By: Allan Tong
KYLE XY takes teen alienation to a whole new level. Most teens don’t feel like they belong to their peers, family and sometimes the human race. That’s never been truer as in the case of Kyle XY (Matt Dallas) who in season one of this ABC Family series woke up nude in a forest near Seattle with no memory of how he got there. In fact, Kyle woke with no memories at all and no connection to any family, place or time. Yet Kyle he possesses superhuman strength and a powerful brain that can do complex calculus like most of us add one plus one. Kyle’s purpose is to find out who he is.
In season two (a full 23 episodes compared to the opening season’s 10), Kyle’s continues to study under Adam Baylin (J. Eddie Peck) who teaches Kyle about his otherworldly powers, like mental telepathy, and provides further clues about his origins. The crucial one being that Adam wasn’t born, but created in a lab.
However, Kyle keeps his studies with Baylin secret from the Tragers, his adopted family. This strains Kyle’s relationship with parents Nicole and Stephen (Marguerite MacIntyre & Bruce Thomas) who continue to prefer Kyle to their own teenage children, Lori and Josh. Meanwhile, Kyle further develops his attraction to neighbour girl Amanda (Kirsten Prout).
In season two, a major storyline emerges when an “XX” female like Kyle (played by Jaimie Alexander) is “hatched” and wakes up naked in a forest as a wild savage. She roams the Seattle area until the company that created her, Madacorp, hunts her down and reprograms her into Jessi. Jessi becomes Kyle’s foil: vicious and ready to kill. And her target is Kyle.
With its brooding pacing, paranoid atmosphere and setting in the American northwest (filmed in B.C.), KYLE XY sometimes feels like the son of X-Files. It’s really a whitebread soap opera about teens searching for their identity. However, the show avoids slipping into cheesiness due to its strong writing and smart casting starting with lead, Matt Dallas, who plays Kyle as strange, yet always sympathetic. We want to learn who Kyle is.
The DVD package rewards fans of the show. It packs eight incisive audio commentaries by the producers, writers, directors and stars across six discs. Further commentaries are found on all the many outtakes, including the alternate ending to the season finale. Two of the three featurettes are worth viewing. The Science of XY reveals the influence of Einstein, the genius who gestated longer than usual and inspired the show’s premise: what if someone gestated for 16 years? Living with the Xs is a fun day-in-the-life of stars Dallas and Alexander, from dawn to dusk as they arrive early on set, work out in a gym, record voice-over in a studio, and do promo events like a block party. The other featurette, Facing the Future, is a fluffy cookie-cutter promo where the stars and creators hype the current season.
Overall, this is a worthy package for KYLE XY fans and serves to promote season three which premieres on January 12.