TITLE: COMMUNITY - THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON
Release Date: August 6, 2013 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Packaging: Double Disc Amaray Case
Number of Discs: 2
Number of Episodes: 13
Running Time: 278 minutes
Running Time of Features: Approx. 40 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Subtitles and Captioning: English Subtitles
Special Features: Commentaries on Every Episode; Outtakes; Deleted Scenes; "Inspector Spacetime: Inspection" featurette; "Adventures in Advanced Puppetry" featurette
The Greendale Community College crew is back again for their fourth year of community college in Community - The Complete Fourth Season. The shortened season of the series once again follows Jeff (Joel McHale), Britta (Gillian Jacobs), Abed (Danny Pudi), Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown), Annie (Alison Brie), Troy (Donald Glover), and Pierce (Chevy Chase) as they try to survive year four at a two year community college, always up against Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) and whatever else comes their way each and every week.
The fourth season begins with the episode "History 101," where Jeff's quest to graduate early leads to an epic competition... and Abed's fantasy world gives the show a laugh track. The annual Halloween party is a bit too spooky for the gang in "Paranormal Parentage." The gang attending the annual InSpecTiCon convention in "Conventions of Space and Time." In "Alternative History of the German Invasion," the annoying German students from last year are back, and so is Chang (or Kevin as he is known now). Jeff reunites with his estranged father (James Brolin) in "Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations." Abed decides to film a documentary on Chang's memory loss in "Advanced Dcoumentary Filmmaking," but Jeff feels that there may be a bit more to the memory loss than meets the eye. Dean Pelton is determined to use Jeff, Britta, and Annie to recruit a lazy student to Greendale in "Economics of Marine Biology."
Sophie B. Hawkins guest stars in "Herstory of Dance," where Britta confuses Susan B. Anthony with Sophie B. Hawkins and must scramble to get one of them to sing at a school dance. Dean Pelton introduces the group to "puppet therapy" in "Intro to Felt Surrogacy." In "Intro to Knots," a Christmas party quickly turns into an opportunity to take a certain professor hostage for the gang. Troy and Abed switch bodies (sort of) in "Basic Human Anatomy." In "Heroic Origins," Change is out to destroy Greendale... again. The season ends with "Advanced Introduction to Finality," where Jeff's graduation is looming... but in the meantime, it is time for another paintball war.
The episodes appear to be unedited, with runtimes as follows:
1. "History 101" (21:28)
2. "Paranormal Parentage" (21:30)
3. "Conventions of Space and Time" (21:32)
4. "Alternative History of the German Invasion" (21:27)
5. "Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations" (21:35)
6. "Advanced Documentary Filmmaking" (21:33)
7. "Economics of Marine Biology" (21:28)
8. "Herstory of Dance" (21:34)
9. "Intro to Felt Surrogacy" (20:45)
10. "Intro to Knots" (21:33)
11. "Basic Human Anatomy" (21:34)
12. "Heroic Origins" (21:33)
13. "Advanced Introduction to Finality" (21:33)
This was probably one of the last series to use slimcases for the discs, and if it was, then it is over for this series as well... at least for now. This time, we have a standard two disc DVD case, although perhaps this is due to the fact that this is only a two disc set (previous releases were 3 or 4 discs). Even so, to keep things "standardized," there is an outer cardboard box for the DVDs. The cover has each of the cast members inside of a locker, and on the back there are several snapshots from episodes in the season. The case inside has the same artwork on the front cover, but on the back, there is a listing of all of the episodes along with descriptions. Inside the case, you'll find the two discs, both of which have even more episode snapshots.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus on this set are perfectly fine, though not as elegant as they were in the past. In particular, there is no animation or music on the menus, and everything is just still this time. The main menu has a large photo of the entire cast, with options of Play All, Episode Selections, Subtitles, and Special Features. Once you select an option, you go to a sheet of notebook paper that lists all of the menu options on it. As for the episodes, all of them play immediately upon selecting the episode, and chapters are placed throughout each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
There really are no problems at all with the quality of this set. Everything look and sounds as it did when it aired on NBC (mere weeks ago). The video is presented in 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, while the audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Additionally, all of the episodes have English subtitles.
