Great show, NOT truly Blu-Ray quality
kdz | Gulfcoast | 09/05/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The show is great...watched it on DVD once already. But I'm very disappointed in the supposed Blu-ray quality of the discs. Scenes are granulated and few scenes are truly Blu-ray'd out. They were so much more expensive, but you can just about get the same quality on DVD...certainly not enough of an upgrade to justify the price increase."
A review of the Blu-Ray version
D. W. Knott | Red Wing, Minnesota | 01/15/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not even going to review the show, as many people countless times have said what I already think in other reviews. I'm going to cover the quality of the Blu-Ray, and whether you should upgrade from your DVD/HD-DVD. Needless to say, this season has great acting, a great story, great special effect (for TV), and great writing. It's a shame the series went crazy after Bryan Fuller left after this season, but when he returned in Volume 4 the show became good again. Here's hoping the show keeps the quality up!
VIDEO QUALITY: 3.5
Sadly, Heroes' video quality is pretty disappointing. That's not to say the video quality is bad by any means, but I expect better from a show with such high production value as Heroes.
I'll start off with the positive: The video quality is light-years ahead of the DVD release. Gone is the macro-blocking and over-sharpening of the DVD video, and in is the high detail and bright colors of the Blu-Ray video. With TV shows in general on Blu-Ray, the detail captured on faces in particular makes the difference night and day. Special effects shots are great even if a little blurry (an apparent move to try and hide the show's limited budget), and backgrounds are much more detailed than the HDTV broadcast. Colors like blue, red, and green all jump off of the screen and mesmerize you. Digital noise like artifacting is also kept pretty low for the most part, and the video has much better sharpening than the DVD release. The text for Hiro and Ando's conversations is also easier to read. They were slightly blurry on the DVD release throughout, but they stand out as clear as day in HD.
Now for the bad: The film grain. I'd estimate around 60% of shots in Heroes have noticeable film grain in them, which can obscure detail and sticks out like a sore thumb on white backgrounds. I don't know why such an absurd amount of shots have this, and the only reasons I can guess are: 1) Budgeting caused the producers to go with a lower grade of film. 2) Poor camera set up. 3) It's an artistic move to make the show look like it's on paper (i.e. like a comic book). Either way, the near constant layer of grain can be very distracting, especially in wide shots or shots with white backgrounds. Another major downside is that digital noise pops up randomly in black areas. This is the only place noise appears on a regular basis, and it mostly happens in scenes with Mohinder for some reason. For scenes with other characters like Matt or Peter, the blacks are rich and deep throughout. One last thing is that once in a while it is very obvious when they use digital noise reduction to reduce the amount of grain on the screen. In one shot in particular a white wall in the background had this bizarre flickering effect that none of the other walls in that scene had, and it was very distracting.
Despite the film grain and random noise, Heroes Season One on Blu-Ray is by far the best way to view the show. The colors and facial detail will definitely blow you away as I was when I popped the first disc in.
SOUND QUALITY: 4.0
The sound presentation of Heroes Season One is better than its video presentation, and again exceeds the original DVD audio by leaps and bounds. Voices and sound effects come through very clearly on the 5.1 DTS-HD MA mix, and the new detail from the LFE track helps punctuate the musical score and sound effects much better than the DD mix on the DVD release. Really, until you hear how much detail the LFE track adds to the viewing experience, you don't know what you're missing. My only gripe with the sound presentation is that the mix is mostly front heavy, and very rarely makes use of the rear speakers. I understand that this is only a television show, and that most people watch TV with stereo speakers, but Heroes was one of the shows at the front of the HD revolution when it premiered. Part of the HD revolution is surround sound, and having your show touted as being part of that revolution while not taking full advantage of it is disappointing. If you only have stereo speakers, this makes no difference to you, but it's a bit of a let down for those of us who've invested in surround sound.
What Heroes Season One lacks in audio and video, it makes up for with a wonderful presentation. This release uses Universal Media's U-Control, which is a standard layout for menus and such for Blu-Ray releases. If you don't know how to use it, there's a little instruction pamphlet included with the packaging, so you don't need to go Googling for help on the internet. After the disc loads, it goes straight to the menu instead of having to sit through piracy warnings and stuff. Speaking of which, you actually have the option to skip all of the promos, warnings, and legal stuff unlike a lot of other Blu-Ray releases (and the original DVD), which instantly makes the presentation awesome. The packaging is also slightly bigger and heavier than the DVD release, but the artwork on the inside is better than the DVD release in my opinion. Because of the bigger space on Blu-Ray discs, the series comes on 5 discs instead of 7 like with the DVD and HD-DVD releases.
SPECIAL FEATURES: 3.5
Heroes Season One comes with all of the special features the DVD had with a few exclusives of its own. This includes deleted scenes for a lot of episodes, some behind the scenes features, audio commentary on the last 12 episodes, and a few PIP commentaries. The (yet again) disappointing part is that most of these special features come in 4:3 480i instead of 16:9 1080p. The hand full that come in HD are the original pilot, the BD-Live stuff, the Artwork Presentations (the Tim Sale artwork featured in Isaac's future paintings) and the Character Connections stuff (essentially a bio of each character on the show).
Heroes Season One is the best season of the show so far. As I mentioned before, the show got really stupid for a long time after this until Bryan Fuller came back in the middle of Volume 4. Now Heroes is good again, and we have a pretty good Blu-Ray release of its best season to remember it by. With good video mastering and great audio coupled with good special features and awesome presentation, I recommend this Blu-Ray package to any Heroes fan out there. My only warning about buying this is the price. Right now the price is $50, which is way too much to be reasonable (like most other Blu-Ray releases at the moment). At most, I would only pay about $35 for this release. Anymore than $35 is a rip-off."
D. Mueller | 07/22/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I quite like the series but the interface is on the blu-ray disk is a little quirky. It also takes a long time to load to the point of playing (about 2 minutes in all from start up) and required me to upgrade my firmware to work on my Blu-ray player. This could be a symptom of my blu-ray player though most disks do not take as long as this."