Heroes: HD DVD Review
Our favorite "Heroes" don't lose any of their superpowers when transformed to HD DVD. In fact the first season box set is loaded with extras.
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November 20, 2007 by Marshal Rosenthal

Much of the success surrounding the “Heroes” TV show comes not from its Sci-Fi/comic-book trappings, but from an old-fashioned mix of compelling characters and good storytelling. Having the entire season of this highly serialized show is the only way to go, with the menus striving to set the mood by being a bit otherworldly. But all I care about is that they’re easy to navigate through to the episodes.

Now high-resolution can be a Pandora’s box if you don’t get it right, and for the most part “Heroes” is super when it comes to its HD presentation. There’s the elimination of “noise” and other bugaboos such as moire patterns on clothing or smoke and fog appearing “blocky.” Plus strong colors, contrast and fine detail in scenes that on a DVD would otherwise blend into the background. The effect is an overall sharpness that makes the show seem more dynamic and film-like.

Of course there’s always a balance to the scale and in this case it’s the digital effects - since TV shows don’t have the big bucks to make them as natural looking as found in film, I can forgive those flying sequences and that many of the backgrounds seem to be screaming “Hey I’m digital.” But the number of scenes in low-light (especially interiors) which betray artificating and other distortions are annoying. Add to this - the sky. Still it’s infrequent enough not to be a deal-breaker and overall the transfer to HD is superior to that seen when the show was being broadcasted, but let’s get it right next time, OK guys?

Dolby Digital Plus is in use to pump up the sound - certainly it’s better than just plain stereo but here doesn’t seem all that incredible in comparison to plain Dolby surround 5.1. Also, don’t expect the kind of ambiance around you like you’d find in a movie because the audio is primarily coming from the front.

The number of extras are massively impressive, if lacking in HD. The short list includes deleted scenes, featurettes, picture-in-picture cast and crew commentaries, a mind-reading game (aping the ability of one of the characters) and even a longer version of the pilot with commentary by creator Tim Kring. And thanks to every HD DVD player having online connectivity and memory storage built in, you can create your own “Heroes” profile and upload it to a special web site (registration with Universal required). There’s also the opportunity to view additional content through the Download Center as well as take advantage of any new online feature that the studio should decide to provide.

Like a comic book, “Heroes” isn’t just about the big story but also the tiny details that surround it. Being able to watch in high definition helps to make this possible.

About the Author - A veteran of entertainment reporting, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) has the day job you’d like: watching movies and re-viewing high-tech.

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Disc Specs and Credits

Format reviewed: HD DVD
Video: VC-1 at bit rates between 17-19 for each episode
Disc Size: HD-30 (discs 1-6)/HD-15 (disc 7)
Aspect ratio: 1080p, 1.78:1
Audio: Dolby Digital Plus 5.1
Director: Allan Arkush, Greg Beeman, Paul A. Edwards, John Badham, Paul Shapiro, Adam Kane, Jeannot Szwarc
Screenwriter: Tim Kring, Adam Armus, Nora Kay Foster, Michael Green, Jesse Alexander, Natalie Chaidez, Aron Eli Coleite, Bryan Fuller, Jeph Loeb, Joe Pokaski
Starring: Jack Coleman, Hayden Panettier, Masi Oka, Sendhil Ramamurthy, James Kyson Lee, Greg Grunberg, Milo Ventimiglia, Adrian Pasdar, Ali Larter, Noah Gray-Cabey, Zachary Quinto, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Ashley Crow, Santiago Cabrera, Cristine Rose, Leonard Roberts, Tawny Cypress
Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rating: Not rated
Retail: $99

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