August 2, 2018

Counterpart: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review

Lionsgate; Not Rated; 9 hrs 17 mins; Amazon

I have spent the last two nights binge watching Counterpart: The Complete Season Blu-ray, which arrived in stores this week from Lionsgate. It's also being released to DVD.

The pilot episode debuted on Starz in December 2017, but the series didn't officially begin until late January 2018. Despite low-ratings, the series has garnered high praises from critics.

Created by Justin Marks, the series centers around Howard Sink (played by J. K. Simmons), a kindhearted man working for the United Nations agency called the Office of Interchange in Berlin. His life is very simple, he goes to work, visits his comatose wife at the hospital, goes home, and repeats the cycle. After being denied a promotion, he meets his doppelganger who is also named Howard (or otherwise known as Howard Prime).

Howard (also known as Howard Alpha) learns that during the the latter years of the Cold War, the East Germans created a portal to a parallel universe in the basement of a building that would later become the Office of Interchange headquarters. An assassin from the Prime World named Baldwin (played by Sara Serraiocco) is loose in the Alpha World with a kill list. One of the people on that list happens to be Howard's wife, Emily (played by Olivia Williams).

Howard Prime is a field agent who retrieves anyone who goes rogue and crosses over to the Alpha World. To protect his wife, Howard Alpha switches places with Howard Prime. Though he has strict orders to stay inside Howard Prime's apartment, Howard Alpha ventures outside and intertwines with a life that doesn't belong to him.

Both Howards must work together to stop their worlds from going to war.

Special Features on the Blu-ray set include Season Outlook and Inside the World "Counterpart."

Final Thoughts

I recall seeing Counterpart advertise on Starz around the time the third season of Outlander was airing. The series looked interesting and I am a big of J.K. Simmons, but for some reason I never got around to actually watching it when it premiered and I was too lazy to watch it on On Demand. Needless to say, I was eager to watch the series on Blu-ray, which Lionsgate nicely sent me a 3-disc set for this review.

When I saw the advertisements for the series, I was aware the series had an espionage-style plot, but I wasn't aware of the science fiction angle until I watched the very first episode. The "other world" plot reminds me of another series called "Fringe," though Counterpart is more grounded, as if it could take place in today's society. It's a slow a moving tale, so I didn't get interested in the story until the third episode. Then I became addicted and binged watched 10 episodes over two nights.

Overall, I enjoyed watching Counterpart: The Complete First Season. It's an intriguing, well-written science fiction thriller with an excellent cast.

* Note - I received a complimentary review copy from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.
All opinions are my own.

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