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Customer Discussions > Firefly: The Complete Series forum

Picture Quality - Average

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Initial post: Jun 9, 2009 6:22:05 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 9, 2009 6:22:52 AM PDT
Watcher says:

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture - 3 out of 5 stars

Firefly: The Complete Series' makes its long-awaited debut on Blu-ray with a somewhat mediocre 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer that fails to rejuvenate the series' problematic source. Close-ups and practical shots look quite impressive (more on that in a bit), but special effects sequences are soft (downright blurry at times), long distance pans are muddled, and texture clarity is a tad inconsistent. Fans who own `Serenity' in HD will be particularly disappointed since the film's detailed vistas and spacecraft sparkle in high definition compared to `Firefly.' Some of the series' high-def issues can be traced back to the show's limited budget and rushed production schedule, but the most distracting shots are a direct result of source limitations. While Whedon shot the majority of the series using 35mm film stock, special effects sequences were minted in lowly standard definition. Honestly, I have a hard time faulting the production team for saving cash and making the series look as good as they could at a time when HDTV was a pipe dream, but it doesn't change the fact that the BD edition of `Firefly' is uneven and, at times, painfully underwhelming.

Even so, fans shouldn't let that bit of disheartening news discourage their enthusiasm too much. `Firefly's transfer is as technically polished as I expected it to be (the only way it could be drastically improved is if Fox went back to the drawing board and crafted new special effects sequences from scratch) and, for the most part, looks much better than it did on standard DVD. Colors are more vibrant, skintones more natural, contrast brighter and more stable, and blacks (while unresolved at times) deeper. Detail has received a moderate boost as well. Aside from the instances I already mentioned, skin textures are more realistic, fine detail is well defined, and hair and stubble show off some high-def sheen. While artifacting and low-light noise haven't disappeared altogether (and make appearances on a fairly regular basis), `Firefly's image is much cleaner than it is on DVD. More importantly, the picture isn't assaulted by the endless blocking, banding, and crush as it was before.

Definitive? Not quite. As polished as anyone should expect for now? Without a doubt. In the end, `Firefly' could have been a knockout had Fox given the show the same attention Paramount is bestowing on the original `Star Trek' series, but, all things considered (we are talking about a cult fave that was canceled before it even had a full season under its belt), the end results look decidedly decent.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 12, 2010 1:29:21 PM PST
surrounded says:

Video & Audio [4 out of 5 stars]

Firefly's fourteen episodes are presented over three single-sided 50GB dual-layered discs region-coded both "A" and "B," all in an impressively compact case. Typical of Fox, the discs take a long time to load on older (but hardly old) players to accommodate all the Java-enhanced menus, which frankly aren't all that more sophisticated compared to standard DVD ones.

Whedon reportedly battled Fox over the show's aspect ratio. It's presented here in full 1.78:1 widescreen in 1080p. All the live action footage was shot in 35mm and looks quite nice; there's a lot of detail to take in terms of the subtle performances and the set designs especially. Some have complained that the CGI effects, created in standard-definition format, look blurry and unimpressive in high-def but to a point I disagree. Certainly ZŌIC Studios' CGI work looks better on, for example, the HD DVD of Battlestar Galactica (on which, ironically, many reviews complained that while the effects looked great the first unit footage looked inferior; I disagree about that, too). Though a bit soft, the artistry of the effects still shine through, and it integrates better than I would have expected it to; after all, it's still standard-def effects maximized in a high-def presentation.

Audio is state-of-the-art DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio, with alternate tracks in 5.1 DTS German, and Dolby Surround French and Spanish (with optional English, Spanish and, of all things, Dutch subtitles. The mix is up to contemporary television standards, boosted somewhat for Blu-ray presentation. The disc is also closed-captioned.
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Participants:  2
Total posts:  2
Initial post:  Jun 9, 2009
Latest post:  Mar 12, 2010

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Firefly: The Complete Series
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