All in all, the DVDs are highly recommended.
The following is an overview of some positive and negative aspects about the discs (revised 11/19/2010 - referring to the first production run):
Picture and Sound Quality
- Picture negative and prints used to create the DVDs:
- For those who know other LORIMAR series released by WARNER BROS., such as "Dallas", "Knots Landing", "The Waltons", etc., the picture quality is comparable to them.
The picture quality is far better than the version aired on television. Considering the age of the original picture negative (film) and prints, the quality is fine, yet slightly different from episode to episode.
One of the reasons is that the DVDs were created from different existing prints, which can be concluded from the LORIMAR logo after the end credits. The episodes showing the yellow logo (in regions 2 and 4, # 012, 013, 014 and 017; in region 1, # 006 through 009, 011 through 014, 016 and 017; left picture) are from the original prints; the others are from reprints LORIMAR-TELEPICTURES produced for later, particularly international, distribution purposes around 1986.
- Although NTSC (North America) is commonly known for lower video quality than the PAL TV format, the video quality of the region 1 DVDs is better because the masters to create them were from an earlier generation of NTSC release prints (and, therefore, pretty close to the answer print) whereas the PAL prints for the regions 2 and 4 DVD transfer came from a later generation.
- For technical reasons in the editions for regions 2 and 4, the original picture negative was digitized for a few limited frames in # 004 (particularly towards the end of the episode and for the end credits - compare screen captures below), 011 and 016. These particular scenes show the best possible video quality.
This illustrates very well that reprinting and digitizing from the original picture negative could lead to an impeccable picture quality. WARNER BROS., however, usually does not digitize from the original picture negative.
- As the picture quality, the sound quality is comparable to the other WARNER BROS. releases of old LORIMAR shows.
The sound quality is fine. Considering the age of the production, it is mono, of course.
- In DVD region 2, the sound of the original version (American English) is slightly better than the dubbed foreign versions.
The foreign versions also have a slightly higher pitch caused by PAL speedup; please refer to the Recommendations section for more information.
- In the German language region 2 release (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), the scene with Vickie and Michael West at the Side Street Theatre in # 009 (from 40:45 to 41:39) was edited in the version aired on television. That particular portion of film was dubbed by new German speakers for the DVD - despite WARNER BROS.' usual habit of switching to the original audio and adding German subtitles in such scenes.
- In regions 2 and 4, the episodes per se are unedited and are the same as in their original U.S. broadcast on CBS.
- In region 1, however, one episode was edited. # 015 <1.15> was accidentally not transferred to DVD in its original CBS version. Using a 1986 release print (shortened for U.S. syndication purposes) resulted in a loss of approximately three minutes of playing time in that episode. The following scenes are missing:
- Act 1: Julia and Gus in the Gioberti House kitchen during the party:
- Act 3: Cole is desperate during dinner at the Gioberti House:
- Act 3: Julia and Lance in the Falcon Crest Winery Building:
Disappointing for TV quality purists, the following scenes before the main title of each episode were cut off:
- The "LORIMAR Presents" logo is missing:
- In the DVD region 2 configurations distributed in Spain, Germany, Austria and Switzerland (contrary to the Nordic releases), the teaser trailers, which featured a short sneak preview of the respective episode, are missing also.
The region 4 release suffers from the same problem.
This is particularly disappointing in all the cases where specific footage from the trailers was not used in the respective episode itself; e.g. the unique aerial view of the Falcon Crest Victorian Mansion in # 001, which was never featured anywhere else in the series. If WARNER BROS. keeps on cutting off the trailers in the following seasons, this will result in a tremendous loss of information, particularly in seasons 6 and 7 because, in those years, many of the sneak previews and recaps contained even whole scenes that existed nowhere else in the respective episodes.
Upon request by the DFCF, DIANA BEILER from WARNER BROS. e-mailed a statement about the missing teasers in the Spanish and German configurations on 04/23/2009 to DFCF President THOMAS J. PUCHER after some fan e-mails from Spain spoke of a "deception" of the audience since DVDs ought to be unedited:
Dear Mr. Pucher:
Upon request by WARNER BROS., please e-mail any feedback about the DVDs, particularly about the missing sneak previews, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Ms. BEILER assured the results of the audience's reaction will be taken into consideration for the preparations of the release of the following seasons.
We [Germany, Austria and Switzerland] share the same configuration with Spain. So the teaser trailers are not included in the German box sets. German and Spanish audio layers were unavailable for these trailers so both Spain and Germany mutually decided to leave them out rather than subtitling them because they are basically irrelevant for the content of the series. Teasers make sense only for a series that is aired weekly; on DVDs, however, they are oftentimes considered as annoying by the viewers who, in most cases, watch several episodes back to back.
The episodes are unedited, so the allegation of a deception has no basis.
We are sorry about upsetting some of the fans, but we are sure that the majority of the viewers put more emphasis on the content of the episodes and are happy about the series now being released on DVD finally.
It remains a mystery, however, why the previews were cut off in region 4 (Australia), too. Missing audio cannot be the reason in that region because the Australian version is entirely in English language.
- Incompatible menu aspect ratio:
- In region 1, in region 4 and in the region 2 configurations distributed in Spain, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the aspect ratio of the DVD menu is 1.66 : 1 (High Definition), i.e. not compatible with the episodes, which are in their original 1.33 : 1 (= 4 : 3) aspect ratio.
- Modern TV sets, however, experience no problems at all to adjust to the correct aspect ratio automatically.
