Saturday, August 14, 2010

Digital Digest: Heroes - Season 4 DVD Review

Welcome to another edition of Digital Digest! Our normal Digital Digest blogger (skees53) as you know is off for the summer and is missed. As always, we have the latest news, upcoming releases for Tuesday, and our DVD review this week is of a Universal Home Video's Heroes - Season 4. Are we your heroes for bringing you this review on today's Digital Digest?

DIGITAL NEWS

It was another slow week for sitcoms. CBS DVD announced Accidentally on Purpose - The DVD Edition coming out Oct. 19 at a $41.99 MSRP. View the nice packaging, and brief details on the bonus features. The series was canceled by CBS in May, so this means this is a complete series set for Jenna Elfman and company. Next, Betty White mania continues with one of her earlier TV series as Timeless Media Group is releasing Life with Elizabeth - The Best Of on DVD on Nov. 19 at only a $9.98 MSRP for 8 episodes. Then Timeless Media Group also announced Leading Ladies of Television's Golden Age with episodes of Betty White in Life with Elizabeth, Lucille Ball in The Lucy Show, Gracie Allen in The Burns and Allen Show, and Loretta Young in The Loretta Young Show with 3 episodes of each at only a $12.98 MSRP. View packaging and more information on both sets.

The other sitcom news we have is minor. The Andy Griffith Show - 50th Anniversary: The Best of Mayberry is now coming out on Oct. 19 rather than Sept. 28. Shout! Factory's Shout! Select program is releasing Father Knows Best - Season Five on Tuesday, and TVShowsonDVD.com has learned there will be episodes of Robert Young's later series Windows on Main Street as well! Universal Studios Home Video has announced Saturday Night Live - Presents A Very Gilly Christmas on DVD on Oct. 12 at a $19.98 MSRP. Pre-ordering and packaging is not available yet. The animated comedy The Boondocks - The Complete 3rd Season is coming out on Nov. 2, but Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has not officially announced it yet, so stay tuned! And Respond2 Entertainment on October 26 will release The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson - 4 Decades of Tonight on a 15-disc DVD set for $119.99 MSRP.

Drama wise, CBS DVD will release CSI: NY - The Sixth Season on Oct. 26 at a $62.99 MSRP. Pre-order today.

For more information on titles that we won't cover with full or blog DVD reviews, you can head on over to the news section of TVShowsOnDVD.com for all of the latest details.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (August 17) will have only a few sitcom releases. ABC Studios is releasing Cougar Town - The Complete First Season, and you can read our review of this nice set here. ABC Studios is also releasing Ugly Betty - The Complete Fourth and Final Season and you can read our review of that also. And finally, Shout! Select will release on their website only Father Knows Best - Season 5. That's all for this week, but it will get verrrrrrry busy soon, so come on back!


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

DVD Review: Heroes - Season 4
by Todd Fuller

Heroes - Season 4 (Universal, $59.98) Experience all the intrigue and suspense of Heroes - Season in this 5-disc set that includes all 18 gripping episodes from the fourth season's volume, Redemption.  As the heroes mourn fallen friends and face dangerous new foes, prepare for a wild ride - filled with shocking twists and turns - through an ominous funhouse that culminates in a Brave New World.  Then step right up and explore hours of exclusive, behind-the-curtain magic with the show's writers, stars and artists.

The packaging is very stylish and similar to the previous seasons. The holofoil outer slip cover has a photo of 11 of the characters with Hiro, Sylar, Claire and Peter in the foreground, with the rest of the cast and the carnival in the background.  An embossed Heroes title logo is at the top.  On the back of the outer slip cover, there is a short synopsis of the set and a listing of the special features.  The main digipak packaging slides out from the left of the outer slip cover.   Robert Knepper as Samuel Sullivan is on the cover.  Short episode summaries and the special features are listed for discs three-five on the back cover.  Opening the digipak, there are listings for discs one and two.  There are photos of the cast and various carnival drawings underneath the trays that hold the discs.  The discs have a dark red/brown background and the Heroes logo on them.  Each disc has 3-4 episodes.

The anamorphic widescreen menus are attractive and easy to navigate.   The main menu opens with some static images of the cast with the carnival in the background.  This leads to a montage of video clips from the series and more still images that loops after abound a minute.   Some great instrumental music by Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman plays in the background.  There are options for Play All, Bonus, Chapter Index, Set Up and Previews (only on Disc 1) at the bottom of the screen inside the Sullivan Bros. Carnival logo.  The Chapter Index menu features still images from the episodes where you can play the episode by itself, with commentary or view the deleted/extended scenes.  A carnival background with a ferris wheel is used on the Setup menu.  You can turn on the English SDH, Español or Français subtitles here.  Various cast members are featured on the Bonus Materials menu, with more music played in the background.  The Deleted/Extended Scenes menu also features various cast members.  Chapter stops are available within the episodes, but there are no scene selection menus are offered.  When you first insert disc 1, there is a series of previews (6:33) for some other Universal TV Shows on DVD such as Battlestar Galctica, Columbo and House which you can play or skip.

