- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080i/60
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo
- Subtitles: N/A
- Region: A
- Rating: Not Rated
- Discs: 3
- Studio: A&E Home Video
- Blu-ray Release Date: November 16, 2010
- List Price: $44.95
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
With Gangland: Season Six landing on Blu-ray I suppose the popularity of this History Channel cable network show can’t really be called into question. What can be questioned is why exactly this series is popular enough to manage such a long-lasting run. I speculate it has much to do with the U.S. society’s never-ending voyeuristic pleasure at looking through the glass at the things and people that scare them, and then locking themselves safely away at night in their gated communities and suburban homes. It’s the same phenomenon that drives the “if it bleeds it leads” mentality of the nightly news in the United States. Gangland may also have a strong following amongst those crowds who just fetishize violence and all the things that go with it.
Gangland: Season Six, appearing on Blu-ray spread across three discs is the sort of series where, once you’ve seen one or, at the most, two episodes, you’ve pretty much seen them all. The premise of the entire series is to profile the most violent criminal gangs across the country, talking to both ex-members and current members with their faces in shadow and voices masked. One quickly realizes, however, that whether the episode is in California or Michigan, the themes are all the same: murder, rape, drugs, prison.
There are four basic types of street gangs profiled throughout the series, the outlaw motorcycle clubs, the Latino street or prison gangs, the black street gangs, and white supremacist gangs and skinheads. And, as mentioned previously, once you’ve seen one or two, you’ve pretty much seen them all.
The video sources for Gangland are a hodgepodge of HD interview segments, SD footage, Closed Circuit Television (CCTV), and images with heavy-handed visual effects. As such, the AVC/MPEG-4 1080i/60 encoding never looks absolutely spectacular. There is some video noise evident in the HD segments and flesh tones occasionally look a bit too reddish.
Audio is a simple DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo mix that keeps the music and sound effects at a low level, the dialogue and narration up front and clean, and not much else. There is some subtle stereo panning noticeable in sound effects and high frequencies are kept at a listenable, non-fatiguing level.
There’s one 15-minute or so featurette provided on the final disc, The Gangs of New York City (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:14.46), that quickly pays homage to the city where the gangs got their start in the United States.
The Definitive Word
Gangland paints a grim picture of the world around us. It’s a fear mongering series that makes folks believe the minute they step outside their houses they will be accosted by violent rabble. Though intriguing at times, it becomes quite dull and monotonous very quickly, particularly when sitting through it all at once.
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