The title has two meanings. It works as both the common expression, meaning that peopleare strange (which the show certainly demonstrates). But it also presents the “queer” as “folk”:i.e. gay characters are, for once, realistic, ordinary human beings. This aspect goes a long waytoward explaining the series’ popularity. In this season, the continuing threads include apregnancy for Melanie and Lindsay, and the nasty politics surrounding the campaign of thecontroversial Mayor …tockwell. The range of tone on the series is very broad, ranging from full-on comic to the tragic. In other words, I suppose, just like life.
A fair bit of time is spent in the series’ nightclub, which means a hefty dollop of techno onthe soundtrack, and the result is loud and pounding, just as it should be, nicely rendered in 5.1.the dialogue is clean and undistorted, and never drowned out by effects. There are some decentstabs at environmental sound effects (especially by television standards), but this is also a seriesof silences, where there isn’t much going on except the dialogue.
The aspect ratio is 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, and the transfer is quite solid. The coloursare good, the flesh tones excellent, and the contrasts are strong. There is some grain, though.While the grain level is not as bad as it can be in TV releases, it is still a bit more noticeable thanone would like.
For all that there is a fair quantity of extras here, the quality leaves something to be desired.You won’t learn a whole heck of a lot about the series from these features. All of the discs comewith the “Next on Queer as Folk” mini-trailers, and complete episode summaries for the season.Disc 4 has a video commentary by just about everybody for the season finale. The episode playswith the sound off, while a PIP of the cast and crew shows group shots and close-ups, dependingon who is speaking. That many people means that there’s a lot of joking around, but not a lotactually interesting being said.
Disc 5 has a group of featurettes, none of which are real stand-outs. “Behind the Camera:The Directors” and “Behind the Camera: With Cast and Crew” involve a lot of unexplainedbehind-the-scenes footage interspersed with brief interviews. “Hot Summer Days” is the videodiaries of cast members on hiatus. Whatever works for you, I guess, but I was bored. The “WrapParty Reel” is bloopers, and “Enter Babylon: Los Angeles” is about the series’ “Babylon Tour”where the nightclub is recreated (here in LA). There are actor bios, an animated photo gallery, aseason 4 sneak peak, TV spots (plus trailers for The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone andPenn & Teller: Bullshit, and a video of Kristine W.’s “Some Lovin’.” Finally, there’s a“Party in a Box” CD-ROM, is a sweepstakes gimmick, plus some tools for putting on your ownparty. The menu’s main screen and transitions are animated and scored.
The series is good, as is the sound. The picture is pretty good. The extras, however, aren’tthat interesting.
Special Features List
- Cast and Crew Video Commentary
- Episode Summaries
- “Next on Queer as Folk”
- “Behind the Scenes: The Directors”
- “Behind the Scenes with Cast and Crew”
- “Hot Summer Days” Featurette
- Wrap Party Reel
- “Enter Babylon: Los Angeles” Featurette
- Animated Photo Gallery
- Music Video
- TV Spots and Trailers
- CD-ROM “Party in a Box”