Secret Life of Us, The-Volume 6-Episodes 16-18 (2001)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 11-Dec-2001

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Interviews-Cast-Talking With Samuel Johnson
Interviews-Crew-Talking With Amanda Higgs
Gallery-Photo-15
Synopsis
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 136:28 (Case: 135)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Lynn-Maree Danzey
Kate Dennis
Roger Hodgman
Richard Jasek
Studio
Distributor
Southern Star
Shock Entertainment
Starring Claudia Karvan
Samuel Johnson
Deborah Mailman
Abi Tucker
Joel Edgerton
Sibylla Budd
Damian De Montemas
Spencer McLaren
David Tredinnick
Michael Dorman
Nina Liu
Dan Spielman
Vince Colosimo
Case PUSH-11
RPI $9.95 Music Martin Armiger
Chris Pettifer
Abi Tucker


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
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 None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    The Secret Life Of Us is a well regarded TV series that started in 2001. It's entering its fourth season in 2004, but this disc contains Season 1 Volume 6, or episodes #16-#18. The TV series won Logie Awards for "Most Outstanding Drama Series" in both 2001 and 2002, and developed a cult following in its first two seasons. The series is about a group of twentysomething friends and flatmates in an apartment block in St. Kilda, and comes across as Friends meets Sex In The City meets Beverly Hills 90210.

Episode #16 (46:08) (The Butterfly Effect)

    Theoretically, one butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon could set in motion a ripple effect that would end in a tidal wave hitting Europe... So, what happens if they all flap their wings at the same time?

    Evan (Samuel Johnson) and Alex (Claudia Karvan) have a great night out - so great that they end up kissing each other. The next day, they feel awkward around each other and start questioning their real feelings towards each other.

    Gabrielle (Sibylla Budd) starts finding Mac's (Damian Walshe-Howling) selfish behaviour irritating. Will she break up with Max and return to Jason. She thinks about it, but then she gets upset when Jason (Damian De Montemas) lets himself into her apartment without her being there.

    Richie (Spencer McLaren) goes out on a jog with Brad (Kenneth Ransom) and soon the inevitable happens ...

    Miranda (Abi Tucker) begins rehearsals with her fellow actors in the play that she's landed a role in. When she learns about Richie's fling with Brad, she is devastated and tries to seduce the play's director ...

    Kelly (Deborah Mailman) meets a new man, Miles (Teague Rook). She resolves to be mysterious and hard-to-get, but things don't quite turn out the way she expected

    Sam (Jessica Gower) is intrigued when she discovers Will (Joel Edgerton) is building something for her. She is dying to know what it is, but he won't tell her ...

Episode #17 (45:30) (Piggy-in-the-Middle)

    Miranda is devastated on learning about Richie's affair with Brad. Soon she and Richie are quarrelling, and Will is the unfortunate "piggy-in-the-middle." In the meantime, Miranda apologises to the play's director. He forgives her, and soon realises that she has a lot of acting talent ...

    Kelly decides to get a job working with Simon (David Tredinnick) at his bar. Soon she tries to match make him with patrons ...

    Alex and Evan start having fantasies about each other ... Kelly can't figure out why they are behaving so strangely towards each other ...

    Then one day Evan picks up a woman from the bar and has a one night stand with her. The next morning becomes even more awkward when Alex meets the woman ...

Episode #18 (44:50) (Intimations of Mortality)

    Alex is still having fantasies about Evan.

    Gabrielle and Jason finally make up and become friends.

    Richie decides to leave the apartment, ending his relationship with Miranda. Will is sad, because he feels it may be the end of a friendship as well.

    Kelly meets an ex-client of the dating agency - Nathan (Todd MacDonald) - and discovers he is really a nice guy ...

    Sam is happy that she got a new job. She asks Will to join her to celebrate. He stops by on the way to get new tyres for his ute when something really tragic happens ...

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is in widescreen 1.75:1 and is 16x9 enhanced, with very small black bars on either side of the frame. I assume this is the intended aspect ratio, since the series was produced after the commencement of widescreen Digital TV broadcasts in Australia on 1 January 2001, but I'm surprised it wasn't presented in an exact 1.78:1.

    Given that we have three episodes spread across a dual layered disc, I would have expected the video transfer to be perfect, but it's not.

    I noticed various compression artefacts, including posterization and Gibbs effect, plus a tendency towards aliasing/combing for fast moving objects, which suggests that the video source may be inherently interlaced.

    I suspect the transfer may have been less than optimally encoded, and intended for digital TV broadcast (single pass encoding, constant bitrate) without the care normally taken for a DVD transfer. The transfer also appears to have been sourced from a composite video master, since I noticed some composite video artefacts, including dot crawl and a bit of colour smearing.

    The overall look of the transfer is probably a bit on the soft side and slightly over-exposed with saturated highlights on some scenes. Colour saturation was acceptable but the transfer seems to be missing the rich subtle colours of film.

    Darker scenes in the episodes feature a fair amount of video noise or "digital grain."

    Unfortunately, there are no subtitle tracks.

    This is a single sided dual layered disc (RSDL). The layer change occurs in between episodes. Episodes #17 and #18 are on Layer 0, and Episode #16 is on Layer 1. The extras are on Layer 1.

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

Audio

    There is only one audio track on this disc: English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).

    The soundtrack has obviously been "blanded down" for TV broadcast, since it sounds quite heavily dynamically compressed, with all the life taken out of it and extreme low and high frequencies rolled off.

    I'm not sure whether the soundtrack is surround encoded, but I did not hear any noticeable instances of the surround channels being utilized.

    At least the dialogue is clear and relatively easy to understand, except for a few instances where the characters are mumbling or speaking too fast.

    The background music features a selection of music from Mushroom Records . It's kind of funky and hip, and no doubt will go well for the target audience of the TV series.

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

Extras

    Extras are minimal, but at least we get some extras.

Menu

    The menus are 16x9 enhanced. The main menu is animated and includes background audio.

Interviews-Cast- Talking With Samuel Johnson (6:30)

    This features the following interview snippets, all presented in 1.78:1 (16x9 enhanced) and Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s):

    In addition, we get treated to behind the scenes footage showing Evan getting punched by Richie.

Interviews-Crew- Talking With Amanda Higgs - Producer (2:51)

    This features the following interview snippets, all presented in 1.78:1 (16x9 enhanced) and Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s):

Gallery-Photo- 15

    This contains 15 stills featuring various publicity photos of the cast.

Synopsis

    This presents a one paragraph synopsis for all 22 episodes of Season 1, accompanied by stills from the episode.

R4 vs R1

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

    This title has yet to be released in Region 1. It has been released in Region 2 UK, but as a three DVD set covering the first 11 episodes of Season 1. I don't think the UK version has any extras, which makes Region 4 the clear winner.

Summary

    The Secret Life Of Us Series 1, Volume 6 features Episodes #16-#18 from Season 1 of the cult TV series about a group of twentysomethings living in an apartment block in St. Kilda, Melbourne.

    The video transfer is okay, but has a number of compression artefacts.

    The audio transfer is okay, but the soundtrack sounds rather lifeless.

    Extras include interviews with Samuel Johnson and Amanda Higgs, a photo gallery and plot synopses.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Sunday, July 11, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDCustom HTPC (Asus A7N266-VM, Athlon XP 2400+, 512MB, LiteOn LTD-165S, WinXP, WinDVD5 Platinum), using RGB output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum/AVIA. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE (upgraded)
SpeakersFront and surrounds: B&W CDM7NT, front centre: B&W CDMCNT, surround backs: B&W DM601S2, subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE