Plot: What’s it about?
As I am sure you know, the BBC has created countless impressive television series and this release covers one of them, The Pallisers. This is literature set to motion if you ask me and I think it works very well, though the pace and lack of action might drive some away. But I don’t think you sit down to watch a four hundred minute release unless you know what you’re in for. This series is about the Palliser family and their exploits in all areas of life and such, which makes for a very entertaining watch. Now I know that sounds vague, but to try to summarize this series is pointless since it is so deep and complex. I mean, so much happens and it covers so much ground, I think the simpler the better in terms of the synopsis. You’ll find all the elements like greed, passion, betrayal, etc. Think soap opera, only with good production values, actors, and writers. The costumes and set designs are also excellent and I am always taken in with this series. This is a grand and epic storyline and now we can finally watch it all on the best format known to man, DVD.
Acorn Media has released the first set of The Pallisers on four discs and I assume a couple more four packs will arrive soon as well. The packaging is elegant and goes well with the tone of the release, but I am unsure why so many discs were needed. I know two episodes per disc is a nice number and all, but I would have liked fewer discs total in this release. Each of the four discs is single sided, single layered and that seems a little excessive to me. But this doesn’t seem to affect the video & audio levels, so I won’t be too harsh on the issue. The price on this release is up there, but with the amount and quality of material you’ll get, I don’t think the asking price is too much to bear. A few nice extras have been jammed on also, which adds some value to the release also. All in all, this is a very nice package and I look forward to looking at the future releases from Acorn Media. I recommend this release as a purchase to fans of the series, while others will want to give it a rent beforehand.
Video: How does it look?
The Pallisers is presented in a full frame transfer, which retains the original aspect ratio of the series. While I am pleased with the overall quality involved, the transfer does have some issues which lower the score. The fault seems to lie with the source materials and since restoration would be expensive and unjustified financially, I will cut Acorn Media some slack on this one. The print shows some marks and debris, but I was never too distracted by them and I doubt others will be either. Colors usually appear bright, but again some muting is present because of grain on the source print. The same holds with contrast, which sometimes is brightened too much because of the source materials. But on the whole, this is better than VHS or broadcast and that should be enough for fans of the show.
Audio: How does it sound?
If you’re looking for audio power, dialogue driven BBC television shows aren’t the solution you’re after. But this release still sounds excellent and I found very little to complain about. The music comes across well here and though it never becomes immersive, it does have a fuller tone than I expected. This is a dialogue heavy release though, so the vocals are the central element in the mix. This track supplies the vocals in clean and clear form, with the crispness and consistency we’ve come to expect from our beloved format. I also found no distortion in the elements and no hiss that usually accompanies older tracks like this.
Supplements: What are the extras?
A booklet has been included, which gives cast bios and offers a guide to the series and I applaud Acorn Media for stashing inside this release. This is more than a simple insert and has some terrific information on the series and the characters involved. On the first disc you’ll find information on the author, an advertisement for another Acorn Media title, and a twelve minute interview with actor Susan Hampshire.