Articles

Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - August, 2010

ARTICLE INDEX

"Heroes Season 4" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

movie-august-2010-heroes-season-4

Synopsis

In the Heroes tradition, Season 4 picks up right where Season 3 left off.  This chapter is called Redemption and features a host of new foes for our heroes to battle.  As the story opens, Claire is trying to lead a normal life as a college student, Matt Parkman has returned to his wife and son, Hiro and Ando are trying to recruit others with abilities, and Angela is still desperately trying to hide the fact that Sylar is impersonating her dead son Nathan.  Meanwhile Peter is trying to use his abilities to become a super EMT in New York City.  Trouble soon arrives in the form of Samuel Sullivan and his mysterious carnival.  He is mourning the death of his brother and apparently gathering his forces for some unknown purpose.

While the plot threads seem unrelated, they intertwine as the season progresses.  There are many new characters with abilities like Emma who is deaf but can see sound and focus it into energy.  The Sullivan carnival is also loaded with interesting people like Lydia who can predict the future through her animated tattoos.  And we have old favorites like Eric the puppet-master and of course Sylar.  The twists and turns are many and the chapter comes to a satisfying close with a fairly big cliffhanger.

Specifications

  • NBC/Universal
  • 2009-2010, Color, Not Rated, 13 hrs 32 min (18 episodes)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: Not Specified
  • English, 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring:  Jack Coleman, Hayden Panettierre, Milo Ventimiglia, Masi Oka, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Zachary Quinto, Greg Grunberg, Cristine Rose
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence:  Yes, of the TV variety
  • Sex:  No
  • Language:  No

Commentary

It is most unfortunate NBC chose to cancel this show because Season 4 marked a real return for Heroes.  Season 3 meandered a bit from the original premise and viewers were left confused as to who was good and who was evil.  Some of the main characters flipped on a weekly basis.  Still, as an ardent fan, I stuck it out and was rewarded with an excellent final season.  I rated it four stars only because it didn’t quite match the standard set by Seasons 1 and 2.  The major bummer is at the time of the final episode’s airing, the show’s future was undecided so the series ended with a major cliffhanger that will likely go unresolved.  Perhaps Universal would deliver a feature-length movie to tie up the plot and end the series in proper fashion.

Production quality is still at the feature-film level with superb special effects and quality performance from all actors.  Hayden Panettierre is quite impressive.  At the tender age of 20, she displays the skill of a much more experienced actor.  Jack Coleman as Noah Bennet is the honored elder of the cast and provides a moral compass for all the goings on.  He loves his daughter Claire dearly but must sometimes go against her to help preserve the bigger picture.  And of course Zachary Quinto as Sylar is one of the best villains in the history of television.  He is an actor you can’t help wanting to watch and there are few with his level of talent.

If you’ve been a fan or are still a fan of Heroes, Season 4 is aptly named Redemption as it is a return to what made the show great in the first place.  I consider it a worthy addition to any collection.

Technical

Video quality runs the gamut from very good to poor.  The picture is mostly sharp and detailed with punchy colors but suffers from a cold cast that ranges from blue to magenta.  Several dark scenes showed extreme graininess; the kind that is not only textural but and noisy.  Occasionally the color is very natural and looks like it ought to.  It’s as if post production were handled by different colorists working independently.  At least detail and saturation are always excellent.  The flaws are not overly distracting just confusing.  I noticed these same elements in the previous three seasons’ Blu-rays so I speculate the same people are working on this content.  Still it’s a huge improvement over the broadcast HD I watched originally.  The cinematography is as good as any feature film and this show is fun to watch both on TV and in a theater environment.

The DTS-MA encode is of high quality.  The sound is very dynamic with good use of the sub and surrounds.  There were several times when the LFE level dipped to below 25Hz.  Dialog is very crisp with good placement on the screen.  Environmental cues are present most of the time but sometimes the sound seems processed.  It’s evident when actors looped their lines in post-production and when they were recorded on set.  This was the only thing preventing a five-star rating for audio.

Extras

Bonus features include the high-def featurettes Deconstructing Sylar, Heroes Revolution, Milo Speaks, Sullivan Brothers Design Gallery and Genetics of a Scene.  Additionally there are deleted scenes, extended scenes and graphics showing the connections between the hero characters.  Interactive features include PIP commentary and character bios which popup while the show plays.

I don’t usually comment on the packaging but this one is unique.  The discs are not held in by the usual snaps through the center hole.  Rather, there are little fingers that grip the edges in four spots.  The discs are a little difficult to remove and I feel the design is a bit fiddly.  Also, there is the potential for discs to loosen during shipping.  I had one rogue disc in the box I received.  Fortunately it wasn’t scratched.  My advice – check your discs when you buy this set.

The Blu-ray contains a commentary track (Anthony Michael Hall and Judd Nelson), a 12-part documentary, a featurrette on the Brat Pack, and the trailer.