Supernatural: The Complete Fourth Season
R1 - America - Warner Home Video
Review written by and copyright: Andreas Petersen (1st October 2009).
The Show

Unlike my review of "Supernatural: The Complete Third Season" (2007-2008), this time, I was going in with some sort of idea of what to expect. I had seen the previous season, grown more familiar with the actors, and even remembered a characterís name or two. For a moment, I thought that this would give the 4th season an edge over my viewing of the first, but turns out I got more of the same, and that isnít a good thing.

"Supernatural," for the uninitiated, is an episodic show following brothers Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki). They hunt demons and other paranormal beings for a living, and drive cool cars, and hang out with attractive girls, and crack witty jokes, and most of the time, kick some ass. At least, this is all I could get out of the series through my viewing. While the brothers battle new demons in almost every episode, the 4th season follows an arc involving Luciferís plans to break free from Hell and walk in our mortal plane.

The show itself does little more than give me a headache. I can tell what itís attempting to do, but I feel like they are just doing it all wrong. The show is trying to be really cool, but at the same time touches on old myths, but spinning them to be badass. The show just seems to try too hard, and this is none more apparent than with the 4th seasonís newest character addition of Castiel (Misha Collins), the warrior angel. There is just something so lame about a skinny white guy with gelled hair talking in a gravely voice, talking about how heís a warrior of God, and having it not supposed to be a joke. Collinsí acting really makes the lackluster performances from the rest of the cast truly shine. I mean, Ackles and Padalecki arenít terrible. I mean, I loved Padalecki in the recent "Friday the 13th" (2009) remake, but here, the actors have nothing to work with. They basically play over-serious action heroes who just come off as nerds. That formula may work if that was the intent, but here, I donít believe it is.

All the problems I had with season 3 continue to parade in season 4. The show has phantasmagoric scenes out of nowhere that are meant to convey fear or other negative emotions, but they are just irritating. I get that a flashing screen of white and red over an eye is scary, just please, donít do it again. Then comes the actual production value of the show. In my previous review, I mentioned the laughably terrible special effects, and they got no upgrade this season either. I have programs on my computer that can do the same effects, and they cost less than $100. Assuming people are actually watching this show, Iím surprised that they havenít either gotten a better effects house to do the CG, or attempted to go practical, and stop rendering menacing clouds of black smoke that look like a particle effect in a youtube movie.

"Supernatural" just isnít for me. Fans of the show will find more of the same, and so will the people avoiding it.

The episodes of the 4th season are:

- "Lazarus Rising"
- "Are You There, God? Itís Me, Dean Winchester"
- "In the Beginning"
- "Metamorphosis"
- "Monster Movie"
- "Yellow Fever"
- "Itís The Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester"
- "Wishful Thinking"
- "I Know What You Did Last Summer"
- "Heaven and Hell"
- "Family Remains"
- "Criss Angel is a Douchebag"
- "After School Special"
- "Sex and Violence"
- "Death Takes a Holiday"
- "On The Head of a Pin"
- "Itís a Terrible Life"
- "The Monster and the End of This Book"
- "Jump the Shark"
- "The Rapture"
- "When the Levee Breaks"
- "Lucifer Rising"

Video

"Supernatural" the 4th season is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, and I have to say, this is one of the most shockingly bad transfers I have seen on the release of a major television show. I know that I canít expect much from a DVD, but I was still fairly surprised at how poor the picture quality here was. There was so much noise on the screen during most of it, I felt like I was watching the show on one of those channels that your cable TV only sort-of picks up. A grainy, blurry mess.

Audio

"Supernatural" is served up in an English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround audio track, as well as a Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0 surround track. The sound here was actually quite impressive. The aforementioned phantasmagoric scenes that made my eyes bleed are coupled with an incredible flurry of sounds moving all around the room. The movement here overshadows any real complaints I would have about the actual sound quality, as I feel like the transfer is suitable, yet not incredible.
Optional subtitles are included in English for the hearing impaired, Chinese, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

Extras

"Supernatural" the 4th season offers a few extras spread across the six disc set, mostly in the form of deleted scenes, but also includes a few audio commentaries, some featurettes, a gag reel and some bonus trailers. They are:

DISC ONE:

First up is an episode audio commentary for "In The Beginning," featuring series creator Eric Kripke and episode writer Jeremy Carver. I found this commentary to be pretty dull, especially when the two attempt to be really funny, making some really lame self-deprecating jokes. When the two actually got into the ideas behind the episode and show as a whole, I was somewhat intrigued, but the key word here is ďsomewhatĒ.

This disc also includes deleted scenes for two episodes, brought into the form of a continuous run with no title cards to chapter breaks. Overall I found most of the deleted scenes to be a continuation of a formula that I already was sick of, and got very cross at the prospect of watching the stuff that wasnít good enough to make it in. They are:

- "Lazaurs Rising," running for 2 minutes and 36 seconds, in which Dean encounters Castiel for the first time.
- "In the Beginning," running for 3 minutes and 24 seconds, in which Dean spies on the woman who looks like his mom and Charlie makes a confession to a priest.

