The Vicar of Dibley-Complete Second Series (1998) (NTSC)

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Released 8-Apr-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 210:19
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Gareth Carrivick
John Howard Davies
Dewi Humphreys
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Dawn French
Gary Waldhorn
Emma Chambers
James Fleet
John Bluthal
Roger Lloyd-Pack
Trevor Peacock
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Howard Goodall


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    Yes folks, the babe with a bob cut and a magnificent bosom is back to inflict her own peculiar brand of eccentricity upon the poor, dimwitted and even more eccentric parishioners of the village of Dibley. Be prepared to laugh - very loudly!

    It has been a little while since I had the chance to sit down and watch some decent comedy, whether on television or DVD. Thinking back over the last six months or so, about the only comedy I have managed to catch, aside from the stupendous Futurama, has been of British origin. And not even Futurama had me laughing out loud as much as this collection of work did. That alone makes The Vicar Of Dibley a rare beast indeed, as by nature I am not a person who laughs out loud and the fact that even after repeated viewings the reaction is thus is quite astounding. The obvious British influence can be seen throughout the show: despite the rather eccentric characters, they actually are rather believable and very reminiscent of the sort of mix of people that you can actually find in small villages in England. Superbly cast, well written and brilliantly performed, there is much that can be admired and enjoyed in The Vicar Of Dibley.

    Series 2 (and the two specials) sees the return of all our old friends from the village of Dibley, a bastion of British conservatism and eccentricity. The Reverend Geraldine Boadicea Granger (Dawn French) continues her religious associations with chocolate, vacuous vergers and, rather occasionally, the church itself. Nothing much changes in the village of Dibley so we still have the iron handed David Horton (Gary Waldhorn) ruling the roost, his somewhat dimwitted son Hugo Horton (James Fleet) trying to come to grips with life, Frank Pickle (John Bluthal) doing a fine impression of the most boring man in Britain, Jim Trott (Trevor Peacock) trying his best to overcome the word "no" and Owen Newitt (Roger Lloyd Pack), the man with some desires. Naturally we cannot forget the most vacuous verger in Britain, the intellectually challenged (or is that anencephalic?) Alice Tinker (Emma Chambers). Well, there is one change - the culinary-challenged Letitia Cropley (Liz Smith) only makes an appearance in the Easter special.

    These are the characters that make up the show and parade their eccentricities with gay abandon. It is those eccentricities that make the whole thing work so well and the umpteenth viewing still is as hilarious as the first. This is good comedy that only the British seem to be able to make. Enjoy.

    It should be noted that the Vicar Of Dibley is an unusual animal in the world of episodic television in that there are gaps between the various series and there are not too many episodes in a series. In this instance, Series Two comprises three episodes broadcast in 1998, four years after Series One. That gap was filled by the specials that are also included on this DVD. The DVD starts with the three specials before offering up the three episodes making up the second series:

    Note that the slick for the DVD is incorrect in listing Engagement as an episode of Series Two - it is in fact a special first broadcast in the UK in December, 1997, with the actual Series Two being broadcast in January, 1998.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Once again, we have the unusual situation of a BBC Video release through Roadshow Home Entertainment being an NTSC formatted DVD. Accordingly, you will need to have a player and/or display device capable of handling the NTSC signal. There is of course a PAL release of the series in Region 2, but the rights are not owned by the BBC and so Roadshow have apparently sourced the NTSC master being used for the Region 1 release.

    Since the show was made for television, the presentation is Full Frame (1.33:1) and it is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The quality of the transfer is somewhat better than the previous release, particularly as the opening credits for each episode are not as overexposed and metallic looking. The washing out of detail due to excess light is also less of an issue here. Otherwise, this is not too shabby a transfer, with quite reasonable sharpness, fairly reasonable detail and a fairly clear transfer with little in the way of grain. Sure it would have been nice if it had been a little sharper and more detailed, but I am certainly not complaining about the general standard here. Shadow detail is quite decent and never really creates an issue.

    The colours are slightly better than the first series too, quite well saturated and fairly consistent. There are no problems with oversaturation. Skin tones are pretty well handled overall, and this is certainly a more natural looking effort overall. This time round there are no problems with colour bleed.

    There are no obvious MPEG artefacts in the transfer, and in general there is not much in the way of film-to-video artefacts. The only real issues are with some cross colouration, mostly in fine lined jackets such as at 1:16 in Dibley Live and 2:26 and 17:51 in Love and Marriage. There are no obvious film artefacts in the transfer.

    This is presumably a Dual Layer formatted DVD so there is no apparent layer change to be negotiated..

    There are no subtitles on the DVD, which is rather disappointing for the hearing impaired.

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

Audio

    There is just the one soundtrack on the DVD being an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

    The dialogue comes up very well in the soundtrack and is generally easy to understand. There are no apparent audio sync issues with the transfer.

    The original music for the series comes from Howard Goodall. Since it is very similar to what we heard in Series One, there really is not much to say about the music.

    Equally, there is nothing much to say about the soundtrack. It is clean, clear and functional.

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

Extras

    Nothing at all.

Menu

    A bit of audio and animation enhancement at least lifts it above being totally bland.

R4 vs R1

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

    The equivalent Region 1 DVD was released last year and appears to be the same as the Region 4 release.

Summary

    This time round the presentation on DVD is somewhat better than for Series One. Whilst the NTSC formatting is still a little surprising and a tad disappointing given that a PAL master is by all accounts available, still, ignoring all this, the show is well worth suffering the problems for. Almost quintessential British television comedy, The Vicar Of Dibley - Series 2 is one of the best laughs I have had for ages. Well worth getting hold of this DVD.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Thursday, April 08, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Aconda 9381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

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