The Rockford Files: The Complete Series Blu-ray Review

Highly recommended 4.5 Stars

The Rockford Files, one of the most highly-regarded series in the history of television, arrives on Blu-ray from Mill Creek with picture and sound that are a substantial improvement over the DVD releases by Universal.

The Rockford Files (1974–1980)
Released: 27 Mar 1974
Rated: N/A
Runtime: 60 min
Director: N/A
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Cast: James Garner, Noah Beery Jr., Joe Santos
Writer(s): Stephen J. Cannell, Roy Huggins
Plot: The cases of an easy going ex-convict turned private investigator.
IMDB rating: 8.2
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: Universal
Distributed By: Mill Creek
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: None
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 103 hrs. 28 min,
Package Includes: Blu-ray
Case Type: Standard Blu-ray cases in slipcase
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: A
Release Date: 06/25/2017
MSRP: $129.00

The Production: 5/5

This is Jim Rockford. At the tone, leave your name and message. I’ll get back to you. 

The Rockford Files, one of the most highly-regarded series in the history of television, arrives on Blu-ray from Mill Creek with picture and sound that are a substantial improvement over the DVD releases by Universal. 

Most readers of this review are likely very familiar with The Rockford Files, so I will not go into detail about the individual episodes. Suffice it to say that private investigator Jim Rockford (James Garner) is no Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe. Instead of an office in the city that is illuminated by neon lights, he operates out of a trailer in Malibu that he also calls his home. The original concept was that he only worked on criminal cases which had been closed by the police, but as the series progresses he also takes assignments from insurance companies and others (although criminality invariably is involved).

Rockford once served time in San Quentin for a crime which he did not commit, and he was ultimately pardoned by the governor of California. The pardon notwithstanding, his criminal record is partially responsible for his often contentious relationship with the Los Angeles Police Department. He has one friend on the force, Sgt. Dennis Becker (Joe Santos), but he is intensely disliked by Becker’s superiors, first Lt. Diehl (Tom Atkins) and then Lt. Chapman (James Luisi). From time to time Rockford is assisted by his plucky attorney and sometimes love interest, Beth Davenport (Gretchen Corbett), and his former cellmate, the cowardly con man Angel Martin (Stuart Margolin). Frequent appearances are made by his father, Joseph “Rocky” Rockford (Noah Beery Jr.), who would prefer that his son get a job as a truck driver.

Rockford is in some respects an anti-hero who unsuccessfully does his best to avoid violence. He owns an unlicensed gun which he keeps in a cookie jar in his trailer. He is good at impersonations and he keeps a small printing press in his Pontiac Firebird that he uses to make up business cards when he needs to pretend to be a fire inspector or a health inspector. Rockford’s fee is $200/day plus expenses, but he prefers fishing to working and he frequently finds himself being pursued by bill collectors. The Rockford Files features plenty of action, including many impressive car chases in which James Garner does his own driving. In addition to boasting a very impressive cast, the series attracted such guest stars as Rita Moreno, Lindsay Wagner, Tom Selleck, Lauren Bacall, Isaac Hayes, Rob Reiner, Joseph Cotten, Jill Clayburgh, Abe Vigoda, Linda Evans, Robert Webber, and many others. But the glue that holds it all together is the consistently excellent acting by James Garner, who wears the character of Jim Rockford like a glove.

Also deserving of kudos mention is the writing. The scripts by the likes of Roy Huggins, Stephen J. Cannell, David Chase, and Juanita Bartlett (among others) are consistently entertaining, featuring interesting plots, clever dialogue, and a nice mix of action and humor. Although I do not work on criminal cases, I am a private investigator in real life and on one case where I was trying to find someone I successfully used an approach that Rockford employed in the Season Three episode “Just Another Polish Wedding.” Thanks for the idea, Jim!

The Rockford Files was originally released on DVD by Universal Studios in single-season sets in 2005. They were double-sided discs which had playability problems for many. When Universal released Season One the studio inexplicably omitted the pilot episode, “Backlash of the Hunter.” Protests from fans convinced Universal to include it on the Season Two set. The studio subsequently released a DVD box set in 2015 which includes all six seasons and the eight television movies which were made between 1994 and 1999. The television movies are not included in this Blu-ray set, but they are still available on DVD at Amazon.

