HTF REVIEW: Cheers - The Complete Fourth Season

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Scott Kimball, Feb 2, 2005.

  1. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

    May 8, 2000
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    Cheers - The Complete Fourth Season

    Studio: Paramount

    Year: 1985 - 1986

    Rated: NR

    Length: 10 Hours, 44 Minutes

    Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

    Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround

    Closed Captioned

    Special Features: None

    Estimated Street Price: $30, USD

    Release Date: February 1, 2005

    Season Four of Cheers underwent some casting changes, with the death of veteran actor / TV director Nicholas Colasanto at the end of the third season. Producers needed to scramble to fill the formidable shoes of “Coach” Ernie Pantuso. Enter Woody Harrelson as Woody Boyd. I expected to feel a gaping hole in the series without “Coach” behind the bar, and his character was sorely missed - but Woody Harrelson’s portrayal of Woody Boyd had the same innocence and gullibility we saw in Coach. It wasn’t long before audiences warmed to him.

    Season four also saw the introduction of Doctor Lilith Sternin (Bebe Neuwirth), a character of great intellect - matched only by one Doctor Frasier Crane. The Lilith character would earn multiple Emmy Awards for the talented Neuwirth throughout the remainder of the series.

    Back, of course, are Sam, Diane, Carla, Cliff and Norm, for the fourth season of Cheers, where the series really seemed to hit its stride. We see Sam’s dating escapades as he struggles to keep up with women much younger than him. We see more of Norm and Cliff’s antics in the bar. We see some unhealthy competition between the gang at Cheers and the folks at Gary’s. Mostly, we get to hang out with familiar faces at the Boston watering hole called Cheers.

    All 26 episodes of season four are included on this four disc set:

    Disc 1: Birth, Death, Love and Rice; Woody Goes Belly Up; Someday My Prince Will Come; The Groom Wore Clearasil; Diane’s Nightmare; I Will Gladly Pay You Tuesday; 2 Good To Be 4 Real

    Disc 2: Love Thy Neighbor; From Beer to Eternity; The Barstoolie; Don Juan Is Hell; Fools and their Money; Take My Shirt, Please; Suspicion

    Disc 3: The Triangle; Cliffie’s Big Score; Second Time Around; The Peterson Principle; Dark Imaginings; Save the Last Dance for Me

    Disc 4: Fear is My Co-Pilot; Diane Chambers Day; Relief Bartender; Strange Bedfellows{Part 1); Strange Bedfellows (Part 2); Strange Bedfellows (Part 3)

    Each disc features a “Play All” option, and disc one includes the semi-forced previews that Paramount has been including on most of their releases, as of late. Their TV DVDs seem to only include other TV product, at least.

    The Transfer
    I’ll first note that my review is based on a random sampling of four episodes - one from each of the four discs.

    Cheers season four continues with similar qualities in the transfer as seen in previous seasons. With some exceptions, there isn’t much to complain about, when you factor in the age of the program. The picture is clean but soft - occasional dust spots or scratches are visible. Sharpness is fair - no more or less than I expect from an older television show. It does look as if there was some high frequency filtering performed on the video, but it retains fair to moderate detail. There are no obvious sharpening or compression artifacts. Black levels are reasonably solid, with acceptable shadow detail. Colors are on the warm side, and are nicely saturated. The first episode seems to bear the brunt of the negative aspects noted here, with most other episodes looking somewhat better.

    The audio is clean and has good frequency response. Dialog is firmly planted front and center. Laugh track and music can be heard across the front soundstage and in the surround channel. Music cues have a pleasing bass response. As in previous seasons, this is just about as good as you could expect for Dolby Digital 2.0 sourced from a twenty year old sitcom. No complaints, here.

    Special Features
    I mentioned in a review of an earlier season of “Cheers” that the extras that were being offered were useless. It seems that Paramount has come to the same conclusion, and they’ve dropped extras from this release. Given the “extras” that were included in the past, it’s no great loss.

    This is not to say that I wouldn’t welcome a small extra feature... not much, but something of substance.

    Final Thoughts
    Pour yourself a cold one and ready yourself for some laughs with the gang at Cheers. The A/V is average, similar to previous seasons - and the price is nice.

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