'Smallville' First TV Show to HD Disc20 Oct, 2006 By: John Latchem
Warner Home Video will make Smallville: The Complete Fifth Season the first TV series released in a high-definition-disc format.
“Warner Home Video strives to deliver viewers the latest technologies in order to create the ultimate in-home viewing experience,” said Rosemary Markson, Warner VP of TV marketing. “With each new season release, the ‘Smallville' franchise continues to expand its loyal fanbase.”
The five-disc HD DVD package arrives Nov. 28 (prebook Oct. 24), timed to coincide with a slew of “Superman” releases from Warner, including HD DVD versions of 1978's Superman: The Movie and its newly edited sequel, Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut, plus the recent Superman Returns, which will be released on both HD DVD and Blu-ray. New editions of all the “Superman” films also will be released on standard-DVD that day.
“Smallville” serves as a re-imagining of the Superman mythology of the films, focusing on a college-aged Clark Kent (Tom Welling) who is adapting to his powers. In the fifth season, Clark encounters a new threat in the form of Milton Fine (James Marsters of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), otherwise known as Brainiac, while dealing with the disintegration of his friendships with Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk) and a young Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum).
The $79.98 “Smallville” HD DVD set includes all the special features from the standard DVD — unaired scenes, commentaries on two episodes, a “Vengeance Chronicles” Webisode gallery and a making-of documentary on the show's 100th episode. Exclusive to the HD version will be an “In-Program Experience” featurette on the making of the special effects for the season's premiere episode, “Arrival,” which kicks off a storyline to introduce the Superman II baddie General Zod onto the show.
At five discs, the HD DVD package has just one fewer disc than the standard-DVD edition, with the greater capacity of the format consumed by the enhanced picture and sound, including a 5.1 audio track unavailable even to the HD broadcast version.
HBO Video'sThe Sopranos: Season 6, Part 1 was slated to become the first TV on HD release Nov. 7, the same day as the standard DVD, but the high-def edition has been postponed indefinitely.
“'Smallville,' which is one of our strongest-performing TV series on DVD, is a logical fit for the new high-definition format given both its science-fiction genre and strong male demographics,” Markson said. “Our research also supports this. A much higher portion of current ‘Smallville' DVD purchasers own HD television sets and other technology as compared to the regular DVD buyer. They also expressed strong interest in purchasing ‘Smallville' in an HD media format.”
A Warner spokesperson said the studio does not yet have plans to release “Smallville” on Blu-ray Disc, but will use the format for future TV releases.