The Little Drummer Boy appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The show offered a weak transfer.
Sharpness appeared mediocre at best. Close-ups demonstrated passable clarity but anything wider seemed soft and fuzzy. I saw no jagged edges or shimmering, but some light edge haloes appeared.
Colors flopped. Granted, the desert setting didn’t boast lots of vivid hues, but the tones of Boy appeared terribly drab and flat nonetheless. Blacks were inky and mushy, while shadows were bland.
Print flaws seemed minor, as I detected a few specks and marks but nothing serious. Grain seemed awfully heavy, though – and looked suspiciously like DVD artifacts. I couldn’t help but wonder if the image came from a 12th generation transfer or from a pre-existing DVD. Whatever the source, this was an unappealing and disappointing presentation.
On the other hand, the show’s DTS-HD MA 2.0 soundtrack seemed surprisingly good. The stereo soundscape remained essentially monaural, though – and by “essentially”, I mean “entirely, as far as I could tell”. Any use of the side speakers was minor at most.
Given the show’s origins, though, that was fine, and the track sounded quite good. Speech was fairly warm and natural, which just a bit of edginess. Effects could be slightly rough, but not terribly so, and they usually demonstrated pretty nice range.
Music satisfied most of all. The songs and score demonstrated pleasing tones, as they showed good clarity and depth. Unfortunately, the performance of the title song heard during the show’s climax came from an iffy source and could sound a bit wobbly. A mild hum could be heard at times, but it didn’t become a notable distraction. Overall, this seemed like a mostly positive soundtrack.
Boy comes with no extras. Since it essentially exists as a bonus feature attached to better-known shows, this doesn’t come as a surprise.
An unusually dark holiday special, The Little Drummer Boy lacks consistency. I like its dramatic tone but it spoils the atmosphere with too many self-consciously light moments. The Blu-ray offers good audio but suffers from terrible visual quality and lacks supplements. Boy has its ups and downs but it remains a mostly enjoyable show – too bad this Blu-ray looks so awful.
Note that this version of Little Drummer Boy comes from a package called The Original Television Christmas Classics Anniversary Collector’s Edition. That box packages Boy with Frosty the Snowman, Frosty Returns, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, The Cricket on the Hearth, and Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol. With a list price under $30, it’s a good deal.