“Once Upon a Time”: The Complete Fourth Season is another successful year for the residents of Storybrooke. The plotlines are interesting and the introductions to new characters, and return of others, make it feel fresh. Even as someone who doesn’t follow Disney very much and haven’t kept up with the series, I enjoyed this season.
“Once Upon a Time”: The Complete Fourth Season
Genre(s): Drama, Fantasy
Buena Vista | NR – 989 min. – $79.99 | August 18, 2015
THE MOVIE – 4.0/5
“Once Upon a Time” is pulling out all the stops and like everything else Disney, getting in on the Frozen bandwagon introducing us to live action versions of Elsa (GEORGINA HAIG) as she has arrived in Storybrooke to find her sister, Anna (ELIZABETH LAIL), who set off on a secret mission to find their parents who were lost at sea. Elsa causes major havoc on the town creating a snow monster and even blocking all exits from Storybrooke though thanks to the mysterious Snow Queen (ELIZABETH MITCHELL), is unable to unfreeze it leaving the inhabitants once again stuck in town.
But like any good primetime soap opera, there are other continuing storylines going on. Regina (LANA PARRILLA) finds it going good isn’t so easy with painful reminders of her Evil Queen past coming back to haunt her, add to that she cannot be with her true love, Robin Hood (SEAN MAGUIRE), thanks in part to Emma Swan (JENNIFER MORRISON). This leads Regina to turn back to the dark side utilizing the Magic Mirror (GIANCARLO ESPOSITO) with plans to give the villains a happily ever after…
For her part, Emma’s budding relationship with Captain Hook (COLIN O’DONOGHUE) is moving far slower than he likes while Emma mother, Mary Blanchard (GINNIFER GOODWIN) takes on more responsibilities taking on duties as the Storybrooke mayor, at the same time nursing a newborn son with husband David (JOSH DALLAS).
What I’ve enjoyed about this series is it appeals to both the Disney and non-Disney-ites alike (I’m in the latter category) and through four seasons manages to keep the stories and characters compelling and not stale. The inclusion of the Frozen characters was a no-brainer for them as it’s been Disney’s cash cow for the past few years now and it adds a new dimension to the series with Elsa and a new villain with the Snow Queen amusingly a character running an ice cream shop (named Any Given Sundae for fans of puns). Georgina Haig brings certain innocence to the role and is a good addition with the other citizens of Storybrooke. Other classic characters make appearances from Pinocchio, Maleficent to Cruella De Vil in further expansion of the “OUaT” universe.
“Once Upon a Time” is just an all around fun and gripping show and this fourth season continues its success though ratings wise I have to wonder how much longer it’ll go on, though writers will once again delve into the Disney bag with the inclusion of Merida of Brave. As what amounts to a primetime soap opera with ever changing alliances – with Robert Carlyle’s Mr. Gold being ever the wild card – and romances, it’s a show that one can fairly easily jump into even for those who don’t watch religiously.
Episodes (favorites in asterisks):
- A Tale of Two Sisters*
- White Out
- Rocky Road
- The Apprentice
- Breaking Glass
- Family Business
- The Snow Queen*
- Smash the Mirror: Part 1
- Smash the Mirror: Part 2
- Shattered Sight
- Heroes and Villains*
- Darkness on the Edge of Town
- Enter the Dragon
- Poor Unfortunate Soul*
- Best Laid Plans
- Heart of Gold
- Sympathy for De Vil*
- Operation Mongoose: Part 1*
- Operation Mongoose: Part 2*
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.5/5
This 5-disc set comes housed in an HD Keep Case and a textured slip cover. Unlike previous seasons, this one is not lenticular…
– ‘A Tale of Two Sisters’ with Co-Creators/Executive Producers Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz & Actor Jennifer Morrison
– ‘Family Business’ with Writers Kalinda Vazquez & Andrew Chambliss
– ‘Poor Unfortunate Soul’ with Director/Executive Producer Steve Pearlman and Actor Colin O’Donoghue
– ‘Sympathy for The De Vil’ with Executive Producer David H. Goodman and Co-Producer Jerome Schwartz
– ‘Mother’ with Writer Jane Espenson and Actor Lana Parrilla
Defrosting Frozen (9:46; HD) looks at bringing the characters from the popular animated movie into the world of “OUaT” with some behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the cast and crew.
Behind the Magic Tour (9:58; HD) – Ginnifer Goodwin gives a tour of the backstage for the show. This appears to be something that originally aired on ABC or online.
Three Who Stayed (5:23; HD) is a mock featurette where the “characters” (one played by Patton Oswalt) discuss those who stayed behind when the ice wall came down.
The Fairest Bloopers of Them All (4:56; HD) has the cast flubbing lines, on-set antics or non-cooperation with stage items.
Deleted Scenes (26:00; HD) – There are an impressive 16 scenes removed or cut down likely due to time constraints.
VIDEO – 4.25/5
Buena Vista unleashes “Once Upon a Time” season four onto Blu-ray presented in its original televised 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. Not surprisingly, and in keeping with the previous season Blu-ray releases, the show looks great with sharp detail levels and nice and bright colors throughout giving it a pop off the small screen. There were no apparent flaws like aliasing, pixilation or banding.
AUDIO – 4.5/5
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track offers crisp and clear dialogue while giving some nice depth in each episode whenever the action picks up. Those action sequences make the most of the front and rear channels while the center picks up the main action or dialogue. It’s not an entirely vigorous track but with the LFE channel coming to life from time to time, it does have decent enough depth compared with how it original aired (standard Dolby Digital 5.1 audio).
OVERALL – 4.0/5
Overall, “Once Upon a Time”: The Complete Fourth Season is another successful year for the residents of Storybrooke. The plotlines are interesting and the introductions to new characters, and return of others, make it feel fresh. Even as someone who doesn’t follow Disney very much and haven’t kept up with the series, I enjoyed this season. This Blu-ray release comes with an OK selection of features while the video/audio transfers are both great.
Brian Oliver aka The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.