V: The Miniseries (NTSC) (1983) (NTSC)

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Released 3-Oct-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Menu Audio
Listing-Cast & Crew
Audio Commentary-Kenneth Johnson (Director/Writer)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1983
Running Time 196:53
RSDL / Flipper Dual Sided Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,4 Directed By Kenneth Johnson
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Jane Badler
Michael Durrell
Faye Grant
Peter Nielson
David Packer
Neva Patterson
Tommy Peterson
Marc Singer
Blair Tefkin
Michael Wright
Bonnie Bartlett
Leonardo Cimino
Richard Herd
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music Joe Harnell


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English
French
Spanish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    V is a two part television mini-series that is based around the arrival of an alien species on Earth and their attempts to take control of our resources.

    The series begins with the sudden appearance of fifty alien spaceships at major cities around the world. The leaders from this alien group soon make contact and claim that they come in peace. The aliens make an offer - the exchange of technical and scientific information in return for the production of a simple chemical compound. At first, this appears to be an offer that is too good to refuse. As the alien presence grows on Earth, they begin to increase their influence and slowly take control. A small band of rebel fighters are drawn together and they attempt to take back control and determine the aliens' real objectives.

    This mini-series was written and directed by Kenneth Johnson who had previously produced The Hulk and The Bionic Woman and later went on to produce Alien Nation. When released in 1983, V was the most expensive mini-series ever produced and this is not surprising when you see the large number of special effects on offer and the large cast involved. When viewed nearly twenty years later, the high production values can be seen, as the series is still highly enjoyable. As you would expect, some of the special effects are a little dated but the high quality sets, well-written script and convincing performances more than make up for these small problems.

    While based around an alien invasion, the film is obviously a warning regarding the corruption of power and the parallels to the rise of the Nazi party cannot be ignored. This main theme allows the story line to have significant impact and stops it becoming just another standard science fiction feature.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The NTSC transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. Despite being previously released as a Full Frame 1.33:1 transfer, the series was shot with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 in mind and this transfer has been fully approved by the director.

    The transfer is consistently sharp throughout and no low level noise was detected at any point in the transfer. During the numerous dark scenes in the visitors' space ship and at night, excellent levels of shadow detail may be seen at all times.

    The colours displayed during the transfer are extremely natural but slightly muted. This slight muting of the palette is typical of nearly all films of this age and is not distracting to the viewer. The transfer never displays the vibrancy of a modern production.

    No MPEG artefacts were detected at any stage during the transfer.

    A small number of aliasing artefacts were seen during the transfer but these were all relatively minor and are not distracting. Some examples of these artefacts may be seen on Side A at 38:02, 63:50, and 86:54, and on Side B at 8:38, 10:58 and 17:08.

    A small number of minor film artefacts may be seen during this transfer. These artefacts are usually just small flecks and an occasional scratch on the stock. Some examples of these artefacts may be seen at 6:41, 14:38 and 25:16 on Side A and at 52:12, 56:09 and 76:54 on Side B. A small amount of grain may be seen during the transfer and this does become more obvious during the scenes with composited effects but it never becomes distracting. During the opening credits on Side B, a very slight telecine wobble may be seen but this does not appear to be present at any other time during the transfer.

    A choice of English, French and Spanish subtitles are provided on this disc. These subtitles are presented in a white san-serif font with a black border and are always easy to read. During times when speech is not directly heard from the on-screen actors, such as the ships' announcements, the subtitles are differentiated by using a bold italic version of the font. The English set of subtitles appears to be consistently accurate.

    When originally aired, the mini-series was presented in two parts over consecutive nights. Each episode is presented on a separate side of the disc and due to the natural split in the material, the flip is only moderately annoying to the viewer.

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

Audio

    The packaging provided for this disc contains a number of inaccuracies when listing the audio details. The slick states that the audio is presented in Dolby Surround 5.1: English / French. This is incorrect. The packaging also proudly states that this feature is presented for the First Time Ever in Dolby Surround Stereo.

    Two audio tracks are provided for the main feature. The default is an English Dolby Digital 192 kbps 2.0 surround-encoded track and the second choice is a French Dolby Digital 192 kbps 1.0 track. The English track is a new mix supervised by the director with a number of sound effects updated. These changes are all quite minor and they fit in well with the original material.

    The dialogue is always clear and easy to understand at all times.

    No problems with audio sync or dropouts were detected at any time during the transfer.

    The original orchestral score by Joe Harnell has a number of recurring themes and works extremely well with the on-screen action. This is another area where the high production budget may be easily seen, or in this case, heard.

    The surround channel is used to reinforce the musical score and some sound effects. This is not an aggressive mix but it does work well with the material presented. During scenes involving spaceships and gunfire, there is considerable low frequency activity in this soundtrack.

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

Extras

Menu

    The non-animated full screen menu is presented at an aspect ratio of either 1.78:1 or 1.33:1 depending upon your player setup.

Commentary: Kenneth Johnson (Director/Writer)

    This Dolby Digital 192 kbps 2.0 feature length commentary is quite interesting and covers many aspects of the film's production. Topics such as the inspiration for the script, shooting locations, actor choice and set design are all covered in the commentary. Despite its long running time, there are very few pauses in the scene specific commentary.

Featurette: Behind the Scenes Documentary (24:40)

    This featurette is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. The video quality of this featurette is quite poor but some of the clips from the film presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 are of slightly higher quality. A number of short interview segments with the production designer Chuck Davis, construction coordinator Peter Albes, and actors Mark Singer and Faye Grant are presented in this featurette. In addition to these short interviews, the featurette includes footage shot on the set during the filming of the production. Unfortunately, this featurette does not provide any significant information or insight into the making of the mini-series.

Cast and Crew

    This is a simple listing of the major cast and crew participants and does not include any biographical information or filmographies.

R4 vs R1

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

    This is the identical disc to that which has been previously released in Region 1.

Summary

    V is still a highly enjoyable mini-series nearly twenty years after its release and its solid story line separate it from the majority of television science fiction.

    The video presented in this transfer is of very high quality considering the age and television history of the source material.

    The new Dolby Surround audio mix is consistently of high quality and suits the on-screen action nicely.

    The main extra of value is the feature length commentary by director Kenneth Johnson and this provides an excellent insight into the making of this mini-series.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Friday, October 05, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using S-Video output
DisplaySony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationFront left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)
SpeakersFront left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259

Other Reviews
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region4dvd.net - Darren R (read my bio (fun for the whole family))
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The DVD Bits - Allan H

Comments (Add)
V - The mini series, not complete. -
R1 vs R4 -
Re: R1 pricing - Miklos (my stinkin' bio)