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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Dexter - The Fourth Season [Blu-ray]

 

(Developed for Television by James Manos, Jr, 2009)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Showtime

Video: Paramount

 

Disc:

Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Episode Runtime: 54:00 X 12

Disc Size: 46,548,169,280 bytes

Feature Size: 45,048,864,768 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.99 Mbps

Chapters: 7 X 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 17th, 2010

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

Dolby TrueHD Audio English 1525 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1525 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Embedded: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• BD-Live (advertised as offering an episode of Californication, 2 of The Tudors and interviews with Michael C. Hall, Clyde Philips, David Zayas, John Lithgow, C.S. Lee, Julie Benz, Lauren Velez, Jennifer Carpenter and James Remar).

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: 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.

 

 

Season Four descriptions from IMDb HERE:

Season 4, Episode 1: Living the Dream
Original Air Date—27 September 2009
Dexter's sleep deprivation puts both his day job and his nighttime hunting in jeopardy. Lundy is back in town to capture the Trinity Killer - someone he can't even prove exists.

Season 4, Episode 2: Remains to Be Seen
Original Air Date—4 October 2009
A sleep-deprived Dexter desperately tries to remember where he hid the body parts of his latest victim.

Season 4, Episode 3: Blinded by the Light
Original Air Date—11 October 2009
Dexter is facing some marriage and parenting challenges. Rita is mothering him somewhat after the accident and is not allowing him to drive, as per the doctor's orders. Step-daughter Astor is growing up and everything Dexter does seems to be the wrong thing. The neighborhood watch committee goes into action when someone vandalizes property. Dexter soon has a bead on the likely culprit and decides to put his own skills to work. The Trinity Killer strikes again but Debra and ex-Agent Lundy are the only ones who seem to think the death is part of the serial killer's work. Spending a lot of time with Lundy may not be good for her relationship Anton, however. Still worried about what Dexter saw, Joey Quinn continues to try and make nice. He's also still feeding information to the journalist he's sleeping with.

Season 4, Episode 4: Dex Takes a Holiday
Original Air Date—18 October 2009
With Rita away with the kids away attending a cousin's wedding, Dexter finally has the freedom to find another victim. He focuses on Zoey Kruger, a police officer whose husband and child were killed in a house invasion. The blood evidence suggests that she may have actually planted evidence to incriminate a known thief and was in fact responsible herself for the killing. She hears of Dexter's investigation and warns him off in no uncertain terms, but he decides to go ahead anyway. Debra is spending more and more time with ex-Agent Frank Lundy and helping in his pursuit of the Trinity killer. Her boyfriend Anton has noticed but she assures him he has nothing to worry about. Unexpected events forces Debra to re-evaluate her relationships. The Trinity Killer realizes that Lundy may be on to him. Det. Quinn is still sleeping with reporter Christine Hill but she may have stepped over the line with her latest story. Laguerta and Angel Batista argue whether they should inform their superiors of their relationship.

Season 4, Episode 5: Dirty Harry
Original Air Date—25 October 2009
With Debra recovering in the hospital, Dexter re-doubles his efforts to locate the Trinity Killer. Knowing that he is following the same pattern as his murders from 30 years ago, Dexter is sure he knows where he will strike next. Afterward, he follows the serial killer to his home and is shocked by what he finds. Dexter also has some explaining to do when Rita finds out that he never gave up his apartment and still keeps some of his possessions there. Sgt. Batista plants a news item about the suspected Vacation Murderer that bears fruit. Having told her superiors of her relationship with Batista, the Deputy Chief delivers some bad news to Laguerta.

Season 4, Episode 6: If I Had a Hammer
Original Air Date—1 November 2009
Dexter knows it's only a matter of time before Miami Metro discovers the Trinity Killer's latest handiwork. Therefore, he has to work doubly hard to stay one step ahead of their investigation. Dexter has begun to realize that the closer he gets to Trinity, the more he stands to learn from this very different beast. Trinity hides behind a well-kept mask, and getting behind that facade will require some extra prodding on Dexter's part. Meanwhile, Debra becomes frustrated when she finds herself shut out from her own case. She considers bending the rules in the name of justice, risking her career in the process. LaGuerta and Batista come to regret a major decision, and realize that by playing by the rules they may have painted themselves into a corner. And when the friction between Rita and Dexter comes to a head, Dexter gleans relationship advice from a most unlikely source.

Season 4, Episode 7: Slack Tide
Original Air Date—8 November 2009
Dexter finds himself enjoying a brief moment of tranquility. He's finally managed to strike a balance between work, family... and other pursuits. But he's keenly aware that times like these aren't meant to last. When Miami Metro discovers a string of murders connected to a prominent photographer, Dexter sees an opportunity for a clean kill. However, his plans seem to be thwarted every step of the way. Quinn has taken a renewed interest in Dexter's nightlife. Dexter's plans to keep Astor and Cody distracted with new activities soon backfire. Even Harry disapproves of Dexter's choice of pastime, urging him instead to focus his efforts on the Trinity Killer. Meanwhile, Debra returns to work, frustrated to find everyone treating her with kid gloves. She decides to concentrate on her pursuit of the Trinity Killer as well as delving into her father's checkered past - investigations which Dexter fears might lead her to danger - or worse, the truth.

Season 4, Episode 8: Road Kill
Original Air Date—15 November 2009
Dexter has always known his father's Code was meant to protect him from exposure. But after committing a serious mistake, he wonders if it could have been designed to protect him from something even more dangerous - human emotion. When he discovers that Trinity is planning an out-of-town trip, Dexter sees an opportunity to ride along and gain insight into the mind of a fellow monster. Even so, Dexter isn't prepared for the startling revelations Trinity makes along the way, revelations about his own past which only serve to convince Dexter of what he must do. Meanwhile, back at Miami Metro, Debra refuses to let a technicality keep her off the Trinity case. She works through others to ensure her voice is heard - that is, until she realizes that her single-minded pursuit of the Trinity Killer may have blinded her to the truth.

