Sons of Anarchy Season Four (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 1 Old 09-02-2012, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2011
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 656 minutes
Genre: TV Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Ron Perlman, Katey Sagal, Charlie Hunnam, Kim Coates, Mark Boone Junior, Maggie Siff, Tommy Flanagan, Ryan Hurst, Theo Rossi, Danny Trejo, Tom Arnold, Dayton Callie, William Lucking, Rockmond Dunbar, Ray McKinnon
Created by: Kurt Sutter
Written by: Kurt Sutter, Liz Sagal, Chris Collins, Regino Corrado, Marco Ramirez, Brady Dahl
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 28, 2012

"The life and death of SAMCRO"

Film Synopsis:

Ride full-throttle with the Sons of Anarchy into the most intense, adrenaline-charged season ever! Out of prison and back in business, SAMCRO faces a powerful new nemesis as they forge an unlikely alliance and head in a dangerous new direction. As a deadly internal power struggle rocks the club to its very core, Jax struggles with the legacy of his father and makes plans for the future of his family amid chaos, corruption, betrayal, and murder. Action-packed with electrifying extended episodes, Sons of Anarchy Season Four will take you for the ride of your life!

My Take:

An FX original TV series, Sons of Anarchy, is an adrenalized drama with darkly comedic undertones that explores a notorious outlaw motorcycle club’s (Son of Anarchy or SAMCRO) desire to protect its livelihood while ensuring that their simple, sheltered town of Charming, California remains, just that, Charming. The MC must confront threats from drug dealers, corporate developers and overzealous law enforcement officers. Behind the MC’s familial lifestyle and legally thriving automotive shop is a ruthless and illegally thriving arms business. Their outlaw style subculture manages the seduction of money, power, and the daily threat of bloodshed. For those not familiar with the show here is my series plot overview:

Sons of Anarchy revolves around a California motorcycle club called the Sons of Anarchy. The club is lead by Clay (Perlman) and is run by a strict code of ethics and conduct that is pretty much what you’d expect from bikers. The club maintains a hierarchy that includes various positions such as vice president, sergeant at arms, treasurer and runs all the way down to the lowly “prospects”. Jackson “Jax” Teller (Hunnam) is second in command as well as a second generation member and is primarily the show’s central character. His father was one of the clubs founders but he died from injuries sustained after being hit by a tractor trailer when Jax was a boy. His mother Gemma (Sagal) is now Clay’s “old lady” and keeps a watchful eye over Jax while maintaining a fair amount of influence over both men. Each member of the club brings an important element to its purpose. The purpose is for the club to thrive through various means which unfortunately place it in direct contravention of state, local, and federal laws. Jax has no qualms about the club’s purpose or seeing it through. He is intelligent and forward thinking (most of the time) and doesn’t always see the need to handle matters in the “traditional” sense. This occasionally puts him at odds with Clay which raises eyebrows among the other members of the club.

Season Four opens with members of SAMCRO, including Jax, Clay, Bobby and Juice, being released from their prison stint in Stockton California. They arrive back in Charming to find a new sheriff, Eli Roosevelt, and an eager Assistant U.S. Attorney, Lincoln Potter. Roosevelt and Potter set up a secret task force to indict the club for their weapons dealing. Tara comes into possession of JT’s letters that contain damaging information about Clay’s connection to his death. If Jax learns what’s in the letters it could ultimately destroy the club. This is something that Clay simply can’t allow, no matter the costs.

Looking to bring in some much needed cash Clay gets into bed with the Gallindo cartel to mule drugs. Jax isn’t for it and Clay knows that the rest of the club won’t be unless he can persuade Jax to vote with him on the matter. Jax acquiesces but only in exchange for something that must be kept between them. The task force obtains information that could spell expulsion (or worse) if divulged and puts the squeeze on a member of SAMCRO. The Cartel vote comes to a head but allegiances push it through which creates a division within the club.

SAMCRO’s affiliation with drugs begins to take them deeper into its clutches by placing them in direct conflict with other drug related factions. The club is slowly becoming a powder keg as things begin to escalate. The ramifications of Clay’s deceit and desperation are unraveling SAMCRO from within which forces Piney to act on the club’s behalf. Gemma seeks to intervene which has devastating results.

