New to Blu: TV > January 11-17

Two of SoHo’s signature dramas bow on Blu-ray this week: Boardwalk Empire and The Hour.

The latter lands here only weeks after its broadcast while the former’s taken more than a year to arrive.

Indeed, season one of Boardwalk Empire is being released on the eve of SoHo’s season-two finale (Sky 10, 8.30pm Sunday).

I thought its 2009 Sky Movies HD presentation was so soft that it could have been mistaken for SD.

But the Blu-ray couldn’t look less like a bootleg.

Boardwalk Empire features some drop-dead gorgeous visuals that will have you gawking at the TV screen during almost every scene …

“I know you expected it, but I’m here to simply report what you’d already been hoping for. Boardwalk Empire comes to Blu-ray with a flawless presentation.”

“Decadent when decadence is called for, submersed in endless shadow when something more sinister is required, every episode stands apart in one way or another.

“Martin Scorsese, Terence Winter, Jonathan Freeman and Kramer Morgenthau’s Prohibition palette is overflowing with sumptuous period colours, evocative sepia tones and cloudy hues, lavish Atlantic City reds and golds, earthy browns and Depression-era grays, and rich blacks.”

The Blu-ray also is blessed with outstanding extras, including 12 picture-in-picture tracks and six audio commentaries.

As is typical of BBC Blu-rays, broadcast news drama The Hour has been given a 1080i transfer – but the news is not all bad.

“Often the 1080i designation is a bad thing, as artifacts will crop up, but The Hour is surprisingly free of flaws.

“The show’s exquisite sets are rendered with crisp detail, and the show’s reduced colour scheme is perfectly saturated.”

However, “you’ll notice certain problems when it comes to the blacks of the picture. They seem to blend into each other.

“Different shades of black and gray create a sort of dark blob that doesn’t add much depth or dimensionality to the screen.

“Many nighttime scenes are thick with dancing noise. With that said, the nighttime scenes look much better than they did in Going Postal.”

Coincidentially, Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal also is out this week. It aired on Prime, so unlike Boardwalk Empire and The Hour, this is your first chance to see it in HD.

“Originally photographed in HD with Arri D-21 cameras, the film has a definite British mini-series look to it, with deep browns and blacks.

“Contrast is very good, as is detail. The textures of the buildings and fabrics used in the costumes (especially the wings of the Postmaster’s cap) are well-rendered, and the CGI rarely, if ever, stands out.”

Also new are Last Flight of the Space Shuttle, WWE Best Pay Per View Matches 2012, WWE Best of King of the Ring, Robot Chicken: Season 5 and the anime titles Gantz 1, Darker Than Black Collection: Season 2, Space Battleship Yamata, Bala and Test: Series One Collection and Redline.

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