Think of something super big? OK, got it? Double it… This is how big this news is.
In short, Season 1 of Malcolm in the Middle will be released on DVD in the UK (Region 2) in April 2012. Followed by a season a month until a final box-set near Christmas 2012. Yes, all seasons by the end of the year!
It’s being released by Fabulous Films in the UK. They have bought the UK (Region 2) rights for the whole series from FOX and specialize in releasing TV/movies that have had music issues in the past. The UK has a distinct advantage over the US as they don’t have such complicated music licensing issues. Yes, the reason we haven’t seen seasons in the US is all about music license costs, as we have always known.
The music will NOT be changed.
Season 1, is planned to be a very similar to the US release with special features to be confirmed. The other seasons are still in the planning stages, artwork etc is yet to be done. It will be sold through Amazon UK, HMV (UK retail store) and others.
Blu-ray isn’t currently on the cards, but a possibility in the future, no details on it. I also don’t currently know about widescreen and how it’ll apply to the seasons.
But I live in the US?! (or wherever) – Amazon UK delivers to many countries so there is a good chance you’ll be able to order.
This is thanks to Richard Walker of Fabulous Films who broke the news to me, he needs our support on this project, how great is that? We can be part of the DVD release! More on this when I know.
Update 8/2/12 – Pre-order Season 1 Now! / Widescreen 16×9 has been confirmed for Season 1.
- This is great news! Unfortunately Malcolm in the Middle isn't on TV a lot now where I live, and with the whole Megaupload situation I'd say it's pretty hard for me to watch episodes of MITM. I am definitely looking forward to release of all seasons!
- Really? That is awesome news!!!
- i'll kill you if its a joke :P
- This is absolutely fantastic news! Thanks for getting this to us, TJ!
I would urge everybody who can to support this project and purchase the DVDs when they come out. This is our opportunity as a community to show that it is worth a company putting the effort and money into getting these shows onto DVD, that we will put our money down and support them when they take a risk, and give the fans what they have asked for, for so long.
- I will definitely support and buy (at least ) two boxsets because I want to give one to a friend in the U.S. too.
- Hi TJ,
This is really fantastic news, thanks for posting it, and for being so 'on the button' after all these years. This sounds almost too good to be true!
I thought these music rights hassles affected the industry worldwide, but I'm really glad it doesn't seem the case. As we all know, some series have been on the shelf for 15 years now, or have to make do with butchered soundtracks with faceless soundalikes, so wow!
I do hope they find the time and investment to include nice extras on the other seasons, like behind the scenes glimpses, interviews, the family therapy sessions, and, if they can find the time, commentary tracks by the cast and crew. That would be awesome.
I look forward to whatever role we can play in the release! Sounds like great fun! Yes, let's hope we can get good sales and try and show the creators/distributors the Internet is not all about piracy and showing disrespect.
Perhaps it's a little bit too early right now, but I'm thinking of informing Comedy Central. It's a series that was shown on a number of their outlets, and I believe I still have some contacts left.
P.S. Just an illustration of what could have happened to MITM:
Original 1988 Wonder Years intro, Beatles song as performed by Joe Cocker in 1968, pre-music rights issue:
The 2011 Netflix version, sung by some unknown imitator:
- Hell yeah!!! I hope it will be in widescreen!
Here's a cover for the 7 seasons boxset i made:
Yeah, by the way i'm new on the forum!
I looked into this thread again, and I'm not entirely convinced, though someone states:All of the Netflix episodes are syndication edits. As such, some music is substituted, some episodes are edited to fit the desired time, and additional fade-outs are added for more commercials. The bright side is that the quality is excellent.
After all, there are different versions of the They Might Be Giants theme song on the original airings as well, and the different songs when Lois is shaving Hal in the pilot is also a feature of the original airing and the extended DVD version.
- I can not wait to buy it, if I can afford to buy them.
- Yeaaahhh!!! Widescreen guys!!! Do you think they cropped the picture in some shots due to the fact there is some lightings, production members and other stuffs you can see in some episodes?
- Yes, i like it too it's funny to see things we are not supposed to see
But about the DVD release... i don't know if they are going to zoom inside the picture on some scenes so we can't see any lights/production guys.
- No they won't do any zooming like that.
- That's so awesome
I had already given up...
I hope german language is inclusive
- This is just great. I seriously thought that this would never happen after all this time, but, YES, it finally did. I don't usually buy DVD TV releases...ever.......but this will have to be an exception.
Thanks for posting, I wouldn't have known, otherwise!
- Noooo!!! For anyone who doesn't live in the UK, only English language will be available. If you are in France, Germany or Spain don't expect to see other languages. This is an official information i've seen on the website Malcolm-France.
But if you are on this forum you should at least speak english a lil bit, no? MITM is not that complicated to understand and english is the original language for this TV show so i think it's not big deal.
- If it's an UK release they usually have French, German and Spanish subtitles. And if not, there are always English subtitles, which makes it a bit easier to follow if you have a hard time understanding the spoken language.
And apart from that:
La version originale, c'est la seule, la bonne, la vraie version! Elle est plébiscitée par les fans les plus assidus de la série, vous savez, ceux qui font des recherches interminables sur Internet, ceux qui achètent tous les produits dérivés! La version originale retransmet les intonations, les expressions, les phrases voulues par Linwood Boomer, le créateur de la série, à la virgule près. Plutôt destinée à un public anglophone, ou comprenant bien le langage américain, elle peut être idéale pour l'apprentissage de l'américain courant.
- I came across an old DVD promo video for the Season 1 release in some computer folder, possibly saved from YouTube. It's fun rewatching this! I wonder if it could be revived in some way?
I have attached the Flash video.
- I live in the U.S. and purchased the season 1 set when it was available. I want to purchase season 2-7 and it seems the only way to get them is to order from hmv/amazon.uk. Will I be able to play them on my U.S. dvd player? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
- You will need a region free dvd player. (or make your dvd player region free. Just search google how to do that. It should be possible with most dvd players)
- Or if you are lucky the DVD itself will be region free. Sometimes it happens we never know, i hope so by the way!
But another more pressing issue is whether they will apply PAL speedup to the 24fps film source. If they have then you will be in for quite a shock if you are used to the US 23.976 fps version - The characters will sound like chipmunks! - I can't stand it myself so if I buy the set I will be ripping the DVDs onto my PC and reversing the speedup and reburning with PAL 24:1 Pulldown rather than the speedup.
I really hope they release a Blu-ray version as the PAL speedup is no longer an issue on them, as they support PAL 23.976 and 24fps content.
- Somehow I only just discovered this news today!! I literally cried with happiness! Needless to say season 1 is already pre - ordered on amazon and I am eagerly awaiting the release date in April!
- Hi guys, just checked the BBFC website which has all the ratings info for the Season 1 release, it's gonna be a '12' rating, it's 347mins in length AND contains the extended version of the pilot!
- This looks like both good and bad news. Good news is we get the extended pilot. Bad news is that I compared the episode lenghts to the US DVD versions, and unfortunately the shorter episode length means that they will have the dreaded PAL 4% speedup
- Hell no!!! I just saw this, they say the exact same thing on the bottom of the page...
That sucks, + we don't get French, German and Spanish versions... i think i'm gonna wait for a U.S release.
- But I thought we all already knew this would have PAL speedup, being a UK release it's impossible that it wouldn't. It's probably never getting a US release because of music clearance costs (unless it sells REALLY well in the UK) and maybe there might be a Blu-ray release in the future from Fabulous Films in the UK. HD and no speed-up!!!
- I think it's a bit weird that the Fabulous Films website is still out of order, and that, while the S1 release is due in two weeks, there isn't any cover image on display on the Amazon sites. Surely there isn't some kind of snag?
On the other hand, the release is even listed on the most popular Dutch online media shop, bol.com:
(for those interested in this kind of info, bol.com used to be the web outlet of the German publisher Bertelsmann, it's an abbreviation of Bertelsmann On-Line)
- On the Fabulous Film's facebook page, somebody asked as to why the release date had been removed from Play.com, and Fabulous Films responded with 'confident of an April 16 release' before then writing 'Oops.. Sorry.. we're still doing tests on the masters.. please ignore previous comment.. The release date is TBC.. Thanks..', so it's not looking good I'm afraid.
- Yeah, I've noticed that Fabulous Films is used to delay almost all of their releases... but they do come out in the end.
However, I think we'll have to wait a lot longer to get the whole series on DVD. A series per month is quite unrealistic. I've contacted them a month ago (so that was before anything was delayed) and they already said that releases should end in early 2013, so you can already forget about the complete box set for Christmas.
- It was me who asked on their Facebook page. It's a shame that there are delays (another company, Revelation, who I believe are connected with Fabulous in some way, acquired LA Law and Two Guys And A Girl from Fox recently, and planned release dates for every season of both are already on Play.com - it would be great if it was the same for Malcolm) but on the other hand, I'm still really happy that they're being released.. I've waited ten years, I can wait a couple of extra months..
- Amazon is now showing the release date as June 30th, 2012. I'm hoping the reason for this is so they can get to work on the next few seasons and hopefully get at least one out every two months or so...
- Fabulous Films just confirmed a June release date.
- From Facebook:
"June is the scheduled month for the DVD release of Season 1.. We are still scheduling the remaining seasons.. subsequent seasons may follow on a monthly and some on a bi-monthly basis."
By bi-monthly, do you think they mean twice a month or once every two months?
Amazon, HMV and Play.com all updated the release date for season 1 to June 4.
- Upon checking the BBFC website for the Season 1 release (http://www.bbfc.co.uk/AVV288326/) I found a comment from the distributor that reads "Full Frame,Season 1" - indicating that this will be a 4:3 release.
As previous users commented upon, the first season was intended to be 4:3. Upon going back to the original 35mm negatives; perhaps there was issues with the set, elements such as lighting and cameras could be visible for example.
I found some Season 2 episodes in Widescreen, and noticed that during editing the team had decreased the width of the footage (I can only describe it as the left side being blackened out) only for a few seconds. This could be because of light fixtures, cameras and what not. I can only assume that the editors thought nothing about it at the time. I mean, how many people would have been watching this in 16:9 on the original broadcast?
- Yes, that's the image shown on the www.amazon.co.uk site from now on! We're getting there!
I think what's interesting is that it bears a FremantleMedia Enterprises logo, the production company behind all the British and US versions of talent shows like Pop/American Idol, X Factor and Britain's Got Talent. I wonder how this all fits in with the production and distribution rights. So have they acquired the rights from Fox, or are they just the representative for the European market? Would they have been more lenient with the music rights issues than Fox?
**EDIT: I just contacted Fabulous Films about this and they confirmed that, yes, every season of Malcolm WILL BE IN WIDESCREEN. Woo-hoo!!! Time to pre-order!
- We have a new release date...
Well Amazon are still saying June 4th, Zavvi are saying September 3rd, HMV and Play.com are saying nothing and the Fabulous Films website is saying July 16th.
Also the website has the list of all the special features, pretty much basically everything from the Region 1 set, but with a preview of Season 2 Behind the Scenes stuff.
Here's the list from their website:
EXTRAS: Over one hour of running commentary on selected Disc One episodes ,One hour of running commentary on selected Disc Two episodes ,Over 40 minutes of running commentary on selected Disc Three episodes “Malcolm in the Middle: A Stroke of Genius” featurette ,“Malcolm Vision” widescreen bloopers ,Season One gag reel ,Four alternate show openings ,Four deleted scenes ,“Behind the Middle” behind-the-scenes sneak preview of Season Two ,“Dewey’s Day Job: A Portrait of Erik Per Sullivan” featurette ,Season One promotional TV spots
I wonder why they wouldn't take, I assume, the little effort. It gives the release a wider appeal. Perhaps we should contact them about it, now that the date appears to be postponed again?
Another thing, a tight, monthly schedule for upcoming releases, though eagerly awaited, may noy be a good thing if we want anything extra on the DVDs like bloopers, promos, the famous therapy sessions, the Stevie, Kenarbans and Craig videos etc. Including more than just straight episode transfers would be a boost for sales I guess.
We can rule out more disk commentaries I guess. I don't think cast and crew members would be available at such short notice for all the episodes to discuss them together.
Oh, by the way, here's a plug, sort of: for MITM fans, I see they have also Eerie Indiana in their catalogue. It's one of the great forerunners of MITM I daresay (original format, cinematic, single-camera, first-person narration), and it's only 10 bob for 3 discs, so I reckon I at least should get it!
Some info can be found on our site in the 'ancestor' section:
- Dvd release dates tend to shift very often, I wouldn't be too worried about it. I just hope we at least get the first few seasons on dvd's this year.
Wow, Eerie Indiana! Haven't heard about that for ages. I watched that a lot as a kid.
At any rate, I have watched or rewatched lots of episodes from various series in the Ancestors section, and I believe there were some very worthy, quirky and creative, predecessors, and seeds of MITM can be found in a lot of them.
Actually, three episodes of Eerie, Indiana were directed by leading MITM directors Todd Holland and Ken Kwapis!
Thanks for the email. Legally we can't add other language tracks. Hopefully they will get released in other countries soon.
Richard Walker Fabulous Films Limited
- I just never thought about that that could also be restricted but I guess the voiceactors who do the voiceovers in different languages should also be paid. I can't imagine how Malcom's family would sound dubbed Spanish, French or German but I hope for the fans around the globe it will eventually also be released with different audio tracks. If the dvd release is successful who knows?
The hardest thing I think is dealing with the voice quality of the adolescent boys, and how and when they are going to accommodate for voice breaks.
Here are some examples:
Une espèce de salaud quoi?
- I must say the French voicovers are pretty good. Only Lois voice is very different from the original. But it's one of the more difficult voices to replicate or find a good substitute for, the anger Jane Kaczmarek can put in a sentence is inimitabe. I do wish my French was still as good as in highschool, but it helps I know the original lines pretty well.
In Spanish it just sounds plain weird to me.
- HOW have I only just found out about this?
So damn excited, being from the UK. I am going to get them season by season and then in the end probably put them on ebay for the full boxset. This is fantastic news. Cannot thank Fabulous films enough.
By the way, in the German version, Otto and Gretchen are Danish!
- I've decided to order both MITM S1 and Eerie, Indiana from Fabulous Films now.
When the deliveries work out (both may take a while), I may also order It's Garry Shandling's Show from Fabulous, which was probably the earliest unconventional sitcom, highlighted in our Ancestors section. As I've hardly seen any substantial footage of it, I could be doing some screenshots and bits of transcripts in a while.
Really? That is hilarious. I can see why they changed that but still, it wouldn’t be believable to pretend the family lives in Germany anyway. By changing Otto and Gretchen’s identity it implies like they did that sort of. But I’ve never seen the German dubbed version. Unlike most Dutch people I can barely understand a word of German. Makes me wonder though how Otto sounds in German with a Danish accent. “Isn’t that vierd?”
- Right so it looks like today's the day it's supposed to be out... Maybe.... I've had it on pre-order at amazon and they've given me a dispatch estimate of 6th June and delivery estimate of between 9th and 12th of June (damn you Jubilee! ) Anyway, I might try and get to the shops later or tomorrow to see if anyone has it actually on the shelf, although I doubt it as Fabulous Films is saying July 16th on their website and Zavvi and that are saying September 3rd whilst Amazon hasn't changed the release date...
On Fab Films website there's a direct link to Amazon. Perhaps they gave Amazon the rights to get it exclusive for a few weeks?
Ah well we'll see...
Also, some websites that still have the release date for today are saying 'New Release - Awaiting stock from supplier.' Seems like they'll be waiting a long time for that stock...
Went to ASDA (Walmart) didn't have it! Did a little investigating haha! E-mailed Amazon they responded saying that it is indeed released today yet they haven't received stock yet, but it should arrive on the estimated date so we'll see what happens!
- I think the Fabfilms release date is most reliable since they are actually the company who releases it.
Personally I'm waiting until I can atleast order two seasons (I intended to wait for the boxset, but I know I can't wait that long..) so I don't really keep track of the exact release dates. I just trust it will be released very soon.
- Well, I can only say my Eerie, Indiana box set (another Fabulous Films release) arrived safely today as planned.
It came in a sturdy plastic box (better than all those shoddy cardboard items I've seen lately) and comes with .. a booklet with pictures and brief episode plots! Gee, I haven't seen that in a long while, a DVD booklet. A nice touch.
The image quality is reasonable for the 20-year-old 4:3 TV format (obviously it's a straight transfer with little attention to the sound track), and there are serviceable animated menus, but there are no extras whatsoever, so no subtitles or closed caption (a pity for non-natives and the hearing impaired), no interviews, commentaries, image galleries or a look behind the scenes.
This was what I was expecting from the DVD details, and I guess it's pretty much what the original US releases had to offer (or the lack of it), but still I hope the following MITM seasons will include a few interviews, promos, bloopers and the like.
- Got this in the mail today from Amazon.co.uk:
We regret to inform you that the following items have been delayed as we are still awaiting stock from our suppliers :
Frankie Muniz, et al "Malcolm in the Middle - Season 1 [DVD]"
Estimated arrival date: June 16 2012 - June 27 2012
One of Amazon's aims is to provide a convenient and efficient service; in this case, we have fallen short. Please accept our sincere apologies.
You haven't been charged for this item yet as we don't debit money from your payment card until just before your items are dispatched. We'll send you a confirmation e-mail when your items are dispatched to confirm the date, contents and method of delivery.
Customer Service Department
- I met with Bryan Cranston in Albuquerque while he was filming Breaking Bad last month and I had mentioned the boxset coming out, he wasn't aware about it which kind of surprised me.
- Another mail from Amazon last week:
Unfortunately, the release date for the item(s) listed below was changed by the supplier, and we need to provide you with a new estimated delivery date based on the new release date:
Frankie Muniz, et al "Malcolm in the Middle - Season 1 [DVD]"
Estimated arrival date: January 04 2013 - January 09 2013
- That's a major disappointment..
- That's because Amazon are using their placeholder date of December 31. It's likely to come out long before then. It just means Amazon don't have a specific release date.
One thing I've learned from my work is that you should never announce release or completion dates when you're not really sure you can come up with something. It sounds unprofessional and customers may lose faith and give up on the product altogether if it's put off time and again. On the other hand, I know delays are all too common for projects and such, due to the involvement of many parties we mostly don't know of, so let's just wait and see.
- Hi Dvd.co.uk says that they have stock ready to dispatch within 2-3 days
A potential upside is that with all these delays maybe work is going on for the future seasons, maybe we'll get them every one or two months rather than having large gaps between them? As long as I see Season 2 on DVD before Christmas then I finally be able to rest easy after 10 long years of doubt. :'D
- Okay so now Fab Films are saying September 3rd, but amazon, play, zavvi etc are all saying September 24th, so I'd say that roughly translates to a November release! Yay!
- Fabulous Films confirmed on their Facebook page:
S1 September, S2 to follow ASAP
- To be honest, it's getting to the point when I'll only believe it when I see it.
- That's great news!!!
- i have preodered the dvd off amazon.co.uk
- I have seen that Amazon lists the release date of season one as 24th September... Is there any news on when the box set is going to be released? Dying to get my hands on one!
- Season 2 still isn't listed on the British Video Association's website so I'm guessing it will be a while until its release.
- I've just got a message from Amazon.co.uk that says that the S1 box has been dispatched and is estimated to arrive by Sept. 26!
- Hey guys, long time reader but first time poster.
I've been in to my local hmv today (Worcester) and they have the DVD in stock...for £50.
Thankfully, I've had it pre-ordered from amazon for a while now haha.
Has any one else got a copy today?
- I was tempted to go to HMV today to get it but if you say they're selling it £50 I might wait a bit. Plus it's raining.
- Season 2: 29 October 2012
I got the S1 set, it's very nice. Mostly a direct port of the R1 down to the menus. There are English subtitles (ported from the R1, not sure if there will subtitles on future sets too..) The episodes are indeed widescreen, too.
There's a promotional booklet that has cover art for all seven seasons too.
It's true that it's mostly a straight port of the American DVDs. The menus and title sequence (mostly - some adapted to widescreen) are in 4:3, and then the screen switches to 16:9 for the episodes.
I'm not too sure about the widescreen format though. To quote Beck, indeed mixed business. I mean, it really looks great, but it's also sometimes very revealing as far as black panels blocking or deflecting lights ('flag' or 'French flag' as they are called) are concerned. It looks like the disc editors sometimes rather haphazardly blotted out some parts left and right with black patches that would otherwise reveal light stands and the like. It would have taken an expensive Spielberg- or George Lucas-type approach with digitally created bits of sets and backdrops to get rid of these artefacts, and that's understandably beyond the manufacturer-distributors' means.
I watched the pilot again (by the way, Disc 1 includes both the extended pilot (in 4:3), and the 'normal' pilot, in 16:9!), and indeed, as Bryan Cranston shows in the special feature on Disc 3, you see director Todd Holland guiding Craig Lamar Traylor (Stevie) through his stop-start dialogues, you see the light stands and French flag in the Krelboyne class, and the crew member on the right in the final shot with Malcolm on the trash can. It sure is distracting!
So, it's a really great package, wonderful to have it, many thanks to Fabulous, but I don't know about the widescreen. A general rule of thumb for me is, don't mess with the original intentions of the filmmakers. Don't colorize what was black-and-white originally, don't turn 'flat' movies into 3D, don't add digital effects that weren't there (other than image restoration, getting rid of scratches and such), don't add new soundtracks to make old movies more 'trendy' etc.
As all the set-up, blocking (positioning of the actors), camera angles, editing and other postproduction for MITM were done for 4:3, it looks really amateurish when it turns into widescreen sometimes, which is a shame as MITM truly has excellent cinematography, brilliant angles, perspectives, lensing, you name it!
P.S. Great, as someone noted, to have the English subtititles for all foreign fans! (Officially, they are for the 'HOH - 'hard of hearing' as the back insert reads). I hope this will be continued for the other seasons!
Crew member's intrusive hands pushing Stevie's wheelchair in episode Rollerskates. OMG! Shots like these will lead to many undeserved goofs in the Internet Movie Database.
- Any chance someone could post an image of the insert with the cover images on please?!
- Sorry if this has already been posted (didn't see anything at a quick glance), but the Amazon listing for S2 is up! http://www.amazon.co.uk/Malcolm-Midd...8602141&sr=1-4
October 29th, same price (give or take a few pennies) as S1.
- All very exciting now that Season one is out and we now have an official date for Season 2. We'll soon have all of the seasons on DVD, finally!
The complete boxset probably won't be out for Christmas, but I really don't mind. Getting Season one ASAP!
- Great to hear all the original soundtracks are intact
Though a tad disappointing that they've opened it up to widescreen which reveals things that shouldn't be in the shot. They did this with the Friends blu-ray release aswell.
Edit: I have an idea how to get around this actually. What episodes don't have any revealing goofs (visible crew members/ lighting stands, ect)?
So the episodes that don't have unintended shots, i can watch on the DVD, and ones that do, i can watch on 5* as they broadcast them in 4:3
Saw the DVD in HMV today, £50, slightly shocking. Was just an amazing moment though to see it there right in front of me! I also must say I'm glad that the 'in' and 'the' on the cover match the colours on the spine which it didn't look like it would in the online cover! Sounds a bit OCD but yay!
I hadn't thought of the colours. They are kind of the reverse of the official logo for S1, and with subsequent seasons, the new releases all stick to the right font, though with different colours. A nice touch. I think Fabulous lavished a great deal of care on the S1 release, even if much of it is a port of the US version. I mean, we do have subtitles, extras, two versions of the Pilot and correct info as far as I can see. When I gripe about the widescreen, it's just the choice, not that I would have expected Fabulous to do digital restoration to blot out all obtrusive errors.
Now, I would hope that following seasons will at least have some extras like subtitles, promo clips, perhaps an interview or so, and not just the episodes. Fox should open its vaults and release what 'press kit'-type material they have. We've offered our help, so we can only wait how it will turn out.
Official Fox logo:
- I already posted this a while ago haha! So... are the episodes running at 24 fps which is the OG framerate or are they in 25 fps with the typical awful 4% PAL speed-up?
- They'll run at 25fps, as that is the PAL standard.
I honestly don't know why people find the 4% speed up annoying, it's not even noticeable during playback unless being directly compared. I'd take it over jerky frame panning any day.
I suppose there is a chance that the episodes MAY be pitch corrected, in which case people would be entirely oblivious to the PAL speed up, I don't know though because I don't have it yet. But really, sometimes its better to have something at all than to not, eh?
- The trailer runs at 24fps And it's personal, i just can't stand the PAL speed-up. First of all, if it's not pitch corrected, the actor's voices sound ugly and strange. Finally, an exemple: i have a movie in both PAL & NTSC, the PAL version is 01 H 42 mn and the NTSC version is 02 H 07 mn which actually makes a huge difference!
- just a heads up, you can currently get the first season for £18.99 over at Sainsburys!
Just me who thinks Bryan Cranston really doesn't look himself in this promo picture for Season Two? http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/...L._AA1461_.jpg
If these ever make it to Blu-Ray, you'd be guaranteed they'd run at the correct speed. I guess the distributor just doesn't have the money to do it at the moment.
From our Gallery (you can closely inspect the full version there):
As far as I know, only S7 promos were photoshopped.
- Oh nice!! It's the same framerate! This is good to know
Can Region 2 and NTSC go together at all? And if the sound and image are the right speed and pitch, and both standalone DVD player and media player software accept it as Region 2, and play sound and image correctly, does it matter if it is NTSC?
When I play the Fabulous DVD with VLC Player (menu Tools -> Codec Information), I get (indeed) 720x480 resolution, but a framerate of 59.94. The 2002 Fox US release has the same specs, by the way. I don't know how to get PAL/NTSC specs.
That it is a feature (shortcoming) of the DVDs is already apparrent in the online trailer on Vimeo, by the way.
Look at the fuzzy black stripes to the right and left of the first image, and the side of the tiled bathroom wall on the right in the second shot.
VLC always gives me strange frame rates like that too, which is why I double checked in Virtualdub, which says the frame rate is 29.970.
I do think its incredibly strange what they've done here, but I guess it won't hurt anyone. Could simply just have been a mistake by the distributor I suppose. If not, then I wonder if they'll release every season this way?
- Yes, a Region 2 DVD can be NTSC, from a technical point of view, DVD's regions have nothing to do with PAL or NTSC. I've made bunch of Region 2 DVDs in NTSC and they work amazingly on any DVD player.
When you see 59,94 fps instead of 29,97 it's normal, the reason is that video is interlaced on most of DVDs. When a video source is interlaced we don't talk about frames but fields. Basically, two fields constitute a frame. So instead of having 29,97 frames per second you have 59,94 fields per second.
And for your TV you have to know that lots of TVs "crop" between 5 and 10% of the full picture you can normally see. This is called "overscan".
Finally, these black fuzzy bars you can see on some images are called "mattes" this is due to the lens hood that is mounted on the camera. Another time, MITM was intended to be in 4:3 so it's normal that you can see some random objects in the background.
- Magic-J - I never personally thought about the 59.94fps thing like that, makes sense though lol.
Richiepiep - Only real drawback would be compatability, but most people nowadays will have equipment capable of displaying NTSC signals. The slightly lower vertical resolution does result in a minimal amount of detail loss, but I doubt its anything to write home about.
Ironically, the higher NTSC frame rate is what results in the jerkyness, as the extra frames have to be made from existing ones. Look at this site, which explains the 3:2 pulldown method.
I only notice jerkyness on animation to be honest.
- .... tying in with the new UK release. Wow, they're all extremely favourable!
"The beauty of Malcolm in the Middle and why it worked was that the writing is done with love, it’s done with an understanding of the stories and the fact that all of the chaos even if magnified for comic affect are events that do happen in typical families (...) Malcolm in the Middle is a show that has aged well (...) The first season was arguably Malcolm in the Middle at the top of its game, even after watching all of the episodes you’ll want more, I know I was. (...) For me, if there are any negative elements to this first season it’s that it leaves you wanting more."
"Malcolm In The Middle remains a great piece of comedy tv, and one that really brought in the single camera element to modern audiences. Whip-smart, genuinely human and painfully funny, season one is a perfect taster of the show, and moreso, a brilliant season of television. With great extras and the widescreen editions of the episodes, it's a must own for collectors."
"Although this first series is a little focused on Malcolm to the occasional detriment to the rest of his family, it's a minor niggle that does little to get in the way of the stories or prevent the show from being a well balanced ensemble. Overall Verdict: A fantastic family show for all ages in which everyone will discover someone or something to relate to."
"Each episode is wonderfully written and is consistently amusing, witty and sharp, making it tremendously watchable and likable. (...) Overall, there is a nice array of extras to keep you occupied for a good amount of time. The show itself is brilliant, and found myself watching episode after episode and didn’t want to stop."
"Malcolm in the Middle is one of those TV shows that I had forgotten about but once reminded of recalled just how brilliant it was. (...) Having now re-watched the show I am hugely impressed and appreciative of what a great piece of television this was and still is. The show has held up surprisingly well and is potentially more subversive for its genre than it was 12 years ago."
"The cast did a fantastic job of bringing these aspects to life and Frankie Muniz was perfect as the central character. The show stealers though are Jane Kaczmarek and Bryan Cranston as the kids’ parents. The two have a great chemistry and their characters work well together onscreen. (...) Malcolm In The Middle: The Complete First Season is a joy to revisit. It’s not hard to understand why the show was such a ratings hit on its debut and it has aged fairly well. (...) Malcolm In The Middle is an American comedy classic."
"Bryan Cranston (...) is a truly gifted comedian and is very watchable as the lost but loving father. Jane Kaczmarek (...) is simultaneously hilarious and unlikeable but Kaczmarek does a wonderful job at making it seem that her drastic actions and punishments are totally necessary in order to stop the anarchy all the men in her life create. Speaking of her anarchistic boys, each of them (...) are marvellously differentiated characters and all give great performances that never outstay their welcome as many child performances can. (...) The crazy plots are brilliant. (...) The story of each episode is fantastically constructed and beautifully executed. The direction in the series is some of the best seen in American sitcoms."
"Overall, this is a funny and entertaining sitcom as seen through the eyes of Malcolm. Jane Kaczmarek is excellent as the mother. With his 3 other brothers, crazy mother, well-intentioned father and geeky classmates it is a recipe for disaster and great laughs. I thoroughly enjoyed watching these DVD’s (I had never watched them on TV before) and were great fun and very enjoyable with loveable characters."
