The Good

Good humor, good acting and great writing make this a show to check out.

The Bad

A in-depth, behind the scenes piece on Bob Crane would have been nice.

Hogan's Heroes: The Complete Fourth Season continues the exploits of Colonel Robert Hogan (Bob Crane) and the his men as prisoners of war in Stalag 13. Whether they are worried that their "housebroken" Sergeant being sent to the Russian front, or reading about themselves in an American Newspaper, or avoiding the advances of a woman who's trying to get information from the prisoners, Hogan's Heroes is a show that is layered with a certain kind of sly humor. In fact, I think that a show like this is necessary simply because World War II was such rough and rugged war. Also, Bob Crane plays Hogan like a man reluctantly seizing an opportunity, as opposed to other characters that we see in war movies and one hour TV shows on the subject.

With more King Rat than Patton, Hogan's Heroes: The Complete Fourth Season gets it's humorous points across in each and every scene.

Features

No extra features came with this four DVD set.

Video

Full Screen Format. The look of this show is really unique for a sitcom simply because it seems like a lot of effort for a half hour show. We're not talking about a show that takes place in a house or a restaurant, we're looking at essentially creating a POW camp from World War II week in and week out. I love the richness of the color images and even though a laugh track is employed, I don't think that hurts this show's solid structure and composition.

Audio

Dolby Digital - English Mono. As I mentioned above, a laugh track has been employed in this show but I don't mind those. I often watch these older shows and think how hard it must've been to not act in front of a live audience. This is one of those shows that has a very 21st attitude toward war yet it was made 41 years ago. Considering how old these shows are and how good they sound and look, I have nothing but compliments for the way these shows were compressed and put on DVD.

Package

Hogan, the Germans and the "merry saboteurs" grace this front cover which has a grayish, blue motif and some barbed wire mixed in. The back offers up some images from the various episode, and there's another picture of Hogan and his men which is obviously photoshopped. The back cover gives us some technical specs for the discs, and underneath that is a description of what this fifth season has in store. The four discs are housed in two slim cases, with various artwork from the show laid out all over it. Each episode is listed on the back of both covers, with a well written description of them as well.

Final Word

I wish I had seen this show before seeing the movie Auto Focus about Bob Crane's life. While it didn't examine Crane from the ground up, it really gives us a sense of the duality of man. Crane (Greg Kinnear) was starring in this show which lasted for six seasons, and yet the whole time he and friend John Carpenter (no, not that John Carpenter; played by Willem Dafoe in the film) were making amateur porn films and obsessively reviewing them. It was just odd for me to watch this show, see this great comic talent and then realize that when the show would wrap, he was delving into a world that at that time (heck it might even be thought of this way today) was thought of as sordid.

Still, perspective accounts for a lot of things but there's no denying Crane's talent or the solid acting of the rest of the cast and writers in Hogan's Heroes: The Complete Fourth Season.

Hogan's Heroes was released .