Stargate SG1-Volume 13 (Season 3 & Season 1 bonus episodes) (1999)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Trailer-Volume 14 Episode Previews (4)
Featurette-Stargate SG-1: Timeline To The Future (66:05)
|Year Of Production||1999|
|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||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish 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|
I suppose the most important aspect of Volume 13 of Stargate SG-1 is the fact that it is the conclusion of Season Three and contains only two episodes. Why is that important? Well it means that the idiotic idea of filling up the last DVDs from a Season with remaining episodes from Season One is apparently dead. That is a good thing. It also means that we are seemingly further away from ever seeing the rest of Season One. That is a very bad thing. I guess we poor suffering Stargate SG-1 fans will continue to be poor suffering fans for a while longer.
After commenting upon the quality of the special effects on the last DVD, it seems rather prosaic that this volume should see me commenting about the rather poor nature of some of the special effects. Indeed, Crystal Skull is perhaps a perfect example of a television show overreaching itself in what it can realistically achieve. Crystal Skull is definitely something of a letdown in quality in this area. In some ways it is a little typical of the episodes here. Crystal Skull features not only some weakish effects work, but the story itself leaves something to be desired. The grandfather of Daniel Jackson suddenly gets pulled out of nowhere with some crankish ideas regarding a crystal skull found in Belize. The whole premise of the show is one of the weakest I can recall and the execution is not that much better. Not exactly a high point of Stargate SG-1 in my opinion. Thankfully, Nemesis provides something of a recovery in form, although I am not entirely convinced on those metal bugs...
As you may have guessed, the episodes on Volume 13 are:
The ongoing decline in the quality of the transfers from the heights of decency demonstrated on Volume 10 continue here with the transfers at times descending close to the poor state that afflicted the earlier volumes in the release schedule. The problem is of course the grain harvest.
The transfers are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and are 16x9 enhanced. As usual they accommodate those that have not yet seen the light with respect of widescreen presentation, so the DVD is Auto Pan and Scan encoded.
Whilst this is a decently sharp transfer with above average definition for a television series, this just suggests a cop out for what is fundamentally a not especially great transfer. Shadow detail could at times be better, and as already indicated the quality of the effects leaves a bit to be desired. The result is that at times, especially in Crystal Skull, the definition gets very poor and at times difficult to watch. Certainly 10:48 of that episode plays rather poorly to my eyes. Thereafter my notes are simple enough: grain, terrible grain, grain, grain and even more grain. Does not matter where you look here, that is what you will find. As a result of the grain, clarity is not somewhat diminished - it is well diminished. At times, not a pretty sight at all.
The colours are again a little underdone, very much on a par with the previous volumes in the series. Overall though, they remain quite vibrant and nicely rendered, with interior shots having a good tonal depth to them. There is no issue with saturation nor with colour bleed.
There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. Aliasing and other film-to-video artefacts are again not exactly a problem. There are no problems with film artefacts.
This is a Dual Layer formatted DVD, with no layer change during the episodes. It is therefore presumed that the first two episodes are mastered on one layer with extras on the second layer.
There are seven subtitle options on the DVD. I restricted myself to only the English effort. Very much in the same mold as the earlier DVDs in the series, they are missing just a little here and there as far as dialogue is concerned but are generally pretty good.
There are three soundtracks available on the DVD, being an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, a German Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack and a Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack. English is my soundtrack of choice.
The dialogue comes up well and is 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 for both episodes. Nothing much than what we have heard before and doing the job well enough to contribute to the overall success of the television series.
For most people there is not likely to be much complaint with the soundtrack. Whilst there could have perhaps been more action in the soundtrack, given the television nature of the programme, this is decent enough stuff with a noticeable lack of serious surround work from the rear channels. The sound is not suffering any form of congestion and the overall result is quite natural. To be fair though, neither episode really gives much scope for serious surround or LFE work.
|Surround Channel Use|
We might be down on the number of episodes but this is compensated for by a very decent extras package.
The same vibrant menu style introduced on Volume 8 continues here with the better audio and animation enhancement. The menus themselves are also 16x9 enhanced.
Looks like these might become regular fare on the DVDs. These are the short, 45 second, "next week's episode" promotional trailers for episodes to appear on the next volume in the series. The four episodes are Small Victories, The Other Side, Upgrades and Crossroads. Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, they are not 16x9 enhanced and come with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Nothing wrong with the technical quality, aside from a little grain here and there.
This is the highlight of the extras on every Stargate SG-1 DVD issued so far. Whilst the whole lasts over a hour, it is split into three separate sections: Legacy Of The Gate (25:03), Secrets Of The Gate (20:03) and Beyond The Gate (20:59). Hosted by Brad Wright and Richard Dean Anderson, they feature a fair number of interviews with people involved in the production (including the stars) as well as plenty of behind the scenes stuff. Legacy Of The Gate basically covers the gestation of the concept from the big screen through to the small screen, whilst Secrets Of The Gate covers the actual production stuff. The final section, Beyond The Gate, actually delves into the fans and their devotion to the show. Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, it is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. This is well worthwhile checking out.
Not a huge thing - click on the little www icon and you get a 16 second introduction to joining the Stargate Fan Club (www.stargatefanclub.com). The introduction features Amanda Tapping - good marketing move! Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, it is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.
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. When it eventually gets released in Region 1 it will most likely be in a season box set, which is by far the preferred presentation for television series. Still, if you cannot wait, the Region 4 version is here now.
It is very disappointing to see the regression in the quality of the video transfers on Volume 13, especially as it compounds some regression in the quality of the episodes themselves. As a result this is very much for hard core fans only - and big screen owners are back to the usual caveat emptor of checking out before they plunk down their bucks for a buy. Oh, and those damned annoying lockouts of remote commands are present again, therefore you should not let the end copyright notices commence.
|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|