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I still love how SMALLVILLE continues to place a fresh spin on the Superman mythology, while keeping all the basic elements in place.  About to enter its fifth season on television SMALLVILLE remains a highly entertaining re-imagining of the Man Of Steel’s early years in the Kansas town where he was raised.  Populated with a cast of young, attractive actors, and keeping the level of teen angst high, SMALLVILLE pushes all the right buttons of that highly sought after youthful demographic, while maintaining the integrity of the Superman mythos.  Sure, at times, the series has made some questionable creative choices, but for the most part, SMALLVILLE succeeds admirably in keeping Superman a fresh, hot property, after more than six decades since he was created.

Season four of continues explore aspects Clark/Cal-El’s Kryptonian heritage and what role his biological father really intended for him to play on Earth.  Also, Clark attempts to be more like a normal teen by joining the football team. Season four of SMALLVILLE also marks the series debut of another future The Daily Planet reporter.  The season four cast of SMALLVILLE features Tom Welling as Clark Kent, Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang, Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor, Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan, John Glover as Lionel Luthor, Annette O'Toole as Martha Kent, John Schneider as Jonathan Kent, and Erica Durance as the newly introduced Lois Lane.  SMALLVILLE: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON ($60) comes to DVD in a six-disc set that features the following twenty-two episodes that were aired in the show’s senior year: Crusade, Gone, Facade, Devoted, Run, Transference, Jinx, Spell, Bound, Scare, Unsafe, Pariah, Recruit, Krypto, Sacred, Lucy, Onyx, Spirit, Blank, Ageless, Forever, and Commencement.

Warner Home Video has made all twenty-three episodes from SMALLVILLE: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays.  Like the previous volumes, SMALLVILLE: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON looks pretty sweet on DVD.  The levels of image sharpness and detail are terrific for a television caliber production, with only occasional softer shots creeping their way in.  Colors are warm, vibrant and rich looking with very appealing flesh tones.  Blacks are accurately rendered and the whites are stable.  Contrast is good for a television production, without any unnecessary "flatness" in the image.  There are no defects in the source materials from which the episodes were transferred and there is little apparent grain.  Digital compression artifacts are generally well contained.

All the episodes that comprise SMALLVILLE: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON are presented on DVD with Dolby Digital 2.0 channel soundtracks, which do decode to standard surround.  I am still of the opinion that 5.1 channel encoding could enhance the sound effects on the episodes, as there are plenty of opportunities within the show’s action sequences for these soundtracks to show off just a bit more.  Still, as they stand, the mixes are pretty good, as they do manage to engage the audience.  Not surprisingly, the forward soundstage is dominant, with the surround channels providing mild ambient reinforcement and occasional active effect.   Musical fidelity is solid and the music is well integrated into the tracks.  The bass channel certainly could have been a bit deeper, which would have added some "weight" to the sound effects.  Dialogue is cleanly rendered and always easy to understand.  No other language tracks are provided for the episodes, but English, French, and Spanish subtitles are included.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard episode/scene selection and set up features, as well as some supplemental materials.  SMALLVILLE: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON features running audio commentaries on the following episodes: Crusade, Transference and Spell.  Crusade includes actresses Erica Durance, Annette O'Toole, plus executive producers Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, and Ken Horton.  Transference includes actor John Glover plus, Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, and Ken Horton.  Spell includes actresses Kristin Kreuk, Allison Mack, Erica Durance, and director Jeannot Szwarc.  In the featurette section one will find, Being Lois Lane, a ten-minute program that features comments from various actresses who have essayed the role over the years.  Behind Closed Doors: Inside The Writers' Room is another ten-minute program that looks at the story development process for the series.  A series of Unaired Scenes from various episodes close out the supplements.

SMALLVILLE: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON remains a fresh and fun reinterpretation of the early years of Clark Kent, before he became the Man Of Steel.  As expected, the folks at Warner have done another fine job with this DVD set by providing excellent video and solid audio quality, plus some nice extras. Fans will definitely want to add SMALLVILLE: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON to their collections.



Smallville - The Complete Fourth Season (2004)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2005 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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