The fourth season of "CRIMINAL MINDS" is now available on dvd from PARAMOUNT/CBS. The first two episodes complete the arc of the cliff-hanger season finale from season 3, and set the pace for what continues to be an exciting season, featuring consistently tighter writing and more suspenseful episodes than any of the three seasons preceding this one! The series received a great boost with the addition of Joe Mantegna as agent Rossi, beginning with season 3. Of course, the supporting cast is quite good, as well, including Thomas Gibson, who continues to prove he has a wider range of acting ability than one may have expected from his years on "DHARMA AND GREG." With so many series focusing on criminal investigation units, it has to be a daunting task to come up with "fresh" storylines and unpredictable twists. Well, some twists are predictable, but it still doesn't diminish the overall quality of the show. Focusing on the most violent of crimes, the audience often bares witness to the actual crime and sits back, and occasionally on the edge of the seat, while the team of experts pieces clues together in identifying the killer. While there are similarities between "CRIMINAL MINDS" and other popular crime series, it's still distinctively different in its tone. While crimes are often disturbing in all of these series, "CRIMINAL MINDS" is less concerned with focusing in on the slick, glossy forensics,( although they're still there) than CSI: MIAMI, and focuses more on character development. While CSI:MIAMI and CSI: NEW YORK are fun, "CRIMINAL MINDS" often feels more realistic in its execution and dialogue.
SEASON 4 also offers plenty of great guests, including Luke Perry, Jason Alexander and others whose acting abilities are sure to surprise the audience. Perry totally shakes his Dylan/90210 character, and as hard as it is to believe, Alexander's performance comes close to shaking any memories of George Costanza!(not an easy feat!)
All twenty-six episodes are presented over seven dvds. While there are a few episodes that were disappointing, the great majority are excellent, and some, #4 "Paradise," #17 "DEMONOLOGY" and #20 "CONFLICTED" so incredibly composed, they're the kind of episodes certain to win over new fans of the series, if watching for the first time.
PARAMOUNT has provided the correct 1.78:1 aspect ratio for this 16:9 enhanced dvd set. Colors are rich, and detail is often excellent. Contrast is typically impressive, with deep blacks retaining decent depth in darker scenes. Artifacts are rare and while some episodes appear slightly softer than others, "CRIMINAL MINDS: SEASON 4" is an impressive looking release.
PARAMOUNT has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Ambient and bass effects are used with great impact. Although it's not an aggressive mix, being dialogue-focused, with most direction towards the front, music and effects are well balanced, making this one of the more entertaining "tv to dvd" mixes available.
PARAMOUNT has included some extras, including deleted scenes for four episodes, mini-documentaries, typically about 5 minutes in length, profiles of major characters and a gag reel.