Cable stations, both premium and basic, have for some time now been home to many of television’s most exceptional and addictive television shows. Programs such as Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men, Homeland, Game of Thrones, True Blood, and others have featured high production values, outstanding writing, and considerable star power. Another equally fine show is Justified, which will begin its fifth season on the FX channel in January. The complete fourth season of Justified is now available on a sparking Blu-ray set from Sony.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 9 Hr. 18 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, UltraVioletStandard Blu-ray Flipper Case with Slipcase
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 12/17/2013
For the uninitiated, Justified follows the adventures of U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), a character created by novelist Elmore Leonard in his short story “Fire in the Hole.” Givens is something of a throwback who had been assigned to Miami, Florida but found himself shipped off to his home territory of Harlan County, Kentucky after engaging in some overly zealous practices. During the first season he dealt with white supremacists, escaped prisoners, kidnappers, the mob, and local career criminal Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins). Season Two introduced another formidable arch-enemy, Dickie Bennett (Jeremy Davies in an Emmy-winning role), as Marshal Givens negotiated his way through a world populated by drug cartels and corrupt politicians. Season Two also featured an Emmy-winning performance by Margo Martindale as Mags Bennett, the matriarch of a family of hillbilly pot growers. When Season Three began Harlan County was no longer under the control of the Bennett family, but Boyd Crowder resurfaced and Marshal Givens struggled against the criminal elements which threatened to overrun the county. Season Three also introduced Ellstin Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson), a mob enforcer from Detroit who was born in Noble's Holler, Kentucky. Raylan also found himself in serious conflict with his own father, Arlo Givens (Raymond J. Barry).
The Production Rating: 4.5/5
Season Four takes a mysterious turn when Raylan finds a Panamanian diplomatic pouch hidden in the wall of his father’s house. Inside the pouch is the driver’s license of a man named Waldo Truth, who disappeared thirty years ago. In fact, Waldo has been dead since 1983, when his lifeless body was put in a parachute and was pushed out of a plane over Harlan, with the diplomatic pouch and several bags of cocaine attached. Waldo had been living on disability checks, and a man named Harold Shawn (Dave Florek) agreed to pretend to be Waldo in order to keep the checks coming. For thirty years it had been believed that the dead man was the pilot of the plane, Drew Thompson. Arlo’s involvement in this then leads to another murder. In the meantime, Boyd Crowder stops at nothing in his efforts to maintain control of Harlan County. Boyd’s criminal empire has been threatened by the arrival of a popular preacher, Billy St. Cyr (Joseph Mazzello).
Justified is an original, exciting and highly compelling series, and fans of the show will be thrilled to own this excellent Blu-ray set from Sony.
This 1.78:1 1080p presentation is another typically excellent Blu-ray transfer from Sony which utilizes the AVC codec. The outstanding cinematography which was representative of the first three seasons is replicated here. The images are consistently sharp and detailed, with accurate colors, excellent black levels and good shadow detail. The framing appears to be accurate and there are no annoying digital artifacts.
Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA
The 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio is excellent. Dialogue is clear and understandable, and the surround channels are effectively used and really come to life during the more violent action scenes. The music soundtrack by composer Steve Porcaro (he has scored most of all four seasons) is given a pleasing soundstage. English, English SDH and French subtitles can be activated for those who need them.
Audio Rating: 4.5/5
Ten of the thirteen episodes include cast and crew commentaries.
Special Features Rating: 4/5
There also are two new Blu-Ray exclusive featurettes:
"Becoming Boyd” is a close look at the development of the Boyd Crowder character.
“Script to Screen: The Finale” demonstrates how the season finale was transformed from the written word to the final product.
The rest of the special features are available on both the Blu-ray set and the DVD set. They are:
“Deadly Serious: Constable Bob” is an inside look at a new Season Four character, Constable Bob Sweeney (Patton Oswalt).
“Anatomy of an Episode” combines interviews with the cast, crew and writers, as well as in-scene audio commentary, and behind-the-scenes picture-in-picture footage.
“The Veteran’s Experience” takes a look at how Justified has highlighted characters who are U.S. war veterans, such as Arlo Givens, Boyd Crowder, and Boyd’s new sidekick, Colt Rhodes (Ron Eldard).
Also included is a high-definition UltraViolet code.
Justified is a terrific modern western which has been given first-rate Blu-ray treatment by Sony. Fans of the series will definitely want to add Season Four to their collections. Interested readers who have not seen the show would do well to go back and begin your viewing with Season One.
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Equipment used for this review:
Panasonic DMP-BD50 Blu-ray player
Panasonic Viera TC-P46G15 Plasma display, calibrated to THX specifications by Gregg Loewen
Yamaha HTR-5890 THX Surround Receiver
BIC Acoustech speakers
Interconnects: Monster Cable
Reviewed By: Richard Gallagher
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