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Blu-ray Review Battlestar Galactica: The Definitive Collection Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Todd Erwin, May 16, 2015.

  1. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Producer
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    XenForo Template Battlestar Galactica: The Definitive Collection Blu-ray Review

    The iconic late 1970s science fiction television series, Battlestar Galactica and its spinoff Galactica 1980 arrive on Blu-ray, remastered and mostly restored in both a Definitive and Remastered collection box set. The Definitive set presents the series in both its original broadcast aspect ratio and a recomposed 16:9 widescreen.


    Cover Art


    Studio: Universal

    Distributed By: N/A

    Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC, 1080P/VC-1

    Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1, 1.78:1, 1.85:1

    Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DTS, French 5.1 DTS, Other

    Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

    Rating: Not Rated, PG

    Run Time: 29 Hr. 26 Min.

    Package Includes: Blu-ray

    Multi-disc Blu-ray keepcases housed in a carboard shell

    Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

    Region: A, ABC

    Release Date: 05/12/2015

    MSRP: $149.98




    The Production Rating: 3.5/5

    With the success of Star Wars, ABC and Universal Television were desperate to cash in on the renewed interest in science fiction. Glen A. Larson, one of Universal’s top TV producers (McCloud, Quincy, M.E.), created and wrote the pilot episode for Battlestar Galactica, which premiered with much triumph and fanfare on ABC on Sunday, September 17, 1978 as a three-hour TV-movie event, with visual effects produced by John Dykstra, one of the pioneers on Star Wars. TV veteran Lorne Greene (Bonanza) played Commander Adama, leading the crew of the Galactica in search of Earth, after their home worlds (12 in all) are attacked and laid waste by the Cylons. Leading the warriors, tasked with protecting Galactica from further attack by the Cylons, are Adama’s son, Captain Apollo (Richard Hatch), ladies man and gambler Lt. Starbuck (Dirk Benedict), Lt. Boomer (Herbert Jefferson, Jr.), Colonel Tigh (Terry Carter), and Adama’s daughter, Athena (Maren Jensen). After a romantic subplot over the first few episodes between Apollo and single mother Serena (Jane Seymour), Apollo finds himself a step-father to young Boxey (a pre-NeverEnding Story Noah Hathaway). The series lasted only one season, consisting of 24 episodes (if you count the pilot as three and a 2-hour episode as two), cancelled due to dwindling ratings and rising costs (which led the producers to recycle many of the visual effects shots). Both the widescreen and full frame editions have identical episodes, but the full frame (which appears to be the international release) contains different chapter stops.

    After a letter-writing campaign by fans outraged over the cancellation, ABC and Universal approached Larson about possibly rebooting the series, but at a reduced budget. The result was Galactica 1980, moving the storyline ahead 30 years with Adama finally finding Earth. But this reboot was quite different from the original series, set in modern-day Los Angeles with the crew trying to help the inhabitants of Earth improve their technology to a level where they an defend themselves against the Cylons. The only cast members to return were Adama (again played by a now-bearded Lorne Greene) and Colonel Boomer (Herbert Jefferson, Jr.). Boxey is now all grown up, going by the name of Captain Troy, and played by Kent McCord (Adam-12), and has a sidekick, Lt. Dillon (Barry Van Dyke). Troy and Dillon meet TV journalist Jamie Hamilton (Robyn Douglas), who joins them on many of their adventures. Galactica 1980 is a much cheesier series than its predecessor, with way too many fish out of water jokes and a more streamlined effects budget that, in the first episode, uses effects shots from Earthquake as the backplates for the Cylons attack on Los Angeles. The series debuted on ABC as a replacement in January of 1980, and was cancelled before the eleventh episode was completed, with only ten episodes officially in the can and aired. The widescreen edition is spread over two discs, while the full frame (which again appears to be the international release) is spread over three discs.

    Rounding out the Definitive Collection is the edited theatrical version of the pilot episode, previously released on Blu-ray in 2013.

    Battlestar Galactica: The Original Series - Widescreen
    Disc One:
    Saga of a Star World
    Lost Planet of the Gods, Part 1
    Lost Planet of the Gods, Part 2


    Disc Two:
    The Lost Warrior
    The Long Patrol
    The Gun on Ice Planet Zero, Part 1
    The Gun on Ice Planet Zero, Part 2


    Disc Three:
    The Magnificent Warriors
    The Young Lords
    The Living Legend, Part 1
    The Living Legend, Part 2


    Disc Four:
    Fire in Space
    War of the Gods, Part 1
    War of the Gods, Part 2
    The Man with Nine Lives


    Disc Five:
    Murder on the Rising Star
    Greetings From Earth (Parts 1 & 2)
    Baltar’s Escape


    Disc Six:
    Experiment in Terra
    Take the Celestra
    The Hand of God


    Battlestar Galactica: The Original Series - Full Frame
    Disc One:
    Saga of a Star World
    Lost Planet of the Gods, Part 1
    Lost Planet of the Gods, Part 2


    Disc Two:
    The Lost Warrior
    The Long Patrol
    The Gun on Ice Planet Zero, Part 1
    The Gun on Ice Planet Zero, Part 2


    Disc Three:
    The Magnificent Warriors
    The Young Lords
    The Living Legend, Part 1
    The Living Legend, Part 2


    Disc Four:
    Fire in Space
    War of the Gods, Part 1
    War of the Gods, Part 2
    The Man with Nine Lives


    Disc Five:
    Murder on the Rising Star
    Greetings From Earth (Parts 1 & 2)
    Baltar’s Escape


    Disc Six:
    Experiment in Terra
    Take the Celestra
    The Hand of God


    Galactica 1980 - Widescreen
    Disc One:
    Galactica Discovers Earth, Part I
    Galactica Discovers Earth, Part II
    Galactica Discovers Earth, Part III
    The Super Scouts, Part I
    The Super Scouts, Part II


    Disc Two:
    Spaceball
    The Night the Cylons Landed, Part I
    The Night the Cylons Landed, Part II
    Space Croppers
    The Return of Starbuck


    Galactica 1980 - Full Frame
    Disc One:
    Galactica Discovers Earth, Part I
    Galactica Discovers Earth, Part II
    Galactica Discovers Earth, Part III


    Disc Two:
    The Super Scouts, Part I
    The Super Scouts, Part II
    Spaceball
    The Night the Cylons Landed, Part I


    Disc Three:
    The Night the Cylons Landed, Part II
    Space Croppers
    The Return of Starbuck


    Battlestar Galactica - 35th Anniversary Edition



    Video Rating: 3.5/5  3D Rating: NA

    Universal has gone back to the original 35mm broadcast reels and scanned both Battlestar Galactica series at 2k. That’s the good news. The mixed news is that Universal has remastered the series in both the original 1.33:1 broadcast aspect ratio and a cropped 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. The bad news is that the only way to get the original broadcast aspect ratio is to purchase the more expensive Definitive Collection. Are the widescreen transfers really that horrible? The answer would be no, as some thought was made into how these episodes were cropped without sacrificing too much visual information and still providing an acceptable amount of headroom for the actors. These 16:9 recomps are a bit soft, mostly due to the fact that I suspect the technicians zoomed in on the 2k scan of the original 1.33:1 frames, as due exhibit some minor aliasing issues that show up on a few rare occasions (the most obvious is the “A Glen A. Larson Production” title card at the beginning of the pilot episode. Colors are consistent, but contain a slightly blue tint that alters the color accuracy of the image. In addition, the overall brightness seems a bit darker than one would expect of a late 1970s or early 1980s television show. Contrast is acceptable, but there is some very minor crushing in the blacks here and there. Scratches and blemishes have been cleaned up considerably when comparing the episodes with the same footage as seen in some of the documentaries that were ported over from the previous DVD release from 2003, but there are still some scratches visible when ships go into turbo, likely baked in from the optical effects processes used at the time of production.

    As I stated above, the Definitive edition also includes the episodes in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, which Universal is referring to as Full Frame. These were likely the starting point for the widescreen recomps, as the amount of scratch and blemish removal and image restoration is identical here. Where these “full frame” versions differ is in the color grading and timing. Colors are consistent, but they are more accurate, particularly in the flesh tones of the actors. Detail is a bit sharper, likely because the image has not been enlarged to fill the width of a 16:9 HD display. Contrast is more acceptable, as well, with less evidence of crushed blacks and better detail in darker sequences.

    On the theatrical version of the Battlestar Galactica pilot, this is the same disc released in 2012, cropped to 1.85:1, and compressed using the VC-1 codec. The image here is much softer than on the broadcast versions, possibly due to being from a different source and/or due to some digital manipulation such as edge enhancement and scrubbing, with waxy flesh tones and textures.



