Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Deadwood: The Complete Series Blu-ray Review

Release Date: Nov. 23rd, 2010
Discs: 13 Blu-ray Discs
TV-Rating: TV-MA
Region: A
The Video
'Deadwood: The Complete Series' debuts on Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 for each episode throughout the series. HBO has previously released catalog releases such as ‘The Sopranos: Season One’ which some considered disappointing, but I found it to be very strong considering the year it was produced, how it was filmed and the look of the show itself.

‘Deadwood: The Complete Series’ looks fantastic in high-definition. The show has a distinct and fairly dark look which translates to Blu-ray very well. There is a nice layer of grain throughout the presentation which gives the show a distinct and very appealing look.

Colors are well presented and rich. Black levels are also very solid and generally quite inky. Certain scenes are a bit softer in comparison to the overall sharp presentation, but I expected it. The show’s look may not appeal to everyone, but I think it looks fantastic. 9/10

The Audio
HBO has included an English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track for each episode in the entire series. Also included are Spanish and French 2.0 DTS audio tracks. Optional subtitles include English SDH, Spanish and French.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this catalog release of ‘Deadwood: The Complete Series.’ HBO has always been a leader in quality with their TV on Blu-ray releases, so I didn’t think this release would be any different, but there is always the possibility of disappointment. Fortunately, ‘Deadwood’ does not disappoint, it actually is extremely impressive.

TV on Blu-ray generally hasn’t made for the most immersive audio experiences, although there are certainly a few expectations which really did impress. ‘Deadwood: The Complete Series’ features one of the best audio experiences for a TV show on Blu-ray yet, with active surrounds use and excellent clarity.

Dialogue is front heavy, as expected, but the clarity is strong and sounds as if it was newly recorded. Surround use is filled with immersive effects of the environments. The film’s music also leaves quite the impact throughout your surround speakers, with incredible clarity and power.

Overall I am not disappointed whatsoever by the mix. I definitely didn’t expect it to sound this good and it easily trumps most TV on Blu-ray releases in the audio department. ‘Deadwood’ has never sounded so good and makes for one of the best audio experiences this year. 10/10

The Extras

Season One:

Disc 1 (Blu-ray Disc) (43.2 GB):
  • Episode 1 Audio Commentary “Deadwood” with Creator David Milch.
  • Episode 4 Audio Commentary “Here Was a Man” with Molly parker and Keith Carradine.
Disc 2 (Blu-ray Disc) (40.0 GB)
  • Episode 5 Audio Commentary “The Trial of Jack McCall” with Brad Dourif and Robin Weigert.
Disc 3 (Blu-ray Disc) (43.3 GB):
  • Episode 12 Audio Commentary “Sold Under Sin” with Ian McShane and Timothy Olyphant.
Disc 4 (Blu-ray Disc) (21.1 GB):
  • Making Deadwood: The Show Behind the Show (13:37) (HD)
  • The Real Deadwood (25:32) (HD)
  • The New Language of the Old West (29:52) (HD)
  • An Imaginative Reality (27:54) (HD)
Season Two:

Disc 1 (Blu-ray Disc) (40.2 GB):
  • Episode 1 Audio Commentary “A Lie Agreed Upon, Part I" with Timothy Olyphant and Ian McShane.
  • Episode 1 Audio Commentary “A Lie Agreed Upon, Part I" with Molly Parker and Anna Gunn.
  • Episode 3 Audio Commentary “New Money” with Creator David Milch.
Disc 2 (Blu-ray Disc) (39.8 GB):
  • Episode 5 Audio Commentary “Complications" (formerly “Difficulties”) with Executive Producer/Director Gregg Feinberg.
  • Episode 7 Audio Commentary “E.B. Was Left Out” with Kim Dickens, William Sanderson, and Dayton Callie.
  • Episode 7 Audio Commentary “E.B. Was Left Out” with Powers Boothe and Garret Dillahunt.
Disc 3 (Blu-ray Disc) (38.4 GB):
  • Episode 10 Audio Commentary “Advances, None Miraculous” with John Hawkes and Paula Malcomson.
  • Episode 11 Audio Commentary “The Whores Can Come” with Timothy Olyphant and Anna Gunn.
  • Episode 11 Audio Commentary “The Whores Can Come” with Ian McShane and Paula Malcomson.
Disc 4 (Blu-ray Disc) (22.3 GB):
  • The Real Deadwood: 1877 (21:24) (HD)
  • Trusting the Process with David Milch (27:24) (HD)
  • Mr. Wu Proves Out (21:53) (HD)
  • The Wedding Celebration (21:36) (HD)
  • Deadwood Daguerreotypes (Images)
Season Three:

