That '70s Show-Season 4 (2001)

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Released 9-Aug-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
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)
Web Links
Audio Commentary-"Class Picture " Disc 3
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 576:15
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (22:00)
Multi Disc Set (4)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By David Trainer
Terry Hughes
Tim Ryder
Studio
Distributor
Carsey Werner
Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Topher Grace
Mila Kunis
Ashton Kutcher
Danny Masterson
Laura Prepon
Wilmer Valderrama
Debra Jo Rupp
Kurtwood Smith
Tanya Roberts
Tommy Chong
Don Stark
Lisa Robin Kelly
Mo Gaffney
Case ?
RPI $64.95 Music Chris Bell
Alex Chilton
Todd Griffin


Video Audio
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
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

   

      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
               Eric's Depression
               Pinciotti vs. Forman
               Hyde Gets the Girl
               Bye-Bye Basement
               The Relapse
               Uncomfortable Stuff

 Disc 2 : Donna's Story
             Forgotten Son
             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
             Kelso's Career
             Leo Loves Kitty
             Jackie's Cheese Squeeze
             Class Picture
             Prank Day
             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.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    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.

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

Audio

    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.
 

    

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

Extras

Menu

    The Main Menu is identical on all four discs, and is dynamically colourful, with vibrant graphics, animation and full motion of the stars plus the revamped theme, In the Street,  in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Encoded at 192 Kbps.
    The menu is presented 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The options offered on the discs are : Episode Selection : Screen has brightly coloured still featuring a star of the series, without audio.
                                                                                              An individual episode can be selected, or you can elect to "Play All".

                                                               Language Selection : Screen uses a character still from the series, without animation or audio. The options are :
                                                                                                  Language and Audio : English
                                                                                                                                      Commentaries
                                                                                                  Subtitles : English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles on all episodes and commentaries.

                                                               Special Features : A new screen without animation or audio.
                                      
                                       
    
Special Features :

Disc 1 :

Audio Commentary : Eric's Depression
Episode length commentary by director David Trainer.

Disc 3 :
Audio Commentary : Tornado Proof
and Eric's Corvette Caper
Episode length commentaries by director David Trainer.

Disc 4 :
Featurettes :
The interviews used were filmed at the end of Season 8.

Season 4 in 4 Minutes (4:23) :
Hosted by director David Trainer we are given a "four minute" overview of the season. This is amusing and fun, with the affection of the director obvious in everything he says.

Making Company : David Trainer on Directing "That 70s Show" (7:32) :
More of the engaging director's fond memories of the series, and Season 4 in particular.

A 70s Flashback : Laura Prepon (6:09)
A 70s Flashback : Mila Kunis (5:50)
Separate interviews with these two talented young women, the gorgeous Laura Prepon and the vivacious Mila Kunis.

R4 vs R1

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

    There is no difference between the Region 1 and Region 4 releases.

Summary

    This comedy series has it all. Brilliant writing and direction, flawless comedy performances and top production values combined each week  to produce twenty-two minutes of top class television. Not as many extras as on Season 3, but there is roughly nine hours of amusing and often brilliant comedy. The transfers are sharp and vivid.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BLU RAY BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung 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 DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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