    Audio Rating: 4/5

    Battlestar Galactica has been granted a DTS-HD-MA 5.1 remix, while Galactica 1980 gets just a DTS-HD-MA 2.0 stereo mix. Both sound very good, but nothing to get overly excited. For Battlestar, the 5.1 gives the score by Stu Phillips a bit more room to breathe, spread across the entire soundstage. It’s still a very front-heavy mix (which, considering its mono source, is understandable), with dialogue directed to the center channel that is clear and understandable. The 2.0 mix on Galactica 1980, when played back in Pro-Logic mode, is very similar, but without any discrete effects in the surrounds.

    On the Battlestar Galactica: 35th Anniversary disc, the mono Sensurround track has been repurposed and presented in 2.1 but within a 5.1 mix. In other words, only the front left, front right, and LFE channels are utilized, leaving the center and surrounds dead quiet. The result, overall, is much flatter than the broadcast versions, but with enhanced and more predominant LFE (trying its best to emulate the Sensurround effect, but often failing unless you have multiple massive subwoofers in your theater room).



    Special Features Rating: 3.5/5

    All of the Special Features can be found on the Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series discs.

    Disc One:
    Audio Commentary on Saga of a Star World (aka Pilot) with Actors Richard Hatch, Dirk Benedict, and Herbert Jefferson, Jr.: The three actors reminisce about shooting the pilot and working on the series.

    Deleted Scenes from Saga of a Star World (480i; 34:54)

    Deleted Scenes from Lost Planet of the Gods (480i; 15:02)

    Disc Two:
    Deleted Scenes from The Lost Warrior (480i; 3:43)

    Deleted Scenes from The Long Patrol (480i; 11:29)

    Deleted Scenes from The Gun on Ice Planet Zero (480i; 9:58)

    Disc Three:
    Deleted Scenes from The Young Lords (480i; 12:53)

    Deleted Scenes from The Living Legend (480i; 12:17)

    Disc Four:
    Deleted Scenes from Fire in Space (480i; 8:48)

    Deleted Scenes from War of the Gods (480i; 22:02)

    Deleted Scenes from The Man with Nine Lives (480i; 15:11)

    Disc Five:
    Deleted Scenes from
    Murder on the Rising Star (480i; 8:53)

    Deleted Scenes from Greetings from Earth (480i; 19:33)

    Deleted Scenes from Baltar’s Escape (480i; 6:41)

    Disc Six:
    Deleted Scenes from
    Experiment in Terra (480i; 10:18)

    Deleted Scenes from The Hand of God (480i; 16:42)

    Battlestar Galactica: Remastered (1080p; 5:44): Digital Mastering Supervisor Vishal Chathle and his team discuss the challenges and some of the steps taken to create new HD masters for the series. This feature is exclusive to the Widescreen Edition.

    Remembering Battlestar Galactica (480i; 44:58): Richard Hatch, Dirk Benedict, Herebert Jefferson, Jr, Anne Lockhart, Noah Hathaway, Glen A. Larson, and other members of the cast and crew reminisce over working on the series and its legacy.

    Glen Larson on the Creation of Battlestar Galactica (480i; 5:47): As the title implies, Larson discusses the various aspects and mythology of the series.

    Inside Battlestar Galactica: The Cylons (480i; 4:49): The cast and many of the series directors discuss working with the Cylons and the challenges they faced.

    Inside Battlestar Galactica: Working with the Daggit (480i; 5:11): The cast and many of the series directors discuss working with the cimp inside the Daggit suit.

    Stu Phillips: Composing the Score (480i; 5:02): The composer discusses writing the score, the various themes used in the pilot and series, and recording the score at Fox with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.



    Overall Rating: 3.5/5

    Die hard fans who want the series in its original aspect ratio have no choice but to purchase the more expensive Definitive Collection, while casual fans or those on a budget may opt for the less expensive Remastered Collection. In a more perfect world, Universal would have released the Remastered Collection in both widescreen and full frame editions, as the full frame editions included here appear to be the versions released internationally (the tip off is the multi-language menu that appears just after inserting the disc and the mention of Universal International in the disclaimer screens rather than Universal Studios).


    Reviewed By: Todd Erwin


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  2. David Weicker

    David Weicker Cinematographer

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    Good review.

