German SMDM Blu-Ray boxset

Well, it's finally out, having been released on November 30th, and we've a review for you of the contents and quality of this much anticipated boxset Bionic box set.

SMDM boxset contents

Well, it's here. There's 2 disc boxes, holding 6 discs eac, plus a nice booklet, with artwork by Adrian Keindor and details of each discs contents, with episode names, story summary and original German and US air dates. The only thing the booklet doesn't tell you is where the extras are and what they are. For this you need to refer to back of the DVD boxes (Extras are on discs 3 and 5, with the reunion movies all on disc 12).

The overall set is great, the only thing that let's it down is they have crammed the 12 discs into just 2 cases which mean at any one time 3 discs are stored on top of one-another and have the potential to get damaged when trying to remove them. To get to the bottom disc you need to remove the top 2, so you sometimes need to remove 3 discs just to get at 1 of them. Plus the top 2 discs are on one spindle and it's just not tall enough to hold the discs securely and you often find the top disc comes loose and floats round the box. I've only had the set 2 days but this already annoying.

SMDM booklet - cover
Cover and rear of the booklet with episode details.

SMDM booklet - inside
Inside the booklet you have the episode titles, air dates, etc.

Episode/Series content
All five seasons of the show are here, spread across the 12 discs, plus the original Pilot movie (long version), the extended version of the subsequent 2 Movies of the Week, 'Wine, Women, & War' and 'Solid Gold Kidnapping' plus the feature length versions of 'The Bionic Woman'. It should be noted all episodes are the German syndicated version some vary slightly from the US versions which were in the original 'complete series' DVD boxset.
The 'Bonus Featurettes' Real Bionics, A Legendary Title Sequence, Season 1 and 2 Guest Stars, Interview with Producer Harve Bennett, Bionic Sound Effects which have all been seen before.
The reunion movies have not been upgraded and remain standard 'soft' DVD versions, which is a shame.

You can choose between German (DTS HD 2.0 Master Audio) and English (DTS HD 2.0 Master Audio), and the soundtracks are clear and the dialogue clearly understandable. Subtitles are limited to just the pilot movie and 2 of the three TV movies, which is a shame in this day and age, but again I am assuming this is due to budgetary constraints. Menus suffer from the compression and are static screens with the series soundtrack in the background.

SMDM case 1

SMDM case 2

The discs look superb on a 42" TV, crisp and bold colours and you can definitely see the improvements over the DVDs. I don't have the option for proper screen-grabs so you'll have to take my word for it, but I am definitely see textures on clothing and cursory details backgrounds items which I don;t remember seeing before. The picture is in the format 1920x1080p (1.33: 1). The series and movies were shot in 4: 3, and the black bars on screen save a lot of bitrate, The majority of people, prior to release, had slight concerns about the image quality with 12 discs and a disc capacity of 50 GB. However, given that this is and older show with less frenetic on-screen action, it holds up well under the additional compression.

In summary
A great collection which really shows off the series sets and location work to their best. It's quite pricey at just short of £100.00 for the general public to pick up on a whim, but hardcore fans are sure to pick it up to complete their collection, and I would definitely recommend it. My only gripes are the dsics cases and that I would hate to have to double-dip and buy this again if it gets released by another distributor at a later date, in the UK or US market, which at some point it is likely to do.... possibly when the big screen version of the Six Million Dollar Man finally hits theatres.

Otherwise I have to say Steve Austin has NEVER looked better!

Now then, when are we getting The Bionic Woman on Blu-ray?

SMDM boxartSMDM boxart rear

Discs on spindles