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Alcatraz: The Complete Series Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit), French & Spanish (Castilian) Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Dutch, French, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish (Latino)
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Run Time: 566 Mins.
  • Discs: 2 (2 x Blu-ray)
  • Digital Copies: UltraViolet
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • Blu-ray Release Date: October 16, 2012
  • List Price: $49.99

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Series
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:3.5/5]

Alcatraz fell victim to the black hole that is Fox network, a network notorious for giving shows the axe before they can even get a real footing or just as they begin to build some momentum. This sci-fi thriller never had a chance, like Firefly and Point Pleasant before it, the idea of a sci-fi series or series dealing in supernatural phenomena making it on network television, especially Fox, was probably a no go before the first episode even aired. Lost, an ABC series, was an anomaly at best. I can count off a string of sci-fi series that networks invariably try to run nearly every fall and they always seem to fail – Invasion (ABC), The Event (NBC) and Surface (NBC) are just a few. Alcatraz, a series that dealt with the mysterious reappearance of 302 1963 Alcatraz inmates in the present day, not a day older than they were when they vanished all those years ago from the prison island, is just the latest casualty. A team of three “agents,” San Francisco Detective Rebecca Madsen (Sarah Jones), herself connected to “the ’63’s” through her grandfather, a psychiatrist and Alcatraz expert, Dr. “Doc” Soto (Jorge Garcia), and the mysterious former Alcatraz guard, agent Emerson Hauser (Sam Neill), come together to hunt down the ’63’s, while more secrets about the island and the phenomenon are revealed. It’s an interesting concept that could have grown into a rather decent series, but, alas, we shall never know now.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Captured natively in high definition on the Arri Alexa, Alcatraz comes to Blu-ray with its whole single season squeezed onto two BD-50 discs with a low to mid bitrate AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement. While it doesn’t look horrendous, I do believe it could have looked better with just a little more breathing room. Detail is solid, but not quite as sharp as we normally see from the best transfers of series to BD. The shadow detail of this series that spends much of its time in gloomy, shadowy rooms is good, but there is some slight crush, the image not being quite as nuanced as it could be in these moments. Still, as to be expected, there is a night and day difference between this Blu-ray set and the original broadcasts, which were horrendous.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The atmospheric soundtrack is given a fine DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) mix. Clarity of sound effects in some of the louder passages isn’t always of the highest caliber, but the overall balance and engagement of sounds is rather good and dialogue is clear.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

Just as this series is a throwaway at this point, so are these so-called supplements, which really amount to no more than filler. Some deleted scenes in HD, a featurette with the cast pontificating on the “intrigue” and mystique of Alcatraz and a gag reel, are pretty much not necessary viewing items.

The supplements:

  • Deleted Scenes (1.78:1; 1080p/24):
    • Psalm (02:07)
    • The Witness (01:41)
    • Disturbing Lunch (01:44)
    • Making a Picnic (00:49)
    • Not a Little Girl (03:06)
    • Mystery File (01:45)
    • Old School (01:21)
    • The Password (00:59)
    • Pinch-Hitting (01:31)
    • This is It (00:56)
  • Alcatraz: Island of Intrigue (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 10:51) – The cast and crew talk about the mystique of the real Alcatraz.
  • Gag Reel (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 03:05)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Seeing that this series is dead and there are only 13-episodes here, I can only recommend that you save your money if you can and rent or download (legally, of course) this series, rather than purchase this outright.

Additional Screen Captures

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Alcatraz, Season 1 - Alcatraz

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Purchase Alcatraz: The Complete Series on Blu-ray at CD Universe

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Series
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]


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