The Series (3.5/5)
Shout! Factory have long been a favorite label of mine. Not so much for the quality of the releases (which are quite good for the most part), but for their ability to dig into the pop culture graveyard, and unearth some amazing and obscure shows that might have been otherwise been forgotten. Case in point we have this month's release of The Colbys. Now, I'll admit I've never been much a soap opera fan, unless the 27 episode run of Twin Peaks, and the occasional episode of Dark Shadows qualifies it, but I love digging into stuff with such a unique history as this show.
The Colbys was originally titled Dynasty II: The Colbys. I can fully understand why Shout! would simplify the title for release, as by associating it with another show you then make the buyer feel like they'd have to be familiar with both to grasp it's contents. The fact is with this show, from the research I have done it appears watching episodes of Seasons 6-7 of Dynasty and alternating with episodes of the Colbys does contribute to the ongoing plots, but it is not necessary to understand the events that are unfolding.
From the very little Dynasty I remember viewing, the Colbys looks very similar in content. The show is very typical soap opera rather than dealing with the Carrington's of Colorado and Dynasty, we have L.A.'s the Colbys. This show deals with their love lives, business dealings (the first season deals with an oil pipeline (probably inspired by Dallas). The thing that sets the Colbys apart from it's sister series, and other shows at the time is it's cast. The series is spearheaded by such film giants as Charlton Heston and Barbara Stanwyck who bring their considerable talents to the soap opera arena.
Throughout the series there are some moments of powerful drama, and some interesting, suspenseful plot lines that keep things going. Overall, though it doesn't really add much to the typical soap opera formula, and is probably of primary interest to Dynasty fans.
Shout! Factory have presented the Colbys in decent 1:33:1 full frame transfers preserving the shows original aspect ratio. The episodes look as good as can be expected, with stable colors, decent blacks, and solid flesh tones, there is some softness throughout as can be expected, and some source related damage.
The audio track in English does the job respectably with dialogue coming through decently as does the show's score, though I did find myself volume juggling from time to time. I did not detect any issues with the audio.
There are a few interviews with the surviving cast members, and that's it.
A long awaited released for the Dynasty faithful, the Colbys now gets a complete DVD set from Shout! Factory. The A/V is decent on this release, and it comes with some extras for fans. For fans of soap operas, and Dynasty in particular RECOMMENDED.