Some viewers may be perplexed by the beginning of the pilot episode, which opens with a shot of Rockford’s trailer at Paradise Cove and a telephone message which refers to Lt. Chapman’s birthday. During Season One the trailer was parked in a lot on the Pacific Coast Highway (it is moved to Paradise Cove at the beginning of Season Two), and Lt. Chapman does not appear in the series until Season Three. However, this is not an error. The pilot episode originally appeared as a television movie in the spring of 1974. The footage of the trailer and the telephone message were added when the pilot was syndicated as a two-part episode, which is how it appears here.

During its six-season run The Rockford Files was nominated for 18 Prime Time Emmy Awards, winning for Best Drama Series once and individually for James Garner, Stuart Margolin (twice), and Rita Moreno. Anyone who has never seen the show will be delightfully entertained, and those who already have it on DVD will be able to upgrade to Blu-ray at a very reasonable street price.

Video: 4.5/5

3D Rating: NA

This Blu-ray set is presented in 1080p via the AVC codec, and it is properly framed at 1.33:1. The image is very sharp and highly detailed. The occasional specks which appeared on the Universal DVD releases have been cleaned up. Colors are vivid and accurate, black levels are fine and shadow detail is very good.

I do not read other reviews before writing my own, but I have seen complaints about lack of film grain and allegedly excessive DNR. To which I ask, what grain? What excessive DNR? What are they comparing it to? I have done A/B comparisons with the Universal DVDs, and the only noticeable grain is in stock footage (planes taking off and landing, etc.), grain which is still present in the same scenes on the Blu-ray set. Back in the 1970s I watched The Rockford Files on a 25-inch CRT television, and I assure you that it never looked this good. There are no compression issues or other anomalies to distract the viewer.

The show is enhanced by extensive on-location filming throughout southern California, as well as cities such as Honolulu and Las Vegas (the Hoover Dam is featured prominently in the first season episode “Roundabout”).

Audio: 4/5

The packaging says that the audio is simply DTS HD-MA, but I am hearing sound from all three front channels and my Blu-ray player is detecting stereo, so I am putting it down as English 2.0. In any event, the audio is crystal clear, with excellent reproduction of ambient sounds. The scenes involving car crashes, gunshots, explosions, etc. deliver a reasonable amount of punch.

The iconic harmonica-driven theme to The Rockford Files was composed by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter. It was so popular that they subsequently recorded an extended version with a bridge. That version became a hit single and won a Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement in 1975.

There are no subtitles, which unfortunately will be a deal-breaker for some.

Special Features: 0/5

There are no extras on this Blu-ray set.

The six seasons are packaged in six standard-sized double side Blu-ray cases, with two discs on each side, one on top of the other. They are held in place very securely and the risk of scratching appears to be very slight. Each disc contains either five or six episodes that run approximately 50 minutes apiece, so it appears that the episodes are complete.

The exception to the packaging is Season Six, which ran for only eleven episodes because Garner unfortunately had to shut down production of the show halfway through the season due to various physical ailments. Consequently, Season Six has only one disc on each side of the case.

The six Blu-ray cases are held in a cardboard slipcase. The bottom of the slipcase has a reproduction of the Yellow Pages ad for “The Rockford Agency” which appears in the pilot episode.

Overall: 4.5/5

I cannot imagine why any fan of The Rockford Files would not want to own this Blu-ray set, particularly since it can be had for considerably less than the bundled Universal DVD sets.

As an aside, for those who would like to have a comprehensive episode guide and insights into the production of The Rockford Files, I heartily recommend “Thirty Years of The Rockford Files” by Ed Robertson, which is available at Amazon. The book also provides thorough coverage of James Garner’s legal battles with Universal.

