The New Statesman-Series 2 (1987)
|Year Of Production||1987|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
Universal Pictures Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.29:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.29:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||None||Smoking||Yes, and drug taking|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
"I was lying to attract attention. I'm a politician"
Rik Mayall can be a very funny man indeed, but as with all comedians, he can also be a victim of the quality of the writing. He was great as Rick in The Young Ones and fantastic as Flashheart in Blackadder (Woof, Woof). He is the right actor to play the lead character here, a Tory backbencher,who is extremely right wing and only in politics for monetary gain and sex. The character, Alan B'stard, has more than a bit of Flashheart in him.
This disc is the second disc in a newly released 4 disc box set of all 4 seasons of The New Statesman. The first series had previously been released a couple of years ago and so is not available for repeat review. The review of that series can be found here . Based upon that review and my dim memories of the first series, I get the impression that the quality dropped between the first and second series, as to my mind the political satire gets missed regularly here for more tits and ass jokes. Certainly, I agree with the previous reviewer that Mayall virtually has to carry the whole series, excepting perhaps the episode here starring Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. Having said that, Michael Troughton as Piers Fletcher Dervish, the only other permanent character, does have some good moments in this series.
The episodes included here are
So, a mixed bag of episodes, some funny, some odd and unnecessary. This is a funny series but considering that it is now 15 years old some of the references (unless you lived in England in 1989) will be very difficult to get. If you are a fan you will want to own this set, otherwise you might be better to rent.
The video quality is reasonable but restricted by its 1980s TV origins.
The feature is presented in a 1.29:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.
The picture was reasonably clear and sharp throughout, although only as good as television of this age ever looks, with no evidence of low level noise. The clarity is occasionally affected by some shimmering on camera pans and some light grain. The shadow detail was reasonable.
The colour was reasonable, however a little dull as English television of this age tends to be. There were also occasional colour artefacts mostly taking the form of rainbow style effects, especially on clothing.
Artefacts were certainly noticeable but not too distracting. They included minor aliasing such as on a typewriter in Episode 1 at 5:00, some comet trails, some tape tracking artefacts, some macro-blocking especially on people's faces and some edge enhancement. No worse than unrestored television footage of the period is normally when transferred to DVD.
There are no subtitles.
The layer change occurs between episodes.
The audio quality is fine but certainly nothing spectacular.
This DVD contains one audio option, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s. There is nothing particularly wrong with it, but it lacks dynamism.
Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.
The music by Alan Hawkshaw is pretty much restricted to the theme tune, which certainly provides a good introduction.
The surround speakers and subwoofer are not used.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu included the ability to select individual episodes.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This box set is available in Region 2 in exactly the same format. Buy whichever is cheapest.
The video quality is reasonable.
The audio quality is fine but a little lacking in dynamism.
The disc has no extras.
|DVD||Pioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output|
|Display||Sony 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 Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Bose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)|