The disc also includes a start-up bonus trailer for:

- "Warner Brothers on Blu-ray" and it runs for 1 minute and 43 seconds.

DISC TWO:

This disc includes just episode deleted scenes. They are:

- "Monster Movie," running for 36 seconds, in which Sam and Dean discuss lame vampire bites and their disappointment at the arrival of a mummy.
- "Yellow Fever," running for 1 minute and 13 seconds, in which Dean hallucinates while reading a book on ghosts.
- "Itís the Great Pumpkin, Same Winchester," running for 1 minute and 20 seconds, in which Castiel defends the human race in a debate.

DISC THREE:

This disc has deleted scenes for just one episode:

- "Heaven and Hell," running for 3 minutes and 8 seconds, in which Dean and Sam discuss going to war with both heaven and hell, and Castiel debates the idea of disobeying orders from heaven.

DISC FOUR:

This disc also has deleted scenes for just one episode:

- "On the Head of a Pin," which runs for 5 minutes and 3 seconds, in which Dean is confronted by Castiel and engages him in a lengthy debate.

DISC FIVE:

Again, only one episode has any deleted scenes:

- "The Monster as the End of This Book," running for 4 minutes and 38 seconds, in which Sam and Dean visit a comic book shop and are confused for live-action role-players. They learn of the existence of a book seemingly about them.

DISC SIX:

The disc is home to one deleted scene, and it is:

- "Lucifer Rising," running for 27 seconds, and shares a moment between Edlund and Castiel.

Next up are a pair of episode audio commentaries. The first one is for the episode "When the Levee Breaks," featuring director Robert Singer and writer Sera Gamble. This is a more interesting and lively commentary than the first disc offered, in which Singer and Gamble has real chemistry, and come off as genuine people relaxing watching their show. However, this may be shallow, but Singerís voice is so bland, it almost put me to sleep. Thankfully, Gambleís peppiness seemed to counterbalance this.

Also included is an audio commentary for the episode "Lucifer Rising," featuring series creator/director Eric Kripke. This is a much more interesting and technique focused commentary, with Kripke spouting off stories concerning the actual filming of the episode, discussions of techniques, and didnít come off as self-congratulatory in any way.

The main event on the last disc is a series of features filed under "The Mythologies of Supernatural: From Heaven to Hell." Here, 7 featurettes are broken into three groups "Paradisio," "Purgatorio," and "Inferno." Each explores a certain mythological aspect of the show, and where it stems from in ancient literature. These include interviews with theological experts and holy texts with citations. Overall, this was probably the most interesting thing offered in this set, as I could enjoy the segments not linked directly to the show.

"Paradisio" features:

- "Angels and Archangels" featurette, which runs for 8 minutes and 16 seconds. Here, the myth of the common angel is dismissed, and the more badass angel is explored.

- "Angels and Miracles" featurette, which runs for 6 minutes and 59 seconds. This feature looks at near-death experiences, and how they can affect people.

- "The Ageless Unseen War" featurette, which runs for 9 minutes and 4 seconds. This feature focuses on the tale of Armageddon.

"Purgatorio" features:

- "The Bonds of Limbo" featurette, which runs for 8 minutes and 22 seconds. This dissects the source of limbo, and how it lacks any biblical reference, and is tied back to Dante.

"Inferno" features:

- "The Price of Free Will" featurette, which runs for 6 minutes and 26 seconds. This looks at the free will of angels, and what price they have to pay to gain some. I found this to easily be the most interesting feature.

- "The Sweet Song of Death" featurette, which runs for 9 minutes and 20 seconds. This looks at sirens, and here it is discussed why their modern counterparts are strippers.

- "The Destroyer of Children" featurette, which runs for 11 minutes and 8 seconds. Here, the myth of Lilith, the female version of Satan is examined.

There is also a gag reel included on this disc, which runs for an excruciating 10 minutes and 21 seconds. I say excruciating because Iím already not a fan of blooper reels as a whole, but this serves as a perfect example of why. Here, we see the cast screw up lines, and just screw around on the set. I swear, half the clips are of Dean and Sam dancing around on set.
Also, I found an Easter egg in the form of "Ghost Facers," a show within the show that is sort of like a cross between "Mythbusters" (2003-Present) and "Ghost Hunters" (2004-Present). Here, burning the remains of a demon is discussed, and this lasts for 57 seconds.

Lastly, this disc includes a start-up bonus trailer for the "Supernatural" itself, in which Dean is seen screaming ďYES!!!Ē (an outtake on the gag reel), and a positive quote about the show flashes across the bottom of the screen. This lasts for 12 seconds.

Packaging

This set is packaged in a digi-pack case housed in a cardboard slip-case.

Overall

The Show: D- Video: D- Audio: B+ Extras: B- Overall: C-

 


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