Friday, 30 January 2009

Space Opera Galore

I'm a sci-fi nerd. Only a few people who have spent any amount of time with me (or read my blogs) are unaware of this fact.

So, naturally, when I stumbled upon a very, very sweet deal on Babylon 5 DVD Box Sets (all five seasons of them), I stopped, blinked, drooled and promptly hoisted my debit card.
I remembered watching the show on TV and liking it, and I was aware of its acclaim for complexity, depth, good dialogue, and also - indirectly - saving DS9 from total irrelevance ^^

Surprisingly, the show holds up not only to the cult status, but also to my own fond memories.
If anything, I love it more than I did before, although I admit this might be because I'm no longer 12 years old. (Also, the sheer number of gratuitous roundhouse kicks adds a hitherto underappreciated level of awesome.)

For the Region 2 DVDs I own, the images have been digitally remastered, which has improved the quality (although it still pales in comparison to HDTV and serves only to demonstrate just how dated the CGI really is by today's standards), which is great and follows the convention of changing something (no matter how small) for the DVD release to make it new and exciting.
Unfortunately, everybody got soooo excited about enhancing the image and animating a really crappy DVD menu, no attention was paid to the sound. And trust me, they should have done something. Anything. The relative volumes of dialogue and effects/music are so different, it's impossible for me to let the remote out of myhand for even a moment. I have to turn up the volume to get what people are saying, but then a jumpgate opens, or something explodes, or somebody wins in the casino, or a fucking tree falls over in a fucking forest, and the sound is so loud it's almost painful, so I turn the volume back down. But then they cut back to people talking, ... *sigh* Especially the battle sequences are no fun at all that way, and I haven't even started on Season 3, where the real fun "the Great War comes upon us all".

But even without their screeching sound effect at a volume that makes my ears ring, those Shadow ships are still right up there among the creepiest things ever seen in television sci-fi.

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