New to Blu: TV > April 16-22

The same week Sons of Anarchy’s two-part season-six finale goes to air (TV3, 9.30 Wednesday), season five at last bows on Blu-ray.

Given the season came out eight months ago in the US, it’s bizarre that 20th Century Fox didn’t time its NZ release to coincide with February’s premiere of season six – a binge-viewing catch-up strategy that’s been pivotal to building viewership of shows in the US.

Presumably the delay is tied up with Australasian broadcast rights, as the three-disc set doesn’t go on sale across the Tasman until June.

“Although Sons of Anarchy doesn’t exactly have exciting cinematography, the 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer looks tremendous and is jam-packed with fine detail and vivid colours.”

“As with previous seasons, occasionally there’s minor noise that pops into the image.

“Contrast remains strong, however, though it occasionally looks intentionally pushed, especially in some of the escort service sequences.”

“The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix achieves most of its surround presence from the hard-driving music score.

“For all of the roaring of motorcycles as they speed across and through the frame, there isn’t the same amount of panning across and through the soundstage that one might expect.”

“Technically the discs are good, though the gradual decline of bonus material as the seasons go by is somewhat troubling.”

While the Aussies are lagging behind us with Sons of Anarchy on Blu-ray, not so Rake.

The Complete First Series is out this week a fortnight after series three was released in Oz (TV One has just started season two).

The latest Dr Who adventure on Blu-ray, Daleks Invasion Earth: 2150 AD, is one of the oldest, having been commissioned as a 1965 sequel to Dr Who and the Daleks.

“Shot in Techniscope, a non-anamorphic (two-perforation) process, the film has been digitally restored and is given a Blu-ray transfer in the correct ratio of 2.35:1 …

“All told, this is a grainier film, and a grainier Blu-ray than the first film. But it’s grain that is supposed to be there.

“Skin tones look fine – and consistent with the way they tend to look in other colour films of this vintage.”

“Some of the colours are not as lush as those seen in Dr Who and the Daleks, but this is due to the fact that there is plenty of footage that was shot with natural light.

“However, contrast levels remain stable and clarity is indeed very good.”

“There is only a single audio track for the film itself encoded as a LPCM 2.0 Mono track in English.

“The dialogue is clear and crisp throughout.

“The sound design is often impressive and the 60s score sounds great, even if it sometimes feels inappropriately subdued when there’s action on screen!”

“It the process that was used for the prints refurbishment that kicks off the disc’s extras segment.

“Although only seven minutes long, Restoring Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 makes for intriguing viewing.

“It talks of the emergence of a new cinematic format called TECHNISCOPE that not only made for more lavish looking movies, but was also far cheaper to produce.

“We are then shown the painstaking lengths restorers go to when cleaning original 35mm prints frame by frame.”

Also new are Star Trek: Enterprise – The Complete Fourth Season, which lands here a fortnight ahead of the US, and WWE Ultimate Warrior – The Ultimate Collection — but WCW Best Pay-Per-View Matches Vol 1, which was due this week, has been delayed until mid-late May because of censorship classification issues.

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3 Responses to “New to Blu: TV > April 16-22”

  1. If The Professionals ever gets a NZ Blu-ray release it’s well worth getting, I got mine from Amazon UK and REALLY impressed by how good it looks, it really does look like it was made this year :-)

  2. I will be buying The Professionals at some stage but waiting for the price to drop a bit further.

  3. I’m sure you will love it when you do get it, Mark. It’s probably the best it’s ever looked and sounded :)

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