Disc One (Blu-ray Disc) (38.8 GB):
  • Episode 1 Audio Commentary “Tell Your God to Ready for Blood” with Executive Producers Gregg Fienberg & Mark Tinker.
Disc Two (Blu-ray Disc) (38.8 GB):
  • Episode 5 Audio Commentary “A Two-Headed Beast” with Jim Beaver, Sean Bridgers and W. Earl Brown.
Disc Three (Blu-ray Disc) (37.0 GB):
  • Episode 9 Audio Commentary “Amateur Night” with Robin Weigert.
  • Episode 12 Audio Commentary “Tell him Something Pretty” with Series Creator David Milch.
Disc Four (Blu-ray Disc) (9.79 GB):
  • Deadwood Matures (20:21) (HD)
  • The Education of Swearengen and Bullock (20:21) (HD)
  • Deadwood Daguerreotypes (Images)
Series Bonus Disc:

Disc 1 (Blu-ray Disc) (31.1 GB):
  • The Meaning of Endings: David Milch on the Conclusion of Deadwood (22:47) (HD)
  • The Real Deadwood: Out of the Ashes (29:18) (HD)
  • Q&A with Cast and Creative Team (Courtesy of the Paley Center for Media) (1:03:31) (HD)
  • Deadwood 360 Tour (7:35) (HD)
  • Al Swearengen Audition Reel (As Performed by Titus Welliver) (10:12) (HD)
The extras included on this release are fantastic and HBO was ported all previous DVD features for this Blu-ray release and upconverted all standard-definition material to look its very best. There is a great amount of content to be seen and the bonus series disc includes over two hours of additional content. For a TV on Blu-ray release I found it extremely impressive and provide hours of entertainment after you finish the series. 10/10

The Series
Deadwood: The Complete Series’ consists of all three seasons from the memorable HBO western. The show was created by David Milch and stars Ian McShane, Timothy Olyphant, Molly Parker, Paula Malcomson, John Hawkes, W. Earl Brown, Brad Dourif and more.

The show is based on real characters and real events. It takes place in Deadwood, South Dakota, a location historically known for its corruption and high level of crime. The show had a very interesting premise and had plenty to work with, but unfortunately ended after only three seasons.

HBO has always been known for incredible television, with hit series such as ‘The Sopranos,’ and ‘Sex and the City’ to name just a couple. Recently they have had great success with shows like ‘True Blood’ and ‘Boardwalk Empire,’ both which I enjoy very much. ‘Deadwood’ I would consider to be one of HBO’s finest television shows with some of my favorite characters.
‘Deadwood’ features some of my favorite characters from a television series and for me really was television event. Each episode is something to look forward to and with this series set you don’t have to wait for the next episode.

The show is gritty, daring and very unique. Admittedly, I have never been a fan of TV westerns from the past, but I love ‘Deadwood.’ Some may avoid the show thinking it may not appeal to them due to the setting of the series, but I urge everyone to give the show a fair chance.

This 13-disc set is incredible and I love the sturdy and attractive packaging. ‘Deadwood: The Complete Series’ makes for the perfect gift for a family member, friend or even yourself. If you have yet to experience ‘Deadwood,’ now is the time, with beautiful high-def clarity. 10/10

The Blu-news Summary
Deadwood: The Complete Series’ makes for one of the most enjoyable TV on Blu-ray experiences yet. The Blu-ray release is incredible, with a top notch video and audio presentation. There are also hours of bonus features to be seen and heard. This Blu-ray release is a ‘Must Own’ for any fan of the series and ‘Highly Recommended’ to anyone new to the series.

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