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Title: Guilt: Season 1

Movie: :3stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :1.5stars:

HTS Overall Score:71

It used to be a time on TV where real life events were utilized in crime and police procedural shows to show the horrors of real life. “Law and Order” was one of the big ones where they would take elements of real life cases and real life arrest stories to try and gussy up for late night television, and done rather well I might add. I was a huge fan of all the “Law and Order” derivatives. However, lately shows have been amped up to basically take a real life scenario and then create a whole SHOW about it. Something that is both puzzling and slightly odd at the same time. A good episode or so can be done quite easily, taking the meat of the situation into hand in a bite sized 45 minute episode (or two) and then on to the next. Taking a single situation and making a whole SHOW about it creates a unique situation. A situation where there is SO much material that the information is put under a microscope and torn apart much more quickly. This phenomenon seemed to start with “The People vs. OJ. Simpson”. A show that was actually INCREDIBLY well done, but not because it was real like “scandal”. It was because the issues of race, court room drama and actors was done so delicately and balanced to a T that you couldn’t help but love it. “Guilt: Season 1” takes that same concept of dramatizing the real life story of Amanda Knox prison scandal of a few years back and turning it all dramatic and over the top in its teen naughtiness.

If you haven’t been living in the dark ages, then you’ve heard about the travesty of Amanda Knox. She was an American student living in Italy who was charged with the murder of her roommate 7 or 8 years ago. Railroaded through the court system she was subsequently pushed, prodded and found guilty based upon faulty evidence and a police system that bullied her into a sort of “confession”. She spent 4 years in a European prison before being found “Not Guilty” by a higher court, wherein she was let go with much fanfare and apology all the way around. “Guilt” decides to turn it into a appealing mystery/thriller of a show and dramatize it to the point of being almost unrecognizable.

The basis of the show is roughly the same as the real story. Renaming Amanda Knox to Grace Atwood (Daisy Head), who has moved to London, Grace wakes up one night from a particularly debauched and drunken party only to walk in her roommate’s room and find her roommate, Molly, lying butchered on the floor. Killed during the night’s festivities in a fairly brutal manner. Suspicion is automatically laid upon Grace and her Italian boyfriend Luc (Zachary Fall) being that they were lying passed out in the other room all night after their “fun”. Each and every person that we meet in the show has a different angle or theory on what happened that night, and this “theory” is always acted out on screen to try and mess with our memories. While Grace and Luc are charged with the murder, Grace’s estranged sister Natalie (Emily Tremaine) flies over from Boston to represent her younger sister (Natalie is an assistant DA) along with a rather….well… morally flexible attorney named Stan (Billy Zane, who hams it up gloriously) who has been hired by Grace’s skeezy stepfather (played by Anthony Stewart Head, who is “Grace’s” real life actress father). Now it’s up to Natalie, Grace, and Stan to prove the pair’s innocence is a court and police filled system that wants to make an example of the American Student.

“Guilt: Season 1” is basically “Taken” without being taken. Or a police procedural without the ACTUAL procedural. We have Grace being thrown into the center of things without an episode going by, but confuses confusion with being “soapy” (as the description promises). Each and every person we meet in the show has some deep, dark secret to their character and the discovery of the secret is where much of the “mystery” for the show comes from. It feels like a bit like the “Twilight Zone” where the show itself doesn’t trust the audience and tries to make it as confusing as possible so that they can’t see the framework working underneath them until it’s too late instead of trying to craft actually interesting plot lines. This is really what you get when you mishmash in “Taken” with your typical soap opera and then whisper in their ears “you can trust me” the whole time while they actually twist the knife in your proverbial back so that you’re “surprised” by the end of the episode. Which is kind of too bad as the show actually has some decent performances and a good idea of where to go with the plot. It’s just that the writing and directing is a bit too sophomoric to be taken seriously and ends up feeling overly pretentious and ….well….. confusing (that word is a staple of the show).

The episode list:

American Psycho
Exit Wounds
Blood Ties
The Eye of the Needle
A Simple Plan
A Fall From Grace
Eyes Wide Shut
The Crown v. Atwood
What Did You Do?


Not Rated by the MPAA

Video :4stars:
“Guilt: Season 1” is given a fairly standard 1.78:1 Mpeg2 encode DVD transfer, spreading the 10 episodes out over 3 DVD-9’s with admirable results. The show is fairly neutral in tone, with a light blue/gray grading that just BARELY tinges the show to give a rather cool feeling to it. Colors are satisfactory, with solid saturation on clothing and London architecture, and the detailing for said structures looks quite nice as well. There’s a little bit of washed out blacks going on, but nothing too wild, and the show’s icy exterior and solid lack of artifacting make for a cool and visually pleasing presentation.

Audio :4stars:
The 5.1 Dolby Digital track is just as good. Maintaining a healthy mix of dialog centric front heavy mixing for much of the runtime, combined with some of the crazier elements of the show where the surrounds and low end get to shine. The little “Eyes Wide Shut” scene from the first episode brings some heavy duty LFE and surround support in, but can fade back into the background when the police start to question everything and everyone. Like a lot of these shows, don’t expect a WHOLE LOT of explosive action, but there is enough variety in the mix to create a fairly dynamic experience.

Extras :1.5stars:

• "Guilt": Sex, Sin and Scandal
• Deleted Scenes

Overall: :3.5stars:

“Guilt: Season 1” is a bit of a conundrum. On one hand it is taken from one of the most salacious and horrifically criminal international scandals of the last decade, but on the other hand the cheesy nature and sophomoric writing of the show keeps it from being more entertaining than it actually is. There’s some promise to the show under the thick layers of intentional “soap operish” storytelling, but that promise can be well hidden at time. Billy Zane is known for being a legendary ham artist when comes to his acting, but he becomes the best part of “Guilt” by the end of the first few episodes and remains that way throughout the season finale. The rest of the caste feel a bit too “Beverly Hill 90210” at heart, but it’s really the writing that makes the show so much more confusing and convoluted than it needs to be. I’m hoping for a better second season based on the raw potential underneath, but we’ll have to wait and see. Low Rental

Additional Information:

Starring: Daisy Head, Emily Tremaine, Cristian Solimeno
Created by: Nichole Millard, Kathryn Price
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Studio: Lionsgate
Rated: Not Rated
Runtime: 421 minutes
DVD Release Date: October 18th

Buy Guilt: Season 1 DVD on Amazon

Recommendation: Rental

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