"KYLE XY: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON"
by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5 stars)
Matt Dallas as KYLE
Marguerite MacIntyre as NICOLE TRAGER
Bruce Thomas as STEPHEN TRAGER
April Matson as LORI TRAGER
Jean-Luc Bilodeau as JOSH TRAGER
Chelan Simmons as HILLARY
Chris Olivero as DECLAN MCDUNAUGH
Kirsten Prout as AMANDA BLOOM
Studio: Touchstone Television
Created by: Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber
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“Kyle XY” is one of those series that I didn’t like that much as an adult, but I probably would have loved if I were 15 years old. It mixes hi-tech sci-fi concepts with the struggles of teenage life.
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The story follows a 16-year-old boy (Matt Dallas) who wakes up naked in the woods with amnesia. His mind is a total blank, and he’s soon picked up by the police and put in juvenile holding. A benevolent social worker named Nicole Trager (Marguerite MacIntyre) takes him home to live as a foster child with her husband and two kids.
It’s clear from the beginning that Kyle (which is the name they gave him because he couldn’t remember his real one) is different. Not only does he have no belly button (a fact which really doesn’t freak anyone out even though it should), but he also has a beyond-genius IQ and almost superhuman abilities.
However, much of the season doesn’t focus on that stuff. Rather, it focuses on the Tragers’ social lives and how to incorporate Kyle into not just their family but the local school. The family – in fact, the entire town – seems to be pretty darn accepting of a navel-less boy with superhuman powers who just drops into their community.
Occasionally throughout the series, we get a glimpse of something sinister. There’s a mysterious man named Tom Foss (played by Nicholas Lea, whom many will recognize as Alex Krycek from “The X-Files”) who is lurking around the Trager residence. He reports back to another mysterious figure about Kyle’s whereabouts and how he’s getting along in school and at home.
Overall, I could have used a little more XY in this show and a little less Kyle. Rather than being a stimulating bit of science fiction, it deteriorates into kitchen sink dramas. The show airs on ABC Family, but it is clearly a show for teens, featuring stories about teenage sex, drinking and other vices that often end up with a message.
The structure of the show lends itself to messages, which are often found in the end of the show. There are other filmmaking elements that bother me, like Kyle’s incessant need to narrate even the most mundane things in his life. Still, I will not deny that the show has potential.
The saving grace of the series might actually be its second season, which is previewed in the special features of this DVD set. Now that the story has gotten past its initial stage, and we know a little bit more about Kyle’s past, we might find some more interesting stories.
At the very least, the second season looks like it will answer plenty of questions and more prominently feature the science fiction and action stories rather than the “Dawson’s Creek” wannabe stories. I’m sure the Tragers will be back to whine about their problems in season two, but hopefully the focus of the stories will be the Zzyxz Corporation, Kyle’s purpose and the sure-to-be awesome nemesis Jessie XX.
While I wasn’t a huge fan at all of the first season, I am very interested in catching the next one when it airs this year, or at least on DVD next year.
Specifications: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Widescreen (1.78:1), enhanced for 16x9 television. Spanish language track. Spanish subtitles. English language subtitles for the hearing impaired.