By Fred Topel | Image property of respective holders
Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series
Those hoping that a Blu Ray of Battlestar Galactica would elevate the series to feature film viewing quality might be disappointed. It looks like the median of television Blu Rays, which is perhaps a bit lower than standard HDTV broadcasts. It’s like it’s trying so hard to look good, the material just isn’t there to back it up.
On Blu-Ray: Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series
No scenes look crisp and clear. At best they can minimize the digital grain effect and look as smooth as HDTV broadcasts. With all the dark scenes on the Galactica, it looks like it’s struggling to compensate for low light. Perhaps my set is just too big. The menu screens, with scenes in a smaller window, look much sharper. Why am I making excuses though? It just looks awful. How does a major Hollywood show look like super 8 home movies?
CGI exteriors hold up a tad better, with the pitch black of space hiding a lot of flaws, though I still see them. Digital ships and planets are solid, perhaps because they didn’t have to go through the layer of a camera to come back to a digital format. It ain’t Star Wars. It ain’t 2001 either, but it’s one of the better exhibitions in the series.
Land bound sequences look the best. You don’t see as much of that “grain” and some of the futuristic cities look shiny. Some of the bright lighting illuminates more of the scene, smoothing out backgrounds, showing detail and making metal things shine. It’s an artificial effect of a glow, but at least a nice looking unreality is better than a shoddy “reality.” Then they go inside and it’s the same as the spaceship. The exteriors on New Caprica in Season Three hold up solidly too, with a bluish light instead of gold.
You may notice some detail in scuffs on armor, spacecraft, hallways. Close-ups on the actors exemplify detail in their faces. For a gritty show though, you’re not seeing a whole lot extra. I actually want to see the detail put into the sets and costume.
It’s obviously not a colorful show. You may see a few popping colors in blue lights or red uniforms, but nothing glorious. Only the shiny stuff would stand out, but perhaps the lack of color is an interesting aesthetic, a muted view of the production design.
Season Four episodes actually seem to look better. Even in the same dark sets, it at least looks like an HDTV show. It’s not perfect like film but they seem to have corrected a lot of the “grain” effect. Perhaps they were finally shooting in a Blu Ray ready format. More interior scenes are clear, you see a tad more detail and grit. Still, you’re not just looking for ¼ of a good Blu Ray, are you?
The packaging is actually better than the content. For a substantial box, it’s quite ergonomic. The top slips up revealing four packages on the side. These slide out with the discs staggered. These four minipackages would take up less space on the shelf, however you’ll want to have that impressive cube up there anyway.