DVD Review: Evil (Season One)

Between streaming services and pay cable channels, it’s easy to forget they still make TV dramas for broadcast network television that aren’t spin-offs or revivals. There was a bit of a jolt when Evil popped up on the dial last Fall. The series features David Acosta (Luke Cage‘s Mike Colter), an ex-investigative journalist studying to be a Catholic priest teaming up with Kristen Bouchard (Westworld‘s Katja Herbers), a forensic psychologist to investigate unexplained things that might be demonic. Joining them on their investigations is Ben Shakir (The Daily Show‘s Aasif Mandvi) as the tech guy who can see if there’s a scientific explanation. All bases are covered as this trio sees what’s happening to the people they are investigating. Evil: Season One gets as weird enough that you swear they’re on cable.

“Genesis 1” starts off the series with Bouchard interviewing a serial killer who swears he’s demonically possessed. She tries to explore more with the guy to see if he’s faking insanity to beat the charges. But the prosecution isn’t interested and she gets shown the door. But she’s back with the killer when David Acosta hires her to continue to probe. The Church is interested if there are real demons inside him. Trouble is that she’s got a bit of a demon inside her since she’s turned on by the priest in training. “177 Minutes” has them investigate a girl wasn’t ready for her autopsy. They must see if she had come back from heaven or the doctor screwed up on declaring her dead. We also learn a dark secret involving David. “3 Stars” has the trio investigate if a Broadway producer (Smallville‘s John Glover) really sold his soul to the devil. Of course you have to question this deal since the producer wasn’t a backer of Hamilton. The devil held back the good stuff. “Rose390” has people tormented inside an augmented reality game. Is it all part of the program? “October 31” puts Ben on a ghost hunter show like the ones that run around the clock on the Travel Channel. Things get nasty during “Let x = 9” when church leaders explain to David that he needs to debunk a woman that’s prophesizing.

A recurring character is Dr. Leland Townsend (Lost and Person of Interest‘s Michael Emerson). He’s an expert on the occult and seems to use his expertise not to study, but instigate things with other people. Townsend gets a young man to pursue his darker instincts in “Vatican III” Also during the episode Bouchard gets stymied when she can’t report a crime because of her doctor-patient confidentiality. Is a demon using this against her? “2 Fathers” has David and Bouchard get a bitter deeper in hallucinogenics. They’re dealing with weird stuff already so why not get weirder? “Exorcism Part 2” has David getting sued for a botched demon removal. But is he really being sued by Satan? “7 Swans a Singin'” sticks a melody in the mouths of Catholic school girls. Supposedly they got the song they can’t stop singing from an internet video. It’s like an ear worm that just won’t stop. The ending is the kind of moment that would be a cliffhanger. But there’s more to the season. “Room 320” introduces us to a true angel of death roaming a hospital. And David is in her sights. “Justice × 2” has Dr. Townsend attempting to spring the serial killer from the first episode. How? He swears he has located the real serial killer. But no one wants to believe this. “Book 27” is full of shocker the oddest is Dr. Townsend getting hooked up with Bouchard’s mother.

Like all good series at this point on TV, there’s only 13 episodes of Evil even though the show debuted in the Fall. Things don’t get worn down as they stretch things to 22 episodes. The tension gets tighter with each episode as the trio explore the level of demonic activity in their subjects. CBS has renewed the series so there’s another season coming. Although because of the pandemic, who know when we’ll get to discover what must be done thanks to the shocking final scene. But for now Evil: Season One is so worth revisiting while you have no reason to go out on a summer night. Don’t let the devil tell you differently.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The resolution brings out a bit of the details that happen in the rather darker scenes. The audio is 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround. You’ll hear the evil all around you living room in the speaker system. The episodes are subtitled.

Deleted/Extended Scenes are featured on most of the episodes to give a sense of what had to be clipped to fit in a network time slot.

Evil Season One: Genesis (20:15) digs deep into how the series came about and played out in its debut. Creators Robert and Michelle King discuss how the main characters reflect them.

Does Evil Exist (3:52) has cast and crew discuss if they believe the evil elements in the show are possible?

CBS DVD presents Evil: Season One. Starring: Katja Herbers, Mike Colter, Aasif Mandvi, Kurt Fuller, Skylar Gray, Christine Lahti & Michael Emerson. Boxset Contents: 13 episodes on 3 DVDs. Released: June 30, 2020.

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