The disc presents a broadcast correct widescreen 2.20:1 1080i picture and is Region locked to B.
Shot in HD with the Red One camera the series look very good indeed, especially with that aspect ratio which gives an incredibly cinematic feel to the show. The detail is very good and able to pick out skin texture, clothing weaves, writing on (news)papers etc. but it is not absolutely pristine as in the very best the format can offer. This is not a defect of the camera or the print, but a comment on the filming style which tends to be a little on the soft side.
Colour tends towards the muted (or maybe understated would be a better word), also, but the primaries come across well without any wash or bleed. Flesh tones are very realistic, look at how pink noses can be compared to the paler faces when the characters are out in the cold, while the rest of the palette is well realised and natural.
Brightness and contrast are set to give very natural blacks, not that the series really uses them, darkened bedrooms, or night time scenes giving rise to the best uses, whereby depth and definition is well realised. Shadow detail is well apparent, look at Nyborgs black suits to see the detail hidden within. Brighter elements, such as background snow, or lighting, can occasionally show clipping, but this is more a result of the digital capture method than a print defect.
Digitally there are no compression problems, no edge enhancement or banding and posterization issues, mist and breath condensation shows no signs of blocking. It’s a clean and detailed picture that scores a very strong 7 out of 10.
Only the one track to choose from Danish dts-HD Hi Res 5.1. Since we’re dealing with a political drama please don’t expect huge amounts of bombast and effects flying around the room, it simply is not that kind of track. What it does have going for it is a naturalistic sound track whereby you feel that you are in the office, conference room, house, hall, street or whatever as the attention to detail is immense. Ambience is provided by the surround speakers and it is these that really add to the feel of space. The frontal array provides the dominant part of the track where the dialogue and limited stereo effects (such as cars, chatting, phones etc.) are situated. Dialogue itself is very natural sounding, given directionality when needed and makes up most of the sound track, which is only natural. The score makes full use of the speakers, slightly weighted towards the front, but again isn’t a dominant force. Bass is obviously limited, there are no LF effects to speak off and the sub is only used to fill out the bottom end of the score and ambience. It’s all clear and precise and natural sounding, what more could you ask for a dialogue heavy track?
The subtitles are in a large white font, grammatically correct and are on screen long enough that you don’t miss any action. They are positioned in the bottom centre of the picture, mostly within the picture itself, with only the very bottom half of the words appearing in the black boarders, so those with CIH projectors should be fine.
- Behind Borgen (55.03 SD) – The only extra on the set is found on the second disc and is a rather hefty ‘making of’ documentary that explores the genesis, gestation and fruition of the series by interviewing cast and crew alike. Interestingly it often has cast members ‘interviewing’ key crew, or their ‘real life’ counterparts which adds a new dimension to the information delivery over the normal ‘talking heads’. It goes into minute detail and it is very interesting to see how the sets mirror their ‘real life’ areas, especially the news studios. The only down side is the amount of season footage used to pad the run time (often used as linking material) – note of warning contains material from the first and second season so don’t watch until you’ve viewed all the episodes!
Whilst this is a terrific extra it is the only one, hence it is reflected in the score.
Borgen is a political drama set in Denmark that follows Birgitte Nyborg, the country’s first female Prime Minister, as she juggles her coalition government and the international platform that that entails with her home life as a newly divorced single mother with two children. Consistently excellent writing that provides compelling and entertaining viewing combined with a top notch cast and acting talent makes this show a richly rewarding expirience. Indeed it has gained many awards including last year’s prestigious BAFTA “Best International Award” and it is easy to see why. Like the very best TV shows the plot comes secondary to the characters and their relationships, you become invested with their motivations and willingly follow their plights in what amounts to incredibly compelling viewing. I implore anyone that is hesitant about the fact that the series is subtitled to put aside your prejudice because the series is well worth your time and comes highly recommended.
As a Blu-ray package this Region B locked set contains all ten of the season two episodes on two discs. Despite being 'second tier' in their presentation the picture and sound are still uniformly excellent, and despite there being only the one extra, it remains detailed, informative and entertaining; I therefore recommend this as a show well worth investing in.
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