The Robinsons (2005)

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Released 7-Jun-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Outtakes
Audio Commentary-Episodes 1 & 6
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 175:23 (Case: 180)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Mark Bussell
Justin Sbresni
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Martin Freeman
Hugh Bonneville
Abigail Cruttenden
Anna Massey
Richard Johnson
Amanda Root
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Nina Humphreys


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English 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 for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    'I'm not sucking your nipples again until I meet your parents' Ed's girlfriend

    Martin Freeman's star has been on the rise for some time now, really starting from his excellent work in The Office (although he had been around in English television productions for some years before that) and then continuing with movie roles such as Arthur Dent in the movie version of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Since The Office he has now made two television comedy series, one which I reviewed a while back, Hardware and this series which was made in 2005. Hardware was a little disappointing and didn't seem to have a good enough cast or writing to really become a classic. This one on the other hand has a high quality cast to back up (and sometimes outdo) Martin Freeman along with some great writing. The show was written, produced and directed by Justin Sbresni & Mark Bussell who are also responsible for another excellent recent comedy series, The Worst Week of My Life. (Note to Roadshow : Would love to see that one on DVD :-)

    This show is based around a dysfunctional family, obviously with the last name Robinson. The patriarch of the family is the terminally disappointed and cold Hector (Richard Johnson) who avoids interacting with his family by tinkering on a piano (badly) for most of the time. When he does interact it is usually to make barbed comments directed at his wife but actually spoken to other members of the family. His wife, Pam (Anna Massey), gives just as good as she gets but also doubles up to provide embarrassing advice to her children. The children are George (Hugh Bonneville) a very stuffy and anally retentive time management consultant who is married to the very chatty and regularly indiscreet Maggie (Amanda Root); the middle child Vicky (Abigail Cruttenden) a man-eating perfectionist interior decorator and lastly Ed (Martin Freeman), the youngest child who is considered to be something of a disappointment by his parents and his siblings. Ed is a re-insurance actuary who seems to be fairly average at his job, was married for six months and now lives in his Aunt's flat (she is away adventuring overseas). The family lives in Wimbledon and the children were all named after royalty (George, Victoria and Edward).

    To date only one series of this very amusing show has been made which consists of six episodes. This single disc includes all six 30 minutes episodes. I found this series very funny with excellent dialogue especially the banter between the main characters. There are some excellent and very different situations into which the characters are placed which certainly add to the show's appeal. It also includes some quirky humour which I enjoyed and some great flashbacks to the main character's childhoods and interludes about various Robinson ancestors and relatives. Occasionally, the humour was a little silly but what is wrong with that in moderation? The humour includes some jokes about sex which were never of the smutty variety, however, was certainly enough to deserve the M rating. The cast is great and their abilities lend realism to their characters which certainly allows some poignancy to peek out between the jokes.

    Fans of English comedy will certainly enjoy this series. Recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is disappointing for such a recent series.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was only of average sharpness, effected quite badly by grain which was variable and quite obvious in some darker scenes such as at 16:10 in Episode 1. Occasionally, the grain devolved into macro-blocking. There was no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was quite average.

    The colour was decent but nothing spectacular and some broad backgrounds showed quite a bit of noise in the colour.

    Artefacts also included some very minor aliasing.

    There are subtitles In English which were clear, easy to read and close to the spoken word.

    The layer change must be between episodes.
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is good with no issues to report.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.Obviously this is a key ingredient in a sitcom audio transfer.

    The score of this series is by Nina Humpreys which was fine but didn't stand out .

    The surround speakers were not noticeably used.

    The subwoofer was used a bit for rumbling trucks and other such sounds. This is obviously due to my amp's bass management rather than a specific LFE channel.

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

Extras

   

    A good selection of extras are included.

Menu

    The menu was still and silent but quite functional. The way the commentaries are selected is a bit fiddly.

Behind The Scenes (15:35)

    A short but interesting enough making of featurette which discusses the concept, casting, writing and shooting and includes interview material with the writer, producer, directors and the cast.

Outtakes (4:45)

    A funny set of stuff-ups and bodily noises.

Commentary - Episode 1 - Justin Sbresni & Mark Bussell

    A decent commentary without being earth shattering. They discuss technical issues, shooting the series on film, trivia and casting. One of them bangs on and on about locations which is really annoying.

Commentary - Episode 6 - Justin Sbresni & Mark Bussell plus Martin Freeman and Hugh Bonneville

    This is a better commentary with the actors spicing up the discussion. They all relax and havea good time.

 

R4 vs R1

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

    This series is available in Region 1 & 2. Both are the same in terms of content but considering that this series is from a PAL country I would tend to think Region 2 or Region 4 would be the pick.

Summary

    A very amusing dysfunctional family sitcom from England.

    The video quality is disappointing.

    The audio quality is good.

    Good selection of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, June 29, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony 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 DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

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