Stargate SG1-Volume 6 (Season 2) (1998)
|Category||Science Fiction||Main Menu Audio & Animation|
|Year Of Production||1998|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||
Twentieth Century Fox
Richard Dean Anderson
Don S. Davis
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Auto Pan & Scan Encoded||
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
So we have another slight change in format of the DVD this time, courtesy of this transfer being sourced from France. Does that hopefully mean there is some improvement here visually? More of this anon.
As I wander through the "missing" reviews of the show, it is perhaps a good time to expand a little upon why I like this show so much (read - I have run out of ideas of what to write so I am getting desperate). Over the years, I have been a really big science fiction fan and have watched most of what has been turned out for television. Some has been pretty diabolical stuff indeed, much pretty average stuff but a very few standout shows have genuinely stood out. Surprisingly for a trekker, only one of the incarnations of that franchise makes the list (Deep Space Nine if you are interested, although Voyager almost makes the list too), along with two other shows: Babylon 5 and Stargate SG-1. So why do these three shows stand out for me? Well, I could be slightly dishonest and say it is because of the quality writing, producing excellent stories that excellent casts can bring to life. Whilst that will be true for some people, and there is no denying that these factors are important, it is not necessarily the complete answer for me. I have to be honest I guess and say I don't really know for sure why, I just like the d*** shows. Something about these three shows simply clicked with me.
These are the only television science fiction shows that I can really sit down and consistently enjoy, and that ultimately is the reason why they stand out. Sure I can enjoy individual episodes of any science fiction show, including the really diabolical ones, but for the sheer consistent enjoyment on a repeated basis, these are the shows I look to. As such, I presume that it is a combination of some quality writing, some excellent casting and some very decent production values, for these really are part of what makes the shows stand out and easy to return to. Perhaps also important is the originality of the shows. That might sound a bit daft for a Star Trek show like Deep Space Nine, but within the context of the franchise it is the most individual of the series. In the case of Babylon 5, again the setting plays an important part along with the purpose of the setting.
In the case of Stargate SG-1, there is no doubt in my mind that a lot of the enjoyment from the show comes from not just the premise but also from the casting. I would suggest that very few science fiction shows have had as good a core cast of this: Richard Dean Anderson (who brings a refreshingly informal take to the military man), Christopher Judge (in a nicely stoic and stilted role), Amanda Tapping (beauty, brains, bravado - what more could you want?) and Michael Shanks (the "weak" member of the group in a nice change in the gender stakes). The cast certainly gelled well and after Season One became a firm favourite of mine on television.
Mind you, if I were to be less than politically correct, a lot of the attraction of Stargate SG-1 is actually Teryl Rothery. Now where can I find a doctor like that?
The episodes on offer on Volume 6, the fifth volume of episodes from Season Two, are:
Decent early rains have seen the grain farmers in certain parts of the country planting their crops already. One can only hope that the harvest they reap is as blessed with copious quantities of grain as are Stargate SG-1 DVDs. Yes, I know it is getting monotonous, but not even switching to French-sourced transfers seems to have any effect on the overall harvest. Just for sheer perverse delight, I went and dragged out one of my VHS tapes containing episodes taped from television. Really, there isn't that much difference between them and the DVDs. As far as everything else is concerned, you might as well read any of the earlier reviews of the series.
The transfers are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and are 16x9 enhanced. The DVD is also Auto Pan and Scan encoded, for those of you wishing to see the series in that cropped form. Having checked out that VHS tape, I am buggered to understand why anyone would want to, but so be it.
This is merely a decent transfer as far as sharpness and definition go, but still on the acceptable side of things in the overall context of the series. The generally soft definition, not aided by the grain in any way, just robs the transfer of enough detail to annoy, and again makes shadow detail quite ropey here. Once again clarity borders on being pretty lousy, especially in One False Step, where the sickeningly grainy image reminds me of looking at a Petri dish of amoebae through a microscope. This to me cannot be just grain and has to be low level noise mixed with grain - just check out the section from 5:00 to 5:30 to see what I mean. Thankfully this is by far the worst affected episode on the DVD, but the other three still show problems to a far more than acceptable extent.
In general, the colours come up well, and they are quite consistent. As is quite common with the other DVDs in the series, the contrast could be a little better with more definition in the darker colours. The tonal depth remains mediocre in general. Thankfully, there are no noticeable issues with oversaturation or colour bleed - although the transfers could just about hide a multitude of sins.
There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There did not appear to be any significant instances of film-to-video artefacts and there are no problems with film artefacts either.
This is a Dual Layer formatted DVD, as I cannot detect any layer change during the episodes. It is therefore presumed that the first two episodes are mastered on one layer with the other two mastered on the other.
There are four subtitle options on the DVD, although I restricted myself to only the English for the Hearing Impaired effort. These are good, although as usual missing a bit more of the dialogue at times than I would normally be expecting or wanting.
Whilst this DVD has the consistent three soundtracks available, the options are a little different in being a French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded soundtrack, an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded soundtrack and an English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded soundtrack. If you expect me to sample anything other than the English effort, then you are going to be disappointed.
The dialogue comes up well and is quite clear and generally easy to understand throughout the episodes. There did not seem to be any issue with audio sync here at all.
The original music comes from Joel Goldsmith in general, with the aid of Kevin Kiner and Richard Band in the episode Holiday. More typical stuff, broadly similar to all the other DVDs and what we would expect from a television series. It does its job pretty well and is quite supportive of the show throughout.
Surround sound wise, this is very much in the same sort of mold as Volume 5,with remarkably little difference to that effort. It does its job well enough, albeit with more loss of body than would be preferred for this sort of action science-fiction at times.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
As far as we are aware, this has not been slated for release in Region 1 yet. However, it should be pointed out that Season One in its entirety was released in a box set and it is to be presumed that Season Two will be so released too. Personally, I would probably wait for that eventuality....
The usual summary - grain, grain and more grain. Note that some early DVDs were coded Region 2 only, and are therefore only playable on multi-zone players. Large screen owners would again be well advised to audition this DVD before purchase, just in case they suffer from some form of grain-induced motion sickness. Interesting to note the back cover: the photos for Holiday and One False Step have been reversed, and the blurb for Show And Tell especially is not exactly accurate.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|