Monty Python’s Flying Circus Restored for Blu Ray

3 Stars

This just in:
http://www.montypython.com/news_mp50announce/494?fbclid=IwAR2Kcng3dT3eOYFRghifq_3e_h0paqgdm1KxvgYe_l2cGijdvOvTC1xALy0

Network Distributing will release all 45 episodes of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”, on Blu-ray and DVD, fully restored for the first time ever. Each episode has been painstakingly restored using the original video and film elements exclusively for this release. All four series, along with unseen and excised footage, sketches and much more, will be presented in an exclusive 50th anniversary limited-edition box set available exclusively here from 29th July, with all four individual series available to purchase separately at a later date.

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Kevin Collins

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294 Comments

  1. Coressel

    This just in:
    http://www.montypython.com/news_mp5…FRghifq_3e_h0paqgdm1KxvgYe_l2cGijdvOvTC1xALy0

    Network Distributing will release all 45 episodes of "Monty Python’s Flying Circus", on Blu-ray and DVD, fully restored for the first time ever. Each episode has been painstakingly restored using the original video and film elements exclusively for this release. All four series, along with unseen and excised footage, sketches and much more, will be presented in an exclusive 50th anniversary limited-edition box set available exclusively here from 29th July, with all four individual series available to purchase separately at a later date.

    There trying to put me in the poor house. I will be in on this one

  2. StarDestroyer52

    There trying to put me in the poor house. I will be in on this one

    If it's sold by Network and you are in the US, you ain;t kidding. Whatever the actual price of the set, Network shipping is based on weight and it's extremely likely this will move the package into the Expedited only Shipping level — to the US £40 flat rate. Now if you have 20 other things to order, this isn't actually too bad and it will arrive in 2-3 days, but for a single item, it's painful

  3. I'll wait for the eventual US release from whoever owns the home video rights to Python.

    As for "painstakingly restored", that better mean the Pythons have employed all the recent tech the BBC has developed to resuscitate their early 70s catalog to make the show as close to original broadcast quality as possible.

  4. David Norman

    If it's sold by Network and you are in the US, you ain;t kidding. Whatever the actual price of the set, Network shipping is based on weight and it's extremely likely this will move the package into the Expedited only Shipping level — to the US £40 flat rate. Now if you have 20 other things to order, this isn't actually too bad and it will arrive in 2-3 days, but for a single item, it's painful

    Lord Dalek

    I'll wait for the eventual US release from whoever owns the home video rights to Python.

    As for "painstakingly restored", that better mean the Pythons have employed all the recent tech the BBC has developed to resuscitate their early 70s catalog to make the show as close to original broadcast quality as possible.

    It'll either be A&E or Shout Factory for the inevitable North American release.

  5. "I Love Lucy" was that only American T.V. series I ever wanted to own in its entirety.
    But when it comes to the only British T.V. series I ever wanted to own in its entirety;
    it's Monty, it's Python, it's Flying and it's Circus.
    Now I am complete.:)

  6. Lord Dalek

    Isn't A&E Home Video mostly defunct outside of History Channel content at this point?

    The last time I purchased a A&E home video dvd was over 10 years ago. Time for something different like the Shout Factory.

  7. Lord Dalek

    Remember you're brickwalled by 720×576 which is better than NTSC but still far from genuine HD or 720i for that matter.

    While that's true, I do have to say that the Classic Doctor Who episodes I've seen on Blu-ray do look quite nice, taking into consideration the limitations of the source material. Does the BBC even have the original tapes for Python? I wonder, since they were so keen on erasing tapes around the time it was originally shot. If they have the 16mm segments, those could look quite nice, but if all they have for the video material are dupes, I don't know that there's much that can be done to make them look any better than the DVD's.

    Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy also looks nice on Blu-ray, but only if your expectations are reasonable. It looks like extremely stable video, with good compression and color information. Better than the previous DVD release, but nothing resembling true HD material. It's kind of like movies finished at 2K and then upscaled to UHD. The strengths of the UHD format offer some visual benefit over BD, but nothing that is going to knock your socks off when comparing the two formats.

    EDIT: So, it looks like, at the time Python was shot, they were likely using tape with 625 lines of resolution. If they have original material, it could look quite nice on Blu-ray, compared to DVD.

    ANOTHER EDIT: (This post is beginning to read like a Python sketch.) According to this article, the BBC was all set to erase the tapes of the first season. Terry Jones caught wind of it and he and the other Pythons smuggled the tapes out to make copies. The tapes didn't get wiped and, because of the sale of the show to PBS, they survived. Hopefully, they're still in usable shape. Doctor Who fans know the pain of wiped videotapes.

  8. Brian Kidd

    While that's true, I do have to say that the Classic Doctor Who episodes I've seen on Blu-ray do look quite nice, taking into consideration the limitations of the source material. Does the BBC even have the original tapes for Python? I wonder, since they were so keen on erasing tapes around the time it was originally shot. If they have the 16mm segments, those could look quite nice, but if all they have for the video material are dupes, I don't know that there's much that can be done to make them look any better than the DVD's.

    Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy also looks nice on Blu-ray, but only if your expectations are reasonable. It looks like extremely stable video, with good compression and color information. Better than the previous DVD release, but nothing resembling true HD material. It's kind of like movies finished at 2K and then upscaled to UHD. The strengths of the UHD format offer some visual benefit over BD, but nothing that is going to knock your socks off when comparing the two formats.

    EDIT: So, it looks like, at the time Python was shot, they were likely using tape with 625 lines of resolution. If they have original material, it could look quite nice on Blu-ray, compared to DVD.

    The equivalent is 576i, as 625 includes the vertical blanking interval, in the same way that NTSC was 525 lines, but only 480 usable lines because of the VBI.

  9. Well, still better than NTSC DVD resolution, so I guess we'll be able to see all of the image information that is available, small improvement though it be. 🙂 I just hate to find out how much they're going to charge for it. BBC shows on U.S. home video = :emoji_heavy_dollar_sign::emoji_heavy_dollar_sign::emoji_heavy_dollar_sign:

  10. Stephen_J_H

    It'll either be A&E or Shout Factory for the inevitable North American release.

    Which will probably happen 2 years from now based on how long it took for Space 1999 and several other titles. But still no Avengers Seasons 4 or 6 in the US so maybe longer than 2 years

  11. David Norman

    If it's sold by Network and you are in the US, you ain;t kidding. Whatever the actual price of the set, Network shipping is based on weight and it's extremely likely this will move the package into the Expedited only Shipping level — to the US £40 flat rate. Now if you have 20 other things to order, this isn't actually too bad and it will arrive in 2-3 days, but for a single item, it's painful

    Egads. I’ll wait either for the Shout release or hopefully Network release these individually. Are shows like The Saint, The Prisoner, and The Professionals with Network or are those ITV?

  12. StarDestroyer52

    Egads. I’ll wait either for the Shout release or hopefully Network release these individually. Are shows like The Saint, The Prisoner, and The Professionals with Network or are those ITV?

    IIRC Network is owned by ITV PLC.

  13. atcolomb

    It's about time! Have the 16 Ton box set but that was released in 2005.

    Also, it had some unfortunate edits. I sold it long ago and got the UK set from Sony about 10 years ago. Hopefully, this Network set will prove definitive.

  14. StarDestroyer52

    There trying to put me in the poor house. I will be in on this one

    David Norman

    If it's sold by Network and you are in the US, you ain;t kidding. Whatever the actual price of the set, Network shipping is based on weight and it's extremely likely this will move the package into the Expedited only Shipping level — to the US £40 flat rate. Now if you have 20 other things to order, this isn't actually too bad and it will arrive in 2-3 days, but for a single item, it's painful

    It’s true that above a certain weight, Network’s shipping charges take a steep hike. I recall facing this with their UFO Complete series that came with a hefty 600 page book.

    Happily, there were some workable options. Amazon UK and Zavvi.com both carried the product at a higher unit price than Network itself, but at a fraction of the shipping charges. A little while later, Network also issued a version without the book at a much cheaper unit price and a vastly cheaper shipping charge, as it didn’t breach the weight threshold.

    You might not necessarily end up in the poor house, but you may need to skip a couple of meals.

  15. AndyMcKinney

    Also, it had some unfortunate edits. I sold it long ago and got the UK set from Sony about 10 years ago. Hopefully, this Network set will prove definitive.

    It will have the edits. Monty Python chose themselves to cut out Jesus on the telephone poles.

  16. bigshot

    It will have the edits. Monty Python chose themselves to cut out Jesus on the telephone poles.

    Are you sure about that? I just looked on the SOTTAA website, and it doesn't seem to be apparent who ordered the telephone pole cut. All that is know is that it was cut prior to transmission.

