Supernatural: The Complete Fourth Season (2008) [Blu-ray]
|Genre(s): Drama / Fantasy / Mystery|
|Warner Brothers || NR - 924 minutes - $79.98 || September 1, 2009|
|Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2009-09-11|
Writer(s): Eric Kripke (created by)
Cast: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles
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Gearing up for "Supernatural” Season 4 on Blu-ray I went ahead and watched the previous 3 seasons over the past month or so. I've never seen the show (besides a few clips here and there) and was pleasantly surprised how well written and snappy the dialog was. Even though I found the first dozen or so of the Series to be dull, the show quickly picked up pace and finished out strong and continued on. Season 3 seems to be the only lame duck with 70% of the episodes being really good and the other 30% getting a big WTF ("Ghostfacers"). Obviously the Writers Strike killed any momentum Season 3 had and the show came back and finished out the Season with 4 episodes.
This review assumes you've seen "Supernatural" and/or some of the fourth season because so much happens it would be very tough to discuss it without spoiling it.
Dean (Ackles) is alive. Yeah, you probably knew that by looking at the Season Four Blu-ray set and/or seen any previews from the new Season, but yes, he is back from Hell. How? Well, apparently Heaven has plans for Dean and after a four month stay in Hell he is sprung by the 'Angel' Castiel (Collins). Dean is told he has work to do and must stop the 66 seals from being broken because if it happens (a certain amount) than Lucifer will rise and walk Earth. But theres a few problems with that plan...
Sam (Padalecki) appears to now be a rogue Demon Hunter scouring the nation and killing any demons he comes in contact with. Helping him along the way is his demon friend Ruby (now played by Genevieve Cortese; more on this later) who teaches him how to use his power (remember, he has demons blood in him) for good. After Dean and Sam reunite, Dean is told by Castiel to tell Sam not to use his power otherwise there will be consequences and Sam tries to abide by it... for a while. In turn, Sam does not tell Dean that Ruby is back (after she was sent to Hell last season by a demon who repossed her body).
I won't ruin much more then that because the Season Finale is a doozy. It's the one time where a show went there when other shows wouldn't have. We have a chance before with "Angel" but The WB canned that storyline quickly.
So let's discuss Ruby. I really enjoyed Katie Cassidy's portrayal of Ruby in Season Three. I must really be alone because the fans hated it. In an attempt to get young male/female viewers The CW (sigh) required two females to 'join' the show. Ruby was the first pick as a demon who may or may not be out to help the Winchester brothers (promising to find a way to save Dean from going to hell) and finally Bella (Cohan), a slick treasure hunter who tricks to Winchesters brothers far, far too many times then she should have.
Bella was luckily only needed for a handful of episodes before her character was written off (smart move) while Ruby stuck around. Fans seemed to hate her because they felt The CW was trying to insert a female into a primarily male show. I disagree. Having a demon sidekick has worked before (Anya in "Buffy" and the next season Nina in CW's own "Reaper") so I don't see how this was a bad idea. Katie played a fast-talking character who could handle her own in battle and gave the show a much-needed boost of energy. When she was 'killed' at the end of Season Three I was pretty damn upset. But here she is in Season Four played by a different actress who tries to mimic Cassidy's previous performance as Ruby.
A few choice episodes would be "In The Beginning" where Dean travels back to 1973 to find out the history of how his parents met and a long-buried secret regarding his Mother. This in particular is a great episode because you can really see that the Creator (Eric Kripke) really did have a 5 year plan as things were clearly hinted at way back in Episode 12 about the mothers orgins that are finally fully explained (and make sense) 60 episodes later. "Monster Movie" is also notable where the episode goes Black and White as Sam and Dean believe a real-life Dracula, Wolf Man and Mummy are on the loose. And finally "Lucifer Rising" where all the shit hits the fan.
All features are presented in HD. This release also includes a Slip Cover.
Commentaries on the following episodes: In The Beggining, When the Levee Breaks and Lucifer Rising
Mythologies of Supernatural: (1 Hour)
- From Heaven To Hell
- Angels And Archangels
- Angels And Miracles
- The Ageless Unseen War
- The Bonds Of Limbo
- The Destroyer Of Children
- The Sweet Song Of Death
- The Price Of Free Will
- - Each of these runs between 5 and 10 minutes and touches on various Religious aspects that plague all of Season Four. While its interesting, I'd rather have a 'Making of' regarding the season rather than various experts talking about Religion.
Rounding out the disc is Deleted Scenes (22 Minutes) from various episodes (mostly cut dialogue) and a funny Gag Reel (10 Minutes).
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
"Supernatural": The Complete Fourth Season is presented in 1.78:1 (VC1) on 4, 50GB Discs. Since I've never seen the show before I can't comment how it looks compared to the HDTV broadcast version, but overall this is a really clean release. Colors are vibrant and grain is kept well intact. The Black and White episode looks really nice in High-Def as well. I did notice a few instances (in two episodes) where a purple line would appear at the bottom of the scene. I would able to pinpoint it to a scene that was 'cut' (like Sam would get a purple line, close up of Dean would be fine, and then going back to Sam in the same scene would show it). Not sure what went wrong there but it happened during at least two different episodes on different discs. I will assume it was a technical issue with the show itself and not because of the Blu-ray transfer since it appears only during certain scenes. Aside from that minor nuisance (it lasts a total of less than 1 minute) this is a solid looking season.
Warner has once again included a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Sigh, really wish Warner would spend the extra dough and make their TV offerings lossless. Regardless, this does pack a strong punch with rears active for most of an episode as classic tunes.
Since I watched every season of "Supernatural" I can come to the conclusion that season four really is the best (so far). If you dropped off during season three, it's now time to come back. The Blu-ray offers high quality picture, lossy sound and a decent amount of extras.