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Heroes - The Complete Fourth Season Print E-mail
Monday, 26 July 2010
ImageOh my.  Heroes, Heroes, Heroes.  What to do with "Heroes."  Well, NBC finally did what was coming for quite some time.  They have put the show out of it misery, and this season four is the final season that will ever be for this band of connected but not connected heroes and villains of the modern world.

When the show first premiered in 2006, it garnered much deserved attention from audiences and critics.  The show was a refreshing take on heroes and villains.  The complexity of the characters was well conceived and delivered.  But, never has there been a show that was built up so well in season one that just completely crashed and burned in season two and beyond.  I tried so hard to be a fan of the show.  I gave it every benefit of the doubt, but as the seasons continued matters only got worse and worse.

The downfall of the show can pretty much be traced back to the writers' strike of 2007.  Season two started out with the same writing and pizzazz that season one had all the way through.  And then…the WGA strike.  Like "Las Vegas," another beloved show that was cancelled after the resolution of the WGA strike, "Heroes" lost all its spunk.  First, season two was wrapped in half the normal amount of episodes leaving audiences scratching their heads and wondering how something so terrible could have been done to such a great story line.  Wouldn't we have been better off stopping the show and waiting for season two to resume when the strike was over?  But alas, it appears that the writers never really came back to this show.

From then on the writing was subpar.  It no longer have nicely interwoven plot and character connections.  The mystery was gone and so many questions remained unanswered or forgotten.  Trust me, the audience hangs on to every question and plotline during a series such as this.  So when the writers decide to just introduce a plot and then throw it away, the audience gets upset.

So, here in season four, "Heroes" goes out without so much of a bang.  The season meandered through.  It never really found its pace.  There are times when it almost felt like season one again and then times in which we knew this would be the end of the show.  The fourth season finds over heroes and villains in completely different lives after just six weeks from where season three left off.  Government task forces are rounding up the special individuals by any means necessary.  Claire is now in college and dealing with being a normal teenager with possibly and attraction for her roommate (a storyline that never went anywhere and was forgotten by the writers).  I think the audience waited the entire season to find out what was so special about Claire's roommate.  She was introduced like she was going to be a big character, possibly with a special power and then nothing.
Mr. Bennett is now living alone, trying to simply be a father, but always getting sucked back into the hunt.  Sylar, who killed Nathan Petrelli at the end of season three, now has been made to believe that he is Nathan by Matt Parkman.  Parkman has gone back with his ex-wife to raise their son.  Hiro and Ando are simply broken pieces in this season, never given anything to do but run around with no purpose.  Ali Larter's character is one of the most bizarre characters of them all throughout the last three seasons.  She was very nicely integrated in the first season and then she just kept coming back as someone different but never fitting in.

"Heroes" season four just has a whole host of problems with characters having purpose and then being forgotten, plots that are dull and never pan out, a pace that teeters like a see-saw and excruciatingly redundant dialogue.

So how does the season, series end?  Well it could have been worse.  It is certainly set up as there was going to be another season, but at the same time it is not so much of a cliffhanger that anyone won't be able to go on without knowing how it turns out.  The show simply ends where it began, with Claire.

Those of you who have kept tabs on the previous seasons of this show released on Blu-ray know that the video quality has never been that great.  While season four is noticeably better, the video quality is still problematic.  It is plagued by inconsistencies.  Incredibly sharp details in one scene turn to soft blobs in the next.  Noise is not as protruding as in the past, but it is still noticeable.  As to be expected, the dimly lit shots and nighttime sequences still suffer from crush and higher concentrations of noise.  Colors are warm and vibrant, but sometimes overly saturated.  Fleshtones are also inconsistent, constantly appearing overly warm.  Shadow delineation is improved from past seasons, but it still leaves much to be desired.  All in all this is probably one of the better-looking seasons of the show.

"Heroes" season four comes with a DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track for each episode.  The tracks are technically near perfect.  However, some treatment could have been done to compensate for some of the overbearing issues with the original sound design.  The sound of each episode relies on heavy, heavy LFE support.  It is overbearing at least half the time.  It seems like someone compensated a little too much for bass management.  Just be warned that the LFE channel can and will swallow much of the detail in the production track.  Dialogue is inconsistent, which is generally to be expected with a television series.  I can handle inconsistencies, but I don't like when soft dialogue is lost to LFE presence or music.  The priority of sounds needs work in this show.  It is never much a problem when watching the broadcast because the audio has been compressed and re-compressed many times over, so the dynamic range and frequency response is all but gone.  I was surprised by the lack of energy in the surround channels.  However, when the major scenes call for action the surround channels do deliver.  Still, directionality and panning is spotty.  I have heard better sound design work for weekly television shows, but still "Heroes" has a lot of presence, just no finesse.

There are several special features across these four discs, but they don't really amount to a whole lot.  The U-Control section has four video commentaries.  All four commentaries lack interaction.  They mainly consist of Kring narrating the episodes.  The U-Control section also features a Bios area.  "Genetics of a Scene" contains segments on the construction of several scenes throughout the season.  "Deconstructing Sylar" is a discussion of the character.  "Heroes Revolution" looks at the different media forms that "Heroes" has seen.  "Milo Speaks" a brief segment in which Milo discusses the character of Peter Petrelli.  "Sullivan Brothers Design Gallery" is a section of concept art.  Finally, there is a collection of deleted/extended scenes and pocketBLU, My Scenes and BD-Live functionalities.

"Heroes" season four isn't the worst of the seasons and it isn't a horrible ending to the show, but the first season of the show deserved so much more than anything the last three seasons provided.  The show certainly did not go out with a bang, but fans will likely enjoy it.  The video and audio qualities are not the greatest, but then again this is a television series.  I recommend this set for fans.

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