Surfing the Menu-New Zealand (Series 4) (2006)

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Released 7-Dec-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Audio & Animation
Deleted Scenes
Biographies-Character
Gallery-Food And Adventure
Booklet-28 Page Full Colour Recipes
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 214:14 (Case: 220)
RSDL / Flipper No/No
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Geoff Bennett
Studio
Distributor
Ovation Starring Ben O'Donoghue
Mark Gardner
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $34.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None 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 None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Surfing the Menu is another in the myriad of cooking themed television programmes that have been doing the rounds for a couple of years now. This programme is now in its fourth series and has finally moved away from its native Australia and headed across the Tasman to New Zealand. The other major change for this series is the loss of one half the presenting duo, with Curtis Stone moving on to other projects. For this series Ben O'Donoghue (forever referred to as Bender) is joined by Kiwi chef Mark Gardner. Like the previous series, the boys travel around the country, meeting the locals and cooking a number of dishes using local produce.

    For this series the pair travel the length of New Zealand, sourcing much local and fresh produce before knocking up a meal, usually against the backdrop of some stunning Kiwi scenery. Places visited include Mt. Cook, The Southern Lakes around Queenstown, Canterbury, the marvellous Marlborough wine growing region in the South Island and Rotorua, Gisborne, Napier and Northland in the North Island. The pair meet many varied and often slightly eccentric New Zealand locals, who take part in all manner of activity from farming the freshest salmon you are likely to ever see, farming organic pork, hunting wild deer, or growing all manner of fresh produce including nuts and grapes.

    Much like the other series of this programme, this series is not particularly high on my "must watch" cooking shows, for the simple reason that the cooking seems to be treated as side dish to the guys having a good time in the places they travel. But having said that, the travel element of the show is also not developed as good as it could be. The result is a programme that promises to be a cooking and travel show, yet really fails to deliver on either. Thankfully for this series, the location is New Zealand, which offers up its usual array of stunning scenery. Without this I'd struggle to find anything interesting to watch at all. And if I hear the word "Bender" one more time . . .

    For those interested all eight episodes from the fourth series are presented on this DVD.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    With this being a new production, the video quality is, as expected, rather good.

    Presented in the widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1, this transfer is 16x9 enhanced.

    It is a very finely detailed and generally sharp transfer. There are no issues with shadow detail and grain is virtually non-existent. There is also no low level noise.

    The colour palette on offer is rich and vibrant, with solid blacks and some nice saturated greens and blues. There are no problems with the colour rendition.

    There are no compression style artefacts present. Other artefacts are also absent. All up this is a blemish free transfer.

    There are no subtitles available.

    Both discs are single layered so there are no layer changes to navigate.

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

Audio

    There is only one audio track on this disc, being an English Dolby Digital 2.0 track encoded at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue is clear at all times with no major problems evident, though some of the interviews with the locals can be a little difficult to fully hear at times. There are no apparent audio sync problems.

    There is a little music played throughout, with the main theme tune very prominent (and it must be said highly annoying). Most of the other music suits what's happening on screen at the time.

    There is no surround or subwoofer channel use.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

Deleted Scenes

    Most of the episodes contain a deleted scene, which is basically just some footage that was deemed unworthy of the main feature. Not much to see here.

Biographies-Character

    Full and remarkably detailed bios for both Ben O'Donoghue and Mark Gardner. They read a bit like a press kit though.

Gallery

    A few nice full colour photos of the boys at work. Some behind the scenes shots are included in addition to a few of the more promotional style of photo.

Booklet

    We did not receive the booklet as part of the review package so I can not make any comment about its merits.

R4 vs R1

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

    I can't find any reference to this disc being available in Region 1.

Summary

    Surfing The Menu is a bit of an oddity in the world of lifestyle programmes. Obviously a cooking show with travelogue style elements thrown in, it doesn't really focus enough on the aspects of either to make it compelling viewing. The overall blandness of the presenters doesn't help. Thankfully this series features some of the stunning New Zealand landscapes as a distraction to the banal conversations between the hosts.

    The video quality is excellent - superb even.

    The two channel audio is functional.

    There are a few extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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