Hitchhikers Blu-ray – Two Editions

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    Limited Edition in VHS packaging available from Zavvi!

    Both have lovely artwork – fair play. Red Dwarf reveal can’t be long away now? VHS retro packaging an option?




    Very nice.

    The limited edition version doesn’t seem to be a Zavvi exclusive, Zoom and Amazon have it too.

    If you use code SIGNUP10 at Zoom, you can get it for £23.39.

    (Or the regular version for £17.09.)



    That VHS packaging is actually really nice. HMV had some Universal films in VHS packaging and they just looked a bit naff.



    Never watched this. Seems like the perfect time to give it a watch.



    So is it right that both H2G2 and Red Dwarf are coming out on the 1st?



    It would seem so.



    Oh thanks for this heads up, just ordered the special edition version. looks awesome


    Flap Jack

    So what they’re saying with this is: 1 series of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is worth the same as 4 series of Red Dwarf. I know which one I’d rather have.

    Hang on a minute! Why do HMV, Zavvi and Zoom list the Red Dwarf Blu-ray set as coming out on the 22nd October? Is it an Amazon exclusive for 3 weeks or is there a delay that only some retailers know about?



    Huh. Zoom used to say October 1st for the Red Dwarf Blu-Ray. And the official site announcement definitely said the 1st.

    I wonder if this indicates a delay. Maybe we’ll find out tomorrow.



    Can’t believe how little we know about the Blu-ray considering it’s supposed to be out in 3 weeks ish.



    Yeah, the date slipping by another three weeks (at least?) would explain why details have been a bit thin on the ground.

    (Presumably they need the extra time to get the XIII titles to print on the back etc.)


    Ben Saunders

    Can anyone explain how the initialism H2G2 translates to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? It comes off a little like how GCN is the official acronym for Nintendo GameCube



    Hitchhikers 2 H’s
    Guide Galaxy 2 G’s



    Really intrigued to see if there is much more to offer than just upscaled/regraded eps for the RD blu-ray? Previous features is a given, and there’s probably no ‘new’ features because – lets face it, we’ve been spoilt beyond already. If there is ANYTHING new on there I will genuinely be blown away. But packaging could be interesting – plastic case? Steelbook? VHS? Also would be great to see a return of the chunky font logo ala 3,4,11 & 12 for this set.

    I’m REALLY torn over these H2G2 releases. Both look beautiful. The list of new extras is astounding too. Good job!


    Ben Saunders

    I’m really looking forward to the R1D1 release


    Flap Jack

    I think if there were going to be any alternate packaging editions of the Red Dwarf 1-VIII Blu ray set, we’d already know about it. Can’t let people lock in their pre-orders for the standard version when they might be willing to pay more for the Super Awesome Limited Edition Steelbook Version w/ Free Ebook of The Log: A Dwarfer’s Guide To Everything by Craig Charles!

    Big multi-series boxes aren’t really suited to be steelbooks anyhow.



    I want a different steelbook for each individual episode.



    Never say never. All those things ARE possible, but I doubt it. I feel if anything it’s more likely to be akin to the new Classic DW releases.


    Flap Jack

    You mean every shop sells out of them in under a week, and then the only way to get them is off eBay for upwards of £100? No thanks…



    Still available in Oz by the way with the same UK packaging ;)


    Flap Jack

    Not a bad shout. :-)

    Though taking shipping costs into account that’s still a 25-50% markup on the original price. I’d rather Red Dwarf avoided that fate.

    I’m also just bitter in general about the way the BBC handled that release. Labeling something as “Limited Edition Packaging” (not “Limited Edition” as a whole) and then making absolutely no announcement of more plainly packaged, less limited reprint for months after it’s completely disappeared from store shelves is incredibly annoying.


    Ben Paddon

    Still available in Oz by the way with the same UK packaging ;)

    Ah, nuts. They don’t ship to the US.



    Ship to the UK to ship to you?


    Flap Jack

    Ah, nuts. They don’t ship to the US.

    A quick search reveals the American version of the set is still in stock for just US$44.99. You’re fine.


    Flap Jack

    (At Amazon, specifically.)



    I wonder if this indicates a delay. Maybe we’ll find out tomorrow.

    No word from the official site updates today, so the mystery continues. Amazon still have it down for the 1st.



    The American version has different packaging and is numbered different too.


    Ben Paddon

    Yeah, the American version is fucking garbage. Not to mention the ongoing framerate issue that exists with US releases of BBC shows on Bluray.


    Flap Jack

    OK, that’s fair enough if there is a significant difference between the US and UK/AU versions of the set. (“Garbage” seems a little extreme, but I’ll trust that there’s enough justification for that description.)

