The Sopranos-Season 6 (2006)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-for 4 episodes
|Year Of Production||2006|
|Running Time||632:17 (Case: 631)|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (4)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
Timothy Van Patten
Warner Home Video
Steven van Zandt
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
It is really hard to know what to say about this television series, other than to add to the superlatives which have already been bestowed upon it. It is certainly one of the best, if not the best, television series ever produced. The quality of this show is incredible with excellent writing, great performances, fascinating storylines and excellent production values.This sixth season set which has just been released locally is actually officially only the first part of season 6 with the final 9 episodes which are about to start screening in the US completing season 6 and the show itself. I'm not sure why the show's producers have done this but I can only guess it's because the final 9 episodes do not really constitute a complete season. It would be great to have the complete season together however, this set of 12 episodes are excellent in their own right.
There was a 18 month or so break in between the previous season finishing on US television and this one starting and a similar break in between shooting. This season was first shown on HBO in the US starting in March 2006. Of course, it was shown here late at night and fairly randomly in terms of time slot. Personally, I watched Season 5 on DVD straight before starting this one, which combined made for excellent, obsessive viewing. It was really hard to not start the next episode straight after finishing the previous one, regardless of how late it was at night.
In terms of the story, the gap between Season 5 and Season 6 is similar to the gap between them being shown on US television with this season taking place some 18 months after (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) the deaths of Tony Blundetto and Adriana La Cerva . Things have changed somewhat in that time although the biggest changes are yet to come. Christopher Moltisanti is now a captain, Junior Soprano is fast losing his mind, Vito Spatafore has lost a lot of weight, Janice Soprano and Bobby Bacala are married and they have a daughter, AJ and Meadow are growing up really fast and Phil Leotardo is running the New York family as Johnny Sack is in jail. Phil is still very angry about (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) the murder of his brother by Tony Blundetto .
It is extremely hard to talk in detail about the plot of Season 6 without spoiling it but suffice it to say that there are two big character arcs which go right across the season, one involving Tony and the other involving Vito. Both have huge impacts on the season and make for a fascinating and extremely dramatic season especially the first half. Additionally, numerous other subplots are played out including multiple items of bad news for Paulie, increasing tension between Phil Leotardo and Tony, Christopher finding new love (in more than one place), Meadow making big decisions, Christopher attempting to restart his screenwriting career & Artie's restaurant starting to struggle.
The twelve episodes are spread over four discs and the packaging is a normal width amaray with a cardboard slipcover plus a booklet. The episodes are:
As usual the overriding theme of The Sopranos is hypocrisy with most characters seemingly completely capable of segmenting their lives into the moral and immoral portions. The Vito story especially shows this hypocrisy in full swing.
Another excellent series of a show which it will be very hard to lose when the sixth and final season wraps up during 2007.
The video quality is very good.
The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.
The picture was very sharp and clear with high levels of details considering its television origins. There was no evidence of low level noise. Some scenes included light MPEG grain especially darker scenes such as at 23:00 in episode 1. Occasionally, this grain slipped into macro-blocking but was never distracting.
The colour was excellent with no issues to report.
The only obvious artefact was some minor and irregular aliasing.
There are subtitles in English and 9 other languages (but not for the audio commentaries). They were clear and easy to read but somewhat changed from the spoken word and regularly summarised. The case wrongly lists English for the Hearing Impaired as one of the subtitle tracks and does not list the French track which is present.
Layer breaks are present during the show however they were not noticeable during playback.
The audio quality is very good.
This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 384 Kb/s, plus a French Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround-encoded soundtrack at 192 Kb/s.
Dialogue was mostly clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.Some accents and a bit of mumbling made some lines of dialogue hard to decipher. I found the subtitles helpful for some lines. This seems to be an issue from the source material rather than the transfer.
The music features some really well chosen material along with the superb theme tune.
The surround speakers were well used adding immersion and quite a few surround effects such as gunshots and phones ringing.
The subwoofer was also well used adding significant bass to the music plus lots of thumps, thuds, and crashes.
|Surround Channel Use|
The extras are limited to four audio commentaries of variable quality.
The menu included an intro, motion, music and is generally very well designed although there was no scene selection ability despite the episodes being split into chapters. I was pleased to note that the title sequence was in a chapter of its own allowing for easy skipping past the titles if you so wish.
Oh, my god! This is without a doubt the worst commentary track I have ever heard. They mumble, they giggle and the mix means that onscreen dialogue constantly threatens to drown them out. I needed to turn my amp up 15 decibels just to hear some of what they were saying, which was mostly boring anyway. They pause constantly. It is obvious they have not prepared at all. Does not qualify as an extra just as a waste of disc space.
Well, this is a big improvement over the first commentary but still only manages to be satisfactory rather than good. He has some interesting things to say about the back-story and how they build in exposition and the importance of food to the show generally and this episode specifically.
The best commentary on this set as they discuss character motivations, the episode's theme, props used, the research done for authenticity and the bit players in the episode. They also point out a scene which was actually shot for Season 5 but cut and then included here.
Another good commentary although he seems to be annoyed abut someone referring to the show as 'the show where nothing happens'. He points out a lot of things which are 'happening' such as a quite disturbing scene of a head being kicked into an open sewer. He also discusses character motivations, locations and deleted scenes. Unfortunately, he often pauses and goes quiet for a while.
A simple booklet with photos and a listing of episodes is included.
This season is available in the same format in Region 1 except for NTSC/PAL differences and that the second audio track is changed to Spanish. It has also been released on both HD DVD and Blu-ray in the US. From an SD release perspective this is a draw.
The video quality is very good.
The audio quality is very good.
The extras are four audio commentaries of variable quality.
|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||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer|