> News & Updates
> News Archives

> Episode Guide
> Characters
> Image Galleries
> Primer
> Databank

> Forums
> Downloads
> Interviews
> Fan Fiction
> Con Coverage

> Release Dates
> Reviews

> Articles
> Site Stuff
> Links
> Help
Search Now:
In Association with Amazon.com
Search Now:
In Association with Amazon.co.uk
DVDs - Region 2 Double DVD Box Set 5.1 vs. Region 1 Two-disc Set: The Peacekeeper Wars UK/US DVD Com

Item Description
Comparing the UK and US DVDs of the mini-series Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars. A full review of the UK DVD can be found here.

Review
by Dani Moure

Depending on whether you're in the US or the UK, or indeed somewhere else, you may be wondering which DVD of Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars would be the best to get. You may also think that the answer is obvious, and in many ways it is. But this comparison is designed to compare the US release from Lions Gate and the UK release from Contender Video to highlight their strengths and weaknesses.

Extras

This is the big selling point for many fans of the show, who will buy the series no matter what but are looking for a bit of added value to their release, and it's here that the UK release excels. Both releases feature the excellent half hour documentary "The Battle Behind the Wars", which goes behind the scenes on the making of the mini-series, featuring many glimpses behind-the-scenes during filming, and including many interviews with the cast and crew.

After that, the two releases differ though. The US release features four different image galleries, separated into the categories of conceptual art, storyboards, spacecraft and props. Each gallery features a copious amount of images that make for some interesting viewing. I've no idea exactly how many images are in each, as they're not numbered, but I stopped counting the conceptual art at over 50 images. In terms of artwork, the UK release is pretty paltry, with a gallery of only 17 images in total, all in one gallery.

However, the UK release excels itself in exclusive extras, of which it has many. First up is almost fifteen minutes of deleted scenes (a complete rundown of which can be found in the UK DVD review. There are some great scenes in there, in particular several scenes featuring Sikozu and Chiana in various character moments. In addition, the UK disc features several more interviews going beyond those found in the documentary, with additional comments from Ben Browder, Claudia Black, Gigi Edgley, Anthony Simcoe, David Kemper, Andrew Prowse and Rockne O'Bannon. For the cast interviews, they are wrapped up in "info-pods", and there's one for all the main characters in the mini-series, giving a run-down of their history. The selection is rounded out by the original trailer for the mini-series (which is excellent), and some DVD-Rom material.

So while the US disc has a far better array of stills, while nice they're not exactly what most people really want from the DVDs. The meat and potatoes, in the form of deleted scenes and more interviews is what most will savour more. Especially in the case of the deleted scenes, as they help flesh out a few sub-plots for those that analysed the mini-series quite a bit.

Winner: UK release.

Video

For the US release, Lions Gate opted to present the mini-series in feature length form, meaning we get the entire show running together as one whole piece (and yes, it's a proper edit meaning no credits pop up where part 2 starts). This is an interesting choice, but to be frank it definitely has a detrimental effect on the video quality. The US release is pretty poor in this department. The bit-rate is pretty low throughout, compression artefacts like macro-blocking occur frequently, and it looks overtly grainy, sometimes washed out.

The UK release has the mini-series split over two parts, as originally aired on TV. This allows for a higher bit-rate than the US release, and a far better transfer. There's little grain noticeable, no major occurrences of macro-blocking (with only a couple of minor instances on Disc 1 that most probably won't even notice). The image is quite crisp and clear, and the level of detail is good for the most part. Blacks suffer a little, as the detail isn't quite as high, and shadows and other blacks tend to sometimes blend in with the background, but it doesn't happen consistently and is barely noticeable.

Winner: UK release.

Audio

The UK release features just the 5.1 surround sound track, which is a really nice, immersive track. On the other hand, the US release also features the English 2.0 stereo track, which is a nice addition for those without a 5.1 capable sound system. The additional choice isn't essential, as the 5.1 track downmixes well to stereo on the UK release, but a 2.0 track is nice to have. I noticed no technical issues with either release.

Winner: US release.

Subtitles

An issue which has long been one of the few with the UK release is that none to date have featured subtitles. Unfortunately, this is the case on the mini-series release. But for those who need, or just want, subtitles, the US release features not only English language subtitles but also Spanish subtitles as well, making it the clear (and default) winner.

Winner: US release.

Packaging

I happen to like both of the covers here a lot. The UK release features a slipcase box which contains two keepcases, allowing for three different artwork compositions, all of which end up looking great. They're done out in a similar style to past UK releases.

I do like the US release's cover, taken from the promo poster shot for the mini-series. It sees all the five main cast members (those not played by puppets, anyway) and Braca adorning the cover (Sikozu, Rygel and the Diagnosan get a look in on the back cover). The most disappointing thing though is the summary of the show. How it was ever cleared I will never know. It's quite horribly inaccurate in part (though I suppose you can see where they're coming from). This is the biggest strike against the release, but when you consider the additional artwork on the UK release, the box and separate cases, it just screams higher quality.

Winner: UK release.

Menus

The US release's menus are all static apart from the main menu, with music playing over them. The main menu features a small oval in the top-right of the screen with scenes from the mini-series looping over. With the font used and the dark colours, it looks rather bland.

The UK menus are the same as the season 4 menus in style (if it ain't broke...), though they have clips of the mini-series looping in the main part of the screen. The only gripe is still the ridiculous set of unskippable logos on loading the discs, though they have been shortened. For the most part the menus here fit with the show better (in part as they use the same font as Farscape's original titles).

Winner: UK release.

Overall

In almost every area, the UK release beats the US one hands-down. Subtitles are the main thing the UK release is lacking, and aside from that Contender pretty much got all they could to pack the disc with some exclusive extras, as well as the mini-series itself having better video quality than the US release. While the galleries of the US release would be nice to have, they're essentially quite superfluous to most, so not many people will miss them. But for me the disappointment with the US release is the video quality, which is a crying shame. If you have any doubts then, feel confident buying the UK release, even if you're importing it from the UK.





Item Details
Buy the UK release from Amazon UK

Buy the US release from Amazon US

If you find any errors on this page, or any other, please e-mail us.
All written content (including HTML) of Farscape World is copyright © FarscapeWorld.com 2001 - 2005.
Click here to view this site's full copyright & terms of use policy.
Farscape and all related characters and elements are © & ™ The Jim Henson Company. All rights reserved.
Site designed for 800x600 and above. Best viewed at 1024x768.