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Customer Review

138 of 139 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review for the Blu-ray: Pulled from PAL video it isn't true HD but it looks very good nevertheless, November 15, 2011
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This review is from: Farscape: The Complete Series [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
"Farscape" came at a good time providing a bridgeduring a key time when most science fiction on TV was "Star Trek" or nothing else ("Babylon 5" excepted) and it brought a much needed dollop of humor, fascinating storylines and great characterizations. It's true that the series presents a hodge podge of ideas that were successful in other shows from "Star Trek" to "The X-Files" but what was great as with all things that are an amalgamation of other ideas from other shows was how it was put together.

"Farscape: The Complete Series" is, well, somewhat incomplete. While it includes all four seasons it doesn't include the mini-series "Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars" due to licensing issues with Lion's Gate (which released that title)so you'll need to keep your DVD set for that until the latter is released on Blu-ray.

The Blu-ray presentation for "Farscape" suffers a bit from the fact that it was produced prior to studios thinking of high definition. The show was shot on film but the visual effects were done in digital standard definition, that wouldn't be a problem but the show was assembled in standard video as well and the 35mm source prints are nowhere to be found.

Having said that the New Video used a number of digital techniques to enhance the SD picture and bring it into the high def realm pretty effectively.

Be aware however that "Incubator" has the dialogue slightly out of synch with the picture on the Blu-ray.

Subtitles ARE on the Blu-ray release.

If you adjust your expectations that this ISN'T going to look as good as, say, "Battlestar: Galatica" on Blu-ray or even the original "Star Trek", you'll enjoy this set. Should you buy it? That depends on how picky you're going to be about teh image quality here but this does look marginally better than previous editions.

As a result we have a Blu-ray presentation that isn't in 1080 instead A&E and New Video the distributors here had to go to the best source possible the PAL video (which has higher resolution than U.S. NTSC)thus while this isn't in high definition it DOES look slightly better than the the regular DVD's in particular because the higher bit rate for Blu-ray allows the show more "breathing" room. The show looks soft but there's no way around that. Detail is better than the 2009 DVD's but the compression artifacts that were problematic for the DVD set released in 2009 aren't as problematic here. Likewise, this is a huge upgrade over the "Starburst" editions of the series put out a couple of years back.

The audio is a big upgrade with a lossless 5.1 presentation that is quite powerful and well done.

The special features from the previous 2009 set have been carried over for this set with one new high def featurette included looking back on the show. We get mulitple commentary tracks for a number of episodes (with the first season getting the most).

Summary: -video quality: Is soft but with better detail than most of the DVDs I've seen of the show because the producers used the higher resolution PAL video masters. The encoding and use of compression here is an improvement as well helping the picture quality. It's a marginal upgrade in image quality though.

Audio: Sounds brilliant with a nice, immersive 5.1 lossless mix.

Special Features: All of the special features from the 2009 A&E/New Video release are included with one new high def special featurette.

There are 31 commentary tracks. We also get deleted scenes and TV spots.

Season One:
Premiere: Rockne S. O'Bannon, Brian Henson and Ben BrowderI, E.T.: Claudia Black and Anthony Simcoe
Exodus from Genesis: Brian Henson and Virginia Hey
Throne for a Loss: Ben Browder and Claudia Black
Back and Back and Back to the Future: Ben Browder and Rowan Woods
Thank God It's Friday. . .Again: Rockne S. O'Bannon and Anthony Simcoe
DNA Mad Scientist: a) Ben Browder and Claudia Black; b) Rockne S. O'Bannon and David Kemper
Jeremiah Crichton: Ben Browder, Claudia Black, Rockne S. O'Bannon and David Kemper (this commentary bears the humorous subtitle "When Bad Things Happen to Good Shows")
A Human Reaction: Ben Browder and Claudia Black
Nerve: Ben Browder and Claudia Black
Born to be Wild: Anthony Simcoe
Family Ties: a) Ben Browder and Claudia Black; b) Rockne S. O'Bannon and David Kemper

Season Two:
Crackers Don't Matter: Claudia Black and Ian Watson
The Way We Weren't: Ben Browder and Claudia Black
Won't Get Fooled Again: Rowan Woods and Richard Manning
The Locket: Ben Browder and Claudia Black
Die Me, Dichotomy: Ben Browder, Claudia Black and David Kemper

Season Three:
Self Inflicted Wounds Part II: Wait for the Wheel: Claudia Black
Eat Me: Guy Gross
Green Eyed Monster: Ben Browder and Tony Tilse
Relativity: Lani Tupu and Peter Andrikidis
The Choice: a) Claudia Black; b) Rowan Woods and Justin Monjo
Into the Lion's Den Part II: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: Rockne S. O'Bannon and David Kemper
Dog With Two Bones: Ben Browder and Claudia Black

Season Four:
John Quixote: Ben Browder and Claudia Black
Kansas: Ben Browder, Claudia Black and David Kemper
Bad Timing: Ben Browder, Claudia Black and David Kemper

The first season of "Farscape" is a bit uneven but the show finds its footing by the second season and was positively on fire once Scorpious was introduced as a character.

