Universal // 2007 // 1391 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 21st, 2011
"So say we all. For realz now."
After releasing many iterations of its popular sci-fi series, Universal wraps up the BSG Blu-ray collection with the entire fourth season.
It's the final Hail Mary voyage for the remnants of the human race, as they pile into their jalopy -- Battlestar Galactica -- and make for Earth. Looking to elude the ever-pursuing Cylon force, they manage the multitude of political and personal issues that inevitably pop up when a bunch of dirty humans live together in a flying tomato sauce can for so long.
Among the crazy things our heroes have to tangle with in the final
1. The revelation of the final five Cylons.
2. Grappling with the re-appearance of a major character previously thought deceased.
3. A full-scale mutiny.
4. A political upheaval.
5. An unlikely alliance with a Cylon splinter group.
6. An Earth red herring.
7. Crew suicides.
8. A final assault on the Cylon HQ.
9. A goofy ending.
Man, I've output more written material about Battlestar Galactica than the entirety of my grad school tenure.
First: this set is the entire fourth season, including 4.0 and 4.5. This calls into question Universal's separate releases of 4.0 and 4.5 on their own. Why split it up? Sure you could pony up the dollars for the entire series on Blu-ray, but what's the point on holding off the fourth season? I'll lay aside my cynical ruminations and just move on.
I'm a big fan of this show, but Season Four felt a bit too schizophrenic. While not bad by any means -- I'll take an iffy episode of BSG over the best that CSI or Law and Order can cough up -- it's easily the most frustrating season.
The first half of the season is consumed with the mysticism and mythology of the final five Cylons, prophecies, destinies, and...Okay! I get it. There is a whole lot of plot and exposition to get through, much of which had been put into motion by the writers earlier on. Frankly, it often felt like they were desperately trying to come up with some satisfying reveals to match the mystery of the questions.
As has been my experience with BSG, the more compelling moments involve the humans grappling with practical Holy-Crap-our-species-is-near-extinction-and-we-have-to-build-our-civilization-on-the-fly problems. That mutiny that kicks off the second half of the season is my favorite story thread and was far more satisfying than even the most coherent mythology stuff. Also, the amount of space combat was severely diminished as compared to seasons previous, save for the big-ass bonanza at the end. Finally: Starbuck was completely ruined as a character.
But the ending was emotional. Cheeky and cute? Sure. But that stuff with Adama and Roslin wrecked me.
A typically well-performing Blu-ray on the technical end: the series was built with HD in mind and it looks fantastic in Blu, the 1.78:1, 1080p transfer shining despite the circumstances. Space action? Looks awesome, the top-notch visual effects coming across even better in HD. Grounded, personal moments in the gun-metal gray of the BSG? Looks awesome, the contours of Edward James Olmos's face primed to burn imprints into your LCD TV. The 5.1 Master Audio maxes out the outstanding sound effects work and score.
Extras: a making-of documentary (HD), a six-part series retrospective (HD), a preview of the disappointing TV movie Battlestar Galactica: The Plan (HD), commentaries on three episodes, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes featurettes, minisodes, Ronald Moore's podcast commentaries, David Eick's video blogs, interactive guides to BSG terms, and a Blu-ray version of Razor.
A maddening capper to the series, but sporadically cool nonetheless, this season wraps up one of my favorite shows in memorable fashion. The Blu-ray set is a winner, but you've seen all these extras before.
Not Frakkin' Guilty!
Review content copyright © 2011 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 1391 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Episode Commentaries
* Deleted Scenes
* Video Blogs
* Bonus TV Movie