Spy-The Complete Series 1 + 2 (2011)

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Released 1-May-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 374
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ben Taylor
John Henderson
Studio
Distributor
ITV Global
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Darren Boyd
Jude Wright
Ellie Hopkins
Tim Goodman-Hill
Mark Heap
Matthew Baynton
Robert Lindsay
Rebekah Stanton
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music Oli Julian


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     It has been some time since I have seen a really funny new English TV show. I had not heard of this recent SKY TV production, Spy until it appeared on Roadshow's future release schedule. Intrigued by its premise I chose to review it and am very glad that I did. This is a really funny show featuring an interesting and different setting. It is consistently amusing with lots of running jokes, funny one-liners, sight gags and great characters.

     Tim Elliott (Darren Boyd) is a bit hapless and somewhat of a loser. He is a single dad of Marcus (Jude Wright) who is about 10 years old and is arrogant and annoying. He thinks his father is a loser and doesn't mind telling him. His mother, Tim's ex-wife Justine (Ellie Hopkins), is trying to get custody of Marcus with her boyfriend Phillip (Tim Goodman-Hill (S1) and Mark Heap (S2). Phillip also happens to be the headmaster at Marcus' school. Tim decides to change his life and resigns from his dead end job at a computer store to improve his chances of keeping custody of Marcus. He works at the store with his best friend, oddball Chris (Matthew Baynton). He applies for a data entry job in the public service and turns up for the aptitude test at a large government office building. By mistake, he ends up taking the entrance exam for MI5. Before he knows what is happening he is offered a job as a trainee spy by The Examiner (Robert Lindsay) who subsequently becomes his boss at MI5. At MI5 he meets and starts an on again/off again relationship with a female trainee agent Caitlin (Rebekah Stanton).

     This is a simple show from a production design perspective, obviously made on a fairly small budget, however it is really well written and acted resulting in classic comedy. Darren Boyd is marvelous as the main character Tim, winning a TV BAFTA for this performance. Robert Lindsay is absolutely hilarious as the quite mad Examiner, a character which drives much of the off-the-wall silliness. It is also fun to see Matthew Baynton in something other the Horrible Histories and he is also obviously having loads of fun with his role as the oddball best friend. The rest of the cast also do quality jobs in support and the writers place them in lots of different and interesting comedic scenarios. The comedy is a nice mix of surreal and off-the-wall plus visual gags, witty one-liners and pratfalls.

     This three disc set includes all the episodes from the first two seasons of Spy, 6 episodes from Season 1 (2011), 10 episodes from Season 2 (2012) plus the 2012 Christmas Special.

     One testament to the quality of this show is that a US remake is now in production, however I feel sure they will bugger it up.

     Highly recommended especially to fans of English comedy.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video quality is good but certainly not without issue.

     The series is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.

     The picture was reasonably clear and sharp throughout although it was affected by some grain and lack of detail in longer shots. The shadow detail was good.

     The colour was good but somewhat pale.

     There was some aliasing, jagged edges and macro-blocking during fast motion.

     There are subtitles available in English for the Hearing Impaired which are clear and easy to read. Some lines were different to the spoken dialogue.

     There are no obvious layer changes during playback.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio quality is good.

     These discs contain an English soundtrack in Dolby Digital 2.0. There was some nice front separation at times.

     Dialogue was somewhat clear and easy to hear and understand, although the subtitles were certainly put to good use at times.

     The music mostly consisted of the boppy theme tune which certainly gets stuck in your head.

     The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    No Extras.

Menu

    The menu included the theme tune and some minor motion.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This specific set does not currently seem to be available in the UK. The first season is available separately and includes some minor extras. Season 2 is due for release in the UK in July. The local set collects both seasons and seems like the best current buy to me.

Summary

    A hilarious new English comedy series which we seem to have missed on FTA television locally.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is good.

    The extras were captured by the Russians.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, May 27, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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