I'd still recommend this as long as you adjust your expectations on the video quality of the series particularly if you can get it at a good price.

Series: 4 1/2 stars
Image for show: 3 (translated as good)
Audio: 4 1/2 stars
Special Features: 5 stars
Overall average: 4 stars.

Recommended.
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Showing 1-10 of 21 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 17, 2011 11:58:34 PM PST
chet roush says:
i was wondering from someone that's actually bought the set and not just reviewing the series...the blue ray came from a different source than the starburst editions so.. are the rest of the seasons the longer international lengths like the first season or the regular u.s. versions.. i'm guessing there the same since no one has mentioned it, but was hoping for longer uncut episodes...

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 18, 2011 11:36:59 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 18, 2011 11:39:41 AM PST
Wayne Klein says:
They are the international versions except for 1 episode where we get both versions as it was aired out of order by sci fi channel and they added footage to both the beginning and end bookending it for the US audience. For example any nudity from the overseas version (bare butts) is visible. As I recall sometimes the international version was slightly longer and, in some rare cases, the USversions were depending on episode although to be honest I haventco watched the Starburst edition against these back to back for the full episodes to note differences beyond the superficial ones (and I age/sound quality) I mentioned. Hope that helps.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 22, 2011 8:51:56 PM PST
chet roush says:
thanks! :)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 24, 2011 10:01:57 AM PST
Wayne Klein says:
You're welcome!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2011 6:25:59 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 3, 2011 7:07:24 AM PST
The Starburst sets were interior to the original ADV release because they used interlaced video,like the A&E set,and the episodes were about 2-2.5GB's each while the original ADV was 2.7-3.0 GB's per episode.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 11, 2011 12:02:14 PM PST
SpyderDan says:
Did the 2009 DVD release have only the US version on it?

Posted on Dec 12, 2011 3:43:01 PM PST
Thank you for the great review! Truly dissapointed to hear about the quality and the lack of widescreen version but even a small improvement would be worth it for this show so instead of buying it right now, I'll move it down in my priority list. I do have to disagree with you about scorpius however. While I did like scorpius especially when he switched sides, the scorpius in crition's head got really old really fast.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2011 5:31:27 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 16, 2011 5:43:57 PM PST
Re: Martin - "Lack of widescreen version."

Of course it is frustrating the 35mm negatives and prints were lost and these upscales offer only a small increase in detail, but as regards the ratio, their hands were totally tied. What choice did they have? Seasons 1 to 3 were shot in native 4:3, there's not much they could have done to alter this. Of course they could have pan scanned, but have you ever seen 4:3 pan scanned to 16:9? It is ghastly, claustrophobic and loses a heck of a lot of top and bottom screen information, as well as a little more from the sides. The subtle increase in detail they have arrived at by upscaling would have been totally lost, and more. In fact they'd have ended up inferior to DVD, and a wasted project. Best just accept the ratio the directors and producers intended, and then consider season 4's 16:9 ratio a nice way to end the series (and also PK Wars, which is also 16:9, when that releases on Blu-ray)

To the OP:
Great review. Nice to see some people have realistic expectations. You arrived at the same conclusions as me as regards the set. I pity impulse buyers who never knew what to expect, I really do, and I beleive a warning on the pack would have been fair, but those who knew they were upscaled and still complain are the ones I can't understand. I've seen several people intent on comparing them to 35mm sourced Blu-rays, even knowing these came from PAL master tapes. WTF? The question has to be; how do they stack up to the previous DVD sets, and in this respect it is clear these are a very big improvement. Not only in resolution/detail (albeit subtle), but as regards compression, colour and contrast. Then of course there is the uncompressed HD audio, which makes my speaker diaphragms happily punch the air.

Like ALL fans, I'd have given anything for a true 1080p transfer, but I'll take this level of improvement any day of the week.

Posted on Jan 23, 2012 2:32:52 PM PST
Thanks for the review, it's ridiculous how many times we hear about "studio lost the original print" stories about various TV shows and films. You'd think the producers or someone would actually care that the OPs are secured and not 3rd party outsourced to DataSafe or some warehouse.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2012 4:30:19 PM PST
Wayne Klein says:
I agree. In this day and age in particular (and "Farscape" isn't THAT old--heck "Star Trek: The Next Generation" managed to archive 7 seasons of material), it's inexcusable.
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Wayne Klein
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Location: My Little Blue Window, USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 179