The Complete First Season
(2016/HBO Blu-ray Set)/Game
Of Thrones: The Complete Third Season
(2013) + The
Complete Fourth Season
(2014/Limited Edition HBO Blu-ray Steelbook Editions w/Dolby Atmos
upgrades)/Ron Taylor: Dr.
Baseball (2015/First Run
B-/B/B/C+ Sound: B-/B+/B+/C+ Extras: D/B/B/C+ Main
for titles on sports, games and HBO...
start with Ballers:
The Complete First Season
(2016), a new and really, really awful series about people in the
world of football (like the NFL hasn't had enough horrid publicity of
late) with Dwayne ''The Rock'' Johnson playing essentially a really
bad variant of himself as a know-it-all observer and participant in
the ups, down, ins and outs of this world now that his character is
also a manager. It also takes place in Miami, home of the infamous,
scandal-plagued Dolphins, one of the worst NFL teams of all time
since their 1970s peak. We get a different football team in the city
here, but YAWN... the show can't escape the rottenness of that legacy
by Mark Wahlberg (who usually does good) and Peter Berg (who badly
directs the pilot show, but he's not alone!), this is an extremely
sloppy, cynical, predictable and unintentionally funny mess that
starts out really bad and just gets worse and worse and worse and
worse in what is the poorest piece of fiction on american football
ever made. I thought maybe the problems would wear out after a few
episodes, but 10 episodes are pretty hideous and what it considers
humor is juvenile and definitely the nadir of HBO. I thought it
played like bad 1980s programming on the USA Network, but remembered
those exploitation series were actually less cynical and moire
to say, this is a piece of the 'rock' you can all afford not to buy.
few extras are Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and
other cyber iTunes capable devices, while the Blu-ray only offers
HBO has so many better shows and Game
is one of them. Though I'm not a big fan, I can see why people like
the show and are impressed. Its realism is balanced with
intelligence and script writing that always goes for something
different. HBO has decided to start reissuing the show in new
Limited Edition Blu-ray Steelbook Editions with Dolby Atmos upgrades,
making this the first TV series to get an 11.1 sound release. Bigger
fans of the show reviewed the latest seasons to get this upgrade and
here are the links to their coverage...
Complete Third Season
are the same as the previous box set, but you get a collectible sigil
Complete Fourth Season
of the Seven Kingdoms (Bronn),
the extras are the same as the previous box set, but you get a
collectible sigil magnet.
think these are the editions to own now and hope it inspires more TV
(including a few classic shows that have already been upgraded to
5.1, even if they were monophonic when they originally aired) to get
the Atmos treatment (or DTS:X, et al) as the 11.1 makes it like
having never seen the show before and allows the sound to breathe and
expand. More on that in a moment.
we have Drew Taylor & Matthew Taylor's far too short Ron
Taylor: Dr. Baseball
(2015), a real sports story (yeah!) how this 1960s baseball icon went
from that to Vietnam, to deciding to become a medical doctor and then
move back to baseball helping other players. It is an interesting
story and a good one, but we only get 20 minutes of it. Yes, 20!!!
the extras last an hour and include festival Q&As, Recording The
Music, Playable Soundtrack and a Filmmaker Interview. However, that
is no excuse for the main program to be so short and small. You mean
to tell me Major League Baseball and TV networks covering baseball in
the 1960s did not have more archival footage for this?
1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on Ballers has
few balls as we get quick cuts, motion blur and denatured images
throughout, furthering the fakeness, phoniness and problems of what
is the worst TV series HBO ever featured. Good luck trying to watch
it and actually enjoy it
1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on both
Thrones Blu-ray sets are the same high quality transfers from
the previous Blu-rays and you get demo shots sometimes, but not
enough for me to rate it higher, yet fans will be more than pleased
(until a 4K Blu-ray wave arrives?).
leaves the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Baseball is a
mix of old and new footage, edited well enough, though I wish some of
the older film footage was upgraded to HD transfers. Otherwise, this
plays as well as expected.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Ballers
is a mixed bag of too loud in dumb ways and not-so-well mixed and
presented in others with minor location audio issues and just a
general sense of inconsistency, much like the show.
Dolby Atmos 11.1 on the Thrones sets are definite improvements
over their DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless presentations,
giving us a bit more detail and just generally having a more
naturalistic sense throughout. Though the show was not produced with
this kind of sound in mind, the recordings were top rate enough to do
the upgrades and it is a success.
lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Baseball is a mix of simple stereo
and some older mono audio, which is expected for such a documentary.
Location audio is never a major issue either, so not bad.