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Inga Fossa:assof Agni


ethsnafu

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Agni - the messenger of the gods, Fossa -ae - channel.

I don't know if anyone else is doing Harsh Realm at the moment, I purchased it on the advice of a fellow board member and I am damn glad I did. It is a fabulous romp that more closely resembles a series of films that a collection of episodes and has a scope and vision I haven't before seen in the medium of television.

When Hobbes takes the game seat for the first time we are clearly shown the words siege perilous scratched into the arms of the chair whilst it means, quite literally, 'dangerous seat' I, being none to versed in all things, had to search to discover that it was the legendary seat at King Arthur's Round Table reserved for the knight who would find the Holy Grail. Whilst this certainly is in keeping with it's usage does anyone else recall the use of the 'siege perilous' in the X-Men mythos? The Siege Perilous was a gem in a brooch that Roma, the omniversal guardian, protects. Roma gave the Siege to the X-Men upon their resurrection from sacrificing their lives to stop the Adversary upon which it was elucidated that it could grow in size to become a doorway to another dimension, where those who entered would be judged: if worthy, they would be reborn on Earth, if not, oblivion. Oh well nerd point over just there to tempt you into the digital world as it all the 'cleverness' of millennium wrapped up in binary code. If anyone hasn't ventured into the Harsh Realm yet and is expecting something Matrix-ish then fear not it has the same depth, intelligence and philosophical brilliance of all Chris Carter's creations. There are all sorts of enigmas that I hope to discuss here at some point- why the dying may bridge the gap between realities, the sisterhood, Pinnochio and Inga etc. etc. It's brilliant go get it....

Firstly allow me to get any criticism out of the way first and allow me this winge as it is only minor and, I believe, fair and decidedly un-harsh. I believe what Harsh Realm may have lacked is the necessary command in it's lead actors: to my mind both D B Sweeney and Sarah Jane Redmond were far more dominant, intriguing and skillful actors in possession of far more dominant, intriguing and, in the case of Pinnochio, fully realised characters. Though Scott is effective as Hobbes I believe Samantha Mathis was criminal as Sophie and though it was intended that this character be mild with an inner strength I only perceived the former: why I shall no more elaborate upon this is the fact that Harsh Realm was brought to an early closure and time was not on it's side, Sophie could have evolved into something less airy but I wasn't enamoured by her soft spoken uncertainty which probably speaks volumes about me. I guess it is probable that if Harsh Realm had continued Scott's personal problems would have forced him out of the game anyway and DB would have become the lead, who knows.

On that note Sara Jane Redmond is astonishing as Inga Fossa the zenith of her performance being in Cincinnati, my favourite of all, during a scene in Santiago Central Conference Room - she says absolutely nothing, simply viewing the proceedings with intensity but I could not take me eyes off her, she absolutely owns your attention every time she walks into view. Quite, quite powerful stuff as is D B Sweeney's performance as the God-blighted soul, akin to Job, in "Manus Domini": in particular the scene where he hobbles, calling to the sky and to God - very moving.

Anyway, all far too general.

Has anyone reconciled Inga Fossa's intentions? The most intriguing character for a thousand reasons beyond the obvious fact that she is able to pass between the two worlds at will, the mercurial agni her mirrored name implies, this mirror image concept is seen regularly throughout. The only other character who has this ability would seem to be Santiago which either implies that she is of a high order in the structure of things or has been given this ability by those seeking to kill Santiago.

I believe, in fact would put filthy lucre on it, that Chris Carter would have had a mental map of the overall plan and probably completed many more scripts than were actually filmed (two of the being Circe and Malfunction) but as we have to go on is what we see can anyone see a coherent plot evolving. She seems to play each character, each faction against each other: arming Sophie and sending her into combat with the moderators of the Harsh Realm game, allowing her knowledge of Hobbes fate even though she fails to deliver her promise of forwarding Sophie's letters (possibly with the intention of driving her to Mulderism?), she constantly primes Waters to start an insurrection against Santiago and yet several scenes hint that she may be doing this only to out him as a conspiritor (there are also scenes that made me think that Santiago is all too aware of Waters, even Inga's, duplicity.) On face value it would seem that Inga works against Santiago which is definitely her job description in the pilot but I can't help but think that her only true allegiance is to herself and her manipulation of Waters serves only her desire to supercede Santiago rather than being his supporter and muse it would seem that she is setting him up as a virtual scapegoat - in Inga Fossa she manages to make Waters believe that he is somehow responsible for a problem that she in fact created (i.e. Hobbes getting inside information). I would appreciate anybody's insights into the character of Inga Fossa especially anyone who can shed any light on Carter's intended vision for her.