    Since the package is supposed to include All four series, along with unseen and excised footage, sketches and much more, I see no reason why this and other stuff that was cut prior to transmission (and for reruns/home video releases) won't be reinstated.

    The only reason I can see for any cuts remaining would be if music clearances cannot be obtained for the ones that were cut for music licencing reasons.

    At any rate, I'm sure this won't have some of the more ridiculous edits that were in the A&E set (such as the deleted line "masturbation" in the Summarise Proust sketch).

    At any rate, I'm sure this won't have some of the more ridiculous edits that were in the A&E set (such as the deleted line "masturbation" in the Summarise Proust sketch). Jonathan Wood is overseeing this (the same fellow who oversaw, among other things, Network's Space: 1999 Series One release. It will be as complete/definitive as possible.

  17. I think it was Terry Jones who mentioned it in an interview. They received mail on it and reconsidered it as a group. There's still a snippet of it in the fast forward version of the show at the end. I think the cut was made around the time of Life of Brian and they were getting flack. The cancer edit wasn't their choice. That was the BBC, and I think that one was done earlier. I might be wrong though. I'm working on decades old memories.

  18. I think the first 2 seasons you can only do so much. I remember hearing that S1 and S2 were to be overwritten and the tapes reused.

    Some quick googling turned up this

    There is, however, an alternate universe nightmare scenario that almost came to pass that would have diminished Monty Python’s legacy. In 1971, as the troupe was both preparing for a third season and working to produce a German-language comedy special (Monty Python’s Fliegander Zirkus), writer/performer Terry Jones got a call from someone at the BBC, letting him know that the tapes featuring the first season of their show were set to be erased and re-used.

    Understandably aghast, Jones and the Pythons quietly smuggled the original tapes out and made VHS copies, preserving their legacy and that of the hundreds of creatives informed by sketches like “The Lumberjack Song,” “Crunchy Frog” and “The Dead Parrot Sketch.” That’s right: the world came perilously close to never seeing John Cleese and Michael Palin go toe-to-toe over the purchase of a Norwegian blue who has ceased to be, is bereft of life, and has joined the choir invisible. Or as Jones put it in Mike Sacks’ book Poking a Dead Frog: Conversations with Today’s Top Comedy Writers:

    However, this notes that when sold to other markets, it was sent on 16mm

    Mostly, there wasn’t a mind toward preserving works like this for future historians or fans. If they thought they could re-sell an original program to a new market, they would often record them onto 16mm film and ship the tapes off to another network. This is how the BBC has been able to recover many of the lost Doctor Who episodes, as they’ve turned up in the archives of TV stations in Nigeria, New Zealand and Hong Kong. This is what wound up preserving Monty Python’s Flying Circus in the long run; the BBC was eventually able to sell broadcast rights to PBS, thereby bringing the show to a new audience and blowing the minds of comedy fans in the years before the first commercially produced VHS versions of the series were released.

    https://www.pastemagazine.com/artic…n-hero-who-saved-monthy-pythons-flying-c.html

  19. bigshot

    I think it was Terry Jones who mentioned it in an interview. They received mail on it and reconsidered it as a group. There's still a snippet of it in the fast forward version of the show at the end. I think the cut was made around the time of Life of Brian and they were getting flack. The cancer edit wasn't their choice. That was the BBC, and I think that one was done earlier. I might be wrong though. I'm working on decades old memories.

    dunno. I do recall that the whole bit in a third series episode in the funeral parlour ("surely, you're not suggesting we eat her") got a lot of complaints and (like a certain grisly scene in I Claudius) was actually erased from the master tape. That bit only ever got recovered from a NTSC North American syndication tape years later.

  20. Philip Verdieck

    I think the first 2 seasons you can only do so much. I remember hearing that S1 and S2 were to be overwritten and the tapes reused.

    I found this quote, from a 2001 Radio 4 interview with Terry Jones:

    "I'm very surprised that Python has lasted as long as this, partly because of the nature of the programmes, and more so because they were nearly wiped in the early seventies. We were tipped off by a friend in the archive department that they were about to wipe the first series of Python, and we, sort of, clandestinely smuggled the tapes out of the BBC and put them onto Phillips VCR cassettes, which was the only domestic video available at the time, and I had them in my cellar, and for a period of about six months we thought that was going to be the only record of our TV series left. And then what happened was, the BBC suddenly sold the shows in America and so they didn't wipe them, and we were saved by the bell, but it was a very close run thing."

    http://sotcaa.org/history/sotcaa2000/forum/forumarchive02/forum2289.html

    The VCR format in question:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_Cassette_Recording

  21. AndyMcKinney

    dunno. I do recall that the whole bit in a third series episode in the funeral parlour ("surely, you're not suggesting we eat her") got a lot of complaints and (like a certain grisly scene in I Claudius) was actually erased from the master tape. That bit only ever got recovered from a NTSC North American syndication tape years later.

    That would be the Undertaker sketch from season 2 episode 13 Royal Episode 13 or The Queen Will Be Watching

  22. Coressel

    I asked Paul Vanezis about it on Twitter. Here's his response:
    https://twitter.com/PaulVanezis/status/1144505376777351168

    Larry:
    Saw your link above. The big hurdle for US viewers (even if the disc isn't region-locked) is that fact that all of the original film inserts will be 25fps, and the original VT will be PAL/50, so most likely, this will be a 1080i/50 release for the UK market. I'm sure most UK fans (and purists like myself with multi-system equipment who don't want any standards conversions going on) would not be happy if this release was slowed-down to 1080p/24, or converted to 1080i/60.

    Probably the best thing for us all to hope for is a 1080i/50 release from Network for the 'home' market, and a US releasing partner (like Shout! Factory) to release a US-compatible version. Hopefully, a bit quicker than the US release of Space: 1999.

  23. Lord Dalek

    Unfortunately this may confirm the fact that Gilliam's cartoons represent the only surviving film sequences from the show.

    A lot of sketches and links were shot on film, how would Gilliam's animation be the filmed sequences to survive?

  24. darkrock17

    A lot of sketches and links were shot on film, how would Gilliam's animation be the filmed sequences to survive?

    The BBC regularly junked their raw film once the sequences were telecined into the final shows.

  25. Lord Dalek

    Unfortunately this may confirm the fact that Gilliam's cartoons represent the only surviving film sequences from the show.

    How does this clip confirm the existence or non-existence of any of the other film segments used in the episodes?

  26. Lord Dalek

    Its the original 2" quad master tape being played back on a restored Ampex machine.

    It may be a restored machine, but, boy, could it use a real cleaning! lol.

    David Weicker

    How does this clip confirm the existence or non-existence of any of the other film segments used in the episodes?

    It doesn't confirm anything, to be sure, but I think it's telling that they only used animation to demonstrate their "stunning HD" restoration. I'm sure the animation is going to be absolutely lovely and any real, cleaned-up HD image is going to be better than what we currently have. A cleaned-up and upscaled image from the original tapes can look quite nice, even if it will never have the detail of film or something shot in HD. I've been impressed with the recent Doctor Who releases and the Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy release. I saw "Genesis of the Daleks" in a theater and the upscaled image held up nicely on a giant screen.

    Upscaling from SD video can certainly improve image quality, if not detail, when done correctly and can help extend the life of older material. So far, the BBC looks like they are providing the funds and time for it to be done properly, unlike some upscales put out by a few other organizations. (Some Anime distributors should be ashamed of themselves for the shoddy upscales they've released.)

    I doubt I'll be able to afford it for some time, but this release will definitely be on my list, should the opportunity arise down the road. Python's output was game-changing and remains among the smartest, funniest material ever produced.

  27. Trying to place an order but the site is very slow. Must be getting hit with preorders.

    Also need to find out if I get charged immediately or at the time of shipping.

    So far, shipping seems to be FREE, but not sure if that is a U.S. offer

  28. If indeed it's region-friendly for the US, I'll be in ASAP when the budget allows. The DVDs on my shelf are the original A&E two-per-box editions, so as pricey as this (Norwegian) blu seems now, it can't hold a candle to what I laid out in 1999-2000.

  29. Ronald Epstein

    CORRECTION: The price should be about $118 – $123 shipped to U.S. Still quite expensive

    I paid $99.99 for the A&E DVD set at COSTCO so I would still have to say it is still a great deal …
    [​IMG]

  30. I don’t think this is a bad price at all, especially compared to the 16-Ton dvd set. But I’m holding out for reviews. Don’t want to be blindsided by news of missing bits, dropped lines, music, etc.

