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Don't buy the Blu-ray edition
on 14 April 2013
The BD set looked very tempting, but a note of caution entered when I read those reviews that revealed the transfer had cropped the original 4:3 aspect ratio to widescreen (thus losing around one third of the picture!). Some reviewers have stated that they either did not notice the cropping (how is this possible?), or that it was done well enough not to matter; other reviewers considered the cropping to be sacrilege to the original material. (One reviewer even suggested that, as film crews had been used to make the TV series, it was common practice to concentrate on a widescreen aspect at the vertical centre of the frame, so that material above and below was not relevant to each shot (but was still OK for 4:3 TV presentation). Sorry, but this is nonsense for this series, see below).
I really did want the BDs and I almost succumbed, but I thought I had better check it out more thoroughly first. I already have volume 1 of Thunderbirds on DVD (purchased when it was first released, before the current DVD remaster). Having viewed it again, prior to my purchase, and also having watched the BD title sequence on YouTube, it is blindingly obvious that the original 4:3 aspect ratio is critically important to a full appreciation of the series (the cropped title sequence looks cramped - you would surely suspect that something is wrong, even if you did not know anything about the original series presentation). Many shots in each episode make full use of the 4:3 frame, so much so that it is difficult to imagine how a cropped 16:9 version could be in any way be acceptable. Indeed, some shots are so tightly framed that any cropping must look like incompetent camera work, at best.
So, I bought the remastered DVD set instead. And it is absolutely great. The quality is excellent, even making one wonder why one would pay around three times the price for the BDs, even if they were not cropped.
Amazon have a bad habit of transferring reviews between BD and DVD. Since I would not wish this review to appear against the DVD (because of the one star), I shall attempt to repost it against the DVD version (where it would get 5 stars if it were not for the non-special packaging - so it gets 4).
Edit: OK, I should have known! When trying to post the review against the DVD product, I get the message:
"Oops! Only one review per customer per product set is allowed."
Oh, come on Amazon, don't you realise that DVDs and BDs are different products!