Published by

Richard Gallagher

administrator

45 Comments

  1. WOW! This review is a far cry from the review on Blu-ray.com, which gave the video rating 2.5/5 stars and had this to say:

    It’s problematic in places and particularly early on. Fortunately, various issues lessen along the way to the end. The series’ opening episodes represent a low point. Print wear is increased, contrast fluctuations aren’t uncommon, edge halos are occasionally distinct, harsh and jagged lines are regular, and occasional blocking clutters up backgrounds. Grain is uneven, a bit spiky in spots — extremely snowy in places — but the image is more often rather flat and pasty, leaving details basically agreeable but lacking any sort of tangible distinction. Period attire, as complex as it should be, fails to excite. Faces are far too often smooth. Colors are decent, a bit faded and dull, suitable for the most part but not particularly deeply saturated or realistically nuanced. At its best, the image can be said to benefit from the resolution Blu-ray offers it but not taking advantage of the format or the film medium’s inherent qualities. Things do tighten up a bit as the series progresses. The presentation is never exceptional, but details firm a bit even as the image maintains that flatness and pastiness that steals away finer-point textures. Colors serve a little more depth, but not significantly more. Contrast holds a little more stable. Black levels never push too far towards crush or paleness. Flesh tones are a bit pasty. Given the budget nature of the release, it’s difficult to be too disappointed. It’s very watchable, fairly in-line with Mill Creek’s other TV offerings. That the show is even on Blu-ray at an affordable price is reason to celebrate. Just don’t expect perfection.

    1. I don’t pay as much attention to the star ratings as two different reviewers on two different sites can have two completely different scales. What did it for me was when Rich said the BD had: “substantial improvement over the DVD releases by Universal. ” I have the DVDs. Since I haven’t watched them in several years (and am getting ready to watch them again) I think I will upgrade to the BDs. Better quality and they take up less space on the shelf. A win-win for me!

  2. MikeTV

    Since I have a copy on order for me and another one for my dad, I sure hope yours is the more correct review.

    As I mentioned, what is the other reviewer comparing it to? We have the DVDs and our memories. To my eyes this set is easily superior to the DVDs, and it certainly looks better than it did on TV 40 years ago. In the other thread we have two HTF members look at the same screen caps and coming away with polar opposite opinions.

    Does it look like Lawrence of Arabia? No, but it isn't supposed to. I'd like to hear what you think about it after you get a chance to look at it.

  3. Thank you for the review! I am glad I ordered it. I have the original DVD versions that I bought at Target a while back for some under 10 dollars but wanted to upgrade to blu ray. I can't wait to get my copy this week!

  4. I am looking forward to my copy arriving today. Your review has me stoked to watch some episodes, Richard! After selling my SD-DVD copies and applying some Amazon credits to my order, upgrading to these BD’s is costing me almost nothing, so any improvement over the DVD’s will make me happy.

  5. Richard Gallagher

    Richard Gallagher

    The Rockford Files: The Complete Series Blu-ray Review
    [​IMG]

    The Rockford Files, one of the most highly-regarded series in the history of television, arrives on Blu-ray from Mill Creek with picture and sound that are a substantial improvement over the DVD releases by Universal.

    [review]

    Excellent Review………..but with no English Sub-titles I shall pass and keep my DVD Collection of the series…………

  6. A few clarifications:

    My video rating is based upon a comparison with the DVD set and what I have seen on television. Complaining that it doesn't look as good as a feature film makes no sense, because a television show is a different animal. Typically a one-hour show was shot in six days. The production had to go on, even if there wasn't enough light for optimal filming. So it is unfair to hold a television show to the standards of a feature film.

    Second, there have been claims that the Blu-ray set contains syndicated versions of the show. This is true of the pilot, which originally aired as "The Rockford Files," a 90-minute NBC Sunday Night Movie. When the show went into syndication the pilot was given the title "Backlash of the Hunter" and it was edited into two parts, which some 16 minutes of footage added to the episode. It is the two-part version which appears on the Blu-ray set. If you feel that more is less, that is a legitimate complaint, but no footage is missing.

