Game of Thrones: The Complete Sixth Season Blu-ray Review

Continued excellence, but poor packaging 4.5 Stars

The sixth season of HBO’s popular series Game of Thrones answers and resolves a number of questions viewers were left with at the end of season five. The season also has some surprising guest cameos and the return of some characters thought long forgotten.

Game of Thrones (2011–)
Released: 17 Apr 2011
Rated: TV-MA
Runtime: 56 min
Director: N/A
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
Cast: Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington
Writer(s): David Benioff, D.B. Weiss
Plot: While a civil war brews between several noble families in Westeros, the children of the former rulers of the land attempt to rise up to power. Meanwhile a forgotten race, bent on destruction, return after thousands of years in the North.
IMDB rating: 9.5
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: HBO
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, English 5.1 DD, English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Other
Rating: TVMA=TV-MA
Run Time: 9 Hr. 18 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, UltraViolet
Case Type: 4-disc digipak
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: A
Release Date: 11/15/2016
MSRP: $74.99

The Production: 4.5/5

As a series unfolds over several seasons, it becomes increasingly difficult to discuss and review latter seasons without revealing any major and minor spoilers. Such is the case with Game of Thrones, based on George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels. If you are concerned about said spoilers, I suggest you skip down to the Video, Audio, and Overall sections of this review.

As season six opens, we find that Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) somehow survived their leap from the top of Winterfell (the snow broke their fall?) and are on the run from Ramsay’s (Iwan Rheon) troops and dogs, but are saved by Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Podrick (Daniel Portman). Theon returns to his home in the Iron Islands, while Sansa heads towards Castle Black. Jon Snow (Kit Harrington), who was assassinated by a group of mutineers led by Thorne and Olly, is resurrected by Melisandre (Carice van Houten) to resume command at Castle Black, which he declines after his assassinators are brought to justice. Sansa meets up with Jon, and they try to mount an army to take back Winterfell from Ramsay.

Meanwhile, in King’s Landing, Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) arrives from Dorn with the body of his daughter Myrcella. He and Cersei (Lena Headey) vow revenge on Dorn, while Cersei is also plotting her revenge against the High Sparrow (Jonathan Price) for the humiliation he caused her to atone for her sins.

Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) is blind and begging on the streets of Braavos, but her sight is restored in exchange for a mission. Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) continues his training with the Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow), learning secrets about his father and how the White Walkers came to be.

Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) assumes leadership of Meereen while Daenerys Targayen (Emila Clarke) tries to escape from her captivity in Essos, able to maintain peace for a short time before the Masters launch an attack on the city.

Season six continues the high production values that the series is known for, with beautiful locations and excellent use of computer-generated imagery to complete its fantasy world. Peter Dinklage continues to delight as the dwarf Tyrion, while the rest of the cast play their roles at the top of their game. There are a few cameos this season, including Ian McShane and the previously mentioned Max von Sydow.

Video: 4.5/5

3D Rating: NA

Season six sparkles on Blu-ray, just as other seasons have, with near-reference quality video that is a major improvement over the more compressed (and interlaced) cable/satellite/streaming broadcasts. As with previous seasons, each location in the seven kingdoms has its own color palette, and where necessary, colors are vibrant without ever appearing over saturated. Contrast is exceptional, with deep blacks that retain strong shadow detail. Speaking of detail, that is also exceptional, particularly in battle scars on characters’ faces, and textures in both fabric and scenery. I did notice a few very brief glimpses of minor banding, but those were few and far between.

Audio: 5/5

Dolby Atmos is now the preferred soundtrack of choice on Blu-ray, and the sound designers and mixers continue to use it effectively, making it a great demo experience. My only complaint (which I’ve had ever since HBO re-issued previous seasons with Atmos) is that legacy (and lossy) Dolby Digital 5.1 is still the default track on these discs. There is really no need for this, since Atmos has a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core, which has the capability to fold down to TrueHD 5.1, and still requires a legacy Dolby 5.1 track to fall back on should the user’s equipment not be compatible. I find it annoying to have to go into the audio menu to select Atmos every time I insert a disc.

The Dolby Atmos track is a truly immersive experience, even when played back on a non-Atmos system in a 5.1 configuration with additional front height speakers and Pro-Logic IIz enabled. Surrounds are very active during battle sequences, with fire balls, arrows, and dragons flying overhead and around you. LFE helps give explosions a room-shattering boom. Yet, dialogue is always clear and understandable without getting lost in the mix.

Special Features: 4.5/5

Before we get to the wealth of special features, let’s talk for a moment about packaging. HBO has not been very consistent with the packaging of Game of Thrones on Blu-ray. While they have remained somewhat consistent with digipack for debut releases of each season, it has always been a chore to get a disc out. Seasons 1 thru 5 were essentially a clear plastic sleeve covering a cardboard sleeve, revealing a fold out that contained digipack spindles for each of the 4 or 5 discs, and a pocket for that season’s episode guide. When seasons 1 thru 4 were re-issued with Dolby Atmos, these were only available as steelbooks with a spindle on each side where the discs were stacked on top of one another. With the release of Season Six, the package consists of a cardboard sleeve that is glued on top and must be removed to pull out the discs in a foldout that are inside another sleeve. The foldout is made of much thinner paper material than prior seasons, and the discs are situated in a way that disc one must be removed to get to disc two, and disc one must be removed again to place disc two in its place, and there is no Episode Guide booklet. To make matters worse, seasons 5 and 6 were also released as Best Buy exclusive steelbooks (which are much thinner and take up less shelf space). Suffice it to say, on my shelf, my Game of Thrones Blu-ray collection is a mess.

