The Winchester Brothers are reunited, but reconciliation after everything that’s happened is another matter entirely. They’ll have to at least work together, however, if they want to follow a plan that could end their conflicts with the demon world once and for all.
Studio: Warner Brothers
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: Approx. 16 hours
Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, UltraViolet
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 09/10/2013
It’s been a year since the Winchester Brothers’ showdown with the Leviathans, ancient creatures that were freed from Purgatory when the angel Castiel (Misha Collins) made a bid for power. In the final confrontation with the Leviathans’ leader, both Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Castiel were transported to Purgatory, where Dean has been in a constant state of kill or be killed with the other creatures trapped there.
The Production Rating: 4/5
In response to the loss of his brother, Sam (Jared Padalecki) gave up demon hunting, following the understanding the two had made should either one of them be taken. When Dean somehow manages to escape from Purgatory, and catches up with Sam, he’s surprised and hurt by how readily his brother gave up the hunter life, but more critically, gave up on him. Dean’s resentment over the fact will be a constant issue as the two begin hunting again.
Full blown reconciliation will have to wait, however, as there are bigger fish to fry, namely finding out what happened to Kevin Tran (Osric Chau), the Michigan teenager who was chosen to be a Prophet with the power to read the ancient writings of God himself. When the Winchesters track Kevin down, they learn he’s in possession of a Word of God tablet and on the run from the King of Hell, AKA Crowley (Mark Sheppard), who wants him to translate the tablet’s instructions for how to fully open the gates of his domain. In his reading the tablet, Kevin learns there’s also a way to permanently seal the Gates of Hell, an opportunity the Winchesters simply can’t pass up given all they’ve been through. Naturally, implementing the spell will not be easy, ultimately exacting a heavy price on both the Winchesters, their allies, and the people they have helped since the beginning.
As it continues its exploration of Heaven and Hell and the respective inhabitants of those realms, the eighth season of the CW’s Supernatural covers territory well beyond what the show first cut its teeth on, even though some of the dramatic situations, like the tension in the brothers’ relationship, are now overly familiar. For some, the ongoing angels and demons conflict, which had its beginnings in the sixth season, may hold even more limited appeal, but it’s allowed the writing team to keep the series going in a way few would have considered possible after the chapter-closing events of the fifth season.
With the ninth season on the docket, and a tenth, perhaps final season, not unlikely, it’s clear the premise that has so occupied the Winchester Brothers and given Castiel a more prominent role isn’t going to go away and will likely close out the series. While personally I’m a little ambivalent about the whole thing, the eighth season’s ability to balance one-off hunter cases with the larger story arc keeps the series watchable. And regardless of one’s general interest in the heaven/hell, angel/demon concepts, it’s been handled with enough care and planning that it doesn’t seem to be driving anyone away. That’s quite an accomplishment for such a long running program that from the beginning seemed to have, at best, five years worth of stories to tell; regardless of one’s feelings about how its second chapter has unfolded, the show continues to work hard for its following.
Supernatural: The Complete Eighth Season includes the 23 episodes that originally aired on the CW in 2012 and 2013. The episodes are spread across four Blu-ray discs in the following arrangement:
- Disc One: Episodes 1-6
- Disc Two: Episodes 7-12
- Disc Three: Episodes 13-18
- Disc Four: Episodes 19-23
The series is accurately framed at 1.78:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec. Little about the show’s look and high definition presentation has changed over its last few releases. As before, contrast is noticeably stylized, with crushed blacks and sometimes blown out highlights, creating a stark, high contrast image that suits the dark and sometimes gruesome material. As a result, black levels are consistently deep and inky, though shadow detail is often lacking. Fine object detail is excellent, particularly in skin and hair textures, and grain structure appears intact with minimal signs of reduction. There are moments of posterizing in background areas, but they’re momentary and visible only under close scrutiny.
Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA
Dialogue in the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is consistently crisp, clear and intelligible. Support for the score in the surround channels is balanced and seamless, as are the sometimes aggressive atmospheric and directional effects. LFE is deep and robust, though - like the surround activity - somewhat measured in its application.
Audio Rating: 4.5/5
Extras include a nice mix of material, with on-disc features and alternative viewing formats.
Special Features Rating: 4/5
Finding Supernatural: Creating the Found Footage Episode (25:53, HD): Behind the scenes of the fourth episode, “ Bitten.”
- Episode 8: “Hunteri Heroici” with Writer Andrew Dabb and Producer Todd Aronauer
- Episode 12: “As Time Goes By” with Executive Producers Robert Singer, Jeremy Carver and Adam Glass
- Episode 13: “Everybody Hates Hitler” with Executive Producer/Director Phil Sgriccia and Executive Producer/Writer Ben Edlund
Angel Warrior: The Story of Castiel (19:33, HD): A look at where the character’s been and where he’s going.
Gag Reel (8:55, HD)
Unaired Scenes (HD)
- Episode 1 (1:05)
- Episode 2 (:33)
- Episode 3 (:51)
- Episode 4 (1:41)
- Episode 8 (1:22)
- Episode 11 (4:46)
- Episode 12 (5:40)
- Episode 13 (1:15)
- Episode 14 (5:40)
- Episode 19 (1:35)
- Episode 20 (1:51)
- Episode 21 (2:23)
- Episode 22 (8:55)
- Episode 23 (5:40)
Digital Copy: Options available for Mac, Windows, and portable devices. Redeem by August 31, 2015.
Warner Home Video delivers another fine high definition presentation for the eighth season of the CW’s Supernatural. The extras contain an interesting blend of material, and will be a worthwhile addition to fans’ burgeoning series collection.
Overall Rating: 4/5
Reviewed By: Cameron Yee
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