Starring: Ellen Pompeo, Sandra Oh, Katherine Heigl, Patrick Dempsey, Chandra Wilson, Eric Dane
Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment (ABC) 57849
Video: 1.78:1 widescreen, 1080p HD
Audio: English Uncompressed 5.1 PCM, English DD 5.1
Extras: Extended Episodes, Commentaries, Featurettes, Gag Reel
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Length: 740 minutes
Season Four of the popular ABC television series Grey’s Anatomy only accounted for seventeen episodes due to the strike-shortened season (courtesy of the Writer’s Guild), but that abbreviated fourth season didn’t seem to slow down the show’s momentum much, and hasn’t reduced the extensive array of viewing options found on this four disc Blu-ray release (that clocks in at an almost unbelievable 740 minutes!) And although there’s plenty of evidence of the strong writing and sterling performances that have been the hallmarks of this infinitely watchable mélange of nighttime soap and serious medical drama, the undeniable effects of the writer’s strike have definitely helped give Season Four a somewhat disjointed feel, that very likely ultimately helped the show fall from its No. 1 slot in ABC’s lineup. And besides, I still pretty much consider watching this show something of a “guilty pleasure;” I just don’t think it really rates alongside classic medical dramas like ER, which despite some stale characters and storylines, always seems to reinvent itself and has remained entertainingly relevant for a surprisingly long run.
That said, the doctors of Seattle Grace Hospital do concoct an enticing hour of weekly television, and there were some interesting developments early in Season Four, not the least of which were the departure of the controversial (but always entertaining) Isaiah Washington and the spin-off of Kate Walsh’s character into ABC’s Private Practice. And with all the hubbub constantly surrounding Dr. McDreamy (Patrick Dempsey), and the tangled web of relationships that are perpetually in a flux state of happy/unhappy, fans of the show have plenty to talk about around the water cooler each week.
Technically, the Blu-ray presentation is superb. The video quality is miles beyond the standard definition version, and at only about $30 difference, true fans will easily want to spring for the high definition set. The audio, while quite good, doesn’t really offer the same knockout punch that the video content delivers; for a show that’s very dialogue heavy, however, the audio is quite serviceable, and betters the DVD release by no small measure. The extras offered on this set are remarkably good; there’s a particularly useful feature called “Season Play” that helps you track through the various episodes by helping to catch you up to where you left off when your viewing of this rather extensive set has been interrupted. There’s also a really entertaining featurette called “One Quick Cut” that walks you through highlights of all the action of the first four seasons in about four minutes!
All in all, this is a superb set that will fill the viewing hours of fans of this stylish show endlessly. Recommended!
— Tom Gibbs