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Oz: Season 4

4.6 out of 5 stars 885 customer reviews

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(Apr 17, 2007)
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Product Description

Oz: The Complete Fourth Season (DVD)

(HBO Dramatic Series) The Millennium ended with a bang at Oswald State Correctional Facility, Level Four--aka, Emerald City--as racial tensions reached an all-time high. Now, following a two-week lockdown and the appointment of a new Unit Manager, things are definitely changing, but not necessarily for the better. Prison officials are looking for ways to end the hostilities and return Emerald City to normal...but when was Em City ever normal? And if anyone thinks the worst is over for Oz, they're wrong--dead wrong.


The heightened reality of Oz remains consistently engrossing in the fourth season of HBO's volatile prison drama. All 16 episodes were written or cowritten by series creator Tom Fontana, and are bookended by the wisely sardonic observations of paraplegic prisoner Augustus Hill (Harold Perrineau), whose terse, philosophical ruminations about life in "Oz" give the series its literate edge. The 2000-2001 season finds Oz in the wake of racial warfare; tensions remain high among the factions that make the "Em City" cell block a hotbed of seething animosity among the skinhead Aryans led by Shillinger (J.K. Simmons); Muslim splinter groups led by Kareem Said (Eamonn Walker), the fearsome Adebisi (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and Supreme Allah (Lord Jamar); and the resident Mafia, Latinos, and lowlifes who make up Em City's embroiled population of newcomers, hard-timers, and death-row inmates. Unit Administrator McManus (Terry Kinney) sets up a centrally located penalty cage for anyone who causes outbreaks of violence (which are shockingly frequent and frequently lethal), but loses his job in a mid-season plot development that spins Oz into a maelstrom of internal politics and brutal retaliation.

Through it all, Fontana and his collaborators (including guest director Steve Buscemi) maintain impressive focus on dozens of finely drawn characters. Laced with homosexual tension, jealousies, religious fervor, and threats of betrayal, the season's most compelling conflicts involve impulsive killer Ryan O'Reily (played with cagey menace by Dean Winters) and his brain-damaged half-brother Cyril (Scott William Winters); and the manipulative Keller (Christopher Meloni) and his prison lover Toby Beecher (Lee Tergesen), a lawyer and convicted murderer whose survival seems perpetually uncertain. Tenuous order is barely maintained by warden Glynn (Ernie Hudson) and Catholic counselor "Sister Pete" (Rita Moreno), but the bulk of Oz's fourth season is devoted to chaos, as shifting loyalties keep all prisoners (and all viewers) in a state of anxious anticipation. The criminal histories of many inmates are shown in flashback, and one death-row scenario (involving guest star Kathryn Erbe) reaches its inevitable conclusion. By the time episode 16 ends with a blazing inferno, you'll be wondering about the fate of Rev. Cloutier (Luke Perry) and anxious for the tumultuous events of season 5. (Commentary accompanies two episodes: Fontana and Moreno offer informative anecdotes on "You Bet Your Life," but the Fontana/Winters/Tergesen commentary on "Famous Last Words" is raucously undisciplined and for hardcore Oz fans only.)--Jeff Shannon

Special Features

Audio Commentary: Audio commentary by creator Tom Fontana, Rita Moreno, Dean Winters and Lee Tergeson Deleted Scenes: 30 minutes of deleted scenes Audio Commentary: Audio commentary by creator Tom Fontana, Rita Moreno, Dean Winters and Lee Tergeson Deleted Scenes: 30 minutes of deleted scenes

