Game of thrones: the complete eighth season (dvd + digital

While the final destination of this 8th và last season of Game Of Thrones feels satisfying enough, there are sadly an awful lot of rushed stumbles along the way.

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As with the second half of season 7, the once fantastic writing of earlier seasons is sacrificed on the altar of trying to wrap an enormous tangle of storylines up in just a handful of episodes. This robs the show of so much of the rich characterization and multi-layered intrigue that once made it so special.


Key character after key character is allowed khổng lồ fizzle away in anti-climax after anti-climax, the whole White Walker storyline is essentially wrapped up in a single (albeit spectacular) episode, and key characters undergo massive sầu transformations at the drop of a hat.


Some scenes - especially in Episode 3 - still deliver moments of white-knuckle tension, và there are flickers of the show’s familiar grlặng imagination & eye for spectacle. Even Season 8’s set-piece episodes, though, ultimately feel strangely lacking in power now that we suddenly don’t care as much about the people the horrifying events are happening to.

Of course, if you’re enough of a GoT tín đồ that you intover to lớn pichồng up the rest of the show’s 4K Blu-rays when they eventually come out (only the gorgeous-looking Season One, reviewed here, has emerged so far), then you’ll pretty much have sầu to lớn buy Season 8 whether you lượt thích it or not. Watching it all through again for this nhận xét, though, hasn’t led khổng lồ me finding hidden depths I’d missed the first time round.


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Release Details

Studio: HBO


What you get: Three 4K Blu-ray discs, 3 Region A/B/C HD Blu-rays

Extra features: 10 (TEN!) commentary tracks, with at least one per episode; a nearly two-hour behind the scenes documentary; half hour making of documentaries on Episodes 3 & 5; animated history & lore of Westeros; in-episode interactive guides.

HDR formats: HDR10 and Dolby Vision

MAX Light Level/Max Frame Average Light Level: Both present as 0 nits.

Best Audio mix: Dolby Atmos

Key kit used for this test: Key kit used for this review: Sony 65A9G TV, Philips 65OLED+934, Samsung 65Q90R, Panasonic UB8đôi mươi, Oppo 205

Picture Quality

Game Of Thrones’ penchant for extremely dark & smoky locations has always made it a major challenge for the world’s various broadcast và streaming platforms. Season 8, though, caused the biggest picture unique controversy yet. Especially the epic Episode 3, which sent social truyền thông media inkhổng lồ meltdown as viewers across all distribution platforms complained of major picture quality problems such as compression noise, banding noise, và sequences so dark that they literally couldn’t see what was going on at all.


Cersei doesn"t get the sort of skết thúc off she deserves in Season 8.

Photo: trò chơi of Thrones Season 8, HB

I covered various aspects of this controversy in a series of articles at the time (which you can find links lớn at the bottom of this one). And in the last of these I concluded that likely the only way you might get to see this cinematic show looking the way it was intended to lớn be seen would be lớn buy the 4K Blu-ray when it came out. And it turns out I was right. Provided, anyway, that you have sầu a TV that’s up lớn the job…

I know it’s a cliđậy, but watching Season 8 on 4K Blu-ray really is lượt thích seeing it for the first time. So much so that I seriously regret watching it when it first aired rather than waiting for this infinitely better-looking edition to arrive.

Here, at last, you can watch the whole thing without being distracted by nasty compression blocks, horrible color banding, uneven blaông xã levels or a total absence of visible dark detail. All the nasty stuff which, as the 4K Blu-ray proves, seems to have been down khổng lồ a combination of broadcast bandwidth issues and the creation of an SDR đoạn Clip master that made little to no allowance for the limited quality of the TVs most living rooms contain.


Aw. What a dễ thương couple. It"ll never last in Westeros, of course.

Photo: Game Of Thrones Season 8,

Predictably the single biggest revelation of the 4K Blu-ray is its combination of excellent blaông chồng cấp độ depth with more or less total freedom from compression noise. It’s a joy to see what feels lượt thích the darkest GoT season ever with that darkness delivered with not just gorgeous richness & depth, but also consistent freedom from the various horrors associated with current live sầu broadcast systems I listed earlier.

