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Outcasts Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60 (29.97Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Discs: 2 (2 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: BBC/2-Entertain
  • Blu-ray Release Date: August 16, 2011
  • List Price: $34.99

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BestBuy.com:
Outcasts: Season One (2 Disc) -

Purchase Outcasts on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Outcasts, Season 1 - Outcasts

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Series
[Rating:3.5/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

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)

The Series

[Rating:3/5]

What a grand tradition of sci-fi TV series the BBC has, from Doctor Who, the sexy Torchwood, hip original Being Human, and the more freak-of-week throwback action of Primeval, they seem to be able to do something that producers in the United States cannot do, and that is figure out how to create inventive and interesting science fiction series that people want to watch continually.

Outcasts was another one that seemed to have promise, but unfortunately was cancelled before it ended its first season. Filmed on location in South Africa, it tells of a post-Earth society where our home planet is no longer livable thus humanity has ventured into space, finding a new planet to colonize. Through this vehicle, it tackles the problems inherent in building a new society, new government structures and new social mores.

The planet is Carpathia, named for the first boat to come to the rescue of the Titanic. A small group of pioneers have created a town, Forthaven on the harsh planet. Led by President Tate (Liam Cuningham; Clash of the Titans) and his small team of Stella (Hermione Norris; TV’s MI-5), Cass (Daniel Mays; The Bank Job; Atonement) and Fleur (Amy Manson; TV’s Being Human; TV’s Torchwood), the group has their hands full keeping democracy running smoothly, especially given a questionable decision by Tate in the past.

It has been years since the colony has heard from Earth or any other transporter ships, but the series kicks off with a fresh transporter ship crash landing on Carpathia bringing with them the ambitious scientist Julius Berger (Eric Mabius; TV’s Ugly Betty), who stirs the pot of intrigue within the government and amongst a group of Expeditionaries, those responsible for exploring beyond the confines of the settlement.

Compared to other BBC sci-fi series, Outcasts lacks a bit of focus, particularly in its early episodes. It doesn’t know if it wants to be a strict pioneer/colonization drama or something more traditional involving strange beings and unexplained phenomena. Unfortunately, by the time it starts to find itself, its all over and we will never have a satisfactory conclusion. On the upside, the South African landscape looks absolutely stunning and offers a strong, bleak atmosphere to the series on the whole.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The high definition production of Outcasts arrives in a 1080i/60 AVC encodement from the BBC. It does a very good job capturing the beautiful South African landscape where the show is filmed, even if the image is at times a little soft. Video noise is reserved, but it is definitely there. Flesh tones are very natural and blacks, though not as deep as they could be, look good and offer a nice bit of shadow details.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3/5]

A sci-fi series needs a really engrossing 5.1 mix that engulfs you in all sorts of sounds whether its bleeps and blurps of tech gadgets or, in the case of this series, the sounds of a wide open landscape. Unfortunately, Outcasts has been given only a lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix, which leaves the entire series sounding rather confined. Dialogue is clean, but sound effects sound somewhat tight and artificial while high frequencies are a little jagged sounding.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1.5/5]

There are two featurettes across the two discs, one featuring the cast and creators discussing the series and one is a tour of the set. The second is the most interesting of the two, allowing for a good behind-the-scenes look at the production and some beautiful views of the South African backdrop.

Disc 1

  • Outcasts – Reach Out to the Stars (1.78:1; 480i/60; 00:30:01)

Disc 2

  • Forthaven – Set Tour (1.78:1; 480i/60; 00:04:57)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

Outcasts is an uneven and incomplete sci-fi journey from the BBC that had a lot of potential and probably should have been given a bit more time to flourish. Nevertheless, this Blu-ray release offers a reasonable amount of entertainment value and is far superior in image quality to the broadcasts.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product align=”right”]B0051SFTNE[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Outcasts: Season One (2 Disc) -

Purchase Outcasts on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Outcasts, Season 1 - Outcasts

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Series
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

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