I hope this Realm of the board will become much used.

Till then, it's only a game.

Almost forgot....I am loving the Harsh Realm virtual Season - it's a real work of mastership. If anyone fancies, take a seat and digitise right inHarsh Realm Virtual Seasons

eth

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  • Elders (Admins)

It's been while since I watched the HR DVDs, so I'm relying on my rather imperfect memory of the episodes.

Like you, I would have loved to know how the story of Harsh Realm would have developed. And, like you, I wasn't happy with the character of Sophie. (By the way, did you know that apparently Chris Carter named this character after his most favourite dog?) Maybe that character would have developed more in time into what would have been a pivotal character - the motivation for Hobbes would need to be very powerful to succeed against the odds, and the link back to the real world should have been his connection to Sophie. The opening scenes of the pilot episode tie in to the power of home that a lot of soldiers must feel - how else can they cope with the horrors of war if they don't have that link back to home and normality. There is an episode where Sophie challenges the "death" of Hobbes, and the official explanation she'd been given. I'm not too sure the actress would have been able to produce a powerful enough performance if her character had become a pivotal one.

The character of Inga is very intriguing. To write a character that has no dialogue is contrary to what writers normally do and I would have liked to have seen the unfolding of her story. She is mute and has mystical powers - do these go together or does one give rise to the other? (Interestingly, there is a scene in an MM season 3 episode which involves some four minutes or so of no dialogue - again, an extraordinary thing in TV where silence seems always to be something to be avoided.)

Both Sarah-Jane Redmond and Terry O'Quinn absolutely shone in the few episodes filmed, and again it would have been interesting to see more of their individual motivations and the interactions between these characters.

I'd like to be able to heap some praise on DB Sweeney who was very convincing as Pinnochio - and I know intellectually I could do that - but, you know, he's strangely sexy, so that kind of gets in the way of serious debate!

Commenting on Scott Bairstow is a bit of problem, given subsequent events, and, as you say, things would have fallen apart as far as his character was concerned if the show had gone on longer.

Special mention, of course, of Dexter....

I hope others will join in with the discussion - I can't really contribute too much at the moment given my current woeful situation of being tired from work, and succumbing to the cold/sore throat that my dear husband has kindly given to me! Perhaps I should forget the overdue housework and take to my sick bed and watch my HR DVDs and then come back here and read up on others' responses and see what I can contribute.

Good and intriguing points, as always, Eth.Snafu.

I've pinned the brief synopses of the episodes as a reminder/description of the episodes. I'll see what I can provide in the way of transcripts.

Edited by Libby

Libby

"Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape." Terry Pratchett

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Get well soon Libby,

My Old Grandmother swore by the healing power of homemade 'honey and lemon', cured many an ague in my family that has, and thanks for pinning the episode summaries to the board. I don't know if you want to include these, neither being ultimately realised and one being only a title, but they are considered canon by most Realmers: Circe in particular as a draft script was leaked onto the net sometime ago - I have linked to a draft copy of for your perusal. Transcripts would be excellent, how you find the time for such things is beyond me, the only one I have ever found is for the Pilot and exists on the TWIZ website (interestingly the title for the Pilot is 'Insertion' which I like as I am 1013 title obsessive and love the completeness of knowing this.)

1Hx10 [1ADC10] Circe

Written: by Mark Rosner

Directed: by Mark Rosner

Airdate: unproduced

Synopsis: Searching for an army to recruit, Hobbes meets up with a woman claiming to be his old lover. Pinocchio senses danger, and Florence finds both a prophecy and a traitor in the Resistance against Santiago. Review by The Bishop

1H10 Circe

1Hx11 [1ADC11] Malfunction

Written by: ?

