Fans of In Search of… have been through a whirlwind of emotions over the years. First, there was the realization that the series would never get a release, the feelings of dejection after hundreds of letters and emails sent by fans to various companies were rejected without much explanation, then the happiness of a few months ago when it was announced that Visual Entertainment Inc. would be releasing the series, and finally, the puzzlement when Amazon pulled the product from their website for seemingly no reason at all just days before the big shipping date. Well, after all of that, the highly anticipated 21-disc box set of the hit paranormal/mystery documentary series that ran from 1976-1982, hosted and narrated by Leonard Nimoy, finally started to ship out last week, and like many fans, I got mine for Christmas. I did not know what to expect from V.E.I since I had never purchased a product of theirs and am always skeptical of these companies that mass-produce DVDs of old television shows. More often than not, releases are nothing but a rush-job capitalizing on the wants of die-hard fans, without paying much attention to detail or quality. Thankfully, though, due to a release of this magnitude, V.E.I stepped up to the plate with a very pleasing In Search Of… box set.
First and foremost was going to be the actual video quality, which may or may not even be entirely up to the company, but relying on source material. This could be a nightmarish escapade for those undertaking the transfer, and old television shows are usually the worst of the lot. However, in the three episodes I have watched so far, the quality is far better than I expected. Make no mistake, it is not crystal clear and will probably suffer further when watched on a flat screen television due to the stretching, but I believe they did the best job they could have possibly done. Some scenes are sharp, while others are grainy. Since I will go out on a limb and say that this will never get a Blu Ray release because the quality would be further diluted, we will have to accept this product as the best possible outcome, and give some credit to V.E.I, even with people getting ticked off that the release date was changed around several times, and the product randomly disappeared. And for those wondering about the intro and theme music, it is the original, and not the newer one that was added when they ran in syndication on the History Channel in the early 2000’s. The only place where this product disappoints is with the audio. The electronic soundtrack is cheesy and sometimes overly dramatic, which is understandable, but the actual sound fluctuates in and out and sometimes interferes with the narration. It goes from extremely loud, to pleasing, and back again. Still, it was probably the best they could do.
As for the packaging, which people were curious about, I took a picture so potential buyers could see for themselves (as far as I know, no pictures of the inside have been published anywhere). I was really expecting a cheap box with the discs in envelopes (my expectations are always low), but what we get is a very handsome and sturdy box filled with seven DVD cases, each one coming individually wrapped, and bearing different frontal designs and descriptions on the back. Each case contains three discs and is for a single season, with a complete episode listing on the back, and again on each disc. This will definitely be a nice addition to any collection, and if buyers were contemplating buying this or not, if you are a big enough fan, you should go for it. Yes, there are episodes for free on Youtube, but the quality is awful and who knows if this release will mean that V.E.I can have those episodes removed due to copyright. This box set is the way to go.