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Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series (Blu-ray Review)

26 Aug, 2009 By: John Latchem


$279.98 25-DVD set, $349.98 20-disc Blu-ray
Not rated.
Stars Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff, Jamie Bamber, Tricia Helfer, James Callis, Grace Park.

On Blu-ray, “Battlestar Galactica” looks and sounds better than it ever has. The visual style of the series includes a fair amount of grain, but this is an intentional artistic choice that lends a documentary feel to the narrative. The original miniseries offers a bit more grain and a little less clarity, but that’s because it was shot on film, while the rest of the series was shot on cleaner HD video. The miniseries in HD still looks far better than its DVD counterpart.

But while there is much to love about this boxed set, there are also a few nagging concerns. To begin with, it isn’t quite “complete.” Putting aside the fact that the box doesn’t include the follow-up movie Battlestar Galactica: The Plan (which hits disc Oct. 27), it also doesn’t include the season-four “Face of the Enemy” webisodes, which contain a fairly significant revelation about a key event of the series. (Sources say there may be a rights issue with the webisodes, but they could end up on disc next year.)

The Blu-ray versions are missing content that was previously available on DVD, most notably documentaries from the first season. A lot of this material, however, has made its way to the Blu-ray version through various picture-in-picture featurettes. The Blu-ray also includes pop-up character profiles and other information about the show.

The packaging for the discs themselves also raises an eyebrow. The discs aren’t housed in sturdy plastic cases, but in cardboard accordion sleeves that collapse a bit under their own weight, causing the cardboard to crunch up. Such packaging isn’t so much of a problem for Blu-ray, which is highly scratch-resistant, but could pose a problem for the more delicate DVD versions. The set is also missing any type of episode guide to indicate which episodes are on what discs.

Otherwise, the box is quite attractive. The cube expands to reveal four cases, one for each season of the show. The top of the box houses a cool collectible — an action figure of one of the show’s Cylon Centurion robots.

When it comes to ranking “Battlestar Galactica” among the all time greats of sci-fi and fantasy, the biggest debate about the show for years to come will be whether the finale compromised everything for which the show stood. Personally, I think the final revelations were a bit of a cop out, but in general the finale stayed true to the spirit of the series, and at least the creative team went out on their own terms.

That quality, I think, makes "Battlestar Galactica" the greatest science-fiction series of all time, and this complete series is a worthy edition to any collection.


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