Falling Skies-Season 4 (Blu-ray) (2014)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 8-Jul-2015

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Featurette-Making Of
Interviews-Character
Interviews-Cast
Featurette-Panel discussion
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 504
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor
TNT
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Noah Wyle
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
English
Spanish
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Swedish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Falling Skies is a US cable TV sci-fi series from the TNT network which is now just starting its fifth and final season on Foxtel. Its star is ER's Noah Wyle who also is involved in producing the show. I have been aware of the show for some time and have had it on my list of things I wouldn't mind seeing. Accordingly, when I received the review discs of this fourth season from Roadshow it prompted me to watch the show from the beginning. So we fired up Netflix and quickly worked our way through the first three seasons, finding them enjoyable and entertaining science fiction. It is certainly interesting from my perspective to compare Netflix to the Blu-ray review discs. Despite Netflix's ability to deliver shows in HD, even when they are in HD the quality is nowhere near Blu-ray, especially from a colour reproduction perspective. I assume they just cannot replicate the bitrate of the stream when compared to a Blu-ray bitrate. Also the sound is not even in the same ballpark as it is Dolby Digital 2.0 rather than the lossless format on this Blu-ray. I am surprised by what level of quality Netflix is able to deliver but so far at least it is nothing like Blu-ray. If you care about quality, Blu-ray is still the best available in my opinion.

    The basic concept for those who have just come in is that aliens, know as the Espheni have invaded earth, killing many of the inhabitants and making the children their slaves by attaching special living creatures to them which control their thoughts. Groups of resistance fighters were formed by surviving Army commanders. The series has focused on a group known as the 2nd Massachusetts or 2nd Mass. Initially the group contained a mixture of fighters and civilians commanded by Captain Dan Weaver (Will Patton). Despite Weaver's misgivings, Professor Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) was appointed as his second in command despite having no military background, except from a theoretical perspective. The group have been moving around in the eastern part of the US, fighting aliens, losing people and dealing with all sorts of issues. Comparisons can be made to The Walking Dead but it is less nihilistic, focused more on the power of family and humanity.

    Anyway, I will give some views below about Season 4 and how in compares to previous seasons, so if you haven't seen the first three seasons you should probably not read on. I will try not to spoil Season 4. One of the big changes in this fourth season is the change in the person running the show to David Eick, probably best know for Battlestar Galactica and I think some of the choices in this season show his influence. The season starts with the 2nd Mass returning from their victory in Boston over the Espheni in conjunction with their new alien allies, the Volm. As usual they are led by Tom Mason (Noah Wyle), ex-history professor now alien fighter and leader of the New United States. Also in the group are show regulars, now-Colonel Weaver (Will Patton), Tom's three sons Hal (Drew Roy), Ben (Connor Jessup) and Matt (Maxim Knight) all of whom are now experienced alien fighters, Maggie (Sarah Carter), a young woman they picked up along the way and girlfriend of Hal, Dr Glass (Moon Bloodgood), now shacked up with Tom and father to his daughter, Alexis (Scarlett Byrne in adult form). Also still part of the group are rebellious loudmouth John Pope (Colin Cunnigham), Tector (Ryan Robbins), Lourdes (Seychelle Gabriel) and Volm Ally, Cochise (Doug Jones).

    As they arrive near Charleston, they are attacked by The Espheni using new weaponry which force the group to split up into five main groupings. The first is Tom, Hal, Pope and Weaver who end up held in a ghetto style concentration camp within Charleston, trying to work out how to escape. The second including Ben, Alexis or Lexie, Lourdes and Maggie who end up in a seemingly safe zone protected by Lexie using her newly found powers. The third is Anne and Anthony plus a group of others who end up in the wild trying to find and rescue people especially Lexie. Anne gets a lot more kick-ass in this series. The fourth is a very small group with only Matt from the pre-existing team who is captured by Espheni sympathisers and taken to a Nazi youth style camp where they attempt to brainwash him into giving up his parents. The last group is Cochise and a small party of Volm who go roaming trying to find the source of the Espheni power grid. The main fleet of Volm have left Earth due to another emergency, leaving the humans basically on their own. The 12 episodes of this slightly longer than normal season follow the story through various ups and downs. The tone of this season is different to the last with less of the attempts at government and bureaucracy and a return to a smaller more mobile fighting unit. This is certainly a step in the right direction, although some plots points this season are little out of step with previous seasons especially when the action leaves Earth later in the season. Regardless there are lots of great episodes here and much of the story adds detail to the characters and their interactions as well as providing lots of action and intrigue. The only scenes which grate a little are those in the vein of 'God Bless America'.

    The Blu-ray set is contained on two discs of 6 episodes each.

    Another quality season of this show that has really grown on me. Recommended!

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    This video transfer is very good without looking like a major recent film does on Blu-ray although as I mentioned above significantly better than Netflix. It is presented in 1080p in the OAR of 1.78:1. The picture is sharp without being spectacular, the colour is marvellous and the shadow detail is a little average with some scenes a little murky. Overall, a good quality transfer.

    Subtitles are available in English for the hearing impaired which are clear and easy to read, and also in English, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish. There are some minor errors in the subtitle stream, here and there.


Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The soundtrack is also very good, presented in Dolby True HD 5.1. The dialogue is generally OK, although subtitles were useful at times. The score adds excitement and tension to the mix. The surround speakers are used intermittently with some atmosphere and music and occasional directional effects. These can be quite startling as they are little uncommon. The subwoofer supports the music, explosions and gun battles effectively.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    A decent set of extras. Subtitles are available and they are presented in 1080p with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.

Menu

    The menu is still and silent but functional.

Disc 1

Inside The Episode (13:19)

    Six separate featurettes or play all which provide promo style behind the scenes footage and interviews with cast about each episode on the disc. OK but lacking depth.

Episodic Prequels (17:47)

    Strangely titled this extra is actual mock interviews with the characters as if someone is recording a documentary about them. Considering the nature of the show this is not very believable as they are fighting for their lives.

Character Interviews (7:40)

    This title would probably fit the previous extra better. These are interviews with the actors about their characters which again are promo style so not terribly interesting.

Disc 2

Inside The Episode (9:21)

    Six separate featurettes or play all which provide promo style behind the scenes footage and interviews with cast about each episode on the disc. OK but lacking depth.

Tom Mason : A Man of Tomorrow (20:42)

    A longer interview with Noah Wyle and some others about his character, his decision to join the show, the concept and themes including how parenting is one of the key factors involved. Certainly better than the other featurettes.

2014 Comic Con Panel with Cast (52:54)

    The best of the extras by quite some way, this features most of the principal cast on a panel answering moderator questions along with David Eick. They also get questions from audience members. The conversation is quite interesting at times including ideas for the coming Season 5, although this was recorded part way through Season 4. Definitely worth a watch for fans.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region A version seems to be exactly the same. Buy Local.

Summary

    Another quality season of a good show, despite one slightly odd deviation in plot.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are decent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Saturday, July 11, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DMR-PWT500, using Component output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to Amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE