Blu-ray: Worth A Look
3.5 Stars out of 5
Sale Price 18.12
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Release Date: September 4th, 2007
Movie Release Year: 2006
Release Country: United States
COLLAPSE INFO -

Nip/Tuck: The Complete Fourth Season

Review Date September 6th, 2007 by
Overview - Sean McNamara and Christian Troy are two plastic surgeons running a partnership in Miami, Florida with different issues to life. Sean is a wishy-washy, weak-kneed, family man who distances himself with work to avoid his dysfunctional home life which includes his needy and spiteful wife Julia, his rebellious teenage son Matt and young daughter Annie. The more slicker Christian is an arrogant, narcissistic, unethical, ladies man who worships wine, women, and the all mighty dollar, and will do just about anything to get what he wants (lie, cheat, steal, blackmail and seduce)and has no qualms about practically anything.
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  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs: Blu-ray
    BD-50 Dual-Layer Discs
    Four-Disc Set
    Video Resolution/Codec: 1080p/VC-1
    Length:714
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):1.78:1
    English Descriptive Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (640kbps)
    English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (192kbps)
    Subtitles/Captions: English Subtitles
    French Subtitles
    Spanish Subtitles
    Special Features: Featurettes
    Deleted Scenes
    Gag Reel
    Movie Studio: Warner Home Video
    Release Date: September 4th, 2007

Story Review Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

3.5 Stars out of 5

At first glance, "Nip/Tuck" may seem like just another entry among a series of well-budgeted, edgy dramas to hit cable following the extraordinary success of "The Sopranos." Indeed, this FX original drama certainly seems to follow HBO's proven formula to success. Sex? Check. Violence? Check. Outlandish situations intertwined with sex and violence? Check and check. But looking beyond these mere window dressings, "Nip/Tuck" deftly deals with love, loss, regret, indiscretion, betrayal, and a wealth of other emotions and behaviors to subtly illuminate the darkness lurking in the base impulses of humanity.

Even among FX's other highly acclaimed original programs like "The Shield" and "Rescue Me," "Nip/Tuck" has stood surprisingly strong, breaking away from convention with intriguing pacing, impressive scripts, and unique plotlines. Over its first three seasons, the series garnered a mass following, critical praise, and a horde of high-profile guest stars.

The fourth season of "Nip/Tuck" continues in this tradition, but as a long-time fan of the show, I have to admit that I found myself wondering at the outset whether this fourth outing could possibly pack the same punch and relevance as the three seasons that preceded it.

The series itself tells the tale of two successful plastic surgeons in Miami -- an ethical family-man named Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh) and a self-obsessed playboy named Christian Troy (Julian McMahon). While on the surface their lives may seem perfect, the reality, of course, is quite different. Sean's marriage to his wife Julia (Joely Richardson) is strained, his relationship with his son Matt (John Hensley) is continually falling apart, and his struggles with his own morality keep him in constant turmoil. Likewise, Christian is slowly discovering that he's losing a battle with age and a seedy past that can't stay hidden forever. The first three seasons put both surgeons through the ringer -- a messy divorce, doomed relationships, a serial killer, disputes with a drug lord named Escobar Gallardo (Robert LaSardo), and innumerable women with grudges to bear.

The fourth season of "Nip/Tuck" focuses on Sean and Christian's attempts to restore order to their shambled lives. Sean is reunited with Julia after she has their third child, but finds their relationship more problematic than ever. Their newest son has a disabling deformity and their new nanny (the magnificent Peter Dinklage) convinces Julia that surgery is an injustice to the baby. As Sean's once meticulous life continues to unravel, Christian attempts to settle down and find happiness in the boundaries inherent to having a wife and child. He finally gets custody of his toddler son, finds the hope of new love in the enigmatic Michelle Landau (Sanaa Lathan), and searches his past to try identify his fatal flaws.

Despite my initial fears, I'm happy to report that Walsh and McMahon are as magnetic as ever in this fourth season of 'Nip/Tuck.' Not only do they both exhibit an extraordinary command of the screen, but the genuine heart each actor folds into their individual characters makes the show believable even in the most unlikely of circumstances. Likewise, the show is equally bolstered by a series strong supporting performanves from the likes of Jacqueline Bisset, Peter Dinklage, Larry Hagman, and Rosie O'Donnell.

