|Category||Science Fiction/Television||Main Menu Audio and Animation|
|Year Released||1997, 1998|
|Running Time||220:27 minutes|
|RSDL/Flipper||Disc 1: No/No
Disc 2: RSDL (66:49)
|Start Up||Language Selection, then Menu|
Fox Home Entertainment
|Starring||Richard Dean Anderson
Don S. Davis
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Automatic Pan & Scan||English (Dolby Digital 2.0 ,
German (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 256 Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Firstly, a fair chunk of the first season of Stargate SG-1 was built up episode by episode, so that planetary visits, people and events in previous episodes could be referenced in future episodes - and that is quite amply demonstrated by the four episodes here. Since this was the heavy basis of the first season, why on earth have we been stuck with a selection of four episodes comprising the pilot and three very late in the season episodes? There is certainly little real connection between the first episode and the last three, and this is highlighted by references to previous events that we are not aware of from the episodes.
Secondly, and infuriatingly, the fourth episode on the DVD is a "to be continued" effort - arrrgggghhhhhhhh! Yes, I know that it is the final episode of the season and sets up season two, but what about the other seventeen episodes of the season? They all combined to set up the final episode of season one, yet we barely get to sit down and enjoy anything of season one and get thrust straight into the set-up for season two. Even if I include the two different episodes on the Region 1 release, we are still fifteen episodes short of a full season before we get on to the next season, and thus the non die-hard fan is going to be left with huge gaps in their understanding of what is going on.
Thirdly, through the non-sequential issuance of episodes, it would seem that we are going to miss out on the rest of season one. The next issue, being Volume 2, is apparently of season two episodes. This makes no sense at all and even the most die hard Stargate SG-1 fan, amongst whose number I count myself, is going to be very disgruntled about the missing of episodes. Indeed, on the evidence of Volume 1 and the announced Volume 2, it would seem that all we are going to get is the same idiotic releases as have been issued in Region 2, right down to every fault it seems. Frankly, I can see little purpose in MGM releasing the series in this way and I can only suspect that it will ultimately lead to reduced sales overall. At least Region 1 had the right idea for their first DVD, even if it has not yet been followed by any subsequent issues - possibly as a result of a rethink of the issuing procedure? The solution is fairly simple I would have thought: forget the season two releases, concentrate the efforts on getting all of season one mastered, get this sadly faulty issue remastered, then release the whole of season one in a nicely presented box set like Buffy The Vampire Slayer (sorry, I am not a big fan of The X-Files Season One presentation), a good example of how we do want television series to be issued. They could then follow up with a season two box set fairly quickly, as most of these would already have been issued in Region 2 by the time we get the season one box set. I would much prefer a further delay in the Stargate SG-1 DVDs to get the thing done right, than put up with dribble releases that fail to satisfy. After all, we have been waiting for over two years as it is for one of the best television science fiction series of the past twenty years - what is a few more months to wait?
The episodes on offer are:
If the presentation was more in keeping with the desires of the consumer, this would have been a far more welcome release. As it is, the mishmash of episodes does no favours to the show or the viewer, and it has to be said that the quality of the video transfer here is not the best. Whilst I welcome the arrival of anything of Stargate SG-1 on DVD on Region 4, I am afraid that this can only be welcomed in a lukewarm manner.
The transfers are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and are 16x9 enhanced. Despite the television origins, the ratio is correct. Like many shows in recent times, they have been filmed for widescreen presentation in anticipation no doubt of the move to high definition television and the growing preponderance in most markets of widescreen televisions and widescreen broadcasts. However, the DVD is also encoded with Auto Pan & Scan information, so you can also get to suffer the grain problem in full blown Pan & Scan, too.
Just about everything you can possibly say about the video transfer boils down to the one issue - that darn grain. This is an incredibly grainy transfer that hides an awful lot of everything. The overall sharpness is much reduced and at times becomes a tad too indistinct for my taste in this sort of show. Detail as a result also suffers somewhat, although generally is quite good. Shadow detail is generally good although there are the odd lapses into the average realm. However, this is no worse than one would generally expect for a television show. Obviously this is not collection of really clear transfers at all. There did not appear to be any problems with low level noise in the transfer, although the grain could have hidden any such problem pretty well.
In general, the colours have come up pretty well. Obviously much of the show is filmed in enclosed environments and one would not be expecting loads of bright, vibrant colours. Still, when the opportunity was given in exterior locations, the colours did come up quite bright and vibrant, and quite utterly natural. There is no problem with oversaturation nor colour bleed in the transfer.
There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer, apart from what looked to be a little blockiness in the background of the first episode around the 62:55 mark. This was also around the same mark that there was the start of a rather unusual artefact in the transfer, and one that I am not familiar with. It would appear to be a problem with the video interlacing, but I am not certain. Starting at around 62:55 of disc one and continuing until about 64:25, there is what appears to be a distinct see-through line down the middle of the picture. The video on the one side seems to be very so slightly out with the video on the other side, and at the same time the motion seems to be a little jerky. I really do not know what it is, but once I noticed it, it really distracted my viewing. Other than that, there was minor problems with film-to-video artefacts, mainly some minor aliasing here and there that really was not of a huge concern. There are no real problems with film artefacts here at all.
Disc two of the two DVD is an RSDL
formatted DVD and the layer change comes at 24:23
during the second episode on the disc, making the overall change point
66:49. You cannot miss it - its right
in the middle of a scene and Carter's head just seems to hang in the motion
of doing something. I would have thought that there were far better places
to insert the layer change since the show would have "natural" breaks where
television stations would insert their advertisements.
The dialogue comes up well and is quite clear and easy to understand throughout the episodes. There did no seem to be any issue with audio sync here at all.
The original music comes from Joel Goldsmith in general, with the aid of a bunch of other people on an episode by episode basis. As is to be generally expected from a television series, there is not much here that is liable to be confused with a masterpiece, but it does its job pretty well and is quite supportive of the show throughout.
For a television show, this is not a bad surround-encoded
soundtrack. It is quite distinctly surround-encoded with a fair deal of
action through both the front and the rear surround channels,. It certainly
is not going to be confused with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack with loads
of surround channel usage, but it is pretty decent. Obviously lacking any
bass channel at all, it is only missed rarely - notably when the Goa'uld
death glider crashes. Perhaps a bit more bass would have helped the experience
of the Goa'uld energy weapons, but overall there is not much to complain
about for what it is. Just a little congested at times, it is better than
would normally be expected from a television source.
|Surround Channel Use|
© Ian Morris (have
a laugh, check out the bio)
17th December 2000
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 80cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Amplification||Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|