If there is one show that I am dying to have released on the blu-ray format, it’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If you know me, then you know that I’m a huge fan of the show, if you don’t know me, well, now you know. As a big fan, wouldn’t I already own the series on DVD? Do I really need to have it on blu-ray? Yes and Yes. Here’s why:
For starters, I love image quality. Blu-ray is the single best format to hit the home video market and is currently unrivaled in bringing the best possible image to home viewers. I’m fully aware that Buffy the Vampire Slayer, especially its first couple of seasons, aren’t going to knock your socks off in the visual department. Its low-budget nature doesn’t lend itself to something that one normally thinks would exactly shine in high definition. However, the nature of DVD means that the image on those sets are compressed and when watching it on a high-def TV, you really start to see the inherent issues with those DVD transfers. There is a lot of noise, banding, artifacting and ghosting issues that actually take me out of the show a little bit. In some ways, it makes me think of watching the show on someone else’s TV through a muddy window. Often times, when I’m watching something on DVD, the upconverted picture from my blu-ray player actually looks pretty decent but in this show’s case, and especially with season one and two, it doesn’t look very good at all. If it was to be released on blu-ray, there wouldn’t be a need to compress the image and the image could breathe and be represented in it’s natural filmic quality. I’ve no doubt that a Buffy blu-ray would probably appear more grainy (which I personally have no qualms with) but I think color and detail would get a significant boost. For someone like myself, the loss of compression and the truer representation of the original source material would be like watching Buffy anew. Plus, who wouldn’t mind seeing those DVD menus disappear in favor of something a little more polished.
The road to getting Buffy the Vampire Slayer on blu-ray is probably a long and difficult one. It could potentially be remastered from the original 16mm and 35mm prints but that’s going to take a small group of people a lot of effort and man-hours to complete. There’s also the visual effects to take into account, which were not produced for high-definition. The effects would have to either be kept at their low-resolution or they’d have to be redone. That could be a big hinderance in 20th Century Fox’s decision to try to bring the show to blu-ray. The fact that Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation have been given the blu-ray treatment is incredibly encouraging and I hope creates a movement in bringing more beloved shows to the format.
I realize that bringing Buffy the Vampire Slayer to blu-ray is not going to be the simplest of tasks. I do think, however, that there is a market for the show to be released on high-definition. Fans of the show are incredibly supportive and I think most would be interested in being able to watch the show in the best possible quality, so I think it already has a good base to work from in selling a new set of seasons on blu-ray. Whedon’s recent success with The Avengers will also bring new people to his past work and I think there are a lot of new fans that can be made. If there is one thing that Buffy the Vampire Slayer has proven, it’s that it has legs and continues to be talked about and shared. I think adding a blu-ray release of the show will not only extend the show’s life but bring in further revenue for 20th Century Fox. The fans would benefit from the increased quality, the inevitable release of Buffy‘s spin-off Angel on blu-ray, and of course, increased space on their DVD shelves.
What do you think? Do you want to see Buffy the Vampire Slayer on blu-ray?
by Ben McBride