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August 18 2014

Buffy in HD on Pivot, starting August 26th. Does that mean we can expect a Blu-Ray very soon ? Check out the promo, it looks really good. YouTube link here.

Huh. Very striking. Though Angel is in HD on Amazon Prime and there's no Blu-ray for that.
Nice. Wish I could see what the effects look like.
I'm also hoping for Bluray, but at least this way a HD version... Exists.
It looks like the top and bottom of the image will be cut off so it can be in widescreen. I'm not sure if that's better.
Yeah Pivot apparently chose to crop the image, for S1 anyway, S2-7 were shot in widescreen but not protected for it.

We can be pretty sure S1 will stay in 4/3 if it's released on Blu-ray, I don't think a 16/9 master exist. But it's uncertain what Fox would do about the other seasons. I wished they could respect Joss's wishes to leave the show 4/3 but I have a sense we'll get a widescreen version anyway.
I don't even live in the right country for this, but I loved seeing those clips. I wonder why they didn't use Buffy's line from 'The Pack'. "Suddenly the animals look shiny and new."

Knuckleball, I'm now afraid to know how the praying mantis looks.
S2 and 3 were shot in widescreen? I thought only S4-7 were. Netflix and others only air S4-7 in widescreen.
Also, Amazon only has Angel Season 5 in HD.
@libradude : Yeah you can see from the "previouslys" in later seasons that s2 and s3 exist in widescreen (and not cropped), or even from the opening credits ;)
Ugh. WANT!!!!
Interesting. I only ever watch the U.S. DVDs- which are all in 4/3 and don't do the "Previously" thing at the beginning of each episode.
Buffy should never be aired in Widescreen. There have been numerous articles and even a freakin note from Joss himself in one of the box sets on why this is.
Still, if they decide to release the blu-ray in widescreen, in spite of Joss's wishes, I hope they will correct (or crop) every shot where you see something you're not supposed to. That's what they did for "Friends".

I actually wouldn't mind a widescreen version if they fixed it. I know Joss clearly said the show whas framed for 4/3 but I think widescreen works pretty well for most episodes. The only episode that should absolutely be left in 4/3 is "The Body".

[ edited by Nico-Angel on 2014-08-19 01:56 ]
That debate has raged on for over a decade. Ultimately that is one thing Joss does not have control over.
But he SHOULD have control over it. *grumpy face*
Yeah, please Joss, if you read this, make a call to Fox so that you can have the blu ray the way you want it. I'm sure it will make a lot of money, and they like that :)

Also, I know a lot of Buffy deleted scenes exist, having them as blu ray extras would be completely awesome !
Joss has said in interviews that he does not have control over the process, so I don't think a call would make much difference. I'm sure he would have made that call a long time ago if so.
Personally, I don't know why people keep clamoring for this. Buffy was shown on standard tv in full screen. That's the way it's meant to be seen and that's the way I'm perfectly happy seeing it on my DVDs or on television repeats.
If these come out on blu-ray I'll buy them even if Joss personally tells me not to.
Why does The Body need to be kept in 4:3?
I'm not arguing against it, in fact I think it would be great if the HD versions were full-screen, but I'm curious why that one in particular should be.
The show also originally aired on old CRT TVs. Today, most of us have LED/LCD HDTVs. Standard definition stuff always looks worse on LED/LCD TVs than it does on CRT TVs. The first couple seasons especially look very poor at times (partly because of how they were shot). So I have to disagree- I think an HD remaster of the show is great (Joss has stated in interviews that he is for it as well).
@Trentaferd : Well "The Body" was framed very specifically, the 4/3 format really helps creating a space where you're uncomfortable, almost trapped. Joss explains it in his dvd commentary.

I think "Restless" also has some specific framing, but I don't think all the other episodes would suffer that much from a wider frame.

We should ideally get the option to choose the aspect ratio, that shouldn't be too complicated to do.

[ edited by Nico-Angel on 2014-08-19 08:14 ]
If there's to be any remastering of "Buffy", an urgent requirement is to include the special "Previously ..." sequence for episode 100, "The Gift". It showed a small part of every one of the first 99 episodes, accelerating into a smash cut to the iconic scene in the alley that becomes ever so poignant at the end ("... That's what I keep saying.").

It saddens me that people who didn't see the series on television, who know it only from the DVDs, have never seen the proper introduction to that scene.
I really couldn't fathom buying a BR of Buffy that changed the aspect ratios. Apart from the obvious issues of equipment ending up in frame, the original intention of the shot composition is hugely important, especially because for how little it's talked about, a lot of Buffy is very quietly and understatedly well-directed, even non-Joss episodes.

Plus, as someone who in the 90s cried loudly for the end of pan&scan, it depresses me to see that the lesson many (not in this thread) have taken from it is: always widescreen, all the time. Rather than: always as filmed/framed, all the time.

EDIT: mozzarellademon, I believe that's a hidden feature on the... season 7 DVDs, I wanna say? It's somewhere in there, if I recall.

[ edited by sumogrip on 2014-08-19 04:35 ]
@mozzarellademon : The previouslys are only cut on the American dvds. They are included in Europe, in Australia, Brazil... and on Itunes and Hulu. Fox US was pretty stupid to cut them, but I'm pretty sure they don't do that anymore, they left them intact for Angel S5.
Also, Amazon only has Angel Season 5 in HD.


Amazon Prime UK lists all the Seasons in HD for streaming. Though that could be an error.
The commentary for The Body is the only one of the commentaries I've listened to out of my whole box set. How ironic. I guess I must have missed that detail about the aspect ratio.
I added a link to the trailer on YouTube.
Heads up, but it looks like Pivot is only available in SD from DirecTV. (Which I have.)

