“Criminal Minds”: Season 8 isn’t bad with a few highlights throughout the year including a fun supervillain in the Replicator and Jeanne Tripplehorn’s first foray is semi-satisfying though not an equal replacement for Brewster and some of the stories are getting tiresome blending together like a Friday the 13th sequel. The DVD released by Paramount does offer a respectable amount of features and the audio/video transfers are pretty good.
Genre(s): Crime, Suspense/Thriller, Drama
Paramount | NR – 1014 min. – $64.99 | September 3, 2013
Directed by: Various
Writer(s): Jeff Davis (created by)
Cast: Thomas Gibson, Joe Mantegna, Shemar Moore, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Matthew Gray Gubler, A.J. Cook, Kirsten Vangsness
Features: Episode Commentaries, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel
Number of Discs: 6
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH
THE MOVIE – 3.0/5
Note: This review contains spoilers about season plotlines.
Season 8 of “Criminal Minds” finds another change in the cast after the second departure of Paget Brewster, this time by her own choice, and replaced by Jeanne Tripplehorn playing Alex Blake, a senior agent who was made the scapegoat after a mission went wrong years earlier.
Blake joins the established BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit) consisting of leader Aaron Hotchner (THOMAS GIBSON), Supervising Special Agents David Rossi (JOE MANTEGNA), Derek Morgan (SHEMAR MOORE), Dr. Spencer Reid (MATTHEW GRAY GUBLER), Jennifer “JJ” Jareau (A.J. COOK) and technical analyst Penelope Garcia (KIRSTEN VANGSNESS).
This season, the BAU tackles more cases and attempt to track down new socio and psychopaths before they kill again. In a strange way, the “Criminal Minds” series is similar to the Friday the 13th franchise in that, with few exceptions, the crimes blend together with only a couple cast changes being the difference.
Season 8 is not all that different from the other years although the writers try to spice things up with the new addition of Jeanne Tripplehorn giving her an interesting background and tensions with BAU Section Chief Erin Strauss (JAYNE ATKINSON). The season also gives Reid a pseudo love interest with a woman (BETH RIESGRAF from “Leverage”) he only communicated with via pay phones and whose relationship reaches a crescendo with the harrowing episode, ‘Zugzwang’.
The major storyline for this eighth season involves a supervillain nicknamed the Replicator who has it out for the BAU by copying solved past crimes. The story unfolds over the course of the season with bits and pieces tailing at the end of different episodes. However, as good as this story was, it’s pretty inconsistent although the two-part season finale, ‘Brothers Hotchner’ and ‘The Replicator’, is one of the better of the entire series’ run and wasn’t merely a time waster with no consequences to the team.
The year also contains a semi-impressive list of guest stars including Ray Wise, Matthew Lillard, Nicholas Brendon (in his recurring role as Garcia’s ex), Brad Dourif, Michelle Trachtenberg (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), Jamie Luner (“Profiler”) and Mark Hamill.
I’m not prepared to say “Criminal Minds” is growing tired with its incessant and dark storylines, but the show is starting to show its age. Even so, the cast still shares great chemistry with one another and Jeanne Tripplehorn, while hardly an equal replacement for Paget Brewster, adequately fills the roll well enough.
Episodes (favorites are marked with an asterisk):
1. The Silencer
2. The Pact*
3. Through the Looking Glass*
4. God Complex*
5. The Good Earth
6. The Apprenticeship7. The Fallen*
8. The Wheels on the Bus…
9. Magnificent Light
10. The Lesson*
13. Magnum Opus
14. All That Remains*
16. Carbon Copy*
17. The Gathering
19. Pay It Forward
21. Nanny Dearest
23. Brothers Hotchner
24. The Replicator*
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.0/5
Matching the previous season sets, the 6-discs are contained in three slim cases tucked inside a matted slip case.
– ‘The Fallen’: Actor Joe Mantegna & Writers Rick Dunkle and Danny Ramm
– ‘Restoration’: Actor Shemar Moore & Writers Janine Sherman Barrois and Jim Clemente
Deleted Scenes (TRT 2:58) are featured for episodes ‘The Lesson’ (0:33), ‘Carbon Copy’ (0:58), ‘Restoration’ (0:23) and ‘Pay it Forward’ (1:04)
The Profiler’s Handbook: Cooperative Vigilantism (5:20) takes a closer examination of the episode ‘The Pact’ with interviews by the cast and crew breaking down the plot and characters.
The Profiler’s Handbook: God Complex (5:22) is about the episode looking at the plotline and characters.
The Profiler’s Handbook: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (6:48) examines the episode ‘The Fallen’ and giving a glimpse at Rossi’s young adulthood and serving in Vietnam.
New Directions (1:53) is a short featurette advertising the organization that helps homeless veterans.
The Profiler’s Handbook: Peter Pan Syndrome (7:08) offers a look at ‘The Lesson’ directed by Matthew Gray Gubler.
Beautiful Minds (7:05) is about the relationship between Reid and Maeve.
The Profiler’s Handbook: Dissociative Identity Disorder (5:13) covers the episode ‘All That Remains’ and how the story came about and features (primarily) interviews with the writer and guest actor (Ken Olin).
The Profiler’s Handbook: “Obsessive Imitation” (6:30) looks at the season finale and the supervillain, the Replicator.
The Killing Season (28:39) is a Q&A roundtable hosted by A.J. Cook and Kirsten Vangsness asking questions of various members of the executive producers (some of whom also wrote different episodes this year).
Alex and Jeanne (5:51) – This featurette examines the new kid on the show, Jeanne Tripplehorn and her character, Alex Blake, and developing her from the ground up.
Gag Reel (6:05) contains your usual line flubs.
VIDEO – 4.0/5
“Criminal Minds”: Season 8 arrives on DVD courtesy of Paramount presented with a 16×9 enhanced video. Given the tone of each and every episode is quite dark, this is not a festival of colors but it does pretty much match up what is shown on TV just not quite as sharp.
AUDIO – 3.75/5
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is low key yet still effective enough showcasing clear dialogue from the center channel while the eerie score, as well as ambient noises, makes use of the front and rear speakers.
OVERALL – 3.0/5
Overall, “Criminal Minds”: Season 8 isn’t bad with a few highlights throughout the year including a fun supervillain in the Replicator and Jeanne Tripplehorn’s first foray is semi-satisfying though not an equal replacement for Brewster and some of the stories are getting tiresome blending together like a Friday the 13th sequel. The DVD released by Paramount does offer a respectable amount of features and the audio/video transfers are pretty good. As a fan of the series, and even though it’s not quite up to the same quality as previous seasons, I still would be happy to include it in my collection.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman