Saturday, July 25, 2009

Blog DVD Review: Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.5 (July 28)

Welcome to our weekly Blog DVD Review. Today we take a look at Universal Home Video's Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.5. Battlestar Galactica is a current remake of the '70s sci-fi series. See Seth's Blog DVD Review of Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.5 :

Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.5 (Universal, $49.98) concludes on DVD the run of what I genuinely consider to be one of the finest shows on TV this decade. Battlestar Galactica was an absolutely amazing retooling (otherwise called a "re-imagining") of a rather cheesy 1970s sci-fi series. This version of the show, however, is really closer in tone to 24 and West Wing than Star Trek or another similar show. At its core, it's really a military and political drama that happens to be set in space. That blending of qualities makes for an absolutely amazing show, a program I discovered early last year and stuck with right until the end.

From where I sit, the twenty episodes comprising the 4th season (divided into 4.0 and 4.5) are actually a little bit weaker than the earlier years of the show, but a great show having minor issues is still better than most anything else you'd find on air. Indeed, I can overlook the fact that episodes that should be building up for the grand finale instead grind to a halt, only to launch into full-blown information dump mode two episodes later. Really, you can become agitated quickly if you get yourself in a bunch over minor squabbles. The important part of this final half-season is that, though the ride occasionally gets slightly bumpy, you ultimately reach the destination still richer for the experience. It's like driving a trip from New York City to Los Angeles in a brand new Mercedes, only to have a problem with one of the shock absorbers in Nevada. You've still had a great ride, it just feels a little rough in the final stages.

If you've only been following the series through DVD, then where the show last left off the Fleet had finally found Earth...as a desolate post-nuclear fallout wasteland. The second half of the season starts off with an explanation of what happened on this Earth, plus the identity of the final Cylon is revealed. The series progresses onwards from there, alternating between action episodes and story episodes, through 10 great episodes. At one point there's even a mutiny forcing Adama, Tigh, etc. to fight their way back through the ship to retake command!
The series culminates with the episode "Daybreak," originally presented over two weeks and considered a total of 3 parts. You can choose to view it as-aired on the final disc, or choose to watch the complete two hour and thirty minute unedited version, with many cut scenes restored. Viewing this second version *does* help things make a bit more sense and makes the finale seem less rushed, but that won't change the fact that many fans just aren't going to like the ending. With regards to it, you either have -- or will -- fall into one of two camps. Either you'll think it's a brilliant twist to cap things off, or it'll simply leaving you scratching your head. I'll be the first to admit, I started off as the latter but after a couple of re-viewings I've come around and now love how the show ends.

Technically speaking, this DVD set is simply stunning. Universal is one of the few studios who still seem to shun those horrible clear plastic keepcase abominations, something I'm thrilled to see. You get simple, functional slimcases which showcase the well-designed package art quite nicely. The actual artwork itself is given the reflective color treatment, and when combined with the raised lettering of the show logo, provides for package art that commands your attention sitting on the store shelf.
The art for set itself features variations on the cast shots seen in the top third of the main box's art. Between the four cases, nearly the entirety of the main cast is featured, with only a few supporting players omitted. The finale is kept on its own disc, much as the miniseries was on season one's set. The remainder of the episodes are arranged in varying orders.

Menus are animated, and feature multiple layers of animation. Profile shots of various members of the primary cast dissolve in and out, clips play on the left side, and the great main theme plays in the background -- with the clips syncing fairly well to the music.

Audio and video quality are amazing, bounded only by the limits of the traditional DVD. This is one set I would have loved to be able to view in HD on Blu-Ray, however that wasn't a feasible review option largely due to my not owning a Blu-Ray player. The video looks as good as is possible given the resolution and quality limits of the format. The audio, having more room to play around even on a traditional DVD, sounds absolutely wonderful, and makes full use of the full 5.1 channels of sound available. The dialogue mixes in with the sound effects and composer Bear McCreary's wonderful scores and creates a true audio experience. Episode runtimes are all over the place, as running times vary wildly from episode to episode...44-49 minutes is the norm. Chapter stops occur with slightly greater frequency than commercial breaks, roughly coinciding with major scene changes. Some episodes feature scenes omitted from their original Sci-Fi Channel airings. Nothing is edited, the only changes are the occasional inclusions.

Greater still are the special features. Included as audio tracks are the podcast commentaries done along with each week's airing by show executive producer Ronald D. Moore. You also get piles and piles of deleted scenes. You get video blogs, you get extra-length episodes. This set, in terms of its bonus content is really quite good. I've seen sets with better, but this set is fairly high on the list. Galactica sets are great for that.

Ultimately, if you are a fan of this show you probably have the set on pre-order for Tuesday already. Good. If you haven't given the show a try before, go to your local video rental store, and rent the first two discs from the first season set. It's the miniseries that kicked off this amazing show's run. It sold me on the series, plus the amazing first episodes. Watch them, though check any preconceptions you have about space shows at the door. What you'll see is absolutely great dramatic television. Even the guys on The Big Bang Theory think so!

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher
(5/5 stars)

To purchase this DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Battlestar Galactica TV.com Page


Sitcoms Airing Tonight / Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows

Monday, June 17

The Neighborhood - "Welcome to the Baby Shower" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Courtney and Marty deal with some baby shower drama with Tina, while Lamar adjusts to a new job at the Fuse Box.

The Neighborhood - "Welcome to the Name Drop" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Marty and Courtney’s baby name gets spread around because nobody can keep a secret. Meanwhile, Dave is assigned the ever-complicated task of assembling the diaper changing table.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of June 17)

Monday, June 17

  • Austin Butler (Ruby & the Rockits/Zoey 101/Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide) - Watch Austin on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Eddie Murphy (The PJs) - Eddie appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Matty Matheson (The Bear) - Matty is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Ayo Edebiri (Big Mouth/The Bear) - Ayo appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Nick Jonas (Jonas) - Nick and Adrienne Warren discuss their return to Broadway on ABC's Good Morning America some time between 7-9am.
  • Jim Gaffigan (The Jim Gaffigan Show/My Boys/The Ellen Show/Welcome to New York) - Jim talks about Netflix's Unfrosted on a repeat of Access Daily with Mario & Kit, so check your local listings.
  • Retta (Parks and Recreation) - Retta talks about HGTV's Ugliest House in America on a repeat of Access Daily with Mario & Kit, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray

Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Too Close for Comfort - The Complete Series Check It Out! - The Complete Series The Jeffersons - The Complete Series (2024 Release) Welcome Back, Kotter - The Complete Series (2024 Release)

01/09 - South Park - Seasons 11-15 (Blu-ray)
01/16 - Ghosts (UK) - Season Five
02/13 - Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
02/27 - The Really Loud House - Season One
03/12 - Ghosts (UK) - The Complete Series
03/12 - Looney Tunes Collector's Choice - Volume 3 (Blu-ray)
03/12 - Rick and Morty - Season 7 (Blu-ray Steelbook) (Blu-ray) (DVD)
04/03 - Too Close for Comfort - The Complete Series (VEI)
04/08 - Check It Out! - The Complete Series (VEI)
05/21 - Frasier (2023) - Season One
06/11 - The Jeffersons - The Complete Series (2024 Release)
06/11 - Welcome Back, Kotter - The Complete Series (2024 Release)

More Recent and Upcoming TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

06/17 - Hit-Monkey Season 2 Returns July 15; Disney+ Animated Comedy Star Wars: Young Jedi Adventures Season 2
06/16 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 17, 2024)
06/15 - SitcomsOnline Digest: NBC Orders Additional St. Denis Medical Episodes; The Tonight Show Renewed Through 2028
06/14 - Paramount+ School Spirits Season 2 Underway; Prime Video Gets Betty la Fea Continuation
06/13 - Prime Video Has a Sausage Party; UnPrisoned Trailer for Season 2
06/12 - CBS Announces Hollywood Squares Host; After Midnight Renewed for 2024-25
06/11 - 40th Annual TCA Awards Nominees; E! Gets Comedic Denise Richards Docuseries
06/10 - Rachael Leigh Cook to Star in Feature-Length Romantic Comedy for Fox; Psi Cops Premieres July 7 on Adult Swim
06/09 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 10, 2024)
06/08 - SitcomsOnline Digest: The Upshaws Renewed for 12 Final Episodes; Beavis and Butt-Head Moving to Comedy Central
06/07 - Apple TV+ Renews Palm Royale for Season 2; Peacock Orders Season 4 for Kevin Hart Talker
06/06 - Emily in Paris Season 4 Drops August 15; Criminal Minds: Evolution Renewed
06/05 - Bounce TV Comedy Mind Your Business Airing Now; Onyx Collective's Queenie Debuts Friday
06/04 - Netflix Adds to The Four Seasons Cast; The CW Renews All American and Penn & Teller: Fool Us
06/03 - Max Renews Hacks for Season 4; Prime Video Orders Kevin from Aubrey Plaza
06/02 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 3, 2024)
06/01 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Prime Video and Netflix Order New Animated Series; MeTV Toons Lineup Released
05/31 - Friends: The Complete Series Comes to 4K Ultra HD on September 24; The Bear Sets Season One Marathon on the FX Linear Channel
05/30 - Camp Snoopy Premieres June 14 on Apple TV+; Remembering Elizabeth MacRae of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
05/29 - Fremantle Celebrates the Second Annual National Game Show Day on June 1; Billy Bob Thornton's Sling Blade Makes Streaming Debut
05/28 - Hulu Celebrates Grown-ish Finale with Collections; My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman Returns June 12
05/27 - Memorial Day 2024 TV Sitcom Marathons
05/26 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 27, 2024)
05/25 - SitcomsOnline Digest: A Look at Season 3 of The Bear; The Munsters Headed Toward a Reboot, Again
05/24 - HBO Premieres New Comedy Series on June 7; The CW Renews Wild Cards
05/23 - Amazon Orders Nick Cannon Talk Show; Red Nose Day 10 Year Special Airs Tonight
05/22 - Netflix Comedy Tires Gets Season 2 Ahead of Season 1 Launch; HBO's Industry Returning in August
05/21 - HBO Orders Steve Carell Comedy Series; Bad Monkey Gets Premiere Date
05/20 - The Thundermans Gets Spinoff Series; Remembering Dabney Coleman
05/19 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 20, 2024)
05/18 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Another South Park "Event" Coming Next Week; Latest Development in Paramount Sale Could Split Up Company
05/17 - The CW 2024-25 Schedule; South Park: The End of Obesity Coming to Paramount+