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Image Entertainment presents
TekWar: The Complete Series (1995)

"I'm all screwed up. My whole world is just a mess."
- Jake Cardigan (Greg Evigan)

Review By: Dan Heaton   
Published: October 10, 2008

Stars: Greg Evigan, William Shatner, Eugene Clark, Natalie Radford
Other Stars: Maria del Mar, Torri Higginson, Christian Campbell, Dana Brooks, Lexa Doig, David Calderisi, Angela Fusco
Director: Varied

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (suitable for television audiences)
Run Time: 13h:48m:00s
Release Date: June 10, 2008
UPC: 014381433524
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ CB-B D-

DVD Review

Tekwar is one of those odd '90s relics that recalls a time when syndicated action series thrived and basic cable networks rarely create d original content. Viewing this formulaic cop drama makes me appreciate just how good we have it today. There are numerous offerings now in every genre that go well beyond the standard plots. This peculiar show takes place in the future and involves fairly obvious investigations of criminal activity. The source material is the Tek novels written by William Shatner during the '90s. Strong rumors have arisen suggesting that author Ron Goulart helped a lot with writing these stories. Judging by the quality of the television scripts, I'm guessing he didnít lend support to the TV series. Although the setting is futuristic and includes some inventive effects, there's nothing new here.

Our stalwart hero is given the wonderfully silly name of Jake Cardigan and is played by Greg Evigan of My Two Dads and BJ and the Bear fame. The character has a complete back story, but his most notable characteristic is an over-the-top leather jacket designed to look futuristic. He also fires a nasty gun that is much stronger than the weapons of most of his enemies, which signifies his brave dominance. Evigan plays it straight and gives it his best shot, but itís hard to not look ridiculous in this goofy set-up. My favorite moment has Cardigan disguised as a drug runner and wearing possibly the funniest wig ever. During each weekly installment, he tracks various criminals, often involved with the distribution of "tek," an extremely addictive mind-altering drug. Along for the ride is his partner Sid Gomez (Eugene Clark), who often seems amused by Cardigan's solemn focus. Clark's resume includes some clunkers, but he seems really uncomfortable within this absurd world. He takes the right approach and comes off better than Evigan because he doesn't take it seriously. Clark only lasts for half the season, however, and is replaced by Maria del Mar's Sam Houston. Her role appears designed to crank up the sex appeal, but instead she falls into the same trap as Evigan. With a name like Sam Houston, you would assume she wouldn't be so boring.

The structure of each episode involves your basic crime solving that's been seen in hundreds of other shows. The difference here is the technology, which does include some interesting nods to our current advances. Gomez even has a "pod" that can hold many hours of music within a small device. There's a computer expert Nika (Natalie Radford) who spends her day running traces and hacking into various sites. Radford livens up the screen and makes Evigan and Del Mar look like stiffs. William Shatner also plays a supporting role as Walter Bascomóthe leader of the Cosmos Detective Agency that employs Cardigan. He seems uncomfortable during certain scenes, but does bring some weight to the project. Former Stargate Atlantis regular Torri Higginson plays Cardigan's girlfriend during the early episodes, but her time is limited. The cast changes that occur within just one season imply serious disarray behind the scenes. It's not a big surprise that this uneven series lasted only 18 episodes.

The biggest crime with this release is the incorrect claim that this is the "complete series" version of TekWar. Technically the set does include all the episodes from the hourly show, but their context is lost without the four television movies that preceded it. Without the stories of TekWar, Tek Lords, Tek Lab and Tek Justice, we lose the history and arenít involved in their lives. While it's difficult to become engaged in this awkward set-up, it becomes nearly impossible without the original films. Also, this tactic misleads viewers who arenít expert fans. I recommend a rental unless you're a diehard "tek" lover. Image Entertainment shouldn't be rewarded for false advertising.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: C


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: TekWar does not have a large budget, but it does include goofy visual effects and colorful settings. The full-frame transfer improves over the television version but doesn't knock you over with wondrous images. The picture is generally clear, though some minor grain does appear intermittently. It delivers the material effectively, but struggles with the limitations of its original format.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: This release includes both 5.1-channel Dolby Digital and 2.0-channel Dolby Surround audio tracks. The more complex option isn't wonderful, but it does use the rear speakers for some notable sound effects. It's a little better than you would expect from this type of set, and has decent power. However, the depth isn't enough to warrant a higher rating.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
3 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Sadly, this "complete series" set includes no extra features. I would have enjoyed at least an interview with William Shatner or the series' creators. The menus are dull and simply list the episode titles. There are no options for selecting a specific scene, which is always frustrating. This is an extremely limited, bare-bones presentation.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

TekWar: The Complete Series offers passable entertainment for a rainy Saturday afternoon on the couch, but it's mostly a mess. Some random good ideas appear within the futuristic cop series, but they're stuck inside a predictable formula. Unless you're a William Shatner completist, I'd wait for the truly complete series and skip this thin release.


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