Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It comes with a frackin' toaster!


We just picked up the new North American release of "Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series" on Blu-Ray. My wife (Liz) and I will be watching it over the next six months (three episodes per week) in order to make it last. We will be sharing the experience with three friends who have never seen the show before, and one who has.

We'll post our thoughts on each episode in this blog; and will also include some of the insights from those joining us who are looking at it with fresh eyes. We're really excited to share the experience with those unfamiliar to the series and glean new insight from their fresh perspective.

We'll assign each episode with a letter grade- both for the quality of the actual episode and for the picture/sound quality presented on Blu-Ray. We'll try not to bog down the rating in an overly technical fashion.

I think we can all remember high school- and that an "A" is likely what you're aiming for (and an "F" is probably best avoided when possible).

We'll also speak about our impressions of the Blu-Ray cut. We've seen the entire series on DVD (except for 4.5, which we've seen on TV) and also saw the first season release on HD-DVD. I've read that the Blu-Ray cut is particularly stunning, and surpasses even that of the HD-DVD version. We're not overly technical folks, but we'll let you know what we think.

I''ll start with my first impressions of the physical presentation of the set.

The packaging itself is...unique. It's kind of hard to explain, so look at the picture to the left for a better understanding. I will say that the boxes that hold the discs don't exactly excite me. The discs just slide into a cardboard sleeve. Seems a bit sketchy for a $250.00 (Cdn) investment. Suffice to say that I will be taking great care each and every time I take a disc out- even more so when putting it back.

I'm surprised that Universal didn't learn their lesson about flaky packaging after the HD-DVD release of season one. I seem to recall a large number of defective issues and quite a few complaints that resulted in returns/exchanges due to scratched discs.

This new package, while different from the HD-DVD set, seems to have the same potential to damage the actual media.

The set comes with a Cylon action figure, which is a nice touch. I'd have gladly traded it in however for more bonus content- the one glaring omission from this set is the 10 "The Face of the Enemy" webisodes. For those who have seen the series, I'm sure you can appreciate that these webisodes are rather important to at least one character's story arc. For the benefit of those who haven't seen the whole series, I'll leave it at that.

I read somewhere that their omission was purely an oversight and that they will likely be included in the DVD/Blu-Ray releases of "The Plan" later on this year.

I've also been reading that a number of people are quite upset that the set didn't include all of the pod casts. I have heard a number of the pod casts throughout past few years and while quite entertaining, I can't picture myself sitting around the TV listening to one. I'd personally rather download them myself and listen in the car or on the iPod. I am very excited by the prospect of multiple extended episodes- particularly from season 4.5. The series finale felt a little rushed to me and I've read that this episode in particular is expanded upon quite a bit.

What I really think that the set should have included was a booklet that told you which episodes were on which discs- and provide a brief description of each. This set includes 20 FRACKING Blu-Ray discs. Quite surprisingly, nowhere in the package does it break down on which disc each episode is located.

Very strange....

Regrettably, it seems as though Universal has gone for style over practicality with the packaging.

Later on this year the set will be released in other international regions. On the right is what the set is going to look like in Australia:

I'd personally much rather have this set- It's got everything the other one is missing- A hard plastic case for the discs to firmly snap into; quick and easy accessibility and a book-presumably to describe what each disc contains.

Overall, I'm satisfied the look of the North American set. I just can't get past the lack of a solid build for the container. Content-wise, at first glance I'm quite pleased with the 70 hours of bonus material. My only sticking point is the lack of the inclusion of the 10 "The Face of the Enemy" webisodes.

All will be forgiven on this front if the rumors prove true and they include them on the future release of "The Plan".

Packaging: C-
Bonus Content (and first glance): B+

Packaging and bonus content aside, the real reason for our purchase (and the point of this blog) is to watch the actual show. I have read that Ronald D. Moore is a firm believer in the Blu-Ray format and feels that this is the only way to fully experience the show as it was intended. We're pleased to say that viewing will commence very soon!

We're going to start with the Mini-Series on August 4th. This will be our 6th time through, but it never seems to get old. Comments will be posted shortly after. Both my wife and I will make posts to this Blog.

Grab your gun, and bring in the cat!