Release Date: September 28, 2010 (Warner Home Video - WBShop.com Exclusive)
Packaging: Keep case
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 22
Running Time: 660 minutes
Running Time of Features: N/A
Audio: English Dolby Digital 1.0
Subtitles and Captioning: None
Special Features: None
Laughter’s in session as criminal court, part two for the state of New York dispenses justice and comedy in an uproarious season four that adds opinionated bailiff Roz Russell (Marsha Warfield) to the oddball Night Court ensemble. We get all 22 zany season four episodes on a four-disc set exclusively at WBShop.com from Warner Home Video. This is the first time the series is being exclusive to WBShop.com, so it is your only way of owning it. And the episodes are on DVD-R’s, so be aware. We waited four years in between seasons one and two, then one year in between seasons two and three, but now the way for season four was only about 7 months, so that is good!
Night Court season four stars: Harry Anderson, Markie Post, John Larroquette, Charles Robinson, Richard Moll, and Marsha Warfield.
As I said in the season three review, the middle seasons were among the series’ best. With Markie Post as popular as ever and John Larroquette winning Emmys, this season showcased their talents even more. And we get my favorite bailiff (besides Bull of course), Roz joining the courtroom team! In the season premiere, “The Next Voice You Hear...,” Harry is distracted from a courtroom full of ventriloquists and their dummies by the delivery of a letter from his mother, mailed fifteen years earlier, while Roz Russell becomes the court's new bailiff after Florence's death. In the classic episode “Giving Thanks,” Dan demands that Christine sleep with him after he saves her life with the Heimlich maneuver. In the two-part episode, “Dan’s Operation,” Dan refuses to admit his surgery has weakened him and he overexerts himself into a coma and then in part two, after Dan falls into a coma, his friends maintain a bedside vigil and reminisce about the good times they've had. In “Earthquake,” a mild earthquake traps Dan and Roz and two wrestlers in an elevator. Meanwhile Harry has to deal with a group of smart-mouthed criminals. In another memorable episode, “A Day in the Life,” Harry must judge all his cases by midnight. In “Christine’s Friend,” Harry and Dan compete to take Christine's hot friend away to a romantic weekend getaway. In the classic episode “Caught Red Handed,” Christine's new boss (Michael Gross) sexually harasses her, while Dan meets his match in a woman who has sworn celibacy. And finally in the two-part season finale, “Her Honor,” Dan thinks he will become a new judge, but Christine is awarded the position and Harry discovers that his name is not on the judge reappointment list. In the second part, upon learning that he will not be reappointed as a judge, Harry disappears to perform an outrageous stunt but he doesn't realize that Christine, who has taken over the night court, has gotten his job back. The arc continues into season five with parts three and four, so stay tuned!
Among the guest stars this season are Michael Gross, Fran Drescher, Estelle Harris, Gino Conforti, Peggy Pope, Jack Riley, Nedra Volz, Florence Stanley, Brandon Tartikoff, Sela Wardm Teresa Ganzel, Conchata Ferrell, Stuart Pankin, K Callan and Mel Torme. Recurring stars include John Astin as Buddy, William Utay as Phil, Denice Kumagai as Quon Lee, Daniel Frishman as District Attorney Vincent Daniels, and Bumper Robinson as Leon.
