One of the top rated shows on ABC Family, "Kyle XY"'s first season opened with a young man (Matt Dallas) waking up in the middle of a forest outside of Seattle. Picked up by the authorities, he can't speak any English and seems completely unable to communicate with the outside world. There's also the odd fact that he's without any sort of bellybutton.
Nicole Trager (Marguerite MacIntyre), a social worker, is called in to the detention center to try and figure out the case. Sensing that the boy - who she later names Kyle - is different and not going to fare well in the tough facility - she takes him home, much to the dismay of her daughter Lori (April Matson) and son Josh (Jean-Luc Bilodeau). Not surprisingly, after an episode, the two kids are more accepting of their very unusual new friend - who they quickly learn is incredibly brilliant, displaying far more brain activity than the normal human and going for days without sleep.
The series focuses on the lives of the family and the kind of "fish out of water" moments of discovery that Kyle has. Meanwhile, there's also the mystery of just who is Kyle, and who is the man (Nicholas Lea, formerly of "X-Files" fame) that's following close behind him? The series is a mixture of Kyle's "fish out of water" moments of discovery, his attempts to try and figure out who he is and moments of teen drama/comedy that focus on the brother and sister characters. Despite being well-acted, the last element is really the least interesting, as despite fine performances, it feels like we've seen it all before many times - and better - elsewhere.
The performances in the first season are pretty good, with star Matt Dallas doing a very good job portraying a character who starts as a blank slate and gradually develops who he is over the course of the season. Bruce Thomas and Marguerite MacIntyre also put in fine efforts as Kyle's newfound parents, who start with uncertainty and eventually see Kyle as one of their own children.
The second season of the series picks up where the first season left off, as Kyle has been taken from his parents and confronts Adam Baylin, a man who doesn't appear much older than Kyle, and informs Kyle that he has the information about Kyle that he is looking for. While Kyle learns from Adam and finds out the astonishing truth about his existence, yet another is found in the forest, similar to how Kyle was.
While Kyle is able to return to the Tragers, who had been worried about him after his leaving at the end of the prior season, he returns with a set of secrets about his past that he has to keep from the family he has come to love. However, the girl found in the forest, who will soon come to be known as Jessi XX (Jamie Alexander), seeks out Kyle and soon shows herself to be his opposite.
Kyle's home life also becomes more difficult, as his secrets conflict with his family life and cause him to seem distracted to his new parents and siblings. Kyle also rekindles his relationship with a sweet neighbor (played by Kirsten Prout), while Josh's life is changed by a girl (Magda Apanowicz) with an illness, who he falls for.
The series sees some improvements in this second season (its first full season after the shorter first.) The story is expanded upon in ways that are compelling and - while it manages to answer some questions raised in the first season - it also does a fine job introducing some new mysteries. The characters also seem a bit more well-developed this time around, too: of particular note are Kyle's brother and sister, who seem a little more real and less like stereotypical brother and sister characters this season. Overall, "Kyle X/Y"'s second season is a pleasant surprise, as the more confident second season smooths out some of the first season's issues and the longer season allows the story elements to develop in a more satisfying manner.
Season 3 Premieres on 1/12/09 on ABC Family. Check local listings.
11. 11 Jun 07 The Prophet
12. 18 Jun 07 The Homecoming
13. 25 Jun 07 The List is Life
14. 2 Jul 07 Balancing Act
15. 9 Jul 07 Come to Your Senses
16. 16 Jul 07 Does Kyle Dream of Electric Fish
17. 23 Jul 07 Free To Be You and Me
18. 30 Jul 07 What's the Frequency, Kyle?
19. 6 Aug 07 Ghost in the Machine
20. 13 Aug 07 House of Cards
21. 20 Aug 07 Hands on a Hybrid
22. 27 Aug 07 Lockdown
23. 3 Sep 07 Leap of Faith
24. 14 Jan 08 To C.I.R., With Love
25. 21 Jan 08 The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades
26. 28 Jan 08 Great Expectations
27. 4 Feb 08 Grounded
28. 11 Feb 08 Between the Rack and a Hard Place
29. 18 Feb 08 First Cut Is the Deepest
30. 25 Feb 08 Primary Colors
31. 3 Mar 08 Grey Matters
32. 10 Mar 08 Hello…
33. 17 Mar 08 I've Had the Time of My Life
VIDEO: "Kyle XY" is presented by Buena Vista Home Entertainment in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentations are generally excellent, as the series almost always appeared sharp and detailed, with fine details in the images often visible. Some slight artifacting was spotted in a few scenes, but no edge enhancement or other faults were seen. Colors looked natural at all times, with fine saturation and no smearing.
SOUND: Not a whole lot is required of the show's Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation. Surrounds occasionally offer sound effects and ambience, but the majority of the audio comes from the front speakers. Audio quality remained first rate, with crisp dialogue, effects and score.
EXTRAS: "The Prophet" offers commentary from Julie Plec and Eric Tuchman, while "The Homecoming" offers commentary from producers James Fiveash and James Stoteraux; "To CIR, With Love" offers commentary with Julie Plec and Eric Tuchman, as well as Bryan Holdman; "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades" offers commentary by writers Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt, as well as director Chris Grismer; the season finale offers commentary with Rudy Gaborno, Plec and Chris Hollier and "Ghost in the Machine" offers commentary with actor Matt Dallas, as well as Rudy Gaborno, Plec and Chris Hollier.
"The Science of Kyle X/Y" takes a look at the science discussed in the show, as well as thoughts on the development of the show's concept and how the writers choose to bring or not to bring specific elements of science to the series. An interesting alternate ending, "Livin' With the X's" featurette (a set tour with actors Matt Dallas and Jamie Alexander) and the "Facing the Future" (what's to come) featurette are included on the third disc (I was a little surprised the alternate ending wasn't included on the final disc, but oh well.) Finally, 27 deleted scenes are offered, with audio commentary.
Final Thoughts: "Kyle X/Y"'s second season is a more confident effort, fixing some of the issues of season one and providing a better balance of drama and sci-fi/mystery. The DVD set provides a terrific set of supplemental features, as well as fine audio/video quality.