Not the Nine O'Clock News-The Best of-Volume 2 (1979)

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Released 6-Oct-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1979
Running Time 98:13
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Geoff Posner
Bob Spiers
Bill Wilson
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Rowan Atkinson
Pamela Stephenson
Mel Smith
Griff Rhys Jones
Chris Langham
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Peter Brewis
Howard Goodall
Philip Pope


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes, very minor
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Following hot (well, perhaps not hot...more tepidly) on the heels of The Best Of Not The 9 O'Clock News - Volume One we now have the hilariously titled The Best Of Not The 9 O'Clock News - Volume Two. As with the previous disc, this is a compilation of sketches and songs from one of the more notable British comedy shows of the 1980s. Griff Rhys Jones, Mel Smith, Pamela Stephenson and Rowan Atkinson once again deliver a barrage of short sketches - many of which remain quite funny, but...not that funny.

    I proclaimed in the previous review that "Good comedy never really ages - witness Monty Python - and the wit, imagination and charm of this ensemble group cannot be underestimated. The comedic timing of Atkinson, the dumb everyman act of Smith and the dry delivery of Rhys Jones are all rounded out by the "straight-man" of Stephenson". Hmmm...well this compilation does feel a bit aged, so perhaps the comedy is not quite as classic this time around? Memorable sketches on this DVD seem thinner on the ground, but include Union Negotiation, Deaf Telephone, the classic McEnroe's Breakfast, Made from Whales and the droll ditty I Like Truckin' - complete with the infamous squashed hedgehog. For those who can remember the grating British consumer advocacy program (I doubt it ever aired in Australia), the spoof of "That's Life!" is hilarious with all of the hosts lampooned to perfection.

     This DVD feels a bit lighter on the classic moments I fear, and I admit to looking at my watch a few times during the reasonable ninety-eight minute running time. Look, there are still a few laughs to be had from this disc, but overall I found it less enjoyable than Volume One. It can be recommended for purchase by diehard fans of the show, but is probably more appropriate as a rental for anyone else.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The overall video transfer of this disc is quite mediocre as it suffers from the age (and diversity) of the source material.

    The transfer is presented in a ratio of approximately 1.30:1, which is essentially the original televised aspect ratio. It is, unsurprisingly, not 16x9 enhanced.

    As before, the transfer originates from footage shot around twenty years ago ago and it therefore is subject to the limitations of the source material at the time. In general the image looks perfectly acceptable on a 68cm (4:3) television screen, but as you enlarge the image the limitations become much more apparent. Sharpness is nowhere near present day digital TV standards, and there is quite a degree of grittiness to the image.

     Black levels and shadow detail are generally adequate throughout, albeit with some low level noise evident. Colours look dated, with a generally washed out feel, despite the occasional more solid primary cropping up. There is no significant colour bleeding, but the captions which appear from time to time look really low quality - very "home camcorder". Skin tones are reasonable.

    The transfer does suffer from some MPEG compression artefacts with the image pixelating on occasion. Aliasing was not a problem on my system. Edge enhancement is certainly visible, and on larger screens can become slightly distracting.

    There are quite a few film (video) artefacts present from time to time. The Sir Keith Joseph interview is so full of scratches and jumps that I suspect they might have been deliberately added at the time - but I cannot fathom why that would have been necessary. Again the level of these artefacts varies depending on the source footage, with original news footage or stock footage tending to look the worse for wear. There are a few tape dropouts and some quite poor edits, but these will again be attributable to the source, rather than the transfer. As with Volume One, they do not render the transfer unwatchable - but please do not expect a pristine transfer.

    There is an English subtitle track present. They are presented in a highly legible font and follow the dialogue fairly closely with only the odd phrase missed for the sake of brevity. It also provides some audio cues and lyrics to the various songs.

    The DVD is formatted as a single sided, single layered (DVD 5) disc.

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

Audio

    The overall audio quality of this disc is perfectly adequate, albeit a little tinny, with no major defects apparent.

    As with the previous release, the sole audio track available is a Dolby Digital 2.0 track, encoded at 192 kbps. It has no really significant audio defects.

    Dialogue was always clear and audio sync was fine with only the odd poorly done bit of ADR (for instance when the copper talks around 26:30). These hiccups are related to the source material rather than the transfer to DVD.

    The score is limited to the theme music, the occasional song and minor incidental sounds. The score, such as it is, is credited to (talented comedian) Philip Pope, Peter Brewis, Howard Goodall and Nic Rowley.

    As with the previous disc, the soundstage is fully frontal in nature. Even with Dolby Pro Logic II enabled there is nothing of note happening with the surround speakers. The front speakers deliver the audio cleanly and at a suitable audio level. Depending on your set-up the subwoofer may be used for some redirected bass, but not in any substantial or particularly noticeable way.

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

Extras

    There are no extras on the DVD.

Menu

    The menu is a static and silent photograph of the four cast members. It allows the meagre options of playing the DVD, activating the subtitles or choosing one of twelve chapter stops.

R4 vs R1

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

    This DVD does not appear to be available in Region 1. The Region 2 version appears to be identical to the Region 4 release. Buy whichever is cheaper.

Summary

    The Best Of Not The 9 O'Clock News - Volume Two is a mildly amusing jaunt back in time to the cutting edge of British television humour of the late seventies and early eighties. Not quite as strong a compilation as Volume One, it will still generate a few smiles for those who remember the series. Once again, the video and audio quality are nothing to write home about but they do the job. Recommended as a possible purchase for dedicated fans of the ensemble, but for many it will not warrant more than a rental.

    The video quality is dated but not unacceptable.

    The audio quality, similarly, is acceptable.

    The extras are non-existent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel O'Donoghue (You think my bio is funny? Funny how?)
Monday, October 04, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDMomitsu V880 upconverting DVI player, using DVI output
DisplaySanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES
SpeakersJensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer

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