Harsh Realm (TV Series 1999–2000) Poster

(1999–2000)

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9/10
Great show. Too bad it ended without resolution
Sanpaco1319 February 2007
I vaguely remember this show when it was on television. I think I may have only seen the Pilot episode and then it got pulled soon thereafter. But when I saw copies on DVD at the library I had to get it and watch the rest of the episodes.

The show is about Lt. Hobbs (Scott Bairstow) who X-Files fans may remember from "Miracle Man" in season 1. He has entered into a war game virtual reality where he can not escape until he finds and kills the infamous Santagio who is played by one of my favorite actors Terry O'Quinn. The most likable character in my opinion is Hobbs' sidekick Mike Pinnochio played by D.B. Sweeney. Pinnochio represented me as a viewer in trying to talk some sense into Hobbs and let him know just how annoying he can be but then also turning around and admitting that he is right when he is right.

Many stand alone episodes are very intriguing such as "Kein Ausgang" where Hobbs and Pinnochio get stuck in a battle reenactment from World War II that repeats over and over again. Another great stand alone episode is seen in the final episode "Camera Obscura" about two feuding families in a post nuclear holocaust New York setting.

Many of the supporting actors are easily recognized from the X-Files and Millennium. All in all I loved this show and wish they would have been allowed to run the show for at least a 24 episode season so they could make a conclusion to the Santiago mythology arc that had been setup.
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Now this is what I call a great sci-fi show!
gwenbaggins3 March 2001
I loved every minute of this show. D.B. Sweeney has been a favourite of mine for years and it was pure delight to see him on TV again. I was told that the show was cancelled after the first season - I would personally like to slap the person who made that decision.

For all those poor souls who didn't watch the show - you have no idea what you were missing. I did not expect Carter to make another

"X-Files" (of which I am a huge fan), and he didn't. He was very original and created something that I've never seen before. Thanks for making this show - it was great!
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Great TV show. Shouldn't have been taken off.
CovertEquation13 May 2002
The show is about a guy named Hobbes who is put into a sort of alternate reality (like the matrix, but knowingly). Hobbes wants to get out of this alternate reality and the only way is to kill a guy called Santiago. Chris Carter's (creator of the x-files) directing makes the show very good and have a great plot and acting. Another cool thing is the constant use of the song "Climbatize" by prodigy. Overall a great plot and very well made show. Was one of those summer shows on fox that was really good but never made it.
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This ain't no "Lonesome Dove" for Bairstow!!
Vice-58 October 1999
Virtual reality, a video game in which everything and everyone seems real. The bullets, fire, even people you'd know might turn up in it and try to shut you down. That's the problem Lt. Tom Hobbes (Scott Bairstow, "Wild America", "Lonesome Dove: the Outlaw Years") has to put up with in Chris Carter's new FOX show "Harsh Realm", about a soldier whose forced to play in a dangerous VR game that acquires the title of the show!



Before watching this show, I never really was a fan of Chris Carter's shows or of Scott Bairstow. I don't like "The X-files" that much, and I thought Bairstow played weak roles prior to joining the ansemble cast of "Harsh Realm". This is a really cool show, with cool graphics, great performances (especially of Bairstow's, who really shines in this) and a nicely-woven plot. This is a great way to spend Friday nights, proving that virtual reality doesn't bite!!
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Great Series
imbunny29 September 2004
I have never been a fan of the sci-fi type shows, although I did like Star Trek (the original). However as a die-hard D.B.Sweeney fan, I had to buy this series when it came out on DVD. I have only had a chance to watch four of the episodes, but I am so intrigued by this series, I am making time on my calendar to watch the rest. I cannot imagine why Fox cancelled it. It is fun to watch, it is thought provoking and I thought the actors all played their roles well. When I look at the TV shows in the lineups, all of the so-called "reality" shows, I cannot help but wonder WHAT ARE THEY THINKING? I am so sick of the bachelors, the bachelorettes, now wife-swapping? Come on somebody give us a good storyline. One like the Harsh Realm. We know it's not real, it's not supposed to be, but it is just good acting, adventure and what-are-they gonna-encounter-next viewing. Good old time TV, kind of like the shows that we used to be able to watch, "The Streets of San Fran,", just to name one of many. I agree with the previous comment, FOX would do a good thing if they would make a mini-series or a theatrical movie of this show. Only please use the same actors, I hate when someone creates a character and then the Hollywood moguls replace them with another so-called "name" actor for the box office draw. If you're afraid, make a TV mini-series. I've seen the Matrix, yuck, (my husband made me) I've watched the X-files, so-so. If you risk your money on these why not Harsh Realm?
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9/10
Excellent series to watch
Gregory Haylock27 September 2006
I enjoyed this series more than anything I've seen on TV since X Files. Maybe because the same people did it. I thought it well scripted, acted and produced with the limited budgets TV gets. For Sci-Fi it was really pretty damn good. To bad it died on the vine. Maybe some other cable network will pick it up and run with it. The way it was set up it was a bit like the old Twilight Zone or The Fugitive, where the over arching theme of the show remains the same from week to week but there are different adventures from week to week. There were a couple of character links and disassociations that didn't make sense. That was the only thing I noticed - but hey! It's TV
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I posted this same review for the Behind the Scenes documentary, so forgive me if you accidentally read it twice...
JM Klinger15 May 2005
Okay, let me start off by saying I'd never heard of Harsh Realm. 1999 was a busy year for me, and when I heard the words "From the creator of the X-Files..." I didn't get to the end of any of the ads before I turned the channel. I never liked the X-Files, and for no particularly good reason. I might never have heard of Harsh Realm, but I work at Wal-Mart, and they got some DVD series in for fifteen bucks, and I thought "Hmmmm." I picked up Dark Angel first, another series I'd never heard of, then, the next week, I gave Harsh Realm a try. I enjoyed all 9 episodes very much, and I enjoyed the special feature's look behind the scenes. It was well put-together, and they didn't spend the whole time yelling about how they were never given a chance and all that, as some people like to do in their commentaries. I only wish the show had had a definitive ending, and, of course, that I had watched episode nine before episode eight, as I was instructed to do. I'm not going to say anything to spoil it, just that if you pick up the DVDs for yourself, you should watch nine, then eight, it gives it more of an "ending" feel, if only slightly....
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5/10
It's Just A Game
totally-vexed8 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Harsh Realm is one of those series that was cancelled even though it was pretty good. I mean, in the murky waters of TV series there are plenty other series floating belly up that just needed to be 'removed'.