  31. I’m thrilled at the price of this set. I still remember buying the whole series on VHS back in the 1990s. That was $20 for two episodes per tape for a total of about $440. I couldn’t hit buy now on this release fast enough.

  32. darkrock17

    I'll wait for the US release and then when it's 50% sale at Barnes & Nobel

    Lot of assumptions here, not the least of which assuming Barnes and Noble will still be in existence.

  33. texboil

    Lot of assumptions here, not the least of which assuming Barnes and Noble will still be in existence.

    A North American release is just obvious, as not everyone is going to pay $122 for this set plus the import tax and shipping. Also the NA release would be shelf-friendly than it looks right now as a large cardboard box. As for Barnes & Nobel, I don't think they're going away anytime soon. Yes, they one day will go the way as so many others stores, but that won't be for sometime though.

  34. BobO’Link

    The site description says:

    If "individually packaged" means some type of normal disc case inside that unwieldy box then that's OK as you can put the cases on the shelf and store the box.

    Here's a picture of what the inside of the box looks like. All 4 seasons look like there digipaks.
    [​IMG]

  35. darkrock17

    Here's a picture of what the inside of the box looks like. All 4 seasons look like there digipaks.

    Very nice!

    I am getting very exited or as some famous Hungarian once said:

    [​IMG]

  36. Network did the restoration on this themselves. They own that and for a US edition to be released, they would have to license the restoration from Network. The set they are producing is region free. I think they figure they can sell enough without having to do a separate US edition.

  37. bigshot

    Network did the restoration on this themselves. They own that and for a US edition to be released, they would have to license the restoration from Network. The set Network is producing is region free. I think they figure they can sell enough without having to do a separate US edition.

    Also, in a first for Network, they are producing two versions of this set: a 50i release for "PAL" countries, and a 60i release for "NTSC" countries. All US orders placed directly from Network's website will be filled with 60i discs (regardless of whether you can play 1080i/50 or not) to ensure compatibility with US equipment.

    This might open up a can of worms, however, when people start ordering from places like Amazon UK. Will they have both versions, or just the 50i? If they have both, can you choose, or are you stuck getting the one 'appropriate' for your country (I, personally, want a 50i set when I eventually decide to purchase this).

  38. While not confirmed, supposedly the individual seasons will follow at a later date. Presumably the ‘extras‘ in the box won’t be included (and the sum of four sets will be less than this Limited set.

    No actual details yet, but for me, if it’s the same discs, I would be ok with that.

  39. David Weicker

    While not confirmed, supposedly the individual seasons will follow at a later date. Presumably the ‘extras‘ in the box won’t be included (and the sum of four sets will be less than this Limited set.

    No actual details yet, but for me, if it’s the same discs, I would be ok with that.

    It should be the same discs. Typically, with Network, it's the extras (namely, the Andrew Pixely books) that won't be included later on.

    Mind, with The Goodies, almost all the 'real' extras (i.e. not the tote bag) were released separately after the limited-edition set sold out, as I recall.

  40. Since Network is producing a US version, it seems to me that they are considering their release to be the US release. They might make that version available in US Amazon and perhaps other retailers. There's no reason to wait for a US release if this one is 100% US compatible. Do you think the individual seasons will be produced in both US and UK versions too?

  41. bigshot

    Since Network is producing a US version, it seems to me that they are considering their release to be the US release. They might make that version available in US Amazon and perhaps other retailers. There's no reason to wait for a US release if this one is 100% US compatible. Do you think the individual seasons will be produced in both US and UK versions too?

    As someone speculated on Roobarb's, maybe Network will licence the individual series releases to Shout! or someone else.

    If not and they plan to do it themselves, they need to do something to differentiate any future 'retail' (non-exclusive) US/60i release from the UK/50i one (noticeably different boxart, if nothing else).

  42. texboil

    Lot of assumptions here, not the least of which assuming Barnes and Noble will still be in existence.

    I'd say the chance the B&N will be in existence is fairly high since I doubt someone would shell out 9 figures and shut it down 1 month later.
    Nov Criterion sale I'd say is a pretty safe bet, but much harder to say about the normal December Sales

  43. BobO’Link

    If nothing else, you should have the UK rating symbol on any UK version box(es). I'd think that won't be on a US release.

    Well, unless Network cheaps-out and doesn't licence the property out to someone else, fulfilling all orders (UK and US) with the same boxart.

    Maybe I'm mis-remembering, but didn't Network do a US and UK release of Robin of Sherwood? If so, anybody know if it was easy to distinguish between those?

    One would hope that if Network don't licence out the individual-series releases, that they'll make the extra effort to do much more than just take the BBFC symbols off the art to distinguish one from the other.

  44. AndyMcKinney

    Well, unless Network cheaps-out and doesn't licence the property out to someone else, fulfilling all orders (UK and US) with the same boxart.

    Maybe I'm mis-remembering, but didn't Network do a US and UK release of Robin of Sherwood? If so, anybody know if it was easy to distinguish between those?

    One would hope that if Network don't licence out the individual-series releases, that they'll make the extra effort to do much more than just take the BBFC symbols off the art to distinguish one from the other.

    Acorn Media released the DVD's and this Blu-ray set.

    [​IMG]

  45. I have an interesting question (or at least I think it's interesting)…

    I have to wait another week to order this set. I am at my budget max for this month and have to wait for my credit card to start a new cycle since I will be charged immediately…

    (but I digress)…

    Can I play the GBP value game with this preorder?

    …meaning wait for the value of GBP to drop (which it has) to get a better conversion rate on this set?

  46. Either way, I'm still interested to see just how much improvement they can get from 50-year-old tapes. The animated parts alone are like night and day based on the small smattering of samples released thus far, but I don't expect that much difference for everything else.

  47. MatthewA

    Either way, I'm still interested to see just how much improvement they can get from 50-year-old tapes. The animated parts alone are like night and day based on the small smattering of samples released thus far, but I don't expect that much difference for everything else.

    Did you watch the trailer, the clips they used look clean and clear to me.

  48. texboil

    This release has been postponed to November 4. Apparently due to some new material that was found.

    I just saw that! Great news, actually. I'd rather wait an extra month and get all the goods:
    Here is the email I got from Network Distributing:

    Dear customer,

    First, some slightly not-so-good-news – we’re really sorry that we have had to delay the release date of the magnificent box set until 4th November 2019

    The absolutely spiffing news, however, is that during the course of the restoration, just as we thought we’d seen everything, yet more cans of film material emerged from other quarters that could, frankly, have been anything. We’re still painstakingly going through every frame of the archive but have discovered a wealth of Python nuggets, a lot of it unseen.

    It would be impossible to include this material and still make the original release date but, it was an easy decision as not only is a lot of the material being seen for the first time, it is all being restored and presented in HD.

    As a thank you for your patience, enjoy this preview of an exclusive, very rare and reinstated piece of animation we have restored to HD quality:

  49. Philip Verdieck

    Ordered.
    104.33 = $130.55

    That website (Network) is very dangerous for me.

    I put The Prisoner, UFO and Space 1999 on my wish list.

    That's too expensive right now, going to have to wait till next year when the price drops either drops or a North American release is made from another studio/company.

  50. Coressel

    I just saw that! Great news, actually. I'd rather wait an extra month and get all the goods:
    Here is the email I got from Network Distributing:

    Dear customer,

    First, some slightly not-so-good-news – we’re really sorry that we have had to delay the release date of the magnificent box set until 4th November 2019

    The absolutely spiffing news, however, is that during the course of the restoration, just as we thought we’d seen everything, yet more cans of film material emerged from other quarters that could, frankly, have been anything. We’re still painstakingly going through every frame of the archive but have discovered a wealth of Python nuggets, a lot of it unseen.

    It would be impossible to include this material and still make the original release date but, it was an easy decision as not only is a lot of the material being seen for the first time, it is all being restored and presented in HD.

    As a thank you for your patience, enjoy this preview of an exclusive, very rare and reinstated piece of animation we have restored to HD quality:

    So I read this and was delighted. I, like the rest of you, would love to have some new (old) Python content.

    That led me to thinking, what did they find? My first thought was that it was skits they had done, but then decided not to include in episodes. Then I realized that can't be true, with the pathetic state of BBC tape reuse, any original skit media that wasn't included in final broadcast tapes would have been reused.

    So, if not stuff the BBC could destroy, it would have to be their private stuff. To me that means its limited to anything done for film or stage. Practice runs, or outtakes on parts of the movies or things like that.

    Another thought, and I doubt it, is stuff pre-Python, because of right's issues:

    At Last the 1948 Show
    Do Not Adjust Your Set

  51. Season 1 just showed up on Amazon UK.

    There are two listings
    £39.99 digipack (thicker box)
    £17.99 with an Amaray case.

