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The Office - Season Four



DVD Release Date: September 2, 2008 (Universal Home Video)
Color /2007-08
MSRP: $49.98
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 14 (5 hour episodes, total of 19 half-hours)
Running Time: 405 minutes
Total Runtime of Special Features: approx. 200 minutes counting commentary
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Closed Captioned
Special Features:
* Deleted Scenes
* Episode Commentaries
* Rabies: The More You Know
* Blooper Reel
* Michael Scott’s Dunder Mifflin Ad
* The Office Convention: Writer’s Block
* Summer Vacation Promo
* Table Draft Script for the episode “Dinner Party”


Steve Carell returns in his Golden Globe-winning role of “The World’s Greatest Boss” Michael Scott in Season Four of the hit comedy series The Office! This must-own four-disc set includes every irreverent episode from Season Four, including the five extended full TV-hour specials, plus hours of hilarious deleted scenes and bonus features! Rejoin Jim (John Krazinki) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) as they bring romance to the workplace, Dwight (Rainn Wilson) as he continues his quest to be Michael’s right-hand man, and newly deemed “Wunderkind” Ryan (BJ Novak) who’s working to drag Dunder Mifflin into the digital age. Developed for American TV by Emmy Award winner Greg Daniels, The Office is the intelligent and edgy Emmy-winning series that many critics -- myself included -- hail as the funniest show currently on TV. You’ll enjoy the inappropriate remarks, uncomfortable silences, and petty behavior again and again!

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

I can spend time babbling about how great this show and this season are, but chances are you already know this. In case you don’t, here is a reason: This is a great series (that I vastly underrated at first), and this is a great season. Unfortunately, it’s also strike-shortened. In terms of half-hours, not by that much. In terms of episode counts by quite a few. But the 19 half-hours (14 episodes) that ARE here are QUITE good. I myself am particularly fond of the pre-strike episodes, including “Fun Run” through “The Deposition.” I’m not sure why, but I’m not as fond of the second half of the season -- finale excepted -- though it’s all still better than most other shows currently on TV. One thing I love about this series is the fairly strict limits on guest stars. Writing that part is usually my least favorite moment in writing a review, so to not have to do it is a very awesome feeling indeed!


You know, what once was a dislike for the Digipak style of packaging has gradually turned to a fond warmness -- if only for the number of times I’ve had disc-holders break in other packaging styles -- while the digipaks seem to be more solidly built in general. Random nonsensical rambling about Digipaks of course means that it’s what’s used here. Fact is, as long as the set comes in something nicer than, say, paper sleeves - I couldn't really care less what the packaging style actually is. But since I’m given the DVD set for the purposes OF babbling about this stuff: You’ve no doubt seen the box art by now, I trust -- it’s the cast posing in front of the building, with the show’s logo in raised text in the top part of the box the sky, as it were. Rear side features a hodgepodge of bulletin board-styled stuff, with notes, photos, etc.

I really do love well-designed packaging, and that’s what the inner Digipak is. Its well-designed packaging. The pack, unfolded, is one huge panoramic shot of a desk, with photos spread around in frames, on the computer, etc. Post-it notes are stuck around in places. Inner side follows the same principle -- stacks of paper pinned to the board on the left and right panels have the disc breakdown (Disc 1 has 1-3, Disc 2 has 4-7, Disc 3 has 8-11, Disc 4 has 12-14). The panels behind the disc-holders show the organizational chart of the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin. Disc art is a stack of Dunder Mifflin-branded paper taking up part of the disc, in front of a blue surface. The show logo is placed on the paper in black text. The placement of the paper varies disc to disc.

Menu Design and Navigation:

I LOVE these menus. Particularly what shows up when you play Disc 1. Disc 1’s menu features a still shot of a TV and DVD. There’s a disc on standby in the DVD player, and the DVD player’s stand-by screensaver is active -- a cube bouncing around the screen, never hitting a corner. The cast comments on the cube...and during the middle of Michael talking about something else, BOOM, it hits the corner! Great, wonderfully creative stuff. It doesn’t rely on overly-complex animations, just a visual and audio gag that delivers a GREAT punch. Disc two is a menu based on the cat present left for Angela. These gags continue on all four discs. A GREAT idea for menus. Other studios, take NOTES. The episode selection menus return to the bulletin board -- each episode has a photo, with a thumb tacked note under it telling the episode and offering the ability to play the episode OR the deleted scene(s). Bonus Materials, as you might expect, lets you access the bonus materials. The menu shot is a computer desk. Language selection features a laptop on a table e with Michael Scott’s Financial Analysis showing, and the menu options appearing to the left of the computer.