Directed by: ?

Airdate: Unproduced

I wholeheartedly agree with your comments with regards to Sophie Green and I understand that all involve had a hellish time in casting the character, I believe she was the last as they fast approached the deadline, and though she was intended to provide the impetus Hobbes needed to seek out of Harsh Realm I'm not so sure he would have needed much persuading considering the multitude of other reasons I can think of. If she was to be his muse then I believe she fulfilled this role in a kind of eye-candy-peripheral-figure sort of way but I'm not so sure that Samantha Mathis was capable of delivering the other half of the bargain: the defiant and impassioned militant. In the scene where she approaches the military she musters all the militant resonance of a girl with a sizeable my little pony collection and I think she is impeded by having a squeaky voice in higher end of the register. I appreciate that Hobbes had a certain boyscoutish innocence about him and pairing him against, for example, the great command of Sarah Jane Redmond would have engulfed him but when you think of plethora of 1013 ladies all of them had a strength that rivalled, in some cases superceded, the male leads. I certainly was not to enamoured of the Hobbes/Green chemistry which is unfair as they only shared limited screen time but I'm not so sure, without having them meet to redefine their chemistry, that I would have been too interested by the relationship arc of the story. If there was to be a shipper element to Harsh Realm I am pretty sure it would have come in the form of a Pinnochio/Inga pairing as there were hints at some a relationship that I am sure Chris Carter would have expanded with aplomb. A D B Sweeney/Sarah Jane Redmond subtext would have been energising though the chemistry and intensity both actors could have delivered to the plot may have overshadowed what we were supposed to focus on: namely the Dear Darling Sophie thread.

Interestingly there are quite a few fanfics to be found that emerged after the series' demise where the fans wasted no time in offing Sophie, I am sure they felt she would be more of an asset dead, in the Samantha/Mulder Dogget/Luke sense, than a living entity we followed through the course of the season. I hope no one thinks I am being Harsh to Samantha Mathis, I haven't seen her in anything else so am not well versed in her career, but she lacked the usual 'kung-foo' of other 1013 leads at least to my mind.

I shall add some more to this section of the board when I am able (work beckons even on Sunday) and I have some downloads that might be interesting to share,

eth

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  • Elders (Admins)

Thanks for the additional information - I've edited the synopses. I've downloaded the Circe script - that'll give me something interesting to read while I'm snuffling through a box of tissues!

I'd be interested on what downloads you have. Some time ago I did a rough transcript of the DVD commentary - I'll have a look for that and post it here.

I'd like to read some of the fanfic to see people's ideas of what to do with the Sophie character so I'll check out the Virtual Season link.

Libby

"Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape." Terry Pratchett

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Guest ZeusFaber

Interesting. I hadn't heard about "Circe" or "Malfunction". I'll get onto reading the former right away.

I have to agree that Samantha Mathis is really the week link in HR. It's all been said, she just didn't pull off what she needed to.

Now Inga, what a fascinating character, and another superlative performance by the ever talented SJR. Her scenes with Terry O'Quinn were also superb, the mighty Santiago.

I have to agree also that "Cincinatti" was probably my favourite episode, along with the pilot.

So much potential to the series, and all the little details were there, from Mark Snow's unsual brillaince in the music (especially the gonzo pilot tracks), and the inspired set designs.

I haven't watched my DVDs in a while, so I perhaps need a bit of a refresher before I start commenting again. Instead, I'll dig out the review I wrote elsewhere of the DVD set and post it here.

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Guest ZeusFaber

"It's just a game..."

HARSH REALM: THE COMPLETE SERIES

Region 2 DVD Review

by ZeusFaber

As someone in the UK, I had never had the chance to watch a single episode of this short-lived series since it never aired on terrestrial TV over here and was never available on video. As a result, this DVD set is the only opportunity ever available to me to even give the show a chance, and the first time I had ever sampled it. I was not dissapointed.

