Absolutely Fabulous-Series 3 (1995)
Main Menu Audio
|Year Of Production||1995|
|Running Time||170:49 (Case: 173)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (68:48)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Bob Spiers|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, but that's part of the plot|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, a final joke in the credits|
Absolutely Fabulous, to be very honest, is starting to irritate me, and this is something I find odd. I laughed until I cried at the antics of its two principal characters when I first saw the show in the mid-1990s, but now it is barely raising a giggle out of me. I suspect this may have to do with getting older, having more burdens to deal with, and thus finding little humour in people behaving like the world owes them a living. It is therefore in the interests of producing a balanced review that I will minimise my comments about the plot into something that just gives an idea of what the show and its episodes are about.
For those who want a rundown of the basic plot, here it goes: Edina Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) is a kind of baron in the fashion industry, a head of a PR company. Her best friend, Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley), also works in the fashion industry, posing as some kind of reporter for a magazine, and sometimes she actually bothers to show up for work. Her daughter, Saffron (Julia Swalha) is the real adult in this triangular relationship, often making apologies to all present for the truly childish antics that her mother puts on from crisis to crisis. They are also frequently visited by a very batty grandmother (June Whitfield) and the occasional ex-husband (Christopher Ryan being one of them), all of whom have their own commentary to share about the life and antics of the anti-hero.
The list of episodes found in Season Three are as follows:
Absolutely Fabulous was shot using video for the interior scenes, and what appears to be 16mm film for the outdoor locations. This arrangement is fairly typical of a BBC show, and it often hampers the transfer in a noticeable way, so a fair number of the artefacts on display here are inherent in the source material.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and it is not 16x9 Enhanced.
At first, when Doorhandle started, I was fearing the worst, as the first sequence is filled with blooming lights which messes up the sharpness in a big way. In a minute or two, however, this was revealed to be a dream sequence, and the sharpness of the transfer is actually quite reasonable in light of the production values. There are very few night-time or low-lit sequences in the film, but when they do occur, the shadow detail can best be described as adequate. There is no low-level noise visible in this transfer.
The colours are acceptably rendered, although the titles at the start of each episode are still showing dot crawl to an extent that leads me to believe said titles were designed on a composite system at some point. A minor cross-colouration effect can be seen on some elaborate railing in the background at 4:41 during Jealous, but this was acceptable considering how much more prominent this artefact could have been.
MPEG artefacts were not found during the interior sequences of this transfer - the exterior sequences often come out a little hazy and grainy, but this could be traced back to the source materials rather than the compression. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some aliasing that was usually minor, but Saffron's glasses were a constant source of this problem, showing minor aliasing at 2:58 during Doorhandle, and varying in intensity according to the closeness of the shot at other times. Film artefacts were present during the outdoor sequences, and they were occasionally distracting, but this was generally acceptable given the source materials.
This disc is RSDL formatted, with the layer change taking place between Chapters 2 and 3 of Jealous at 11:11. This layer change sticks out like a sore thumb, and it is really unnecessary, given that it could have simply been placed between episodes.
There is only the one soundtrack on this disc: an English Dolby Digital 2.0 effort.
The dialogue is as clear and easy to understand as the acting styles allow - some of the characters speak in such irritating or exaggerated manners that it can make understanding them a little bit dicey from time to time. Fortunately, the director obviously anticipated that some people would get annoyed with the manner in which characters like Bubble speak, and paced such sequences in order to compensate. There were no discernable problems with audio sync.
The incidental music in this series is credited to Simon Brint. It mainly consists of pipe-organ-like sounds on a keyboard, and while it is not present a whole lot of the time, it is remarkably effective. The old stand-by of This Wheel's On Fire, sung by Adrian Edmonson and Julie Driscoll, is present and accounted for here.
The surround channels are not used in this soundtrack, so they packed up and left along with the subwoofer. The vast majority of this programme is based on dialogue, so this is not a major concern.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu is static, accompanied by 48 kHz Linear PCM 2.0 audio, and is not 16x9 Enhanced.
A sixteen minute and thirty second collection of stuff-ups on the set, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.
Another collection of unannotated stills that is really only worth looking through once.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Once again, the whole Absolutely Fabulous series is available as a four-disc set in Region 1, with the fourth series also available on DVD with an audio commentary by the producer and Jennifer Saunders. There are also additional extras on the other three discs, making it hard to recommend the local version to those who want to own a definitive version.
Watching one episode of Absolutely Fabulous every now and then is perfectly fine, but watching a whole series in rapid succession tends to magnify how horrid and annoying some of the principal characters really are. Still, fans of the series will find the transfer on offer here to be perfectly adequate, and this is really as good as the series is ever likely to look.
The video transfer is good, considering the source materials.
The audio transfer is good.
The extras are minimal.
|DVD||Toshiba 2109, using S-Video output|
|Display||Samsung CS-823AMF (80cm). Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-835|
|Speakers||Yamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NSC-120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer|