August Release for The Wire on BD
Roadshow Entertainment will release the Blu-ray box set of The Wire on August 19.
The five-season package has just gone on sale to top reviews in the US and UK and looks like being the only way to view the HBO milestone here in HD.
Although the groundbreaking police drama has been a staple of Sky’s SoHo, the premium drama channel has no plans to dust it off in HD.
Purists initially were alarmed that the 4:3 SD production would be manipulated and compromised to fit a 16:9 1080p format but veteran producer Bob Colesberry “protected” filming of the first two seasons for this eventuality.
Moreover, creator David Simon and his collaborators went to extreme lengths to finesse the 60 episodes’ transition to Blu-ray.
Simon wrote about the process on his blog, concluding: “I’m satisfied what while this new version of The Wire is not, in some specific ways, the film we first made, it has sufficient merit to exist as an alternate version.
“There are scenes that clearly improve in HD and in the widescreen format. But there are things that are not improved. And even with our best resizing, touchups and maneuver, there are some things that are simply not as good.
“That’s the inevitability: This new version, after all, exists in an aspect ratio that simply wasn’t intended or serviced by the filmmakers when the camera was rolling and the shot was framed.”
Concurred one US critic: “From the opening of the first season’s pilot to the closing shot of the fifth season series finale, the colour, contrast and clarity of The Wire‘s widescreen remaster impresses. And sometimes really impresses.
“There are a few soft shots here and there (typically a product of the original photography, not the remaster), hints of negligible black crush creep into the image on a few fleeting occasions, and instances of minor, inherent noise spiking affect a handful of darker scenes, but these represent the clear exception rather than the rule.”
Most of the extras are the same as the DVDs’, the chief exception being a 2014, 85-minute Paley Centre reunion of the cast and creators.
If you can’t wait until August 19, The Wire: The Complete Series can be bought discounted for $US86 from Amazon.com or £65 from Amazon.co.uk; the full NZ price will be $130.