The series isn’t presented with by any means the highest average bit-rates I’ve seen on 4K Blu-ray; for the most part you’re looking at rates of between 25 & 50Mbps, with the occasional peak of 60Mbps plus. But this still lets the transfer deliver far more data at any given moment than any of the original broadcasts or streams will have got - plus, of course, a 4K resolution, where no 4K version was available when the show first aired.

So far as I can tell, the 4K Blu-ray presentation is an upscale of a 2K original master. But while it’s far from the most consistently sharp 4K Blu-ray around (especially during the darkest scenes và with some of the SFX shots in episodes five sầu & six), some of the brighter moments, at least, look quite spectacularly sharp. So much so, ironically, that it occasionally makes some sets look a bit artificial.

Even though dark scenes look softer, the extra detail still contributes to how much cleaner everything looks than it did on either the original broadcasts or the HD Blu-rays.


Young Queen seeks king. Must lượt thích dragons.

Photo: Game Of Thrones Season 8, HBO

As anyone who watched the series when it first aired might guess, it’s episode 3, The Long Night, that presents the biggest challenge to lớn the 4K Blu-ray master.

Watching this again in 4K HDR, it’s easy to lớn see why it caused so many problems for broadcasters. It’s a smoke-swirling, flame-flickering, snow-flurrying, cloud-shifting, fast-cutting, motion-heavy, darkness-loving nightmare for any video clip compression system or low-contrast TV to lớn handle. Even on a format as immaculate as 4K Blu-ray there are moments - particularly where Jon and Daenerys fly on their dragons through the cloudy night sky - where the picture starts lớn struggle a touch.

The 4K Blu-ray’s presentation in this episode will also still provide a mighty challenge to lớn many budget TVs. And even a few not-so-budget TVs, as it happens. For instance, while Samsung Q90R, Samsung Q900R & Philips (Europe) 65OLED+934 TVs handled the episode on 4K Blu-ray pretty well, a Sony 65AF9 OLED TV surprisingly couldn’t cope with the black levels at all, leaving the dark battle sequences looking grey & flat.

While the Sony OLED was found wanting by this episode, though, the Philips OLED looked so good with it that I feel pretty convinced the show was mastered on an OLED monitor. Particularly spectacular on the Philips OLED was the way relatively small but extremely bright areas of light, such as the fighters’ flaming swords and the burning projectiles the defenders of Winterfell launch at the army of the dead, stood out with phenomenal intensity against the inky night sky.

The fact that the Season 8 4K Blu-ray can even cause issues on a TV as well-regarded and expensive as the AF9, though, does make me question again the wisdom of mastering the episode with apparently so little thought for the fact that most people don’t own TVs that get even cthua to lớn the chất lượng of a pro-grade monitor.


Bran is the man with the plan.

Photo: trò chơi Of Thrones Season 8, HBO

Still, the bottom line here is that for the most part, any issues you experience while watching Season 8 of Game Of Thrones on 4K Blu-ray will in truth be down to lớn limitations with your hardware, & not khổng lồ the actual unique of the master và its delivery.

The improvements the 4K Blu-ray transfer delivers with The Long Night and other dark scenes compared with the HD Blu-ray is down lớn its striking use of HDR. Which reminds us in no uncertain terms that HDR isn’t just about brightness; it’s also about enhanced blaông chồng levels.

As noted earlier, though, even the darkest shots stvà a chance of suddenly being punctuated by some really extreme HDR highlights. And when that happens, those highlights st& out so starkly against the HDR-enhanced darkness that they genuinely seem khổng lồ burn off the screen.

màu sắc enjoys a decent upgrade, too. Skin tones look richer và typically more natural, flames look more vibrant, the eyes of the White Walkers look more terrifyingly blue, interiors look much more intense and ‘solid’, and the usual copious amounts of blood looks, well, more bloody.

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Some of the color expansion feels a touch awkward in episodes five and six, with the occasional over-orange skin tone và backdrop. But these moments are the exception rather than the rule - & in any case they’re pretty much dispensed with by the Dolby Vision master if you’re able khổng lồ take advantage of that.

Yep, that’s right: Every episode has been mastered in Dolby Vision as well as HDR10. And if you have a TV và 4K Blu-ray player able khổng lồ handle the DV data, you’ll be rewarded with a pretty considerable picture chất lượng upgrade. The endless dark scenes look more dynamic & deliberate (for want of a better word), while colors look both slightly more punchy & consistently more balanced and natural. Especially during the final two episodes.


