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Special Unit 2 (TV series 2001-2002, DVD review).

October 3, 2020 | By | Reply More

I bought ‘6 Sci-Fi Series Collection’ as a cheap way to acquire ‘The Immortal’ but as I also like to watch disks in order, started off with the first, ‘Special Unit 2’ (2001-2002). If you waited for me to watch all 6 series before doing a complete review, it’ll be a long wait. So what I’ve decided to do is report on each series and you can decide how far I go before you try tracking this boxset down. It’s American so you might need to check whether your DVD player can play it or needs a fix.

The first season of ‘Special Unit 2’ is 8 episodes and the second season is 11 episodes. There is only one copy left where I bought it from but it is a CBS product so chase them to release more copies as it only came out in 2018. I’m going to be looking at the TV series themselves.

Let’s examine the pilot episode that sets everything up. Police Officer Kate Benson (actress Alexondra Lee) has a habit of nearly seeing odd things when young and putting odd things together in the Chicago police force, much to the chagrin of her fellow officers. Left on her own, she follows a girl into an abandoned building and is under attack by a menacing figure who survives her bullets. A man arrives and shoots the figure who explodes. However, the girl is kidnapped by another figure. The man, meanwhile, vanishes before he can be asked ant questions and Benson is brought up on charges for a preposterous story about what happened and suspended.

As she leaves, the man appears (actor Michael Landes) and his credentials show him as Detective Nicholas O’Malley and part of Special Unit 2, an undercover unit officially but really a unit that investigates Links, the mythological connections that have existed and often commit crimes. The girl had been kidnapped by gargoyles who need humans every 17 years to feed to their off-spring. Benson is temporary assigned to the unit to hunt them down and their grumpy boss is Captain Richard Page (actor Richard Gant) and stays permanently, their base hidden below an oriental dry-clean shop. The rest you’ll have to watch the pilot for yourself.

The following 18 episodes shows O’Malley and Benson principally tracking down a variety of Links. Other detectives are shown but aren’t really brought into play.

In many respects, ‘Special Unit 2’ is very much like ‘Men In Black’ (1995) relying on witticisms and instead of aliens, supernatural-like creatures, some of which live within society although Carl The Gnome (beautifully performed by actor Danny Woodburn who, checking his bio, played the uncredited The Big Figure in the 2009 film ‘Watchmen’), despite the occasional need to rob small stores, is also a useful snitch. Not all of the Links are criminals and the less serious ones try to keep under Special Unit 2’s radar. Those who aren’t killed and these felons are murderers, are imprisoned although there is no legalities shown.

Although there is a certain amount of formula with any TV show, it does seem a bit odd that Benson as a rookie to the unit and from regular police seems to be making inroads to solving cases when more seasoned detectives become nothing more than an armed response unit. O’Malley is a hardass reckless detective but he does get results.

Incidentally, ‘The Sand’ episode borrows elements of the film ‘The Hidden’ (1987) for its plot but differs in its ending, mostly because it’s a different kind of Link. Then again, when you have a creature that can take over bodies and have fun, even with murderous intent, there are always bound to be similarities.

You do have to wonder if the viewers of this show at the time though Chicago was a site for unusual creatures even if it was filmed in Vancouver.

With season 2, there is an introduction of Alice Cramer (actress Pauley Perrette) who is a public liason for a few episodes but really her job is to redirect people to think things were ordinary or blackmail them.

Obviously, there are comparisons to ‘The X-Files’. Composer Mark Snow contributes to the theme music but is a little lighter and I watched in the daylight without worrying about being spooked. The humour and other problems make it a somewhat lighter although you would have to wonder about the implications of these Links roaming around.

Considering the number of clone ‘X-Files’ that came out during and after that series, there was a bit of an over-kill and even I missed out on the other shows. 20 years later, memories can fog a little and at least ‘Special Unit 2’ took a different path but got cancelled because it lacked viewers but it at least watchable.

GF Willmetts

September 2020

(from: 6 Sci-Fi Series Collection: pub: CBS 3 DVDs, 778 minutes, 2 seasons, 19 * 41 minute episodes. Price: £42.48 (UK). ASIN: VE 8020)

cast: Michael Landes, Alexondra Lee, Richard Gant, Danny Woodburn and Sean Whalen

check out website: https://amzn.to/2SpM3Nt

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Category: Scifi, TV

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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