As Time Goes By-Series 9 (2002)
|Category||Drama||Main Menu Audio & Animation|
|Year Of Production||2002|
|Running Time||177:34 (Case: 180)|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Sydney Lotterby|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.75:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Season 9 is the last in the successful, long-running BBC series about two older citizens who shared a brief romance in the 1950s and after losing touch coincidentally meet each other again 38 years later. The show follows how they pick up where they left off, and has varied, often amusing, secondary characters to keep things interesting. Why the BBC have seen fit to release season 9 on DVD in Region 4, after only previously releasing seasons 1 and 2, is beyond me (especially as all seasons are available in some regions). I can only imagine it's some sort of marketing scheme to get good sales from the most popular season while it's still fresh in people's minds, but that's just speculation on my behalf.
I hadn't actually watched this show at all until I reviewed seasons 1 and 2 last year, but I became hooked on the characters and watching the story unfold. This is no edge-of-your-seat thriller, nor is it packed with multiple twists that you never saw coming. It's just the good old fashioned ingredients of good story, good acting (Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer are their usual excellent selves), and engaging characters. So I was a little disappointed to be jumping straight to the last season before seeing any of the intervening events that took place. However, it was still well worth watching, and I didn't really have too much trouble filling in the gaps (with a little help from my parents, who are long-time fans). The six episodes in this season are as follows (note that there is information below which some might consider to be spoilers):
In the last two episodes, even the acting seems a little stilted during the breaks in flashbacks, and they just seem a little empty to me. However, they do wrap up the series if you've forgotten how things progressed (or haven't actually seen all seasons yet - as in my case). The final scene leaves things nicely open, while still bringing the series to a close (if that makes sense!). The rest is left to our imagination.
With the exception of these last two episodes I enjoyed this season just as much as the first two, and thought they managed to tie up all the loose ends without losing any of the charm of the series. This is an essential purchase for existing fans, but I would recommend to others that they watch some earlier seasons first.
Unlike the first two seasons, this one was shot in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and it is presented on this disc in its original aspect ratio, 16x9 enhanced. The only issue with this is that during the flashback scenes, to material that I assume would have been recorded in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, there must be some cropping to obtain the new ratio.
Sharpness is good for a TV series, but does deteriorate a little in some of the flashback scenes from an older source. Unlike the first two seasons, this one is shot entirely on video, whereas the outdoor footage in the earlier seasons was shot on film. These are usually the poorest quality shots during the flashback scenes, with grain exhibited (for example Episode 6, 27:50 and Episode 5, 6:15). Shadow detail is more than acceptable.
Colours are fine, with no signs of bleeding. It's a fairly low-key colour scheme, with little bright or garish colour present.
Film to video artefacts are represented by the dreaded aliasing, but even this isn't too noticeable. It is certainly nowhere near as bad as early seasons. There are no film artefacts due to the nature of the recording method.
There are no subtitles present on this DVD.
The layer change on this DVD wasn't visible, and I assume it takes place between episodes.
There is 1 audio track on the disc; English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).
Dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times, probably helped in some small part by the well-spoken actors. Audio sync is spot on.
The music by Herman Hupfeld is minimal at best, and the only noticeable music is found during the credits, with a rendition of the old classic, As Time Goes By. It isn't really necessary in such a series to have a huge amount of musical cues though.
There is no surround or subwoofer activity inherent in this stereo track.
|Surround Channel Use|
Menus are 16x9 enhanced, static and silent.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Apart from the fact that Region 1 has all seasons available already, there appears to be no difference in content. Since the source is PAL it would make our Region 4 and 2 preferable over Region 1 though.
A mostly appropriate ending to a very good BBC production. The storylines are generally tied up nicely, and with the exception of the last two episodes, all are of a high standard. For fans of the show, you must have this closing season.
Video is good for a television production, with a few faults inherent in some of the older footage used.
The audio transfer does all that's required of it in such a dialogue-driven production.
Extras are non-existent.
|DVD||Omni 3600, using RGB output|
|Display||Sony 1252QM CRT Projector, 250cm custom built 16x9 matte screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-DS797- THX Select|
|Speakers||Accusound ES-55 Speaker set, Welling WS12 Subwoofer|