Blu-ray Review: Girls: The Complete Fourth Season

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The fifth season of HBO's popular Girls begins February 21, so the timing was perfect for the February 16 release of Girls: The Complete Fourth Season on Blu-ray. All ten season four episodes are presented on this two-disc set. The quirks and dry humor that has made Girls somewhat of a phenomenon over the past few years are still very much in evidence throughout the season. Show creator Lena Dunham continues to develop her starring role as Hannah, lacing the character with a realism that sets the tone for the entire series.

The season gets off to a typically funny/awkward/cringe-worthy start with "Iowa," which finds Hanna having a farewell dinner with boyfriend Adam (Adam Driver) and her parents before heading a writers' workshop in Iowa. Early in the season, Hannah experiences after relocating from New York to the decidedly different lifestyle in Iowa provide several season highlights (she has a prickly relationship with the other students in the program). She and Adam's relationship hits the skids, providing much of season four's drama. It's actually rather interesting revisiting Driver in this role for the first time after seeing him as Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It becomes even clearer just how terribly miscast he was in Star Wars, but how perfect he is for this series.

A late-season twist involving Hannah's parents (Becky Ann Baker and Peter Scolari) adds another layer of personal drama for Hannah. Meanwhile, the other leads' various storylines are arguably not as compelling as Hannah's. The performances by Allison Williams (as Marnie), Jemima Kirke (as Jessa), and Zosia Mamet (as Shoshanna) continue to ring true, benefiting greatly from the actress' nuances. Marnie has a priceless incident when performing folk tunes with Desi (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) at a "jazz brunch." Shoshanna's job interviewing woes yield a measurable amount of amusement, leading to some nice moments between Mamet and Jason Ritter. All told, the fourth season more or less maintains the level of quality that preceded it in the first three seasons. Some subplots feel more tangential than others; your mileage will likely vary.

HBO's Blu-ray package offers a strong high definition transfer of the ten episodes. Each episode features a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix that does exactly what it needs to: deliver crystal clear dialogue, the primary component of this show. 
Girls_S4_BLU_e (296x380).jpg Blu-ray features include: deleted and extended scenes; a pair of gag reels; the 20-minute "The Making of Girls" (which focuses on season four); Marnie's solo "Riverside" performance and Marnie & Desi's full "Breathless" performance. Found on both the Blu-ray and DVD editions: "Inside the Episodes" featurettes; episodic recaps; a season three recap; and (best of all for fans) seven audio commentaries from various participants (including Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet, and more). The Blu-ray version also comes equipped with Digital HD copies of all ten episodes.

More evidence that Girls: The Complete Fourth Season continues to deliver the kind of quality associated with earlier seasons: it received two Golden Globe nominations (Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy and Lena Dunham - Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Comedy or Musical) and an Emmy nomination (Adam Driver - Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series). Although, for the record, that's the lowest number of Emmy nominations any Girls season has received thus far. Girls season five premieres on HBO on February 21, 2016.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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