If Buffy does eventually make it to blu-ray, I do hope that it is in 4:3 (with the exception of OMWF, which is native widescreen) and includes all of the "previously on" segments. There are a few instances in Buffy and Angel where the "previously on" segment leads directly into new footage, and in most cases the new footage is lost when the intros are cut. The timer countdown and exploding bomb in "End of Days" being a prime example.

Another problem that may be encountered if the episodes are switched to widescreen, aside from visible crew/equipment and composition issues, is if any CGI or effects shots are rendered only in 4:3 SD, in which case, any such scenes will need to be zoomed in with a perceptible loss of video quality. This happened when Babylon 5 was released to DVD in widescreen and any shot with CGI or even a simple optical dissolve between scenes had to be zoomed in, and those scene looked terrible. I don't know if the CGI on Buffy was rendered in 16:9 or 4:3, though, since I haven't seen it in widescreen, but it could be a potential problem.
I guess I am in the minority as i love Buffy in widescreen on my HDTV. For some reason Netflix stopped showing S4 in widescreen so I actually bought (again as I have the DVDs) S4 on Amazon streaming for 20 bux just to watch it in WS. I really hope they put out the whole series on bluray widescreen! I hope what Nico-Angel said it true and S2-3 are on widescreen out there somewhere. I would understand if S1 stayed in 4:3.
Original aspect ratio should be preserved as intended by the artist, but ultimately the decision is with Fox. CBS Digital did a great job with the restoration of Star Trek: The Next Generation, spent a huge amount of money and were respectful enough to maintain original aspect ratio.

That's why people at the Criterion Collection are so well regarded, because they choose to honor filmmakers by respecting they artistic vision. Most of us who care about film care about this sort of thing. Joss cares about this sort of thing. But my guess is Fox doesn't. I don't blame them as a lot of people I know hate those black bars regardless of the reasoning.

But enough of my rant, if the show were indeed to be remastered in HD and the only way to get it would be with additional information for an artificial 16:9, I will definitely be getting it.
If they were to do a Blu-ray widescreen, I would rather have the inclusion of extra image on the sides than a cropped picture. With the inclusion of extra on the sides, you *could* always hide that part of your TV ( a la "DisneyView"). Maybe we could make special posters, or use a lamp. Perhaps a large block of cheese . . .
The only advantages I can see in a BR edition are the less need to walk to change the discs in the player, and maybe they can finally release Buffy's entire collection here, with subtitles in Portuguese and the original dubbing.
I'll never understand why people are so addicted to widescreen... even to the point of accepting a cropped image or a stretched image that looks like a funhouse mirror.

I only want to watch Buffy the way its creator intended it to be watched.
AndrewCrossett: I dont want a cropped or stretched picture. If that were the case Id rather watch in 4:3. I agree with ichthus73...lets see the extra image.
libradude makes the very good point that these were originally for the most part shown on CRT TV's where SD looked a lot better than it does on a HD LCD screen. So reproducing the episodes in HD makes a lot of sense and will look a lot more like it originally did on the TV's of the time. I'm not fussed about the wide screen or not just get it in HD.

I wish they'd do a complete remaster like Star Trek TNG has for BR.
I really hope it comes to Blu Ray.
I'd prefer to mantain the original 4:3, but I'd be ok even with widescreen. Not cropped, though. I'd only be ok with image added to the sides, like we already have on our DVDs here in Italy (and rest of Europe, I think?) for seasons 4-7.

The Star Trek Blu Rays are awesome and apparently successfull even in 4:3, so there's hope. Even the new release of Twin Peaks is in glorious 4:3.
@pacer : The CGI were rendered in widescreen, you can see it on the European dvds, so that won't be a problem.
Am I the only person who enjoys watching Buffy in the widescreen. With the exception of The Body and Restless having watched both I definitely prefer widescreen and asks anyone not to judge it until they watched it.

I understand Joss artistic direction but even he admitted he hasn't seen the widescreen version so you know....

In season 4s intro you can see footage from season 2 and three and that was filmed in a widescreen version as the footage was not cropped. The special effects was also produced in widescreen. I'd bet though season 1 was in it's master form also produced in widescreen as both season 1 and 2 were shot on the same film process.

Has anyone seen an actual televised version of the show in HD yet on Pivot? All we got so far was a 480p YouTube video and I am DYING to see it!
Wow, this is really fantastic news.

Honestly not sure how I feel about the widescreen vs. 4:3 debate. As a filmmaker myself, I know how important framing is. On the other hand, I also own the UK Buffy DVD set and I've only been bothered by the widescreen on the occasion that crew/equipment are visible. I feel wrong saying that, but its true. I might agree with the person above who said they should do what they did to "Friends" - reframe any shot that has something revealing in it.
That's why people at the Criterion Collection are so well regarded, because they choose to honor filmmakers by respecting they artistic vision.

It is a shame Criterion only does films. I'd like to see them branch out into TV shows, and I have no doubt they would do an exceptional job on a "Buffy" Blu-ray release. The restorations would look great, new interviews with everybody, and a cool set of liner notes. And maybe a 5.1 remix...
Discussion of the remastering over on a BluRay forum has led to fans starting a FB page that will update folks about the remastering effort. The intention seems good, and the moderator (who is not me) says he's a-ok with people voicing any preference of widescreen or 4:3 or a combination thereof. The link:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Buffy-HD/545787255523567

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