I can't think of many rock bands that are a better fit for the multichannel treatment than Pink Floyd. In addition to their music's many other pioneering aspects, toying with dimensions and perspective has never been something that the band was afraid to do. While it must've been a great temptation to incorporate sonic gymnastics of every kind into this material, the SACD's 5.1 mix has enough presence to make it interesting but enough subtlety to keep it legitimate. You get your experimentation, but it's rarely distracting or overpowering.
Don't forget about the high-resolution aspect. Nothing yet has come close to matching the original LP's fidelity. The cassette was, well, a cassette. The CD version was crisp and dynamic, but it was also excessively bright and downright grating at times. The SACD changes all that. Even this hybrid disc's CD-compatible track sounds better, and the high-resolution mix takes this album to a whole new level. The upper frequencies are much warmer without losing their potency, the bass is full and deep, and the midrange is as true as I've ever heard it. Vinyl-philes may still consider the LP to sound more musical overall, but even they will have to appreciate the new dynamic range that the SACD offers.
The Dark Side of the Moon is a staple album in the rock category and a prime example of what SACD is capable of. Adding this disc to your collection is a no-brainer.—Chris Lewis
DVD: Futurama: Volume One—20th Century Fox
Nearly 10 years after he changed the course of TV animation forever with The Simpsons, Matt Groening finally unveiled his second animated show in 1999. While Futurama may have failed to match The Simpsons in popularity, it more than matched its predecessor's wit and style. Unlike The Simpsons, it didn't take a full season for Futurama to find its groove. In fact, the show's first 13 episodes, which are compiled in Futurama: Volume One, will likely make you wonder why the series wasn't an across-the-board smash from day one.
After he's accidentally cryogenically frozen for 1,000 years, pizza deliverer extraordinaire Philip J. Fry awakens in the year 2999 to find that delivery is still the only job he's qualified for. Fry hooks up with one-eyed Leela (voiced by Married...with Children's Katey Sagal) and Bender Bending, a robot with mannerisms amazingly similar to those of Homer Simpson. Together, the three travel the galaxy in a never-ending quest to deliver packages and, of course, witty pop-culture barbs. Futurama is a science-fiction fan's dream cartoon, as it lampoons everything from Star Trek to Blade Runner yet does so with obvious affection for the source material.
The DVD supplements each half-hour episode with commentary from Groening and his various collaborators, and there are multiple deleted scenes. The 1.33:1 picture makes excellent use of Futurama's vibrantly colorful backdrops, while the Dolby Surround sound is clear, if not spectacular. Fox may have recently canceled Futurama, but they obviously knew that a quality show deserved quality DVD treatment.—Gary Maxwell