With the club in turmoil outside forces threaten to supplant them while Assistant U.S. Attorney Roosevelt seizes the opportunity to break down barriers that were once thought unshakable. Violence, mayhem, treachery, and dissention resonate from within the confines of the clubhouse. No one is safe, no one is trusted. It’s time to get out…

I have been a fan of this show since day one and we never miss it. I love the development of the storyline, depth of the characters, and the grounded manner in which they go about their business. They are well written which clearly establishes their connection and reinforces their strength while enhancing their likeability. Yes they are criminals but looking beyond that they live within a definitive and structured subculture where without rules survival would be impossible. Creator/writer Kurt Sutter did his home work and has come up with a superb balance of good and bad that allows acceptance and forgiveness as we bond with and ultimately root for them. The cast (both regulars and guests) is perfectly placed and primarily consists of seasoned actors with pedigrees that make them well suited to their characters.

Season four’s 13 episodes are spread over three BD-50 Blu-ray discs with the bulk of the bonus features contained on disc three. Season four offers plenty of ass kicking, gunplay, inner conflict, several truly satisfying moments and some surprising, dare I say shocking twists that you may or not have seen coming. As with the prior three seasons no stone goes unturned as the show builds to a thrilling climax that left me hankering for more of this character driven, well written, and compelling TV drama. Looking forward to September 11th!

Parental Guide:

This show contains strong violence, thematic material and language that would not be suitable for younger viewers.

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.**

Audio: 88

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

Video: 90

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

Sons of Anarchy Season Four comes to Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 18 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.8 Mbps.

Season Four of Sons of Anarchy positively translates to video on Blu-ray Disc and features excellent high definition quality that boasts warm, inviting colors with deeply saturated primaries and vivid hues. Fleshtones are naturally delineated with warm tonal highlights and discernible complexional variety among the cast. Detail is abundant as images look crisp with clearly resolvable texture, and dimensionality that on occasion offer a near infinite visual perspective. Blacks are rich with excellent dynamic range and appreciable gradational stages. Contrast is strong which provides plenty of pop to colors and whites without overemphasis or loss of detail. The video has a punchy, pleasing, and pristine quality that looks great throughout.

The DTS-HD MA soundtrack features crystal clear dialogue, robust dynamics and an enriching surround sound mix. I was impressed with its use of spacial dimension and directional cues to create a realistic and occasionally immersive sound field. This worked hand in hand with shows excellent music score, and action based sequences to build suspense/tension and drive its thematic elements. This appears to be a faithful and high quality audio/video presentation that looks and sounds great on Blu-ray from Fox.

Bonus Features:

  • (HD) Deleted scenes – Fourteen Disc 1, eight Disc 2, five Disc (totaling 22 minutes)

  • (HD) Extended scenes – Episodes: “Brick”, “Family Recipe”, “Kiss”, “Dorylus”

  • (HD) Cast/crew commentary – Episodes: “Out”, “Hands”, “To be Acts 1&2”

  • (HD) Gag reel – 2 minutes

  • (HD) Piney’s farewell – 7 minutes

  • (HD) The fans of Anarchy – 4 minute featurette

  • (HD) Anarchy at the House of Blues (fund raising event) – 10 minutes

  • Sons of anarchy App – Compatible with iPhone, iPad and Android devices

Final Thoughts:

Sons of Anarchy is a compelling TV drama that features strong, well written characters that are capably brought to life by the show’s superb cast. Creator Kurt Sutter has done an excellent job with the show’s continuing contemporary storyline which keeps interest high as it competently engages with ample amounts of action, drama, and suspense. I look forward to September 11th when the show’s Fifth Season kicks off. The series comes to high definition from 20th Century Fox Blu-ray in a well rounded package that looks and sounds great and offers fans insights from the perspectives of the cast/crew at the show’s production. If you are a fan this set is worth adding to your collection. If you haven’t seen Sons of Anarchy I highly recommend you check it out.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

Ralph C. Potts
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