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"The Ray Bradbury Theater" TV series (1985-1986; 1988-1992)

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by The Drifter, Jun 19, 2019.

  1. Message #1 of 4 Jun 19, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
    The Drifter

    The Drifter Supporting Actor

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    I'm a big fan of Ray Bradbury's short stories/novellas & have also enjoyed the filmed adaptations based on his work (notably The Martian Chronicles mini-series, Something Wicked this Way Comes, etc.). So, I was surprised when I recently found out about the anthology TV series "The Ray Bradbury Theater" - this ran on HBO from '85-'86, and the USA Network from '88 - '92. I was never even aware of this show when it was originally out, never having had cable back in the day.

    So, I recently started watching the show on the 5-disk DVD set. I am extremely impressed by the quality of the show itself, but very underwhelmed by the DVD's. I've only seen the first Disk (so far):

    Technical review:

    Not at all impressed by the presentation here - extremely sub-par:

    - These episodes all have extremely poor PQ, a lot of which probably has to do with them cramming a lot of episodes on each disk. In Disk 1, they include 14 episodes, all of which are 25-30 minutes each. I'm sure if there were fewer episodes per disk the quality may have been at least a little better.
    -No subtitles.
    -No chapter breaks.

    The show itself:

    Excellent sci-fi/horror/suspense anthology show. Due to being a cable series, the show seems to have a bigger budget/production values than similar TV shows - and, has some familiar faces - i.e., Jeff Goldblum, Bill Shatner, Michael Ironside, a young Drew Barrymore, etc. Some of my favorite episodes (so far) have included:

    The Crowd - creepy & disturbing
    Marionettes, Inc.
    The Town Where no one Got off
    The Man Upstairs - great "modern" vampire tale set in one of my favorite cities, Paris.
    Gotcha! - funny, bizarre, and creepy
    The Woman who Screamed
    The Coffin - great episode, with a fitting ending.
    The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl
    The Playground

    My only issue with the series is the intro./opening, which simply shows Bradbury himself going into an office filled with fantastic knick-knacks/toys, and starting to type a story. Fairly boring & self-indulgent introduction, and I feel this could have been a lot more original. But, this doesn't mar my enjoyment of the show - and, that's what the fast-forward button is for - LOL.

    Also, note that the shows aren't nearly as good as Bradbury's stories - but, from what I can remember of them, are decent adaptations.

    Note that nostalgia probably has a lot to do with my enjoying the show so much. I.e., I am an '80's kid, and do remember similar anthology shows like the '80's Twilight Zone, Tales from the Darkside, Amazing Stories, and the underrated '80's Alfred Hitchock Presents - this last show still has never gotten a DVD/Blu release.
     
    Blimpoy06 likes this.
  2. Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    I had this series on DVD, was a huge lifelong fan of Ray Bradbury, even met the man, but found the quality of the images on this release unwatchable. It was just an insult, I felt, how poor the PQ was for this release. Why bother? I'll be there if they ever remaster and release again, but I'm not holding my breath.
     
  3. Message #3 of 4 Jun 19, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
    The Drifter

    The Drifter Supporting Actor

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    Oh, I completely agree that the PQ on these TRBT DVD's sucks @$$. However, the show may never get re-released. So, I'd rather watch it this way vs. not at all.

    That being said, a Blu release of this series would be fantastic. However, '80's/early '90's genre anthology shows typically don't get released to Blu - and some don't even get released to DVD. So, I won't be holding my breath - LOL.
     
  4. sjbradford

    sjbradford Stunt Coordinator

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    I loved the 80s “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” - the first season, on NBC. After that, they changed producers, moved production to Canada, and moved the show to USA (I think they also started editing on videotape). After that, it was just a cheap shadow of itself.
     

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