Moving on to the video and audio, the quality is excellent. The episodes are presented in their original 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colors are vibrant and clean. The picture is very sharp and detailed. Some of the night time scenes can look a little grainy, but that can be expected. Overall, the lighting is excellent and the outdoor scenes are beautifully shot. All of the episodes appear to be unedited, with running times of 41-43 minutes in length. The season premiere ran 86 minutes.  They have the "Previously On" Heroes openings as originally broadcast. The overall running time of the set is approximately 13 hours, 32 minutes. The audio is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track and sounds great. I didn't notice any major problems on the episodes I've watched so far. The dialogue is at a good volume and easy to understand. I love the music score by Wendy Melvoin & Lisa Coleman and other sound effects that are used in the episodes. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish. The bonus features are not rated and not all are subtitled.  Here are the runtimes:

Disc 1:
Orientation (1:26:02)
Ink (43:13)
Acceptance (42:32)

Disc 2:
Hysterical Blindness (43:13)
Tabula Rasa (43:03)
Strange Attractions (43:13)
Once Upon a Time in Texas (43:09)

Disc 3:
Shadowboxing (42:35)
Brother's Keeper (42:02)
Thanksgiving (43:13)
The Fifth Stage (42:56)

Disc 4:
Upon This Rock (42:18)
Lit It Bleed (41:32)
Close to You (41:34)
Pass/Fail (42:28)

Disc 5:
The Art of Deception (42:59)
The Wall (43:16)
Brave New World (42:47)

Unfortunately, the special features aren't as plentiful or detailed as the previous seasons. The fact that the show was canceled in May is probably the main reason for the lack of them. The special features they do have are pretty good. There are deleted/extended scenes for 12 episodes that cover 28 scenes. Only 4 audio commentaries by the cast and crew are included - compared to 25 from season three. Other special features include interviews with Tim Kring, Adam Armus, Zachary Quinto and Milo Vetimiglia. There is a design gallery for Sullivan Brothers. A featurette on the online world of Heroes is pretty interesting. Genetics of a Scene are included like the previous seasons. These give a great behind-the-scenes look at how various scenes are produced. Here is the breakdown by disc:

Disc 1:
Deleted/Extended Scenes
Orientation - Deleted Scene (:21) - Dr. Tells Peter HRG Is Alive
Ink - Extended Scenes (8:06) - Samuel Tells Lydia He's Going to the City, Emma Talks to Her Dr., Matt Finds Dead Girl, Peter Discovers Tattoo
Acceptance - Deleted/Extended Scenes (9:31) - Governor Malden Wants Tracy Back, Tracy Brings HRG Home, Sandra and Tracy Meet, HRG Awakens, Tracy Finds HRG, Tracy Packs

Deconstructing Sylar (20:43) - This is a discussion with Creator/Executive Producer Tim Kring, Executive Producer Adam Armus and Zachary Quinto (Sylar).   They talk about the development of the character, how the character was originally shown onscreen, how the character changed over the seasons, the character's backstory, what Zachary Quinto brought to the character, how he was cast and how his life has changed from the experience.  Various clips from the episodes are shown.

Disc 2:
Deleted/Extended Scenes
Hysterical Blindess - Deleted Scene (:19) - Madeline's Late
Tabula Rasa - Deleted/Extended Scenes (7:11) - Peter Takes Hiro's Power, Hiro Struggles, Samuel Introduces Syler to the Family, Hiro Meets Up with Emma, Samuel Presents Sylar as Member of the Family
Once Upon a Time in Texas - Extended Scenes (3:58) - HRG and Lauren Have Breakfast, Claire Encourages HRG

Milo Speaks (5:29) - Milo Ventimiglia talks about his career as an actor and his role on Heroes.  He discusses how he grew up a fan of Star Wars, shooting his final scene with Adrian Pasdar, working with Cristine Rose, and his plans for the future.  Various clips from the episodes and behind-the-scenes footage are shown
Sullivan Brothers Design Gallery (2:31) - Various clips are shown from the episodes, with some of the sketches of the various logos and locations for the carnival.  Some instrumental music is played in the background.

Once Upon a Time in Texas Commentary with Executive Producer Tim Kring, Episode Director Nate Goodman and Director of Photography Charlie Lieberman

Disc 3:
Deleted/Extended Scenes
Shadowboxing - Deleted Scene (1:57) - Emma Saves Megan
Brothers's Keeper - Extended Scene (2:00) - Nathan's Worried
Thanksgiving -  Extended Scene (3:12) - Claire Wants to Drop Out

Heroes Revolution (10:45) - Tim Kring and Heroes New Media Creatives discuss the importance of a web series for a hit television show and how New Media entertainment is created.  This featurette includes interviews with Vivi Zigler (President, NBC Universal Digital Entertainmnet), Carri Wagner (Producer of New Media, Heroes), Howie Kaplan (Writer), Foz McDermott (Writer), Zach Craley (Writer), Jason Badower (Graphic Novel Artist) and James Martin (Writer).  They talk about the NBC.com, the graphic novels, the web series, the online survival game, interactive stories, flash games, Twitter and the Heroes Wiki page.

Shadowboxing Commentary with Executive Producers Adam Armus & Kay Foster and Series Star Greg Grunberg

The Fifth Stage Commentary with Executive Producer/Episode Writer Tim Kring and Series Star Adrian Pasdar

Disc 4:
Deleted/Extended Scenes
Let it Bleed - Extended Scene (:45) - Claire Looks for Peter
Close to You - Extended Scene (1:16) - Lydia Walks Through the Carnival
Pass/Fail - Deleted/Extended Scenes (6:49) - Samuel Convinces Vanessa to Stay, Samuel and Vanessa Reminisce, Sylar Revealed, Ando Watches

Disc 5:
Genetics of a Scene - The cast and crew of Heroes provide an in-depth look at the production process of creating specific scenes.
HRG Stuck in Car (6:05)
Samuel Draws, Doyle Drops In, Sylar Too (5:53)
Boys Bust Out, Suresh Sends Orderly Flying (5:48)
Wall Explodes (6:46)
Samuel Buries the Trailer/Last Day of Production (7:34)
Mayhem at the Carnival/Squib School (5:29)
Claire Climbs and Jumps (5:16)

Tim Kring Introduction for Brave New World (4:09) - This interview with Creator/Executive Producer Tim Kring is from May 21.   NBC had announced they were not picking up the series for a fifth season.  He thanks the fans, talks about the run of the show and the future of the characters.

Brave New World Commentary with Executive Producer Tim Kring and Series Star Robert Knepper

That's a wrap for Heroes.  All 4 seasons and 77 episodes are now available on DVD.  This was a pretty enjoyable show.  Season 1 was exciting and the best of the series.  Seasons 2-3 were not quite as strong, but I think the fourth season was the second best and they redeemed themselves.  They were just never able to catch the magic of the first season.   The show had a very good cast, innovative visual effects, impressive stunts and excellent music.    Ratings were never great after the first couple of seasons, but the show always seemed to have a big fan base online and through DVD/online sales.

Overall, this is a pretty decent set.  I like the carnival theme they used on the packaging and on the menus.  The special features aren't as impressive as the previous releases.  They really cut down on the number of audio commentaries included.  If they had a true series finale, I think this set would have gone out with more of a bang.   It remains to be seen if they will get a miniseries or TV movie in the future to wrap up some storylines.

-- Reviewed by Todd

(4/5 stars)
To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B002N5N5MK/ref=nosim/happydaysonline5-20

Also available on Blu-ray

Related links:

SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Heroes Official Site
Heroes TV.com Page
Heroes Internet Movie Database Page
Heroes Wikipedia Page

LOOKING AHEAD

Come on back right here next week for more news and reviews. Next week we will have another good blog review for you. And don't forget to read our full DVD reviews, as many sitcoms will be coming fast very soon as we near September. So please stay with us! Be our hero and keep it digital!


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November)

Dr. Ken - Season One Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season The Lucy Show - The Complete Series The Mindy Project - Season Four

10/04 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Christmas Special (Colorized)
10/04 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #1 (Colorized)
10/11 - Dr. Ken - Season One
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Series
10/11 - Nurse Jackie - Seasons One and Two
10/11 - Weeds - Seasons One and Two
11/01 - Schitt's Creek - Seasons One and Two
11/08 - Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season
11/08 - Your Family or Mine - Season One
11/15 - Community - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Lucy Show - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Mindy Project - Season Four
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Saturday, December 10

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 12)

Saturday, December 10

  • Dennis Haskins (Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The New Class) - Dennis will be featured on Oprah: Where Are They Now? at 10pm ET/PT on OWN.
Monday, December 12
  • Jennifer Lawrence (The Bill Engvall Show) - Watch Jennifer Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Bryan is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. He also chats about the film Why Him? on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) - John appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) - Chris visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Olivia Munn (Perfect Couples) - Olivia is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS. She joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Matthew Perry (The Odd Couple/Go On/Mr. Sunshine) - Matthew stops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kevin Nealon (Man with a Plan/Weeds/Hiller and Diller/Champs) - Kevin appears on Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Will Smith (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - Will talks about Collateral Beauty on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Henry Winkler (Happy Days/Out of Practice/Arrested Development) - Henry will be on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) - Megan is a guest on the AOL Build Show at 4pm.