Dany rules. Literally.

Photo: Game Of Thrones, HBO

It’s worth noting, though, that with the Philips OLED phối I had lớn use the Dolby Vision Bright mode to lớn avoid significant blaông xã crush, while with the Sony OLED the Dolby Vision mode slightly exaggerated the blaông chồng cấp độ issues I reported earlier.

Sound quality

The first thing to say here is that if you want to lớn take advantage of the Dolby Atmos set created for both the HD và 4K Blu-rays, you need to select it from the disc’s menus. Otherwise the set defaults khổng lồ the ‘original’ broadcast Dolby Digital 5.1 phối.

I strongly recommkết thúc that you take the trouble to lớn switch lớn the Atmos option if you have a sound system able to handle it. It makes a huge difference to the film’s action scenes, opening up their scope and scale, adding more impetus and power khổng lồ the often stunning score work, making rear và side detail placement more dynamic, và making good use of the height channels (kiểm tra out the dragons flying overhead near the start of The Long Night, for instance).

There’s a slightly compressed feel to the original 5.1 set compared with the Atmos version, too - though this reduces if you play the 5.1 phối seriously loud. Lots of volume is, of course, always recommended where Game of Thrones is concerned - but the way you really need to lớn vị this to make the sound satisfying represents another way in which Season 8 makes little allowance for folk who don’t have a pretty serious AV set up.


That"s a whole lot of grief i one pi

Photo: Game OF Thrones Series 8, HBO

As someone who does have sầu a decent AV phối up, though, my only complaint about the Atmos mix is that bass rolls off just a little short of where I’d ideally like it to lớn. But that’s a small niggle when you’re talking about what’s essentially a cinematic sound mix being created for a TV show.

Extra features

Every episode of Season 8 gets a commentary traông xã on 4K Blu-ray, featuring a variety of different cast and crew members. Some episodes even get multiple commentary tracks.

On episode one we get Production Designer Deborah Riley & writer/co-producer Dave sầu Hill, who prove sầu enthusiastic & engaging talkers about their relative sầu disciplines.

Episode two’s commentary comes from co-executive producer/writer Bryan Cogman & actor Daniel Portman (who plays Podrichồng Payne). Again this is well worth a listen for both its humour và frank discussion of the difficulties of making such a character-driven episode when so much narrative sầu progress needs to lớn be made in such little time.

The first commentary for Episode 3 comes from director Miguel Sapochnik, director of photography Fabian Wagner, and camera operator Sean Savage. This is a little muddled, but Sapochnik does touch a couple of times on some of the complaints levelled against the episode - essentially by taking the piss out of the complainers! Basically his point is that not always being able to see stuff in the darkness reflects the characters’ experience, while cutting some of the intense fighting so fast that you don’t have time khổng lồ really see what’s going on reflects the chaotic nature of the battle. In short, he’s definitely not apologetic!

The second commentary for The Long Night features executive sầu producer Bernadette Caulfield, Visual Effects producer Steve Kullbak, & visual effects supervisor Joe Bauer. This plays a little awkwardly initially, with a little too much in-joking, but it pays off by the end.

The last commentary on The Long Night features Stunt Coordinator Rowley Irlam và actor Richard Dormer (who plays Beric Dondarrion). This starts slowly, with some seriously long silences - I guess because the two commentators weren’t as involved much in the early stages. Things pick up when the actual battle kicks off - but only a bit. Overall this one is pretty skippable, in truth.


The box art for the UK 4K Blu-Ray release.

Photo: Game of Thrones Season 8, HBO

Commentating on Episode 4 are director of photography David Franco, Grey Worm actor Jacob Anderson, Missandei actress Nathalie Emmanuel, and Euron Greyjoy actor Pilou Asbaek. This turns out lớn be one of the most entertaining listens of all the commentaries thanks lớn the banter between the three actors, và their genial inquisition of Franco about how his side of the process works.

