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The Hour Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60
  • Audio Codec: English LPCM 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 2 (2 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: BBC/2-Entertain
  • Blu-ray Release Date: September 27, 2011
  • List Price: $39.98

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Purchase The Hour on Blu-ray at CD Universe

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Series
[Rating:4/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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:4/5]

The BBC strikes again with a slickly produced drama that maybe invokes Mad Men, being that it is set in the 1950’s, but at its heart is more akin to Broadcast News with a twist of thriller thrown in. It’s the cold war era and trouble in the Suez is brewing. The BBC is journeying into their first attempts at an investigative journalism program, to be called The Hour. The untraditional choice to produce the series is a woman, Bel Rowley (Romola Garai), picked because the powers that be feel it will be easier to make a lady bend to their will. Bringing along with her her best friend, the working class, but brilliant reporter Freddie (Ben Whishaw), Bel is immediately strapped with a bungling, but handsome anchorman from a privileged background, Hector Madden (Dominic West). Bel is nevertheless immediately smitten with the married Hector and begins an affair that can jeopardize both their careers, while Freddie begrudgingly helps Hector get up to speed as a newsman, despite his obvious feelings for Bel. Meanwhile, Freddie is caught up in an investigation over the death of a childhood friend, Ruthie (Vanessa Kirby), daughter of a high ranking member of the House of Lords that leads all the way to MI6 and is possibly tied to a Russian spy and something to do with The Hour’s coverage of the Suez story.

It’s an intriguing story that easily mixes romance, thrills, mystery, and an inside look at the beginings of British TV journalism, but The Hour may just drag on just a bit too long and lose track of its core in places. The plot becomes a bit confused and the ending seems absolutely contrived.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

There isn’t much to the high definition production of The Hour from the BBC. While the show looks sleek, the 1080i/60 AVC/MPEG-4 native HD Blu-ray transfer just looks rather flat and full of video noise in the many dark scenes. Overall imagery is soft and while foreground detail often looks sharp, background detail tends to waver.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

The audio is limited to a LPCM 2.0 Stereo mix, but at least its not lossy Dolby Digital, which the BBC seems quite found of on a lot of their releases. The dialogue is clean and the stereo imaging is fairly wide.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

The only supplements are two fairly typical featurettes that feature the cast and crew talking up the series that include behind the scenes footage.

The supplements:

  • Behind the Scenes (1.78:1; 480i/60; 00:10:09)
  • Creating The Hour (1.78:1; 480i/60; 00:20:26)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

The Hour is an interesting if imperfect series from the BBC populated by a lot of fine actors and a high quality of production. I’d love to see a second series to tie up some of the holes in these six episodes.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product align=”right”]B005ELEMV8[/amazon-product]

Purchase The Hour on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Series
[Rating:4/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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