I recently placed an order with Amazon for this complete Buffy collection containing the "new edition" DVD season sets, and I received it last week within a few days of ordering (Thanks Amazon!). I wanted to watch the entire series run, as I've only ever owned Season 1 on DVD before, and have only caught the odd Season 2 episode on TV when it was first broadcasting here in England all those years ago. I remember being pretty impressed with the writing of this show overall, so I knew that buying this complete set would be money well spent.
However, I have experienced really bad picture 'noise' on some of the episodes in the Season 1 and 2 sets? (I've only got up to watching Seasons 1 and 2 in this collection thus far). I'm just wondering if anyone else has been a little put off by the abysmal picture quality and speckles and graininess in some of the episodes. I know that the show was made in the mid-nineties, but I own films from the 80's that have better picture quality than these DVDs display!
Do I just have bad copies of this collection? Or is this the norm with these Buffy DVDs? It would have been nice if they had digitally remastered the episodes so that the picture quality was a lot better.
Does anybody know if they plan to digitally remaster this show at all? Or bring it out on Blu-Ray?
I doubt there is anything wrong with your discs (mine are the same as you describe), but seasons 4 - 7 are better quality than 1 - 3, after production of the show switched from WB to UPN. 4 - 7 are sharper, with better colour depth / less noise, and also in anamorphic widescreen. I guess it's down to the quality of kit used when they were originally filmed...
I've just read a very interesting article entitled "Why Buffy may never get released on Blu-Ray"....so it's the best you're gonna get, unless they go for a cynical HD upscale cash-in instead of a true HD transfer/restoration. The really annoying thing is the fact that it could have been much better even on standard definition DVD. The compression involved in getting four episodes on a dual layer disc, the extras and the overly complex and flashy menus all take their toll. The fact that the original source material is basically video quality (or at least the resulting edits) doesn't help, of course, but anyone who has seen a 'Superbit' DVD will know what a lack of compression can do for the ageing SD format. I've seen properly upscaled Superbit DVD's at 1080p easily rival a good to middling Blu-Ray transfer, for example (high[ish] end upscaler....not a typical HDMI DVD player from the supermarket).
Same problem lies with the modern Star Trek incarnations on DVD....those, too, were edited on video, and yet again they crammed four episodes on a disc and animated the menus...as well as cramming several European language tracks and extras. Perhaps if real Blu-Ray (or any kind of HD) restoration is indeed prohibitively expensive for the remaining Star Trek series, as well as Buffy, as experts have been telling us for years, then maybe a quickly upscaled and less compressed version on Blu-Ray wouldn't be out of place? At a fair price, of course. As let's face it....they look awful as it stands.
No probs with Series 1 Kristen but several episodes in series 2 are slightly grainy/low resolution. One episode (but only one) had quite a lot of drop-outs and 'stutters' for maybe the first 15 minutes. The other episodes on the same disk were fine. But that one was so bad I took the disk out to check was it damaged. It wasn't. Playing it through my PC which has more graphics processing capability than my DVD player helped.
But as others have said, all series 1 were fine & so were 4 to 7... and with that one exception series 2 & 3 tho not really 'good' were more 'fair to OK' rather than 'poor' quality.
One odd note - In series 6 toward the end of either the next to last episode or the episode before that the video is reversed! - I thought reversing the name YAMAHA on the tank of the motorcycle ridden by the character Spike as he rides away from the town was a joke. Then I noticed the controls were crossed over too - throtle on the left, clutch on the right. Very weird.
Despite that: To anyone who enjoyed the TV series but missed episodes I really wouldn't let that put you off. Had I known the quality I would get before it arrived I would definietly still have bought the series - Especially now the price is approaching sane levels.
In the special features - of which there's a lot - beside the usual fan-zine guff - theres a lot of genuinely intersting commentary about what they were trying to achieve and how they went about doing it.
So far, I'm only into episode 1 season 2. Season 1 seemed adequate given it was shot on 16mm. As a bit of a purist, I was horrified to see the first episode of season two to have the image narrower than it should have been, with black edge left on the left and right. Apparently a poor transfer, which the mere repackaging (when the existing stock is sold out) is never going to fix. (Setting some bits in re-mastering might, but I'm only guessing.) Some PC players or some equipment may allow compensating for that. Also, there is interlace problem which may require manual setting for `Bob' de-interlace or something similar.
Otherwise, the image appears to be of horrible quality in some PC players (grain, blockiness), while adequate in others. It is apparently encoded in such a way that it presents a challenge for the decoder and the `image-cleaning processor' of the player.