The Alienist: Angel of Darkness... Reviewed!

I like to thank Warner Bros. for supplying a copy of this show for my review. My opinions are my own.

I have to be honest. I had no idea what The Alienist: Angel Of Darkness was or what it would end up being. I saw the name of this show and thought it was going to be something related to Aliens being considered the devil or something.

I'm still confused about the title, but the show began to grab my interest a few episodes in. It didn't start off slow, but... my interest increased around the 2nd or 3rd episode.

Story: It started off jacked up, and that... kinda continued with the light of a crime-fighting team of detectives shining through to find out what sinister filth was behind babies being kidnapped and replaced with dolls. 

It seemed like a weird pattern of babies being taken and the mothers being charged for their alleged murder.

The dots connected in a way that kept my interest as the detectives began to unravel acts of pure evil, and when I thought the team was getting down to the bottom of it... there was a twist that had me like (holy sugar wrappers). It's not just sinister acts going on in this show, you also get a dab of romance in there.

Sara (played by Dakota Fanning) is the head of a private detective agency, that utilized the skills of Dr. Kreizler (Daniel Bruhl) aka the Alienist and a New York Times reporter by the name of... John Moore (Luke Evans). She also has other members of the team assisting her, but the story revolves around these three as they take down an elusive killer in an 1890's New York setting. You get corrupt institutions, sensationalism, and a spotlight on women in the society at that time as written for the show. What I appreciate is that they didn't make it cheesy while doing this, there were some things in there where they could have potentially taken this woman vs men direction... but I'm glad it didn't go that direction to overshadow the story.

There were things tucked in there that I found quite interesting, like with John Moore. I saw how he was being belittled publically for lacking certain resources and being in a relationship with someone who seemed like she wanted to be with him because she had someone to control financially. I think that was based on her upbringing, but... that's no way to maintain a relationship (when it comes to anyone) or that person wouldn't be authentic. In my opinion, I think that would merely be adapting to a life in captivity, so... I think that's one of the reasons he pours so much time into his work in order to prove himself worthy. 

Each of the main characters had something interesting about them, which resulted in something interesting to look forward to as far as their personal lives are concerned.

I did find it most interesting that the Alienist wasn't the main character in the show. Don't get me wrong, when it comes to the Alienist, he played a crucial role when it came to those breakthroughs (he was able to get people to recall memories). 

Even if he didn't lead the way, it didn't take away from the show as Dakota Fanning respectfully shined in her role. Overall, the team dynamic was interesting as the detectives inched their way towards taking down the baddies going after innocent little babies for reasons I will leave for you to find out.

Visuals: Visually this show has a good mix of angles that helped with the suspense. I really liked those bokeh shots the team was able to pull off for select scenes where they were able to capture the foreground and completely blur out the back (i.e. the hands are seen but the body is blurred out).

Most of the shots were your standard close-up and medium shots, but there were plenty of long/wide shots, panning, and other dramatic shots to keep it interesting. Even in the daytime, this show still felt dark to me based on the background music and overall environment. Day and night scenes were balanced with crisp visuals, and nothing felt like cheap fluff to sell the 1890's setting. 

If I had to knock a scene or two, it would be some of the ones involving the slaughtered pig props. They looked authentic, but the scenes had nothing to do with a butcher, so... I didn't think the pigs were a necessary part of the focal point for some shots. They could be there, but only to an extent that they didn't get that focus. At most, I could have seen them off to the side or something, but... it didn't kill the show.

Audio + Extras: As far as the audio goes, nothing really stood out to me. That's not a bad thing though, everything worked for the good of the experience and the sound was balanced. You have the background music that plays without overpowering the vocals of the characters, and keeps the tension where it should be (whether it's high or they merely want your attention because the team is on to something).

Extras include Inside The Alienist: Building the World, Walking the Set 2.0 with Luke Evans, Kreizler Season 1 Recap, Dressing a Modern Woman, Series Overview. I didn't get the time to dive into all the extras, but I'd suggest leaving these untouched if you didn't watch the show prior to the release on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital. 

Price: When it comes to price, you can get The Alienist: Angel of Darkness on Blu-ray for... $29.99, and DVD for... $24.99 or... get it on sale here! The MSRP isn't bad because you don't get those disappointing ups and downs that drag a show out unnecessarily, it feels more like a movie that keeps things paced throughout 8 episodes... but it doesn't have money either.

Overall, The Alienist: Angel of Darkness is a very good show... and I think it's a good thing that it's a limited series. A limited series has more of a sharper focus on the writing in my opinion because you don't have to figure out how to keep it going season after season because you have set objectives... and this show delivers the goods without at a worthwhile pace through a likable cast.

Story 5

Visuals 5

Audio + Extras 5

Price 5

5 out of 5 Cool Points

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