Leaseholder Addendum. Do not despair. The Region 2 DVD is on its way.
In fact, it’s here, and hurrah for that! This little footnote is a spin-off from the full review, which was published a couple of weeks back. While that review got its teeth into the actual content of the discs, this one concentrates on the peripheral and, some would say, unimportant aspects. Hooray! So, what are the differences between the Region 1 and the Region 2 release? You haven’t got a clue, have you? But you will, if you read for a few paragraphs.
For a start, there’s the picture quality. It goes without saying that the original PAL video will look better than a NTSC conversion, and the picture on the episodes is clean, crisps and damn near broadcast quality. Furthermore, it sounds really good. Series IV was the first to be recorded in stereo, rather than mono, and this is evidenced by the atmospheric rumble of the engine noise, the understated sound effects and the crisply audible dialogue.
Now, most people had a few reservations about the cover when the idea was first mooted. After more drafts and internet fakerys than you can shake a stick at, the final version features a CGI version of the Officers’ Quarters, with a silver foil-embossed Red Dwarf IV logo and little pictures of Ace Rimmer and Lister-o-space mumps. Crucially, the cover works. It doesn’t come across as “too busy” or anything like that; it just looks very, very nice. Okay, Lister painting on the back doesn’t make much sense if you unfold the cover, but who in their right mind would do that? The image editing around Lister is top-notch, as are the splodges of creamy-coloured paint on his spacesuit. And I now have half a Red Dwarf logo on my shelf!
The cover also features the new “BBC DVD” logo, which consists of the normal BBC logo with the letters “DVD” after it. It cost a million pounds to design. NB. Possible lie. The point size for the text on the spine is larger for even-numbered released. WHY? Interestingly, the background image is a much lighter colour on the Region 2 version than on Region 1. Why did they make it darker? Why? It looks rubbish, as does the massive Dwarf logo and the ridiculously huge pics of Rimmer and Lister. Pfft.
Oh, man, these are gorgeous. I know that what the non-playing side of the medium looks like is perhaps the least important thing one could possibly think of when deciding on what DVD to buy, but these picture discs are just lovely. I particularly like the way that the hole is punched through Holly’s monitor. One improvement could be made – it might be a good idea to label Disc One as “Episodes” and Disc Two as “Extras”, as per the Region 1 release.
This is what we’ve been waiting for! This time, the sticker is cream coloured, and it bears the same legend as the last one: “Over 200 minutes of bonus material”. Why not stick it on your wall, directly beneath the red Series III one?
Excellently, the missing closing parenthesis on page three of the booklet has been corrected for the Region 2 release. Thus Ellard can keep his job. There was no little leaflet about forthcoming BBC releases this time. There wasn’t one for II either; perhaps it’s a seasonal thing. Incidentally, the BBC recently set a worrying precedent when they included a massive DVD trailer at the beginning of the Human Remains release. They can fuck off. One unfortunate note – apparantly, the “Easter Egg” easter egg is inaccessible on certain players. I suppose it’s their own fault for not being “industry standard”.
If you haven’t already bought or at least ordered this DVD, why not? Go and buy it, fatty.