years but in fact has been keeping a low profile in London. Tanner faces an added strain, initially, when he is partnered with a female detective, Catherine Tully (Claire Skinner), whose reliance on intuition is the antithesis of his own methods. Nevertheless, the two make a bargain after Skinner deduces Tanner's medical troubles: she'll be his eyes if he promises to give her equal credit for apprehending the killer. Utterly engrossing, Second Sight is part of that tradition of somber crime thriller done so well on British television, from Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy to Prime Suspect. Stars Claire Skinner (Sleepy Hollow) and Clive Owen carry the load exceptionally well. Owen (Closer, Bent), who looks like a slightly more rugged version of Kevin Costner and is instantly likable onscreen, conveys Tanner's necessary conversion to a more intuitive approach to police work with great care. Owen has looked like a candidate for international stardom for a while, and Second Sight certainly reinforces that perception.
Second Sight 2 follows the critically acclaimed, highly popular miniseries Second Sight with three bracing, two-part thrillers challenging ordinary notions of perception and deduction. Clive Owen returns as Chief Inspector Ross Tanner, whose eyesight is failing (his doctor sounds less certain this time that Tanner will absolutely go blind), subjecting him to blurry, distorting vision and even occasional hallucinations. Unwilling to give up his job, Tanner continues to rely upon confidantes working under him in his Special Murder Unit (now called the "Special Money Unit," investigating cold crimes and unusual cases), particularly Catherine Tully (Claire Skinner), who became Tanner's "eyes" in Second Sight and is his lover in the first story here, "Hide and Seek." Created and written by Paula Milne, Second Sight was most interesting as a study of a man who can no longer use his eyes to solve crimes and must turn to a kind of sixth sense, heightened intuition, instead. Second Sight 2 extends that idea into chilling storylines in which only Tanner can "see" what his colleagues merely look upon. "Hide and Seek" is a strong and tragic tale in which Tanner re-opens an investigation into the apparent murder of a world-class violinist. While the SMU team pokes through three possible murder scenarios, Tanner takes the extraordinary measure of building a mock-up of the victim's home within police headquarters. (Meanwhile, Catherine endures the humiliation of being found out as Tanner's secret girlfriend.) "Parasomnia" is an absolutely spooky story about a sleepwalker (who fascinates Tanner on several levels) who has no memory of crossing town in her nightdress and bashing in her fiance's head. Finally, "The Kingdom of the Blind" finds Tanner's young son missing during an investigation into the racially charged killing of an activist. Through all of these, Owen's laser-focused, powerful performance is something special to behold. --Tom Keogh
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Owen's is one of those "must see" performances and he makes Tanner a character both irascible and likeable - not an easy accomplishment.
The mysteries of the crimes are fairly standard British "Mystery" which means they are always a notch or two above American crime dramas. In addition to the mystery aspect, we get to know and like (or loathe) a number of fascinating characters that make up the cast.
Second Sight is a worthy series that didn't get enough attention Stateside, but makes for some highly watchable television.
I've never purchased a British television show before so I was a bit apprehensive. I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to understand some of the accents, or even the terms. Overall though, I was able to understand it very well. I can only remember one time where I rewound two or three times before giving up on that one phrase because I had no idea what they said.
Clive was fabulous. He plays the tough detective (Ross Tanner) so well, but was also able to show that he was a loving father to his son. His difficulty in accepting that he had a problem was hard to watch. Claire Skinner costars as his partner (Catherine Tully). It was interesting to watch her mind work, whether it was figuring out the crime, or noticing her partner had a problem.
I thoroughly recommend this series to anyone who loves mysteries or detective stories. Or if you're a Clive Owen fan like me. Buy "Second Sight Vol. 1 & 2". There's only four episodes total, but they are each two parts due to the length. I was sorry to see them end!
NOTE TO AMAZON: Can Amazon Note in their product description when a DVD or Video (like Second Sight) offers DVS--Descriptive Video Service, an audio descripton option for viewers with visual impairment--low vision or blindness?
Same way you may list when a product offers CC --Closed Captioning for viewers with hearing impairment--deaf, hard of hearing, etc.
For those who have visual impairment, this DVD/video/TV movie offers the option of Descriptive Audio, a quiet voice that describes key visual scenes (e.g., "The man slips into the room and hides a key under the phone.") To use this, check SECOND SIGHT video menu for additional features. On regular TV, you click the MTS or SAP button on your TV remote and highlight MTS or SAP-- when a program has it, a subtle voice describes all the video action. The voice in no way interferes with the video voice--in fact, it helps the viewer.
My husband is blind, and this way we can both watch DVD. (If the program does not have it, clicking SAP or MTS will play classical music or Spanish translation).
I'm sighted, but I love Descriptive Audio for when I'm tired, too--I never miss a trick this way!
We urge ALL DVD/video makers to add descriptive video---PBS tv stations offer a great many programs with DV (e.g., Masterpiece Theatre, series, etc.)--some networks--NBC, CBS, ABC--must also, by law--look oline on tv schedule to see if DA or DV appears (where the initials CC, for "Closed Captions" for deaf viewers, normally appears).
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