Now, there are many things you might expect from a series like this... first off it is not like the X Files... or pretty much any other Chris Carter show. Secondly it isn't a rip off of the Matrix. Though the plots are similar and Harsh Realm was released after The Matrix... it was actually made before the film (which explains the lack of 'bullet time' shots) Thirdly it isn't like the graphic novel. though it's true it was inspired by the Harsh Realm story. Carter only liked the idea, he didn't feel there was an audience for dragons and true fantasy...he wanted something real... or at least real enough.

The plot of the series is pretty straight forward ... sort of. The military created a virtual world exactly like ours... using medical records and census they created a 'Virtual Character' for everyone. It's purpose was as a training programme. Sending army guys in (think Matrix chair) for battle Sims and terrorist stuff. But suddenly they have a problem. Harsh Realm is taken over by Santiago (the high scoring player) who is now going around creating his own super power and plotting terrorist action against the real world so that Harsh Realm is the only thing left. Hobbes is sent in to kill Santiago in the game (thus reclaiming the harsh realm) but it's never as easy as that. Apart from the fact Santiago has an army, everyone lives in fear of him plus him being a pretty smart guy. Harsh Realm is well Harsh, and the true nature of game is as simple as survival. the people are desperate and gangs, violence and some nasty bounty hunters make what was a fairly simple mission almost impossible.

Of course, he finds friends (in way of another guy sent to kill Santiago), his old dog dexter (i know it doesn't really make sense) and a woman that doesn't speak but can maigcally heal people.

some epsiodes aren't that good, they drag a little... though there are some that showed promise. like X files, those that dealt with the 'big plot' were some times a bit crap, where as the stand alone episodes were more fun. it's the same here. 'Three Percenters' is one of the best. and the WW2 battle Sim glitch was also well worth the watch. they have a bit of fun and creepiness about them. which i won't ruin for you.

if you are hoping that they saw they were being cancelled and made a ditch attempt at an ending, you are gonna be let down. the series ends annoyingly at episode 9, romeo and Juliet story that gives no clue as to what would happen to our heroes. I imagine eventually they would get another chance to kill Santiago and he'd finally go home...
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A big disappointment from Chris Carter.
innocuous13 September 2004
I was trying to decide what it was about this show that seemed so familiar to me. Then it struck me...this is simply a high-tech version of the old TV show, "Time Tunnel".

This show just doesn't hold together for me. For one thing, it is just too self-conscious, in spite of using the same old clichés from "The X Files". (Hey, instead of having a mysterious Cigarette Man, why don't we have a mysterious dark lady? You know, they can't figure out whose side she is actually on....)

Lt. Hobbes is selected to participate in the war simulation because he is supposedly such a great soldier, but he acts like a civilian dweeb when given the opportunity. His character is one of the huge flaws in this series.

On the other hand, some of the FX are pretty cool. They just don't compensate for the poor writing and lousy characters.

I rented the entire series on DVD, but I could only watch the pilot and the first two episodes. It was clearly going nowhere.

If you want to watch a show that is far superior in every respect, go rent Josh Whedon's "Firefly".

** out of *****
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R.I.P. (Thank God!)
Aaron D. Marasco29 October 1999
I really love the X-Files and it is a shame that this is the last season for it (1999), but if Carter was trying to transition his fanbase to another show (Millenium ended last season), this was a really bad attempt. Yes, it's similar to The Matrix. And I have heard about a previous comic book. But there really wasn't any "substance" - in the long run he had to defeat the Bad Guy. Big deal. Why should I watch every week? To see the same Goo effect of a "bug" in the VR world? X-Files always leaves another question - "What will happen next?" or "But what about ....?"

Read in the newspaper that FOX picked up on this too, and after three aired episodes - goodbye!
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