MILLENNIUM - SEASON ONE DVD BOX SET
Directors: David Nutter, Thomas J. Wright, Winrich
Starring: Lance Henriksen, Megan Gallagher, Terry O'Quinn
won’t find this Millennium DVD box set in any high street retailer, and
you won’t find it in stock at any of the usual mail-order outlets. The
set, which contains twenty of the twenty-two episodes of the first season,
spread across five discs, is apparently from Japan. With no tangible sign that the
series will receive a UK or US release, dedicated fans will probably be
happy enough to get episodes on a compact, convenient format. There are
some significant drawbacks, however, so people with a more casual interest
are advised to consider carefully.
set is missing two episodes: Lamentation and Covenant.
Lamentation is one of the highlights of the season, and arguably one
of the most powerful pieces of genre television ever screened. It also
contains a pivotal event that has repercussions for the remaining episodes
of the season, so its omission is surprising and very disappointing.
picture quality is mediocre, and exhibits none of the skill usually
employed in a professional transfer. The discs are coded at a constant -
woefully low! - bitrate, causing frequent MPEG artefacts (often referred
to as “tiling”). This is unsurprising, since these are single-layer
discs (legitimate releases almost always use dual-layer discs for this
much material). The discs appear to have been sourced from an analogue
source (possibly the legit Japanese laserdisc box set, or, more likely,
the official Japanese VHS release), and are wreathed
in RF noise. They compare
favourably to the official PAL VHS recordings, unless you think that
you’d prefer the low-resolution of tape to the artefacts that plague the
sharper DVD versions. Audio quality is serviceable, and unremarkable.
seems to be no doubt that this is an unofficial (bootleg) release.
inspection gives a very favourable impression. The box is relatively
sturdy (better than many legitimate releases!) and each disc has
nicely-designed individual artwork (including artwork printed on the discs
themselves). There’s a note on each sleeve that says “SPECIAL LIMITED
EDITION TO 500 COPIES. STRICTLY AND ABSOLUTELY FOR JAPAN MEDIA PROMOTIONAL
PURPOSES ONLY”, but this seems likely to be a smokescreen to disguise
that these are bootleg discs. The print run specified is, then, also
likely to be suspect. There are many clues as to the true nature of the
from an acknowledgement to “The creator of The X-Files, Chris
Carter”, there are no credits of any kind. Most official releases at
least credit the writer and director of each episode.
discs feature burnt-in Japanese subtitles. This is not unusual, but an
official studio release may have gone to the trouble of providing
removable subtitles (like the Dark Angel sets). See two
examples of the Japanese subtitles below:
are no studio logo’s, and no copyright notice on the packaging
(unless it’s in Japanese!) Fox’s Japanese Dark Angel box
sets, for example, look much more like official product.
Would the studio release a box set, and not release all the episodes,
even if it meant adding a sixth disc?
nicely designed, most of the graphics lack the quality (or ‘bite’)
that you expect in a product that would have studio-provided source
discs allegedly have Dolby Digital audio, and are presented in “16:9
LB” format, neither of which is true.
discs are coded for “ALL” regions – which would be an
unnecessary measure for a box set “strictly and absolutely”
produced for Japanese consumption.
no Japanese text on the spine or front covers of the discs, perhaps
indicating that they were designed for an English-speaking customer.
are several glaring errors on the menus (see example screengrabs below
- that should be Loin Like a Hunting Flame, The Wild and the
Innocent and Kingdom Come).
Fox finally gets around to releasing a proper box set this set will fill a
gap. The set, which crops up on Ebay with suspicious regularity, can
usually be obtained for a reasonable price (generally about £60,
thanks to J. Lopez.