Saturday, April 04, 2009
Dynasty - The Fourth Season, Volume One (CBS DVD, $35.98) brings us the first 14 episodes of the fourth season of the mega-hit ABC '80s series Dynasty on a 3-disc set! John Forsythe, Linda Evans and Joan Collins continue to heat up the show as the season begins where season three left off...I won't give it away, but the keyword is fire! This is the season where it reached its highest state thus far...it was #3 in the ratings for the season. Seasons 3-6 all were in the time of the height of the popularity, with season five hitting number one. The series lasted 9 seasons on ABC, from 1981-89. We get the first half of the fourth season (1983-84) on this volume one set of the fourth season. Again, I don't understand why they are splitting the seasons in half. The show only had 27 episodes for season four...it's not like it was over 30 or 35. Anyway, Michael Nader joins the cast this season as Farnsworth 'Dex' Dexter, Alexis' new suitor. Among the other storylines wee see this season is a wedding vows renewal for Blake and Krystle!
Each episode on this set is between 46-47 minutes on average, with most of the episodes just below 47 minutes. Nearly every CBS DVD has a disclaimer on the back of the box saying, "Some episodes maybe be edited from their original network versions." So there is a chance something could be edited, but I didn't see anything, as the runtimes were fairly consistent, lowest was 46:35 and highest was 47:05. There are 6 chapter stops each for every episode, counting the opening and closing credits stops. The video is on par with the previous season and it looks good. Just some debris here and there on the opening credits, like flashing black dots, but it is still good quality. The audio is decent, a nice sounding mono...that is crisp and clear. No problems here at all.
Packaging once again is a snap case holding three discs inside, sort of similar to the two third season volumes. Again the discs don't overlap each other, which is great. Discs one and two are in the white plastic little holder, while disc three is on the right panel of the case. That little holder is cheap, but I guess it works. The cover art of the case has a nice shot of Krystle, Blake and Alexis, with the Dynasty logo below them. We have a nice purple style color scheme for this volume. The back of the case has synopsis of the show, the set, and technical information. A nice shot of the cast and some screen shots are also present. Back inside, there is a disc-by-disc breakdown on the left and right panel for every episode on this set. We get episode title, original airdate, and a long synopsis of each episode. Don't be reading it before watching the episode now! Artwork on the discs is just plain again. It is plain silver for each one. Dynasty logo and whatever disc number it is on the disc, and episode titles are listed. Discs one and two hold five episodes each, while the third disc holds four episodes.
CBS DVD is terrible in menus, as you all know. Each menu has different artwork but it is so plain. The episodes are listed right on the main menu once again. Set Up option is also available below the list of episodes. In Set Up, we can have English or Espanol languages and subtitles. Main menu artwork has three shots of the same image. Disc 1's main menu has three shots of the main three stars (Blake, Alexis, and Krystle), disc two has three shots of Krystle, and disc three has three shots of Alexis. No theme music or any music in the background once again. Before the main menu on disc one, there is an option for previews...we get previews such as 90210 and Melrose Place. But you can skip to the main menu.
We get no special features at all, just like the season three volumes. The second season had a little family tree thing, which was something at least. We get nothing here. The first season was done by 20th Century Fox, and they did a decent job with some featurettes and commentaries, but CBS DVD is doing nothing...which is typical. How about promos like they do with The Love Boat,(which is also Aaron Spelling)?
Despite the splitting of the season again and no extras, I still highly do recommend any fan of the show to pick-up this set, because the episodes are so good and addictive. This is the mother of all primetime soaps and I just love it! If you have the first three seasons, then you have to get this to continue your collection of course. If you haven't gotten those yet, what are you waiting for? It won't make sense buying this set for your first buy of this series, as the episodes are heavily serialized and you'll be so lost. One thing CBS DVD does well is that they work pretty fast with most of their releases, so you better hurry before the second half of season four comes out soon. Why do we have to wait to complete a season, is beyond me. It is even worse that this show is very serialized so it makes people not want to wait to just finish a season. I've made it obvious already I don't like the splitting up the seasons into volumes, but CBS DVD seems to do that with a lot of their hour shows like The Love Boat, Perry Mason and so on. It is too bad, because it should only really be done if it is like over 35 episodes. I think they are just trying to get more money, come on $35.98 for 14 episodes and NO extras? Still, I urge fans to buy it so we keep getting more sets. CBS DVD is at least consistent. They are very predictable as the sets are nearly identical to each other. But like I said last time, complain to CBS DVD for the lack of extras and splitting the seasons in half. I'd buy all 27 season four episodes for say, $59.99. By splitting them, they are just tricking us in paying like $70 MSRP for a season. Then with two volumes for one season, we are wasting shelf space on our shelves. Sorry to keep complaining about it, but there isn't really anything new to say here. New episodes are about the only new thing here and I'm going to give away storylines to you all. But new episodes is what counts the most, right? Anyway, juice up some scandals and betrayal of this show right on your couch, by ordering this DVD! You don't need to live in a mansion!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
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