The format is familiar (as is pointed out by the series creator): this is a “precinct” show. Onlyinstead of cops, we’re dealing with spies, who fight against threats to Great Britain, whilejuggling complicated personal lives. Given the combination of ensemble cast, investigations, andsnazzy, futuristic look of the MI-5 headquarters, you might want to imagine a cross betweenNYPD Blue and La Femme Nikita. The performances are strong, the productionvalues are hig…, and the stories are quite compellingly brutal.
The 5.1 surround sound is a step up from what I’ve encountered on many TV-derivedreleases. The echoing effects of both music and explosions are very good. And if there we don’tquite have a full environmental illusion, there are still some very strong moments (a traffic effectabout twenty minutes into the first episode is extremely startling).
A nice 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. What is especially nice is that the extras arealso in this format, which is very rarely the case. The colours and contrasts are very good, as arethe flesh tones. The edge enhancement is very minor. The image is usually pretty sharp, but thereare some long shots that are softer than they should be.
An insert in the case provides a diagram of the contents of each of the three discs. Guard thiswith your life. There are dozens of small extras packed onto each disc, and the menu is the mostelaborate I’ve ever seen. The introduction goes on forever, as you are put in the shoes of an agentbreaking into a secure office. Finally your options come up, in the form of various objects on thedesk (computer for subtitles, telephone for audio, and so on). Nothing is labelled, however(though a voice describes your options every time you return to this screen), and so things canget a bit confusing.
As for the extras themselves, other TV releases should take note. Compare the useless filleryou have on the Cheers releases to the fact that here there is a commentary for EVERYepisode (provided by a big chunk of the cast and crew). Longer featurettes are the “key feature”on each disc (exploring the origin of the series, the production design, and profiling actor JennyAgutter). Then you’ve got a fistful of little featurettes, ranging from just over a minute to almost10, that feature interviews with cast and crew and focus in on individual characters or specificissues addressed by the series. There are photo galleries, deleted scenes, and (as if all this weren’tenough), DVD-ROM features (including scripts, wallpaper and weblinks). A pretty satisfyingpackage, I would say.
That over-the-top menu can get tiring in the long run, but better too many features than notenough, and the series is pretty good too.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentaries
- Cast and Crew Interviews
- Character Profiles
- Deleted Scenes
- Still Galleries
- MI-5 Terminology
- DVD-ROM Features
- Other Featurettes