The Good

A solid show that mixes military intrigue and the law with human situations.

The Bad

Pretty paltry Extra Feature.

JAG: The Fourth Season continues the cases of Harm Rabb (David James Elliot), Mac (Catherine Bell), Admiral Chegwidden (John M. Jackson), Bud (Patrick Labyorteaux) and Harriet (Karri Turner). Focusing on crimes within the ranks of military, in this case the Navy, Season Four of this show gives us some very interesting episodes. There is "People v. Mac" in which Mac is in the hot seat after her husband is murdered. The fact that she seems to have a good motive isn't lost on anybody, but that doesn't stop Harm from taking the case and doing his best to defend his friend. I especially liked "The Black Jet" because it seemed to speak loudly to present day issues. An American jet crashes in Iran and the man who was piloting it is tried for crimes against the state. Shortly after this Harm and Mac find out that the plane is in one piece and they then must find a way to get it out of the country. Lastly, "Shakedown" has Mac and Harm on the case when it appears that somebody intentionally gutted the power in an aircraft carrier.

What I find enjoyable about JAG is that the show uses the law and other storytelling devices to bring us more into the military. Each episode tells a rich story and even though Harm and Mac are the stars of this show, that doesn't mean that it can't spend a decent amount of episodes focusing on some of the other characters. Also, there is a richness to the writing and the storytelling that really comes through here.

Features

Gag Reel

In what way do the people at Paramount who put together this DVD think that a Gag Reel qualifies as a bonus feature? I guess for the ravenous fans of the show I am sure that seeing their favorite actors mess up lines, laugh during takes and basically waste a lot of shooting time is probably highly enjoyable. At the same time, I guess I wish that the creators of these DVDs would put more time into the Extra Features. I don't mind there not being a lot of them, I just wish that what they put in these sets felt a little more special.

Video

Full Screen Format. With 24 episodes containing almost 18 hours of content (each episode plays at about 45 minutes in length), overall it seems like the compression process has done a good job on this set. With 4 episodes on each disc Paramount has given all the episodes just the right amount of breathing room. I did notice some dirt specs cropping up on the picture from time to time, but all in all things played about as good as one can expect from episodes hailing from 1998-1999.

Audio

Dolby Digital - English Stereo. The sound on this release was pretty solid. There wasn't much about it that blew me away but all in all it sounded good. What amazes me now is that I have seen so many of these shows that I know what the sound is going to be just looking at the DVD box. There's a mix of suspense music, military music and of course soft music for those tender moments. All of this works to solid effect as it underscores what is happening on screen. I also liked that there didn't seem to be too much of a difference in sound levels between the music and when the characters were talking.

Package

Harm and Mac, all decked out in their military garb with an American flag and a gavel draped in front of them, are presented on the front of this slipcase cover. The back of this cover gives us Harm, Mac and the Admiral against a black, white and aqua background. There is a succinct description of what this show is about, a Special Feature listing, and system specs. The 6 discs are stored in three, slim cases which feature separate images of the aforementioned cast. The back of these covers list out all the shows and provide descriptions as well.

Final Word

It is pretty telling that JAG ran for 10 years. That is pretty healthy run and I think it speaks to the popularity of the actors as well as the show in general. There is something comforting about being able to come in anywhere on a show like this and not feel lost or completely out of synch with what is going on. Also, these characters are imminently likable. Granted David James Elliot has all the leading man-type qualities that we expect in our actors, I think that the way they play towards (and against) their types ends up helping them. In addition to this the relationship between Mac and Harm always seems inches away from becoming a whole lot more than the flirtation that it is. Even when these characters are with other people, one can plainly see that they really only have eyes for one another. Also, providing a nice amount of comic relief is Patrick Labyorteaux as Bud. Even when this guy gets promoted it is clear that Bud will always have a little bit of a bumbling nature about him.

With 6 discs containing all of JAG: The Fourth Season, Paramount has put together a solid DVD set even if it might leave fans of the show wanting a little bit more.

JAG was released .