SRP $39.95 1.33:1 DOLBY DIGITAL 2.0 A&E

A&E has released Neil Gaiman’s “NEVERWHERE” on dvd in a boxed set.  While it was made almost a decade ago, Gaiman’s storytelling is so creative that it holds together as a sci-fi cautionary fantasy tale just as well today as it did then.

The main character, Richard Mayhew, is an ordinary guy, living in London, going through life without much worry or adventure.  On his way to dinner with his girlfriend, they come upon a girl laying hurt in the street.  Being decent, Richard takes her home and nurses her, before taking her to one of her friends.  Richard suspects that he’s simply going to return to the daily existence he’s always known, but “now” it appears that no one recognizes him.  Knowing that the key to this weird phenomenon lies with the girl(named Door)tries to find to her friend, the Marguis, for an explanation, and finds that an entire world exists, unknown to virtually everyone, just below the streets of London, known as “LONDON BELOW”. 

He is brought further into this supernatural world when finding that “Door” and her friend are trying to find the ones responsible for killing her parents.  Their quest is thwarted at every turn, particularly by two evil men, Croup and Vandemaar. To Gaiman’s credit, he knows how to juggle fantasy and reality, blurring the line between the two, both with a well conceived story, as well as the unusual, but recognizable look of the series’ background. 

A&E has preserved the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio of the series.  Colors are bold and solid.  Transferred from video, the image holds up extremely well, with better than average contrast, allowing for generally decent detail in darker scenes. 

A&E has provided a Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 mix for this release.  While there’s some limited separation in the front mix, it’s disappointing that a story with fantasy storyline offers no surround effects. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion.

A running commentary with Neil Gaiman is offered for each of the 6 episodes comprising the mini-series.  It’s a worthwhile commentary, and while not particularly “fun”, he’s quite candid, and fans of the series will appreciate his explanation for certain decisions made in both the series as well as the novel derived from it.  An interview with Gaiman via BBC is also offered, but offers little to make it worth sitting through, other than for his die-hard fans.