Episode runtimes are close to 24 minutes, though one episode seems fishy at 22:32 (“Caught Red Handed”), so that could be a syndicated print. Here are all the runtimes:
1. The Next Voice You Hear...: 23:29
2. Giving Thanks: 23:58
3. Author, Author: 24:00
4. Halloween II: The Return of Leon: 23:55
5. Dan’s Operation, Part 1: 23:56
6. Dan’s Operation, Part 2: 23:58
7. The New Judge: 23:55
8. Contempt of Courting: 24:00
9. Earthquake: 23:54
10. Prince of a Guy: 23:56
11. New Year’s Leave: 23:58
12. Murder: 23:57
13. Baby Talk: 23:59
14. The Modest Proposal: 23:43
15. A Day in the Life: 23:40
16. Rabid: 23:32
17. Christine’s Friend: 23:25
18. Caught Red Handed: 22:32
19. Paternity: 24:48
20. Here’s To You, Mrs. Robinson: 23:33
21. Her Honor, Part 1: 23:37
22. Her Honor, Part 2: 24:47
The packaging of the set is a very simple with a keep case. There is no outer box this time, though. The cover art has a cast photo (Bull, Harry, Mac, Dan, Christine & Roz) with a starry city night background and the Night Court logo on top. The color theme is like dark blue and orange. The back of the case features a similar starry night background of the city, with three promotional photos along with info on the series and set. When we open the case, we see no artwork on the panels at all. Also, we don’t get an episode booklet, which is a shame. The discs are not overlapping and each disc has its own side. There is a plastic holder holding discs one and two, one on each side. The last two discs are on a second plastic holder. At least this is good. The disc art is the same dark city night drawn image on all three discs with episode titles printed on the disc. Disc 1 will be where you can find episodes 1-5, while Disc two holds episodes 6-10, Disc three has episodes 11-16 and Disc four has episodes 17-22. However, the episode titles on the discs itself has errors! It says episodes 1-6 are on disc one, when that is not what is actually inside. It looks like they thought “Dan’s Operation Part 2” was on disc one, but it isn’t. It’s the first episode on disc two. This causes the rest of the discs to have errors printed on the disc art as well. Not a big deal, but they should have checked!
Menu Design and Navigation:
The main menu has the starry night background and the same cast photo from the cover art. The opening theme is NOT playing in the background this time. Why? We have the choice of Play All or choose an episode title right on the main menu. This is cheap, why not have an episode submenu like they always had? I understand this is a DVD-R release, but still? There are no subtitles even this time. Oh yes, before the main menu on each disc we once again have a FBI warning, saying you will get 5 years in federal prison and $250,000 fine for making illegal copies of this DVD. Ouch, so we don’t get a $50 fine and time served from Judge Stone?
Video and Audio Quality:
The video varies from episode to episode. It is not consistent like the previous three sets. Some episodes the video looks very good, but some others it is choppy. DVD-R is probably the reason why. The audio is on par with the previous set and I have no complaints here, but it isn’t great. We get three chapter stops per episode only and they are badly placed. We have a chapter stop every 10 minutes rather than at the end of an act. Not good. Couple of tidbits, on most episodes we have the Night Court bumper in the middle of the episode. So that’s cool. In “Dan’s Operation” two-part episode, the “To Be Continued...” tag is intact at the end of part one, as is the “Last week on Night Court...” recap by Harry Anderson. And as for the two-part season finale, “Her Honor,” the “To Be Continued...” tag is intact at the end of part one. There is no recap on part two, not sure if there ever was one though. For your closing logo enthusiasts, we get the Starry Night Productions logo and the old Warner Bros. Communications logo after the closing credits.
For season one, we got a few extras. But like seasons two and three, we get NONE whatsoever on this set. That is such a shame, but expected since they moved this series to WBShop.com only. They cheapened the set big time.
I can’t believe we only had to wait seven months for this set. But the quality is not as good in production. The show itself it great in season four, but this DVD is badly produced because of this DVD-R stuff. Oh well, as long as we get the rest of the seasons. The show had excellent writing, acting, and stories. And did I mention it is funny? I still think fans should buy this set because they’ll want to continue the series on DVD. I think one episode on this set might be edited, but I’m not certain. They certainly cheapened this set because of DVD-R, but if I didn’t get this for review, I’d still probably end up buying it. The price is higher than the last set and that was a much better production. Not sure what Warner is thinking. I hope the next release is better. Anyway, if die hard fans don’t buy this set, and “click, click” (as the opening theme says and click on the link below to buy the set) away!