Here's something that I wasn't expecting to see again: commentaries on every episode! We're now four seasons into this series, and literally every episode has included commentaries. That isn't to say that they're all particularly exciting commentaries, but I'm glad to see that tradition continue nonetheless. Episodes and commentators are as follows:
1. "History 101" - Danny Pudi, Moses Port, Andy Bobrow, and Tristram Shapeero
2. "Paranormal Parentage" - Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Megan Ganz, and Tristram Shapeero
3. "Conventions of Space and Time" - David Guarascio, Maggie Bandur, Steve Basilone, Hunter Covington, and Michael Patrick Jann
4. "Alternative History of the German Invasion" - Maggie Bandur, Steve Basilone, Hunter Covington, Adam F. Goldberg, Gene Hong, Tim Saccardo, and Ben Wexler
5. "Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations" - Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown, Steve Basilone, Adam Devine, and Tristram Shapeero
6. "Advanced Documentary Filmmaking" - Joel McHale, David Guarascio, Steve Basilone, and Tim Saccardo
7. "Economics of Marine Biology" - Yvette Nicole Brown, Alison Brie, Jim Rash, Zack Pearlman, and Tim Saccardo
8. "Herstory of Dance" - Danny Pudi, Moses Port, Jack Kukada, and Tristram Shapeero
9. "Intro to Felt Surrogacy" - Yvette Nicole Brown, David Guarascio, Gene Hong, and Andy Bobrow
10. "Intro to Knots" - Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Andy Bobrow, and Tristram Shapeero
11. "Basic Human Anatomy" - Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown, Jim Rash, and Beth McCarthy-Miller
12. "Heroic Origins" - Yvette Nicole Brown, Maggie Bandur, Steve Basilone, Hunter Covington, and Tim Saccardo
13. "Advanced Introduction to Finality" - Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Megan Ganz, and Tristram Shapeero
As usual, there is a rather small collection of deleted scenes to be found on Disc 1 (3:02) and Disc 2 (2:10). Most of these are very short and not really all that major, but it is nice that they included them. Along the same lines are extended and alternate scenes, also found on both Disc 1 (4:35) and Disc 2 (0:50), which are pretty much the same thing as the deleted scenes, but just longer ones.
On Disc 1, you'll find outtakes (6:28), which are generally pretty funny to watch. It seems like we've been seeing a lot less of these on DVDs lately, and there are certain cast members whom we do not see at all in the outtakes (any guesses?), but there are some nice ones here.
"Inspector Spacetime: Inspection" (9:44) is a behind-the-scenes look at the episode "Conventions of Space and Time." Here, the cast members talk about the particular episode and the fake convention that was created just for the episode.
"Adventures in Advanced Puppetry" (15:36) gives a behind-the-scenes look at the episode "Intro to Felt Surrogacy." Here, writer Gene Kong, director Tristram Shapeero, puppet captain Drew Massey, and pretty much all of the cast members discuss the experience with this episode and the series in general. It is somewhat interesting to watch this, because apparently this was the last episode produced for the fourth season and some of the comments that are made by the cast members talk about the end of the season as if it is the end of the entire series... which is certainly not the case at all! My guess is that this was produced before the decision on whether or not to renew the series was made.
This certainly wasn't the strongest season of the series, but it wasn't bad either. I was really expecting the worst from this season with Dan Harmon being gone as executive producer, but it really wasn't COMPLETELY awful. In any event, Harmon will be rejoining the series for the fifth season (who knew this series would go that far?). We've now hit the point where this is somehow one of NBC's "biggest" sitcoms, but that isn't saying a lot considering that it still isn't a ratings hit overall. I always feel like this show is going to be eaten by the "cancellation bear" at the end of each season and especially felt that way by the end of this season... but once again, we're going to get another 13 episode season of it. What we won't be seeing in season five, though, is Chevy Chase, who quietly left (well, at least as far as we're concerned) at the end of this season. As for this DVD set, I'm really surprised that Sony continues to do such an excellent job with this series. We still have the commentaries on every episode and the set doesn't look or feel generic as many season sets do these days.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 3/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 07/31/13
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