And reviews keep flooding in:
"Its characters, storylines, and dialogue are just as hilarious as I remember, and I have the added benefit now of getting the jokes put in for the adults. (...) Craig Lamar Taylor gives a terrific performance as Malcolm’s best friend, Stevie. (...) Likewise, Daniel von Bargen is absolutely brilliant as Francis’ military academy leader, Commandant Spangler. But of course, the real credit is due to the family for giving inconceivably brilliant performances as though they were a real family. The magic here is that we never feel like they’re acting, which is a very hard thing to find amongst child actors. The jokes always hit the right notes, the beats are always timed to perfection, and the plots are always the perfect fit for the twenty-minute episode without ever feeling procedural. (...) I’ve gone back and watched a handful of shows I used to watch when I was younger, but this has by far been the best goldmine to rediscover."
Three-star review: (gee, can't be that low! But the tone's a tad gimmicky and smart-alecky)
"So yes, it's familiar. But it avoids the usual after-school-special morality of family comedy. (...) But is it funny? Yes, albeit without that many laugh-out-loud moments, for me."
P.S. Just submitted all of these ot the IMDB External Reviews section (there are few 'official' MITM reviews right now, due to limited 2002 DVD release)
- Thanks for posting all those Rich!
I know, it could always haven been better, but I now realize Fabulous put a lot of effort into cult movies and series, even getting cast members together for commentaries, making documentaries, and doing image restoration (e.g. Automan and The Mysterious Cities of Gold releases), which may not always pay off in purely commercial terms. That it may not happen or succceed in the case of MITM is, I assume, not because Fabulous is negligent, but because there are other constraints of rights, time and effort.
The good news, at any rate, is that it doesn't look jittery, and there are no compatibility problems with either software or (TV/DVD) hardware. The only issues are some film grain, fuzziness and interlacing artefacts, but this is understandable, given the age of the source and transfer.
- For the interlacing artefacts issue, when you are watching the DVD on your PC just run it with VLC, right click on the video, go to "deinterlace mode" then select "linear". Now do another right click, go to "deinterlace" and select "on". It works amazingly on my computer.
BTW: I love the episode where Marshall meets a girl who can draw objects that actually become reality.
- Thanks, Magic-J, it really works fine!
Yes, that was an episode I liked too. I also loved episodes like "Heart on a Chain" and "The Dead Letter" (both poignant, with great dream sequence) and imaginative ones with some twisted pointed social commentary like "ATM with a Heart of Gold", "The Loyal Order of Corn", "Zombies in P.J.s" and "The Broken Record". And just plain weird ones like "The Lost Hour" and "Tornado Days".
I think my next purchase from Fabulous, apart from MITM, will be "Garry Shandling". I really need to see some eps, it's been ages, and I don't remember much, so I can update our "Ancestors" Gallery.
- For those of you who don't already know, Season 2 has been pushed from Oct 29th to Nov 19th now. I received an e-mail from amazon about it, and Fabulous Films have just announced it via their Facebook page.
- Thanks, yes, I got this message too. Maybe they will find some time to include subtitles or a little bit of extras - never give up hope!
- Unfortunately, when I look at the current Fabulous Films entry for their S2 release, no extras, not even subtitles, just a stills gallery (sounds really old-fashioned by now, the idea of a DVD stills gallery, right?) - all of which we already have, I reckon.
This still leaves room for improvement.
- Well I've just woken up to an e-mail from amazon saying that my copy has been dispatched, so hopefully I'll get my copy on time this time around haha.
Honestly can't wait to see how they've handled this one though, it's still not sunk in properly about the wait for long over due Malcolm DVDs finally being over...almost
- Could somebody who gets it please let me (and everyone else!) know if it's got subtitles?
Will probably buy it anyway but just wanted to know in advance!
- I hope that the second season comes out by Christmas. I have to add it to my list if it does.
- I've just recieved my copy and skimmed through the first disc. First episode has a TV PG logo at the start, and a "Fox Widescreen" bumper for a second, and the 7th has just the TV PG logo at the start. So I'm guessing these are sourced from broadcast masters of some sort, other episodes on Disc 1 are clear of logos. Once again they're presented in NTSC.
And someone asked earlier so I might as well confirm that there are unfortunately no subtitles.
- mass5160, What you describe is not stock footage? What you have are TV Rips, which can be found for free on the internet. I were really excited to hear "from this site" that MITM were being put to dvd. Shows put to dvd have no rating logo nor station logo. Hopefully one day a proper reproduction will take place. So sad...
I believe I've heard somewhere that the Netflix versions have TV PG logos on some episodes? Perhaps these DVDs are from the same source?
- If i had my way they would all be remastered from the original film negatives and released on bluray! And not in widescreen, well the seasons which weren't supposed to be lol.
I'm rather concerned about the release after reading a review on amazon
I quickly noticed a problem with a juddering effect on panning scenes, where the motion appears to be rather jerky. On investigation, this looks to be due to the source material having been de-interlaced and then re-interlaced. This results in a bigger, so less fluid movement between each frame, as well as every fourth frame being shown twice in a five-frame set; all causing the juddering effect, which personally, I find quite distracting. The R1 Release does not suffer this problem. It also suggests this R2 transfer is from another video source rather than from the original film.
- BBC2 -- I think all but one or two episodes suffer from the frame dupe problem, although I suppose if you can get into it properly, you stop noticing.
The quality of the first season isn't the best imo (I reckon the contrast is off a bit) and considering all the goofs that are visible due to the additional side space, I personally would favor the Region 1 set.
I haven't noticed this problem in season 2 so far, but like I mentioned earlier some episodes do still have the TV PG logos at the beginning, although the visual quality is superior to Season 1.
Cap N Crunch -- I think you've misunderstood my posts, but all seasons are being officially released on DVD in the UK, from Fabulous Films. So the ones I have are not pirate copies, bootlegs, counterfeits or fakes of any kind, but official, factory pressed licensed releases from sources superior to TV or the internet. They are made by a DVD company to be sold in retailers, not by individuals for the black market.
These episodes are from the same source as the ones owned by the broadcasts but it doesn't mean the quality is lame. When you download an episode on the internet it's something like 175 Mb with a resolution of 608x340 pixels and an episode on the DVD is approximately 950 Mb with a resolution of 854x480 pixels which makes a huge difference in term of quality.
Seriously, the only thing that seems unpleasant about this Season 2 box set is the "PG" logo but it lasts about 4 seconds which is not a big deal.
Could you rip the first episode or maybe take some screenshots to show us how it looks?
- Cap N Crunch -- I have several friends in the US, and NONE of them consider imports to be 'bootlegs'. Now I'm not even going to reply to you anymore, because you seem to be out to cause trouble by saying we're wasting money on "Sub Standard" products whilst you enjoy them for "free in HD". You go be happy with what you have, and we'll be happy with what we get. Nice talking to you.
Magic-J -- Here you go: http://s1352.beta.photobucket.com/us...5160/library/?
If pointing out what is obvious causes trouble, by all means be oblivious. Clearly you are stuck on the word bootleg, there can be no debate with such a narrow mindset. You may not like what I've stated, but that doesn't make what I've said any less true. And lastly for you and this board, I made this account with one purpose in mind, to alert. Having done that, there is nothing more I wish to relate. Hopefully one day the original production company comes to its senses and allow MITM to be put to dvd so that ALL of us may enjoy. Toodles...
- a copy that is sold illegally. These DVDs are not bootlegs. The inclusion of some ratings logos is unfortunate. So is your ignorance.
- Fabulous Films did something about these framing issues due to the open matte widescreen episodes.
Here's an example:
They did a nice job, even if it's cropped a little bit, it doesn't really bother me since we get rid of this problem.
- Series 3 will be released in January 2013.
Written by Emma Ward
"(...) My partner and I thought it would be a good idea to watch the first series as well, as a bit of a primer. Just to get an idea of what was going on. He had never seen Malcolm in the Middle before, but was a little intrigued as Bryan Cranston (of Breaking Bad fame) plays the father, Hal, in the show.
We settled down to watch... and were soon laughing out loud and enjoying predicting what the next predicament Malcolm and his family would get into.
This second series is as funny as the first. The more you get to know the family the more you grow to love them... as long as they stay over there. You wouldn’t want their trail of destruction anywhere near you.
I normally review films that require a cup of tea and a biscuit to watch on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Not Malcolm in the Middle, a glass of pop (or beer) and a bag of crisps are required for this. The series is ballsy, sometimes quite close to this side of decency, and often breathtakingly funny.
Regrettably, the only extra on this set is a stills gallery."
- I don't know if you've been following this discussion on the MITM DVD releases on the board of http://www.amazon.co.uk, but it's been getting rather heated lately, due to some disgruntled and possibly vindictive customer or simply troll, who's been forewarning about seasons not even released yet! Fabulous Films (R. Walker is indeed the name of someone on the FF staff) appears to be threatening with legal action!
I can imagine that such comments can be seen as willfully and maliciously damaging. But I would never have thought that, let's say, a review of mine of a concert DVD which I think is lousy, because image quality is bad, the DVD sometimes freezes, or songs appear to have been cut, just like in between song banter, could lead to legal action!
What do you make of this? (some comments edited together down here)
1.0 out of 5 stars
I LOVE MITM! BITS CLUMSILY CUT OUT OF DVDS, 5 Jan 2013
By Lovely Andy "fatman88_2000"
This review is from: Malcolm In The Middle: The Complete Series 4 [DVD] (DVD)
Please be warned.
I love Malcolm in the middle but I purchased season 1 & 2 and so much content has been clumsily chopped out it's left the epsidoes muddled and in some cases jokes without punchlines and punchlines without set ups.
The picture is stretched to fit widescreen, it wasn't shot in widescreen so everyone looks flattened.
It's so sad, I was looking forwards to completing the collection but I've already wasted £40 on season 1 & 2, they won't be getting anymore of my money for such terribly handled DVD release.
If you can#t licence the music don't release the DVDs, or if you do DON'T CHARGE £20 a season!
I've not done any in depth analysis but after a very quick look at episode 2 an incredible amount has been cut, Hal by himself in the restaurant by himself ordering drinks and sharing his meal and having a good time with the toilet attendant. I'm assuming because they couldn't get the licence to whatever the song is in the background. Likewise Lois decided to try and get the kids to behave by smashing the TV, in the actual episode it has her laying out a sheet and getting prepped to smash the TV in front of the boys to a little tune. This has also been cut.Your post, in reply to an earlier post on 16 Jan 2013 14:03:16 GMT
Subtle Scrutinizer says:
I'm sorry, but your comments fall very wide of the mark.
Let's take the episode you mention, 'Red Dress' (S01E02). The scenes with Hal at the restaurant, and with the toilet attendant are both there. Running time of this episode on the original US (Fox) DVD release in 2002: 22:08 mins. Running time for the current UK (Fabulous Films) release in 2012: 22:09 mins. 22 mins. is also the running time given on the Internet Movie Database, incidentally.
And the reason the scene with Lois wielding a hammer in front of the TV is cut the way it is, is that it was a 'cliffhanger' edited to fit around a commercial break, which is where the screen goes black. It was like that on the original DVD.
Oh yes, and Malcolm was originally filmed in widescreen, and is presented that way here (albeit with some widescreen goofs, overlooked while they were filming it, so that's understandable even if it can be annoying), so if the image looks squashed, it depends on your TV or DVD player settings, not on the way it is presented on these DVDs.
They only thing I can imagine is that you have a very faulty copy, which should be returned in that case.
In reply to an earlier post on 19 Jan 2013 04:08:53 GMT
R. Walker says:
Hi Lovely Andy, i own Fabulous Films and I am currently getting your details from Amazon. Your reviews are totally incorrect, there is nothing edited , the music is original. Your reviews are defamatory and incorrect on all the seasons. They are damaging to our company. As soon as Amazon hand over your details expect legal action from us. We never take such troll action lightly ....I hope you find a good lawyer
- I've commented on this guy's review for Season 1, and it's difficult to tell if it's a troll, or if it's just some ignorant person. Personally, I'd have thought the best thing FF can do about these comments is report them to have them deleted.
There's been a new comment on that guy's season 4 'review' since then about a "small cut in Casino" (Someone, presumably the same person, on the FF Facebook page mentioned this also) -- I'm fortunate enough to know someone in the US who has the original airing of season 2 on tape still, and when comparing the DVD with the original airing, there are no differences, so I don't know where this supposed 'cut' came from.
- Thanks for the reply, Mass! I myself think legal action is a bit drastic, though I can see that a number of highfalutin and abrasive comments like these by this guy on a leading webshop site can be very damaging to sales. I would advocate deletion in that case like you do.
However, there's the issue of freedom of speech, and whether it's malicious intent or not. One of the problems is the unreliability of memory. Ask a number of people to describe one of their favourite episodes or skits, or pop concert experiences they watched ten years ago, and you get all sorts of different accounts. Also, shows you found exciting or funny as a teenager, may be disappointing on review, and inspire negative criticism, sometimes blaming the publishers for bad picture quality, sloppy re-editing, or leaving bits out.
You see a lot of people, for instance, believe they watched a show or movie in colour, while it was in black and white, and perhaps the most famous line from Casablanca, "Play it again, Sam", was never even in the movie.
At any rate, I hope this matter can be resolved without too much bloodletting .
P.S. My recorded version of "Casino" clocks in at 22:14 mins, including end credits and the final Satin, Regency and Fox logos.
- Threatening legal action is just silly. Not a good way to deal with bad/incorrect reviews. He should get the details of the customer and try and help them out, not threaten them!
- I can't believe this is happening! I found out by accident while searching for pictures from the show on google (a picture of the season 2 cover led me to this site). I've already recieved the second season in the mail and am very pleased with the picture quality. It was a bit expensive (came to about $45 in U.S. dollars), but I've gotten several TV shows at very low prices, so I can't really complain. My season 3 pre-order was a bit cheaper, too.
- I think this reviewer is probably a troll, as the exact same reviews appear on Play's listings for seasons 1 & 2.
Can't believe Season 3 is only days away now, hoping to get my hands on it next week, I'll post back when I receive it, and let you all know if there's any more TV PG logos, or whether there's subtitles, etc.
- My season 3 set arrived today, and checking out a few episodes the TV PG logos are a little more frequent, and like the last two, this set is still in NTSC format. However, the 'Company Picnic' episode is the two-part syndicated version, as opposed to the one-hour original. This means that a few lines are omitted here and there, as well as the entire "Locker Room" scene at the ice rink being left out. I do have the original hour long company picnic episode, but it's not exactly good quality. Would've been nice for them to include it on this set, but I guess they've done the best they can, it's just another unfortunate case surrounding the release of this show I suppose.
EDIT: There's a "Stills Gallery" listed on the back cover, which is either absent from my DVD copy, or impossible to find. There's also no subtitles again, which was expected due to season 2 not having any.
- Does anyone know if a DVD release in other countries is now possible?
We're thinking of doing a petition asking for a French release of the DVDs but we'd like to make sure that this is actually possible from a legal standpoint.
- Hi Tyno,
This sounds like a great idea! You know I asked Fabulous Films for at least the S1 re-release with the original French and Spanish language tracks and Spanish subtitles, but it turned out they were copyrighted to other companies who created these tracks.
