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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film:


Extras:


Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

82






Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2002
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 665 Minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi TV Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, German DTS 5.1, Spanish/French Dolby Surround
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Dutch
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Ron Glass, Gina Torres, Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau, Sean Maher, Alan Tudyk, Jewel Staite
Written & Directed by: Joss Whedon
Region Code: A,B

Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 11, 2008







"Journey into the wild western space frontier"



Film Synopsis:


Set 500 years into the future, in the wake of a universal civil war, “Firefly” centers on the crew of Serenity, a small transport spaceship that does not have a planet to call home. Captain Malcom “Mal” Reynolds, a defeated soldier who opposed the unification of the planets by the totalitarian governed Alliance, will undertake any job – legal or not – to stay afloat and keep his crew fed.



My Take:


Firefly is a sci-fi TV series that ran during the 2002- 2003 season. It is set in the year 2517 and follows the exploits of the crew of the Firefly Class cargo ship Serenity. The series explores the aftermath of a civil war and the pioneer culture that exists on the fringes of their star system. Captain Mal Reynolds (Fillion) is a tough battle hardened sort who relies heavily on his trusted first mate Zoe (Torres) who fought side by side with him during the war against the Alliance. Her husband “Wash” (Tudyk) is the ship’s pilot, Kaylee (Staite) is the engineer, and last there is hired gun/tough guy Jayne (Baldwin). The crew will pretty much take on any task as long as it ends in a payday. This includes taking on passengers, cargo for transport to other planets, and smuggling. During the series pilot Serenity 1 & 2 the crew takes on passengers Dr. Simon Tam (Maher), his sister River (Glau), and holy man Shepherd Book (Glass). For good measure they added ‘companion’ Inara Serra, an old friend, to the fold. The term companion has a different meaning and involves her working as a futuristic type of prostitute. Problems arise for the crew when it’s discovered the Simon and River, who has psychic abilities, are on the run from the Alliance. This is the foundation for the events that transpire over the course of the show with plenty of interesting subplots along the way.

Firefly has sort of a futuristic western feel that works very well. It was short lived but has a rather large fan base that was extremely displeased by its cancellation. The entire series is presented here with all 14 episodes (three of which were never aired originally), spread out over three BD-50 Blu-ray discs. Creator Joss Whedon came up with a successful formula that included a cast that truly liked coming to work every day and excellent writing that felt fresh and edgy. The 2003 release of the series on DVD helped to elevate the show’s popularity and broadened its fan base. In 2005 a film Serenity was released based upon the show and it brought back the entire cast to reprise their roles. Firefly is a really terrific sci-fi drama that features a great mix of well developed characters and creative writing. Unfortunately it was short lived but has been kept alive but its many endearing fans.








Parental Guide:


There is violence, language, and some sensuality contained in the series. I would think that a TV-14 rating would be appropriate.





AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


Audio: 84


  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:





Video: 80


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

Firefly comes to Blu-ray Disc from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4 mbps.

I was pleased with the quality of this audio presentation as I really wasn’t expecting this level of quality. There was quite a bit of surround activity that varied in intensity. Soundstage depth was excellent, with great front channel separation and room spanning spatial directionality. Dynamic range was fairly extended which provided a nice visceral energy to active sound effects. Bass was well defined with strong presence and tangible extension. The show’s signature music had excellent clarity with discerning detail in the mid and upper treble that never sounded harsh or edgy. Dialogue was intelligible and crisp but not as prominent within the mix as I would have liked.

The high definition picture was rendered with good overall resolution that featured bold contrast, punchy colors, and lifelike complexions. Fine detail wasn’t always conspicuous from scene to scene which resulted in images appearing less delineated at times. On the contrary there were many instances where the picture had good sharpness and definitive clarity. Whites were overcooked which washed out the presence of detail. Blacks were deep and mildly crushed so that subtle gradations were harder to detect. Detail in the shadowy and dark confines of ship was apparent but its quality was scene dependent. Grain is present and its rendering varied. The ending scene in the opening of Serenity Part 1 exhibited a strange flash of mosquito type noise that covered the entire frame. Dark scenes and backgrounds seemed to highlight grain which made it appear uneven and thereby distracting. Its was visible during lighter sequences but was better resolved and natural in appearance. Having seen the show in high definition on Universal HD this presentation was reminiscent of what I saw then.



Bonus Features:


Disc 1:

  • Audio commentary

  • Here’s how it is: The making of Firefly featurette

  • (HD) Trailers – Dollhouse, Buffy & Angel promos

Disc 2:

  • Audio commentary

  • (HD) Firefly Reunion: Lunch with Joss, Nathan, Ron, and Alan

Disc 3:

  • 4 Deleted scenes

  • Featurettes:

  1. Serenity: The 10th character
  2. Alan Tudyk’s audition
  3. Joss sings the Firefly theme
  4. Joss tours the set

  • Gag reel




Final Thoughts:


Firefly was a short lived and well executed TV series that is considered a classic among its many fans. Its release on DVD gave many a chance to relive it over again after its cancellation. Fox has brought it to high definition Blu-ray Disc in an offering that is sure to trump the earlier standard definition version. I can think of no better way to enjoy it than this. Having said that I think it is safe to say that it is time for fans to upgrade.














Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:



JVC DLA-RS1x 1080p High Definition Front Projector

Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen

Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)

Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Panasonic DMP-BD55K Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player

Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor

B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier

Canton "Ergo" Series speakers

Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers

SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)

APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector

Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator

Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling

Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
 

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This one is going on my "list" of blu-rays to buy around Christmas. There are so many releases that I want, a few will have to wait, but I definitely do intend to add this to my collection.
 

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If I'm not mistaken, aren't the special effects shots all upscaled in this? I could've sworn there was a huge debate over this back when it aired on UHD.
 

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All the effects shots were SD, so the best we are going to get is upscaled. Some shots look better than others...
 

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So are the Buffy and Angel HD Trailers letting us know that they are coming blu-ray? Or are they just HD trailers for the shows on DVD?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by stumlad /forum/post/15028580


So are the Buffy and Angel HD Trailers letting us know that they are coming blu-ray? Or are they just HD trailers for the shows on DVD?

Would take YEARS to prep these for HD if it's even possible.

Like alot of shows in the 90's, (like The X-Files)

although shot on film, (and S1 and S2 of Buffy was shot on 16mm!) with the exception of S5 of Angel, all the Buffy and Angel eps. were edited and all the FX done on SD video. The masters only exist on SD video. Would require a TON of work to get these ready for HD. Finding ALL the original unedited film footage, rescanning in HD, re-editing, then re-doing all the FX in HD the way CBS digital for TREK:TOS just spent 2 years doing for only 3 seasons. Will take years to do if they ever bother.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Mack /forum/post/15029324


Would take YEARS to prep these for HD if it's even possible.

Like alot of shows in the 90's, (like The X-Files)

although shot on film, (and S1 and S2 of Buffy was shot on 16mm!) with the exception of S5 of Angel, all the Buffy and Angel eps. were edited and all the FX done on SD video. The masters only exist on SD video. Would require a TON of work to get these ready for HD. Finding ALL the original unedited film footage, rescanning in HD, re-editing, then re-doing all the FX in HD the way CBS digital for TREK:TOS just spent 2 years doing for only 3 seasons. Will take years to do if they ever bother.

I don't think it would look that bad. The only major SFX in Buffy is dust from the vampire and End Boss from finale episodes. (show finales). Star Trek was shot almost always inside on fake background. So these needed tweaking. And i saw 2 episodes when my friend had the HDDVD and they looked Awesome for 60's tv serie. (i hope Paramount will bring S1 on Bluray in 2009)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by attichometheater /forum/post/15025539


Nice review Ill give it a look. I did like the first movie but I never say the series!

You'll appreciate the movie a lot more having seen the series. There are a lot of lines in the movie that have so much more meaning (and humor) if you've seen the series. I bought the series on a blind buy after reading so much of the fanboy posts. It really is *that* good. It's a shame the show was cancelled. Especially in light of the garbage that continues make it on the airwaves.


Too bad about the rendering of the special effects. B5 suffers from the same fate.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryoohki /forum/post/15031103


I don't think it would look that bad. The only major SFX in Buffy is dust from the vampire and End Boss from finale episodes. (show finales). Star Trek was shot almost always inside on fake background. So these needed tweaking. And i saw 2 episodes when my friend had the HDDVD and they looked Awesome for 60's tv serie. (i hope Paramount will bring S1 on Bluray in 2009)

It's not just the FX though. The episodes themselves were edited on 480i SD video and that's what the masters are. They are not HD. Even though they were shot on film, unlike Trek which WAS edited on film, these would have to have all the footage found, re-scanned and re-edited. Even they can even FIND all the original film footage. Much of it might be lost, discarded, damaged... Imagine restoring a 2-3 hour film from the original camera negatives. Now imagine 12 seasons worth of shows....
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Mack /forum/post/15032385


It's not just the FX though. The episodes themselves were edited on 480i SD video and that's what the masters are. They are not HD. Even though they were shot on film, unlike Trek which WAS edited on film, these would have to have all the footage found, re-scanned and re-edited. Even they can even FIND all the original film footage. Much of it might be lost, discarded, damaged... Imagine restoring a 2-3 hour film from the original camera negatives. Now imagine 12 seasons worth of shows....

I think for some of the big shows they will do it like the X-Files. They have already remastered Seinfield in HD.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by GizmoDVD /forum/post/15041856


Ralph,


is the case similar to that of Get Smart or Chuck/supernatural (a bit thicker)?


Greetings,


Giz, yes it is. It is slightly thicker than a standard BD amaray type case.



Cheers,
 

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I am a little confused here. So with the upscaling done on this blu-ray version.. is it going to look a lot better than the dvd version being upscaled?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by maloce /forum/post/15046129


I am a little confused here. So with the upscaling done on this blu-ray version.. is it going to look a lot better than the dvd version being upscaled?

Only the special effects are upscaled. The rest is in HD.
 

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kind of sounds like it wouldn't be a big bump up from the dvd's, which I already have, but it IS a favoite of mine...hmm...
 
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