This week sees the release from Warner Home Video of the Timothy Dalton-enhanced Chuck: The Complete Fourth Season on DVD and Blu-ray. The penultimate season of the NBC spy comedy was reinvigorated with a very effective injection of Dalton. (Every flagging series could use that pick-me-up in its fourth season!) The former James Bond star was a delight to watch in all six episodes he guest-starred in, but his presence as season-long villain Alexei Volkoff was felt even in those he didn't. It was a great role for him, and he clearly relished it; the multi-faceted, tailor-made part afforded him the opportunities to play villainous and heroic, comedic and psychotic, to be by turns both quietly subtle (like his Bond) and scenery-chewingly over-the-top (like his Doctor Who role or his scene-stealing turn in Hot Fuzz). Overall, the season is well worth watching for Dalton fans, even if they've never seen Chuck before. And it's well worth watching for Chuck fans, too! I suppose that goes without saying, but I thought this year marked a real improvement over the previous season. Besides taking on Timothy Dalton, Chuck reunites with his possibly villainous/possibly good/definitely estranged mother (played by Linda Hamilton), proposes to his longtime love and spy handler, Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski), and loses and regains the powers of the Intersect a couple of times. And Casey (Adam Baldwin) is Casey, which is always worth watching.
Chuck: The Complete Fourth Season includes all twenty-four Season 4 episodes as well as the usual plethora of bonus features Chuck fans have become accustomed to. Extras on the DVD will include deleted scenes (sorry, "declassified scenes"), a gag reel, the featurettes "Chuck Versus Directing: Zachary Levi Takes Charge on 'Chuck Versus the Leftovers'" and "Operation Gomez: Spying on the Cast: Joshua Gomez Shows Off His Newfound Spy Skills," and "Chuck Versus the Webisodes: The Chronicles of Jeff and Lester's Quest for an Elusive Video Game." The Blu-ray will include all that as well as the exclusive "Top Secret Chuckapedia Interactive Experience," whatever that is. Retail for the Blu-ray is set at $69.97; the DVD is $59.98. (Of course, both are available for far less on Amazon.)