Now, I wish I could answer your question about music rights and distribution/publishing rights, but I'm afraid I can't. I tried looking at the German and French Amazon sites and the French Fnac site for some relevant comments on the issue, but I got no definite answers.
(P.S. Isn't it stupid that the French Amazon doesn't tell us the S1 release has not just Spanish but also French language tracks? I know there's still the technical regional compatibility issue, but they should at least update their site!)
At least now I know that a S1 release was announced by Kinowelt in Germany for December 2005 with this cover (below). It was said to include interviews, "B-roll" (unused secondary shots) and a set tour with Frankie, but it was cancelled, for the same music rights issues: "postponed indefinitely".
Michael Geidel from Kinowelt, on November 28, 2005:
Leider hat sich das Rechteproblem noch nicht lösen lassen und wir mussten den Titel zu unserem großen Bedauern erst einmal auf unbestimmte Zeit verschieben. Ja, es hat mit den Musikrechten zu tun. Tut mir leid.
Problème de droits
En effet, l'excellentissime série MALCOLM ne devrait jamais voir le jour... Le problème est que dès la saison 2 de nombreux morceaux de musique ont été utilisés sans aucunes autorisations et ce tout au long des saisons suivantes... Lors de la diffusion TV, les droits d'auteurs sont reversés comme pour un passage en radio mais pour la commercialisation d'un support enregistré il faut l'autorisation écrite contre arrangement financier des différents ayant droits, et pour le coup ça coûterait bien trop cher à la Fox... donc aucun intérêt pour eux de la sortir en DVD si ça doit leur couter plus cher que ça ne leur rapporterai... voilà le fin mot de l'histoire... Source provenant d'un ami commercial chez Fox Pathé Europa...
- This is exactly why I need to make sure a release is indeed possible. There's no point of doing a petition if there is no possible way it's going to happen. If we make a petition, we need to make it clear that a release is indeed possible.
I've made a bit of research myself and, like you, I didn't find anything 100% conclusive.
As you know, the release of MITM DVDs is impossible due to the music licensing for the DVD release, which was not negociated when the episodes first aired. Fine. But then, what can explain that Fabulous Films, which appears to be a small British company, is successfully releasing the entire series with the original soundtrack?
It would seem that the law regarding music copyright is different in the UK. That's the only valid explanation I can come up with.
This Wikipedia article states clearly that
in the UK and elsewhere, with the exception of the US, there is apparently no legal prohibition to the combination of audio and visual images and no explicit statutory right for the collection of synch royalties.However, there is no further information on the synchronization royalties legislation in France or in the UK, for that matter.
What would be useful is to find out if the legislation in France is similar to the one in the UK, which would mean that a DVD release with the original soundtrack is indeed possible. Of course, I guess that the studio would need to pay for the rights of the French dubbing and possibly pay for the creation of subtitles as well. But on paper, if the legislation is similar, it would be possible.
I would add that indeed, the release of the first series was planned in 2005 in Germany and was cancelled, but the release of the whole series was announced in France in 2009 and never happened as well.
- My Season 4 set arrived today, and I'm incredibly dissapointed with it. Not only are the TV PG logos present on EVERY episode (they were bearable at first, but this is just taking the Michael!) the episodes themselves are FIELD BLENDED, which is very bad for videophiles such as myself!
Basically, what this means is that the source material, which was interlaced has been de-interlaced using the 'field blend' technique, which combines overlapping fields in to one frame. This might be fixable if someone has enough time on their hands to do a manual conversion.
For those who aren't sure what I'm talking about, here is a screenshot from the DVD episode "Family Reunion":
For a commercial DVD, this sort of stuff really is not on, considering all DVD players and PC software is equipped with the appropriate deinterlacing tools. Nothing gets to me more than field blending.
If the next season is released like this, I think I'll just stick with my BBC 2 recordings.
- Well, Mass, this sounds like bad news to me!
I don't consider myself a videophile or a technofreak, but I like carefully presented and restored source material, and this sounds extremely erratic, like, we have a couple of Netflix versions, and some other sources, let's slap them together and we have a product.
Another disadvantage is that, generally speaking, the existing DVD versions tend to stick around, because, as the sources get older and become less interesting to market, reissues tend to be straight DVD copies with just perhaps a new, trendier looking sleeve, but no new scans, improved sound or extras. So no subtitles for the hearing-impaired, no interviews etc.
I just got Season 2, which I'm satisfied with on the whole, because the widescreen does look great to me and opens up the excellent, panoramic cinematography, but I did notice the TV logo on the first episode, and the "Stills Gallery" (all of which we have on our site), which has two stills per episode at most, presented in the wrong order, and some episodes missing - that is, of episodes which have stills, because some don't have stills, for which Fabulous is not to blame.
It's a real pity, sloppiness where we could have, not I'd say definitive collections, but at least consistently well and completely presented source material.
- I just got my Season 4 set and went through a few episodes. It's not nearly as bad as I was expecting. Sometimes when the camera moves the video is slightly jerky, but since this show is 23.97 fps, it's not really that noticeable (to me, at least).
I remember when I bought the last few seasons of Home Improvement. That show was shot on video, so it's supposed to look "live", but they screwed something up on them and several episodes felt like they were in slow motion. That's what I was expecting with this set, but these episodes are still completely watchable, in my opinion.
I reckon as fans, we want things to be as perfect as they can, because the series is dear to us, and we happen to know lots of things about it that would escape the general viewer.
Sometimes I believe we (including me) are nitpicking. I'm really glad we have them now as they are, at long last, in widescreen and with good image and sound. There's always room for improvement, and I do miss subtitles, nice extras and some more attention to production details. I think it's also matter of less than huge investments the company can afford, otherwise we would have subtitles, higher image resolution without interlacing etc.
That's why S2 I think has a stills gallery, because there was some room left on the fourth disc, while the others could be squeezed onto 3 discs. They're just trying to economize, which is something a smallish enterprise has to do I guess.
Four star-review by Lauren Cracknell
It can often be said that the third season of a long running show is usually when it hits its peak and this is certainly true of Malcolm in the Middle. And when you have an award winning episode starring Susan Sarandon, Bradley Whitford, Christina Ricci and Heidi Klum you know you are in the hay day [sic, heyday] years of a show.
We’re back with the same familiarity of characters, who have come into their own and the writing is just spot on. Whilst the show has become comfortable in what it is, it has not yet become complacent.
In this season Malcolm and Reese are that step further into adolescence and the ensuing situations that entails (girls’ boobs), Dewey remains just superb as a character and as a child comedic actor, and no, it’s not just his ears. This season particularly seems to explore Dewey’s utter rage about the bullying he has endured from his brothers over the years and despite being weird and potentially very stupid you can see the foreshadowing of Dewey becoming the most powerful of them all! If you want to actually start analysing human behaviour in what is a light-hearted comedy you could applaud the writers for their development of Dewey as he grows to realise the abuse he has faced whilst we know that next season he becomes a big brother himself.
A major highlight for me in season 3 is what has been increasing from the beginning, Malcolm’s parents Lois (Jane Kaczmarek) and Hal (Bryan Cranston). They have hilarious dialogue and scenes to play with and any episode which focuses more on them is a joy to watch. What I came to realise of this season is that I am envious of the marriage they have, they are just so beautifully made for each other and despite having the horror of four boys are still madly in love (with a lot of sex!). Who wouldn’t want that for themselves.
An unfortunate low point for me is Francis’ (Christopher Masterson) plot lines. The eldest son has never been my favourite but this season he abandons military school and runs away to some northern state to end up trapped in more or less the same situation. These scenes generally just left me cold. We’ll see how it goes next season but I get the feeling it is the part of the show that will always just be a bit blurgh.
My favourite moment in the entire season though has to be when Bradley Whitford is talking about his porn addiction.
If you enjoyed the first two seasons there is no question that you should add this to your collection. If you haven’t bothered with the first two this is definitely worth purchasing as a stand alone season.
Five star-review (!) by Lauren Cracknell
As you’ll remember if you’ve read my other reviews of Malcolm in the Middle season 1-3 I have been reminded reviewing these just how great this show is. And thankfully with season 4 there is no decline in the standard of writing and comedy. If anything this may well be my favourite season yet.
I’m going to say this season hits such a chord with me because I just identified with it so much. Be it the use of Malcolm’s friend’s father to scare away Lois’ mother only because he is black (shout out to racist Gran here) to the classic episode where Lois imagines what it would be like if her boys were girls. Coming from a family of three girls I am well aware we are evil. Much more than a pack of four boys could ever be. As female Malcolm pointed out to Lois, we know how you think and we will use it against you.
The introduction of a new youngest. Sure I may be the youngest child but damn you nieces and nephews for taking away being the youngest in the family. The season opens with Malcolm having been sulking all summer because he is a teenager and the world sucks (according to my mother I didn’t speak to her for a year when I was a teenager – personally I don’t remember this).
As with the other 3 seasons there are a plethora of familiar faces and whilst there are a few less in this season they are still there; Hayden Panettiere crops up as an impressive nemesis for Malcolm (along with some impressively frizzy hair) and the appearance of Christopher Lloyd as Hal’s father cannot be faulted, mainly because I don’t think I could ever fault Christopher Lloyd. If you’re a TV geek you will notice (mainly because I have just pointed it out) the appearance of a character in the episode Future Malcolm; it is the same guy from Friends who Phoebe talks out of killing himself. Same actor but the very subtle reveal is that he mentions his job selling toner.
I continue with Malcolm in the Middle to love Dewey, particularly his issues with dealing with the birth of the youngest child and his continued outsmarting of his older brothers. He is an evil mastermind and demonstrates this with his subtle manipulation of adults.
Whilst last season I found Hal and Lois and their relationship were the stars for me, it is Hal (Bryan Cranston) who is the outstanding feature of the entire show. He is just hilarious, every episode with Hal focus makes me laugh. I must however give props to the writing around Hal and Lois, faced with a fifth child and financial [troubles] they somehow manage to portray real fears and anxiety with both comedy and real emotion. It was also nice to see this season a change in the relationships between Lois and Francis. The end of the season you’ll know what I am referring to.
I again am looking forward to season 5, knowing that season 4 will be something I watch again and again. I just hope the next season doesn’t begin a decline in the quality.
by Emma Ward
Malcolm in the Middle is one of those series (of which there are seven to enjoy) that is so easy to watch that before you know it you have watched quite a few and missed the release deadline and find yourself writing a review a day late. It’s a bit like doing your homework in detention, except this is easy detention where you get to mess about because no teacher has turned up to supervise.
In this third series of the highly enjoyable peek at the lives of Malcolm and his family we are treated to Reese (Justin Berfield) going to high school, Francis (Christopher Masterson) leaving Military School and running away to Alaska, and Dewey (Erik Per Sullivan) looking after the school hamster ‘Bernard’.
Malcolm (Frankie Muniz) is a genius who attends special classes much to his disdain. He often talks directly to camera giving us an insight into his thoughts of the family which are generally negative.
The first episode sees the family on holiday in a houseboat with Malcolm's best friend Stevie and his parents. Malcolm’s parents, Hal (the ever excellent Bryan Cranston) and Lois (Jane Kaczmarek) try to keep their boys in check whilst with Stevie’s and his parents, but it is Stevie’s parents who cause more problems.
Future delights for the observer of this probably truer to life than you would care to admit family include Malcolm getting a girlfriend, much to his parents' disdain; the aforementioned ‘Bernard’ being freed by Dewey to save him from the school bully and Lois taking dance lessons.
Francis’ stories often run parallel to the main families; during the “Christmas” episode he is packed off to visit Lois’ mother, Ida (played with panache by Cloris Leachman). Ida is a grumpy, lonely old woman who appears to hate everyone. She has a jaded view of the world and does not welcome Francis into her home. They bicker constantly, but eventually part with a grudging respect for each other.
There are some marvellous deviations into surreal places. At one point Hal is looking after the boys alone and has an assortment of consciences telling him what to do, these manifest themselves as himself in ever smaller guises until he is surrounded by mini Hals berating his parenting skills.
Malcolm in the Middle is a consistently funny series. The situations the family find themselves in may be outlandish but there always seems to be a grain of reality. Anyone with siblings will appreciate the abject rivalry between the brothers, but when needed, they will join forces against their parents; Malcolm being the brains, Reese the brawn and Dewey the sweet angelic one.
Guest stars in this series include, Tom Green, Heidi Klum, Christina Ricci and Colin Ferguson.
by Emma Ward
Here we go again with season four of this excellent sitcom. If you are new to Malcolm in the Middle let me introduce you to the family. Malcolm (Frankie Muniz) is the genius son and brother in a fraught American family. He is frequently the instigator of plans to make life better for himself and his brothers in a continual war with their parents. Malcolm’s intelligence is also often used to get the family out of tricky situations.
Dewey (Erik Per Sullivan) is the youngest and probably wisest brother. He can turn on the charm when puppy dog eyes are required or speak reason to his panicking father. Reese (Justin Berfield) is the second eldest and least understood brother; he occupies a world of his own where simple things amuse him. He is both tormentor and occasional saviour to his younger brothers.
Francis (Christopher Masterson) is the eldest of the four brothers. He was sent to military school after causing his parents many, many problems. He ran away from military school and worked for a time in Alaska until he again ran away. This season sees him grow up quite dramatically.
Finally Malcolm’s parents Lois (Jane Kaczmarek) and Hal (Bryan Cranston). Lois is forced to rule over her family with an iron fist, she should be awarded medals and honours for keeping any kind of order amongst her unruly brood. Hal often behaves like another child. He is at times competitive and at others pathetic, he will reluctantly back his wife up when disciplining the boys but let them get away with most things when she is not around.
So the scene is set for the fourth instalment of adventures for Malcolm and his family. We are treated to a trip to the Zoo where Malcolm and Dewey are almost eaten by tigers; Malcolm begins high school where he ends up humiliated by his mother in front of the whole school; we meet Hal's extended family in an episode which guest stars Christpher Lloyd who puts in a tour de force performance as Hal's dad.
It is very difficult to find fault with this series, if anything I would say this series is better than the previous one, particularly with Francis’ storyline. Francis is generally away from his family apart from several visits each season. This year sees him down on his luck having recently married Piama (Emy Coligado) and being out of work. He meets Otto (Kenneth Mars) and Gretchen (Meagen Fay) who just happen to run a ranch and just happen to need a manager.
The ranch is badly run and the employees take advantage of the overly generous Otto. Francis, who has gradually matured somewhat over the last two series does not take advantage and becomes a competent manager who looks out for Otto.
It is this development of the characters that makes Malcolm in the Middle such an enjoyable show. Another good example is Malcolm himself; he is now taking an interest in girls and goes through a couple of relationships as he begins to find his way around these strange creatures. He also goes through various emotions; he becomes quite depressed in the first episode and tries to think before he speaks in another, initially enjoying other people’s reactions but eventually ending up becoming quite stressed and getting an ulcer.
Lois surprises the family with an unexpected pregnancy this year which will no doubt cause some upset. It also means that actor Jane Kaczmarek does not have to continually hide her real baby bump behind cushions and assorted pieces of furniture.
Whilst I would not generally associate with a family like this I am always interested to see where they will go and what they will do next. I look forward to seeing how they cope in the future.
- I noticed a technical problem with the Fabulous Films DVD of S2. The "paint splash" buttons on the menu to activate individual episodes often fail to work on my PC and from my TV DVD-player. If you click them, the DVD just stops and the screen turns to black, or whatever initial state it was in. Very annoying! I have to hit the Play All-button, and then work my way through all the chapters most of the time.