    My assumption is the digipack has the booklet

    Oa a related note, there is also now a listing for Fawlty Towers on Blu

  52. That would be very surprising, if true. Usually, such restorations are copyright to whoever does the restoration (in this case, probably Network) and they would be owed some sort of compensation for using them.

    The BBC in the UK, for instance, did not use the restored versions in their recent repeats. They used off-the-shelf masters of their own. Maybe BBC America (separate company) struck some sort of deal, or, the rumour is false.

  53. While the BBC has its own video distribution arm [2 entertain], its titles have been distributed by numerous video companies in the UK over the years, owing to multiple rights holders, etc. Mostly, distribution has been handled by WB in North America, with a handful of exceptions.

  54. bigshot

    Distributors distribute. They don't often engage in restoring properties that they don't control.

    I think I've read that Jonathan Wood did the restoration work on Flying Circus, so the restoration should be in pretty good hands.

    If they (Network) are the ones underwriting at least some of the costs, though, they definitely have a stake and, perhaps, at least partial ownership of the "remastered masters". They're certainly not going to give them away for free. I'm sure they would probably have come to some sort of deal for the BBC to have archive copies and/or copies that they could distribute via syndication, but if Network paid some (or all) of the restoration costs, I'm sure they're going to want to recoup some of that.

    The BBC, technically, don't even have any rights to the Python episodes anymore, anyway. They lost those rights to the Pythons back in 1980.

    From what I've seen, Eric Idle has mentioned on Twitter that the Pythons themselves have underwritten the restoration (certainly, at least, in part), so it might be that the Pythons themselves wholly own the remastered tapes. The BBC would probably have to negotiate/pay a fee to use them.

    Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly certain that Network paid for the remastering of Space: 1999, even though the people at BBC Resources did the actual work. I think A&E/New Video ponied up some of the dough (half?) for Year One (which they gained distribution rights for), but part of the reason Year Two took so long was that Network had to "go solo" with it.

  55. What an irony. The Pythons are turning to the Beeb to help them restore what they were ready to throw out like yesterday's breakfast, and using (presumably) the same division that salvaged as many lost Doctor Who episodes as they could.

    I just wish there was as much effort into saving presumably lost American shows. Not that there aren't already wonderful people doing great work, but imagine how much of early TV presumed to be lost is merely misplaced and awaiting restoration.

    I wonder how many of the actual cameras and VTRs they used are still in existence. Obviously they were retired years ago for actual broadcast and production, but it would be interesting to compare them to what the US used at the time.

  56. AndyMcKinney

    If they (Network) are the ones underwriting at least some of the costs, though, they definitely have a stake and, perhaps, at least partial ownership of the "remastered masters".

    The way these things work is each part of the deal is another slice of the pie. If there are costs involved, they are exchanged for distribution rights. It's very doubtful that rights holders would give away an ownership stake to a distributor. However they might give the distributor an exclusive in a certain area for a specified period of time. In this case, that would be physical media in the UK. There is no reason to give a company that sells DVDs and blu-rays broadcast rights. They wouldn't even use them.

    Unless someone knows the terms of the contracts, its safe to assume that whoever owns the show still owns it, and they also own the rights to the restoration of the show they own. They can broadcast those new masters however they want… and I bet once a deal is in place for physical media in the US, you'll see the streaming copies (i.e. Netflix) upgraded too. Broadcast drives the sales of physical media.

  57. Worth

    At this point, there's a lot more money to be made in streaming than physical media. Netflix just paid nearly half a billion dollars for the rights to Seinfeld.

    Which is why Netflix subscriptions skyrocket. Sigh.

    At least, for the moment, their programming is better than the other services….for now.

  58. saw this on Roobarb's:

    Paul said on Facebook that every episode bar two are back to their original running length – and the two that aren't are actually longer!

    Also (sadly):
    no sculptor/wine tasting/cocktails according to Paul’s latest post: the only series 3 studio tapes are the two insert tapes that were on YouTube ages ago.

  59. Worth

    At this point, there's a lot more money to be made in streaming than physical media. Netflix just paid nearly half a billion dollars for the rights to Seinfeld.

    How many other shows that premiered the same year are worth that kind of money? Maybe The Simpsons but largely because that's still an ongoing concern. The medium is less important than the actual content.

  60. AndyMcKinney

    saw this on Roobarb's:

    Paul said on Facebook that every episode bar two are back to their original running length – and the two that aren't are actually longer!

    Also (sadly):
    no sculptor/wine tasting/cocktails according to Paul’s latest post: the only series 3 studio tapes are the two insert tapes that were on YouTube ages ago.

    He also said on missing-episodes.com that the BBC no longer holds an NTSC copy of Royal Episode 13 so RSC is out of the question. Also no kinis exists of that particular episode as the BBC did retain any prints of this season and even if they did, there is no record of black and white copies of anything other than the first 6 episodes of Season 2 being made available

  61. While I'm excited about the restored footage and reinstated material, I have to admit I'm disappointed that they didn't get any of the surviving Pythons to do commentary/interviews or even better a text commentary.

  62. The Obsolete Man

    Getting closer.

    Wonder when Network will ship US orders.

    For context.

    I order the Up Series (7 Up through 63 Up) from Network. It had a 'release date' of Oct 14. I received the shipping notice email on Oct 10. It was delivered in the Chicago area on Oct 17. There was no tracking.

    If they follow a similar pattern, they would ship on Oct 31, and it would arrive Nov 7.

  63. I see the release date for this has now been moved up to November 4 from the previously announced November 12. Bill Hunt wrote in today's Digital Bits that the site was working on a review, so obviously review copies are out.

  64. David Weicker

    For context.

    I order the Up Series (7 Up through 63 Up) from Network. It had a 'release date' of Oct 14. I received the shipping notice email on Oct 10. It was delivered in the Chicago area on Oct 17. There was no tracking.

    If they follow a similar pattern, they would ship on Oct 31, and it would arrive Nov 7.

    You were pretty much right on the money.

    Network sent out an email last night saying the sets would start shipping on November 1, with arrival date depending on where you live.

  65. I just got a shipping email, which is mildly confusing, but I think its talking about if you have a preorder with something in stock:

    YOUR ORDER HAS BEEN SHIPPED (UNLESS IT'S A PRE-ORDER)

    ORDER 239536

    Please note that this is an automated email, if your order contained a Pre-Order or an item that is out of stock this will follow as soon as it is available.

    On the rare occasion when an item is out of stock and has subsequently been discontinued, we will make every effort to inform you at the earliest possible opportunity and process you a full refund.

    Thank you for shopping with Network On Air!
    You can review your order and download your invoice from the "Order history" section of your customer account by clicking "My account" on our shop.

  66. Coressel

    I got that same e-mail. WTF does "unless it's a pre-order" mean? How could it have been anything but a pre-order? :unsure:

    I received the same exact email when the Up Series was shipped. It’s probably just a standardized disclaimer so people don’t get upset if other items on your order (that have a later release date) are not included.

    People tend to overthink these things and get waaaay too panicky.

  67. Mark Cappelletty

    Disappointed the German-language "FIiegender Zirkus" episodes aren't inlcuded on this. Glad I held on to the last two A&E DVD box sets.

    That was a big oversight unless they plan to sell those separately.

  68. Philip Verdieck

    I think the first 2 seasons you can only do so much. I remember hearing that S1 and S2 were to be overwritten and the tapes reused.

    Some quick googling turned up this

    However, this notes that when sold to other markets, it was sent on 16mm

    https://www.pastemagazine.com/artic…n-hero-who-saved-monthy-pythons-flying-c.html

    The Terry Jones story is misleading. The BBC changed their minds about wiping the episodes, so in the end it wasn't Jones who rescued the programs.

  69. AndyMcKinney

    I think I've read that Jonathan Wood did the restoration work on Flying Circus, so the restoration should be in pretty good hands.

    If they (Network) are the ones underwriting at least some of the costs, though, they definitely have a stake and, perhaps, at least partial ownership of the "remastered masters". They're certainly not going to give them away for free. I'm sure they would probably have come to some sort of deal for the BBC to have archive copies and/or copies that they could distribute via syndication, but if Network paid some (or all) of the restoration costs, I'm sure they're going to want to recoup some of that.

    The BBC, technically, don't even have any rights to the Python episodes anymore, anyway. They lost those rights to the Pythons back in 1980.

    From what I've seen, Eric Idle has mentioned on Twitter that the Pythons themselves have underwritten the restoration (certainly, at least, in part), so it might be that the Pythons themselves wholly own the remastered tapes. The BBC would probably have to negotiate/pay a fee to use them.

    Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly certain that Network paid for the remastering of Space: 1999, even though the people at BBC Resources did the actual work. I think A&E/New Video ponied up some of the dough (half?) for Year One (which they gained distribution rights for), but part of the reason Year Two took so long was that Network had to "go solo" with it.

    My understanding was the Pythons got the rights to the shows outside Britain, but for Britain the BBC still holds the rights.

  70. About the unedited NTSC versions originally seen in the US: would I be right in suspecting that those were from tapes that Time-Life had lying around since 1970, and that's why they had bits that had already been cut in the UK?

  71. Steburstein

    My understanding was the Pythons got the rights to the shows outside Britain, but for Britain the BBC still holds the rights.

    That was the original arrangement (after ABC in America censored their episodes and the Pythons took then to court), but they gained total control of the episodes once their original contracts with the BBC expired in 1980.

  72. I'm assuming from your last post it's Deep Discount (I couldn;t find a dvddiscount store), but I'm not sure how you got Free Shipping added unless DD is removing it after you place the order. What state are you in that DD doesn't add Sales Tax now — or are you in one of those No Sales Tax at all states like Oregon and NH?

    Very good price if they removed the Shipping for whatever reason.

  73. I'd love to own this collection, but it's just too expensive, especially since it's being imported from the UK. I'm going to have to wait for it to come way down on price and is available single sets as well.

  74. as someone else posted up-thread, there's a decent chance that after awhile of 'exclusivity', Network and/or the Pythons might eventually partner with a U.S. label to release a new set (or individual seasons) on down the road.

    I know I'll be waiting for the UK 50i sets to come way down (or get released in more sensible packaging) before I bite on this. I can wait.

  75. as someone else posted up-thread, there's a decent chance that after awhile of 'exclusivity', Network and/or the Pythons might eventually partner with a U.S. label to release a new set (or individual seasons) on down the road.

    I know I'll be waiting for the UK 50i sets to come way down (or get released in more sensible packaging) before I bite on this. I can wait.

  76. I plan on picking up the individual seasons from Amazon UK.

    Season 1 has been announced at £17.99 in a standard Blu case. Assuming the remaining three seasons are announced for the same, that would be about $85 (at the current exchange rate)

  77. David Weicker

    I plan on picking up the individual seasons from Amazon UK.

    Season 1 has been announced at £17.99 in a standard Blu case. Assuming the remaining three seasons are announced for the same, that would be about $85 (at the current exchange rate)

    Just be sure you're compatible with 1080i/50….

  78. atcolomb

    According to the Digital Bits not all the extras will be carried over from the 16 Ton Megaset to the new release. I might have to keep both sets?

    Right. The German Episodes, Live at Aspen, Personal Best and Hollywood Bowl are not included here.

  79. Coressel

    Right. The German Episodes, Live at Aspen, Personal Best and Hollywood Bowl are not included here.

    Thanks for the info. While I am waiting for the Blu-ray to arrive I decided to watch some of the Fawlty Towers episodes and the Michael Palin travelogues like Around the Word in 80 days and Pole to Pole.

  80. atcolomb

    According to the Digital Bits not all the extras will be carried over from the 16 Ton Megaset to the new release. I might have to keep both sets?

    if you want those particular extras, yes (if the extras you wanted to keep were all on the 2-disc Monty Python Live!, you could get rid of the remaining 14 discs that comprised the original, pre-16 Ton set, or get rid of the whole thing and pick up a separate 2-disc Live set).

    Apart from some of the stuff on the Live set, I would have assumed most of what on the original 14-disc set look to be pretty non-essential/disposable.

    Also, I think it is planned for Network to do a separate cleaned-up release of the two German episodes (Fliegender Zirkus), so the A&E version of that might eventually be a redundancy.

  81. Coressel

    Review from The Digital Bits:
    https://thedigitalbits.com/item/monty-python-norwegian-bd-box

    And here’s a great little touch: If you start playing episodes from the disc menu, each begins just as you remember them. But when you do, you might notice that the episodes start at Chapter 2—if you skip back from there, Network has actually included the original BBC studio VT clock leaders at the front of each episode! Studio portions of the show were actually recorded in front of a live audience, and you can hear the stage manager counting down to the start of the recording. Occasionally, one of the Pythons can even be heard joking with the audience as well

    This is awesome!!!!

  82. The Obsolete Man

    Reports of damaged boxes are coming loud and clear from across the pond.

    That damn thing did look impossible to stay in one piece.

    But on the plus side, mine is shipping and supposed to be here on Friday.

    I have a few suspects in mind…
    [​IMG]😉

  83. Malcolm R

    That's fine because I don't like SPAM!!
    :D:razz:

    Don't make a fuss, I'll have your spam edition. I love it. I'm having spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam baked beans, spam, spam, spam

  84. B-ROLL

    I have a few suspects in mind…
    [​IMG]😉

    You know, one of the funniest things I have ever seen — and this may actually be the funniest — is the episode where The Spanish Inquisition is in the wrong place when they are needed and we watch as they have to wait for a bus to get to their destination. They reach their destination, rush in are about ready to deliver their famous line … and then the credits roll.

    For me, that's just funny shit. Whoever thought of that is genius!

    But that's what Monty Python was. Pure Fucking Genius.

  85. Ronald Epstein

    You know, one of the funniest things I have ever seen — and this may actually be the funniest — is the episode where The Spanish Inquisition finds themselves in the absolute wrong place when they are suddenly needed. We watch as they have to painfully wait for a bus to get to their destination as the show's credits roll. Trying to race to beat the end of the credit roll, they finally reach their destination and are about ready to deliver their famous line when…

    It's just true fucking genius whomever came up with that shit.

    An expert from the UK TV station, Channel 4. This was a 2005 special called Britain's 50 Best Comedy Sketches. The Spanish Inquisition came in at #12.

  86. In regards to the extras, you have to get The Life of Python set if you want “everything.” Those two discs are not included in the 16-ton megaset. They include the material created for the 30th anniversary and one of the German shows.

  87. David Weicker

    I wonder if they restored the firing squad ‘missing scene’ from The Cycling Tour 😀

    I'm still trying to understand the mindset behind the censorship of the All-England Summarize Marcel Proust Competition, mainly

    Spoiler: NSFW
  88. The Obsolete Man

    Reports of damaged boxes are coming loud and clear from across the pond.

    That damn thing did look impossible to stay in one piece.

    But on the plus side, mine is shipping and supposed to be here on Friday.

    atcolomb

    It's hard to pick one episode to be my favorite but The Cycling Tour would be in the top five.

    “Its funny how you can go through life hating bananas and being indifferent to cheese but still enjoy a delicious banana and cheese sandwich”.

  89. MatthewA

    I'm still trying to understand the mindset behind the censorship of the All-England Summarize Marcel Proust Competition, mainly

    Spoiler: NSFW

    Strangling is not an offensive word, but the other word though and during that time period of the 70's through the 90's was a big no no word that could not be said on TV programs here in the US and probably other countries as well. The UK can say a lot things in their shows that still today the US can't unless their on cable stations or streaming.

  90. US TV was already becoming more permissive partly because of All in the Family. The hypocrisy is that a sexual reference got censored but not a violent one. I guess some taboos are more taboo than others.

  91. Had time to do a quick a/b comparison with the 16 Ton Megaset and happy to report that the new release looks great with no print damage, bright colors, and more image on all four sides. Besides damage to the box set very happy and will go thru all the episodes. I did report the box damage to Network and I hope for a response.

  92. Ronald Epstein

    My order shipped but there doesn't seem to be any way to track it.

    Oddly enough, I got the tracking information from Technicolor yesterday about a half day before Network e-mailed me that it had shipped.

    And yeah, there's virtually no good news coming about the condition of the packaging. But people are loving the actual content, which is what really matters.

  93. I got mine this afternoon! No box damage, all discs look pristine, and the booklets… hell, they are complete bloody books… that accompany each season are amazing. The whole set smells like a new car. Looking forward to sinking my eyes and ears into this monster asap.

  94. My box too arrived damaged as pictured above. The box is really useless and will probably be tossed in a closet never to be seen again. I was blown away at the size of the four books. Means I'm going to have to clear more time in my schedule to read than to view! Was also astounded at the quality of some of the film restorations. I haven't looked at all the discs, but one look at the beginning of Series 4 Episode 3 ("Up Your Pavement") and I was amazed.