Product Details

  • Actors: Kirk Acevedo, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Ernie Hudson, Terry Kinney, Rita Moreno
  • Producers: Barry Levinson, Tom Fontana, Jim Finnerty
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: April 17, 2007
  • Run Time: 960 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (885 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00031TYBC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,178 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Oz: Season 4" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This, above all other seasons of Oz, has been on my want list for some time. Finally it will be here. I am a HUGE fan of actor Brian Bloom and Christopher Meloni. And to see them together in the series makes me happier than you can believe. The Keller/Beecher storyline is admittedly my favorite, and it is in season four that so much happens in that development. And who else is there to bring about more drama into their lives? Why none other than blue eyed Brian Bloom, that's who. Though the other storylines running are very interesting also, I'd recommend this DVD set to anyone just on the Keller/Beecher/Barlog storyline alone. It has a lot of meat and heart attatched to it. Please don't miss out on this fantastic DVD!
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Format: DVD
As the fourth season of HBO's prison drama Oz, created by Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson, opens, it is clear that the yellow brick road to this prison isn't paved with bricks, but with blood. This is the season where things explode rather quickly, including the love saga between Tobias Beecher (Lee Tergesen) and Chris Keller (Christopher Meloni) when a new inmate (Brian Bloom) enters the scene and causes some havoc. Ryan O'Reilly (Dean Winters) wants revenge on a TV newsman whom he met years before, even if it means using his brother Cyril (Scott William Winters) to do it. Miguel Alvarez (Kirk Acevedo) remains in solitary, wanting freedom more than ever before, while come mid-season, the explosive confrontation between Kareem Said (Eamon Walker) and Simon Adebisi (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) will leave your mouth hanging open, and Said has even more problems with white supremicist leader Schillinger (J.K. Simmons) wanting him dead, no matter the cost. The second half of the season, we are introduced to a televangelist (Luke Perry) with an agenda of his own, and an impact will be left that will shape the series until it's end. Warden Leo Glynn (Ernie Hudson) and Tim McManus (Terry Kinney) have their hands full throughout the season, but the superb cast (which also includes B.D. Wong, Rita Moreno, and Biohazard singer Evan Seinfeld among others) does terrific work, and the love triangle between Tergesen, Meloni, and Bloom's characters is surprisingly heart wrenching. Thankfully, HBO released all 16 episodes of the fourth season of Oz on one set, unlike what they've done with the Sex in the City seasons; splitting them up to get more money. All in all, Oz was one of the most underrated shows on HBO (most of the praise went to Sex in the City, the Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, etc.), and, just as this season proves, it was one of the best.
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Format: DVD
Coming off the nearly unmitigated brilliance of its third season, season four of Oz sees the show facing the tall order of maintaining the high standards of writing and acting that had characterized much of its history, and more often than not it's a success. This season is certainly not without its problems, some of them more damaging than others, but the show's visceral and emotional intensity is still very much in evidence, and even a flawed season of Oz is better than just about anything else. Season four picks up almost immediately after the conclusion of season three, with racial animosity in Oswald State Penitentiary at an all-time high, the psychotic Adebisi in possession of a gun and waiting for an opportunity to maximize its destructive potential, Beecher and Keller continuing their tumultuous gay love affair while Nazi leader Schillinger nurses a grudge against both, and Officer Whittlesy suddenly nowhere to be found (a circumstance certainly owing nothing whatsoever to Edie Falco's newfound success on The Sopranos). Naturally, it's not long before a dramatic catastrophe shakes up the already precarious situation in Emerald City and brings about a new level of disorder accompanied by a wild surfeit of plotlines and a level of bloodletting that's excessive even by Oz's lofty standards.

All the killing actually becomes a problem for the show as this season progresses--the constant murders begin to feel increasingly gratuitous after a while, to say nothing of the rather odd fact that nobody seems to have much interest in solving them.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Season 4 of "Oz" maintains the consistently high quality of writing and acting that have made this prison drama so powerful. Oswald State Correctional Facility, which is the prison of the series, can be seen as a microcosm for all of American society. The characters represent many different ethnic, racial, and religious groups; there are men and women; characters who are disabled; characters of different sexual orientations and of different generational groups. The diverse ensemble cast is surely one of the most exciting ever assembled for a TV series. Season 4 continues to follow many of the characters, relationships, and storylines from previous seasons, while successfully adding some compelling new ones into the mix. One of the most powerful plot lines involves an undercover police officer's masquerade as an inmate. Also noteworthy is Luke Perry's role as a disgraced televangelist who becomes an inmate. The regular characters from earlier seasons continue to grow and change--just when you think you have somebody figured out, he/she might surprise you. And fans who are fascinated by the fireworks between white supremacist Schillinger and his enemy Beecher will not be disappointed by the twists that their relationship takes in this season.

Oz's equilibrium is shaken in this season when a key authority figure is removed from his position; this plot element is used to generate some powerful new character development and plot elements. The overall story of season 4 has a powerful mythic quality--it's about corruption, rebellion, the building and severing of alliances, and the use and abuse of power. "Oz" attains an epic feel not unlike the "Star Wars" saga; it also has qualities like those of ancient Greek or Shakespearian tragedies.
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