Having said that, unlike previous seasons, this season's writing doesn't hold up nearly as well. While I appreciated the show's startling change of direction and the nuances of its character exploration, I often struggled to understand the point of countless subplots, and seemingly illogical character decisions. It didn't help that the timeline of the episodes seemed to spike and lull at random -- there were moments when I actually checked to see if I'd accidentally skipped an episode.

Indeed, for every solid plotline (the Sean/nanny/Julia triangle and the resurgence of Escobar Gallardo), there is a weaker story arc that stretches on far too long. Michelle Landau is overly hapless as a victim of circumstance, the scientology subplot is overbearing, and the characters of Matthew and Liz have become disappointing filler.

With so many potential potholes, it's saying something that overall I still felt the show kept it together. In fact, the only episode that fell completely flat on its face for me was "Conor McNamara 2026," a flash-forward episode that comically examines the future lives of the characters. If taken literally, it single-handedly deflates the tension of the show. If taken as a dream or an alternate reality, it's just a waste of time.

In the end, while I had my share of issues with this season of "Nip/Tuck," overall the good definitely overwhelmed the bad, and like most fans I'm eagerly awaiting Season Five. This one's certainly recommended for fans of the show, but with many subplots and developments that rely on previous knowledge, newcomers to the series are advised to start from the beginning (even if that means settling for standard-def).

This 4-disc set includes all fifteen episodes (714 minutes) from the fourth season, each one named after the episode's central patient -- "Cindy Plumb," "Blu Mondae," "Monica Wilder," "Shari Noble," "Dawn Budge," "Faith Wolper," "Burt Landau," "Conor McNamara," "Liz Cruz," "Merrill Bobolit," "Conor McNamara 2026," "Diana Lubey," "Reefer," "Willy Ward," and "Gala Gallardo."

  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    Blu-ray
    BD-50 Dual-Layer Discs
    Four-Disc Set
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    1080p/VC-1
    Length:714
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    1.78:1
    Audio Formats:
    English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (640kbps)
    English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (192kbps)
    Subtitles/Captions:
    English Subtitles
    French Subtitles
    Spanish Subtitles
    Special Features:
    Featurettes
    Deleted Scenes
    Gag Reel
    Movie Studio: Warner Home Video
    Release Date: September 4th, 2007

Video Review

4 Stars out of 5

Presented in 1080p using the VC-1 codec, this Blu-ray version of 'Nip/Tuck: The Complete Fourth Season' looks substantially better than its standard def counterpart. The show has a rich palette bolstered by vibrant colors (especially reds and blues), thick blacks, and a convincing illusion of image depth. The warm tone of the hues is lush and stable in high definition -- fleshtones are natural, primaries are bold, and steel instruments are crisp.

Crisp fine detail holds up to close examination and brings every element of the intricate Miami set pieces to life. Textures are sharp, hair and stubble is clean, and there aren't any bouts of murkiness to dampen the quality of the image. The cinematography matches the mood of the plots (with some episodes oppressingly bleak), but contrast remains stark and realistic throughout, without hot whites or crushed darkness. To be sure, the picture isn't always as three-dimensional as the transfers for other television shows released on high-def, but it feels more authentic and stacks up quite well even when compared to feature film releases.

For a quick glimpse of the heights of this transfer, jump to any scene in the surgery center -- the visual strength is instantly evident in the well-delineated shadows, the blood on the white sheets and blue scrubs, and the textures on the scalpels and stitches. The resulting presentation has a quality that's arguably more comparable to a film like 'The Lookout' than an episode of 'Desperate Housewives.'

Alas, all is not perfect here. Like most in its TV-on-HD brethren, this transfer suffers from a series of relatively minor issues that ultimately add up, including infrequent bouts of video noise, some light artifacting, and a handful of softer shots scattered amongst the episodes. While these problems aren't nearly as prevalent on 'Nip/Tuck: The Compete Fourth Season' as they are on the recent HD DVD release of 'Heroes: Season One,' they still appear too often for this disc to earn a higher score.

(Note that in a direct compare, I found the transfers on the Blu-ray and HD DVD versions of this release are identical.)