Season 4, Episode 9: Hungry Man
Original Air Date—22 November 2009
Dexter stops by Arthur's house for a visit and realizes that for all Arthur is in appearance the happy family man, he is in fact terrorizing his family. According to Arthur's son Josh, they are all regularly beaten. Josh is afraid to confront his father and invites Dexter for Thanksgiving lunch. The confrontation between Arthur and his family forces Dexter to take action. While Dexter is away for lunch with the Mitchells, neighbor Elliot kisses Rita and she clearly lets him, though she immediately regrets it. Meanwhile, Laguerta and Batista finally admit to what has been obvious for some time. Elsewhere, Joey Quinn spends the holiday with his reporter girlfriend Christine Hill, but he clearly has commitment issues and is starting to feel hemmed in. After he leaves, she gets a surprise visit from her father.

Season 4, Episode 10: Lost Boys
Original Air Date—29 November 2009
When Arthur kidnaps a young boy from a video arcade, Dexter realizes that his killing cycle has started again and that it includes four, not three, killings. The disappearance of the boy is headlines news in Miami and Dexter gets a clue as to Arthur's whereabouts when his son Jonah tells him his Dad was recently looking at houses for sale. Debra finally sits down with reporter Christine Hill to give the interview she promised. Debra turns the tables on her by becoming the interviewer and questioning how she could have managed to get to site of the Lundy and her shooting so quickly, especially since she lives over an hour away. Brenda and Batista decide that a DNA test is in order and are shocked by what they find. Christine desperately tries to contact her father to get his help.

Season 4, Episode 11: Hello, Dexter Morgan
Original Air Date—6 December 2009
Dexter is determined to take care of the Trinity Killer/Arthur Mitchell himself, at least in part to atone for the mistake he made. When Dexter learns that Christine Hill is in custody, he realizes that the police will soon be onto Arthur, so he sets up an elaborate ruse to send them down the wrong path. It all backfires and ends in another death. Arthur also learns his real name and the work he does. Meanwhile, Rita finally tells Dexter about the kiss at Thanksgiving, but isn't quite sure what to make of his nonplussed reaction. Also, Laguerta and Batista are caught kissing on a store surveillance video and Captain Matthews is set on having them both fired. They decide there's only one way to get out of he mess they've created for themselves.

Season 4, Episode 12: The Getaway
Original Air Date—13 December 2009
Dexter is obsessed with getting the Trinity Killer himself, especially after Arthur has tracked him to Metro Homicide and learns his real identity. Dexter realizes the threat to his family and with the older stepchildren off with their grandparents, he convinces Rita to take Harrison to the Keys where he will join them later for a weekend honeymoon. His first attempt to take care of Arthur goes awry when as a result of a traffic accident, he finds himself in jail for leaving the scene. His second attempt is more successful, but his obsession to kill Arthur comes with a price. Meanwhile, no one can quite understand why Debra is still at work given what happened to Christine Hill, but when the FBI takes over the Trinity Killer case, she refocuses on learning more about her father and his relationship with his confidential informants. Debra finally learns about how her father came to adopt Dexter. Also, Laguerta and Batista now have to decide what to do next in their relationship.


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
 

Leonard has already covered Season One, Two and Three on Blu-ray and this image looks totally in-line with visual quality - perhaps a notch superior. The series continues to blossom and the HD shot episodes look strong with the occasional weaknesses of that format - some noise in darker sequences and it handles outdoor light somewhat poorer than straight film with occasional flaring. Overall it supports the series in 1080P with excellent detail in close-ups and bright impressive colors with Floridian flora. All three discs are dual-layered and maxed out at over 45 Gigs of space per - 4 episodes on each Blu-ray. I never found contrast dynamically healthy on the 1.78:1 framed image. There are no manipulations at all and it is, predictably, spotlessly clean. This looks exactly as it was shot and ready for broadcast in 2009; essentially it can be considered flawless as a direct representation.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Not much to add beyond what you might expect. Solid lossless TrueHD 5.1 at 1525 kbps which doesn't blow you away with range but there is healthy support flowing to the rear speakers. I'm always impressed with Daniel Licht original score that can really light up a scene or bring it down to a more human, and sympathetic, level. I think it is one of the best for a TV show that I've heard. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked - like the previous packages.

 

 

Extras :

There are no digital extras except the advertised (but unseen) BD-Live 'Portal' offerings of an episode of Californication, 2 episodes of The Tudors and interviews with Michael C. Hall, Clyde Philips, David Zayas, John Lithgow, C.S. Lee, Julie Benz, Lauren Velez, Jennifer Carpenter and James Remar. It's probably worth checking out for those who indulge in this feature. Each disc opens with skip-able, and seeming louder, trailers for other Showtime TV.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Dexter continues to improve - evolving the soapy, personal aspects very slowly but keeping the darker elements balanced in the background. Tension mounts as characters are introduced and then depart. The more interesting ones stick around. This is a highly intelligent series with a unique premise - touching on crime elements and the fascination with getting inside the head of serial killers. Michael C. Hall is fabulous as he was in Six Feet Under. The Blu-ray gives a great presentation although I was expecting some on-disc extras. It has great value for almost a dozen hours of top-notch TV - those who've been following the series won't be disappointed in the direction it's headed and the perfection of the medium it resides. 

Gary Tooze

August 7th, 2010

 

 


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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