Huff-Complete First Season (2004)

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Released 26-Apr-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Dolby Digital Trailer
Audio Commentary-Crew - Pilot And 3 Episodes
Featurette-Behind The Therapy
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Character By Design
Featurette-Lens Of Truth
Trailer-Bewitched (TV), Dawson's Creek
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 667:16
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (4)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Tucker Gates
Dan Lerner
Ellen S. Pressman
Paris Barclay
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Hank Azaria
Paget Brewster
Blythe Danner
Anton Yelchin
Andy Comeau
Kimberly Brooks
Oliver Platt
Case ?
RPI $49.95 Music W.G. Snuffy Walden


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

'There’s a guy downstairs calling your name on a bullhorn. Call me crazy, but I genuinely doubt he has good news...'

    Ah, this quote sums up so much about this show. But more on that a little later.

    Huff is the story of Dr Craig “Huff” Huffstodt (played with career-defining brilliance by Hank Azaria). Huff is a brilliant psychiatrist working in private practice. He has an amazing wife, Beth (in an equally brilliant performance by Paget Brewster) and a wonderful son, Byrd (Anton Yelchin). His mother, Izzy (another career best performance by Blythe Danner), lives in the house above the garage, nurturing Byrd while driving Beth out of her mind. In his spare time, he hangs out with his childhood best friend Russell (Olivier Platt, performing in his finest role), a successful lawyer.

    But all is not as wonderful as it seems in Dr. Huffstodt’s life, and when one of his patents commits suicide in his office, the wheels on this finely oiled machine start coming off their axles. When his brother Teddy (Andy Corneau), a patient suffering from schizophrenia and living in a high care facility, starts deteriorating and his son starts having “girl trouble”, he becomes estranged from his wife. Russ starts a slow spiral, off the deep end, into addiction-ville and more trouble than he can handle, while Huff’s nightmarish patient, Melody (a brilliantly loopy and two-faced Lara Flynn Boyle) turns from crazy to terrifying.

    I will not ruin the fun for you by providing you with a complete episode summary. Good summaries with reader reviews can be found at TV.com, amongst other places. The following is a list of the contents of the first season as set out on these DVDs:

Disc 1

Disc 2

Disc 3

Disc 4

    What I will say about this show is that it exhibits some of the finest writing of any show of any genre that I have seen for a long time. Its blend of surrealist humour and drama is, at first, a slightly odd mix, but this show overcomes that psychological barrier by drawing characters that are so exceptionally well crafted, so real, that for all their outlandish behaviour they nevertheless appear perfectly and empathetically human. There is not one character that is badly drawn in this series, not one character that is not played out to his or her full potential.

    In terms of scripting, this show is as unpredictable as it is brilliant. Never formulaic or contrived, always fresh and inventive, and just when you think the writers have gone to their lowest point, they take the next step over the line. There are some real standout episodes here, but my favourite is either That F***ing Cabin or Christmas Is Ruined. These two episodes are the pinnacle of what this show is capable of – smart, inventive, witty and true.

    The show that is most comparable is probably the brilliant Nip/Tuck, though without those graphic surgery scenes and with, believe-it-or-not, even coarser language – not quite to Deadwood or Sopranos level, but getting there. Those that are easily offended should really not apply.

    I am a huge fan of this show. Richly textured, wonderfully detailed, heart-warming and heartbreaking, this is very real in all of its surrealism, and truly amazing – all at once. This comes with the highest of recommendations.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This transfer is in the original 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced broadcast ratio of the series. I watched this on both my old CRT at 576i and my projection system scaled at 1080i at 50Hz. While in analogue on the CRT the picture exhibited some minor faults, blown up on the big screen this looks absolutely fantastic.

    Colour is saturated and lifelike. The image is sharp and clear. There was no grain present. This is an immaculate picture.

    There are no MPEG artefacts or film-to-video transfer artefacts.

    There is no dirt on this print.

    Subtitles are available in English and English for the Hearing Impaired. They are white with a black border, clear and easy to read, and stick pretty close to the original dialogue.

    These are dual layer discs. The dual layer pauses are as follows:

    All pauses are during scene changes and are unobtrusive.

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

Audio

    Audio is available in the original English, mixed in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and encoded at 448kb/s.

    This is an almost exclusively dialogue driven show, and as such the dialogue track is very important. Thankfully, having clearly recognised this issue, the authors of this disc have done a good job to perfectly reproduce the dialogue. There are no sync issues, and every word is clearly reproduced.

    There is some good surround use for music, traffic and crowd noises. But this is not an action movie, so don’t expect a lot of surround use.

    Subwoofer use is minimal, and my subwoofer powered itself down for lack of use a few times. However, every now and then the sub will burst into life and usually give you a bit of a shock in the process.

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

Extras

Menus

    All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. The main menu has various clips from the episodes and the theme in 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo.

Audio Commentaries

    The following episodes have audio commentaries:

Featurettes

    This set contains the following featurettes:

Deleted Scenes (6:01) (Disc 2)

    Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced with unfinished audio in 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround, these scenes are well worth watching and have largely been cut only for time reasons.

Trailers

    The following trailers are on disc 2:

R4 vs R1

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

    Content wise, the releases across the regions appear to be the same. There is a definite difference in terms of PAL/NTSC image and region coding, but I don’t have a Region 1 release for direct comparison.

Summary

    Huff is one of the finest TV series to come around in the last few years. The writing is truly amazing and the performances are blisteringly good.

    Video is stunning and audio is excellent.

    Plus there is a whole slough of excellent extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVPNS92, using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-HS60 WXGA 3LCD Cineza Projector (10,000:1 contrast ratio) with 100" Longhom Pro-Series Micro-Textured White Matte PVC 1.78:1 16:9 Fixed Mount Screen with Black Velour Trim. 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.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersJensen QX70 Centre Front, Jensen QX45 Left Front & Right Front, Jensen QX20 Left Rear & Right Rear, Jensen QX-90 Dual 10" 250 Watt Subwoofer

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