Video and Audio Quality:

Video and audio quality is impeccable. The video quality is flawless, as you might expect. Audio quality is flawless, as you might expect. Chapter stops are placed in several locations throughout the episode, for your convenience -- though aside from skipping credits occasionally their only real use is for quickly catching up to an episode if you have to interrupt it halfway -- or for re-watching one scene. Which I suppose would make them useful.

If you notice, I didn’t write much about the video or audio qualities. Why would I? I can’t find any problems, and as much as I like to complain about things if there were problems, I would have mentioned them. There’s no need to be redundant -- when I say the video is fine, there’s no reason to go in and break down each and every sub-aspect, which is also fine, in order to explain to you why they’re fine.

And since the show is from an era where DVD releases are expected, and since the releasing studio has put a great deal of pride into the released product...there are no discernable edits, nor are there disclaimers about such. But for the purposes of self-torture, here are the runtimes:

Runtimes (Remember these times obviously do not include deleted scenes):

Disc 1:
Fun Run: 42:02
Dunder Mifflin Infinity: 42:00
Launch Party: 42:00

Disc 2:
Money: 42:00
Local Ad: 21:38
Branch Wars: 21:52
Survivor Man: 21:17

Disc 3:
The Deposition: 21:36
Dinner Party: 22:18
The Chair Model: 21:46
Night Out: 21:22

Disc 4:
Did I Stutter? 22:06
Job Fair: 20:52
Goodbye, Toby: 42:00

Special Features:

Deleted Scenes: Pretty much every episode has several minutes worth of deleted scenes, which are presented on the same disc as that episode, and accessible as an option beneath the primary episode on that disc’s episode list, or via its bonus features menu. Please note: Synopses of deleted scenes will NOT be provided below: If you want to know what happens, buy the DVD (See bottom of review for details on purchasing this DVD).

Fun Run: 16:20
Dunder Mifflin Infinity: 14:57
Launch Party: 9:17
Money: 13:43
Local Ad: 8:06
Branch Wars: 5:09
Survivor Man: 5:30
The Deposition: 8:12
Dinner Party: 8:43
The Chair Model: 8:36
Night Out: 5:45
Did I Stutter? 11:18
Job Fair: 8:11
Goodbye, Toby: 13:20

For all commentaries, the running length is the same as the episode runtime list, listed earlier in the review. “Money” -- Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fischer, Melora Hardin, Brian Baumgartner, Paul Lieberstein, Michael Schur, and Jennifer Celotta. Melora sings the theme in this commentary.

“Local Ad” -- BJ Novak, Ed Helms, Leslie David Baker, Creed Bratton, Craig Robinson, Jason Reitman, and Anthony Ferrell are commenting on this episode. Great stuff here.

“The Deposition” -- Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fischer, Melora Hardin, Brian Baumgartner, Ed Helms, Lee Eisenberg, Lester Lewis, and Ryan Koh.

“Did I Stutter?” -- Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fischer, Leslie David Baker, Kate Flannery, Justin Spitzer, Brent Forrester, Gene Stupnitsky, and Randall Einhorn.

Other Features:
Rabies: The More You Know (0:24): Yet another in a great series of take-offs of NBC’s The More You Know PSA campaign -- this time involving Rabies.

Michael Scott’s Dunder Mifflin Ad: The full 90 second version of Michael’s ad from the episode “Local Ad.”

The Office Convention: Writers’ Block (52:52): Great featurette featuring a question and answer session in a panel format.

Summer Vacation Promo: NBC promo series that runs 3:02. Talked about what the characters did over their summer vacation -- that aired in between seasons three and four.

Blooper Reel: 22:39 worth of screw-ups and funny flubs.

Table draft script for “Dinner Party” episode: It’s a draft version of the script for the episode “Dinner Party.” This is an absolutely great and original idea for a special feature.

Total Runtime of Special Features (drum roll please): Just under 200 minutes. For a strike-shortened season, this is still a large number. And the features included are all *quite* good.

Final Comments:

It’s a 5/5 DVD set. That simple. Great episodes. Great features. Great packaging. There are no real faults in the DVD set, and I can’t think of anything additional to include for future releases. It’s a great show, and if you STILL haven’t discovered this amazing show, now’s a great time. VERY STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 4.5/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 5/5
Overall: 5/5

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 09/01/08

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