Episode five gets two commentaries. The first of which sees the return of Sapochnik & Wagner, accompanied this time by Varys actor, Conleth Hill. Sapochnik brings the same irreverence và dry wit he provided with his Long Night commentary, & between them the trio enliven one of the show’s most visually spectacular but ultimately hollow episodes. And yes, there are a couple more gags about how dark some of the footage is.

The second Ep 5 commentary features producer Chris Newman, SFX supervisor Sam Conway, & Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Bauer. This is a bit more stilted và dry than the other one, but there’s a decent amount of ‘making of’ trivia for fans lớn lap up. There’s also a brief but intriguing reference at one point khổng lồ the ‘extremely high resolution’ of the footage creating some very large files to lớn giảm giá khuyến mãi with in post-production…

Episode Six gets two commentaries, one by Executive Producers/writers/directors David Benioff và D.B. Weiss, together with Emilia Clarke, and one by director of photography Jonathan Freeman and camera operator Ben Wilson. The first is pretty good, combining plenty of trivia with lots of enthusiasm from Clarke - including a light-hearted attempt to lớn justify her character’s actions in the last two episodes, và one or two wry nods by the producers lớn the fans’ less than ecstatic reactions. There’s even a discussion about the infamous accidental coffee cup from episode four, during which the producers try khổng lồ blame an outraged Clarke.

The final commentary traông xã is less fun, but contains lots of lovely techy chat about cameras, lenses, lighting và shooting techniques if you like that sort of thing.

Since the third 4K disc in the package only has to lớn accommodate episode six, the extra space is used khổng lồ house a few more non-commentary extras. Kicking off with a brilliant half hour documentary on the making of The Long Night that’s packed with interviews and great behind the scenes footage. This really brings home just how much went inlớn creating a TV episode of such scale.

Another half hour documentary, Duty Is The Death Of Love sầu, covers the themes & creation of the final GoT episode. This isn’t quite as good as the previous one, but there’s still more than enough behind the scenes footage to keep you interested.

Up next are six really nice animated mini-features explaining the history and lore of Westeros, running to more than 25 minutes in total.

The most substantial feature is a nearly two-hour documentary, The Last Watch, which does a pretty lovely job of introducing us khổng lồ pretty much every aspect of the season’s production, taking in everything from logistics meetings & set/prop crafting at Titanic Studquả táo to lớn early actors’ read throughs & ‘red carpet’ screenings. Its total focus on the people behind the show (right down khổng lồ security guards, minor extras và the bloke who blows out the artificial snow) makes it as endearing as it is comprehensive sầu.

The last feature on the 4K Blu-rays are five deleted scenes. Watch them if you like, but it’s pretty easy to lớn see in truth why all of them were cut out.

The HD Blu-rays carry all the same commentaries and third disc extras, but you also get ‘In Episode Guides’ that let you Call up extra background on the characters, locations or Westeros lore pertaining to the scene you’re watching. The interface for these features isn’t especially intuitive, but there’s a decent amount of extra information lớn be found if you’re willing lớn persevere.

Verdict

While its picture quality is a bit inconsistent, the 4K Blu-ray release of trò chơi Of Thrones Season 8 is unquestionably the definitive sầu way to watch the final season of the biggest show in TV history. Especially if you’ve got a TV good enough to lớn unlock the image’s full potential.

If you found this article interesting, you might also lượt thích these:

‘Game Of Thrones’ Season One 4K Blu-ray Review: Stark Difference

‘trò chơi Of Thrones’ Picture Problems Part 1: A Plea For Pixels

‘Game Of Thrones’ Picture Problems Part 2: The Trouble With TVs

‘trò chơi Of Thrones’ Picture Problems Part 3: When TV Goes To The Movies

trò chơi Of Thrones Picture Problems Part 4: All Hail The Shiny Disc


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I"ve spent the past 25 years writing about the world of trang chủ entertainment technology--first at trang chủ Cinema Choice magazine, where I became Deputy Editor, and for the past 20 years on a freelance basis. In that time I"m fairly confident that I"ve sầu reviewed more TVs & projectors than any other individual on the planet, as well as experiencing first-h& the rise and fall of all manner of great và not so great home entertainment technologies. I am currently a regular contributor khổng lồ Trustednhận xét.com, Techradar.com, trang chủ Cinema Choice magazine, Wired, Pocket-Lint.com and, of course, gamedanhnhau.info.