Suffice to say, Harsh Realm did not get treated very fairly, and did not deserve its fate. As a series, it was perhaps not quite as instantly engaging to me personally as The X-Files and Millennium had been, but it was still a fare sight better than most of the other shows around either then or since, and managed to capture my imagination. There was great potential to the premise, and several interesting characters portrayed very well. I would like to have seen this go on for a good five season run, but alas it was not to be. The basic "virtual reality" premise grew to me so much more, with intense layers and depth which built on an atmosphere of mysticism. The show was peppered with references to Arthurian legend and other mythological backgrounds, making for a series that had more than met the eye.

EPISODES:

All 9 are presented in an excellent 16x9 widescreen format, despite the “full frame” claim on the back of the box (thank goodness for that). The only exception is that the main title sequence was not done in this format, meaning there is a slightly noticeable difference when it comes up. The stories themselves are pretty good, and all fit into the high-concept science fiction genre that is very much like The Twilight Zone, as many have previously commented. It is good that there is a running plot (find Santiago), but at the same time each episode has its own story. The best of these are probably the pilot, “Inga Fossa”, “Cincinnati”, and “Camera Obscura”, while there is hardly a dud amongst them (although “Reunion” probably comes closest). The cast is exceptional, and includes performances from 1013 familiars Scott Bairstow (Samuel Hartley in TXF's “Miracle Man”), Terry O’Quinn (showcasing his usual excellence), and Sarah-Jane Redmond (Millennium’s Lucy Butler and Karin Matthews in TXF's “Schizogeny”). There are also a host of strong supporting players, including Mark Rowlston, Tobin Bell, and the great Maximillian Martini. The visuals are mostly of a high quality, while Mark Snow’s gonzo music is a delight to listen to (most notably in the pilot). Overall, this is a unique and compelling series, quite different fare from TXF and MM, but definitely good entertainment. The only regret is that it wasn't allowed to go on for longer, as you sense the series could really have built upon its start and produce even better episodes in the future.

3.5/5

PACKAGING:

Harsh Realm comes in a slim M-Lock case with outer cardboard sleeve, which now seems to be the standard for FOX TV shows released in the UK. This design was also used for the Millennium seriesy, and The X-Files sets have since been repackaged in this form. It is a very practical design that holds all three discs together with flipper trays inside. This allows quick access to the relevant disc you want, and a nice place to keep the booklet (although it does cover up the first disc). On the negative side, these are not as good as DigiPacks as they do not allow for the same extent of artwork, meaning the interiors are completely black and bare. Also, with these 3-capacity cases, the last disc tends to get caught on the edge of the flipper tray, which might lead to scratching.

3/5

COVERT ART:

Unlike the Millennium releases, the artwork of the cardboard sleeve is identical to the artwork on the inner M-Lock pack. This minimises the nice variation you can get, but it’s not a great complaint. The artwork you do get is pretty good all in all, and is certainly better than the Region 1 counterpart. The blue colour scheme is very nice, and the best part has to be the inclusion of several small “snap-shots” at the bottom which are embossed fantastically. The only down side is that the logo was moved from the bottom to the top at the last moment, and that the floating heads are a bit cliché. Other than that, it is a pretty good cover, and the distinctive logo is very nice indeed.

(You can see for yourself here: https://images-eu.amazon.com/images/P/B0002...02.LZZZZZZZ.jpg )

4/5

BONUS FEATURES:

“Inside the Harsh Realm” documentary:

This 26-minute feature is very well done, extremely informative and appropriately wide ranging. It discusses the genesis of the show, the choices made, the general production, and inevitably the cancellation. There are up to date interviews with the likes of Chris Carter, Daniel Sackheim, Frank Spotnitz, and Mark Snow who discuss the thoughts behind the show and talk fairly honestly about the parallels made with The Matrix and the lack of network promotion that led to the cancellation of the series just after 3 episodes had aired. There are also short interviews with the cast that were recorded at the time of production. Overall, this is a very good documentary that takes the right approach instead of getting bogged down in minutia, although it might have been nice to let it run for a bit longer in an ideal world.

