Stargate SG-1 - Volume 2

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Details At A Glance

Category Science Fiction/Television Main Menu Audio and Animation
Year Released 1998
Running Time 169:44 minutes
RSDL/Flipper Dual Layer
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Selection, then Menu
Region 2,4 Director Jonathon Glassner
Martin Wood
David Warry-Smith
Fox Home Entertainment
Starring Richard Dean Anderson
Michael Shanks
Amanda Tapping 
Christopher Judge
Don S. Davis
Case Transparent Amaray
RPI $36.95 Music Joel Goldsmith
Richard Band
Kevin Kiner

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Auto Pan & Scan English (Dolby Digital 3.1 L-C-R-Sub)
German (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
Macrovision ?Yes Smoking No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Presentation Rant

    Refer to my review of Stargate SG-1 - Volume 1 for the full rant. Suffice it to say, where exactly are episodes 102 through 118? It might be nice to see them, especially since one of the characters in the episodes on Stargate SG-1 - Volume 2 appears during one of those episodes and the appearance here does not make much sense without knowing that.

Plot Synopsis

    Obviously these are continuing episodes of the television series Stargate SG-1, in my view one of the best science fiction shows on television in the past decade. Volume 2 starts us off at, rather surprisingly given the presentation of the series thus far by MGM, the start of Season Two. If you need a slight backgrounder to the series, then again refer to Stargate SG-1 - Volume 1.

   The episodes on offer are:

    The one immediate improvement in Season 2 is the greater chemistry between the main cast and these are good representations of the quality of the episodes of the second season. Overall, good production values are matched to good performances making this eminently watchable science fiction.

    Once again I welcome the arrival of anything of Stargate SG-1 on DVD on Region 4, but again am afraid that it can only be a lukewarm reception. Having missed out on the bulk of Season One, to jump into Season Two is not satisfactory and that is before we even consider the state of the actual transfers themselves. Whilst I doubt anything I say would really stop fans of the series from indulging in this DVD, really we would all be better off boycotting the DVD until such time as MGM give us the presentation we want and transfers that actually match the quality of the programming.

Transfer Quality


    You may well recall that the predominant problem with Stargate SG-1 - Volume 1 was more grain than that seen in the Wheatbelt during harvest time. Indeed, the general appearance was such that I was tempted to suggest that it was an electronic NTSC to PAL conversion, but that made little sense in view of there being no equivalent Region 1 release issued. Well guess what? More of the same I am afraid, although this time the grain harvest was not such a bumper crop.

    The transfers are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and are 16x9 enhanced. The DVD is also encoded with Auto Pan & Scan information.

    It really is a shame that the grain is once again such an issue, but it really is very difficult to ignore the problem. The first episode on the DVD is especially badly affected to the extent that I found it almost unwatchable. Whilst I am certainly not expecting anything approaching feature film standard, I would have though that given its recent origins, the transfer would have been a lot less afflicted with grain than it is. Overall sharpness suffers as a result of the grain and really this is not much more than an average transfer for its age. Detail is decent enough, although shadow detail could perhaps have been a lot better. Clarity is obviously quite average too, and there are indications of problems with low level noise in the transfer at times (most notably in some of the darker colours of the third episode on the DVD).

    In general, the colours have come up pretty well. This is aided a little by the brighter feel of the final episode on the DVD, but the enclosed environments still dominate the colours, with a natural darker tone to the whole transfer. Given the setting of the episodes, the overall result is quite natural, and the exterior locations especially allow the colours to come up quite bright and vibrant. There is no problem with oversaturation nor colour bleed in the transfer.

    There did not appear to be many significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer, although again there were hints of blockiness in the background on a number of occasions. The most obvious MPEG artefact though comes at 10:07 in the fourth episode, where there is an almost ghost-like loss of resolution in a rapid movement shot of O'Neill rescuing his fallen comrade. Most off-putting. There seems to be more of a problem with film-to-video artefacts in this transfer, with the first episode being especially blessed with huge amounts of shimmer that really does not combine well with the grain. Most episodes display some shimmer, but nothing quite as bad as that first episode, which is also blessed with some moiré artefacting at around 3:24. There are no real problems with film artefacts here at all.

    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.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-to-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are two soundtracks on the DVD, being an unusually configured English Dolby Digital 3.1 (L-C-R-Sub) soundtrack and a German Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. Since my German has still not improved, I stuck with the default English soundtrack. PowerDVD had plenty of problems with this DVD and the bit rates for the soundtracks could not be determined.

    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 Richard Band and Kevin Kiner. Once again fairly typical of what we would expect 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 soundtrack. There is a fair deal of action through both the left and right front channels, although the rears are obviously not brought into play here. It certainly is not going to be confused with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. There did not really seem to be much in the way of action from the bass channel. Whilst the whole show would certainly benefit from a good Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, there really is not not much to complain about here.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Another amazingly poor effort on the extras front - although given the average quality of the video transfer, perhaps they did not want to push the envelope any more by including any extras. The only real inclusion is a little promotional pamphlet for Fox and MGM releases, as well as a little feedback form which would indicate that Fox, already the enemy for going the rental window route with DVDs, are polling the DVD world for feedback on a move to up the price of specially packaged Special Edition DVDs by up to $5.00.


    Some audio and animation enhancement makes these decent efforts - even if they really have nothing much to do.

R4 vs R1

    There is no equivalent release to this in Region 1 at this time. When it does eventually come, I would not mind betting that it will be part of a Season Two box set, since that is the way MGM are going for the balance of Season One it seems.


    Stargate SG-1 - Volume 2 would again normally be welcomed with open arms by me and a whole bunch of fans of the show. The presentation however is again sub standard, in not being part of the preferred complete season box set and in having a rather problematic video transfer. If you especially hate grain, then you should not come within ... you know the deal. Large screen owners would probably be especially well advised to steer clear of this effort. Again, even fans of the show would be advised to rent this first to see if they are less affected than I by the video transfer.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris (have a laugh, check out the bio)
12th February, 2001.

Review Equipment
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