New Worlds (TV)
R2 - United Kingdom - Acorn Media
Review written by and copyright: Samuel Scott (17th May 2014).
The Film

***This is a technical review only. For reviews on the show from various critics, we recommend visiting HERE.***

A lavish new drama mini-series set in England and America in the 1680ís from the makers of the award winning The Devil's Whore, Elizabeth I and The White Queen.

Starring Joe Dempsie (Game of Thrones), Jamie Dornan (The Fall), Alice Englert (Beautiful Creatures), Freya Mavor (The White Queen), Jeremy Northam (The Tudors), New Worlds is a gripping story of love, loss and the price of freedom.

In England, the restored monarchy of Charles II has betrayed its promises and reverted to tyranny. Behind the decadence of the Court, a terror machine is repressing the freedoms won for the people during Englandís bloody civil war. In America, the tentacles of state terror reach the colonists but they, themselves, are ruthlessly stalking their claim to the territories occupied by the native American Indians in a chilling echo of the tyrannical behaviour they seek to escape. Against this turbulent backdrop, four young people - Beth, Hope, Abe and Ned Ė struggle to choose between love and ideals in the harsh reality of the changing world.

This two disc set also includes four featurettes which include numerous cast and crew interviews and reveal the special effects and making of this epic television event.

Video

Acorn Media have presented Channel 4 mini-series New Worlds in the original broadcast aspect ratio of 2.35:1 which has been anamorphically enhanced. As to be expected for a reasonably budgeted new television series, the transfer is of good quality.

New Worlds cinematographer David Raedeker used plenty of greens, blues and whites throughout the mini-series, with shading edging towards lighter hues. There is solid clarity between the various shades, and black levels are strong, with no obvious signs of crush, but not quite dark enough to be reference quality. Detail is surprisingly good for standard definition, with most background environments showing a reasonably robust level of clarity. There is a little bit of blockiness here and there, but nothing worth complaining about. There were no major signs of edge enhancement, but some minor aliasing does sneak in every now and again, along with a scant bit of banding in some of the skylines. It should come as no surprise that there are no scratches, or other significant signs of damage in the transfer. It's just a shame no Blu-ray has been announced as of yet.

The discs are both PAL, with two episodes on each. The show is uncut.

Audio

Acorn Media presents New Worlds with a single Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track in the original English language and sounds identical to the original broadcast. Channel separation is kept to a bare minimum, but directionality is technically sound when it occurs. Dialogue is clear at all times, and volume levels are consistent between the score, effects and speech. I was very disappointed that there was a lack of a 5.1 option on this release as there are plenty of opportunities in which the track could be enhanced by surround activity. What we have however, is certainly commensurate. As with the transfer, the audio shows no signs of problems. No drop outs or scratches were detectable and I noticed no hiss.

Subtitles have been included in English, and are optional.

Extras

We start the extras with a series of short featurettes:
- "The People of New Worlds" (4:27)
- "Building the New Worlds" (3:55)
- "History of the New Worlds" (4:19)
- "The World of VFX" (4:10)
These are a welcome addition, and quite a rarity for Channel 4 television shows making their way to home media. Each featurette looks at a different element of the mini-series, with the most interesting being the history segment which talks about the history on which the show is based upon. There's obviously a huge amount of creativity added, and many forum threads online have pointed out some of the glaring inaccuracies, but it's an interesting piece nonetheless.

We also get a deleted scene (2:41) and a picture gallery (1:48).

Overall

The Film: B- Video: A- Audio: B Extras: D+ Overall: B-

 


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