Movie Renter's Guide - November, 2008



"TV Series - Hannah Montana (SD DVD), Prison Break (Blu-ray), Lost (Blu-ray), Grey's Anatomy (Blu-ray)"


Putting TV series on DVDs has been around a long time, and it seems only natural that high definition TV series should be released on Blu-ray sets.

If you are a fan of particular series, I am sure you are delighted that the studios are doing this. The Hannah Montana series is broadcast in standard definition, so, of course, the DVDs are standard definition.

The other series discussed here, Prison Break, Lost, and Grey's Anatomy are all high definition broadcasts, and the latest seasons that have been released are in Blu-ray. I could not find Blu-ray releases of the first season in some cases, but I suspect they will eventually all be available in high definition, presuming that sales of the various series support that production cost.

For TV series, there is no plot per se. There is a theme. For Hannah Montana, it is the trials and tribulations of life at high school. In Prison Break, some fellows break out of prison, get put back in prison, and break out again. Their real enemy is an unknown group who do not want the prison guys to make certain secret information public. For me, this is the toughest of the series to continue to keep exciting. It's OK for a movie, but keeping the theme going week after week is not so easy. On the other hand, Lost and Grey's Anatomy are naturals for a series. The theme for Lost is having crash landed on a deserted island, and for Grey's Anatomy, it is the difficulty of the physicians having to deal not only with patients, but with each other. In both cases, it is relationships that keep the stories moving.

I think we will see more current HDTV series being released in Blu-ray collections, but my real hope is that Hollywood will go into its vaults and release some of the old, classic TV series in high definition. The Fugitive, Star Trek, Mission Impossible are just a few. I have seen some Hogan's Heroes episodes broadcast on TV in high definition, but no release in Blu-ray disc form yet (they are available in SD DVD form). While we are on the subject of old films, how about some of the Warner Brothers 1930's and 1940's classic movies in Blu-ray? Bogart, Errol Flynn, James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson.


The picture is generally good, although not always as sharp as one would expect it to be, given the fact that the sources are so new. Some of the Blu-ray series use high def soundtrack codecs like DTS-HD Master Audio, so theortically, you will get a better sound when watching these series in your home theater with a modern processor than you got when you watched them when they were broadcast on TV.


All of the series include plenty of extras such as deleted scenes, bloopers, behind the scenes. In fact, you get more features here than I have seen for some major movie release disc sets.