    One slight correction. It is "Adama", not "Amada"
     
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  3. Konstantinos

    Konstantinos Screenwriter

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  4. Adam Gregorich

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    Thanks Todd and thank you Universal!!!! Picking this up will be retiring the Cylon head packaging. Glad they included 1980 too!
     
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  5. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    I would disagree that the full frame versions were the starting point for the widescreen remasters. The reason being that the widescreen editions have captured slightly more side information from the original film elements and that would not be possible if the full frame masters were the starting point. I would further speculate that the full frame versions may be older transfers and the widescreen versions newly created which would explain why the color and brightness is drastically different.
     
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  6. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Producer
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    Thanks, David. I've fixed the typos in both the Definitive and Remastered reviews.
     
  7. Tony J Case

    Tony J Case Cinematographer

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    So, for those of us who have the Cylon head version from 10 years ago, is this worth the upgrade? Are all the extras ported over?
     
  8. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Producer
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    I came close to getting the Cylon head release but finances where bad so I had to pass but now that they have a 1080p transfer I am going to try and pick up the definitive collection as soon as I am able. I also want the the new Battlestar Galactica as well. The only part of the set of the original that I do not care about is the BSG 1980!
     
  9. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    There is one - and only one - ep of Galactica 1980 worth owning: "The Return of Starbuck". This is a very nice "Enemy Mine" type plot which was released years before "Enemy Mine".

    Anyway, my only copy of that ep is on VHS, so I'll happily take that along with the 24 eps comprising the original series!
     
  10. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Producer

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    Again I'd like to point out that Battlestar Galactica was shot protected for 1.78:1 as Universal wanted to make the episodes into regular movies in Europe to justify and/or recoup the cost of what was at that point the most expensive show in the history of television.
     
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  11. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Producer
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    From Universal:
     
  12. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Producer
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  13. Todd Stout

    Todd Stout Screenwriter

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    Has anyone had any luck with the disc replacement program? I sent an email to Universal on June 4th and never heard anything back from them. I emailed them again, just as instructed, on Monday and so far I haven't heard anything yet.
     
  14. dvdclon

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    Posters on another board have reported not getting replies until they tried with another email account on a different provider. Universal may have a misbehaving or mis-configured spam filter on their end. I'm not positive, but I think they may have been using Yahoo accounts. I had no problem with my GMail account.
     
  15. Todd Stout

    Todd Stout Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the heads up. I was using a Yahoo account both times. I'll try with my GMail account and see what happens.
     
  16. Todd Stout

    Todd Stout Screenwriter

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    I sent the same email to Universal using my GMail account and haven't received a response yet. This is getting a bit frustrating.
     
  17. Todd Stout

    Todd Stout Screenwriter

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    I finally got a response from them today. WOO HOO! Perhaps they were busy.
     
  18. Jasper70

    Jasper70 Stunt Coordinator

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    Bumping this thread for one of my favorite shows ever. Watched the widescreen version first and liked it ok but after watching the full screen it’s no contest. Full screen wins for me, better picture quality in every aspect.
    And even though Galactica 1980 was cheesy and not even close to the awesomeness of the original it was still enjoyable viewing it especially since I haven’t seen it in many years.
    Like other great shows that were canceled way too soon (Firefly), I can only imagine what two or three more seasons would have been like.
     
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  19. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    I've always wondered. I certainly wasn't done with it when it went off the air.
     
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  20. Blimpoy06

    Blimpoy06 Supporting Actor

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    I wish I could quote a source, but I read years ago that a plan for a continuation of the original format in a second year was in place. The Cylons were to be left behind as the fleet moved further away from their home system. Colonel Tigh and Athena were going to leave the series somehow. I do have an excerpt of an interview from Story Editor Terrence McDonnell where he says that the Pegasus would appear in the season opener, and that Glen Larson wanted to kill off Sheba.

    "I have the presentation that Glen [Larson] made to ABC with six storylines for Season two. In my personal opinion -- no offense to Glen -- it's no wonder that they cancelled the show. Five of the six storylines I thought were... I had seen them before, there was nothing new, there were no twists, it was just... they were very flat in my opinion. Now, on the other hand, on the very first episode of Season 2, they were going to kill Sheba. Anne Lockhart was going to be written out of the script. I thought that that would not necessarily have been a good thing." - from http://www.galactica.tv/
     
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