buck rogers in the 25th century dvd release

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by kingfish, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. jcroy

    jcroy Screenwriter

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    I get the impression the dvd portion of many bluray players, were added in as an afterthought. I wouldn't be surprised if they were the exact same circuit designs used in a particular manufacturer's older dvd player models from many years ago.
    For example, I have a bluray player and an older dvd player both manufactured by Toshiba. It turns out on the known problematic dvds I have, both Toshiba players freeze and/or skip at exactly the same places on a particular disk. Using another dvd or bluray player manufactured by a different company, I've noticed the freezing and/or skipping behavior on these same problematic disks is typically different.
     
  2. Bryan Tuck

    Bryan Tuck Screenwriter

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    Of course, it'd still be nice to have the theatrical version in widescreen, since it was likely matted to 1.85 when in theaters (Maybe they can release a Blu-ray of that sometime).
    But still, this is great news that both versions of the pilot will now be available. Thanks, Universal!
     
  3. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    No it wouldn't because then you'd be *losing* picture information as that kind of matteing requires "masking" of the original TV image in order to creat the fake widescreen necessary for theatrical release.
     
  4. DeWilson

    DeWilson Cinematographer

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    Is it confirmed it was shot 1:33 and then masked for theatrical release?
     
  5. Brian Himes

    Brian Himes Screenwriter

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    I'm not sure of the aspect ratio for the film, but it was originally shot as a TV movie before it was decided to release it theatrically.
    Larson wanted to do with Buck Rogers what he had originally wanted done with Battlestar Galactica. Galactica and Buck were envisioned as a series of TV movies rather than a weekly TV series. In both cases the network (ABC for Galactica and NBC for Buck) decided to take them both to series instead. Now by the time that Buck was being produced, Galactica had already been released in theatres and had done very well. This led Universal to releasing Buck in theatres first.
     
  6. Guest

    So, are the new sets the same transfers for the other episodes?
     
  7. Jeff*H

    Jeff*H Supporting Actor

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    I have the Season 1 set and The Complete Series, and those transfers appear identical, as are the disc menus. Season 2 should be the same as well, and the 2-part version of the pilot that wasn't featured in The Complete Series should be the same as it appears on Netflix in all likelihood.
     
  8. Bryan Tuck

    Bryan Tuck Screenwriter

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    If it was intended as a TV movie, then it may have been shot to protect for both 1:33 and 1.85 (or at least 1.66), as releasing US TV movies in international theaters wasn't unheard of in the 70s. And as with most open-matte films of the time, it wouldn't be a simple matter of matting the existing transfer. Certain shots may have been slightly zoomed for the 4:3 version, and a widescreen version might reveal more on the sides for certain shots.
    This is all complete speculation, of course, but it's probable that the film was shown at 1.85 in theaters, and I think there'd be value in presenting it that way on disc (as Universal did with the original Battlestar Galactica DVD, even though it was non-anamorphic). Of course, the TV version should be presented at 4:3, which I'm sure it will be.
     
  9. Brian Himes

    Brian Himes Screenwriter

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    Yeah, I'm not sure how the movie was filmed. I haven't been able to find out when I was researching it a while back. I was also unable to find out if the additional scenes (for the TV version of the pilot) were filmed at the same time or film later. I know that the final scene in the TV version of the pilot was filmed after NBC decided to pick up the series. I believe that at least a couple of the additional scenes were deleted scenes that were cut for the theatrical version. There is a scene with Wilma and Twiki just after the return from Ardala's ship. In the TV version the scene is longer than the theatrical version. Also the scene with Dr. Huer and the Computer Council (where he convinces them to let Buck try and prove he was on Ardala's ship) seems to be a deleted scene from the film.
    The two scenes inside what would become Buck's apartment, I believe were filmed specifically for the TV version to fill out the running time and help set up the rest of the series. Something about the way Gil Gerard looks in those scenes makes me think they were filmed after the movie.
    If Universal wanted additional material to fill out the running time of the movie , then why isn't the scene with Draco at the celebration on Earth in the TV version? Or better yet, why was it not included in the theatrical version either? Pictures from that scene have been floating around for years. I'd really love to see that scene.
     
  10. Tom Brennan

    Tom Brennan Screenwriter

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    Wow, great news that the TV version of the pilot is finally seeing an official release. I've always wanted to edit a hybrid of the theatrical and TV version together... so now I'll be able to!
     