    There are two episodes which were originally aired in two-hour slots but which appear on the Blu-ray set as two-part episodes. They are "Black Mirror" and "Never Send a Boy King to Do a Man's Job." However, checking the running times confirms that no footage is missing from either episode.

    This post in another thread goes into more detail:

    https://www.hometheaterforum.com/co…lable-for-preorder.352223/page-4#post-4501680

  7. bigshot

    The DVD had the syndication versions of those too if I remember correctly. There were two different releases on DVD too I think.

    To confuse matters further, the DVD has the extended, syndicated version of the originally 90-minute episode "This Case is Closed." Some people who remember only the syndicated version are likely to think that the Blu-ray version (which correctly has a running time of 75 minutes) is missing footage.

    I only have the original single-season sets, so I don't know what, if any, changes Universal made later on.

  8. I've seen two versions of the DVDs… I Netflixed the double sided single season sets, and I later bought the single sided complete box. I haven't directly compared the two. They may be different.

  9. Richard Gallagher

    Complaining that it doesn't look as good as a feature film makes no sense, because a television show is a different animal. Typically a one-hour show was shot in six days. The production had to go on, even if there wasn't enough light for optimal filming. So it is unfair to hold a television show to the standards of a feature film.

    This is especially true for older shows shot on film like this one. At the time they were making it, there was never any expectation that the footage would ever be seen at anything greater than NTSC resolution. So they probably weren't as strict with the focus-pulling as they'd be shooting a TV show on film for 1080p broadcast today.

  10. Adam Lenhardt

    This is especially true for older shows shot on film like this one. At the time they were making it, there was never any expectation that the footage would ever be seen at anything greater than NTSC resolution. So they probably weren't as strict with the focus-pulling as they'd be shooting a TV show on film for 1080p broadcast today.

    Agreed. It's very different now, plus we have shows such as The Americans, Better Call Saul, Fargo, etc. that only have ten episodes per season, which gives them more time to get it right.

  11. Richard, I want to thank you for taking the time to follow up on your review and answer so many of our questions. You seem to have a real interest and good attitude about the minutiae so many of us DVD collectors care for. I appreciate your efforts.

  12. I watched an episode last night and it looked fantastic. The people making this show never expected it to be seen in this kind of quality. In closeups, you can see the make up on Garner's face, and you can see how they used fill lighting in outdoor scenes to light the characters' faces. None of that would have been visible on TV at the time.

    By the way, the episode I watched (first episode of season 2) had some night scenes. They were shot at night, not day for night, but it looked as if the scenes should have had some sort of blue filter over them. It may be that the night scene filtering isn't done in this set. It didn't bother me though because it worked the way they did it.

  13. I received my set Tuesday night, but just this morning had a chance to sample the first disc.

    In short, I'm very satisfied. The transfers look much better than my DVDs; and the sound is nice and crisp.

    I also ordered the DVDs of the Rockford movies as well as the "Thirty Years of the Rockford Files" book referenced in these threads.

    … And I got all of this (the entire series on Blu-ray; the reunion movies; and the reference book) for less than $100. Thank You Mill Creek!!!

  14. Robert Crawford

    I watched the Pilot this morning and then compared it to the DVD Season 2 Disc 6 where the Pilot resides and there is no comparison.

    I'm working on a comparison of the two-part "Backlash of the Hunter" and the original pilot. Most of the additional footage in "Backlash of the Hunter" consists of establishing shots, a longer opening which has the murder occurring almost six minutes later than in the pilot, and some additional footage in the Mayfair Theater scene.

  15. Richard Gallagher

    I'm working on a comparison of the two-part "Backlash of the Hunter" and the original pilot. Most of the additional footage in "Backlash of the Hunter" consists of establishing shots, a longer opening which has the murder occurring almost six minutes later than in the pilot, and some additional footage in the Mayfair Theater scene.

    I'm talking about PQ comparisons between the 480 vs 1080 comparison. Not the differences in the footage shown in both.

  16. I actually like the establishing shots in Rockford Files and would prefer having more of them. The show is packed with footage of my old stomping grounds when I was a kid. Some great time travel memories in there.