4.5/5

“Creating the Logo and Title Sequence” featurette:

From the same vein as the equivalent feature on the Millennium set, this 7 minute feature is very interesting in doing exactly what it promises. It takes us through the development of the fine logo, and even lets us look at several rough drafts. We are also talked through the main title sequence, and this is definitely the sort of featurette that should have been included on The X-Files sets for Season 1 and Season 9.

4/5

Promo Spots:

There are only about 8 included on the set, which aren’t much to shout about. Hardly surprising since the show was never promoted. Still, better to have than not.

2.5/5

Trailer for 1013 shows on DVD:

This is the same feature that was included on the Millennium release recently. It is not so much a bonus, as it simply launches immediately whenever you insert Disc 3. It is a well-produced advert for Millennium on DVD, followed by Harsh Realm on DVD, and finally The X-Files on DVD. These sequences certainly serve to put you in the mood for what you are about to watch, and are quite appetising. Why they weren’t available for selection form the general menu is beyond me though. No one wants them to just leap out at you every time you insert Disc 3.

3.5/5

Commentary on “Pilot” by Chris Carter:

It’s good to hear from the man himself one last time, as he hasn’t done any tracks for the second or third seasons of Millennium. He does a reasonable job, walking us through the episode, but you have to say it’s not up to his usual high standards that we have seen in the past for such X-Files episodes as “The Post-Modern Prometheus” and “Triangle”, or for the pilot episode of Millennium. However, he is still better at this game than some others I could mention.

2.5/5

Commentary on “Pilot” by Daniel Sackheim:

Very similar to the previous track, this repeats some of the same information and takes the same walkthrough approach. To be honest, it is no better and no worse. Sackheim does an adequate job, adding a few extra peices of information that are interesting and seeming quite enthusiastic about the show. It's by no means an excellent commentary, but it is better than the ones that Kim Manners did for The X-Files (filled with silence), and is on the whole satistfactory -- nothing more, nothing less.

2.5/5

OVERALL:

This series was certainly worth watching, and was certainly worth my money. The show deserved so much more than just 9 episodes, and could have been a good thing to watch each week. Not to oversell it though, as it is perhaps more of a traditional sci-fi show than TXF and MM. That’s not so much a criticism though, as there is probably only one or two shows currently on the air that beat it. This is very watchable, and although not quite as huge a delight for me personally as the other Ten Thirteen shows, it is still something that you can sit down to and be more than entertained by. The DVD set itself is up to the same quality, with some nice cover art and reasonable packaging. It would have been nice to have some more extras and a more comprehensive booklet, but other than that it’s a good set and worth it’s very reasonable price-tag.

3.5/5

Edited by ZeusFaber
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Guest lonegungrrly1121

I love Harsh Realm so much. I bought it also after reading some threads on here, and I am so glad I did. all I need now is the Lone Gunmen series and i have a whole two shelves of '1013- the complete masterworks'

but anyway... I couldn't quite put my finger on what wasn't quite right, until i read this thread, and I completely agree that Sophie was terrible. The show was ballanced on the Sophie/Hobbes relationship to some extent and I just didn't buy it. as meantioned above, Hobbes always reminded me of a boyscout!! another thing that did my head in about Hobbes was that CC and co were trying to make him out as caring and a hero, much along the same vein as Frank, I suppose, but Hobbes came out as just exccentric, going out of his way to help Virtual Characters etc, it just annoyed me rather than endeared me, but hey, he had his great moments too.

Also, the episodes that revolved around Pinnochio were really good (DB Sweeny.... *yummm* LOL) especially the one where he lost his leg (I'm terrible with episode names)

I also thought that the Flourence story arc would have played out brillinatly, she was such a great character!

And, like it was meantioned above, I think that a pinnochio/Inga relationship would have been great, as they were really the two most powerful characters and actors on board, along with "MR 1013," of course :bigsmile:

P.S. what I wouldn't give for some Harsh Realm screen captions... does anyone know how to do those things?!

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Guest ZeusFaber

If you have any kind of programme such as power DVD on your computer, and a DVD drive of course, you shouldn't have any difficulty finding an option from the menu pad to do it.

If not I can grab some for you if you like, if there is somewhere to post them.

