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Ab Fab: Absolutely Special (1 Viewer)

James Reader

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I've heard a rumour (well, it's a post on DVDTalk actually) that the September Ab Fab release will be both "The Last Shout" and the 2002 Christmas Special "Gay".

David - drop everything and follow this lead up now. We must know the contents of this disc! :)

...

Well go on. What are you waiting for? :D
 

Mark-W

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Well, even if one goes to www.dvdpricesearch.com
note that French & Saunders: Living in a Material World
and French & Saunders: The Ingenue Years
are both being released on September 2, 2003,
along with Absolutely Special.

Also Of note, the French & Saunders DVDs are both
listed about $11.00,
while Absolutely Special is listed at about $18.00

Since all are from Warner Bros, the difference in
price might suggest that both specials will be on AB FAB DVD, since (awareness and US popularity aside), it would be hard to justify nearly twice the price for a DVD that only contained The Last Shout or Gay respectively. Also, I think they would've just called it The Last Shout if that was the only thing that was going to be on there.

Here's hoping...


Sweetie! Sweetie! Sweetie!

Cheers, thanks a lot.

Mark
 

James Reader

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Heres the details

http://www.playusa.com/playusa.asp?p...1&title=126281

Two special episodes of the BBC comedy series ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS are included in this collection. First in "Absolutely Fabulous in New York," Patsy (Joanna Lumley) and Edina (Jennifer Saunders) travel to the Big Apple where Edina's son has been secretly living. Then, in "The Last Shout," Edina's daughter Saffy is engaged to a rich, handsome, eligible bachelor. Guest stars include Deborah Harry and Whoopi Goldberg.
 

Francis Yee Loy

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I was about to buy both the Ab Fab Special DVD and the French & Saunders discs, but I just read this:

http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASI...949051-5777142

Botched transfer on newest of the two specials, September 25, 2003
Reviewer: from West Hollywood, CA USA
There are two special episodes of AbFab on this disc, and first of all Warner Home Video should be thanked for packaging them together at a good price. BUT (and you knew it was coming) - the latest special, titled "Gay" on screen and "AbFab in N.Y." on the box cover art, suffers from a really bad transfer error.

As you may already know, all of Season 4 and this newest episode were shot in High Definition (HD) by the BBC, and on the Season 4 DVD set those episodes were transferred correctly into anamorphic widescreen.

While the vast majority of viewers won't benefit from this process just yet (until they upgrade their sets) HD widescreen material can be dealt with properly on DVD for standard TVs by slightly letterboxing the image (i.e. putting small black bars at the top and bottom of the screen image).

Unfortunately rather than just letterbox the newest episode (and properly do an anamorphic transfer) they decided instead on this release to severely crop the sides of the picture to fill up the screen. While this would be OK with most TV shows, as they are shot with a "safe area" in mind, it simply does not work with AbFab because the director very boldly took advantage of the widescreen format to lay out his shots and character interactions.

What this means for both widescreen and regular sized screen viewers is that in almost every shot where there are more than two people in the frame characters are now totally cut off on either side of the screen. You end up missing a lot of reactions by the actors to each other, and not seeing who they are talking to in the frame many times. The show really suffers for it comedy-wise, not to mention how cramped the scenes now can play.

While this series may not sell a lot of DVDs for Warners (and, again we should note that it is a good thing that they do release it), it is really important to transfer episodes properly so viewers can see each episode as it was framed for broadcast. If they didn't want to spend the additional money to do the correct anamorphic transfer they should have at least letterboxed the newest episode so actors didn't get cut off the screen.

This is a major disappointment in an otherwise well done package - which not only offers outtakes from the older episode from its original video release by the way, but also adds new outtakes from the most recent episode.

While Warner Home Video will most likely let this disc slide, let's hope they go back to doing things properly for the upcoming new Season 5 episodes when they come to DVD.

Has anyone else bought this disc and checked it out? I love Ab Fab, but if it's been cropped and not presented in its proper widescreen presentation, I think I may have to just rent it instead! If this DVD is indeed not widescreen or anamorphic, I would think that Warner should re-issue a properly mastered version. Why would they go to the trouble of presenting the first 4 seasons in their OAR (Seasons 1-3 were 1.33:1 and Season 4 was 1.78:1 Anamorphic) and then Pan & Scan the latest episode? Who can we address this issue to?

Francis
 

Brian W.