Does anyone have similar experiences, or with subsequent seasons?
- Here's a link to the classification of Season 5, including all the running times for every episode if anyone wants to check and see if anything's been cut at all?
Also, was wondering if anyone had any screencaps of the DVD menus, or any links to unboxing videos for Seasons 2-4? Haven't picked them up yet as I'm hoping for a complete set once they're all out!
No, I haven't got any of the things you ask (yet), but thanks a lot for the great BBFC-link. It's nice to see that this detailed info is readily available for media like MITM.
- I've had a chance to review Season 1, and bah, what an awful awful low quality transfer. NTSC, not PAL though it is Region 2. Looks like a poor transfer from the original disk.
Considering the thing was shot on film, you'd have thought they'd have been able to do a proper transfer from film stock to 50fps DVD or at least convert from the 60fps video sources to 50fps.
Im a fan of Buffy, and even though that was shot on film, the first two seasons were at least mastered on video, but we get a nice PAL video. Season 3-5 however seems to have good film stock with no interlacing.
Malcolm in the Middle however also does not appear to be interlaced from episode one onwards, but it's still at 30fps for the frame rate (60fps field rate).
Im not quite sure how Fabulous Films are justifying taking so much time over releasing each season when they don't even appear to be doing anything....
Season 2 to review however first. But, a little disappointed so far.
- Bleh. Season 2 is also interlaced - Im not quite sure why the other posted said the video was field blended - I always thought that was a deinterlacing method, and these videos are heavily interlaced.
And the very first episode of season 2, shows "fox widescreen" with the TV PG L or whatever logo in the corner.
Very very very disappointing.
They haven't gone to original stock. If anything, all they've done is gone to the syndicated versions which is quite poor considering the cost. Not worth the £20+ IMHO. £15 for an archive yes, but £20 for doing nothing more than whacking NTSC video sources (when this thing was filmed on 16mm) and adding a couple of menus.... is poor.
They don't use the original sources, and they haven't even converted from NTSC to PAL! Abysmal.
I hope things improve for Season 5, otherwise I'm just going to have to stop buying them from here onwards, which I really do not want to do.
I know I've said in the past that something is better than nothing, but Satellite TV Channel "5 Star" manages to broadcast remastered versions with little interlacing (which only occurs on a few 'sped up' shots) and to my knowledge, no cuts. It's sad that TV is better quality than commercial home video.
(and the one next to that in our Gallery).
Richiepiep, this does actually make me wonder if the Netflix masters were used for this DVD set. Obviously this isn't a case of FF screen capturing the Netflix streams, it would be more complex than that, but I wouldn't put it past FOX to supply versions created specifically for online streaming; it would explain the field blending to be honest.
I also find the image quality generally very dark. Look at the indoor and night scenes for Casino, Lois' Birthday, Dinner Out and Halloween Approximately for instance. I really can't watch those without adjusting the brightness settings.
Attachment: this is how a scene from "Halloween Approximately" looks for me in a default setting.
P.S. Surprisingly, the 'general' reviews on the net, by people who are more or less professional reviewers, just remark how funny the series is, how well acted and written, but don't even single out something as obvious to me as the great cinematography, let alone details we come up with about frame rate and image quality. You find that here and on Amazon for instance. So it doesn't seem to bother the general public. But I'm really glad we notice it, and wonder why they couldn't have done better.
- I believe it has been said that the version on Netflix is syndicated so bits are cut out. Maybe it's the only masters version that Fox has? That would be surprising, aren't the episodes broadcasted here in the UK uncut?
Anyway, I agree with all of you. This DVD edition is atrocious. I can understand that they can't put / afford any extra, but the menus look like something out of the 90s and look plain awful, and the video quality is very, very poor and interlaced, and I've never seen a DVD edition with logos and such from the original broadcast.
- I just hope the episode where Francis is on the ranch where he swears about Willy playing the music isn't cut. I killed myself laughing when I first saw that, then every other time I've seen it, has been cut! Devastated or what!
Fox should do a new transfer in HD then give us some actual Blurays with the original cuts, true framerate, every languages + subtitles, an awesome video and audio bitrate, 16:9 ratio and maybe some features. That's all i want.
- I just got these replies from personal communication with Richard Walker, head of production for Fabulous Films, to complaints about the MITM DVDs raised by us here and on Amazon, and he was graceful enough to share them with us!
Hie replies are in bold type.
Why are the releases in NTSC while region 2 should normally be PAL format?
DVD players nowadays have the capability to play NTSC or PAL DVDs, the region coding is the only regional part. We release most of our shows in the original format, and most of our shows are American.
Why are the shows noticeably interlaced causing lots of combing effects? (the lines visible in fast-moving parts of the image, especially when viewed on computers)
This will normally be down to the TV set, not the player of the disc, some older TVs aren't designed for playing NTSC discs. This never shows up on any of our players.
Why do American rating agency symbols and Fox Widescreen Digital TV logos appear on some episodes randomly?
This has been a massive headache..after we released season 1 in widescreen, we were told that all the seasons had widescreen masters. Seasons 1 and 2 were shot on 16mm then seasons 3-7 were on HD. So we thought let's release it all in widescreen. We order our masters direct from Fox and they have scoured the vaults and the only widescreen versions they have have the burnt indents in. They have plenty of 4.3 masters without but for some reason they were made like this and I have tried to access the original footage and this has proved impossible. We thought the indents were a small price to pay for having the benefit of the widescreen versions.
What it all boils down to is this: why couldn't someone go back to the masters on 16mm film and have them scanned?
The cost of doing this is huge, our view is don't mess with history, they were made and broadcast like this. We would have had more objection if we had messed with it.
Were compressed digital transfers meant for TV (syndication or streaming) used "as is" for the release?
All syndication masters were 4.3, these widescreen were only used domestically.
The transfers also appear to be on the dark side, making adjustments on TV and computer screen necessary to see details.
Nothing has been altered, we are working off the original broadcast masters. The first set of tapes Fox sent me were dreadful, it has been a huge battle to get out what we have.
And there's the lack of subtitles. I know there will be budgetary constraints and so on, but still.
I would love to but it would add a cost of £10,000 to each season. Season 1 has sold about 3,000 copies, to Season 4 about 500 copies. If season 1 had shipped 10,000 units on release of course I would have added subtitles. The DVD market is in massive decline due to all the online theft and file sharing, it means the real fans who actually buy the product are now denied all the bonus features they were used to enjoying..
I see people kind of waver between enthusiasm that the series had finally become available, and in widescreen, which is a very nice bonus, and disappointment that the image quality couldn't be better and that we are now likely to be stuck with these versions for a long time and in possible re-releases, as the sources get older and are becoming less likely to get marketed as expensive "deluxe" transfers with extras.
It is highly unlikely that Fox will ever release all of them in the US and it is highly unlikely they will present anything more than we have. They should have released them off the back of the broadcast and they would have sold well. Now it is an old show to them and of little interest and thus they won't invest anything into it, plus the music clearance costs in the US are astronomical. [As for possible extras, like interviews, gag reels and trailers], I made contact with all the key casts agents and got no support what so ever. I did try.
Hope this answers you questions, and enjoy the rest of the series!! Season 6 release has just been posted on Amazon.
- My season 5 set arrived today, and once again it is field blended, which as most people know, I absolutely despise. I regret to post that I shall no longer be purchasing any future sets, as I have season 5 onwards recorded from TV, without field blending artifacts.
Such a shame really. I don't recall seeing any "TV PG" logos on this set, and I'm not sure if it's FF deciding to de-interlace these sets all of a sudden or not, but personally I don't want to pay for junked/ghost frames on a DVD set. This is the sort of thing I'd expect from a download.
So sorry to say guys, but unless they re-release these sets without the field blending, then I shall be waiting for something else to turn up.
- Hi Mass,
I can perfectly understand your decision, as we were all more or less disappointed with the end results. What do you think of Richard Walker's comments on these issues?
- Hi there, I've been reading the comments in this thread for a while now and I feel like I need to make a comment of my own after seeing so many complaints about the DVDs. I don't mean to come across as rude or anything, but are the DVDs really that bad? I mean at the end of the day does it honestly matter? I can think of way more important things in life than moaning that they aren't perfect and to say you will no longer buy them just seems a bit too drastic. Fans have all been waiting years for this show to come out on DVD and finally it has and all of the episodes are in full and play fine, so what are you complaining for? I have purchased every DVD so far and I can't see what is wrong with the episodes, we should just be grateful that they have finally been released! Again, I don't mean to sound argumentative, I am just baffled as to what is worth complaining about?
- Hi Tom,
The reason I'm not going to be buying anymore is because of this 'field blending' technique they've suddenly applied to the DVDs from season 4 onwards. I posted a screenshot example on page 17.
Like you, I have been waiting for years for this to finally come out, but I don't want to pay a premium for something that is actually inferior to what I recorded from BBC 2 many years ago.
I appreciate the fact that he's taken the time to explain a few things, I can understand his frustration regarding the release of this series. It makes me wonder if people have complained about the interlacing so much that they've resorted to field blending just to please them. But as the old saying goes, you can't please everyone. If I had the choice to de-interlace these myself, then by all means I would continue buying this series. I would really like to know if they're aware of this field blending issue personally, but I haven't a clue how to contact them.
I don't fully understand his comments about going back to the film masters and re-scanning. Unless this show was edited on tape instead of film, then how would going back to the negatives alter the episodes in any way?
And finally RE: The TV-PG logos. I remember BBC 2 showed these in widescreen, as did Sky One, and I don't recall seeing any TV PG logos at all. Perhaps Fox junked these masters, or maybe the TV stations simply cropped them out for broadcast? It's possible, but unfortunately I don't have any episodes recorded from earlier seasons to find out.
- Hi Tom,
Thanks for your reply! I think, as I have implied before, it has a lot to do with fandom.
If you just have fond memories of the series that you saw a decade ago, or want to buy MITM on the strength of the great reviews it's getting on various sites and word of mouth, I think you'll be fine with the series as it is, like you say. This is the sentiment you get from the general reviews on the web: very funny, extremely well written, great actors etc., and no comments on camerawork, the original soundtrack used, image quality, edits, and what have you.
However, we as MITM fanatics (me included) have been watching episodes over and over again for years, taking them apart, been obsessed with or let me say intrigued by all sorts of details, so we've come to expect the royal 'Lord of the Rings' treatment so to speak (or 'Seinfeld' in terms of TV series, thanks sjdean for pointing this out), with pristine image, extended versions, outtakes, cast and crew commentaries, gag reels etc. and not just a straight transfer of the TV broadcasts. In that sense, it can easily become a letdown.
Yes, I think we ought to be glad about what we have now, and I appreciate Richard Walker's comments about how hard it can be to even get Fox to go though their vaults and release whatever material they come up with after a few cursory glances.
As a case in point, even in the case of a highly acclaimed recent cult series like "Breaking Bad", I had some discussions with Dutch and Belgian TV how long it took them to get the right masters from AMC with the soundtrack intact, credit sequences etc.
I hope this helps!
- Hi Mass,
To get back to your comments, what do you make of Richard Walker's comments on interlacing and such? If I get his point, it doesn't bother me either on my TV set and standalone player, only when I play them with computer software, and then I can adjust the settings to de-interlace with various sub-options, as on VLC. So if I remember to do so each time, it's not distracting I would say.
Yes, I think his opinion about re-scanning the film as messing with history is a fallacy. I think he means to defend what he got from Fox, and probably feels frustrated that they didn't get back to the film masters in the first place. Apparently, Fox has little interest now in MITM, so they don't want to carry out an exhaustive search and come up with consistently high-quality source material, just some version they have ready for syndication or streaming on various platforms.
The PG logos are American, so I think they are the most likely versions to get from Fox if you contact them, along with the NTSC format. British versions may be harder to get from them, so they won't bother, or they may even be modified to what you've seen by the British channels after they bought them, I dont know.
Personally, I wouldn't think of the interlacing to be an issue what so ever, because like you said, you can de-interlace it, so there is a solution, and Richard Walker does justify that within his comment, specifying that it would only affect older TVs, although he probably should've taken PCs into account too.
Besides, I think those 'sped up' shots rely on the interlacing, as these are the only parts of my PAL broadcasts that are interlaced. The rest are progressive. Does anyone know why the makers included these 'sped up' shots by the way?
- The problem is when you compare it to shows such as The Munsters or even Seinfeld.
These were both shot on film as far as I can tell, and they're released seemingly from the original source rather than video tape masters.
Star Trek Voyager, was I think either done on video or mastered on video and so interlacing is to be expected.
However Malcolm was shot on film, so the expectancy is for us to get what other shows shot on film do, and that is get copies of the film masters on DVD. In America, yes this would be sped up to 30fps (29.97fps actually) due to NTSC Telecine, but this is easily rectifiable.
However we haven't got that. What we do have is the video tape broadcast masters. In other words, they haven't gone back to source. It isn't a rip, but it could be equated quite easily to just me or you sitting in a back room, downloading the shows from NetFlix or something, sticking on DVD and charging £20.
Now judging from the comments from FF, one must assume - a) the show isn't that popular or it would sell more, b) FF are a tight bunch or c) Fox have zero intention of releasing the film.
There was a big hoo ha when Roseanne was released because the first season was the syndicated versions with edits, which in the DVD realm is just plain silly because the masters were available.
It doesn't affect the show in the slightest, but it is a sloppy, butchered half hearted attempt at a release seeminglly to cater to the fan boys only, which could have been so much better and actually generated a lot more revenue.
- Thanks for your perceptive comments, sjdean. I don't have a lot of other series on DVD, so I have little to compare MITM with in terms of image quality or care taken to produce them.
From my point of view, we have the advantage with MITM of a release that is long overdue, and Fox apparently now has little interest in, compounded by the expensive music rights issues in the US, which nearly preclude a release over there. Then we have the added bonuses of the music score intact, so no weak cover versions or generic mood music, and no (syndicated) edits - I hope at least in the case of double episodes - plus widescreen for all episodes, which nicely opens up the image in a cinematic way, even though we get some goofs in the bargain.
So far, so good for Fabulous.
Though Richard Walker appears to bungle his argument about scanning the film sources, I hope that he means or tries to cover up the fact that Fox was unwilling to get back to the source, and tried to fob him off with some material straight off the shelf. This is the impression I get at least, also because we have the rating logos and such on some of them.
Fabulous does appear to be a niche company, as MITM S1 and S2 are their top selling items with just a few thousand copies sold. On the other hand, I asked him why they did record special cast interviews for their "Automan" and "Manimal" releases (minor cult series running for just one season, whose sales according to Amazon appear to be one-third of MITM) and included loads of extras for the children's animation series "Mysterious Cities of Gold" (sales rank a bit lower than MITM), while no such option apparently was available for MITM. Richard said he got no cooperation from cast agents, and we have to take his word for it, but it does look a bit odd.
Yes, and I did use the argument that more extensive, high-gloss releases would probably generate more revenue, but that's always a gamble, I reckon.
At any rate, I'll be buying all seasons from FF regardless.
