Hyperdrive-Series One (2006)

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Released 31-Jul-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Hyperdrivel
Featurette-Behind the Scenes with Nick Frost
Featurette-Miranda Hart's Tour of the Set
Featurette-Creating the world of Hyperdrive
Featurette-Video Diary
Deleted Scenes
Audio Commentary-one commentary per episode
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 175:07 (Case: 288)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (67:23)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By John Henderson
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Nick Frost
Miranda Hart
Kevin Eldon
Dan Antopolski
Stephen Evans
Petra Massey
Paterson Joseph
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music Mark Thomas


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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 Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    The year is 2151. The HMS Camden Lock adventures through space with one ambiguous mission: To protect the interests of Great Britain in an ever changing galaxy. Led by Commander Michael Henderson (Nick Frost), they bungle their way across the universe on a series of half-baked missions to promote Britain to any alien race who will listen. The first officer (Kevin Eldon) is a stuffy society-bred homicidal maniac. The ship's diplomatic officer (Miranda Hart) is more interested in furthering her relationship with the Commander than the relationships of Britain. A variety of self-serving incompetents pad out the rest of the crew.

    Hyperdrive comes with an excellent pedigree, written by latter-era Black Books authors Kevin Cecil and Andy Riley, starring one of Britain's most bankable comedians in Hot Fuzz's Nick Frost, and backed by a comfortable BBC budget. Alas, the only aspect that manages to live up to its pedigree in any form is the sets and special effects.

    Despite "borrowing" rather heavy-handedly from countless other sci-fi comedies and regular comedies (particularly Red Dwarf, Dark Star and The Office), the scripts fall flat. The characters are neither terribly original nor interesting. Much of the humour falls back upon tired bureaucratic gags, dated sex jokes (Carry On-era stuff) and fart humour. The actors try a little too hard to pull off the lame material they've been given, but end up paddling further up the proverbial creek as they do so. It doesn't help that each character, based on what little could be considered character development, is a tired two dimensional stereotype (although I suppose this does mean the writers couldn't ruin things more with a convoluted back-story).

    The episodes in this season are:

  1. A Gift from the Glish - While trying to convince foreign business to set up shop in Peterborough, some rather repulsive aliens leave a man-eating pet for the crew to contend with.
  2. Hello, Queppu - Hoping to negotiate the rights to build an orbital Tesco around a planet, the Crew of the Camden Lock venture to a backward planet and encounter some rather absurd aliens.
  3. Weekend Off - Diplomatic officer Teal goes to great lengths to rid the ship of most of its crew so she can enjoy a romantic dinner for 2 with the Commander.
  4. Asteroid - The Commander inadvertently destroys an asteroid that is the subject of peace negotiations between two warring races. This leads to a peace treaty between the aliens, but only for as long as they are at war with the humans who blew up their rock.
  5. Clare - Avoiding a routine drug inspection operation, the Commander ventures out to meet solo space voyager Clare Winchester.
  6. Assessment - The ship is earmarked for a rigorous "Class J". In a panic, the Commander places his maniacal first officer in charge leading to widespread chaos.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The show is presented in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The video quality is a little disappointing. The image varies from being a little soft during filmed sequences and razor sharp during CGI sequences. A variable degree of grain is visible throughout the episodes. The grain is never heavy enough to be a distraction, but enough to stop the video looking particularly sharp. There is a good level of shadow detail.

    The colour balance is good. The colours are quite bold and feature quite natural skin tones (where intended!).

    The video is riddled with several rather nasty MPEG compression related artefacts. Several scenes feature rather heavy instances of macro blocking/pixelation, such as at 2:35 of episode 2 where one character's face is nearly blocky enough to use as a chess board. These instances of macro blocking are severe enough to be noticeable on both small and large televisions. Mild aliasing is noticeable in virtually every CGI and effects-heavy scene. Thankfully, there is no sign of film artefacts or anything of the kind.

    The available English subtitles appear to be well timed and accurate to the spoke word, based on the portion I sampled.

    This is a RSDL disc, though the layer break occurs between episodes and is consequently not noticeable.

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

Audio

    A single English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is available.

    The soundtrack is quite functional and clear, but generally unremarkable.

    The dialogue is clearly audible and well synchronised to the video.

    The music is a little irritating, but intentionally so (don't leave the menu audio on for too long!).

    There is a small degree of pro-logic surround usage in the soundtrack. The dynamic range of the audio gives the subwoofer a little work, but not often.

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

Extras

Hyperdrivel Featurette (32:58)

    A rather hodge-podge making of featurette that gradually changes from a painfully dull discussion of the show's development into a parody of these sort of featurettes. If you can get past the incredibly dull early interviews and excess of clips from the show, the latter part of the featurette is pretty funny. It is frequently hard to tell the truth from the shaggy dog stories in this one!

Behind the Scenes with Nick Frost Featurette (18:42)

    Nick Frost wanders the set during production, armed with his trusty camcorder. There's a lot of filler in his home movies (or should that be work movies?), but a few funny moments to make this featurette worth a look.

Miranda Hart's Tour of the Set Featurette (10:29)

    Miranda Hart provides a tour of the set and out the back to the catering vans and star trailers. Reasonably funny stuff, but not worth repeat viewing.

Creating the world of Hyperdrive Featurette (18:18)

    A "Making Of" featurette that focuses on the development of the Hyperdrive universe, from the writers initial designs through to the actual CGI, costumes, make-up and set building.

Video Diary Featurette (17:59)

    A collage of snippets filmed during production that show all manner of aspects to production. The director directs, actors have make-up applied, people move props about. This featurette is rather aimless and doesn't really cover any ground that isn't in one of the other featurettes, but fans of the show will like the fly-on-the-wall angle it provides.

Deleted Scenes (17:11)

    Quite a few deleted scenes chopped together into one long feature. Each features a commentary.

Audio Commentaries

    A moderately interesting commentary is provided for all the first, second, fifth and sixth episodes by director John Henderson, writers Kevin Cecil, Andy Riley and producer Alex Walsh-Taylor. The four prattle on with a mix of interesting anecdotes about the show's development and makes plenty of pointless observations.

    The third and fourth episodes feature commentary from actors Miranda Hart, Stephen Evans and Petra Massey. This lot sound half asleep as they talk about a mixture of what's happening on screen, tenuously related production anecdotes and the director's feet.

R4 vs R1

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

    An identical package is available in Region 2. This show is not currently available in Region 1.

Summary

    Nick Frost in space. Unfortunately the show doesn't conjure the magic that the pitch evokes. Hyperdrive is, at best, a disappointment. The show borrows heavily from past science fiction and its humour is both stale and rarely hits the mark.

    The video features numerous compression related artefacts. The audio is up to speed.

    The extras package is both sizeable and of a good standard.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
Display Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
re: Hyperdrive "borrowing" -
A damned shame -