Seriously, how weird is that?
Extra, Extra! Read All About It!
Importing Upscales Sucks Dog Spleen!
DVDBeaver has more comparisons with the R1, and I'm afraid none of it looks any better than this. Gary's estimation that it's "slightly better than DVD" is true enough; SD upscales tend to show fewer compression artifacts, and suffer less filtering than their DVD counterparts. With all due respect, I think he tends to be a little too kind to shoddy transfers - erring on the side of caution and all that, while I probably tend to be a little too harsh. Different strokes, I suppose. Regardless, this thing had to have been pulled from a Digibeta.
What's really frustrating is (just like Scanners) the fact that there's supposed to be an HD master floating around on US television, and yet for some reason these fuckwits didn't even have the courtesy to download a 720p rip - sure it'd be compressed to hell and back, but I'd still look sharper and more like film than any of those caps. It's not even a particularly good SD master to start with!
I feel truly sorry for anyone who's spent $40 just to find out the hard way.