- Menu design:
- The region 2 configuration in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Spain is quite simple with a main menu for the episode selection (TV symbols with episode numbers) and a sub-menu for the languages and subtitles. The menu has no background sound effects, such as the theme. This is the same in the region 4 release.
- The look of the region 2 configuration in Scandinavia is more appealing. Disc 1 has no background sound effects whereas the theme music is embedded as a background sound effect on discs 2 through 4.
- Also very appealing is the region 1 configuration. The theme music is embedded as a background sound effect to the main menu. The episode menu on each disc features a different publicity photo. The falcon logo was added to the background of each sub-menu.
The subtitles were written very diligently.
A minor aspect is that there are the usual (or similar) inconsistencies in the spelling of some character names. Please refer to the entry dated 12/10/2007 in the FAQ section.
- The artwork with its white background looks ageless and is elegant in style.
- The falcon coat of arms does not exactly resemble the show logo:
- The redesigned logo is a simplified body, particularly without the detailed coat of arms in the center.
- The falcon's tail feathers are completely new to the logo.
- The falcon's claws are much too long compared to the original design.
- Since the DVD release, it has become an established interpretation among the fandom that the now-visible parts of the claws and the tail feathers have always been part of the falcon, but were covered by the now-missing coat of arms.
- The seasonal numbering in the form of the coat of arms is a terrific asset. The shape of the crest resembles the coat of arms as a part of the original falcon logo, linking to an integral part of the series.
- The typefaces do not resemble any of the show's fonts:
- Instead of using any of the show's typical typefaces ("Letraset Romic", "Benguiat Book" and "Foxglove"), the show's title is written in the "Trajan" font; the seasonal lettering is in the "Roswell Four" font. The text on the back of the box set and used for the episode synopses is the "Gotham Book" font.
- The burgundy color of the lettering does not resemble any of the show's typical colors (yellow and red from the early years, gold and blue from the later years).
- The character pictures in the compilation on the cover are a combination of various publicity stills:
- The pictures of JANE WYMAN, BILLY R. MOSES and JAMIE ROSE are from season 1 single portraits.
The picture of JANE WYMAN is a montage of two photos - head and shoulders are from a photo of the shooting pictured below on the right, but her hands holding the wine glass are from the photo on the left.
- The pictures of ROBERT FOXWORTH, SUSAN SULLIVAN, LORENZO LAMAS and ABBY DALTON are from the season 1 cast group portrait.
- The background of the compilation is awkward; it does not resemble any of the filming locations used for the series, but looks like a generic door to some undefined building.
- Some of the photos in the row on the cover are not related to the original series:
- Obviously, photo 2 was not taken in one of the vineyards originally used as a filming location.
- The wine labels on the bottles in photo 4 do not resemble any of the Falcon Crest wine labels as featured on the show. They are, however, real wine labels for the wine produced by one of the major Napa Valley filming locations, Spring Mountain Vineyards.
WARNER BROS. apparently used bottles of red wine for this photo; embarrassingly, a Chardonnay (!) label was placed on the bottle in the front row.
- There are several flaws on the back of the boxes delivered in DVD region 2:
- The wedding photo of Lance and Melissa (LORENZO LAMAS and ANA ALICIA) from # 016 is flip-flopped.
- The photo of ROBERT FOXWORTH and SUSAN SULLIVAN is not from season 1, but from season 2 (# 025).
- The production credit for "LORIMAR-TELEPICTURES" is wrong. The correct name of the entity was LORIMAR Productions, Inc. (or just "LORIMAR") during season 1 (1981-82). The merger with TELEPICTURES Corporation did not happen until 1986.
- For the DVD releases in regions 1 and 4, these flaws on the back of the box were corrected after the DFCF board members became attached to the release as creative consultants for WARNER BROS.:
In particular, the photo of ROBERT FOXWORTH and SUSAN SULLIVAN was replaced by a picture from season 1.
Additional information about the region 1 revision is available in the official press statements [*.pdf] dated 01/26/2010 and 02/22/2010.
In the first production run in region 1, however, this photo was mirrored, but corrected upon intervention by the DFCF for the future print runs.
In region 4, only the optimized version was used.
- Some of the photos on the episode overview inside the DVD region 2 boxes are flawed:
- For the photos of LORENZO LAMAS and ANA ALICA as well as ROBERT FOXWORTH and SUSAN SULLIVAN, see the review about the back of the box.
- The photo of LORENZO LAMAS and LAURA JOHNSON in the Falcon Crest Victorian Mansion pool is not only flip-flopped, but is from season 3 (# 052). Adding this photo was extremely negligent because LAURA JOHNSON did not appear on the show before # 048.
- The photo of ABBY DALTON in the Falcon Crest Winery Building is from season 2 (# 023). WARNER BROS. manipulated the background to include the same strange wooden door that is pictured on the cover of the DVD box (see left photo). The original picture shows Julia in the Winery Building with an aluminum wine tank in background (right photo).
- The photo of ROBERT FOXWORTH and LANA TURNER in the Falcon Crest Winery Building is not only flip-flopped, but from season 2 (# 024).
- For the region 1 DVD release, these flaws on the episode overview inside the box were corrected after the DFCF board members became attached to the release as creative consultants for WARNER BROS.:
Particularly the photos listed above were replaced by pictures from season 1; the original background, the Victorian Mansion, in ABBY DALTON's photo (right picture) was removed and replaced by the Mansion's surroundings.
Additional information is available in the official press statements [*.pdf] dated 01/26/2010 and 02/22/2010.
For general technical specifications, consult the Technical Details section.