  95. My box was received the same way as pictured by Bigshot and I got a response from Network this morning:

    Thanks for your email. Unfortunately, we have been made aware that a handful of people have received their Monty Python’s Flying Circus Norwegian Blu-ray damaged. This fault is confined to a small number of the substantial amount of boxsets that have been shipped since last week. Our teams are currently assessing the situation with our delivery partners to understand the cause of the issue, and to formulate an appropriate response. Thanks for your patience and continued support.

    With kind regards,
    GARRON STEVENS

  96. They should have done the seasons in a single case without the big books and then bound all the books together in a single hardback book to go on the shelf next to the seasons. That would have been more special than self destructing boxes.

  97. bigshot

    They should have done the seasons in a single case without the big books and then bound all the books together in a single hardback book to go on the shelf next to the seasons. That would have been more special than self destructing boxes.

    These box sets being damaged is bad, especially for Network's businesses and reputation, but at the same time this is very on brand of Monty Python.

  98. bigshot

    They should have done the seasons in a single case without the big books and then bound all the books together in a single hardback book to go on the shelf next to the seasons. That would have been more special than self destructing boxes.

    These box sets being damaged is bad, especially for Network's businesses and reputation, but at the same time this is very on brand of Monty Python.

  99. bigshot

    They should have done the seasons in a single case without the big books and then bound all the books together in a single hardback book to go on the shelf next to the seasons. That would have been more special than self destructing boxes.

    These box sets being damaged is bad, especially for Network's businesses and reputation, but at the same time this is very on brand of Monty Python.

  100. The Python books had gimmicks like this. I was in a book store when “Monty Pythons New Book” (or some such similar title came out). There was a stack of them and I went through it trying to find a good one to buy. They all had a missing corner and a bend in the front cover. When you opened it the entire cover came off. Feeling very dense I realized this shop warn thing was their “new” (— get it? :lol:) book.

  101. Received another email from Network about the damaged box sets. Happy that they are informing me on the problem and i hope what they will do about it.

    Dear Customer

    Apologies again if you are one of the unlucky recipients of a damaged box set. We share your disappointment, especially as the restorations and books themselves have been receiving such acclaim.
    We are investigating this as a matter of urgency and we await feedback from our manufacturing, packing and courier partners. We will get back to you just as soon as we can but thanks for your patience and understanding in the meantime.

  102. I don't imagine the designer of the packaging for the set thought much about these sets being shipped worldwide.

    If the contents are that heavy, the cardboard packaging will be crushed regardless of how well the set is packed for shipping.

  103. Agreed.

    The only possible exception might be those sets that were gently cradled by European swallows.
    (or was it African swallows?)

    Yes, my box's inner dividers were obliterated – I had a stealth delivery yesterday afternoon unseen until 4:30 this morning as I went to work.

    The main contents seem OK, so….

  104. Dave Jessup

    Agreed.

    The only possible exception might be those sets that were gently cradled by European swallows.
    (or was it African swallows?)

    Yes, my box's inner dividers were obliterated – I had a stealth delivery yesterday afternoon unseen until 4:30 this morning as I went to work.

    The main contents seem OK, so….

    Yeah, the actual sets are bulletproof. But the fancy packaging wasn't designed to ever be touched or moved ever.

  105. The Obsolete Man

    Yeah, the actual sets are bulletproof. But the fancy packaging wasn't designed to ever be touched or moved ever.

    The box set itself is a piece of art that is to be admired at but never have any physical contact with, in fact it's the type of art that requires an appointment just have a quick glance at it.

  106. The Obsolete Man

    Yeah, the actual sets are bulletproof. But the fancy packaging wasn't designed to ever be touched or moved ever.

    darkrock17

    The box set itself is a piece of art that is to be admired at but never have any physical contact with, in fact it's the type of art that requires an appointment just have a quick glance at it.

    It's only wafer thin. 😀

  107. The Obsolete Man

    Oh, as for the episodes…

    They look great. Beteeen this and Doctor Who, I'm becoming a convert to upscaled 576i video. Turns out there is useful information there to be had, even if the picture isn't originally 1080.

    Especially for those used to NTSC (480i) video. Almost 100 additional lines of resolution when upscaling from the original PAL (and being able to go back to those first-generation studio tapes) also helps, instead of having to rely on well-worn syndication tapes.

  108. The Obsolete Man

    Oh, as for the episodes…

    They look great. Beteeen this and Doctor Who, I'm becoming a convert to upscaled 576i video. Turns out there is useful information there to be had, even if the picture isn't originally 1080.

    Especially for those used to NTSC (480i) video. Almost 100 additional lines of resolution when upscaling from the original PAL (and being able to go back to those first-generation studio tapes) also helps, instead of having to rely on well-worn syndication tapes.

  109. The Obsolete Man

    Oh, as for the episodes…

    They look great. Beteeen this and Doctor Who, I'm becoming a convert to upscaled 576i video. Turns out there is useful information there to be had, even if the picture isn't originally 1080.

    Especially for those used to NTSC (480i) video. Almost 100 additional lines of resolution when upscaling from the original PAL (and being able to go back to those first-generation studio tapes) also helps, instead of having to rely on well-worn syndication tapes.

  110. The Obsolete Man

    Oh, as for the episodes…

    They look great. Beteeen this and Doctor Who, I'm becoming a convert to upscaled 576i video. Turns out there is useful information there to be had, even if the picture isn't originally 1080.

    That's more of the advantage of Python existing almost entirely (albeit not complete unscathed) on 2" Quadruplex. If the show were made 10 years later after the BBC switched over to Sony Type C, it wouldn't look nearly as good.

    …also helps that the BBC had made the switch over to full PAL production by this point. They were still shooting in the inferior EMI-Marconi system for BBC1 productions back when the Pythons were slogging through the trenches at Associated-Rediffusion.

  111. Lord Dalek

    That's more of the advantage of Python existing almost entirely (albeit not complete unscathed) on 2" Quadruplex. If the show were made 10 years later after the BBC switched over to Sony Type C, it wouldn't look nearly as good.

    So don't expect this out of the Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy Who runs, is what you're saying.

  112. Received mine this week. The center divider was damaged, while the other dividers are intact, as is the rest of the box. An email was submitted to the Networkonair.com support site. I was surprised to this damage occur. I have order many bluray’s and box sets directly from them without issue. It appears the designer of the set did not take into consideration shipping durability. Taking a close look at the promo picture, the divider in no way resembles what was actually provided.

  113. microhard

    Received mine this week. The center divider was damaged, while the other dividers are intact, as is the rest of the box. An email was submitted to the Networkonair.com support site. I was surprised to this damage occur. I have order many bluray's and box sets directly from them without issue. It appears the designer of the set did not take into consideration shipping durability. Taking a close look at the promo picture, the divider in no way resembles what was actually provided.

    A thin plastic would've done the job.

    Hell, foam between the sets would've done it.

  114. microhard

    Received mine this week. The center divider was damaged, while the other dividers are intact, as is the rest of the box. An email was submitted to the Networkonair.com support site. I was surprised to this damage occur. I have order many bluray's and box sets directly from them without issue. It appears the designer of the set did not take into consideration shipping durability. Taking a close look at the promo picture, the divider in no way resembles what was actually provided.

    A thin plastic would've done the job.

    Hell, foam between the sets would've done it.

  115. The Obsolete Man

    Oh, as for the episodes…

    They look great. Beteeen this and Doctor Who, I'm becoming a convert to upscaled 576i video. Turns out there is useful information there to be had, even if the picture isn't originally 1080.

    Imagine how good The Muppet Show could look if the NTSC-sourced Fraggle Rock still managed to look better than DVD.

    The so-called "soap opera effect" on 4k TVs is actually useful for keeping video looking like video. My Mom has one at her house, the one technology she got before me. The last time I visited her, I watched Maude on DVD and The Golden Girls on Hulu, and surprisingly enough the former, undoubtedly shot on 2" NTSC Quad while Walt only knows what format the latter was shot on, looked better, though the credits' mix of film and tape looked strange. It smoothed out the "ghost frames" that pre-1980s film chains created in converting 24p film to 30i video, but the electronically generated credits' movement was odd. With Golden Girls there are no film inserts, but they must have used a later tape generation for the DVD/Hulu transfers in addition to lying about the show not being until season 3; Hulu restored the stereo to seasons 1-2. You'd think a 1980s show would look sharper than a 1970s show, but no. And I also think Disney tried to "filmize" it because even with the soap opera effect, the credits looked wonky, especially Dorothy throwing her hands up.

    But on my constant image height screen with a 1080p projector, Python actually looks better than new with the technical limitations of the era partially lifted and while restoring redacted content. This puts all the prior NTSC conversions we Americans have had to deal for years with to shame.

