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MI-5, Vol. 1
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MI-5: Volume 1 (DVD)
Defending their country, deceiving their friends, MI-5 takes us into the secret world of the clandestine UK security servi and the people who make up the elite team. This exciting, fast paced drama, full of split screens and technical wizardry, explores the passion, jeopardy and intrigue of people who have to lie for a living and deceive their loved ones about what they do.]]>
John Le Carre for the Internet generation, the BBC's MI-5 is a smart combination of TV cop show and George Smiley-esque espionage shenanigans that pulls no punches in its depiction of an MI-5 (the British CIA) team fighting a covert war on the streets of London. This is adult, post-watershed drama clearly inspired by the hard-hitting style of shows as 24 and The Sopranos. The strong ensemble cast is led by charismatic Matthew MacFadyen as Tom Quinn, star spy of "Section B," the counterterrorism branch headed by Harry Pearce (Peter Firth). Keeley Hawes, David Oyelowo, and tough-cookie Jenny Agutter make up the team. And as with its British predecessors, Cracker and Prime Suspect, MI-5 (titled Spooks originally) also delves fearlessly into the characters' turbulent personal lives, here given an added twist by their constant need to deceive even those they love. The six episodes of the BAFTA Award-winning first season tackle a variety of tough issues, including religious fanaticism, racism, governmental cover-ups, and, naturally enough, the lingering shadow of Irish terrorism. Throughout, the show strikes a fine balance between a James Bond-ian techno-obsession with spy gadgets and more character-based action, with crisp writing and direction that ratchets up the tension a notch further with every episode. The final cliffhanger is an unforgettable TV moment, and one that leaves viewers agog for next season. --Mark Walker
- Aspect Ratio : 1.77:1
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : s_medNotRated NR (Not Rated)
- Product Dimensions : 7.5 x 5.75 x 0.75 inches; 8.8 Ounces
- Item model number : E1872
- Media Format : Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
- Run time : 6 hours
- Release date : August 22, 2006
- Actors : Matthew Macfadyen, Shauna Macdonald, Keeley Hawes, David Oyelowo, Rory MacGregor
- Producers : Christopher Aird
- Language : English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Unqualified
- Studio : BBC
- ASIN : B0000E32UZ
- Writers : David Wolstencroft
- Number of discs : 3
- Best Sellers Rank: #44,659 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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MI-5 is smart, dramatic, intelligent, exciting, thought provoking, well written and directed, beautifully filmed, and wonderfully acted. It's a crown jewel in the BBC's tiara, and will remain difficult to surpass for a very long time indeed.
"MI-5" (Military Intelligence, Section 5) is that part of the British security service that focuses on internal security and threats (as opposed to MI-6, which deals with extra- and international threats to the UK). This means that the service deals with any potential internal threat, including crime, terrorism, domestic economic threats, and counter-espionage. Its headquarters is in Thames House in London. The show MI-5 focuses on a variety of domestic threats arising from both domestic and international sources, and is based on the Section D Team within MI-5, which focuses on counter-terrorism, and is led by Harry Pearce (Peter Firth, in the role of his career). Although different issues and challenges arise in each show, and it is certainly possible to watch shows at random, the series is best enjoyed and appreciated when viewed in episode order due to the manner in which dramatic themes are built and extended across episodes. This is a show that rewards the viewer for effort put into watching the series in order.
Season One does not get off to the best of starts. Most shows, particularly those as complicated and as wide reaching as MI-5, experience similar issues with the pilot episode, and MI-5 does not fully escape that fate. That's too bad, because some might see that first episode and decide the show is not quite their cup of tea. In my own mind, the first episode of Season One suffers from a contrived script on a too-obvious story (and, unfortunately, contains some needless violence that is thankfully not seen elsewhere in the series), but it should not really be missed if you wish to work through the show because of the cast introductions and orientations to the show that occur in this episode. We can easily say that Episode One of Season was more for the benefit of the writers, cast, crew, and directors of the show rather than the viewers, but they all learned fast, and they learned well. As Season One progresses, we start feeling we are watching a well-oiled and precision racing machine that is gaining increasing momentum as the episodes unfold, and by the time we reach the cliff-hanging ending of Season One, we can easily see that this is an amazing show.
Some of the Seasons have been hideously expensive to purchase on DVD, but some of that may be reduced at this point (late 2011). Each season normally contains either eight or ten episodes. However, when one considers that most of these episodes are more like mini-movies than television shows, the price becomes much more understandable. Unfortunately, no Blu-ray versions currently exist (to my knowledge). But the DVD quality is superb. Gorgeous filming and excellent sound make these episodes among the best you'll ever see from television.
Is it allowable to give a seven out of five stars ranking? If so, that's how I would rate this show, particularly as we get into Seasons Two onward.
To much agonizing around the world, MI-5 was finally ended by the BBC in late 2011 (Season Ten). As of December 2011, there is no word of the North American DVD release date, but most assume it to be either first or second quarter of 2012. The discussion boards and blogs were filled with sadness about the end of the show, but the BBC felt that this was the best place to tie off the show, probably for financial as well as artistic reasons. There is some talk of an American spin off. I am skeptical of that, because, although anyone can easily enjoy this show, it is quintessentially a British show, and that's really part of its appeal.
If you like high quality programs that don't insult your intelligence, you'll love this. The only show right now that comes close to this level of quality is Battlestar Galactica.
Although, I did find Season one (1) of MI-5 a little less intense than the later Seasons that I have seen (Seasons seven-7-forward), I enjoyed the story-lines and the acting very much--Mathew Macfayden as the lead along with the rest of the actors are really very good infiltrating and spying into some really nasty threats to the peace of England and into some ugly situations filled with some very unsavory characters. I look forward to viewing Seasons two through six(2-6).
Top reviews from other countries
Great plot, great scriptwriting, great music, and excellently acted.
As and when I can afford it I am building up my MI 5 [Spooks] collection.