  11. kingfish

    kingfish Screenwriter

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    the a team was re released as single sided discs that came in a cardboard replica of the a team van.
     
  12. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    Draco's cameo at the end of the movie is also missing from the TV version, so Draco (Joseph Wiseman) didn't appear in the TV version at all. Maybe there was something contractual to that edit, or more likely, they needed to cut that amount of footage to make room for the ending tag in Buck's apartment (which I think was more down to NBC wanting it than Universal).
    My guess for the "celebration" scene being edited out of the theatrical may have been down to runtime (to keep it below 90 minutes, so as to allow for more screenings).
     
  13. Jeff*H

    Jeff*H Supporting Actor

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    I've completed my upgrade of the series with the arrival today of the Season 2 DVD set. As with the Season 1 re-release, the first 3 discs are exactly the same as the Complete Series release. The fourth and final disc originally featured the final Season 2 episode only ("The Dorian Secret"), and it's still featured here as well, along with the last-minute addition of the TV version of the pilot ("Awakening"). Interestingly, the TV pilot is not listed anywhere in the packaging and rear cover liner notes, nor in the Disc 4 description on the interior jacket (it only mentions "The Dorian Secret"), suggesting that they already had the jacket printed before they changed their mind and added the pilot, and didn't feel it was necessary to go back and incur the added expense of re-printing the jacket. No biggie. They do mention the pilot via a sticker on the cellophane wrapping around the DVD case on the front of the box. There are Season 2 images on the back of the box and the interior jacket, including one image from the pilot oddly enough despite the lack of mentioning it in the episode listings. The Disc 4 menu itself has been updated to display both "The Dorian Secret" and "Awakening", as you would expect. There is a new Universal 100th anniversary intro that boots up the disc, other than that and the menu change, no additional changes that I can find. After you press 'Play' on the Awakening pilot, it goes straight into the beginning of the episode, foregoing the Universal intro that the other episodes all launched with. As for the tv pilot itself, it runs 1 hour and 37 minutes, and is not split into 2-parts, meaning this was probably a transfer of the original NBC premiere broadcast that introduced the series in a 2-hour time block, and not the 2-part syndicated version that had cuts. The good news is that the new ending that set up the rest of the series is intact as it should be. One minor note: the picture has lots of scratches, and is slightly dark in some scenes, very grainy in parts, and the color is somewhat faded compared to the Season 2 shows on the disc, which look much better (albeit the same as the previous release). A minor quibble, because I didn't really expect any remastering or a new transfer to be used. Overall, it's nice to truly have the Complete Series at last with both the theatrical and tv versions of the pilot now on DVD. Perhaps one day we will see this on blu-ray, but I wouldn't expect that anytime soon--maybe if it returns to TV syndication someday, new HD transfers will be struck, although I'd much rather see the original BATTLESTAR GALACTICA get that treatment first (Universal, are you listening?--2013 is the 35th anniversary of GALACTICA, show it some love and get it out on blu-ray!) In the meantime, I'm thrilled that Universal listened to the fans on this one and gave us what we asked for, regardless of the mediocre print quality. That's worth a few points in my book. Now all the fans can throw away their flawed Complete Series release knowing that these season releases are indeed an upgrade in both content and disc quality (no more double-sided discs!)
     
  14. Jason_V

    Jason_V Producer

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    Thanks for the review, Jeff. Buck Rogers (the two new releases) are both on my radar for some point in the future. I have fond memories of watching episodes either in first run or syndication back in the 80s and wouldn't mind revisiting the series again.
     
