Fans of “STARGATE SG-1” can delight in the fact that MGM has just released “SEASON 4” in its entirety on dvd. Colonel O’Neal(Richard Dean Anderson) returns, as does most of the cast and their ultimate nemesis, the “replicators”, machines that can impersonate anything in their continued desire to dominate all they come into contact with. Although some of the “Stargate” team is separated, they’re all still heroically trying to stave off the nefarious plans of the replicators. An extremely creative storyline finds O’Neal, Teal’c and Dr. Jackson venturing to a sunken Russian sub, which the replicators have taken it over after one has survived the destruction of its ship upon crashing in the ocean. “SEASON 4” expands character depth and story arcs better and more than any of the other seasons, and viewers find that there are plenty of villains as nasty as the replicators. While there are better consistently paced episodes in this season, there is also a fair share of humor. However, it’s never at the expense of the show’s overall theme and atmosphere. There are also some great guest stars, as evidenced by Rene Auberjonois in “THE OTHER SIDE” and the beautiful Vanessa Angel in two episodes that will leave viewers wishing she was in even more.
MGM has preserved the series’ 1.78:1 aspect ratio, with 16:9 enhancement, and it looks better than any of the previous seasons! Colors are more vibrant, and still without oversaturation. There’s also far less grain present than before. Contrast offers deeper blacks and grays, allowing for finer detail in darker scenes. Fleshtones appear natural throughout.
MGM has presented a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for this release. While the storylines tend to be so involving that there’s no dependency of an aggressive mix, there are still plenty of effects here. Surround/panning and discrete effects occur regularly in each episode, allowing for the viewer to become that much more engrossed into the onscreen events unfolding. The music is well complimented through all speakers, and with terrific fidelity. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion.
MGM has elected to include some noteworthy extras for this release. To begin with, this is the first season wherein every episode features a running commentary! Sure, at times, the various cinematographers, special effects technicians,etc…, may dull things up a bit, but more often, there’s terrific insight and entertaining stories from various directors and writers.
There are also several featurettes offered. “ENHANCED VISUAL EFFECTS” offers a look at how some of the terrific effects were created. It’s extremely well done, although too short. Another featurette, “FRIEND OR FOE” allows newcomers an overall rundown on various aliens from the show. “STARGATE SG-1: TIMELINE TO THE FUTURE-LEGACY OF THE GATE” allows viewers the chance to hear from Anderson and Brad Wright, one of the writers, as they reflect upon highlights of the series as well as info on the upcoming fifth season.