  17. bigshot

    I actually like the establishing shots in Rockford Files and would prefer having more of them. The show is packed with footage of my old stomping grounds when I was a kid. Some great time travel memories in there.

    I enjoy trying to identify locations, and the Blu-ray helps because it makes it easier to read street signs. I discovered that the wedding chapel in the pilot is actually a motel in Victorville, now called the Green Spot Motel. Sara Butler's bikini shop is now a custom framing store at 320 N. LaCienga, and the alley where Terry sits in his convertible while Jim and Sara are across the street at Tail o' the Pup is still there. Tail o' the Pup is long gone, unfortunately.

  18. This will hopefully clear up some of the questions about the original version of the pilot to The Rockford Files and the longer syndicated version which is titled "Backlash of the Hunter." Be forewarned that there may be some spoilers here.

    The pilot aired as an NBC television movie on March 27, 1974. It appears as a special feature on Season Two of the Universal Region 1 DVD set. It was not an episode of The Rockford Files so it does not have the iconic opening with the theme music and the still photos of Jim Rockford that we are used to. The title of the pilot is simply "The Rockford Files." When the show went into syndication the pilot was edited into two parts and was re-titled "Backlash of the Hunter," which is how it appears on the Blu-ray and Region 2 DVD set.

    The original pilot opens with an aerial shot of the bus which is carrying Sara Butler's father to the beach. The murder scene concludes at the 3:09 mark. "Backlash" begins with preview scenes, the theme music with a shot of Rockford's trailer at Paradise Cove, and the familiar still photos. The syndicated episode begins with aerial shots of the beach and then the interior of a health club. There is a phone call for Jerry from Millie, who tells him that they are in trouble. We then see Jerry following the bus in his convertible to the Santa Monica pier (in the pilot we can see Jerry in the distance but it is not apparent that he is following the bus). Then we see additional footage of Sara's father being followed (almost certainly filmed just for the syndicated version) before the murder occurs. The lengthy opening and additional footage combine to add 5 1/2 minutes to the running time.

    After a scene of Dennis Becker being told to close the case, the pilot then goes directly to Sara in her bikini shop but the syndicated version adds an establishing shot of her shop.

    When Jim and Sara go to visit her brother at the pharmacy where he works, "Backlash" adds an establishing shot of the pharmacy.

    When Jim goes to see Angel at the newspaper, both versions have an establishing shot of the building but "Backlash" adds footage of the interior. When Jim goes to see Becker, "Backlash" adds an establishing shot of the police station. By this time more than seven minutes of footage have been added to "Backlash."

    In the pilot Jim then arrives at a restaurant with Sara, but in the syndicated version there is establishing footage of Jim's Firebird driving through L.A. When Jim arrives in Las Vegas, "Backlash" has nearly a minute of establishing shots which are not in the pilot. The syndicated version also has 72 seconds of additional footage in the Mayfair Theater.

    At this point the first part of "Backlash" ends and closing credits are played, adding to the running time.

    Part Two opens with a lengthy recap of Part One and opening credits, so the episode doesn't actually resume until the 8:12 mark.

    Jim follows Jerry to the nightclub on the Sunset Strip, and "Backlash" includes additional footage of the interior. After Jerry leaves the club with Sara, "Backlash" adds an establishing shot of the Continental Hyatt House, where Jerry is living.

    Later, when Jim asks Sara to tell him more about her father, "Backlash" adds 1:40 of flashback footage of the murder.

    When Jim and Sara drive to Las Vegas, "Backlash" adds establishing shots and there is footage of Jerry and the hood he hired traveling to Vegas.

    The chase scene is about 30 seconds longer in "Backlash."

    The subsequent scene involving the plane lasts about 26 seconds longer in "Backlash."

    As far as I can determine, "Backlash of the Hunter" is not missing any footage that appears in the pilot. The one deviation is that the scene where Millie calls Jerry on the phone is split into two scenes in "Backlash." In the pilot she calls Jerry only once, after she gets a call from the Las Vegas coroner about Rockford asking questions. In "Backlash" the scene is edited into two separate calls, one at the very beginning of the episode and one after the call from the coroner.

