New to Blu > TV: December 7-13

Heading this week’s TV releases is Downton Abbey: Season 2, which only ended its SD run last night to high ratings on Prime.

Universal Pictures is releasing it as a stand-alone set on Blu-ray and DVD and as a DVD-only box set with season one (the NZ season-one Blu-ray included an extra disc of extras not on the UK version).

Despite a “wonderfully addictive” endorsement from the NZ Herald emblazoned on the season-two sleeve, some critics and academics were sniffy about its direction and inaccuracies.

But as Jane Clifton argues in today’s Dominion Post, “After last night’s farewell flourish, it’s safe to say: bully for them.

“There may be a bit to find fault with but it’s still one of the best things on TV, from the pithy dialogue to the sumptuous frocks to the sickening battle scenes.”

The Blu-ray of season two boasts exclusive making-of extras as well as interviews with cast and key members of the production, including creator Julian Fellowes.

Expect the two-hour Christmas special, due to air on Christmas Day in the UK, to be released separately or as part of the season-three set.

Also new this week are Torchwood: Miracle Day, Doctor Who: The Complete Sixth Series, Wonders Collection and The Universe: The Complete Season 5 (which includes a 3D episode).

This is your first chance to see them in HD as all were broadcast here in SD — unlike Supernatural: The Complete 6th Season, although “the 1080p/AVC-encoded image looks much better than the blocky, limited bandwidth broadcast presentation”.

It also comes with two commentaries, two anime episodes and a picture-in-picture guide to each episode.

Finally, there’s Rugby World Cup Final 2011 – Official Review, which supplements HD footage of the games with documentary content.

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