The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount - 2009
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 632 Minutes
Genre: TV Drama/Thriller
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH
Starring: Michael C. Hall, Julie Benz, Jennifer Carpenter, C.S. Lee, Lauren Velez, David Zayas, Desmond Harrington, John Lithgow, James Remar
Directed by: Various
Music by: Daniel Licht
Written by: Various
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 17, 2010
"Take life. Seriously"
The Showtime Original Series DEXTER is back with an all-new season, and this time America's favorite serial killer has gone from freewheeling bachelor to responsible husband and doting dad. Maintaining an average-guy facade while satisfying his need to kill has never been easy. But now, with wife and kids in tow, Dexter's got more to lose then ever, as he gets drawn into a deadly game with a killer every bit as dangerous and conflicted as he is.
For those who may not be familiar with Dexter it is a crime drama about Dexter Morgan, a man who leads a double life as an incredibly likeable forensics expert for the Miami Police Department and as an emotionless vigilante serial killer. Taught by his foster father to harness his lust for blood and killing, Dexter lives by his own strict moral code - he only kills murderers who can't otherwise be brought to justice. Dexter is a killer who grapples with fitting into society while, at the same time, he struggles with his inability to feel emotion. The irony of Dexter's life is that he works closely as a blood splatter analyst with the very people who hunt his kind - the homicide departments. Dexter is a dark and oddly entertaining program filled with interesting archetypes and characters. Fortunately for the innocent Dexter has channeled his penchant for blood into ridding Miami of the criminal element that have fallen through the cracks or who have failed to receive proper justice through the system. His work for the Miami PD puts him in close contact with those who would normally be on the hunt for him which allows him to keep them safely at arms length. While this plays a crucial role in the shows plot what I find just as interesting are the cases that he routinely gets involved in as a forensic analyst for the Miami PD and his struggles to try to appear normal in his daily interaction with the people in his life. He is a complex individual who has no illusions about who he is or what he is capable of. The series is based upon the novel Darkly dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay.
The show opens with a grisly murder that introduces this season's villain, the Trinity Killer, played by the wonderfully diverse John Lithgow. He presents a formidable adversary for Dexter while representing someone that like Dexter himself works behind a façade that no one has yet to see through. Meanwhile new husband and father Dexter struggles to acclimate to his new domestic situation while balancing that between work and his extra curricular evening activities. Burning the candle at both ends nearly has disastrous results when Dexter falls asleep at the wheel and crashes after completion of a much deserving conquest. Romance blossoms at the office and leads to complications during the squad's investigation of a series of robberies gone bad that later become known as the vacation murders. Retired FBI Special Agent Frank Lundy (Keith Carradine) returns and brings to light his theories on the Trinity Killer. His presence causes conflict between Deb and live in boyfriend Anton, and for good reason. Rita and the neighbors form a neighborhood watch in order to catch/deter a local vandal. The increased activity puts a crimp in Dexter's movements after hours so he decides to make finding the culprit a priority.
He chooses his next target which proves to be quite a challenge especially in light of her occupation. Rita discovers that Dexter has not been truthful regarding the seriousness of his car accident or the status of his old apartment, more couples therapy. After Trinity violently tips his hand in order to preserve his identity and purpose Dexter sets his sights on the most deadly adversary he has every encountered. The finale resulted in the highest-rated original series episode ever aired on Showtime. Not to be missed Season Four continues to push the envelope by engaging the audience each week as the show builds to the superlative climax in the final episode. All 12 one hour Season Four episodes are spread out over three BD-50 Blu-ray Discs. Once again I am surprised at the lack of bonus content that accompanies this set. There are no bonus supplements available unless you access to BD-Live. Those without BD-Live enabled players or access to the internet, are out of luck. Even with the inclusion of MovieIQ the BD-Live content doesn't offer fans or newcomers to the series anything worthy of note which is disappointing. Regardless, Dexter: Season Four on Blu-ray still shines brilliantly.
The rating is for violence, thematic material and language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Dexter: Season Four comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 19 Mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 1.6 Mbps.
I have reviewed each season of Dexter on Blu-ray Disc and it has consistently looked and sounded great in high definition and this presentation is no different. Images are three dimensional, exquisitely detailed, and at times seem to visually transcend the boundaries of the camera's lens to provide the looking through a window perspective. Colors are visually stimulating with rich, vivid highlights and natural rendering that looks superb. Fleshtones are delineated with enriching complexional structure and lifelike depiction. Contrast is strong without being distractingly overstated and blacks are dynamic, with deep, gradational quality and revealing detail in low lighting and shadowy backgrounds. Grain is rendered in fine visible layers that rarely drew my attention. This is a pristine and near reference quality presentation that looks impressive and is sure to please regardless of the size of your display.
The Dolby TrueHD multi-channel soundtrack is presented similarly to the season's two previous releases and offers excellent lossless sound quality. Dynamics are robust without being ostentatious. Dialogue is rendered with clear intonation and deep room penetration which elevates the quality of Dexter's running monologue through the center channel speaker. The front soundstage is nicely diffused with excellent separation and clearly articulated detail. The presentation didn't offer much in the way of discrete surround sound however the sound field had appreciable depth and spatial dimension via ambient extension through the rear channels. Bass response wasn't room shaking however it appropriately supported the source elements and provided a tight, punchy low end.
It should be noted that all of the bonus material is only accessible via BD-Live which requires an internet connected BD Profile 2.0 player. I was surprised to see the inclusion of MovieIQ, an interactive feature which I have only seen on Sony Blu-ray titles which allows fans the option of viewing continuously updated details on the cast and crew and to explore relevant trivia such as production facts, music, and soundtrack information which are tied into scenes from the show. All of the streamed content is 480p standard definition presented in a window with the option of full screen viewing.
- BD-Live Special Features:
- Interviews with Michael C. Hall, Julie Benz, Jennifer Carpenter, Lauren Velez, David Zayas, John Lithgow, Clyde Phillips, James Remar, C.S. Lee
- Showtime Series Californication: Season 3 - episodes 1 & 2
- Showtime Series The Tudors: Season 4 - episodes 1 & 2
Dexter: Season Four continues the success of the show's first three seasons and makes for a dark, compelling and interesting crime drama that features Michael C. Hall in a role that is far and away his best. The show features well drawn characters, stimulating writing and apt direction. Season Four is terrific features a storyline that sees Dexter struggle to juggle his new personal life between his job and extra curricular activities. Season guest star John Lithgow gives a wonderful and engaging performance (which earned him a Golden Globe) that perfectly accented the show's theme. Its technical presentation on Blu-ray Disc from Paramount is strong as it looks and sounds excellent. The bonus content doesn't offer fans much in the way of interesting features and consists only of some brief cast interviews and basic MovieIQ data. Add to that the fact that access to the bonus features is only available through BD-Live (which leave those without BD-Live functionality out in the cold) and this is very disappointing. While this is worthy of consideration I hardly find it a deal breaker because this is simply one of the best shows on cable TV. Fans of the series can look forward to owning it on Blu-ray disc. If you have not seen it I would highly recommend that you check it out.
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