  116. PMF

    "I Love Lucy" was that only American T.V. series I ever wanted to own in its entirety.
    But when it comes to the only British T.V. series I ever wanted to own in its entirety;
    it's Monty, it's Python, it's Flying and it's Circus.
    Now I am complete.:)

    I wouldn't mind having a complete HANCOCK'S HALF HOUR(granted it's available in the UK!).

  117. AndyMcKinney

    Also, it had some unfortunate edits. I sold it long ago and got the UK set from Sony about 10 years ago. Hopefully, this Network set will prove definitive.

    I remember I was really annoyed that "Dad's Pooves" was missing. It really looked like some schmuck thought the show was over!

  118. Lord Dalek

    Unfortunately this may confirm the fact that Gilliam's cartoons represent the only surviving film sequences from the show.

    I've seen the raw filmed sequences from the "Dennis Moore" episode-someone uploaded them on to YouTube.

  119. More things that puzzled me. NTSC versions of FLYING CIRCUS didn't exist before 1974, but PYTHON had been shown in Canada some time before then! Did CBC show earlier NTSC tapes that were subsequently erased? Were they B/W film telerecordings(many BBC programs went to other countries on B/W film instead of VT)? Had CBC done their own conversions and then junked them? Hmm.

  120. atcolomb

    Received another email from Network about the damaged box sets. Happy that they are informing me on the problem and i hope what they will do about it.

    Dear Customer

    Apologies again if you are one of the unlucky recipients of a damaged box set. We share your disappointment, especially as the restorations and books themselves have been receiving such acclaim.
    We are investigating this as a matter of urgency and we await feedback from our manufacturing, packing and courier partners. We will get back to you just as soon as we can but thanks for your patience and understanding in the meantime.

    Their reply should have ended with "those responsible for the damage have been sacked".

  121. Steburstein

    More things that puzzled me. NTSC versions of FLYING CIRCUS didn't exist before 1974, but PYTHON had been shown in Canada some time before then! Did CBC show earlier NTSC tapes that were subsequently erased? Were they B/W film telerecordings(many BBC programs went to other countries on B/W film instead of VT)? Had CBC done their own conversions and then junked them? Hmm.

    CBC definitely broadcast Python in color. What is your source for the claim that NTSC masters didn't exist before 1974 ? If it came from a U.S. source, it's quite possible that source didn't even consider that Canada may have been ahead of them in any way, shape or form.

    CBC carried plenty of British programming in those days so this question would apply to more than just the Python series.

  122. Many missing episodes of Doctor Who for instance were found in Canada from broadcasts on TV Ontario. As far as Python is concerned, we had been watching the show for at least a couple of years before they even heard of it south of the border.

  123. Rob W

    CBC definitely broadcast Python in color. What is your source for the claim that NTSC masters didn't exist before 1974 ? If it came from a U.S. source, it's quite possible that source didn't even consider that Canada may have been ahead of them in any way, shape or form.

    CBC carried plenty of British programming in those days so this question would apply to more than just the Python series.

    According to their US manager Nancy Lewis, the major hurdle for trying to sell PYTHON in the US before 1974(besides that American TV was as isolationist as Mainland Chinese TV)was that there were no NTSC versions of the programs, and current owner Time-Life couldn't afford to make them. Then the summer replacement series "Dean Martin's Comedy World" bought clips to use on the show, and the fee they paid for them financed the conversions. This confused me as I knew CBC had shown PYTHON. I guess the versions CBC used had already been erased.

  124. This appears to be a response from Network — I couldn't source it, but it looks like it may be an email that was posted. This appears to be some good news at least for those who ordered direct from Network

    "Dear Monty Python fan

    Many thanks for your patience whilst we’ve been investigating problems with damaged boxes. Having listened to the feedback from everyone in the chain including the box manufacturer, the packers, the couriers, but most of all you, our customer, we’re delighted to tell you that we are now implementing some measures to make up for the disappointment of receiving a damaged box.

    If you are one of those affected, we’re happy to offer one of the following :

    An unconditional refund of £10.
    An empty replacement box at no cost. We do have a reasonable quantity of spare boxes but they are limited.
    A full refund should you decide to return the complete deluxe boxset to our freepost address.

    In order for us to arrange this for you as quickly as possible, please can you reply to this email supplying:

    Your 6 digit networkonair order number
    Photographic evidence of the damage to your order

    The offer of a replacement box is made on a first come first served basis. The teams are in place to deal with your choice as quickly as we can, we look forward to receiving your instructions."

  125. I taped up the damage so I asked for the refund of 10 pounds and to my surprised two hours later I received a notice from my credit card company about the refund. That was faster than the Upper Class Twit of the Year race!

  126. atcolomb

    I taped up the damage so I asked for the refund of 10 pounds and to my surprised two hours later I received a notice from my credit card company about the refund. That was faster than the Upper Class Twit of the Year race!

    Kind of lazy today to look..

    How much is 10 pounds American?

  127. Who did Network use for shipping? I bought a 60i set from Deep Discount with no damage at all and a 50i box as a gift for someone from Amazon UK and it only had a minor tear on one of the dividers. I the UK order was shipped by DHL and the US order via USPS. Seems weird that so many were destroyed and a fair number survived. Glad Network is making good on this for those receiving damaged boxes.

    In looking closer at the design, I think the individual season sets could be dislodged from the small recesses they are supposed to sit in at the base of the box resulting in the full weight to be easily displaced laterally.

  128. A joke in our family occurred when we reached our 25th wedding anniversary. We exchanged gifts to each other. My wife received a romantic piece of good jewelry. I requested and received “The Complete Monty Python” DVD set. This says it all about our personalities!

    This year we reach our 40th anniversary. There is a new Blu ray set out … ?

  129. J. Casey

    Who did Network use for shipping? I bought a 60i set from Deep Discount with no damage at all and a 50i box as a gift for someone from Amazon UK and it only had a minor tear on one of the dividers. I the UK order was shipped by DHL and the US order via USPS. Seems weird that so many were destroyed and a fair number survived. Glad Network is making good on this for those receiving damaged boxes.

    In looking closer at the design, I think the individual season sets could be dislodged from the small recesses they are supposed to sit in at the base of the box resulting in the full weight to be easily displaced laterally.

    I would not keep these on their side very long

  130. Got my set today from Amazon. Not a bump or a scratch on the box, it arrived in absolutely pristine condition. But enough about cheap cardboard packaging…the episodes themselves look AMAZING and each of the 4 seasons comes with an exhaustive 200-page book. So that’s 800 pages covering every aspect of every episode with the episodes themselves looking as great as we’ll likely ever see them. I’m totally blown away by this set. Highly, highly recommended.

  131. TJPC

    A joke in our family occurred when we reached our 25th wedding anniversary. We exchanged gifts to each other. My wife received a romantic piece of good jewelry. I requested and received “The Complete Monty Python” DVD set. This says it all about our personalities!

    This year we reach our 40th anniversary. There is a new Blu ray set out … ?

    Congratulations on your 40th anniversary, Terry! 🙂

    CHEERS! 🙂

  132. Only received this yesterday (had to have it delivered to a UPS access point due to being out of town), but I had a chance to watch one episode (one of my favorites, The Buzz Aldrin Show) and the remastering featurette with Terry Gilliam. This is the 60 Hz version, which is fine, since I was concerned about the 50Hz version having compatibility issues down the line.

    The care put into the remastering is astounding. They didn't make the 16mm stuff look too pristine while the video-based stuff still looks like video. But as Mr. Gilliam states in the featurette, it's like how the Sistine Chapel looked after being cleaned up. For that matter, they were brilliant to have him sit in as he's supervised so many remasters of his own work. It's weird seeing everything look so clear, especially with the encoding allowing complete frames to be visible.

    I was fearing the worst about the packaging, except it came in a large box with a smaller one inside still with Technicolor labels. Not a bit of damage. All the slipcases and the main box seem to be the thick board stock used on stuff like Arrow and Indicator slipcases. Looking forward to diving into the detailed notes. There's also a little booklet with content notes and a statement on the remastering. Worth noting that some episodes apparently had to resort to some inferior sources for completeness and they included the broadcast versions of some moments with "censored" audio or video as extras.

    Going to go through at least the first series before the year is out. Easily one of the best releases of the year. Now if we can finally get Blu-rays of And Now For Something Completely Different and Live at the Hollywood Bowl…

  133. Bradley Newton

    Was that what you wanted me to check? I’m really looking forward to spending time with this box and those books. Again, really impressed with the packaging of this set. It truly feels exhaustive.

    As long as you can clearly see the selections being made.

    Maybe it's just the player I am using. It's an older BD player and the firmware has not been updated.

