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!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Wednesday, October 18

The Goldbergs - "Revenge o' the Nerds" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
With the children growing up, Beverly decides to reinvent herself and quits being a substitute teacher. She decides to focus her energy on going to night school so she can eventually own her own business. Murray doesn’t like change or things costing money, so he convinces her to get a perm instead. Meanwhile, Erica struggles to balance her academic and social life in college and needs Adam’s assistance.

Speechless - "T-R-- TRAINING D-A-- DAY" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Jimmy takes JJ camping to give him “the talk,” Maya trains a ragtag group of new aides, and sparks fly between Dylan and Ray’s bully.

Modern Family - "Sex, Lies & Kickball" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Jay’s best friend, Shorty, is back from Costa Rica and stays at the house so they can catch up and reconnect. However, Shorty is spending more time with Gloria and seems to be avoiding Jay. Meanwhile, Alex is ready to shed her good-girl image and is going to prove to Claire that her relationship with Ben is definitely a sexual relationship.

American Housewife - "The Lice Storm" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Anna-Kat brings home a lice infestation, Katie uses it to force bonding time with Taylor. Greg attempts to bond with Oliver (and avoid lice) by camping in the backyard, but Greg becomes concerned when Oliver keeps ditching their campout to be with their new sleazy neighbor named Spencer.

You're the Worst - "A Bunch of Hornballs" (FXX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Jimmy goes out of town for a Romance/Erotica fiction convention while Gretchen throws a divorce party for Lindsay, leading to an unintended deepening of Gretchen's relationship with Boone. Meanwhile, Edgar's friend Max encourages him to overspend on party planning.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 16)

Wednesday, October 18

  • Paul Shaffer (A Year at the Top) - Paul sits in with Cleto and The Cletones on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Kaitlin Olson (The Mick/It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) - Kaitlin is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project/The Office) - Mindy appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Olivia Munn (Perfect Couples) - Olivia is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • James Van Der Beek (What Would Diplo Do?/Friends with Better Lives/Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23) - James appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Valerie Bertinelli (Hot in Cleveland/Café Americain/One Day at a Time) - Valerie visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Woody Harrelson (Cheers) and Rob Reiner (All in the Family) - Woody and Rob chat with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. They also talk about LBJ on the AOL Build Show at 2:30pm.
  • Jay Pharoah (White Famous) - Jay appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Laura Dern (F Is for Family/Enlightened) - Laura stops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kim Fields (The Facts of Life/Living Single) - Kim talks about A Question of Faith on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. She will also be on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Pooch Hall (The Game/Accidentally on Purpose) - Pooch guest co-hosts The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Kimberly Williams-Paisley (According to Jim) - Kimberly talks about the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries original Darrow & Darrow on Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Liz Gillies (Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll/Victorious) - Liz opens up about the Dynasty reboot on the People Now at 8:30am.
  • Melissa Joan Hart (Melissa & Joey/Sabrina, the Teenage Witch/Clarissa Explains It All) - Melissa talks about her new Lifetime movie The Watcher in the Woods on NBC's Today in the 10am hour, on the AOL Build Show at 3:30pm and on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • David Arquette (In Case of Emergency/Parenthood) - David is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Patrice Lovely (Love Thy Neighbor) - Patrice appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Jeff Garlin (The Goldbergs/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Jeff can be heard on The Morning Mash Up on SiriusXM at 10:50am.
  • Frankie Muniz (Malcolm in the Middle) - Frankie is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Mark Feuerstein (9JKL/Good Morning, Miami/Conrad Bloom/Fired Up) - Mark appears on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July/August)

Father Knows Best - Season Six Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season Alice - The Complete Fifth Season Rhoda - Season Four Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four

06/13 - The Andy Griffith Show - Return to Mayberry
06/13 - That's My Mama - The Complete Series
06/20 - Workaholics - The Final (Seventh) Season
06/20 - Workaholics - The Complete Series
06/27 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Third Season
07/04 - Superstore - Season Two
07/18 - Father Knows Best - Season Six
07/25 - Diff'ernt Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season
07/25 - Girls - The Final (Sixth) Season (Blu-ray)
08/01 - Alice - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
08/01 - Crashing - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
08/15 - Rhoda - Season Four
08/22 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four
08/29 - Will & Grace - Season One (Universal)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest