What's new
  • Announcing New Ownership at Home Theater Forum. Learn More

HTF Blu-Ray Review: Being Human Season 3 (BBC3) (1 Viewer)

mattCR

Reviewer
HW Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2005
Messages
10,897
Location
Lee Summit, Missouri
Real Name
Matt



I've often said that the British may have the concept right with a short action packed seasons. It allows their networks to take more chances, to experiment with programming - if it fails, it's easy to forget, only 6 episodes were ever on order. It means the audience almost never gets short changed by having a show yanked before a seasons conclusion, and cliffhangers are a rarity. Once you're into multiple seasons, you have the ability to take some risks and play out long storylines.


For those familiar with the US version of "Being Human" it's important to realize that the British version is VERY different; while the core concept remains the same, this is one of those shows that hopped the pond and was changed considerably. I often find that best, it allows me to see the same concept delivered in two very different ways.


Season 2 of Being Human went to a very dark direction with Mitchell (The Vampire trying to reform) involved in a massacre. Season 3 deals with much of the results of those past actions, and the consequences it has on our group.

Without significant and massive spoilers, the show follows up most of these loose threads in the season briskly but not always in a way that is satisfying. The acting is done well, but it is very hard to salvage many of the characters after the spiral in Season 2. To give you an idea, this show had an original pitch which listed it as a dark comedy of sorts. Season 1 maintained a dark - but at times very funny - series that even the writers admit owed a great deal to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So much so that Season 2's addition "Nina", who becomes a werewolf, is later taunted by our ghost of a friend "you know, there's a werewolf named Nina in Buffy, do you watch it?" The shook took a funny beat about taking the Buffy Verse situation and looking at it from the other side: what's it like for the monsters who want to "get on with it".


But Season 2's moral morass leads to a dark and sometimes unsatisfying season 3. Still, the performances help sell the series, and fans will still tune in to watch the latest exploits. That's not to say Season 3 doesn't have some charm - Russel Tovey continues his fantastic performance as George, and Aidan Turner's Mitchell effectively fills his emo role.


Season 3 could best be summed up as: you can't run from the past, it will catch up to you.


PICTURE QUALITY 3 / 5


Welcome to HD-DVD as presented on Bluray! One of the most disappointing things about BBC's efforts with Season 2 follows on here. Season 3 is presented in VC-1 CODEC at a weighted bitrate of 28Mb. This is normally satisfying, however, it is encoded at 1080I (not 1080P). This combination of CODEC and bitrate is going to present a very interesting challenge for those with low end players.

For many of us in this forum with better-then-low end equipment, the result will be satisfying. The show uses a lot of play with light - from dark interiors to overly bright exteriors. And if you're using great equipment, the display is fine.


I realized quickly, however, that this wouldn't always be true. Because of the high bitrate combined with interlaced content, some bluray players will likely render some not-so-fantastic results. It's one thing to sit back with ease and watch using my Media Center / Oppo / Sony PS3, but what happens with someone who has a low end player?


Well, that depends. Assuming you're using a progressive scan TV, either your BD player or your TV will be handling transformation. The one low end player I had to test this with (a Philips BDP3010) struggled at times with the content of these discs, resulting in a more then a few moments of jerkiness in the presentation.

If you're using a decent BD player, think anything Sony PS3 level and up, these issues will pass you by; but this combination of CODEC and content is the kind that will make a low end player cry... and in some cases, the output may borderline on annoyingly unwatchable.


AUDIO QUALITY 2 / 5


The Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 448kbps. There is no surround present provided within the mix, outside of what your receiver or audio decoder offers. Dialog is at times muddied; I found myself occasionally turning up the volume level and hitting "back" to recapture moments of dialog because they were too muddied to clearly make out.

I've often though in the case of a DD 2.0 track, they might as well just go LPCM for the content.

Season 3 has quite a few action sequences, and the action sequences in a DPL+ will make a decent use of your sub and gives a nice punch the to the action when needed.


Extras, Menus, Presentation: 2 / 5


On Disc 3 there is a set of cast Interviews (21 Minutes)

Deleted Scenes 11 Minutes

and a Cast Walk around 5 Minutes


The deleted scenes are often longer scenes of moments already present within the episodes, and do provide some idea of what the goals the scriptwriters had in mind.


But here I want to talk about the menus. The titles are provided with a very skimp and quick menu system which on one hand is fantastic - it allows for these to get to the root menu quickly. This is normally a big perk for me over Bluray that take forever to load. But the menu system on the Being Human discs are too scant. You're provided the option of "Play All" which immediately starts a marathon mode of all three titles on the disc, and "scenes". By chosing scenes you can then chose a scene within the episodes and leap to them. What's missing? A simple way to just chose "Episode 1" "Episode 2". This is a minor quibble, but it's one that does stick. If these menus had provided with easier access to the episodes themselves, allowing you to pop a disc in and chose to leap straight to an episode, it would have significantly improved their usability.


The last thing I want to address is the case BBC has decided to ship Being Human Season 3 in.





I've seen this format before, and maybe others will use it, but it still doesn't make it the way I prefer to access a disc. The layout places Disc 1 on it's own, and Disc 2/3 stacked on top of each other. In order to access Disc 3, Disc 2 must be removed, Disc 3 is then removed by clicking down the tabs and sliding upwards on the disc. So, if you're finished watching Disc 3, you go back to your set, remove disc 2, insert disc 3, re-insert disc 2. I recognize that this kind of package most likely saves money for the vendor. But it's an annoying effort. The case itself is made of cardboard and largely fell apart within the first day of having the disc





The clear plastic insert that the discs reside in seems to be glued to the cardboard cover case. Outside of the fact that the case will never "close" (laying flat on it's side, it holds itself slightly open) the cardboard has continued to pull away from the plastic container.. to the point where a day and a half out of the package, I realize that this will have to be replaced in order to make it viable. Since it's in a cardboard case with no inserts or removable coverart, most of the effort put into packaging will just be lost.


My Final Thoughts: Only for the Loyalists


If you're a fan of BBC3's Being Human, none of my complaints will really matter. The presentation here is still superior to the DVD edition (though I question how much), and if you're in that camp then this review won't influence you to make a decision either way.


If you're a casual fan, I don't know if I can reasonably recommend the bluray set over the DVD set. While the picture quality will be superior, it lacks any real compelling issues to grab it, and it has several drawbacks the DVD version will not have... including price.


If you are a fan grab hold of this title. For almost everyone else, rent first.



Title: Being Human Season 3

Producer: BBC Productions (BBC3/UK)

Content is presented in: 1080I VC-1 CODEC @ an ABR of 28.1Mbps

Audio Content presented in: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo @ 448kbps

3 DL Bluray Discs are Included

MSRP of $44.95
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
353,109
Messages
5,008,176
Members
143,400
Latest member
rferoni
Recent bookmarks
0
Top