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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - January, 2011

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"Battlestar Galactica: Season Four" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Tyler Stripko

movie-january-2011-battlestar-galactica-season-4

Synopsis

In the fourth and final season of this fantastic television series, the surviving members of the human race continue on their journey to find the mythical world of Earth.   Desperate to find the clues that will guide them to their new home, the humans and Cylons intensify their search for the final five Cylons.  The secret for the future of mankind and Cylon alike is revealed and the two races must learn to trust each other if either faction is to survive.

Specifications

  • Universal Studios
  • 2008-2009, Color, Not Rated, 23 Hr 11 min
  • Aspect Ratio:  1.78:1
  • Codec:  AVC
  • 1080p
  • English, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Starring: Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Tricia Helfer, Katee Sackoff, Jamie Bamber, James Calli
  • Directed by various
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Suggestive
  • Language: Mild

Commentary

Season Four of this award-winning series was bittersweet for me.   While I got to see the show reach its conclusion, I was also sad to see one of the best television series in history (IMHO) end.  I can count on one hand the number of shows where I made it a point to see every single episode, and Battlestar Galactica was number one on that list.  The acting by all characters was convincing and the storylines continued much of the character development that started in seasons two and three.  Overall production quality remained consistently high; as did the special effects work.  While I still feel that seasons one and two delivered consistently stronger episodes (and a bit more space combat action), three were still some very good episodes in this season, particularly around the middle.  “The Hub,” “Revelations,” and “Sometimes a Great Notion” were some of my personal favorites from season four.  The three part series finale, “Daybreak,” was a fitting end to the series, though it did leave me a bit disappointed in that it still left a few big questions unanswered.  Season four is an absolute watch in my book, just make sure you’ve seen the rest of the series first or you may find yourself a bit lost.

Technical

Season four on Blu-ray looks just like seasons one through three:  inconsistent depending on shot location.  Battlestar Galactica was shot with a very specific “you are there” grainy image.  Many shots have lots of grain to them while others (often close-ups) clean things up and show an incredible amount of detail.  Personally, I always liked the gritty visual style of the series as it made you believe that things weren’t always so neat and clean up in space while humanity was struggling to survive.   Certain scenes feature very oversaturated reds and yellows, while most shots use a subdued color palette.   Clarity and detail is almost always good, as are contrast and black levels.  There is the occasional shot where black levels appear to have been elevated, but rarely at the expense of shadow detail.  The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack continues to please in season four, with some of the best sound I’ve ever heard from a television show.  The sound is dynamic when needed yet also displays great subtlety when called for.  Dialogue is always clear and you shouldn’t have to fiddle with the volume control when watching the show.   Bass is powerful and the surround channels are used effectively.  Blu-ray is definitely the best way to experience the entire Battlestar Galactica series.

Extras

This box set has quite a few extras.  A separate disc contains the spin-off “Razor” movie, which is definitely worth your time.  Each of the remaining five discs contain additional bonus content including extended editions of certain episodes (I liked them), episode commentaries, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes featurettes, web minisodes, podcasts, and video blogs.  There are also sneak peeks at the Cylon point of view spin off “The Plan” and the new “Caprica” series.