- You thought my explanation was good? I just re-read it and it sounds like drivel to me with badly explained concepts. To clarify a couple of matters on my previous post, like Seinfeld and the Munsters et al, if we could have gone back to the original film masters, America would have got the Telecined version running at 29.97 fps, while we would have got a sped up 25fps up from the normal film rate of 24fps. Which is exactly what we see on Seinfeld and the Munsters.
Incidentally ripping those for inclusion on a media centre is a doddle as there is no interlacing and everything displays perfectly.
I think we also get the same luxury with Friends and Cheers which were also shot on film, which is why Hi Def Blu Ray version have been made possible.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer while shot on film was mastered on video I think in the early seasons so there's interlacing all over the place, and even that show doesn't generate enough revenue to generate a Hi Def copy. Star Trek Next Gen which was mastered on video, because that's such a popular franchise, has been/is being sorted for Hi Def with many of the effects being reproduced.
It may be that this is what we're seeing with Malcolm in the Middle and it was mastered on Video.
But in that case I'd rather stick with Interlaced Source. Whoever said deinterlacing was easy. Handbrake have only recently started to support Bob which I find superior in terms of motion fluidity. Otherwise things just become jittery.,
The first season of Malcolm though, there's no interlacing (apart from the first episode) suggesting that this was shot on film and mastered on film.
I'd rather have the episodes without "Fox Widescreen" plastered on top though.
To explain my thoughts though, I would say either/or:
1) Malcolm isn't the popular show we thought it was - therefore no one is buying it, therefore there's no reason to spend all that money going back to source.
2) Fabulous Films are tight and can't be bothered to spend the cash to get the masters - however if the show isn't popular then....
3) Fox are obstructive - which wouldn't surprise me.
4) People have heard about the technical limitations and decided to stick with what they've got realising that Fabulous Films releases do not give them anything more other than a legal archive.
I know very little about Automan or Manimal. Is it possible that those were released by independents and as such have less restrictions than say Fox?
- Well, sjdean, your explanations and guesses were good enough for me, which makes your current additions even better!
So, Seinfeld for instance in its UK (R2) DVD release runs a bit faster with jittery movement and a slightly chipmunk-ish sound? I'd rather not have that!
As for Automan and Manimal, both are actually Fox (!) releases, but their original producer was Glen A. Larson, who was apparently very keen to cooperate with Fabulous. I can imagine that, if you still have a personal interrest in your brainchildren, releases become a lot easier to get off the ground.
With the original Regency Television gone, I don't think there is any personal involvement in releasing MITM left from the company side. I wonder if Richard Walker pushed the right buttons, though. My guess is that if he had contacted Linwood Boomer (Satin City) or Todd Holland in the first place, instead of dealing with Fox, things may taken a turn for the better and run a lot smoother. But that's crying over spilt milk by now.
Yes, our site might have chipped in in this respect too.
- Hiya Rich,
With regards to Seinfeld, I notice no jitter whatsoever, and I wouldn't say anybody sounds chipmunkish - though whether I'd notice it if I compared to the NTSC version.
Now with PAL, they can either insert the extra frame which gives the jitter by repeating a frame, or they can do 2:2 pulldown to speedup. You actually get a more faithful transfer IMHO for video, even if it is 4% faster.
NTSC however, uses 2:3 pulldown and creates an extra frame by interpolating four frames and converting four frames to five. I've never thought NTSC looked as clean as PAL. That probably explains it.
Of course if they could have gone back to sources, the NTSC disks may just have had a telecine flag on, but it appears that they have been field blended. If I had the choice though between field blended NTSC using 2:3 pull down verses 2:2 pulldown for PAL, I'd rather go with the latter. I'd rather have the original sources but... hey, that don't look like it's gunna happen.
Im sure you could slow down the audio on PAL if you were serious and revert back to 24fps for film.
It's quite technical, but I think I get it. Thanks!
I never realized that I lot of the movies or TV series I have watched on TV over the years (we have PAL) were probably sped up a little, or had some jerky movements due to these video transfers. Strange that these frame rates have such a long history of fundamental differences, requiring rather unsatisfactory solutions, unless they were shot on film specifically for TV at either 25 or 30 frames of course.
It's also weird that I've heard no one talk or complain about this difference in reviews outside this site so far, only in general terms of 'poor image quality' or 'bad transfers'. The most technical they get is 'visible interlacing' or 'combing', but nothing else.
- So hey guys, i got some questions regarding these DVDs and would like to see if it's worth the purchase.
So first how is the quality of the picture? Might seem like a stupid question but would like to make sure that it is perfect quality.
And do these DVDs include any extra footage, like bloopers or behind the scenes?
Thx for your help ^^
AM talking bout the UK release bdw.
Well, first of all, you could read the thread above your post, which will pretty much answers all of your questions!
To summarize, the picture quality is quite good, all episodes are in widescreen (though not in high-definition of course) which hasn't been shown on many channels yet, and has never appeared on DVD. People do complain about the interlacing/combing (lines) which can show up in fast-moving scenes, depending on the player or software you use. It will only bother you on a computer most of the time, not on TV, and then you can set the software playback to "deinterlacing mode".
Episode 2x01: Interlaced image (default)
Episode 2x01: Deinterlaced image
There are no subtitles, except for Season 1.
There are no extras either, except for Season 1.
This is because S1 is a straight copy, as far as bonus features are concerned, of the early American DVD release in Region 1-format.
Season 2 only has an official stills gallery, all of which (and more) can be found on our site.
Fabulous Films did not have any additional budget to include subtitles or bonus features.
I hope this can help you make up your mind!
- Kk, thx a lot.
I've decided to order the 1st season DVD set. Maybe i'll order some more seasons, depending on how much i'm satisfied
- That's a good thing to hear, toplol!
If you don't have the 2002 US release of Season 1 yet, I can guarantee you you'll be statisfied by S1, because this one comes with loads of extras.
And at least my point of view is, if we don't pay for releases of MITM, whether it is DVDs, streaming or downloads from outlets like iTunes, we will certainly never see any more high-quality releases on BluRay or with commentary tracks and other bonus features, because companies won't risk the investment if they can only expect a few thousand copies sold, as it appears to be now.
- Hi, everyone. I'm thinking about buying one of the earlier seasons (s1-4) on DVD (haven't decided which one, however). But I was wondering for those of you who own them, what is the quality like? Is it better than the torrents on the internet (which are really awful, especially the first few seasons)?
All MITM episodes on the DVDs are in widescreen, and although they're not in high-def of course, their resolution is 720x480 pixels.
I checked my downloads, and even the better are only 480x272 (mp4) and 624x352 (avi), so you get much better quality from the DVDs.
- Thanks a lot for the quick reply! Much appreciated. I've made a couple of tributes to the show and I just wanted to try and get the best quality clips/episodes I could find or buy. This show means a lot to me.
If you want to know more about this release, just read up on the thread above, and you'll find most of the nitty-gritty, even more than you'd care to know perhaps!
About the tributes you've made, that's nice to hear. What are they like? Would you like to share them with us?
About the tributes you've made, that's nice to hear. What are they like? Would you like to share them with us?
- I received my season 1 DVDs and the quality is very good, was almost surprised And it also has some neat extras, haven't fund time to watch them all, but looks nice. Overall season 1 was very worth it.
Now maybe i'll buy season 2 as well
- Thanks! I tried posting the links to my tributes, but it doesn't (or hasn't?) posted yet.
Yes, Season 1 is a great release - we have to thank Fox for that back in 2002 I suppose, and Fabulous for re-releasing this one in widescreen with all the content intact, even the two versions of the pilot episode.
But you have to remember that from S2 onwards, there will be no extras whatsoever, not even subtitles.
Fabulous tried, but got no cooperation from Fox or casting agents, and there was no budget to clear additional copyright issues on dubbing and the like, or to add extras of their own making, alas.
- Hi Mandy (I guess, andbreatheme),
I applied a little edit to your post, to add the correct link to the second vid, and to enclose them in our special YouTube-tags, to make them appear embedded - you can check in your edit view.
They're really, really nice tributes, I enjoyed them - in high def !
You caught so many great scenes, all across the Seasons, even with supporting actors like Christopher Lloyd, Cloris Leachman and Hayden Panettiere!
I also liked the, what is it, slightly alienating hightened contrast on the image with the colour reduction (I guess my editor calls this "Poster Colours"), and the black and white scenes.
Now you can make more ones without the logos .
Oh yes, and just a remark, I know people have made lots of tributes, but some keep getting removed from YouTube - copyright issues!
I also loved these ones - a mash-up and a quirky, creative tribute in reggae dub-style:
- Yeah, you can call me Mandy! And thanks a lot for your feedback! It means a lot. I'm starting another one soon. Unfortunately, I don't really have the money to get the DVDs ATM, but hopefully soon. And those other tributes are hilarious! Must have missed them on YT.
- Returning to the original topic of this thread, I decided to put my money where my mouth was, and order all seasons of MITM on DVD from Fabulous Films!
Whatever its shortcomings - and I know lots of complaints are valid - it is at least my conviction that if we don't pay for official releases on DVD, or downloads or streaming through iTunes, Netflix and the like, we will never get any high-def releases, bonus features, interviews or looks behind the scenes, because the industry will consider spending any amount on re-releasing the series a bad deal.
Does any scenes on the season 1 release have the picture zoomed in to hide goofs? (such as the later season episode with Lois and Malcolm in the car, where Malcolm can be heard talking, but his mouth isn't moving when he's seen in the back) so Fabulous zoomed in to hide this, but it wouldn't have been present if they just stuck to the original aspect ratio.
- That's a very good question, BBC2, but it's a tricky one I'll have to look into. There's also the matter of 'overscan': edges of the image that will show up or not depending on the monitor size (computer or TV screen) you're using.
For instance, crew members' hands or visible sides of walls that annoyed me on my PC screen were not visible on my TV screen.
I think that S1 sometimes uses blacked-out patches to obscure light stands, 'French flags' or 'scrims' (screens to block or scatter incoming light). I don't know about zooms.
See attachments from "Home Alone 4".
At least when it's shown on Channel 5's digital channel, they show it in 4:3. Though the advantage of the DVD there is no commercials and no announcers talking over/ squeezing credits.
I wonder how many copies they have to sell before they think is enough to warrant a high definition release. Season 7 is the last one still to be announced, then probably a complete boxset, perhaps that'll sell well towards the festive period?
Yes, my guess is the boxset will be coming out around Christmas, and you can see right now already that prices are coming down for individual seasons, around 15 quid for each (I've been ordering nearly all of them from Fantastic Films, which appears to be Fabulous' outlet, via Amazon, by the way), so it may be worth waiting.
- Someone who has a big heart, could upload dvdrip episodes (at good res, 700x400) so I can muxit with my native language audio (italian). I don't have enough money to buy the dvdset just to get the video, because the audio will be form my broadcasted episodes. Thanks
- I emailed Richard at Fabulous Films asking when S7 was expected to be released, and he said hopefully in September. Not too long until our collections will be complete
- Hello everybody, I am French and I would like to buy the seasons of Malcom in the middle. The problem it is because I find no information if there is a VF (french version) or not on DVD uk. I thank you for your help(assistant). Cordially
- Hi Cotillard,
Bienvenu sur notre forum!
(Nice screenname by the way, reminds me of Marion, the actress!)
Dommage pour toi, but the recent DVD releases in the UK have no subtitles or dubbed language tracks whatsoever, except for Season 1, which has English subtitles.
On the French Malcolm site www.malcolm-france.com, Alexandre Gennevois has written an excellent article why DVD releases, especially in other languages, are so hard to put out these days:
If you can play Region 1 DVDs on your TV set or on your PC, so discs produced in the US, perhaps it's a good idea to buy at least the old US DVD release of Season 1 from 2002 (which is the only one released in this format), which does have a French dubbed track.
This would be the version to get:
Malcolm US DVD Region 1 on Amazon
- This is great news, at long last!
It's good to hear that Richard Walker of Fabulous took part in the negotiations, and apparently got things rolling with Showshank - nice name by the way. Don't we all feel redeemed?
It's really nice that the French fans were so insistent ("hyper demandeurs"); I wish we'd had similar support elsewhere, and I do hope that Showshank will come up with something special for the fans.
I was wondering though, this packaging spécial would this mean just a special fold-out sleeve with a booklet or the like, or actually special features on the disks?
I think it's a shame that Fabulous never got permission or cooperation to release extras on the post-S1 disks like bloopers, deleted scenes and promos. I really doubt now they will ever see the light of day again, except spotty bits on video sites and torrents in bad quality.
It's also still quite a shock to read that DVD sales went down 20% last year, making it hard to put out anything up-market now and make a profit.
Anyway, you can be proud of your sustained efforts!
Soyez fiers de vos succès comme Artaban!
- Hey everybody and Happy New Year!
More infos about the French DVDs:
The French season 1 box set will be released on March 4.
First, a 3000 copies limited edition will be available as a "collector edition" cardboard pop up style. Then a standard plastic set will follow.
You can see some pics and a video who shows the DVD menu here: http://www.malcolm-france.com/news.php?id=372
This box set contains:
The complete 16 episodes from the first season presented in 16:9. Yay!
French/English audio tracks.
The extended version of the pilot episode.
"Malcolm vision": Hal explains the differences between the TV format and Cinema format.
"Malcolm: Un coup de génie": A Linwood Boomer interview.
Original TV commercials.
The set is already available for pre-order on Amazon for 29.99€
- Great news!
- so, does anyone have the possibility to do dvdrips from the complete series?
so the people outside uk or australia, and other countries that the dvds were released, could rewatch again?
- Hey guys, it's been a while since I last visited here.
Myself and Magic-J have done direct comparisons between the UK and French DVD releases, and we have both concluded that the French version is visually superior to the UK release. The set is presented in NTSC like the UK discs, but the 'pinkish tint' and the frame juddering are absent for the French release. The contrast and black levels are also vastly superior. The original English audio track is present, albeit at 192kbps, which is only a very minor issue. I don't have any screen caps to post at this moment as I'm not on my PC, but screenies will come soon!
- Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to see the screencap comparisons.
- Great to hear the French release has superior picture quality, and will look forward to those screen caps! Does the English audio have forced French subtitles over them, or can this be turned off?
And also is anything edited, or is it all uncut like the UK release?
- That's very good news, Magic-J and Mass - though it's kind of a pity for those like me who already have the full UK set and have to do with the interlacing and the lack of contrast.
Yes, I do look forward to those screen caps! Pinkish tint? I don't remember that, but I'll just have to wait and see.
The Malcolm-France site writes:
L'image quant à elle est de bonne facture, avec quelques grains mais dont la définition et le piqué sont de bien meilleure qualité que ce qu'on l'a connu à la télévision. L'étalonnage des couleurs est là aussi très satisfaisant, et même plus réussi que l'édition britannique qui avait des teintes plus rougeâtres.As far as the image is concerned, it is well presented, with some grain, but the definition and image detail are of better quality than what we've been familiar with on TV. The representation of colours is also very satisfactory, and turned out even better than the British edition which had more reddish tints.
Comparé aux DVD US et UK, les couleurs/contrastes sont bien meilleurs ici. L'encodage est également supérieur.Compared to the US and UK DVDs, the colours and contrasts are much better. The encoding is superior as well.
The cardboard pop-up of the whole family in the first limited run of the DVD set sure is a nice touch!
Great to see the manufacturers and the French fans have organized such a special DVD launch party at the MITM-based bistro Chez Dewey () in Paris.
Wish we had things like that!
