Welcome back, my readers, fellow Blu-ray disc collectors and fellow pop culture enthusiasts! Last time around, I informed you about the approaching June 15, 2021 release of the respective 4K Blu-ray discs of Godzilla vs. Kong (2021) and In the Line of Fire (1993). If you missed that article (which contains lots of details and links), check it out now.
In this latest edition of Better than Streaming, I want you to join me in taking a close look at the Blu-ray disc of V: The Original Miniseries (1983) which was released on August 27, 2019 as part of the Warner Archive Collection. I bought this Blu-ray release only this year and I can confirm to you all that I had a great time replaying it from start to finish and in high-definition! Having seen V: The Original Miniseries on TV and video tapes in the 1980s and to its early digital form on DVD in 2001, the Blu-ray release is the best visual experience yet!
If you have not seen my retro review, head on to https://carlocarrasco.com/2021/05/08/a-look-back-at-v-the-original-miniseries-1983/
Going on with the Blu-ray release of V: The Original Miniseries, posted below is a new picture of my copy that I photographed for this article.
The cover really gives V: The Original Miniseries its own distinct look. A look that fans of V will instantly recognize and given the fact that it does not feature any pictures of the actors and only had images of the alien motherships (read: very huge saucer-like space ships that can carry thousands of people plus equipment) on the cover, I can imagine this Blu-ray release standing out when placed with many other Blu-ray discs on store shelves. The tag line on the top – Humankind’s Last Stand – adds punch to the cover.
When it comes to the technical specifications, it goes as follows…
1080p High Definition
DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Single disc – Region free
To be clear, the above specs were written on the back of the Blu-ray box and they refer specifically to the main feature…the 2-episodes of the miniseries totaling 197 minutes (3 hours, 17 minutes).
Speaking of the main feature of V: The Original Miniseries contained in the Blu-ray disc, it is entirely presented in one single selection. The two episodes are not presented as separate selections. It means that once you are done with watching the first episode, you only need to wait for the end credits to finish and just let the video play on with the opening credits of the second episode to start and lead further to the story. However, if you saw the first episode and decide to watch the second episode at a later time, only then will you need the remote control of your Blu-ray player to go through chapter selection (skip the chapters of the first episode) to start the second episode.
As mentioned earlier, V: The Original Miniseries was presented in 1080p high-definition and for me it is the best-looking form to date! If you want specifics about the visual quality (as opposed to the high-definition look of the mini-series), I can say that its visual aesthetics from 1983 are still intact but with added benefits due to the higher resolution and digital format. To put things in perspective, the level of visual details, the color-grading, the textures seen on the actors’ faces and the natural look of their skin tone are all improved over the 2001 DVD.
As this is a 1980s production, the film grain also made it and even though it intensifies or weakens as the main feature plays, it never was annoying to watch. If there are any weak spots on the visuals, it’s the fact that the high-definition state made the matte lines in key special effect shots (note: specifically in the scenes of people on the street looking up at a mothership above them) look very obvious and fake. As for other visual effects, the laser blasts look even better and the perfect timing on simulating on-set explosions (specifically the spots that got hit by the laser blasts) add a lot of punch to the spectacle!
As for the extra stuff, I regret to say that V: The Original Miniseries Blu-ray only has the exact same stuff the 2001 DVD had…the feature-length commentary by Kenneth Johnson and a behind-the-scenes documentary. Nothing new at all and this easily reminds me of the words describing this release – Warner Archive Collection.
To be clear about the extra stuff, I really find it very disappointing that the 24-minute behind-the-scenes documentary was presented only in standard definition and had a sub-par quality visually which kinda ruins the fascinating stuff of the production (Johnson and crew filming scenes, Marc Singer and Faye Grant being interviewed, etc.) shown.
The real meat of the extra stuff is the feature-length commentary of Kenneth Johnson. All throughout the two episodes, Johnson provided a lot of insight on the filmmaking, the creative concepts, the symbolism connecting the mini-series with the rise of the 3rd Reich in Europe, etc. I replayed the mini-series entirely with Johnson’s commentary turn on and it was really engaging as a viewing experience!
While the lack of new extra stuff somewhat hampers it, I still had great enjoyment with my Blu-ray copy of V: The Original Miniseries (1983). Its main feature and the Kenneth Johnson commentary are the best things about it and therefore make it worth buying. I can only speculate that if more V fans (plus the many people out there who have yet to discover V of the 1980s for their home entertainment and sci-fi craving) bought a lot of copies of this Warner Archive Collection Blu-ray release, the executives at WB could be convinced to release another Blu-ray of the 1983 mini-series with all new stuff involving the participation of Johnson, the other production team members and the surviving actors (note: it would be great to come up with brand new interviews with Marc Singer, Faye Grant, Jane Badler, David Packer, Blaire Tefkin, Robert Englund and others). It would be great to see pop culture convention footage related to V compiled not to mention an all-new feature commentary with the actors participating.
Overall, the V: The Original Miniseries – Warner Archive Collection Blu-ray is highly recommended! Fans of V of the 1980s will love it and all others who have yet to discover it will find something new and compelling to watch at home with this. Add this to your shopping list and your Blu-ray disc collection!
In closing this Better than Streaming piece, posted below for your enjoyment is the 43-minute YouTube video of the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con panel that had Kenneth Johnson and Marc Singer as guests focused on V.
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