“Sons of Anarchy” Season 4 Blu-Ray Review
Some of the best shows on television these days are coming from some of the most unlikely places... cable. FX Networks has been blazing a trail for quite a few years now when it comes to entertaining and engaging television. Shows like "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and "The League" are leading the field in the comedy department. And shows like "Louie" and "Wilfred" are bringing up the rear with the slightly less slapstick comedy, but smarter, darker laughs. On the drama side of things, newcomer "American Horror Story" quickly became one of my favorite shows on TV and season 2 is probably my most anticipated show on any network at the moment. "Justified" has made quite the name for itself as well, despite the fact that I've never seen it.... And then there's a rambunctious group of motorcycle hooligans who just want to protect their small town of Charming, CA, while at the same time dealing in some very shady business. "SAMCRO", aka "Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club: Redwood Original" charter is run by Clay Marrow, played by Hellboy himself, Ron Pearlman, but it's his stepson Jax who is the protagonist of the group. I will say though, there are points where I have a really hard time believing that Peggy Bundy is actually getting more attractive as she gets older than when she was lounging on the couch all day eating bon-bons, while Ed O'Neill slaved away selling women's shoes... But we're not here to talk about old episodes of "Married With Children" we're here to talk about bad-ass dudes on bad-ass bikes.
"Sons of Anarchy" is definitely one of those shows you don't want to jump into without seeing the previous seasons and it's for that reason that I'm not going to give away too many details here. Season 4 is probably the best season yet of the show, so for me to ruin anything would be blasphemy. I feel that when reviewing a blu-ray or a DVD, the focus should be on whether or not I feel a person should go out and buy the particular product or not. Those people that are already fans of the show, or have already seen the previous 3 seasons, probably already know if they are going to buy it or not. These reviews are intended for those people that are curious as to whether the special features make it worth putting on their shelf, or whether there are problems with the video and audio quality that would deter them from picking it up. There are just too many things going on this season for me to try and tip-toe around all of the awesomeness that is contained in this Blu-Ray set. So if you're a fan of the show and you've seen seasons 1-3 and maybe you were a little disappointed with season 3 for whatever reason and aren't completely sold on season 4, let me just say, buy this. Buy it for the show itself alone. Forget the special features, buy this for the sole fact that this season is better than the last 3. It's like "Dexter", season 1 was awesome, season 2 couldn't live up to the 1st, but it was still good, season 3 fell off a bit, but then season 4 comes in and completely redeems the series of any faults you thought it might have had.
So without pulling a "Dexter" and ruining the season you're about to watch with a trailer that shows the end of the season, let's get into the more technical aspects of this Blu-Ray. And yes, if you buy the latest season of "Dexter" on Blu-Ray, do not watch the trailer for "Dexter" that plays when you put the disc in, it will ruin the ending of the season, and it was a pretty good season, so you don't want to ruin it.
The quality of Blu-Ray transfers have improved tremendously since the format first came on the scene, but when it comes to porting HD TV shows over to Blu-Ray, it's really hard to mess things up. The show is shot natively in digital HD, so the transfer is pretty simple, which leads to great looking video. Everything is crisp and clear, save for a few scenes at night that start to develop a little bit of noise, but that didn't bother me. If you've seen the other seasons on Blu-Ray then you won't be surprised by anything there. The quality is on par with what we've seen in the past.
The audio does what it's supposed to; it draws you in and immerses you in the biker world. The roar from the motorcycles, the cracks as bullets are being thrown around with total disregard and the bone on bone crushing as fists meet face, are all crystal clear. Presented in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, I don't think a TV show can sound much better than this one does. Crank it up and laugh at your neighbors when they call the cops to report gunfire.
While there are a handful of special features on the Blu-Ray, buy this one for the show itself. The commentary tracks on the episodes are always fun to listen to, especially the one for the finale. Definitely check these out. There are a couple deleted scenes, but nothing really noteworthy as well as a gag reel that's always entertaining. It's nice to see such a serious show having a bit of fun sometimes. There's a "Sons of Anarchy App Integration" feature, which lets you download an App to your iPhone or iPad and dive further into the world of "Sons of Anarchy". It's kind of a cool novelty I haven't seen before. And finally there are 3 short featurettes that run between 5 and 10 minutes long. One is a spoiler, so I'm actually not going to even tell you what it's called here, we'll just say it's a nice look at one of the characters of the show. In another, show runner Kurt Sutter flies 2 hardcore fans out to check out the set of an episode and hang out. It's pretty cool to see these guys geek out over the show. And finally, "Anarchy at the House of Blues" is a look into a benefit show that the cast & crew put on to help the family of a friend that passed away suddenly without any life insurance.
So if you're a fan of the show you should definitely pick this up, if you're new to the show and haven't seen the rest of the previous seasons yet, go watch those first and pick this season up when it goes on sale.