P.S. Added various relevant items to our Gallery:
- I see a French user on the Malcolm France forum complain of 'striures', which I take to mean interlacing (horizontal stripes).
Apparently, when you watch the French DVDs on a desktop or laptop PC, you do get interlacing effects if you don't adjust the software settings.
- Hey guys,
Richiepiep: The Amazon review is the one I actually wrote
I've made a 10 screenshots comparison based on the ep.8 between the US and the FR DVDs.
Mass5160 kindly added the same screenshots from his UK DVD!
Here's the gallery link: http://someimage.com/JNPg
To me the French set is a true improvement over the UK and US ones in term of picture quality. The colors are also more natural.
@BBC2: In the menu you can only choose between French, French with subtitles for the hearing impaired and English with subtitles but you can disable them while watching the episode
- Wow! That's quite a difference between the picture quality. The UK version is definitely more reddish. The black tints in the French version are also deeper.
I still haven't gotten around to get the set and now I'm definitely thinking of getting the French version.
- @Magic-J @mass Thanks a lot for the great image comparisons!
The differences are indeed striking. I had a look at the images with an online colour analysis tool (http://mkweb.bcgsc.ca/color_summarizer/), and it turns out the average and median values of red, green and blue are almost the same for the original US and UK releases.
Which makes me wonder: while the French release looks more natural (but of course a bit pale and greenish and bluish when you switch between the caps and concentrate on the US and UK versions), isn't the US 'look' the colour scheme that was intended by the MITM creators?
Did the UK release use the same stock as the original US release, or at least use this as its point of reference? If they did, I suppose you could say they got it right from their point of view.
Did the French release deliberately adapt the colour scheme to make it look more 'natural', especially because of the skin tones?
This may look like geekish nitpicking, but I'm just asking!
Malcolm was shot on film, and edited on videotape. In my experience, when film elements are transferred to magnetic tape, the colours tend to come out 'warmer' depending on what bulb is used, no doubt they'd have just used something pretty standard for Malcolm. It's probable that Showshank attempted to remove this for a more natural colour pallet. I seem to remember episodes broadcast on 5* (UK digital channel) having a much 'cooler' colour scheme compared to the DVDs from Fabfilms. I think I still have some season 2 & 3 recordings somewhere, so perhaps I could post some comparisons between these versions too, if people are interested.
- I think I still have some season 2 & 3 recordings somewhere, so perhaps I could post some comparisons between these versions too, if people are interested.
If you like, and can find the time, yes please!
I just ordered the French release from Amazon.fr
I thought it would be nice to have the pop-up box, a good image quality, to improve my French (sous-titres!), and to stimulate sales, as I understand that the following seasons will only be released if sales for S1 meet the distributor's expectations, and that's not a given, as we know from the disappointing sales by Fabulous in the UK.
I was thinking of registering with French Amazon anyway, because I now have American, British, German and French Amazon accounts, all with the same account and log-in, which means I can easily choose from various DVD regions and find the best or cheapest deal.
It's really amazing how sometimes media can differ between accounts, and a book, CD or DVD which is an expensive collector's item in one territory, can be a bargain in another! Or an item can be readily available in one, but out of stock elsewhere.
Eagerly looking forward to my third version of S1! (*)
(*) not counting VHS copies and P2P downloads
And the season 2 is already packed and ready to go. The release date is April 4th (Exclusivité Fnac) so we'll be able to buy it in Fnac stores only (in France of course.) It will also be available on Amazon and in other stores but we don't know exactly when yet.
The "Exclusivité Fnac" set is going to be a Digipak (like the S1 without the Pop-Up effect) and the "Standard" will be a typical plastic case set.
I also know that the S2 set will includes some special features!
- Apparently, Showshank told me that the sales seem to be pretty good for the moment. And the season 2 is already packed and ready to go. (...) I also know that the S2 set will includes some special features!
At least I know that I'm one of the first 3,000 customers to order the DVD combo, otherwise I couldn't have gotten hold of the special pop-up version!
The bonus features on S2 sound great too (eager to learn what they are!), but poses a kind of dilemma to me. I'm certainly not going to buy all French seasons as well, because I can't afford another full set.
Yet of course nothing but praise to Showshank and The Corporation for creating an original, creatively designed set with fitting menus and those extras!
- I just read on the Malcolm France site, that the upcoming French S2 DVD release will include no fewer than 4 bonus features!
- Tour of the house (2'08'')
- Original promo clip for the series (0'21'')
- Interview with series creator Linwood Boomer (11'45'')
- Making-of (13'04'')
If I understand the French text correctly, these were all part of the original promotional package released by Fox at the time, except for the interview with Linwood Boomer, which was conducted some time ago by French TV reporter Alain Carrazé, who with his colleague Romain Nigita were also instrumental in obtaining permission for releasing the other features.
All will be presented in the original English, with French dubbing, and optional French 'ordinary' subtitles and ones for the hearing-impaired.
The producers are really going out of their way to make this something memorable, and more than just a string of episodes!
Similar effort will be devoted to obtaining extras for subsequent seasons. In fact, Showshank Films welcome suggestions from fans for including features.
Now, the only quibble I have is why we have had to do without all this great stuff on the English-language releases!
Life is unfair - yes, no, maybe - in a way!
- Can anyone tell me exactly which lines are missing in the UK DVD edition for the 'Company Picnic' episode? I've found the scene which is missing, but I'd like to know about the lines of dialogue, too.
The DVD versions run for 21:35 mins (I) and 22:06 (II), and the old video file I have of them has them strung together at 42:50 - minus end credit sequences.
I hope there's still someone around with a full copy.
I just found these relevant quotes from USA Today:
The Super Bowl script started as an episode that was 10 pages too long for Malcolm's regular half-hour slot (Sundays, 8:30 p.m. ET/PT). When Fox program chief Gail Berman asked if Malcolm had a potential hour-long episode, Boomer expanded the script, which also shows oldest son Francis (Christopher Masterson) in a hockey game with Klum and coaches Terry Bradshaw and Howie Long.
Originally aired as an hour special, this episode has since been split into 2 parts, having certain scenes re-ordered, and the locker room scene in the ice rink is cut.
- By the way, I think that 'one hour episode' should be taken with a big grain of salt.
I don't think that much was cut, because MITM is known as a 30-minute show, which in fact means 22 minutes or so with 8 minutes of commercials.
Similarly, I guess 'one hour' would mean about 45 mins.
- I hope the one hour special episode is included in full on the French release, as it originally went out as the Super Bowl lead-out program. Would be cool to see a MITM episode in this format. Was an awesome episode too.
I'm relying on memory here now, but the only line I can think of off the top of my head is when Reece & George are tied together (when George 'finds a cup') - at some point George says "My eyes are tired" which is cut in the syndicated version. I can't remember Reece's line that was cut out though. Just out of curiosity, does this have anything to do with a particular enquiry to ShowShank from a few days ago?
I do have the full version on an old hard drive, so I could find time to do a comparison at some point if you wish?
EDIT: Oh yeah, Richiepiep, you are indeed correct when you say the run time is closer to 45 minutes, as the 1-hour includes the commercials. There'd have been about 1 to 2 mins cut at most, and this would have been because of the intro being added to part 2.
And RE: the season 2 5* screenshots, I'm afraid the discs they're burned to are in storage right now, but I will attempt to locate them after I have university out the way in May! I promise that I won't forget
- Not really related to the lost scenes or lost extras quests, but I must say that the French S2 release, from what I see on Malcolm France, again looks beautifully and consistenly designed, with nicely edited group shots and individual shots, and fluent screen menus.
Oh, yes, the packaging takes some getting used to as far as the placement of the double disks is concerned. It's something I hadn't seen before, and looked quite scary when I tried to take them out.
The idea is to observe the two levers (plastic 'wings') at the bottom of the disk, insert your index finger into the disk hole, and gently slide the disk down against the levers, until they give way. Then the disk is released from the clips holding the top, and you can take them out. So don't try to lift them vertically from the packaging like the usual disks with a fastener in the middle!
It seems that the French dubbing was made on the syndicated version, so I doubt the editor will be able to include the full, one-hour version in the DVD set as there is no dubbing for it. But maybe they'll be able to include the full episode, or at least the bits which were cut, as extras!
If you find the time to do a comparison, that'd be great and useful for the editor. I've found the original version of the episode, but I don't have enough time to compare everything that's been cut/changed. I've just noticed that the locker room scene (from 25:28 to 26:52) has been cut, as well as part of a scene (27:42 to 27:56).
I shall be on to the comparison shortly, and hopefully I will have a complete list for you this week!
- Are the episode titles displayed in French at the start of each episode, or is everything the way it originally was, besides the dubbing?
- We're on about doing one more comparison, but can't decide which episode to choose! It's between "Hal Quits", "Bowling" & "Carnival". Which would you guys be most interested in seeing?
- Hal Quits! But that's just me.
- So far, "Hal Quits" is in the lead for the comparison then!
In the meantime, here are the complete differences between the original, and syndicated versions of "Company Picnic".
Original version lasts for 45 minutes (roughly) and is not split in to 2 parts.
Credits last longer on the original version (Right up to Francis' first scene)
Scene order difference
First act identical
Original (From 13:51):
- Lois Backing away from Meg
- Dewey fights with some kid over candy
- Ice hockey preperation
- Francis' "bet"
- Start of the hockey game
- Reese & George random pairing
- Malcolm admits he likes Laurie
- Laurie and Malcolm "Joke without a J"
- Dewey filling up on Bread
- Hal hiding around the cubicles
- Lois gets trapped in a cubicle to avoid Meg
- Hal "Mr. Landon" puts minds at ease
- Lois still trapped in cubicle, tries to find way out
- Reese & George try to find a fork
- Half time locker room scene (Missing in Syndicated Version)
- Reese & George beat the kids up to steal the items
- Dewey attacks another kid over candy
- Meg's husband confronts Lois
- Francis joins the hockey team
Everything else is identical from this point onwards
*Presumably, the end credits are a little longer, or have more credits to show.
The syndicated version has a completely different scene order, as well as some cuts.
Italicized lines are the ones that were cut.
First act identical
Syndicated (Part 1) (Also from 13:51):
- Ice hockey preperation
- Francis' "bet"
- Start of the hockey game
- Lois backing away from Meg
- Dewey fights with some kid over candy
- Dewey filling up on Bread
- Hal hiding around the cubicles
- Lois gets trapped in a cubicle to avoid Meg
- Reese & George random pairing
- Malcolm admits he likes Laurie
Syndicated (Part 2):
- Recap added
- Opening Theme added
- Laurie and Malcolm "Joke without a J" (Credits added)
- Ice Hockey "Down by 2 goals" - CUT (First 2 shots missing)
- Hal "Mr. Landon" puts minds at ease
- Reese & George try to find a fork - CUT
Reese: You know a fork. The little thing, with...things! Jeez!
George: My eyes are tired.
Reese: Hey why don't we go to a snack bar? They've got tonnes of forks there!
George: You go. I'll stay here.
- Back to Ice Hockey. Lavernia joins in - CUT
Francis spraying the face towels with mace, and all references to them being used by anyone else.
Lavernia: It's right there! Get it! Get it! What the Hell's wrong with you guys?! The puck's right in front of you!
Artie: My eyes are stinging like crazy!
Francis sprays a towel with mace, and passes it to a team member.
Francis: There you go, Chad. Wipe off that sweat!
- Reese & George beat the kids up to steal the items
- Meg's husband confronts Lois
- Francis joins the hockey team
Everything else is identical from this point onwards
*Presumably, the end cretis are a little shorter, or have fewer credits to show.
I'd also like to add your screenshots to our Gallery, if you don't mind.
The point is, we don't have a lot of widescreen captures, and because a lot of them were taken from old 'teenie' fan sites, they are mostly very boys-centric, not to mention Frankie-focused, which is a bit of a shame, especially to Jane and Bryan.
- Richiepiep, I don't mind that personally, and I wouldn't have thought Magic-J would mind either, but I shall give him a nudge and let him know you've asked!
- Oh yeah Richiepiep, go ahead. You can use the screenshots for the gallery
I'll credit you, of course.
- Malcolm season 3 is coming soon in France !
New packaging, a digibook (16-page booklet) written by Malcolm-France.com, containing an episode guide and a Malcolm abecedarium full of anecdotes about MITM and season 3.
And also an exclusive interview of Linwood Boomer made a few week ago by Showshank Films with our help (we sent them some sophisticated questions )
DVD will be released on September 2.
- Thanks for the great news, Alexandre!
The French set of DVDs is a truly special and creative set, and a credit to your site, the French fans and the other collaborators!
I hope you can keep up this high standard for the upcoming releases - I noticed on your site, that Fox again wasn't forthcoming at all, so you had to create your own bonus features. It's just weird that such a huge company can't spend a few hours to please fans the world over. Ah, you'll show them!
And by the way: bon anniversaire!
- I really love the personal touches on these French releases. Because Fox didn't put any effort into releasing bonus materials, the French fan club created their own booklet with an illustrated episode guide, and an imaginative series ABC.
I could make out:
A is for Alaska (Francis' job)
B is for Bernard the Hamster
C is for Croissance (the boys growing up)
D is for Delinquency
E is for Emancipation (Francis becoming an adult)
F is for Francis
G is for Grossesse (Jane's pregnancies)
H is for Herkabe
I is for Interdit (unsuitable for viewers under 14)
J is for Jeunesse (the parents' younger days)
K is for Kitty Kenarban
L is for Linwood Boomer
It really looks nice, and makes the set a fine keepsake (and present) for fans.
- Well, I know it's been a few months so I apologise for taking my time to get back to you all with the Season 2 screenshots I promised in May. Life's been tough, but I've finally found the disc the episodes were stored on, and I've sent them over to Magic_J who will be adding them to the corresponding photo albums shortly!
I've been in touch with Showshank the past few months, and they've informed me that they DID find the original version of Company Picnic, which was too late to include on the Season 3 release, but they assured me that it will be included on the Season 4 release as a bonus feature! Which I'm delighted to hear about, and I'm sure everyone here will be just as happy to hear it
Magic_J has also informed me that there's not much difference between the UK and FR season 3 releases picture quality-wise, but I imagine he'll bring you more detail on that.
you can order the French DVDs from amazon.fr (same login data as for amazon.co.uk)
in other news, Malcolm will finally be released in Germany as well. Seasons 1-3 will be released in October (box set; individual sets will follow). http://www.amazon.de/dp/B00N4K2010/turbinemediagroup-21
According to information by the label Turbine Media (http://forum.cinefacts.de/231973-mal...turbine-3.html), they will include the bonus features from the French release (and probably also the same image transfer)
- Thanks for all the info, Bagdadjeff!
This is certainly great news, especially for the German fans.
And I can confirm what you say about Amazon. I actually have both American, British, German and French accounts on Amazon with the same login details!
This has the advantage of simply ordering items where they happen to stock them, or where third-party sellers or second-hand suppliers offer them. And of course it often pays off to compare prices between the different branches. It's happened to me more than once that one product that sells as an overpriced collector's item on one site, is a bargain on another.
I've managed to stitch together your image comparison shots for episode 2x01, and I'm planning to deal with the others in a while:
In case anyone hasn't seen yet, there's a listing for Season 4 too here:
And if you look in the features, it confirms that the original "long" version of Company Picnic is included!
