New to Blu: October 13-19

Few TV-on-Blu-ray transfers have polarised critics like season one of The Sopranos.

“Fuhgeddaboudit!” essentially was Blu-ray.com’s advice on Wednesday’s release, bemoaning its inconsistency, unnatural hues and noise: “looks substantially better than its DVD counterpart, but falls far short of expectation (as well as the quality previously established by HBO’s two-stage Blu-ray release of The Sopranos: Season Six)”.

It awarded the transfer 3/5 whereas DVD Beaver gave it 9/10 (“very watchable”) and DVD File thought it “nothing short of revelatory”.

Film Freak Central was in-between: “The Sopranos: The Complete First Season reaches an apotheosis of presentation on Blu-ray disc, but I really think there was more to get out of this material in terms of picture quality.”

But NZ fans of the gangbusters drama shouldn’t even think twice about upgrading from the DVD, as this will be the first time season one’s been offered on disc here in the proper aspect ratio (the DVD was 4:3).

At $40, it’s also selling for considerably less than the US release, which even on Amazon is listed at $US42.

Another Warner Bros TV series new to Blu-ray is Hung, the comedy/drama about an unlikely gigolo for which TVNZ, despite the show’s adult time slot, recently was found to have breached broadcast standards.

WB’s Emmy-winning mini-series John Adams at last wins a NZ term on Wednesday but only on DVD — given the lack of broadcaster interest in the presidential bio, the distributor presumably believed there wouldn’t be enough interest locally to justify an HD release of such an intrinsically American costume drama, despite its accolades, awards and a cast that includes Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney and Tom Wilkinson.

WB also is bringing the re-make of A Nightmare on Elm Street to Blu-ray this week, along with a raft of titles that bypassed cinemas: The LosersThe ChildrenPandorum and 44 Inch Chest.

Also new are The Slammin’ Salmon, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Collection 2 and Crusty Demons: Volume 15 while being resurrected on Blu-ray are Dead Man, Elvis on Tour and Kenny.


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