Special Ops: Lioness - Season One - Blu-ray Review

Michael Scott

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Special Ops: Lioness - Season One


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Movie: :5stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :2.5stars:
Final Score: :4stars:




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Movie

Paramount has pretty much become the “Taylor Sheridan Network” as pretty much anything they produce TV wise these days has his name associated it. Not hard to see why though, as Sheridan’s big heavy hitters like Yellowstone, 1923 etc have become Paramount’s bread and butter for making money. If he’s attached to it (even just in a basic writer’s credit) they’re gonna plaster that sucker all over the front cover of the show it’s attached to. Which is pretty much what’s happened to Special Ops: Lioness right here. Much like Sheridan’s other offshoots from his western roots (such as Tulsa King or Mayor of Kingstown) Special Ops: Lioness is a solid entry, with a solid story and good acting from A and A- list stars, yet somehow manages to fees just a few fries short of a complete happy meal. The show satisfies on a surface level, but just can’t punch above into the upper echelons to become another Yellowstone, Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones.

The story follows Joe (Zoe Saldana), a CIA team leader who is trying to hunt down Terrorists in the sandbox over seas. Her mission is simple. Use women operatives to infiltrate and dig out high level targets, and then point the red dot on their forehead while the U.S. military drops a scud missile on top of it. After losing one of her assets due to a lapse in judgment, Joe searches out Cruz Manuelos (Laysla De Oliveira), a hot headed door kicking ex street girl whose abilities far outweigh her humble upbringing, to become her next asset #1. Dropping Cruz into the thick of things, Joe soon finds out that this hard headed street urchin turned super commando has more than a few tricks up her sleeve.

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Basically, Special Ops: Lioness is your straight forward “by the numbers” military show with all of the blustering, Marine “hoo-ha’ing” and tough guy/girl antics down to the chest bumping and seeing who can out drink the other. The show tries to play itself off as gritty and super realistic, with Joe having to bomb her own asset at the beginning of the show (probably the single best opening episode I’ve seen in a while), but soon devolves into a nuts and bolts military espionage show with everything we’ve seen before on full display. The show builds it’s plot around well defined female characters, showcasing all of their flaws and all of their quirks right up front. It genuinely makes Cruz one of the most likable on the show, and Joe one of the most understandably damaged ones as well. Sheridan doesn’t shy away from making these bad *** soldiers have flawed social lives, even going so far as to making it pretty stinking obvious that Joe herself has pretty much destroyed her own marriage. At the same time it revels in the over the top “hoo-rah” and bravado to the point it gets naseauting. The speech that Cruz’s Sgt. gives her at the beginning is one of the most cringey “oh yeah, they’re trying to make Cruz girl boss supreme” moments of the show. That being said, once the show progresses and the girls have to come up against more than just tough talking compatriots, it mellows out quite a bit.

Disc One:
  1. Sacrificial Soldiers
  2. The Beating
  3. Bruise Like a Fist
Disc Two:
  1. The Choice of Failure​
  2. Truth is the Shrewdest Lie​
  3. The Lie is the Truth​
Disc Three:
  1. Wish the Fight Away
  2. Gone is the Illusion of Order



Rating:

Not Rated




Video: :4stars:
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Much like the show, Paramount’s Blu-ray encode (in the ever more popular 2.00:1 aspect ratio) looks really good most of the time, but never really stands out that much. It features a dusty and sand brown aesthetic due to the location of the shoot, but the digitally shot production shows off good primary colors when called upon (lipstick, blood, some flashy clothing in an upscale Kuwait department store), but still revels in the dark and grim shadows a majority of the time. Fine details are quite nice, with good skin tones and great detail levels in the more nuanced bits. Sometimes there is some banding and noise comes and goes pretty frequently. Overall it’s a solid looking encode that isn’t SPECTACULAR, but still manages to be quite fetching and competent.






Audio: :4stars:
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Again, the 5.1 Dolby TrueHD track is very impressive, but never the pack leader or remarkable in any way. The track has some great surround presence, with impressive bass for the battle sequences (that opening scene in the first episode is a doozy), but quiets down a good bit when Cruz is sent in undercover. Heavy weapons fire adds power and authority when needed, while helo’s thud by overhead with impressive low end. More quiet portions of the show tend to be naturally more reserved and quiet, but dialog is strong and the ambient surround usage is admirable.









Extras: :2.5stars:
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• Go undercover with the stars of Special Ops: Lioness with a behind-the-scenes look into the heart of The Lioness program, inspired by an actual US Military program. Special Ops: Lioness includes behind-the-scenes episodes and two brand-new featurettes. Dive into interviews with the star-studded cast, get an immersive glimpse into the intricate world of the Lioness program, and explore the rigorous training required to make the series as authentic as possible.
• Embedded With Special Ops: Lioness
• Battle Forged Calm: Tactics & Training

















Final Score: :4stars:


Special Ops: Lioness – Season One is one of those shows that is structurally sound, filled with good character actors, yet feels like it gets lost among the weeds. Looking back after seeing the show on Paramount Plus AND on home video, I’ve almost forgotten about it the day after I finish the last episodes. It’s solid enough on its own, but doesn’t really seem to stand out from the pack in any way. Fans of military dramas will enjoy the tightly paced narrative and Zoe makes for a decent team leader, but it’s not something I’d go out and blind buy without seeing it on Paramount Plus first. The Blu-ray looks and sounds great, with a few minor extras on board the show to round out the package (only minor nitpick is that Paramount used stack packs for this set instead of a 3 disc case). Decent watch is my personal view.


Technical Specifications:

Starring: Zoe Saldana, Laysla De Oliviera, Dave Annable, Morgan Freeman, Nicole Kidman, Jill Wagner
Created by: Taylor Sheridan
Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1, German, French DD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, German
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Rated: Not Rated
Runtime: 352 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: January 23rd, 2024

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Recommendation: Decent Watch

 
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I looked this up on Kaleidescape and they have released it in 4K.
 
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