Audio Review

3.5 Stars out of 5

'Nip/Tuck: The Complete Fourth Season' features a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix (640 kbps) that's technically inferior to its HD DVD counterpart (which includes a 1.5 Mbps Dolby Digital-Plus track), but the disparity isn't noticeable enough to warrant a different score. While the HD DVD soundfield does sound a tad fuller in a direct compare, the dialogue in this conversation-centric show sounds equally crisp and well-defined on each mix, and fans on both sides of the aisle are likely to be pleased with the results.

"Nip/Tuck" is a quieter show that pushes the channels with its music rather than any boisterous soundscape elements. Dialogue is perfectly prioritized, environmental acoustics are eerily real, and ambiance reveals a careful hand behind the show's sound design. Channel movement is breezy and accuracy is dead on -- in fact, I had a hard time finding much to complain about from a technical perspective.

Still, even though the soundscape doesn't necessarily stumble, it also doesn't have an awful lot to work with. Some of the more nuanced moments in 'Nip/Tuck: The Complete Fourth Season' may sound impressive to audiophiles, but casual listeners will barely take notice. There are a few nice subwoofer highlights that showcase the LFE channel (a car accident, gunshots, and the crunching jaws of an alligator to name a few), but the remainder of the episodes have a subtle presence that lacks raw power.

Special Features

1 Stars out of 5

'Nip/Tuck: The Complete Fourth Season' includes all the same supplemental materials as its standard DVD counterpart -- the only difference on this Blu-ray release is that the deleted scenes are presented in high definition (1080i). All of the other bonus features appear in 480i/p only.

A nice collection of "Deleted Scenes" (15 minutes) are spread across each of the discs (matched to their corresponding episodes) and add quite a bit to the proceedings. Many of the excised beats are quite strong as they expound on character conflicts and motivations, and I can only guess that they were cut for time.

"Clever Casting: The Season's Guest Stars" (13 minutes) is an all-too-short featurette that highlights the various guest stars who appear during the show's fourth season. Among the stars profiled are Peter Dinklage, Larry Hagman, Brooke Shields, Alanis Morissette, Rosie O'Donnell, Catherine Deneuve, Mario Lopez, and Jacqueline Bisset. The only knock on this fun extra is that it focuses a bit too much time on the casting directors rather than the guest stars themselves.

"Sizzle: The Sexuality of Nip/Tuck" (9 minutes) is a carefully honed exploration of the difference between cutting edge and gratuitous content, featuring interviews with show's cast, crew and several real-life sex therapists. Although I found the off-kilter tone of this one particularly intriguing, again it's a bit too short to make a real impact.

The subtitle for "The Cutting Edge" (6 minutes) bluntly sums up the gist of this featurette -- "How Real-Life Dramas Are Incorporated into the Show." Although I'd previously thought that many of the more unusual surgical procedures on the show were fictional, this stomaching-turning featurette set me straight with its quick exploration of the real-life techniques that people pay to have performed on their bodies, and how the show's special effects and prosthetics are used to replicate them.

Finally, a plodding and wholly forgettable "Gag Reel" (2 minutes) was the only feature I found myself wishing was shorter. In short, the gag was clearly on me, as I didn't laugh once.

Final Thoughts

Although I had mixed feelings about the content of 'Nip Tuck's fourth season, as a long-time fan of the show, ultimately I felt that the good overwhelmed the bad. As a Blu-ray release, this one offers a clear upgrade over the standard def edition, matching the DVD's slim set of supplements bulletpoint-for-bulletpoint, along with a great video transfer and an above-average audio track.

Sale Price 18.12
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3rd Party 13.99
In Stock.
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  • Editors Note

    Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of Dunkirk on Blu-ray. This post features unique Vital Disc Stats, Video, and Final Thoughts sections.

  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    Blu-ray
    BD-50 Dual-Layer Discs
    Four-Disc Set
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    1080p/VC-1
    Length:714
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    1.78:1
    Audio Formats:
    English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (640kbps)
    English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (192kbps)
    Subtitles/Captions:
    English Subtitles
    French Subtitles
    Spanish Subtitles
    Special Features:
    Featurettes
    Deleted Scenes
    Gag Reel
    Movie Studio: Warner Home Video
    Release Date: September 4th, 2007