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Firstly,

Many thanks to Libby for pinning that transcript. I did, many moons ago, attempt to transcribe an episode of a show but became fidgety, restless and by the end very much aggressive. I had great difficulty in deciding how much information, with regards to action shots, sounds effects and the like, to include and how much was not required for our understanding of the plot. Never again. Libby has the balance, and the art, 'down pat' and a big salutation from me: someone who could never write quick enough for such a thing.

As for the review - You certainly know you stuff Zeus and whilst I could certainly knock out a review of rank-amateurish content I could never talk so fluently on all aspects of a series right down to the design of the DVD Box. Could I ask you what this review was for and suggest, maybe, that this too is pinned to the Harsh Realm section as it is quite simply excellent. All this can make a man feel decidedly unskilled.

I absolutely, by the way, agree with everything you have written and did see the Arthurian connection you mentioned as well as some quantum theory, Judeo-Christian mythology and many other spiritual undertones and overtones woven into the plot. Moreover I was quite stunned as to how much I was made to care for our characters in such a short space of time: I found Manus Dominie incredibly emotive and searching and felt it the mark of a real artist that Pinnochio was occupying a place in me as powerful as other, more aged, 1013 creations.

I agree with Lonegungrrly that Florence was shaping up to be a real quandary. I understood, or supposed, that she unlike others in the Realm had no Terra Firma counterpart - being an original construct existing only in the Realm. I wondered, also, if there are seeming reasons to explain her inability to talk. It is noted that the Sisterhood expend themselves during the healing process and we are privy to the fact that the complete regeneration of a human limb would seem to expend their energy and digitise their programme. I considered that since the real world occupants of the programme would have had to be recreated as programmes complete with personality and memory whether the healers programme, born as a purpose driven blank canvass, would be relatively small in comparison explaining why their total bytes are dispelled in order to create such a small part of Pinnochio's. It could be that they are mute purely as they were designed as some form of anti virus programme, healers intended to serve only a function, to be despatched where their programme was needed but have since evolved into independent, autonomous participants in the Harsh Realm experience.

I loved also the theological associations of the healers that as Harsh Realm is a digital recreation of our own existence then maybe the programme has replicated spirit, soul and the search for God and even, dare I say it, God itself? Is there a Harsh Realm heaven? Has anyone reached any conclusions as to why Mrs. Hobbes becomes a conduit for both realms during her death? Is it simply because both counterparts experience the same thing in tandem and therefore a link is forged between the two realms? Would Hobbes have realised this and experimented with using this in the creation of a portal?

By the way - I watched Inga Fossa again last night and have reached the conclusion that Santiago was aware of Inga's part in the plot as it seems strongly intimated during the scene not only in the dialogue shared by the characters but by the non verbal exchange between Sarah Jane Redmond and Terry O'Quinn. There is also a definite hint from Waters that, since he has embarked upon a sexual relationship with Inga, he has Pinnochio's woman so 'dollars to doughnuts' there would have been some intense and dramatic scenes planned between the two characters. Why do these things always have to end?

As for the downloads I mentioned. I have some audio clips, monologues, Gillian's instructional speech, the opening and closing themes, a few clips of Mark Snow's compositions and various files of episodic music but I am currently trying to ascertain how much of it I can safely share without invoking the wrath of the courts. Zombie has hit upon a wonderfully creative solution: the compiling of a Harsh Realm Tribute CD using only that which is copywrite free and some additional stuff that shares a creative and thematic link to the show. I shall get back to you on this.

Till then, it's only a game.

eth

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Guest ZeusFaber

Glad you enjoyed the review. Thanks for the compliments. Hope it didn't get too trivial. It was only originally written for another forum upon first release actually, nothing special.

I really need to sit down and watch the set again though.

I read "Circe", btw, thanks for the links. Not bad by any means, but I don't think it would have made one of the best episodes of the show neccessarily. Does anyone have any more information at all on "Malfunction"?

Can I ask about these music files too? Do you have the piece that recurrs in the pilot episode, played during the persuit at the end where VC Sophie is killed, and earlier when Hobbes ushers her onto the departing ship? Were these just ripped from the DVDs?

Edited by ZeusFaber
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