  15. ScottRE

    ScottRE Stunt Coordinator

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    Agreed, this is great to finally have again. The TV version is very interesting in its own right. The print, I can confirm, is pretty stark. Like they had a 16mm transfer and slapped it on there. Or some old VHS copy. Oddly enough, this didn't really bother me. You can tell the difference between the movie and the TV epilogue, though. Two totally different styles and everyone seems more relaxed. I was never a fan of the premiere episode of Buck anyway - it was too silly and stiff at the same time. When Bruce Lansbury came in, things improved dramatically and Huer and Wilma lightened up considerably. Buck actually got darker to offset his sense of humor. The epilogue even mentions that (which I had forgotten); that Buck uses his goofy sense of humor to hide from the pain of his loss. As for the second season itself, I always enjoyed it. Time of the Hawk is probably the most well written and performed episode of the series, Dr. Goodfellow and Twiki's new voice notwithstanding (thanksfully they'd rehire Mel Blanc soon enough but he was very much toned down). I liked Admiral Asimov although I missed Tim O'Connor; he should have at least been given one lousy scene to say goodbye to Buck and Wilma. While the little sailor suits looked ridiculous, it gave us tons of views of Erin Gray's amazing legs. So no hate here for that. Gil put on weight and his tight costumes did nothing for him. Aside from that Hawk is amazing (such a shame he was never used to this advantage again). Like Maya in the second year of Space:1999, Hawk is a primary reason why these episodes are as enjoyable as they were. Thom Christopher was outstanding. The episode itself was just great all the way through, with a very 1981 impressive aerial battle and a deadly serious showdown between Hawk and Buck at the end. Then Buck gives his speech and for once, Gil Gerard steps up and really runs with it. It's beautifully written and acted. Gil's best work. The end, when Hawk agrees to join them, with that great Bruce Broughton score, puts a lump in my throat every time. Then Hawk goes "on patrol" every other week. . . Still, there are some fine episodes to follow: The Guardians is fantastic. As are Journey to Oasis (great music by John Cavacas), Testimony of a traitor (another missed opportunity for a Huer guest shot), The Satyr, and Hand of the Goral. The format change was unfortunate, aping BSG and Star Trek far too closely ("lost tribes of Earth" was VERY Galactica). Losing William Conrad's opening narration sucked too, but at least the new narration made sense. The orbit no longer freezes Bucks life support systems, which was ludicrous. The narration adheres more closely to the original movie. The change trend is kind of annoying. Much like Space:1999, SeaQuest, Human Target, and War of the Worlds, Buck Rogers had a major retooling for its second year. Characters were dropped and the primary thrust of the series was changed. Unlike most fans, I actually enjoyed 1999 and Buck's new adventures (and SeaQuest's changes were okay at the start). But Buck was marginally popular in its first season. The changes were unnecessary, but to be honest, I liked the removal of Disco from the series. Neither season was perfect, but all in all, it was a hell of a fun show. I would have liked to see it continue. The discs are the same as before. The single sided goodness this time is much appreciated.
     
  16. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    Yes. Thanks for the review Jeff. I forgot season 2 was even being released this week. I will order it now.
     
  17. Bryan Tuck

    Bryan Tuck Screenwriter

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    The pilot looks as if it's from an old broadcast video master, while the rest of the episodes (both seasons) were probably taken from film elements. Maybe that's the best they could do with the time and budget they had, but it looks pretty bad compared to the rest of the series. On the plus side, I imagine this is exactly the way it aired in 1979, and it's nice to have it at all.
     
  18. ScottRE

    ScottRE Stunt Coordinator

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    It's funny about the TV edit: when Buck walks away from Wilma at Anarchia, she says he won't get away again, which references an earlier part of the tour scene that was cut for TV. They also cut out Buck kicking Tigerman in the jewels, so anyone who hadn't seen the feature version had no idea what Buck did to him. They also replaced Twiki's testicle joke (this was a weird script) and his way offputting scream of agony when he grabbed the wires. And I forgot how useless Emperor Drago was in the movie. Since they did an epilogue anyway, it's kind of a shame they didn't take the opportunity to film something for Buck to do to Tigerman that didn't involve a kick in the nuts and sticking a bomb to his backside. Actually, I thought that colored Buck in a negative light somewhat. Anyway, it would have helped explain the return of Tigerman to the series. That part of me who is nostalgic for watching TV in the same way I did as a kid, I don't mind the lower quality pilot print. Aside from the epilogue, I think the movie plays better anyway. But again, it's still not nearly as good as the best of the series.
     
  19. Radioman970

    Radioman970 Lead Actor

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    I finally finished Season 2 from the old set and, much to my surprise, liked most pretty well. Not as good as Season 1 but not the crap people would lead you to believe. I don't remember watching Season 2 in the day... but I'm sure I did. Season 1 is just more memorable. A blu ray of this series is probably much much less likely than a blu ray of the film Ice Pirates.
     
  20. Curtis F

    Curtis F Stunt Coordinator

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    Aside from it not being split into two parts, does anyone know whether Awakening is the same as the Netflix version? Or is the Netflix version still missing something?
     

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