Richiepiep: Here's the comparisons with the TV screen caps uploaded from episode 01, uploaded by Magic-J:
As you can see, the FR DVD set more accurately reflects the colours of the TV broadcast, whilst the UK DVD version is darker, and looks slightly warmer.
Great to see Francis highlighted in this way once in a while, and even The Grotto! That's a very original angle, and a very creative composition of S4 images too.
Hang on a sec, did the cover designer photoshop the cowboy hat on Francis' head!? I don't think I've ever seen Chris pose this way for a studio shot
It took me a while to get the phrase "Trop à l'ouest" - if I get it at all. I think it is a pun on Francis going 'west, cowboy style', but also meaning "too far out there", "too far off the beaten track", "too weirded out".
- Thanks again for the image comparisons, Mass and Magic-J!
It's an interesting and unique feature of the current German releases by Turbine that you can choose between both aspect ratios, 4:3 and 16:9, for all episodes.
They created a promo clip for ths feature on https://www.facebook.com/Malcolm.DVD, which I have also linked below.
It's German-dubbed, as was expected, but it's certainly striking to see the two together in this way. It's tempting to immediately fall for the wide format, unless you get annoyed by some production artefacts like screens and light stands. I noticed two in this particular clip: at the end of Hal's rollerskating routine, you can see a crew member on the left, and during the tracking shot towards the chaos outside of Home Alone 4, there is a lens hood or screen blacking out the left part of the image.
In the description, Turbine added a little disclaimer. When fast-forwarding episodes (or perhaps also, I would add, because of automatic ratio detection or presets on a number of players and TV sets), it cannot be guaranteed that the 4:3 version is always visible.
I wonder if the original editors of MITM ever applied 'pan and scan' in a creative way to crop the image to 4:3, that is if they selected other parts than the exact middle to improve the image composition.
I wonder what y'all make of it?
- I think it's excellent that the series is getting a well-deserved release in more and more places, and it seems with each release comes something unique, as you said with this one it's the option to watch the series in either 16:9 or 4:3. I wonder how they'll achieve this though? Are they just going to create some sort of "mask" to cover up the sides, or are they literally putting two separately-encoded versions on their discs?
Thanks for the reply! Well, I guess it must be a mask, because the German release of S1 has three disks just like the French one, and the older ones for that matter. This mask would work fine, unless the original editors didn't always choose the exact centre, but panned-and-scanned to choose the best part. I checked only a few of the scenes in the German promo clip (Francis Escapes), which indeed showed the smack-dab in the middle part, but I never bothered to compare, say, a whole episode from the old American S1 in 4:3 to the widescreen version. That would require a lot of work!
Pan-and-scan explained - it's also often discussed as part of 'telecine' (from 'television cinema'):
P.S. I couldn't help thinking of the weird concept of 'seeing the middle of Malcolm in the Middle'
Weren't the later seasons in proper widescreen, as i remember?
I'll wait and see if it has the original English audio as an option and in NTSC format before deciding to purchase.
- Hi BBC2,
Weren't the later seasons in proper widescreen, as i remember? I'll wait and see if it has the original English audio as an option and in NTSC format before deciding to purchase.
I can check the NTSC when I get the German box. As the transfers are supposed to be identical to the French releases, I expect them to be NTSC (59,94 fps).
- The German aspect ratio promo clip included one other shot which looked a bit strange to me in cropped 4:3. In the episode Stock Car Races, you see Reese and Malcolm sitting in the crowd with Dewey almost completely cut out, except for his hands. It would have been better to shift the view towards the right, leave the woman on the left out completely, and include Dewey:
But the old US DVD version in 4:3 had exactly the same shot:
This leads me to believe that the old 4:3 view was indeed the middle view by default.
- I'll wait and see if it has the original English audio as an option and in NTSC format before deciding to purchase.
But geez, the German release is actually PAL (not just because the back cover says so) at 50 fps (interlaced again) and a resolution of 720x576, whereas the British and French releases had 59,94 fps and 720x480.
This made me wonder about possible PAL speed-up of the audio.
But fortunately this hasn't happened. I again took the trumpet solo from the Shame cold open. See the mp3-attachment. First the US version, then the German version (also the English audio track).
By the way, the 4:3 format is indeed a mask. On the disc menu it says "side matted". It works fine as long as you don't mess with the video controls, just like the Germans indicated.
Looks like each release is reinventing the wheel ....
One more thing, were the name of the episodes displayed on-screen like other shows and is all the text on-screen in English? I ask this as an American show i imported from Germany had the episode titles in German instead.
- Richiepiep, This is indeed a surprise that they are included in PAL format for the German release. I wonder though, are the TVPG logos still present as they are on the other releases? Also, it looks like the German release got the original Company Picnic episode first, how does it look? And is it in Widescreen like all the others?
- Thanks for that Rich! Good to hear the audio isn't sped up by PAL. Wonder how they managed that.
One more thing, were the name of the episodes displayed on-screen like other shows and is all the text on-screen in English? I ask this as an American show i imported from Germany had the episode titles in German instead.
Episoden- und Staffelführer (Episode and Season Guide)
Company Picnic looks really great in widescreen (apart from the fact that now you can see Francis isn't naked when dragged across the ice at the end ) and with all the additional scenes! I wonder how they went about the dubbing of those scenes. Well, at those points they just switch to the English audio and add foreign subtitles - though of course this is of no concern to us English speakers.
By the way, the long version of Company Picnic is a bonus feature here. You have the two split episode versions on the regular menu.
P.S. It's really ironic, that in a review from last week's German Mittelbayerische Zeitung, they highly praise the DVD release, but complain about the "light reds and weak contrasts in the dark scenes" - which is exactly what Showshank did to correct the reddish hue and dominant dark tones of the American and British releases. So you see, in the end it's all down to the viewer's taste.
But, I'm happy to know that the original true version of Company Picnic will finally be available on DVD at last! I've actually been holding off on my FR DVDs so that when I get to that episode, I can watch the original instead of the 2-part syndicated version.
As for the set being in PAL format, I wonder if the masters are simply up-scales of the NTSC tapes that the UK and FR DVDs are using? It wouldn't surprise me, as you said this could have something to do with what FOX was willing to release, and it sounds like the DVD labels are having to bust their backsides to bring what they are doing to make the consumers happy.
Do you think Malcolm would really merit a release in BluRay-standard resolution (1080i), as you mention? After all, we've only got Super 16mm film to work with, and wouldn't it actually look a lot worse if all the fuzziness and grain of the original stock gets exposed? Sounds a bit like The Blair Witch Project on BluRay!
I can understand that people might not want to see the format changed, it's a shame if they can't offer alternatives as that would needlessly raise the costs even more.
For the record, I believe that Malcolm may have switched from S16 to 35mm during season 2. Some episodes just seem more vivid than others, but that could be for a number of reasons I guess...
I have read in a few places that FOX isn't currently interested in re-releasing old TV shows on Blu-Ray apparently due to poor sales of previous catalogue releases, but I couldn't find an actual credible source for this information. That being said, I personally believe that this will eventually end up as a digital download, say iTunes or something simalar, if it ever is restored in HD.
- Hi there Mass,
Thanks again for all the inside information .
Ha, there's always more than one side to issues, and lots of exceptions to the rules I guess! But that's what makes life interesting, doesn't it? It's really nice that the distributors took the time to upgrade The X-Files in this way, and I must say I wouldn't be completely averse to vertical cropping, provided that it's not too radical.
Yes, like BBC2 said, some people believe that MITM underwent some film format changes during its run, but I really don't know. I hope we can ask cinematographer Levie Isaacks again some time, preferably in person and on screen, which would make a great later-season DVD bonus! When you look at the production stills in our Behind the Scenes Gallery, like these ones (large versions in our Gallery):
5x09 Dirty Magazine still - Panavision Panaflex 16 camera
6x04 Pearl Harbor still - Panavision Panaflex 16 camera
you see that 16 mm cameras were still being used during the 5th and 6th Season, so I doubt it. Of course, by that time they may have filmed primarily for the widescreen format, and cared less about 4:3 cropping.
Yes, I think it's true that all physical media, be it printed photographs, CDs and DVDs, paper books and magazines, games in boxes, paper maps, postcards etc. are quickly on the way out. CD sales are now less than 20% of what they were at their peak in the year 2000, and after the record shops, all game stores are closing now. Relatively recent BluRay releases can now be bought for about 5 dollars or euros.
So far, the digital medium on its own has never been really profitable, and legal downloads and streaming have not made up for the loss of physical sales, because they're so much cheaper - and have to be, because no physical production and distribution is involved. This also kills a lot of their 'intrinsic' or 'keepsake' value, and completely obliterates any resales, and on top of that, it makes illegal distribution a piece of cake, technically and, I guess, morally.
It's a tough issue, but I can only hope that downloads will appear that are as just as carefully and dare I say lovingly produced as books, CDs and DVDs.
- Cheers, Richiepiep for sharing those pics!
I suppose it's possible that they could've switched to 35mm, but then switched back to 16mm due to preference, or even budget, but that's just an outside guess. It could just simply be a matter of sources stating "shot-on-film" which was taken to mean 35mm by assumption.
I think a lot of people get confused over film formats, because there are so many, just like videotape formats too, to be honest. It could also be that because Seasons 6 & 7 were broadcast in HD, the assumption is that "only 35mm is capable of HD" but as I said previously there are films that are shot entirely in 16mm, or even have elements of 16mm crossed with 35mm and the difference is almost unnoticeable.
I personally feel with digital distribution that the extra features will become a thing of the past. You can buy the first season of Rome in HD from iTunes for £24.99, whilst amazon sell both series in one Blu-Ray package for £25.08 at the time of this post. So in this case, for another 9 pence you get both seasons, with artwork, extras and superior picture and audio quality.
- Hi Mass,
Well, those pictures are in our Gallery anyway, section Behind the Scenes, where you can study them in greater detail, if you wish.
Thanks for the info on Rome. I hope buyers will realize what they're missing out on if they go for the seemingly cheap and easy option of digital downloads!
Apparently, (Super) 16 mm film has long been a popular format for budget TV productions, even recently, where you would expect digital shooting. I've found a list which includes series like The Walking Dead, Chuck, Scrubs, One Tree Hill, The Middle, Psych, Burn Notice, Degrassi: The Next Generation, Life on Mars.
Also feature films like Black Swan and The Hurt Locker.
As for some older ones:
Dawson's Creek (also shot by Malcolm in the Middle cinematographer Levie Isaacks)
The O. C.
Sex and the City
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (first two seasons)
Charmed (first season)
Malcolm in the Middle (of course!)
Tour of Duty
West Wing (last season)
According to the posters, "the quality of these shows varies all over the map". A lot depends on the skills of the cinematographers, lighting technicians, editing and scanning in HD or not etc.
- I'll admit that I was surprised to see 'Black Swan' was shot on 16mm. I was always under the impression that it was shot digitally if I'm being honest. But I have the Blu-Ray and it looks fantastic.
It's also good to see Buffy on that list too, because they're remastering that series in HD too, although from the screenshots I've seen, it looks like it's been smothered with DNR, and for the most part, it looks like they clipped the top and bottom without any extra picture information to the sides. I'm not really a fan of that show though, so I haven't sat down and watched an episode all the way through.
- Considering Fox has recently stopped releasing Blu-Rays for all of its current series, even its new and successful titles, I wouldn't hold my breath for a Blu-Ray release any time soon...
Thanks for the update! Yes, it does seem that all physical media, even the high-definition ones, are considered too much of an investment now to put out, or at least spend too much money on, in these uncertain times, where it's all about the cheapest possible, even free or illegal, downloads or streams. And media are more and more seen as disposable, not something for keeps ....
I hope the French DVDs are selling well though, because you have such a large, active and dedicated fanbase! Do you have any figures you'd like to share?
- Well, my Season 4 set from France arrived today, and skimming through it, I'm happy with it. It's not field blended unlike the UK set, although the bonus Company Picnic episode actually does suffer from field blending this time around. Showshank have informed me that this is because it was the only source available for the episode. From what I understand, they've worked extremely hard for the inclusion of it, as it seems FOX was either difficult, or unaware of the complete episode's existence.
I'd also like to include this screenshot comparing the UK to the FR release.
With the FR release being interlaced, the "horizontal stripes" will not be apparent during playback, as DVD players are equipped with their own de-interlacing software, whilst the UK set has ghost frames forever, it is impossible to remove that without going back to the source material, which is only accessible to the studios and owners. I do however, acknowledge that the ghosting will probably not bother everyone.
- Thanks a lot for your comments, Mass, and for the explanation of the availabke source material. Yes, if you happen to get such inside information, it can turn out that the publishers are not to blame at all, but it's the reluctance of the original producers to investigate their sources, and invest in restoration or re-editing of the material. If they are convinced it's no longer of profitable retail value, they will often simply rely on syndication by third parties or downloads of old episodes, in whatever shape or quality they happen to be.
As you know I have the German version of the uncut Company Picnic episode, which came out as part of their S3 release, and it's the same in its heavy interlacing, as was to be expected - see screenshot. I still wonder why their releases are PAL instead of NTSC (they haven't told me so far, or wouldn't), but apart from that it's a rerelease of the French sources.
Interlaced full Company Picnic episode - German DVD
By they way, it turns out I had the full Company Picnic episode all along as part of an old torrent download, but I never realized it, because it was on a back-up disk, and bad quality at that. Anyway, I'm glad you located it before me, so the French publishers could determine what they were after!
Screenshot full Company Picnic episode from VHS copy, locker room scene
- Cheers Richiepiep. Here is a screenshot from a few frames earlier on the FR DVD. The interlaced screenshot you provided shows up as progressive frames on the FR DVD, so I picked a slightly earlier frame to highlight the field blending. I presume your German DVD also suffers from this amongst the interlacing as well?
Comparing both of them colour-wise, I would definitely say the German release has a more natural colour palette. What do you think?
- Aha, I think I see what you mean now! You mean that after you de-interlace the image, you are left with field blending or ghosting in the case of the uncut episode, but not in the two-part one? Honestly, I wasn't aware of such technicalities. You are quite right of course, because I made screenshots of the same image from both versions of the episode after de-interlacing.
Attachment 986 Attachment 987
Left: Company Pinic cut (2-part) version, right: uncut version.
I notice that ghosting makes the moving image, I mean when you just watch the episode at normal speed, in the second shot appear fuzzier than in the first case.
As for the colours, I agree that the French image appears just a bit warmer, more of a late aftenoon glow than the German one, which is a bit paler. I must say it's hardly noticeable though.
How to account for that? Different DVD authoring, even though they use the same source? Would a German editor have made it a bit brighter along with the PAL-conversion? Anyone's guess!
- Yep, the syndicated one is interlaced, whilst the uncut one is field blended, there is no interlacing at all on the FR DVD. It's a minor annoyance, but at least it's just the one episode affected. The effort put in to making the inclusion of this episode possible far outweighs the condition of the source material, and I still appreciate fully that they took the time to include it at all. As to why the source is field blended is a mystery, but I don't believe either DVD labels were responsible for doing it after transferring, it would be inconsistent.
Regarding the authoring, it's all down to personal preference of whoever is responsible for transferring them from tape > HDD > DVD. I imagine the PAL conversion was probably done from the tape to HDD transfer, as opposed to first digitizing it then converting, which would cause the quality loss to be more apparent.