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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 17 March 2012
I watched the series when it first appeared on TV 30 years ago. I was 15 at the time and I kept myself awake until past midnight even if I had school the next day because I loved it so much. Then I watched the film a few months ago and it appalled me. It was not at all what I remembered. So, when I saw the series pack in Amazon, I bought it. You never know how you are going to feel about something you liked so long ago, but this time I wasn't disappointed. Brideshead Revisited not as good as I remembered; it was so much better. The acting is superb, the costumes and characterization impressive and the atmosphere in scenes such as the hunting party at Brideshead or the storm when Charles and Julia are crossing the Atlantic is almost magical. And with no special effects! Like a good wine, the series has gained with the pass of time and there are elements I now appreciate much more, like the fine irony and sense of humour of Sir John Guielgud's remarks or the conversation between Chales and Anthony Blanche during the wild party after the general strike. All is subtle in the series as opposed to the film version. In concusion, Brideshead Revisited is television at its best and time hasn't done but make it better. Highly recommendable.
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on 1 February 2013
First off I am a HUGE fan of this series and this is the third time I have bought a copy (mainly because of the promised restoration, commentaries and documentary) but this is by far the worst copy I have seen (even including VHS).

The adaptation by the late, and much missed, John Mortimer is a work of true genius and should be required watching/reading for all aspiring adaptors for the screen - it is true to the original and captures just about every nuance of the book and the production values so perfect that I find it impossible to read the book now without the tone of Jeremy Iron's voice pervading the pages and the visuals of Castle Howard. The more recent movie adaptation by Andrew Davies is a pale travesty in comparison and far removed from this wonderful adaptation produced by Granada TV.

Now on to this 'product' ...

It proclaims itself the 30th Anniversary Edition and Digitally Remastered - well whoever did the remastering either worked from a very degraded tape or just did and truly awful job and should be sacked so they cannot be let near archive material again.

The colours in this release are truly dreadful being almost completely washed out. Every shot, especially outdoors, looks like the film was badly over exposed so the greens of the fields and trees have no depth (and no mid or low tones), the skies are almost universally washed out and white or, at best, a slightly bluish-grey. The worst is that skin tones are appalling - everyone looks seriously ill, even in the happy early episodes - they all share a grey pallor.

I couldn't quite believe what I was looking at so I dug out an old DVD copy (see Brideshead Revisited: the Complete Series [DVD] [1981] ) and compared the scenes in the first episode where Charles meets Julia and they arrive at Brideshead. The older edition (which was remastered too) is beautiful and vibrant. The colours pop - the slight sexual tension Charles feels as he lights a cigarette for Julia and places it between her lips makes sense as the greens of the surrounding nature and the red of her lips are emphasised, he skies are blue and their skin tones look full of youthful promise.

If you want a decent copy of this series I recommend the older edition strongly. OK It is more expensive and harder to get hold of but it is a treasure. You don't get the commentary or documentary in the older edition but the series is the important part.

The packaging on the older edition is also rather lovely with beautiful two sided artwork on textured card (almost a vellum finish) with a fold out set of separate DVD trays. The episodes are also listed, with cast cameos. The new version is a cheap plastic DVD case holding four DVDs in compact/stacked format but no artwork and no episode list. For an edition supposed to commemorate the 30th anniversary they seem to have gone out of their way to make it as cheap and tacky as possible - even the external artwork is pretty bland.

Verdict:
The programme: More stars than I can give, it is one of the pinnacles of television achievement and outclasses almost all big screen adaptations
This release: If I could give less than zero I would.

Overall I gave this 3 stars because I can't fault the script, acting, directing or filming but it is impossible to recommend this release. The earlier edition would get 5 stars from me.
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on 13 November 2008
This is a staggeringly good piece of TV drama which has justifiably become a classic. It's hard to imagine any producer today taking the time to explore a novel in the way this adaptation does, a full 11 episodes which allow the viewer to luxuriate in the story and thoroughly explore the characters. There has always been debate over whether there was a mythological "Golden Age of TV", but I think the early 1980s saw something quite remarkable at Granada Studios, at least in the field of period adaptations, and Brideshead might just be the pinnacle.

Evelyn Waugh's novel is a heady evocation of time and place, as well as an exploration of spirituality, and the series captures all this with consummate skill, from the glorious period detail to the brilliant script by John Mortimer. The acting is simply faultless, to be expected when talent like Irons and Andrews stands alongside veteran greats like Olivier, Gielgud and Claire Bloom.

