PictureYou aren't going to get ultimate detail, here. There is a presence of noise, like 24 or NYPD Blue, that tries to present a gritty documentary feel. I am not sure if this is a good thing or not; you lose definition and the finest intricacies of the filmed picture but gain that “The French Connection” feel. Perhaps because of the added grain, there is a more than average amount of artifacting, but not so much to make the series unwatchable. I can see why the decision was made, as every effort has been made to make Battlestar Galactica as real as possible. Effects are a little disappointing in quality and aren't up to Enterprise levels of realism. Handy, then that the cinematography makes up for things with crash zooms, off focus tracking shots etc. Most shots are from point of view perspectives, again trying to get that documentary feel.
SoundAs mentioned earlier, audio has been given a unique touch in Battlestar Galactica. In space, the sound becomes oddly muted, or muffled. There is deep bass, but treble is rolled off very early on alongside an overall reduction in volume (except bass). Strangely, this works very well, working with the action and overall design of the series. Rear speakers are used, more so than you would expect, but again I find that it is the centre channel that contains all the nuances and fine aural detail. The way Commander Adama's dry voice crackles with character, or the click of high heels as Number 6 is first introduced. The mix is not totally consistent, though. I sometimes forgot this is a 5.1 track. It is almost as if the sound technicians are getting used to the software and have their on and off days. Music, however is not good at all. There is a lack of identity or drive could have easily added to the series. It is strange that the only musical points of note are those that use the original theme from the 70's.
ExtrasCommentaries are very good, if a little dry. Devils advocate is played out over contentious issues the team had to make alongside the ubiquitous, if roundly deserved, back patting. Missing plot points are mentioned and the reasons for dropping them explained. Unusually, some bask stage fighting is discussed with one scene, revealing very candid conversations betwixt studio and director. Battlestar Galactica: The Lowdown is a pretty good documentary, edited from various interviews given from the cast, generally on location. There is one part where the new Starbuck meets the old (a surprisingly switched on Dirk Benedict) in a Starbucks coffee shop. They seem to get along very well, so much so that I reckon that a cameo has got to be in the offing. Another good insight takes place at a large comic convention where the whole cast and crew meet the crowd. At this time there was a lot of controversy because the production had the temerity to change the formula from the original. The cast were nervous and prepared for the worst. Good though these extras are, there are not quite the quantity here that I expected. Some cast members in the commentary would be nice, as would some on set featurettes to back up some topics mentioned in commentaries and the documentary.
VerdictThis is very good sci-fi that, alongside good old fashioned spaceships, tries to make grounded social commentary without the tiresome formula of the Trek franchise. Excitement, shock and a real urge to offer wildly different tastes to the viewer, Battlestar Galactica succeeds on every level. There are some hard scenes to watch, and the atmosphere can be a little bleak, but honestly, truthfully, this is a great disc.
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