Also, Audio Commentaries cannot be accessed unless your player is set up with BD Audio Mix set to ON or select the track directly from your player’s audio select menu.

In Episode Guides for each episode: The exhaustive compendium provides descriptions of the show’s characters, locations, and history in context with events of each episode.

Disc One:
Audio Commentary for Episode One: The Red Woman with Director Jeremy Podeswa, Director of Photography Greg Middleton, and Daniel Portman (Podrick Payne)

Audio Commentary for Episode Two: Home with Writer Dave Hill, Michael McElhatton (Roose Bolton), Iwan Rheon (Ramsay Bolton), Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth), and Ben Crompton (Dolorus Edd)

Audio Commentary for Episode Three: Oathbreaker with Director Daniel Sackheim, Production Designer Deborah Riley, and Dean-Charles Chapman (Tommen Baratheon)

Disc Two:
Audio Commentary for Episode Four: Book of the Stranger with Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei), Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont), and Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm)

Audio Commentary for Episode Five: The Door with Gemma Whalen (Yara Greyjoy), Pilou Asbeck (Euron Greyjoy), Ellie Kendrick (Meera Reed), and Kristian Nairn (Hodor)

Audio Commentary for Episode Five: The Door with Prosthetics Supervisor Barrie Gower, Camera Operators Chris Pelvin & Ben Wilson, and Executive Producer Bernadette Caulfield

Recreating the Dothraki World (1080p; 20:15): As the title indicates, this is a look at the production design of the Dothraki world, a place not seen since the first season.

Disc Three:
Audio Commentary for Episode Six: Blood of My Blood with Director Jack Bender, Director of Photography Jonathan Freeman, John Bradley (Samwell Tarly), and Hannah Murray (Gilly)

Audio Commentary for Episode Seven: The Broken Man with Producer/Writer Bryan Cogman, Ian McShane (Septon Ray), and Natalie Dormer (Margery Tyrell)

Audio Commentary for Episode Eight: No One with Director Mark Mylod, Essie Davis (Lady Crane), and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister)

Disc Four:
Audio Commentary for Episode Nine: Battle of the Bastards with Director Miguel Sapochnik, Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), and Kit Harrington (Jon Snow)

Audio Commentary for Episode Nine: Battle of the Bastards with Director of Photography Fabian Wagner, Visual Effects Producer Steve Kullback, and Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Bauer

Audio Commentary for Episode Ten: The Winds of Winter with Executive Producers/Writers David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), and Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister)

Audio Commentary for Episode Ten: The Winds of Winter with Special Effects Supervisor Sam Conway, Camera Operator Sean Savage, and Producer Chris Newman

The Battle of the Bastards (1080p; 30:01): A behind the scenes look at the largest battle sequence in the series’ history.

18 Hours at the Paint Hall (1080p; 28:17): A typical day on the set of Game of Thrones.

Histories and Lore (1080p): Animated tours narrated by the characters themselves. The Old Way (4:25), The Kingsmoot (3:45), The Summer Sea (4:05), War of the Ninepenny Kings (2:49), The Great Tourney at Harrenhal (6:07), Robert’s Rebellion (6:07), Vaes Dothrak (3:56), The Dothraki (4:43), Northern Allegiances to House Stark (4:56), Children of the Forest vs. The First Men (4:43), Brotherhood Without Banners (3:56), Oldtown (5:35), House Dayne (4:11), The Little Birds (3:12), Knights of the Vale (5:35), House Tarly (4:35), Riverrun (3:35), and Great Sept of Baelor (4:23)

Deleted Scenes (1080p; 11:08): Edd and Thorne, Litter, and The Play

Digital HD Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem a digital copy through Ultraviolet partners, which also includes behind the scenes featurettes for many of the episodes.

Overall: 4.5/5

Season six beautifully sets up the viewer for the final two seasons, which will begin airing in Summer 2017. As expected, the audio and video on this set are outstanding, and contains a wealth of special features. The big disappointment is the packaging.

Published by

Todd Erwin

author,editor

5 Comments

  1. I'm really looking forward to seeing this, I don't get it on TV & have stayed away from spoilers, if I can't fit it in before Christmas it'll be a good way to start the new year (I'll start off with the last two eps. of season 5). A word of warning, don't buy the steelbook, if you thought the normal packaging was disappointing, just as well you didn't get the steel. Two discs to a hub, which is fine, but you can't get them out! You don't really want to see your disc bending right over before they finally come free, I got two off, but didn't chance it with the second two & so cut the (very hard) hub, & re-boxed the discs. I intend buying a complete set once it's all over (I'm missing the first three seasons as they've been lent out).

  2. Thanks for explaining why I can’t get at the commentaries without using the ‘audio’ button on my remote – the ‘play with commentary’ on-screen option does not work for my Sony..

  3. Three episodes to go & I'm loving it, my only complaint is that I look at an episode & then look at it again listening to the commentary (well I zip through some of it) & in episode seven they dropped a major plot spoiler, this has happened once before, maybe I should look at the whole season & then hear the commentaries.

  4. I'm rewatching this ahead of the Season 7 premiere on Sunday. More than any other show, the difference between the heavily compressed 1080i broadcasts/1080p streams and the high-bitrate Blu-Rays really stands out. It's like a whole different experience on Blu-Ray.

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