I have the DVDs, they seem completely watchable. If this was a seriously good looking transfer I might spring for it, but given I can get a slight picture upgrade from DVD on streaming right now, it's hard to justify more discs in the house and more money out of the house. Such a fun show, though. I'm happy for viewers who never owned this on disc who can pick it up for a nice price.
I finally threw in the towel. When my wife, who cares not one whit about video quality, says, "Why is it so grainy and what's that flashing?", I know it's not just me being super picky. I gave up on trying to make myself tolerate the piss-poor video as a compromise for the cheap price and popped for the German set. Should be here in a couple of weeks. I may try returning the Mill Creek set to Amazon. If that proves even remotely difficult, I'll chuck it in the garage sale bin.
U.K. set arrived. Two weeks from order to arrival. Shipping carton looked like it had been run through a cement mixer full of anvils but the set's slip cover and disc cases were fine.
Yes, it works fine on my Region A player. Still more grain than I expect for a Blu-ray produced from HD source material but it's uniform and relatively unobtrusive. Definitely noticeable but decidedly better than the Mill Creek set. Menus are a bit odd - they lack text descriptions and use funky iconography which takes some getting used to - but they work.
Based on the grain and overall general softness in the U.K. set, I think it's a good bet Universal produced the Blu-ray masters by either upconverting the DVD masters or handing off mastering and conversion duties to a day-1 intern. Either way, it's only good enough to be considered "Okay". Watchable, but definitely not on par with the impressive Warehouse 13 set from a few years back. (Why, Universal? Why? Same show universe, similar fan base, but vastly differing quality of home video offerings. Did someone from Eureka say bad things about your mother?)
Seeing the grain on this set, I'm presuming Mill Creek was likely provided the same Blu-ray master files used for the U.K. release, then blew it with their penchant for overly-aggressive compression strategies. The artifacting/grain already present overwhelmed the compression algorithm which then puked up the noisy, flashing mess that is the 2020 release. They tried to over-compress already noisy video and it broke. I think of it as "fax of a fax" (something you'll vividly recall if you're an old fart like me and can remember when that was a thing).
Honestly I'm torn... the U.K. release is a marked improvement over the 2020 Mill Creek set so I'm thrilled to have a watchable product. Unfortunately it still falls significantly short of what recent transfers from HD source material should be, especially disappointing given its sister show's stellar treatment. In the end, context is everything, I suppose. In the context of owning the entire series for around $70, a few compromises will be had. It's at least watchable, something I can't say for the Mill Creek set (which should be considered only as an absolute last resort). I guess that will have to do until Universal decides, if ever, to give it the treatment it deserves.