Abrams, who does a feature-length commentary on all three editions, singled out the Blu-ray as the mothership of this title: "The behind-the-scenes features on the DVD -- and especially the Blu-ray -- give a wonderful look at the crazy hard work and incredible fun that went into making this movie,” he said in Paramount Home Entertainment's canned quote.
"Donnie Darko" comes to Blu-ray on Feb. 10, in a dual-version release from Fox Home Entertainment. The next month sees a 50th anniversary Blu-ray edition of "South Pacific."
Making a belated entrance for the holidays is my new home video site, DVD Gift Guide. As the handle says, it features DVDs and Blu-rays that would make great gifts, broken down by the sort of person on the receiving end.
All 14 episodes are set for release Nov. 11, in a three-disc box that retails for $90, Fox Home Entertainment confirmed. (Amazon lists "Firefly: The Complete Series" at $63.)
The episodes all unspool in 1.78:1 widescreen with English 5.1 DTS HD Master Lossless Audio -- nice presentation for a relatively low-budget sci-fi show that got the boot in season 1.
Extra features new and exclusive to the Blu-ray aren't much: a "Firefly Reunion" roundtable discussion and a single episode commentary with Whedon and three cast members. Other commentaries and features are ported over from the 2003 DVD box set "Firefly" set, presumably still in SD.
For the uninitiated, the terrific post-cancellation movie "Serenity" is the place to start. Then see how it all began, if you're inspired to enlist as a browncoat (fan). ("Serenity" is out on HD DVD; not yet on Blu-ray.)
"Firefly" debuted in fall 2002 on the Fox network, squeezing out 11 episodes before the ax fell. Whedon's many fans from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" couldn't keep the show on the air, but they made enough noise -- and bought enough "Firefly" DVDs -- to convince Universal Pictures to release the "Serenity" film (it's named after the Millennium Falcon-like space ship).
Young fans of Fox's current "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" will be happy to get a look at the early years Summer Glau putting her ballet training to good use, kicking ass on burly bad guys. (Warner Home Video just released the new "Terminator" TV series on DVD and Blu-ray.)
Other players in Firefly's fine ensemble are Nathan Fillion ("Waitress"), Gina Torres ("Standoff"), Ron Glass ("Barney Miller"), Alan Tudyk ("3:10 to Yuma"), Morena Baccarin ("Stargate SG-1"), Adam Baldwin ("Chuck"), Sean Maher ("Party of Five") and Jewel Staite ("Stargate: Atlantis").
Here's the breakdown of the extras for the "Firefly" Blu-ray set:
"Serenity" (Part 1 & 2): commentary by executive producer Joss Whedon and actor Nathan Fillion
"The Train Job": commentary by Whedon and executive producer Tim Minear
"Shindig": commentary by writer Jane Espenson, actress Morena Baccarin and costume designer Shawna Trpcic
Special feature: "Here's How It Was: The Making of 'Firefly' featurette
"Our Mrs. Reynolds": commentary by Whedon and actors Fillion, Alan Tudyk and Ron Glass (Blu-ray only)
"Out of Gas": Commentary by Minear and director David Solomon
Special feature: "Firefly" reunion: "Lunch with Joss, Nathan, Alan and Ron" featurette (Blu-ray only, in HD)
"War Stories": commentary by actors Fillion and Tudyk
"The Message": commentary by Tudyk and actress Jewel Staite
"Heart of Gold"
"Objects in Space" commentary by Whedon
Special features: "Serenity: The 10th Character"; Joss sings the "Firefly" theme; Joss tours the set; deleted scenes; gag reel; Tudyk's audition