"Falling Skies The Complete Second Season: Featuring Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Sound"
Overview: The mystery deepens for the remaining survivors of the massive alien invasion as Falling Skies returns for its second season with mysterious new creatures. Three months have passed since former college professor, father of three and unlikely leader of the civilian resistance group Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) went willingly with the aliens on one of their ships to free his son and learn their plans. Nobody has seen or heard anything from him during this time, and his absence has taken its toll on his sons. Ben and his older brother, Hal, have stepped up as fighters but quickly clash as they both seek to secure their roles as leaders in their father’s absence. Many lives have been lost since Tom left, but the survivors of the 2nd Mass still struggle on with courage and resilience. In the first season, our heroes coped with the trauma of losing their world; in this season, they take action and fight back!.[/size]
When our friends at Dolby reached out to me to see if I would be interested in checking out the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel soundtrack on Falling Skies Season Two my curiosity was piqued. I had heard of the show but haven’t had the opportunity to check it out so I went ahead and asked them to forward me a copy. I didn’t have any trouble following the story and understanding the dynamics of the relationships among the principle characters. The show plays out similarly to other programming of its type and is built upon a typical but engaging sci-fi based narrative that revolves around well developed characters and a good balance of drama and action.
It didn’t take long for me to pick up the pieces of the continuing storyline which is based in a post apocalyptic future where intelligent aliens have invaded the earth and pockets of humans have banded together to fight off the horde. This review is more about my impressions of the quality of the presentation, specifically the lossless surround mix however I will include comments regarding the video and a recommendation based on my impression of season two.
Falling Skies The complete second season on Blu-ray features 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 Mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel sound that has an average bitrate of 2.7 Mbps.
By choice I would say that Falling Skies isn’t bright or overly colorful. The chromatic palette consists mainly of cooler tones and muted secondary hues with the occasional interjection of primary colors that don’t offer much in the way of visual stimulation. This makes for a rougher visual style that works quite well with the show’s thematic tone. Resolution is excellent but the nature of the photography isn’t always lent to the high gloss definition that provides an infinite sense of depth. There are many instances where detail is clearly resolvable with discerning visual perspective and rich clarity. On the other hand there are times where delineation and sharpness is less tangibly defining. Close ups tend to be outstanding and offer plenty of appreciable refinement in the physical features and weave of the fabric in the clothing worn by the cast. Contrast is stable over the course of the presentation and blacks, while not inky, have good dynamic range and are gradationally satisfying. I didn’t note any overt signs of video related anomalies and thought that this presentation as a whole was excellent.
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel is quite good. Dynamics are robust and defining which lend appropriate weight and clarity to show’s variety of action based set pieces. Dialogue is rendered with appreciable tonal expression and excellent room penetration through the center channel speaker. The front soundstage is diffused with notable separation and articulated detail. The presentation makes ample use of the surround platform. At times it opens up quite nicely to create an involving listening environment that contains a mix of directional and ambient sounds. Bass response doesn’t reach subterranean levels however it appropriately supports the source elements and provides a tight, punchy low end.
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the show and quickly found myself entrenched in the plot, characters and action. This was aided by the quality of the presentation on Blu-ray which is very decent for a TV based series. All 10 one hour episodes along with the bonus material are spread over two BD-50 discs which come housed in a standard amaray style case with matching slipcover. The complete second season of Falling skies is currently available on Blu-ray for those that want to see what the show has to offer. I have opted to continue watching the series which airs on TNT and am currently three episodes into Season Three. It’s not exactly riveting TV but it’s certainly an entertaining hour of programming that I recommend you check out.
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JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package