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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - June, 2012

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"True Blood, Season 4" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - June, 2012

Synopsis

The cavalcade of supernaturals continues in the latest season of True Blood with our introduction to a coven of witches. Lafayette and his new partner Jesus join a coven led by Marni who communes with a 400-year-old spirit from whom she draws the power of necromancy, the raising of the dead. This poses a threat to newly crowned king Bill Compton and he dispatches Eric to investigate. The witches erase Eric's memory thus beginning a new conflict between witches and vampires. Elsewhere in Bon Temps, Jason is captured by a tribe of werepanthers, Sookie learns more about her true self as a Fairy and Sam has family troubles when his younger brother Tommy kills their mother and stepfather. Tara returns from New Orleans just in time to get mixed up in the witches' activities and Arlene's new baby has a few powers of his own. It's life as usual in Bon Temps!

Specifications

  • HBO
  • 2011, Color, Not Rated, 12 hrs (12 episodes)
  • Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
  • English, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Starring: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Yes
  • Language: Yes

Commentary

This is a show I hope will last many more seasons as it just keeps getting better. My only regret is there are only 12 episodes! The blend of action, comedy and drama is nearly perfect. The acting by all talent is simply superb and the writing never fails to entertain. I'm still amazed at Alan Ball's evolution from his work on Six Feet Under to True Blood. The two shows couldn't be more different. Despite the violence and danger, the plot never gets dark and every character whether good or evil, gives you at least one reason to root for them. Though True Blood has an ensemble cast, every person has their own slice of the world allowing their own story to unfold. This is a must-own for fans of the series thus far and if you haven't seen it before, watch the first three seasons before checking out this one.

Technical

Picture quality is near-perfect. In fact the only flaw is occasionally varying black levels. I observed this in the other seasons as well. Sometimes different cameras in the same scene will show a grayish backdrop in nighttime shots. It's noticeable enough to catch my attention but probably only a video snob like me would really care. Otherwise, contrast is deep and rich with lots of punch in the brighter material. Color is beautifully saturated and natural. Some dream sequences are shot with an extra-warm or cold palette but the image is never flat.

Audio is excellent as well with a 5.1 lossless encode courtesy of DTS. Surrounds are used sparingly as is the sub. The front soundstage is alive with frequent cross-pans and lots of great ambient effects. The music is an awesome mix of blues and country songs and accompanying material. And I still have to watch the opening credits every episode so I can hear another rendition of Jace Everett's song Bad Things.

Extras

Bonus features included two making-of featurettes, an interactive guide to various character relationships, 14 character backstories and audio commentary with cast and crew members. Also in the package is the entire season on DVD, plus a digital copy. One note, the box I received had the DVDs in cardboard sleeves which scratched the discs. They were still playable but their packaging was less than ideal. The Blu-rays were in plastic trays and much better protected from damage.