For most UK fans, the major problem with this box set is of course that it hasn't been released here! Incredibly annoying seeing as it's available across Europe. I bought mine from Holland, and if you were wondering if it's worth it, then read on.
I won't try telling you all how wonderful this show is, about Lynch's influence, the writing, the characters and all the quirks... instead I can tell you about the box set as released in Europe. Now, the back of the box is in Dutch (or Germany depending where you buy it), but the front is in English, the lovely postcard set included is in English, and all the menus are in English when you play a disc.
Disc 1 is given to the Pilot episode, and includes both the European version seen originally in the UK, and the domestic US release which is more continuity friendly to the rest of the series. The only problem with the "correct" US version is that you don't get to see the wonderful "25 Years Later" sequence in the Black Lodge.
Discs 2 to 9 contain all seven episodes of Season 1 and the 22 of Season 2. Disc 9 also includes low quality versions of several lost scenes. Poor quality or not, it's interesting viewing!
Disc 10 is the Special Features. And wow. Several documentary shorts covering different aspects of the show, they can be viewed as one long documentary which I thought worked incredibly well. You have got to see the Angelo Badalamenti part for yourself to see what a wonderful guy he is, and see how he and Lynch work together so well. His one-man show of how he and Lynch formulated Laura Palmer's Theme is fantastic. Julee Cruise is also in this part of the documentary... how on Earth a woman with a voice like a crow can sing like an angel is beyond me!
As well as the documentary, there is a half-hour chat between Lynch, Madchen Amick, Kyle MacLachlan and Lynch's assistant in a smoky diner/bar which, while not particularly informative, is damn fun to watch. It's very casual, very friendly, and really nice to see them together talking. I only wish one or two other familar bar patrons would have stopped by.
The sound quality is excellent, and the mixes have thankfully removed all the tinniness that pervaded the first VHS releases.
The masters used for the picture transfers are very clean, but they are not as good as I had expected from product reviews. The masters on Season 1 are exactly the same as those used for the original Season 1 DVD release, although they have been colour timed again to match the new masters created for Season 2. David Lynch supervised two or three of the colour timing sessions to set the "temperature" and the rest was done to match. While Lynch's participation is obviously 100% welcome, I have to say that the picture sometimes appears to have had its temperature shifted too much to the red, green and brown. Warmer colours, yes, and it gives the show a very woody, autumnal tone, but it seems to be a little over-applied compared to what we've seen before. Additionally, the actual masters aren't really that great a quality. I can only hope that when the show is released on Blu-ray we get the quality they can derive from the original negatives.
Quibbles about the picture aside, it's a good set, and far better than we've seen it before.