The Stand is a 1994 American television horror miniseries based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King. King also wrote the teleplay and has a minor role in the series. It was directed by Mick Garris and stars Gary Sinise, Miguel Ferrer, Rob Lowe, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Jamey Sheridan, Laura San Giacomo, Molly Ringwald, Corin Nemec, Adam Storke, Ray Walston, Ed Harris, and Matt Frewer. It originally aired on ABC starting on May 8, 1994.
It has been a really long time since I’ve seen The Stand. Like, probably the last time I watched it was on a recorded VHS tape. I don’t recall being much of a fan at the time, but when I saw it was being restored and released to Blu-ray, my interest definitely piqued. Even though I didn’t like it as a young whippersnapper, I’m a totally different person now, and I’m glad I did revisit it, as I found myself enjoying it far more this time. In The Stand, a weaponized virus escapes a secured government facility and brings about the apocalypse. We follow several travelers as they head towards a mysterious old woman whom they’ve all been dreaming about. On the flip side of that coin, another mysterious entity beckons the group as well, only with darker intentions. The result is an epic battle between good and evil, as the group fights to save what’s left of the world.
I’m a sucker for post-apocalyptic stuff, so The Stand is right up my alley. In fact, if it weren’t for the corny religious stuff and some terrible made-for-tv CGI, it would be one of the better entries into this little subgenre. It features what could be considered a great cast for the time, and the story is compelling, though it does dip its toe into the silly from time to time. It’s a grueling watch if you take it in all at the same time, which I personally did. It runs at 6 hours long. Even though it’s an entertaining watch, you definitely feel that 6 hours when you watch it all at once. Thankfully this release has the option to either “Play All” or view each episode individually. One difference is, the “Play All” feature, cuts down on the opening and end credits. Viewing it this way you’ll only see it at the beginning and end of the event, whereas if you view it piece by piece, you’ll see them on each episode of the miniseries.
This Blu-ray release is pretty good. I have a couple of complaints, but mostly, I feel like if you’re a fan of this miniseries, you’ll probably want to pick it up. There’s a bit of a question as to whether this is the uncut version of the movie, or if it’s the TV cut. I’ve heard both. I have only seen the movie cut, but it seems to me like there was stuff in there that was either extended, or that I’d never seen at all. The runtime is 5:59 minutes, so I’m relatively certain that this is the uncut version of the film. Another controversy is the fact that they didn’t include a lossless audio track. This is the biggest problem with the release. Even though the Dolby Digital track is loud, and mostly clear, there’s no excuse for them to not have included a lossless track as an option. However, and some sites disagree with me, the video quality is excellent. I can’t imagine this miniseries has ever looked this good, nor will it ever look better. I’ve said this before and then the 4K format was introduced, but I’m not sure the increased resolution would make much of a difference in this instance. Extra are lacking as well, with only a commentary and a featurette. I guess you have some decisions to make. Pick up this restoration, blemishes and all, or hold out in hopes that in ten years from now, another release with more extras and lossless track to be released on whatever format we’ll have at the time. Personally I think this will definitely do for now.