Commentary Commentary

I’m supposed to be writing something on Croatia now, but I keep not doing that. So instead, here’s something I wrote ages ago and forgot about. It’s thrilling. It’s about DVD commentaries. I know, I know, that’s a tautology.

I grabbed the Doctor Who season five blu-ray box the other day.[1] The set comes with a good amount of commentaries; not one for every story, but then, if this only means that we miss out on the crappy commentaries with second designer on the right then I’m not fussed. However, they’re also “In-Vision”, which means that you get to look at a little box in the bottom left corner with the people talking in it while you also pay attention to the HD picture everywhere else. This is stupid, and stupid in a lot of ways.

  • Commentaries are (at least for me) about feeling like you’ve invited the creators of the thing around and are having them discuss it with you on your couch as you watch. Not so much when you can see tiny tiny versions of them sitting in a recording studio.
  • One of the appeals of buying your TV is not having stupid watermarks on the screen. In Australia’s case, it’s also the only legal way of getting HD Doctor Who, since the ABC have decided that the news has to be high-definition.[2] This is a little spoiled by having a big square over a sizeable chunk of it when you watch with the commentaries.
  • People being filmed are demonstrably more awkward than people having their voices recorded. In particular the magnificently talented but somewhat self-conscious Mr Steven Moffat.
  • The body language of the creators is utterly irrelevant to the commentary and kind of distracting. I don’t want to be imagining that Moffat is trying to flirt with Beth Willis.

Obviously it wouldn’t be a problem if you could switch angles or something with the remote, but blu-rays continually seem to resist my every attempt to control them. My PS3 refuses even to resume play from where I left off with a Blu-Ray, despite being perfectly capable of such a wonder with DVD.[3]

  1. Alright, half a year ago. I told you, this is old. ↩︎

  2. And the news almost never has any decent special effects. ↩︎

  3. If someone is reading this and knows how to do it, then please, for the love of god, tell me. ↩︎

Tom Charman Mastodon