DirectorTrey Parker, Matt Stone
Release Date(s)2000 (December 5, 2017)
Studio(s)Comedy Central/South Park Studios (Paramount)
- Film/Program Grade: B
- Video Grade: B+
- Audio Grade: B+
- Extras Grade: B-
To be fair, The Complete Fourth Season isn’t one of South Park’s strongest, but it does feature some good episodes. The season brings the character of Timmy into the forefront in Timmy 2000 and Helen Keller! The Musical, as well as Token in Cartmen’s Silly Hate Crime 2000. Mr. Garrison finally comes out of the closet in Fourth Grade (a full five seasons before Tom Cruise refuses to in a later series episode). Other highlights include Fat Camp, Trapper Keeper, and another Mr. Hanky episode in A Very Crappy Christmas. The Boys also decide to join the boy band craze in Something You Can Do with Your Finger, which features one of the series’ many memorable earworm songs.
When these fourth season episodes were originally produced, they were animated by computer but rendered and finished in SD and 1.33:1. That’s how they were first seen on Comedy Central and how they appeared on DVD as well. So over the past several years, the production team at South Park Studios has gone back and re-animated them in full HD. New details have been added here and there, and minor errors in the original animation have been corrected as well. The result is finally being released on Blu-ray thanks to Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment.
The Complete Fourth Season includes all 17 episodes on 2 Blu-rays. Each episode is presented here in 1080p at the new 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio. As such, the video quality is outstanding, with nice detail, bold coloring, and dark blacks. The simulated construction paper texturing has even been carefully preserved. Obviously, the very nature of the way South Park is animated means that this isn’t exactly HD eye candy. But these episodes have never looked better, so the video grade reflects that.
From an audio standpoint, all of these episodes include the original English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo mixes from the 2004 DVD release, as well as new 5.1 Dolby TrueHD mixes. The surround staging is subtle, more atmospheric than anything else, but it’s lossless so the clarity is excellent. Note that these episodes also have uncensored audio. Optional English subtitles are available for those who need them.
As for bonus features, the new Blu-ray release carries over the original Creator Commentaries for each episode, featuring Parker and Stone, that were found on the 2004 DVD release. That’s it, but that’s fine as well because there were no other extras created for this season on disc.
It’s great to finally have the chance to buy these early seasons of South Park on Blu-ray Disc. Though they’re probably for diehard fans only, these sets are definitely worth having. They currently sell for about $30 each on Amazon and will likely be discounted further in time. South Park shows no signs of ending anytime soon, though, so if you’re waiting for a Complete Series release, you’ll likely have a very long wait. Our advice is to buy these individual season sets as you’re able to, but look for great sale price.
- Bill Hunt