Poltergeist: The Legacy - The Complete First Season (DVD)

Poltergeist: The Legacy - The Complete First Season (DVD)
TV to DVD - the Showtime original series comes to disc, 10 years after airing.
Updated: 02-06-2006

This Showtime original series centers on The Legacy — a far-reaching, ancient secret society that was founded in order to gather research and accumulate artifacts to fight against the world's most vile supernatural evils.


This particular Legacy team is located in San Francisco in a huge fortress on Angel Island; from there, they go out on dangerous assignments around the globe. Dr. Derek Rayne (Derek de Lint) heads up the team comprised of psychiatrist, Rachel Corrigan (Helen Shaver); priest, Philip C. (Patrick Fitzgerald); ex-Navy SEAL, Nick Boyle (Martin Cummins); and psychic Alex Moreau (Robbi Chong). Each episode centers on a different problem  — usually a haunted artifact, not unlike the cult favorite series from the 80s, Friday the 13th.


Poltergeist: The Legacy is not as schlocky as Friday the 13th, but it is not quite as serious as, say, The X-Files — so it often teeters on the edge mediocrity, never quite breaking free of the series-TV formula and finding its own vibe. Still, the acting is good and the paranormal stories are varied and intriguing.


The DVD boasts the feature-length 1996 pilot, as well as all 20 episodes (approximately 45 minutes each) in order. There is not any additional release material, but fans who've been watching the show on late night commercial TV will be pleased with the uncut / restored racier scenes. The total runtime is 982 minutes.



01 Pilot

02 Sins of the Father

03 Town Without Pity

04 The Tenement

05 Twelfth Cave

06 Man in the Mist

07 Ghost in the Road

08 Doppelganger

09 The Substitute

10 Do Not Go Gently

11 Crystal Scarab

12 The Bell of Girardius

13 Fox Spirit

14 Thirteenth Generation

15 Dark Priest

16 Revelations

17 Bones of St. Anthony

18 Inheritance

19 The Signalman

20 The Reckoning

21 Traitor Among Us



Pilot (aka, "The Fifth Sepulcher")

First Air Date: 21 April 1996


At the beginning of the Pilot, we learn about the fearless leader Rayne's (Derek De Lint) background, and how he, as a boy, was drawn into The Legacy after his father (played by Daniel Pilon) was killed by a demon at an archeological dig in Peru. It's all tied in to one of five small sepulchers that, once united, can unlock and unleash a furious hell on earth. A few characters are set up, then the action moves to- and from the home base in San Francisco, California to Connemara, Ireland.


A grieving widow named Rachel (Helen Shaver) is seduced by a local antiques dealer named Shamus Bloom (William Sadler) who is in possession of one of the demon-inhabited wooden boxes. After he's impregnated her, she begins to believe that she and her young daughter will be reunited with her late husband and their young son, who died with him in the auto wreck. But that's just the demon talking…


To save Rachel and her daughter, Derek and his team have to find the key to the fifth sepulcher and lock the bad spirits away forever.


Although this episode is quite slow in spots (a lot of by-the-numbers back story cramming), it's also one of the scariest — when the demon haunts Rachel with visions of her husband and son, it's pretty effective. Guest star Sadler is also quite good as the innocent Irish antiques dealer drawn into the deadly forces of evil.


A few super supernatural touches — a magical white house cat who lives at  The Legacy headquarters, for one — are shown in the Pilot, but are never revisited later on in the series.



The Tenement

Air Date: 10 May 1996


Alex (Robbi Chong) takes on a local slum lord, Kyle Vance (David Cubitt), helping punish him for the error of his ways. He's put under house arrest, forced to spend the night in his rat-infested tenement. Through the psychic powers of her mind, she feels that there's something more than vermin hanging around the unhallowed halls — Alex is sent to investigate, and she and Vance form an uneasy alliance to get to the bottom of the mystery that surrounds the building that's been in his family for generations.


Before long, they meet "The Lady of Endless Night" (Fiona Hutchinson) — a specter who will stop at nothing to make sure than her unholy hold on the Vance family, and the home that means so much to her, is never broken.



Crystal Scarab

Air Date: 28 June 1996


At the beginning of the show, an older man goes into a dark, disheveled antique store, where he's obviously already set up a meeting with the proprietor to purchase a very special item. During the clandestine encounter, we see a corroded mummy, a haunted scarab ring, a dismemberment, and the death of at least one person. This is all in the first few minutes!


Genre fans will immediately recognize Roy Thinnes as Clayton Wallace, the man desperate to possess the enchanted ring (and its matching necklace). He needs the jewelry to save his terminally ill daughter Samantha's (Nicole de Boer) life — what he doesn’t realize is, the ancient artifact doesn't restore health without demanding an even higher price than the purchase fee. As it turns out, Wallace is an old friend of Rayne's, and that is how The Legacy team gets wind of the story.


Despite some rather stilted acting by de Boer and a chemistry that doesn't work between her and Nick (Martin Cummins), this is one of the better episodes of the season.



The Inheritance:

Air Date: 30 August 1996


Rachel's Aunt Rebecca (Heather Hanson, younger; Bethoe Shirkoff, at age 73) has passed away in Savannah, Georgia, and as the only remaining members of the family, Rachel and her daughter Kat will inherit the plantation-style home that Rebecca and Rachel's mom grew up in. They attend the funeral, and Rachel decides to stay in the home overnight despite eerie, vague warning from the local sheriff (Gary Chalk).


As soon as she sets foot on the property, Rachel gets a strange premonition. She finds out that the man who worked for old Aunt Rebecca, Simon (Tony Burton) is being held in jail for questioning in connection with the death; she demands to see him (again, over the protests of the sheriff). It turns out that the death was not entirely natural and that Simon knows more than he's saying.


With The Legacy's reluctant blessing, Rachel and Kat stay in town to try and solve the supernatural mystery. Nick flies in to join them, and all kinds of ghoulish shenanigans ensue. This episode is fun and a little different because of its Deep South flavor.




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