FOX has released "MY NAME IS EARL: SEASON 4" on blu-ray. Having not
liked the few episodes of Season One viewed by this critic during their
original airing, the release of "MY NAME IS EARL: SEASON 4" provides
reasoning to go back to that season and give it and subsequent seasons
another look. While unsure whether or not those seasons's later episodes
were either better or just as bad as the first, "SEASON 4" is a lot of fun,
and leaves the viewer saddened that the series has been cancelled.
Jason Lee stars as "Earl," a minor thief going nowhere, and surrounded by
"losers," including Jamie Pressly(still one of the most overpraised
actresses of all time), as his wife, Joy, and his brother Randy(Ethan Suplee).
Upon winning a major gambling ticket, with things beginning to look up, he's
almost immediately hit by a car, culminating with his prize ticket getting
lost in the wind. Viewing a segment on a late-night talk show about Karma,
Earl has a revelation that his bad luck is actually Karma, and the only
chance he has to turn things around, lies in acknowledging every bad deed
he's done and correcting them, often having to find victims and make ammends.
While four of the 26 episodes making up "SEASON 4" are only occasionally
funny, the rest are really funny and well written. Lee is perfect in his
role and easy to like, and Suplee provides just the right amount of energy
to make his dimwitted character funny without feeling excessively
cartoonish. It's still astonishing, however, to realize that Pressly was
even nominated for an Emmy as Joy. She's not only constantly annoying, and
arguably less than even semi-attractive, she also chews every piece of
scenery she's around. Is playing a redneck really "acting" for this wreck?
Didn't she basically play herself in her debut performance as trailer trash
in the film "RINGMASTER" with Jerry Springer?
The fact that "SEASON 4" is still able to be funny in spite of rather than
because of Pressly's presence, makes it easy to recommend.
FOX has provided the correct 1.78:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4
blu-ray. Colors are consistently vibrant without becoming oversaturated. The
show has a pleasant design to it and the level of depth achieved in this
presentation compliments it, making both the transfer and show all the more
impressive. Detail is strong, although a little soft in spots on a few
episodes. For the most part, the image is notably sharper than the original HD
airings. Contrast is excellent as well, with deep blacks, ensuring no detail is
lost to shadows.
FOX has provided a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. More immersive than one
would typically expect from a comedy series, most of the separation effects are
delegated to the front stage and center channel. Dynamic range is terrific, and
while surrounds aren't continuously active, they're effective and well balanced,
Extras include deleted scenes, spread out over four discs, a gag reel, and
a fun(over 30 minute) featurette, "EARL'S FAN MAIL," featuring cast and crew
reading and responding to fanmail. This one extra is surprisingly more
entertaining than one would expect and well worth checking out.