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Once Upon A Time - The Complete First Season (2012) Print E-mail
Wednesday, 05 September 2012
Image“Once Upon A Time,” well the first season at least, is perfect in my book.  I’m a sucker for the fairy tales.  The moment the promos for this show started airing I just couldn’t wait for it to begin.  Of course, having such high expectations usually always leads to a big letdown.  Not so in this case.

“Once Upon A Time” is a class act.  The writing is superior to most episodic television programs, especially given the intricacies of the fantasy vs. modern worlds.  Questions that are raised are answered, or at least circled back to from time to time until the storyline comes back to the forefront.  IN addition to the writing, the show stars three of my favorite actresses, “Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin and Lana Parrilla.  Each does a terrific job with their parts.

I won’t go into the premises of each episode or the season as a whole because for those that haven’t seen it, the journey is one of the best parts.  I would hate to spoil that for you.

The show ends on a rather iffy note.  The second season can either supersede the first or it can easily flounder into obscurity.  Keep your fingers crossed that the writers and actors can keep up the tremendous job they have been doing.

ABC Studios has decided to release this series’ first season on the Blu-ray format.  My only guess for this is the studio thought the scenery of the show would make for worthy high definition.  I personally don’t care what the scenery is, I believe all shows deserve Blu-ray releases.  Major letdown to go from HD broadcast to SD DVD ownership.  So, for this Blu-ray release the faults easily lie in the original production and not the encode.  The encode is perfection.  The production CG however, needs a bit of work.  Banding is obvious in the CG backgrounds of many episodes, thought it only comes and goes and won’t bother most television viewers.  Other than that there is no major artifacting of any sort.  Noise creeps in here and there, another source issue.  Details are strong as are colors.  Flaws will be noticeable, particularly in costume, sets and makeup.  Perhaps that is why studios neglect Blu-ray releases TV shows. The audio is a bit of a letdown.  Then again, it never was very inspiring when the show was broadcast either.  The surround channels are empty for probably three quarters of the time.  When material does appear in the rear channels, it is brief and hardly immersive.  The LFE channel on the other gets some nice use.  The dialogue is the winner in this track.  The lossless audio provides for warm and intelligible dialogue.  Other than that, the audio track of each episode is fairly front-heavy and almost mono at times.  Maybe season two will bring better sound designers.  I am available.

This set comes with a decent amount of supplementary material.  There are five audio commentaries, something that has been neglected by television releases recently.  Each commentary track (five different episodes) contains different personalities.  There are co-creators, writers and actors/actresses.

Exclusive to the Blu-ray is “Once Upon A Time: Origins” in which Josh Dallas leads us through the histories of our favorite fairy tales.  “Building Character” is a brief short on the alterations to our favorite characters.  “Fairy Tales In The Modern World” is discussion on the development of the show.  “Welcome To Storybrooke” introduces us to the location.  “The Story I Remember…Snow White” covers the cast’s childhood memories of the stories and characters.  Lastly there are some deleted scenes and bloopers.

“Once Upon A Time: Season 1” gets the highest TV recommendation from me so picking up this season is worth it in my opinion.  Of course the Blu-ray is hands down the right choice over DVD.

Creators: Adam Horowitz & Edward Kitsis

Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parilla, Josh Dallas, Jared Gilmore, Robert Carlyle, Meghan Ory

Release Date: 2012
Resolution: 1080p (main feature); 1080p (supplements)
Rated: TV-PG
Runtime: 946 mins.
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Languages: English DTS-HD MA 5.1; English Dolby 2.0
Subtitles: SDH; French; Spanish

Bonus Features: 5 Audio Commentaries; Deleted Scenes; Bloopers; “Once Upon A Time: Origins”; “Building Character”; “Fairy Tales In The Modern World”; “Welcome To Storybrooke”; “The Story I Remember …Snow White”

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