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Harsh Realm-Pilot Episode

April 8, 2008

After many years I’m finally getting to see what this show was all about.  It’s short lived single season was missed by me and I never caught on before it was canceled.  Like other young girls my age I had seen The Cutting Edge with Moira Kelly and D.B. Sweeney and developed a crush.  While he disappeared from the big screen I was elated to realize he not only was on a tv show, but a science fiction one at that.  After watching the pilot I am on the fence.

Show Synopsis

What it boils down to is a military man is approached by his superiors to play a game called, “Harsh Realm.”  The games objective is to kill Santiago, a man who has taken over the city in the game.  So far no one has been able to beat him and Hobbes finds out why.  Once in the game he realizes it’s virtual reality seems a little too close to his reality.  Some of the people are the same living different lives, but two different worlds are existing.  Those that do not realize they are virtual beings living under the throne of Santiago, and those that know it is a virtual world.  Santiago ‘s goal is to eliminate all who oppose him. 

Hobbes meets up with a guy named Mike Pinnochio who finally lays down the truth.  There are tons of men who have been sent into the game to kill Santiago, but so far none can leave.  All of their neurons will fry if any of them disconnect from the game before Santiago is killed.  The big twist is that Santiago is actually a real man who has hacked into the game system and hijacked it’s workup and is now controlling the game.  The military can’t track where he loads into the game and out and therefore he is untraceable.  Not only is he dangerous in Harsh Realm, but the military is worried he’s learned too much and is planning on staging a coup on the United States.

My Reflections

This is an amazing idea for a show!  It has a cool cast with D.B. Sweeney, Scott Bairstow, and Terry O’Quinn.  The idea of being stuck in a video has endless possibilities for plotlines and insane story structuring, plus two different points of conflict, the real world and Harsh Realm, both realities in jeopardy.  So where did the show go wrong?  I’m not sure.  From what I can see from the pilot there are definitely some campy moments, some awkward writing, and some overwhelming cheese, plus some discomfort with character motivation.  Definitely problematic area’s, but that’s not at all unusual for a pilot.  So, no, I’m not sure why it was canceled so abruptly, because so far it has a lot of promise. 

The Point

I’ll catch the last eight episodes and let everyone know if I feel the same after I’m finished, but at this point it looks like a show that’s a lot of fun with a lot of intelligence behind it.  It’s a shame I was locked up in so many other shows back in ’99.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Mills permalink
    April 9, 2008 10:59 pm

    I never got the chance to see this show when it was huge, but from what I understand it’s survived itself by massive amounts of fan fiction. It’s well loved in the Sci-Fi community. Thanks, I’m now reminded to give it a viewing.

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