PictureMGM have provided a 1.78:1 aspect ratio anamorphically enhanced for widescreen TV's picture with an average bitrate of 3 - 5 Mbps, though did drop as low at 2 Mbps. On the whole the picture is good, but nothing special. Since this is 'Atlantis' there are many blue tints to remind us of the water connection, and these are pleasing and clear. Contrast and brightness are well balanced with no loss of detail even in the background. Colours are clear without bleed or wash. With such a new series there was no print damage, though film grain was visible very occasionally. These was a little edge enhancement in all episodes, though I noticed no compression problems. All this is very positive, however the picture looked like TV, slightly thin with little depth, nothing to detract from the mastering; just a function of the production.
SoundThere are two Dolby digital 5.1 surround audio tracks, English and German. For a TV production I was quite surprised by the amount of use the rears received. Ambient sounds as well as shots, ships, and wormhole 'whoosh' all provided a pleasant surround experience. Dialogue was fixed to the centre speaker and is the dominant sound, the score is nicely realised though out all the channels, and this is where the LFE spends most of its time, yet it does get to have one or two good thumps when the odd explosion hits the screen. Though, as with the picture, this is all good but nothing special. Overall separation was adequate, but there was a lack of decent bass, probably a function of the TV origins and the Dolby processing. Both tracks use the same surround track, with only the dubbing acting as the difference.
ExtrasThe featurette Preview to Stargate Atlantis is, in my view, miss-named. For rather than a preview of the series, it is more a making of, and more specifically a making of the pilot episode. It has plenty of clips, interspersed with interviews, both on and off the set with the creators, directors, producers, special effects teams and actors. There is plenty of information given in the 23 minute run time, with reasonable depth to all subjects discussed.
The set tour is a videocam shoot with the two directors Martin Wood & Peter Deluise, taking you behind the scenes literally. A very light hearted affair with much mickey taking from both, little technical information as this is mostly covered in the 'preview', but it's amusing to see a set of set ladders against the 'digital stargate' and hear that the cost of most props is $85,000, if you believe the price gun......
The photo gallery is a three minute slideshow of 50 production and publicity stills set to the music of the show. And to round off there are two trailers, one for SG1 and the other for Atlantis.
VerdictIt is difficult for me to give a full verdict on this new show; these four episodes are all that I have seen. Of these I was entertained, but not enthralled and I have no desire to go out and purchase the next volume. Perhaps that is the best verdict of all.....
As a DVD package MGM have put together a reasonable offering, and at a reasonable price, well if you get it form the web that is, yet I can't help but think that these, like SG1 before them, will soon become a complete season set, making this disc somewhat redundant.
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