13 January 2008

Battlestar Galactica: a guide to DVD Regions 1 and 2 for the perplexed

2 days ago Battlestar Galactica: Razor arrived in the post on US import. As soon as I have a chance - yesterday evening - I gave it a spin in the player. Great stuff, but I'm not going to say anything about the plot here. If you've already seen it plot analysis will be redundant, and if you haven't seen it, you don't need some idiot giving away spoilers in a blog that is only occasionally about TV. Instead I'm going to talk about the huge contrast between how BSG gets released on DVD here in the UK, and the US release.

Razor- which is a TV movie designed to fill the gap between BSG seasons 3 and 4 (18 months or longer) - was shown pretty much simultaneously on Sky in the UK and on whatever channel broadcasts the show in the US, and then rush-released on DVD. The UK DVD release of Razor is atypical because it seems to have the same extras - commentary, deleted scenes, etc. - as the US release. In all the previous BSG releases the UK extras have been minimal - in fact on Season 3 they're non-existent. By contrast, US viewers in Region 1 get commentaries for each episode from series creator Ronald D Moore. The UK version of the Season 2 DVD has the podcasts for the first 4 episodes but nothing after that.

Fortunately the episode commentaries are also available here at the Sci-Fi Channel's US website. However if you are watching the Region 2 DVD whilst listening to a downloaded podcast you need to bear in mind that PAL (Region 2) DVDs run about 4% faster than NTSC (Region 1) DVDs, so your podcast will drift out of sync with the video unless you use an editor like Audacity to slow the mp3 down.

Bizarrely, Season 3 is available here in the UK, but not yet in the US - which has resulted in some people who can't wait importing the UK Season 3 set into the US, which is unusual - normally it's the other way round.

Even more bizarrely, I must mention the flyer that comes with the US edition of Razor - apparently "BATTLESTAR GALACTICA ACTION FIGURES ARE AVAILABLE NOW!" They are available from Diamond Select Toys. The initial choice of figures is somewhat strange - why Hotdog, or Kat, before they've done Baltar, Roslin or Admiral Adama, for example? Also, none of the figures looks anything like their real-life counterpart. That'll be familiar to anyone who bought Star Wars figures back in the late 70s and early 80s... but what's the audience for BSG action figures? The show's not aimed at kids, so who's buying them? Sad thirtysomethings who want to put them on their desks at work? Maybe...

2 comments:

Steve Pugh said...

The initial release of any set of merchandise always sells better than subsequent releases. In an attempt to counter this trend some popular figures are held back from the first set and released in later sets.

(Which is why the last releases of Buffy figures were almost all Willow or Faith variants, which I think also answers the question about who buys these things.)

giroscoper said...

Thanks Steve! I've also realised you need to speed the podcast up to get it in sync with the PAL DVD, not slow it down. Mistakes, mistakes...