Grass Roots-Series One (2000)

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Released 27-May-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 419:42 (Case: 440)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Peter Andrikidis
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Geoff Morrell
Zoe Carides
John Clayton
Rhondda Findleton
Sophie Heathcote
Jodie Dry
Sacha Horler
Rhys Muldoon
Chris Haywood
Michael Craig
Judi Farr
Sandy Gore
Tammy McIntosh
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI ? Music Peter Best


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Auto Pan & Scan Encoded 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 English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    I am going to go out on a limb here and say that this is the best political satire I have ever seen, bar none.

    This is an absolutely note perfect satirical expose of the world of local government in Australia. This is a fictional comedy, however, it is remarkably true to what local government is actually like. I have been involved in many different ways with local government over the years, as an employee, software supplier, consultant and ratepayer and I can assure you that this series is only slightly exaggerated to make it funnier. If you have ever wondered what goes on in your local council, both amongst the staff and councillors this is the series you need to watch. If you work or have worked in local government you will recognise the characters immediately and laugh until it hurts.

    In addition, as a television series this is incredibly well written (Geoffrey Atherden) and directed (Peter Andrikidis). It is split into 8 approximately one hour episodes, however, it is not linear - episodes cross across each other giving you the same scene as was in the previous episodes but with details added or from a different person's perspective.

    The series as a whole covers one year in the life of Arcadia Waters council, a fictional council in Sydney. As you may be aware, local government elections are held every four years in September and the story begins as the current Mayor, a consummate politician, Col Dunkley (Geoff Morrell), is preparing for the election of the council for the next four years. His main opposition and the leader of the other main faction on the council is Biddy Marchant (Sophie Heathcote), not as good a politician and a decidedly unlikeable person. Both of these factional leaders (they are not identified as being from particular parties although Col is more Left and Biddy more Right) want to get more of their supporters on council, so they can be elected Mayor. A couple of facts about local council elections; every four years the people of the council area elect the councillors (in this case 9) and then the council elects the mayor (in some councils the Mayor is also elected by popular election) every year. So the plot here runs from the council election, followed by the first mayoral election and then through the first year of the council, up until the next Mayoral Election. The plot covers issues facing local government such as outsourcing, building permissions, garbage collection, corruption, development and many more, all handled in a very funny way.

    The other important characters are

    The cast are all fantastic and include some great Australian talents.

    Overall, this is brilliant television with top quality acting, writing and direction. I just hope Series 2 gets a DVD release!

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio. It also includes automatic pan and scan information if you really hate the black lines.

    The picture was clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise, although it does have the minor softness normally associated with television. The shadow detail was fine.

    The colour was generally very good although I did notice one or two minor colour artefacts such as the slight rainbow effect on Helen Mansoufis's shoulder at 0:30.

    From an artefacts perspective there is some very minor aliasing and a few jagged edges but most people would not even notice them.

    There are subtitles in English. The English subtitles were clear, easy to read but a little summarised from the spoken word. They are in yellow which to my mind makes them not as clear as white ones.

    These are dual layered discs but the episodic nature of this series allows for the layer change to be between episodes on both discs.
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is good.

    This DVD contains one audio option, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand which is essential for a series focussed on the comedy writing.

    The score of this series by Peter Best is a whole lot of fun, adding to the satiric tone.

    The surround speakers did occasionally add some atmosphere, especially for the music, when played with Dolby ProLogic II.

     The subwoofer was used occasionally but this has more to do with bass management on my amp than the soundtrack itself.

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

Extras

    None.

Menu

    The menu includes photos and a scene selection function.

R4 vs R1

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

    This disc is coded for all regions, but does not seem to be distributed outside of Region 4.

Summary

    This 2-disc set contains the best political satire I have ever seen, bar none.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is good.

    The set has no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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