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Yes, I watched it last night, and it is VERY obvious that it was cropped, and that 1:33 was NOT the intended aspect ratio -- speaking characters with their faces halfway off camera, very crowded-looking frame, etc. Both my friend and I noticed it, and he said he was going to check his off-the-air tape to see if it was originally broadcast in widescreen.

The Last Shout was shot before Season Four, if I'm not mistaken, and I think it was shot 1.33. The only explanation I can come up with is that they thought people would complain if one special was 1.33 and one was 1.85. But it's awful. They should remaster the disc.
 

Francis Yee Loy

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The Last Shout was shot before Season Four, if I'm not mistaken, and I think it was shot 1.33. The only explanation I can come up with is that they thought people would complain if one special was 1.33 and one was 1.85. But it's awful. They should remaster the disc.
Yes, The Last Shout was originally 1.33:1 on broadcast and on my VHS copy. I don't understand how people would have any issue with the different specials being in different aspect ratios. The first two French & Saunders DVDs previously released have the main (older)program in 1.33:1 and the new bonus specials in widescreen. I have not yet checked the new French & Saunders "Ingenue Years/Living in a Material World" discs to see if they are also like this.

Warner, please remaster this disc!! Ab Fab fans would like to see the special as it was originally filmed and broadcast by the BBC.

Francis :angry:
 

James Reader

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Yes. Gay was shot Widescreen, which is how the BBC UK DVD is framed (which I recieved this Monday).

The Last Shout is, and always has been 1.33:1.
 

Francis Yee Loy

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Thanks, James for the clarification.

I just found out also that the Warner US DVD does NOT include the audio commentary from Jennifer Saunders and Jon Plowman! Double Drat!!

I think I might just have to purchase the BBC UK DVD instead of this truncated North American version...It's a pity, because the rest of the series has been treated extremely well so far, until now.

Amazon.co.uk, here I come!

Francis :frowning:
 

James Reader

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That's odd. I was certain the UK only got the commentary because it was recorded for the US - after all 'Gay' was to be released in the first quarter of 2003 over here, but was moved to September to match the US release (or so I thought). I've had it on pre-order for months and months as a result.

Are you sure the commentary is not on? And does the US disc include any supplements for The Last Shout other than the ubiquitous outtakes?
 

Brian W.

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Yes. Gay was shot Widescreen, which is how the BBC UK DVD is framed (which I recieved this Monday).
Ohh...ohh... I wish I would have known all this before I bought it. The UK DVD is widescreen AND there's a commentary on it?!? Well, I'm ordering that one. There'll be no PAL speedup since it was shot on video. Just wish I hadn't already spent 20 bucks on the shitty US version.

What happened? Warner almost always releases things OAR. Somebody dropped the ball on this one.
 

John Berggren

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I wish they had done this properly. However, we've been waiting forever for the LAST SHOUT, so I don't see how we can hold off :frowning:.
 

Sean Laughter

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OK, this REALLY pisses me off. I've been waiting forever for these two pieces of AbFab hysteria, and now it's been all botched to hell!!

What exactly do I need to play the UK disc? I'd assume I need a region-free player and a TV that supports PAL - or a HTPC??
 

Brian W.

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You don't need a special TV, Sean, just a region-free player or a player with a region-free hack. Cyberhome has a hack, and I've seen the players for well under 100 bucks at Fry's and Best Buy.
 

Brian W.

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I wonder if the UK DVD retained the little bit that was snipped from the US DVD on "Gay"? There's a tiny little bit at the fashion show involving Patsy's drinking bottle, just a few seconds, that was snipped, possibly due to music rights issues. I have a friend who taped it off TV, and we compared them.
 

David Lambert

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How can that be if the UK DVD is 16:9?
Good question, and one I don't have the answer to.

And yes, it's possible that Warner "instructed" the BBC to make such a change.

But supposedly all content for BBC, HBO, New Line, Natl. Geographic, and PBS branded DVDs are decided upon by those individual organizations, and Warner merely distributes what they are handed. Just as Paramount does the same for CBS, MTC, and Nick material.


Nah, I think the screw-up was a BBC (possibly in the BBCAmerica branch).
 

John Berggren

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Perhaps the fact that "GAY" has been MARred relates to the fact that they couldn't even call it "GAY" in the states. "ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS IN NEW YORK" was hardly a necessary title change.

They probably figure, we can't handle it being called GAY, we can't handle having 2 different ARs on a DVD set.

Warner has had split ARs on a release before. Babylon 5 Gathering/In The Beginning has proper AR for both presentations.
 

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