In sum, I enjoyed this series immensely. Craft and class like this don't come together very often, more's the pity.
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on 4 October 2008
Quite simply this is brilliant. Producing the book as a TV series gave the director the opportunity to indulge in Waugh's lush and vivid text and whole sections of the book are quoted verbatim. And of course, in hindsight, the casting was inspired, with Jeremy Irons as Rider and Anthony Andrews as the rather beautiful Sebastian Flyte. But don't forget such cameo's as Nikolas Grace as the effete Anthony Blanche - masterful!
The film I understand, leaves a lot to be desired, so better to buy this AND read the book. You will regret buying neither.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 29 November 2011
This is an outstanding televison drama which set the highest of standards in an already outstanding list of television costume dramas, this one by Granada. It was a long series, giving the directors the opportunity to develop the characters slowly and in depth. Evelyn Waugh's narrative is of two young men who meet at Oxford. Charles Ryder, though of no family or money, becomes friends with Sebastian Flyte when Sebastian throws up in his college room through an open window. He then invites Charles to dinner after his teddy bear Aloysius 'refuses to talk to him' unless he is forgiven. Charles becomes involved with Sebastian's family, Catholic peers of the realm in Protestant England.

It is film of an era long gone, one which the war and the people themselves helped to destroy.

It is a moving series based on a great, classic modern novel with sharp contrasts in life-styles, attitudes and aspirations whihc brings them face-to-face with each other and their values.

A classic television series highly recommended.
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on 10 July 2009
I can't think of any other television programme as perfect as Brideshead Revisited. The acting throughout is amazing, with the standout performances of Jeremy Irons, Anthony Andrews and Diana Quick complemented by cameos by such legendary actors as Sir Laurence Olivier and Sir John Gielgud.

Granada decided to pull out all the stops when producing this adaptation of Waugh's masterly work, determined to show they could produce drama to rival the BBC's lavish productions. With Brideshead, they succeeded admirably.

This also stands alone as arguably the only example of a production where the script literally is the book. There are hardly any omissions, and because of this the 11-part story is able to breathe and the characters really come to life. The entire production was shot on location, at a number of sites from Yorkshire's stately Castle Howard to the canals of Venice.

The story is told through the eyes of Charles Ryder (Irons) who looks back on his youth at Oxford university from the Second World War. The story moves froms the decadence of the 1920s right through to the War, and shows Charles' relationship with the Flyte family, an enormously rich Catholic family. I'll say no more on the story, other than as a piece of entertaining escapism, this is without peer.

So, as I think you can gather, I highly recommend this - it's the DVD I have watched so much I've had to by another as my last one has literally fallen apart. The special features are excellent as well, with a making of documentary, commentaries on a couple of episodes by the actors and producer, as well as a great blooper reel.

I hate ending in a quote, but in this case I'll indulge myself.

"But I was in search of love in those days, and I went full of curiosity and the faint, unrecognized apprehension that here, at last, I should find that low door in the wall, which others, I knew, had found before me, which opened on an enclosed and enchanted garden, which was somewhere, not overlooked by any window, in the heart of that grey city."
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on 25 February 2016
The discs that came free with a newspaper have far better colour than this so-called remastering has. True these are sharper but the colour is blown. All richness of colour gone - and no detail in the highlights. Very disappointing.
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on 30 November 2011
They have done a much better job of noise reduction than they did with the 3 disc remastered set, but gamma is set too low. This brings-out a lot of detail in in-door scenes but ruins the out-door scenes. The trip to brideshead is washed-out. Contrast is weak, colours are faded. Faces look like clay-mation.
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on 26 March 2014
I bought this remastered edition expecting that the quality would be much better than the first release on DVD. I was pretty disappointed, as the quality does not live up to my expectations. It still seems like the series is filmed in bad quality, and the resolution could be much better taken in consideration, that this remastered edition is from 2012 (to my knowledge).
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on 27 January 2011
This is truely a great piece of television and a wonderful story, produced to great effect. My only regret is that this cheap version appears not to have been digitally remastered. A previously available and mroe expensive DVD of this product was available, but I lost my copy and purchased this assuming it to be a direct replacement, as the earlier remastered version was no longer available. I was wrong. While they have introduced a few new features, the qulaity of the image is poor. Admittedly better than my VHS copy, but very very poor by remasterd DVD standards.

Why, oh why, will Granada not do right by this materpiece and publish a definitive DVD version, remastered in all its splendor?

This is the best that's available now and still great viewing for a story of a life that unfolds at the speed of life, enjoying the journey and not just rushing to the destination - enjoy the ride, it is a visual and audio feast, not soemthing that I suspect will be greatly enjoyed by those who view by sound-bites.
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