PictureMGM has provided a 1.78:1 aspect anamorphically enhanced for widescreen TV's picture with an average bitrate of 5.84 Mbps. The picture for this TV show is good as any I've seen, comparable to many top rated film titles. To start off with the picture has a super detail level, everything is sharp and precise, even in the dark, even in smoke filled rooms. Colours are bold and natural, as well as striking when necessary. In the Episode Avatar, the lighting is set up to emulate a computer game, reds and blues bounce of the screen in a glorious rainbow. Brightness and contrast throughout the season run is excellent, with nice grading and deep blacks. Again I point to Avatar as a superb example, though within episodes with the Goa'uld spaceships there is wonderful definition of the hieroglyphs set in the golden background. Digitally there were no compression problems, likewise was there no edge enhancement, similarly there was no print damage or film grain. The only problem I encountered occurred in only two episodes and that was a slight red tinge in one or two scenes, making skin tones all rather pink. These only showed up because the rest of the episode print was so good. All in all quite excellent.
SoundEach episode is given two audio tracks, English Dolby digital 5.1 and French 2.0 surround. The English tracks vary quite wildly between episodes, though never bad, some shine far beyond the others. Each episode has excellent range and is wonderfully dynamic; every time a scene is set in the SGC there is this terrific low rumble barely audible but always persistent. Most of the episodes concentrate their separation to the front three, but there are also some that exhibit some excellent full on surround effects; this is where the inconsistency occurs. Those episodes that use the full range and separation of the front and rear speakers are as good as any track I've heard; dynamic, thumping, clear and precise, but as good as they are, those that concentrate at the front let the side down and unfortunately their number far out way the good. So whilst there are no bad episodes, those with the better experience really stand out, making one think that the rest are rather stodgy. An illusion of course, and perhaps if the series is watched over a longer time frame than my viewing this may not even notice, but it was the feeling I was left with. Even still, for a TV show, I was still impressed.
ExtrasEach episode (except Threads) gets a commentary from its director, sometimes joined with another production member or actor. Some are obviously better, normally the ones with Peter DeLuise, than others, but all contain a wealth of information for fans of the show.
Each disc also contains a photo gallery containing stills from the show and production photographs.
There are a three featurettes entitled directors series concentrating on Avatar, Covenant and Reckoning in which the director talks us through ideas and shots of the episode, all filmed with a camcorder and incorporating behind the scenes filming and interviews. Although running for about eight minutes each, there is plenty of information given and are all worth watching.
The two Beyond the gate featurettes feature Anderson and Judge talking about specific instances they have been involved in outside of the show. Anderson discusses his decoration by the Air Force whilst Judge talks about conventions. Plenty of information in both of these even considering their short run time of fifteen minutes.
VerdictStargate SG-1 is a terrific series that has become one of the longest running sci fi shows on American TV, with this the eighth instalment being one of the best of the series' entire run. As a DVD set MGM have provided an excellent picture with sound to match (mostly) and an outstanding extras package that deserves its place along side the best of the box sets out there.
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