    And that is how a 90-minute pilot was turned into a two-hour, two-part episode.

  19. Richard Gallagher

    This will hopefully clear up some of the questions about the original version of the pilot to The Rockford Files and the longer syndicated version which is titled "Backlash of the Hunter." Be forewarned that there may be some spoilers here.

    The pilot aired as an NBC television movie on March 27, 1974. It appears as a special feature on Season Two of the Universal Region 1 DVD set. It was not an episode of The Rockford Files so it does not have the iconic opening with the theme music and the still photos of Jim Rockford that we are used to. The title of the pilot is simply "The Rockford Files." When the show went into syndication the pilot was edited into two parts and was re-titled "Backlash of the Hunter," which is how it appears on the Blu-ray and Region 2 DVD set.

    The original pilot opens with an aerial shot of the bus which is carrying Sara Butler's father to the beach. The murder scene concludes at the 3:09 mark. "Backlash" begins with preview scenes, the theme music with a shot of Rockford's trailer at Paradise Cove, and the familiar still photos. The syndicated episode begins with aerial shots of the beach and then the interior of a health club. There is a phone call for Jerry from Millie, who tells him that they are in trouble. We then see Jerry following the bus in his convertible to the Santa Monica pier (in the pilot we can see Jerry in the distance but it is not apparent that he is following the bus). Then we see additional footage of Sara's father being followed (almost certainly filmed just for the syndicated version) before the murder occurs. The lengthy opening and additional footage combine to add 5 1/2 minutes to the running time.

    After a scene of Dennis Becker being told to close the case, the pilot then goes directly to Sara in her bikini shop but the syndicated version adds an establishing shot of her shop.

    When Jim and Sara go to visit her brother at the pharmacy where he works, "Backlash" adds an establishing shot of the pharmacy.

    When Jim goes to see Angel at the newspaper, both versions have an establishing shot of the building but "Backlash" adds footage of the interior. When Jim goes to see Becker, "Backlash" adds an establishing shot of the police station. By this time more than seven minutes of footage have been added to "Backlash."

    In the pilot Jim then arrives at a restaurant with Sara, but in the syndicated version there is establishing footage of Jim's Firebird driving through L.A. When Jim arrives in Las Vegas, "Backlash" has nearly a minute of establishing shots which are not in the pilot. The syndicated version also has 72 seconds of additional footage in the Mayfair Theater.

    At this point the first part of "Backlash" ends and closing credits are played, adding to the running time.

    Part Two opens with a lengthy recap of Part One and opening credits, so the episode doesn't actually resume until the 8:12 mark.

    Jim follows Jerry to the nightclub on the Sunset Strip, and "Backlash" includes additional footage of the interior. After Jerry leaves the club with Sara, "Backlash" adds an establishing shot of the Continental Hyatt House, where Jerry is living.

    Later, when Jim asks Sara to tell him more about her father, "Backlash" adds 1:40 of flashback footage of the murder.

    When Jim and Sara drive to Las Vegas, "Backlash" adds establishing shots and there is footage of Jerry and the hood he hired traveling to Vegas.

    The chase scene is about 30 seconds longer in "Backlash."

    The subsequent scene involving the plane lasts about 26 seconds longer in "Backlash."

    As far as I can determine, "Backlash of the Hunter" is not missing any footage that appears in the pilot. The one deviation is that the scene where Millie calls Jerry on the phone is split into two scenes in "Backlash." In the pilot she calls Jerry only once, after she gets a call from the Las Vegas coroner about Rockford asking questions. In "Backlash" the scene is edited into two separate calls, one at the very beginning of the episode and one after the call from the coroner.

    And that is how a 90-minute pilot was turned into a two-hour, two-part episode.

    Thanks for the detailed info. You truly are a reviewer who goes "above and beyond"!!! This is why I spend so much time in here. We all love this hobby.

