That '70s Show-Season 4 (2001)
|Category||TV COMEDY SERIES||
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-"Eric's Depression" Disc 1
Audio Commentary-"Hyde's Birthday" Disc 4
Featurette-Season Four In Four Minutes
Interviews-Crew-Making Company:On Directing "That 70's Show"
Featurette-A 70's Flashback:Laura Prepon (6:09)
Featurette-A 70's Flashback:Mila Kunis (5:50)
Audio Commentary-"Class Picture " Disc 3
|Year Of Production||2001|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (4)
|Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||
Twentieth Century Fox
Debra Jo Rupp
Lisa Robin Kelly
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||No|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Fox have recently reissued all eight seasons of this, one of the best half hour comedies of recent years, and at hand is the locally released four disc set of Season 4. There were two more seasons to come before the two male "stars", Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher departed, and these first six seasons of this half-hour show - actually twenty-two minutes - rank with the best TV comedy ever to come out of the United States.
Originally aired in the United States between September 2001 and May 2002, Fox Video have collected all twenty-seven of the Season Four episodes onto four discs. Although there are not as many bonus inclusions as for Season Three, the content of the episodes themselves is more than enough to warrant the purchase of this season. The episodes are :
Disc 1 : It's a Wonderful Life
Pinciotti vs. Forman
Hyde Gets the Girl
Disc 2 : Donna's Story
Red and Stacey
The Third Wheel
An Eric Forman Christmas
Jackie Says Cheese
Eric's Hot Cousin
Disc 3 : Tornado Proof
Donna Dates a Kelso
Leo Loves Kitty
Jackie's Cheese Squeeze
Eric's Corvette Caper
Disc 4 : Hyde's Birthday
That 70s Musical
Eric's False Alarm
Everybody Loves Casey
Love, Wisconsin Style
The incredible standard of these shows is maintained once again, under the guidance of David Trainer, the man who directed every single episode of the entire eight seasons, two-hundred-and-one episodes in total. Every performance is a lesson in comic timing and delivery, from Grace and Kutcher, the two young actresses Laura Prepon and Mila Kunis, the parents, particularly Kurtwood Smith and Jo Ann Rupp, Danny Masterson and, my particular favourite, the quite wonderful Wilmer Valderrama. Each script has a rock solid basis in reality, the source of all great comedy, and the young characters continue to evolve from season to season. These are not the static characters of most sitcoms, even the great ones like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Frasier and Seinfeld. We watch these personalities developing from year to year, as their interactions and relationships change. This is great comedy, but with real substance at its core.
The season opens with Eric depressed after the emotional break-up with Donna. It's a Wonderful Life affectionately parodies that classic film, with Wayne Knight hysterical as Eric's guardian angel. As the season develops Donna and Eric compete for the affections of the old gang, and Donna dates Kelso's brother (Luke Wilson). Poor Eric is even the "forgotten son" when his father doesn't choose to use him in a promotional video. There are many highlights through the season, from Ashton Kutcher's wild homage to John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever to the infamous one hundredth episode, That 70s Musical.
I unashamedly love this series. The direction, writing and acting are nigh flawless, and production values are excellent. I urge anyone who appreciates good comedy and has not yet discovered this wonderful show, sadly but inevitably gone, to buy or rent one season. I'm sure you'll be hooked.
If you have only ever seen this series on pay TV you are in for a pleasant experience when viewing it on DVD. The image is considerably sharper and brighter than on subscription telecasts, with very little evidence of MPEG artefacts.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 in a 4x3 transfer.
The transfer quality throughout all episodes is extremely sharp, clear and clean, resulting in an extremely bright and attractive image. Naturally this does not apply to the sequences which are designed to look like old film or black and white flashbacks to the past.
Shadow detail is hardly an issue with almost all scenes brightly lit, as is the norm for TV sitcoms. The occasional darker sequence, such as night scenes in the car and the "round table" basement sequences, look very satisfactory, with dark solid blacks.
There is no low level noise and very little grain.
Colour is bright and vibrant highlighting the fashions and décor of the period. There is very little variation in colour quality and skin tones are excellent.
MPEG artefacts are limited to minor compression issues, and there were no film artefacts.
The English for the Hearing Impaired titles were generously sampled, and as an ex-teacher of hearing impaired students, I can vouch that they are excellent.
The four discs are dual layered with layer changes between episodes.
The audio is excellent throughout these four discs, sharp and clear. As is the norm for TV sitcoms, there is virtually no movement across the fronts, and the surrounds are used almost exclusively for the audience reactions.
There are two audio streams, both in English Dolby Digital 2.0, Surround Encoded at 192 Kbps. The second stream contains the commentaries.
Every syllable of the frequently brilliant dialogue is crystal clear.
There were no drop-outs and no sync problems.
The reproduction of music of the period is always bright and attractively recorded and reproduced.
|Surround Channel Use|
|DVD||SONY BLU RAY BDP-S350, using HDMI output|
|Display||Samsung LA55A950D1F : 55 inch LCD HD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.|
|Speakers||VAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)|