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Title: History War Collection

Movie: :4stars:
Video: :3.5stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :2stars:

HTS Overall Score:73

The History Channel has been at this for quite some time. In fact it’s been several decades of them pumping out these fun little miniseries at a rate of several per year, focusing on different aspects of American and world history with varying results. I believe there are over 60 miniseries and re-enactments in total, spanning from the wars of America, to persons of great interest spanning the globe. This time The History Channel has created a giant boxset chronicling the start of the very first American war (the Revolutionary War) all the way up until modern times in one incredibly detailed boxset that is spread out over 17 discs! Yes, you read that correctly. 17 discs. There is a lot of information contained in these discs and as you would guess, there are varying results depending on the miniseries at hand. Some are fairly mediocre, while others are fantastic looks into the past for all to see.

Starting back in 2004 we see The History Channel take on the American Revolutionary War and just start going up the ladder from there. If you look at the miniseries as a whole, it’s a solid bit of documentary work that delves into quite a few different takes on all of the wars. Strangely enough, I’ve always thought that The History Channel gets better with time, but looking back over the past week or so as I’ve binged the series, I really ended up liking the earlier ones a bitter better. They weren’t nearly as polished or as fancy in terms of video quality and editing, but they seemed to have the most heart and interesting guests that I can easily forgive the faux pas in storytelling skills.


The first few series looked a tad rough, with much of the flashbacks and visual representations being old footage, or dusky reenactments that were made to look ancient and weathered to fit into the mental image of the time period. Even the video quality was a bit mediocre as it was filmed in non-anamorphic widescreen, degrading the image quality even further on a modern television. However, as we get into the World War pieces, you can see the image quality take a steady uptick as well as the stories carried a lot more re-enactments and dramatic representations about what went on vs. just a steady diet of stock footage (and the video quality benefits greatly as a result.

All of these miniseries have been presented in different collections. Originally debuting as single disc editions, they were later released as period piece collections, such as the World War collection, the Early American set and several others Unfortunately this is not some uber new edition that re encodes the discs in higher quality or even new silk screening on the discs themselves. The discs are literally the same old discs that have been released since 2004 and placed into a pair of giant DVD cases and wrapped in a cool little slip cover. That does not take away from the enormity that is the collection, but just being a re package of several other sets is a little bit disappointing as I would have preferred to have seen some nice extras or maybe even a few extra bonus discs of material or additional footage than what was shown in the original releases.


Not Rated by the MPAA

Video :3.5stars:
Just as the quality of the different series themselves, the different discs have varying degrees of quality to behold. The earlier works were DEFINITELY aimed at a typical non HD oriented audience back in 2004, as the first volume from the collection is given to us in non-anamorphic widescreen which severely hampers the video quality for those discs. There is macroblocking, banding and poorer than average color reproduction there, with mediocre blacks and even some errors and flaws that you normally would not see on many TVs due to overscan. Once we get to the World War discs the series has taken a dramatic turn in the quality department and the resulting images are MUCH nicer to look at. There’s still plenty of archival footage that has varying degrees of quality and definite degradation, but the more modern moments featuring the guests are much nicer and cleaner, with a nice anamorphic 1.78:1 encode. Blacks are deeper, cleaner and there is less macroblocking and black crush.

Audio :4stars:
The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio for the discs are definitely satisfactory and get the job done. As with the video there is some variation to the quality levels, as there is a mix of archival audio that sounds a bit scratchy and poorly preserved, but the actual narration and reenactments sound perfectly acceptable for a 2.0 track. There is some LFE in the track as cannon shots and gunfire explode in the war enactments, and the dialog is usually above reproach. Being that we don’t have an surrounds built into the tracks there isn’t any surround experience, but whatever is asked of the audio track is given back in spades, so I can’t really complain at all given the TV oriented nature of the series.

Extras :2stars:

• Deleted Scenes
• Behind the Scenes Featurettes
• Additional Footage

Overall: :3.5stars:

“History War Collection” is certainly the definitive American war collection to date for the History Channel. It encompasses the last several hundred years up until the most recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq etc. Interesting and highly entertaining, each miniseries has something to give the viewer, even if some of them are not AS interesting as others. The earlier works pertaining to the start of the Americas has always held a special place in my heart, so that may color my opinions just a bit, but I do really enjoy that first volume of series in the collection. Audio is good and video is a bit mediocre, but that is to be expected for a series of TV miniseries that started out in 2004 with a low low budget in comparison to your average show. Definitely recommended for a watch or addition to your collection if you do not own the different sets in their other forms so far released.

Additional Information:

Starring: Edward Herrmann, Oscar De La Hoya, Sam Rockwell
Created by: Various
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Mpeg 2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 2.0
Studio: Lionsgate
Rated: Not Rated
Runtime: 2537 Minutes
DVD Release Date: December 15th 2015

Buy History War Collection On DVD at Amazon

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