  20. Wow, thank you Richard for this profoundly detailed scene by scene analysis and comparison between the pilot telefilm and it's subsequent syndicated 2 part episode reincarnation…all the added footage, longer establishing shots, longer exposition (as in the reprised or extended flashbacks) and extended chase all add to my enjoyment of 'Backlash of the Hunter'…

  21. Richard, thank you so much. Your analysis addresses the question raised about the difference in the two sets, but it's also very instructive about the editing process. Really much more than any of us could have expected.

  22. This was definitely worth a double-dip. Yes, there are print 'imperfections' throughout, and a few grainy shots – mostly night footage – scattered throughout these episodes. But anyone who cannot see the quantum leap ahead in overall image quality is just not being realistic, or has never seen the DVD's that were, frankly, an abysmal affair. The image here is solid – again, overall – with caveats – and nicely contrasted (with exceptions here and there). Fine detail is impressive in close-up and colors, while occasionally dated, look appropriate to their vintage and, on occasion, pop with a resilience I honestly DID NOT expect to see.

    Uni's transfers are up to snuff. One caveat to note – a few of the discs froze when I first attempted to play them on my new Sony UHD Blu-ray player, but simply rebooting the disc and starting over seemed to correct this 'problem'. Not worth the effort to complain about it. A definite must have for collectors. Now, if we could only get Mill Creek to get their hands on St. Elsewhere, Crazy Like a Fox, Picket Fences, MacGyver, The Love Boat, Magnum P.I., Remington Steele, Dynasty, Dynasty II: The Colbys, Columbo, Law & Order and Murder She Wrote in as snazzy quality affairs on Blu. Well…there's always hope.

  23. Anyone know if this was scanned from the film (16 or 35 mm) or from high definition video? The review quoted earlier sounds like that might be the case. 'Farscape' did this when it came on Blu Ray. It looked great but not perfect like a movie.

  24. Professional high-definition videotape didn't exist when this show was created. This show was all filmed on 35 mm, which is what they scanned to create modern HD transfers from in recent years to replace the old and ugly looking SD transfers on videotape from the 1980's that Universal utilized for the DVD releases.

    Universal/Mill Creek would've been drawn and quartered had they upscaled those old tape transfers to HD and sold them on Blu-Ray, since they were borderline acceptable 10+ years ago on DVD. I suspect this other show you mentioned is significantly newer and probably was edited and had special effects produced on videotape, which tied their hands to a degree.

    So it likely was either utilize what's already on tape, spend a fortune like was done with Star Trek: The Next Generation to recreate the special effects and piece it back together from 35 mm film elements (If they even still exist, since they would've never been expected to be needed years later), or not sell it on Blu-Ray at all.

  25. sullum

    Anyone know if this was scanned from the film (16 or 35 mm) or from high definition video? The review quoted earlier sounds like that might be the case. 'Farscape' did this when it came on Blu Ray. It looked great but not perfect like a movie.

    Slightly off topic but the Farscape Blu-rays weren't scanned from hi-def video but were computer-upscaled from the PAL broadcast video masters which start out at 576i and also benefit from being mastered from more modern video codecs. PAL being better than NTSC but not HD. The Highlander series Blu-rays also tried this but let's not go there on this Rockford thread.

  26. This show was filmed on 35mm film. The 70's shows shot on videotape were mainly studio audience sitcoms, Soap operas, talk shows and game shows.

    I have watched 2 episodes and I can concur this is night and day difference over the DVDs. This looks much better than Knight Rider which I also have.

  27. Screen shots never actually capture what something looks like in motion. But to me the color and detail is much better and more natural in your blu pillar boxed captures. I never liked the overly dark look of the DVD's

  28. Randy Korstick

    Screen shots never actually capture what something looks like in motion. But to me the color and detail is much better and more natural in your blu pillar boxed captures. I never liked the overly dark look of the DVD's

    Especially, when they aren't full size. When i copy the blu-ray capture it turns out to only be a resolution of 1024×581, which is much smaller than the true image. And the DVD capture is 720×540. To even have a chance of making an informed comparison the images have to be at their original sizes.

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