Secret Life of Us, The-Volume 7-Episodes 19-22 (2001)

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Released 11-Dec-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Interviews-Cast-Talking With Deborah Mailman
Interviews-Crew-Talking With John Edwards
Gallery-Photo-15
Synopsis
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 181:35
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 7, or episodes #19-#22 (the last four episodes of Season 1). 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 #19 (45:45) (A Friend Indeed)

    Just when Jason and Gabrielle finally are friends together again, Jason delivers shocking news: he had an affair with another lawyer up in Sydney and now she's carrying his baby!

    Evan is incensed when his editor suggests some changes to the manuscript of his novel. When Alex tells him that a famous publisher was in hospital for surgery, he pesters Alex to put in a "good word" for him so that he can switch publishers.

    Will decides to get back to work. At the end of the day, Kelly confides to him that she was probably the last person to have spoken to Sam before she died and says that she feels Sam really loved Will. She ends up helping him find a way to say goodbye to Sam.

    Richie gets offered the starring role in a film. However, he is reluctant to accept it, because he is playing a gay character and he's afraid of being typecast.

Episode #20 (44:37) (Men on the Verge)

    Our male friends are on the verge of ... something.

    Richie is still confused about his sexuality and starts "checking out" the gay nightclubs.

    Jason is really worried about his impending fatherhood and feels he is being trapped.

    Evan is running out of money and decides to write an article about closet gay actors, using Richie as an example.

    Will decides that he wants to do something with his life and be rich, so he engages the services of a really attractive financial adviser.

Episode #21 (45:23) (Doorway)

    Alex announces that she has received an offer to work in London for 12 months. Evan gets upset and complains that everyone around him is changing and he can't handle it. However, he finds that his emotions become a powerful incentive for him to write his best work ever.

    Gabrielle is still distraught about the news of Jason's impending fatherhood. She starts questioning herself and what her life is and what it might have been, especially after she meets an ex-girlfriend who is now married with kids and regretting it. She finally confronts Jason, who is now a corporate lawyer with a big office.

    Kelly decides she really likes Nathan, but the more she tries to do the "right thing" the more she feels frustrated ...

Episode #22 (45:50) (Now or Never )

    Evan submits his latest manuscript, the fruit of his disappointment of Alex going to London, and is deliriously happy when he discovers it has been accepted by a writer's colony in New York and he is invited to spend three months there.

    Meanwhile, Alex discovers there's a tiny little problem with her going to London ...

    Miranda tries to get a job in a commercial and discovers that she needs to reveal quite a bit about herself - mentally and physically.

    Evan invites Jason and the mother of his future baby to dinner. Gabrielle accidentally drops in and ...

    Alex and Evan have a great day together ... and night. The next morning, which happens to be Evan's last day before he leaves for New York, becomes very awkward for both of them.

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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 four 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 #19 and #20 are on Layer 0, and Episodes #21 and #22 are 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 Deborah Mailman (6:00)

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

    In addition, we get overlay footage of Deborah preparing for and playing a scene with Claudia.

Interviews-Crew- Talking With John Edwards - Producer (3:50)

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

Gallery-Photo- 15

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

Synopsis

    This present 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 7 features the last four episodes of Season 1 (Episodes #19-#22) 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 Deborah Mailman and John Edwards, a photo gallery and plot synopses.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Monday, July 12, 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

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