Any Xena Season One reviews yet ?

Sven Lorenz

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The original boxset that was sold via the official site was really overpriced and supposedly very bad - that's why I never bought it.
Does anybody here already have the new Anchor Bay boxset or know of any reviews of that boxset ?
 

David Lambert

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I found it early. I'm skimmed through it briefly to make sure each disc worked. I took enough time to note the video quality.

The video quality reminds me of Mad About You Season 1.


I haven't popped it into my PC yet to check the bitrate or do anything else. It's just that on my 34" HDTV it just looks rather low-res overall, especially in the many outdoorsy scenes. I would hate to think of what it looks like on your larger RP screens!


As to the 5.1 sound mix, I didn't hear anything yet that knocked my socks off.


Gord Lacey, owner of TVShowsOnDVD.com, got the offical review copy for our site and will get to the review just as soon as he can. I can't say for sure whether it will be posted in time for the street date next Tuesday, though.
 

Dan Rudolph

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I believe the discs are identical to the previous release. Anchor Bay just repacjaked them. The first season was on a pretty low budget, which may contribute to the poor video.
 

Dan Rudolph

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Well, according to that review it's the source. If that's the case, it will look much better for season 2. We'll have to wait and see.
 

Jerome

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Does anybody has seen the Bonus Disc that Best Buy offered, with the 60 minutes Documentary ?
 

James Reader

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The R2 Universal Playback discs for season 1 aren't a disaster picture wise - I would say that they were on par, if not slightly better than Buffy season 1 and 2 which were also filmed 16mm.
 

James Reader

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I don't know. They're not perfect I'll admit. From my recollection season 1 wasn't that bad - season 2 suffers from a number of faults including an annoying "action blur" on rapid movement. (As do other later seasons)

But perhaps I'm remembering wrong. I'll check tonight if I have time.
 

Sven Lorenz

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DVDFile have their review up and they basically say the same - terrible grain, washed-out colours but no compression faults.
And since Xena has always looked extremely grainy and washed-out on TV, I guess that the boxset is as good as it gets.
The R2/R4 releases suffer from terrible compression faults (blocking, smearing, crawling, aliasing) so the R1 set seems to be the way to go.
And on amazon.ca I can get it for about 54 Euros (60 US$) including DHL Express shipping.
 

James Reader

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I really can't remember much being wrong with the UK Season 1 set that wasn't due to the source material. But it looks like I'm wrong. :b

Either way, the US is the way to go as at least they'll have the episodes in the right order!
 

Dan Rudolph

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I seem to recall Xena season 2 looking a bit better on tv and everything after that looking much better. Am I remembering correctly?
 

Sven Lorenz

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Yes, I remember that too.
And I've read that sometime during season three or four (can't remember which) they started shooting the show in widescreen.
 

PhilipG

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They started shooting w/s in season 3. However season 4 was when they did the sfx for the full widescreen frame. Therefore, my semi-educated guess is:

OAR for season 3: 4:3
OAR for season 4+: 16:9

By OAR I mean "intended"


If Anchor Bay was doing the mastering, then I'd be reasonably confident of discs with the above ARs. However, since they're not, I'm more than a little worried (particularly since the finale was previously released on DVD in 4:3).
 

Sven Lorenz

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On the DVDFile.com forum someone contacted Anchor Bay about the widescreen issue and they replied that they will release the later seasons in widescreen if possible.
 

Sven Lorenz

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I have the set now - the video is very grainy but it still looks better than I've ever seen the show.
I'd say the quality is about the same as the first season of Buffy concerning the grain but it doesn't have the smearing during fast movements that the Buffy boxset had.
And the grain is getting less towards the end of the season so we can assume that the quality will get better with each season.
It doesn't have any subtitles - which is annoying since some of the Australian guest stars have a unique way of dealing with the English language.
I haven't checked all episodes, but the few episodes that I have checked have five chapter stops and the second chapter begins right after the opening credits.

By the way, while looking for the best price for the Xena boxset I found out that the three-part-episode of Hercules that introduced the Xena character has been released on DVD as 'Hercules - The Legendary Journeys: The Xena Trilogy'.
I've ordered it (although it's more than a little bit expensive for only three episodes) but haven't received it yet - so I can't say anything about the quality.

All in all I'm really
about the boxset.
 

Will_B

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By the way, while looking for the best price for the Xena boxset I found out that the three-part-episode of Hercules that introduced the Xena character has been released on DVD as 'Hercules - The Legendary Journeys: The Xena Trilogy'.
That Hercules' Xena trilogy is an early DVD effort (early for an indie company that is) so the compression or mastering or whatever one calls it is pretty terrible - it looks as if there is cheesecloth over one's screen. Very very bad.
 

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