    I forgot about the whole frame rate debacle. It’s easy to think that Blu ray frame rates are a non-issue in general when all UK Blu ray movies run at 24fps no problem, but I guess the BBC didn’t get whatever memo all the other Blu ray producers did.

    FWIW, DVD Land seems to deliver to the US. Or at the very least they deliver internationally in general and will let you add an American delivery address. I can’t exactly do a full test!


    Ben Paddon

    It’s not as problem with the BBC specifically, but with US Bluray standards.

    Officially, US Bluray players aren’t supposed to support 1080i50 which, given most UK content is shot at 25 or 50fps, is what they’re encoded at. Most players do support it, of course, because blocking 1080i50 content is something that has to be done at the software level so it’s easier to just let players run it. But Sony and Samsung players don’t, including the PS3 and PS4, which creates problems.

    To resolve this issue, BBC Video in the US slows their content down to 24fps, resulting in a slight reduction in speed. They also pitch-correct so it doesn’t sound like it’s been slowed down, so only people who have seen the original versions will really notice the difference. The US release of Red Dwarf X wasn’t pitch-corrected, though, so it’s incredibly noticeable. There’s also a history of BBC Video using frameblending (BTE) or changing the picture from interlaced to progressive (RD XI/XII), so the US releases are usually inferior on a technical level as well.

    BBC Video US also tends to strip out special features to reduce the number of discs – all of the Peter Capaldi sets are knocked down to 4 discs, and there’s huge swathes of content missing. As an example, IIRC, the Series 10 set omits the spatial sound mix for “Knock Knock” entirely.

    For Doctor Who season 12, however, there are additional problems. Firstly, it’s labeled as “Tom Baker Season 1”, which is accurate only in the loosest of senses. Secondly, the packaging is horrible – nowhere near as good as the UK/AUS packaging – a single slim-line pack, no sleeve, no special box, no additional trinkets or dooberies. It looks cheap and nasty. I was, in fact, given advanced warning from someone who works at the BBC not to buy the US version because of how fucking awful it is. I was going to get the UK set, but I lost my job and had to cancel my preorder.


    Flap Jack

    Wow, OK, I think you convinced me. I would have said that the sub-par packaging/labeling and the frame rate slowdown could probably be tolerated (as long as they remembered to pitch-correct the audio!), and that this particular release might not have cut out special features, but if an actual BBC employee in the know recommended you avoid it, that’s PRETTY damning.

    I’m sorry to hear that you lost your job, too. That sucks. :(



    Yeah, sorry to hear that Ben.



    The new features are:

    Mostly Hand-Drawn: Animation sequences from the TV series presented in HD for the first time
    Life, the Universe and Clapperboards: Other elements from the series in HD

    Recorded at the End of the Universe: Unique behind-the-scenes footage from the rehearsal rooms and the studio floor, showing the cast and crew grappling with the scenery, the props and the text of the Hitchhiker TV series.

    Trailer for Radio Times: When the magazine announced their only Hitchhikers’ cover article

    Douglas Adams on Nationwide (1980) : The first public glimpse of the new TV series was during this Nationwide clip when presenter Sue Cook interviewed Douglas

    Marvin on Blue Peter (1981): The Paranoid Android launched his 1981 bid for pop stardom on the Children’s TV favourite Blue Peter and then told the presenters how he didn’t even want to talk about it.

    The Sound of Sypher (1980): A BBC Engineering film about the sound design on Hitchhiker.

    Writing Hitchhiker’s: The story of Hitchhiker’s difficult birth, taken from exclusive interviews conducted in 2007 and 2012 with Douglas Adams’ brother James and friend Nick Webb

    Open Door: The Sound of Love(1980): The earliest known filmed interview with Douglas Adams, in which he talks about his awkward childhood.

    Douglas Adams on Paperbacks (1981): A quaint book programme where host Robert Kee makes plain directly to Douglas Adams’ face, his obvious disregard for the author’s second novel.

    Saturday Review: Douglas Adams explains to Minnette Marin his ideas for interactive CD-Rom audio drama, while in Birmingham, the fans gather for a Hitchhiker-themed games convention.

    Douglas Adams on Micro Live : Douglas Adams talks about The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Game on BBC 2’s Micro Live. Originally broadcast on March 8, 1985.

    Ten Short Films: From the personal archives of producer, Kevin Davies, featuring Douglas Adams and imagery from the TV series and elsewhere. Includes two exclusive reports on the movie from the world premiere in Leicester Square.

    Simon Jones on BBC Breakfast (2012): The Arthur Dent star appears on Towel Day 2012 to plug the theatrical summer tour of The Hitchhiker’s Guide Radio Show Live.

    Tertiary Phase Trailer: The surviving members of the radio cast re-assembled in 2003 for the long overdue radio adaptation of the third Hitchhiker book, Life, The Universe And Everything.

    Marvin and Zem: Marvin was brought back to life by Stephen Moore for the Tertiary Phase in 2003, when he shared swamp duties with a mattress called Zem.

    Q-Phases: A trailer for the Quandary and Quintessential Phases radio series based on the fourth and fifth Hitchhiker novels.

    The Hexagonal Phase: Online trailer for Radio 4 – the latest (and possibly final series ever) of Hitchhiker in its original medium, is based on the 2009 novel by Eoin Colfer with snippets of unpublished material from Douglas Adams’ archives

    The Original DVD extras: The Making of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Don’t Panic, Communicate!, Behind the Scenes, Peter Jones Introduction, Pebble Mill at One interview with director Alan Bell and animator Rod Lord; Tomorrow’s World sequence; deleted scene from episode 2, out-takes, trailer, Easter eggs

    And BFI Southbank will host a special fan screening on Saturday 22, featuring three episodes and appearances from Simon Jones, who played Arthur Dent, David Dixon, who was For Prefect, and Sandra Dickinson who played Trillian.


    Flap Jack

    Wow, that’s a lot of new extras! Colour me impressed.

    Your move, GNP…



    That’s great – definitely an incentive to pick up the new set.


    Plastic Percy

    I might be missing it, but will the early nineties Adams’ interview where Simon Jones and David Dixon reprise their roles from the show, read extracts of the novels and come to terms with being fictional characters?



    That was an episode of The South Bank Show, so no, doesn’t look like it. I think that’s the one where Marvin appears wearing a big brown raincoat because they could only find the head part of the costume.


    Plastic Percy

    No bother, I’ve found it on YouTube anyway.



    That southbank show is on the USA dvd.



    My copy of this arrived last night – I went for the special edition packaging, which looks great (I love the VHS cassette box).

    Looking forward to getting stuck in. The huge list of extra features makes it look like there’s going to be plenty to work through.


    Cloud Strife

    Mine arrived yesterday as well. Been just watching through the episodes. The picture is as good as you can expect from a near 40 year old BBC show filmed on tape. But it does look well on the HDTV you can see the guy sometimes in Marvins mouth covering.



    We just watched the first episode tonight, and it looks pretty good for its age (even if it’s obviously still a world away from HD versions of shows and movies shot on film). It gives me hopes that the Red Dwarf set could look as good.

    I like that there’s been no attempt to revise the effects, and no obvious tweaks to the visuals or sound. It feels like the show as I remember it.

    I had forgotten how much of it was wordplay and jokes based around language; I remember those kinds of jokes from the books more than the TV show. So it was nice to hear those again (for the first time in a long time).

    Also, the way the book is brought to life on-screen with the animations and diagrams still really holds up. I’m looking forward to watching the extra feature about that.



    Most people seem to agree the Guide entries are the best thing about the Hitchhiker’s TV series. They are very good, and not just the “computer graphics” that aren’t really computer graphics, but weird live action stuff like Douglas Adams himself throwing away money on a beach before wandering dejectedly into the sea, and the posh dinner with people and monkeys with the caption THIS NEVER HAPPENS



    That moment is maybe the biggest laugh of episode one for me.



    Mine arrived on Friday, too. It was just like The Olden Days, when the Red Dwarf DVDs would arrive early, and I could watch them all weekend before their official release on the Monday.



    Glad you all got yours. I’m sat here like a div because Zavvi apparently don’t have any stock to ship my pre-order :(



    cancelled it and ordered from Amazon which now has it at the cheaper price. delivery tomorrow :)



    This is why you don’t order from Zavvi. They’re always shit.


    Bargain Bin Holly

    We only use Zavvi to calculate when the Red Dwarf blu-ray might get released




    This is why you don’t order from Zavvi. They’re always shit.

    At the time they were considerably cheaper than Amazon, and the only other time I used them was for the series X steel book and it was fine.

    Have learnt my lesson though.



    >That moment is maybe the biggest laugh of episode one for me.

    The biggest laugh in episode one for me was when Ford excitedly stuffs the hagro-biscuit into his mouth and exclaims “Mmm!” as his expression slowly changes to one of discomfort, disappointment and upset as he realizes that it tastes absolutely fucking horrible. Maybe not the most clever joke in the episode but the pacing of it and Arthur and Ford’s expressions just makes me laugh

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