  134. Mark-W

    Same issues with the damaged box here. I am not a fan of packaging that takes up space, so I will move to more compact storage solution anyway, but gawd this is poorly thought out.

    Hey, don't get mad at Network they thought they hired the right people to create and assemble the box-set. I'd give them a pass on this tiny design flaw as some of team underwent brain surgery, it didn't help any; but you can only do so much when your brain is essentially a hamster running on a wheel stuck inside jello to begin with.

    [​IMG]

  135. If is truly amazing what they were able to do with upscaling the original master 2" PAL tapes with their 600-line resolution into 1080, and digging out and rescanning the 16mm parts in true 1080 HD. My mind is blown. In think this is one of the year’s best releases.

  136. Once again, I see technological miracles happening. Shows I thought would be locked into low-resolution forever suddenly spring to life anew with the technical flaws minimized so you can focus on the brilliance of the performances and the writing as they walk the fine tightrope between erudition and absurdity. No American TV sketch show ever came close. England needs it now more than ever. America needs it now more than ever. The world needs it now more than ever. What impressed me that I hadn't noticed as much before was that even with their use of quick-cut gags, other things like the "nudge, nudge, wink, wink" sketch were done all in one shot with no cutaways at all. That's the true test of how skilled the performers were when they were doing that live in front of an audience, and how they were able to take their show on the road and do it live.

    So what's left unreleased to Blu-ray? Just And Now For Something Completely Different, which should already have an HD remaster at least, and Monty Python: Live at the Hollywood Bowl, which will be the greater technical challenge to get up to snuff.

  137. I think the later seasons benefit more from the upgrade than Season One.

    The animation sequences look superb. The studio sequences not so much. However, it is greatly improved as the seasons move forward. I am on Season 3 and it looks much better than 1.

  138. MatthewA

    Once again, I see technological miracles happening. Shows I thought would be locked into low-resolution forever suddenly spring to life anew with the technical flaws minimized so you can focus on the brilliance of the performances and the writing as they walk the fine tightrope between erudition and absurdity. No American TV sketch show ever came close. England needs it now more than ever. America needs it now more than ever. The world needs it now more than ever. What impressed me that I hadn't noticed as much before was that even with their use of quick-cut gags, other things like the "nudge, nudge, wink, wink" sketch were done all in one shot with no cutaways at all. That's the true test of how skilled the performers were when they were doing that live in front of an audience, and how they were able to take their show on the road and do it live.

    So what's left unreleased to Blu-ray? Just And Now For Something Completely Different, which should already have an HD remaster at least, and Monty Python: Live at the Hollywood Bowl, which will be the greater technical challenge to get up to snuff.

    One of the guys who worked on this restoration tweeted a pic indicating that he is currently working on “And Now For Something Completely Different.”

  139. Bradley Newton

    One of the guys who worked on this restoration tweeted a pic indicating that he is currently working on “And Now For Something Completely Different.”

    That's actually terrific news. I was going to pull the DVD out of my library to watch once I finished the TV series.

    I guess I am going to put that on hold.

    Question: Were all those sequences re-done for the movie or did they pull the clips from the TV show?

  140. All of them were remakes of existing sketches in 35mm. The first US release was received inauspiciously, but a rerelease after the series proper and Holy Grail came out fared better. That used to be the only way to see the Prince's mole sketch uncensored.

  141. J. Casey

    Who did Network use for shipping? I bought a 60i set from Deep Discount with no damage at all and a 50i box as a gift for someone from Amazon UK and it only had a minor tear on one of the dividers. I the UK order was shipped by DHL and the US order via USPS. Seems weird that so many were destroyed and a fair number survived. Glad Network is making good on this for those receiving damaged boxes.

    In looking closer at the design, I think the individual season sets could be dislodged from the small recesses they are supposed to sit in at the base of the box resulting in the full weight to be easily displaced laterally.

    Exactly. It has nothing to do with who shipped it.
    What they should have done is put in foam or cardboard removable inserts so that the sets couldn't move from side to side. It was inevitable, for the most part, given the way they sat in the box.

  142. It reminds me of a wonderful Hitchcock set on DVD (remember them?); the MGM Alfred Hitchcock Premiere Collection. Lovely looking set, but so tightly packed for shipping that every disc buckled. The set was so fantastic though that I managed to score replacement discs for them all, and retain the original packaging. And that packaging, free of its shrink wrap, is perfect.

  143. David Norman

    Amazon, AmazonUK, Network depending on which encode you want

    The individual season — add Zavvi though only S1 has been released so far. No US edition of the Separate exist yet.

    I would like to get the NTSC version, the box set. Can someone post a link? Either network or the best price?

  144. battlebeast

    I would like to get the NTSC version, the box set. Can someone post a link? Either network or the best price?

    Definitely the 1080/60 encode — 140 + TAX or you could wait and see if it drops back to 115-120 again.
    https://www.amazon.com/Monty-Pythons-Flying-Circus-International/dp/B07YMFVQ3M

    Network's site now lists the set as "(European TV Standard – PAL ONLY" and " 25fps Video, may not play on all devices internationally. Please do check your player's user manual."
    Network does not appear to selling the US standard anymore – it was APPROX $132-135 shipped. May not matter since they appear to be no longer shipping this set to the US. Not sure if that's due to the shipping damage or other reasons.

    AmazonUK is shipping the 1080i50 encode and around 140-160 shipped now.

  145. I have been plowing through this set as I watch two episodes every morning while on the treadmill.

    I am on the last 4 discs of Season 4.

    A few things…

    My favorite Monty Python sketch of all time, oddly, is "The Golden Age of Ballooning" which is in the very short Season Four which does not feature John Cleese as he had left the troupe.

    Just love this sketch and all the craziness happening all at once. "The Spanish Inquisition" comes in as a close second.

    I am really surprised by how racist some of the sketches are. For instance, there is a character called "Mr. N-word Baiter." There is also lots of use of blackface. Back in the early 70s, it wouldn't raise any eyebrows, but interesting to see how it plays in today's culture.

    The shows look very good. Season One doesn't benefit as well from the restoration as the others, I think. It probably has to do with the source material. What really shines here is the animation sequences. They look spectacular.

  146. For those skipping the boxset and going straight for the Individual UK sets – S2 Digipak (incl Book) is now up for preorder releasing late Jan. I think the plan is for S3 and 4 to come out 6-8 wk intervals/
    It should be expected to drop to £20-24 by release to match S1

  147. First real sale I can remember on the set — US edition 60i verison

    Deep Discount — use JOLLY15 for 15% off $105 price.
    DD will add $6 Heavy Shipping to the price so not quite as good as it could be, but $95+tax seem pretty decent for the set

  148. Terry Jones always seemed like the "smaller" of the Pythons, not only because of his size, but because his personality always felt much more down-to-earth than the looming force of Cleese and Chapman and the smarmy charm of Palin and Idle. That's why he was so often the everyman in their sketches, and even his drag-characters had a bit more sympathy to them than the screeching Pepperpots usually did.

    Not that he couldn't go over-the-top when needed, but he always felt like a kind, decent anchor to all the lunacy around him. And that his later years saw that kind, decent, brilliant mind diminished…man, 2020, you suck.

  149. Well said. A good example of that is the “nudge nudge, wink wink” sketch from series 1. He manages to hold it together against Eric Idle’s very animated line of questioning, leading to the brilliant irony of its ending. All of this was done in a single shot.

    And it was also he who played Brian’s mother in Life of Brian and gave us the immortal line “he’s not the messiah, just a very naughty boy.”

  150. I just watched the first two episodes of the first season, and the quality is truly stunning! The box arrived through the regular mail miraculously with no damage.

    I have not had much chance to compare this set with the A&E complete series DVD set I already have. Is there any reason to keep the DVD set now? In other words, I know the quality of the shows have improved, but are there extras on the older set not found on the Blu ray?

  151. TJPC

    I just watched the first two episodes of the first season, and the quality is truly stunning! The box arrived through the regular mail miraculously with no damage.

    I have not had much chance to compare this set with the A&E complete series DVD set I already have. Is there any reason to keep the DVD set now? In other words, I know the quality of the shows have improved, but are there extras on the older set not found on the Blu ray?

    There's lots on the 14 ton set ,that isn't on this set ,One of the German shows ,two documentaries The aspen ,Hollywood Bowel stuff,all the original stuff on those personal best collections ect

  152. I just received the Complete collection. I will probably be putting the box away and using this custom case for normal use.

    The disc are now housed in a standard 7-disc case. Here is the custom cover

    [GALLERY=media, 6017]MontyPythonFlyingCircusHTF by David Weicker posted Jan 24, 2020 at 11:39 PM[/GALLERY]

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