Robot Chicken: Season Four

Robot Chicken: Season Four
The nasty little hatchling Seth Green and Matthew Senreich squatted out four years ago has grown up enough to spread its poultry-cyborg wings ever so slightly. Season three, while still often hilarious, was starting to wear the show's particular brand of irreverent shock tactics a bit thin. Running a series built upon ADD sketches, lasting anywhere from five seconds to a couple minutes, can make it a little too easy to rely on violence when the idea jar is coming up crumbs. Thankfully, the writers, under the consistent direction of Chris McKay, have started to find the legs this dirty bird will need in order to last. After beginning the season with hysterical geek-gasmic appearances by Joss Whedon and Battlestar Galatica's Ronald D. Moore, the series shows rejuvenated satirical brains behind its teeth with a blatant jab at censorship and language in a cheeky song about homonyms. All of the usual travesties against childhood toys and cartoons of the '80s are committed, with emphasis on timely properties like G.I. Joe and Transformers. Sketches with The Smurfs and Star Wars continue to play well, but just wait until you've seen Daniel Day Lewis as "The Humping Robot" or Miley Cyrus's carcass subjected to the Weekend At Bernie's treatment. Some fresh blood in the writing room ― comic superstar Geoff Johns (of Green Lantern fame) ― turns in one of the best Masters of the Universe roasts yet with a party-crazed He-Man clone. Both discs are loaded with extra features. Two "Comic Con" panels, an Australian press tour and intros to a wealth of deleted scenes and "Deleted Animatics" (skits voiced to storyboard) give Matt, Seth and the rest of the writers plenty of time to explain their process and needle each other with jokes born of long hours working together. "Day In the Life" takes a brief look at the typical day of various production staff. "Alternate Audio" is just that, but the "Video Blogs" have some great moments: a Nerf machinegun assault by Nathan Fillion on Seth Green while Seth's in the middle of recording voices and clips of the impressive parade of performers recording their parts in the sound booth. "Chicken Nuggets" replace commentary tracks, and while watching Seth and Matt explain scenes to you rather than just listening to them is cool enough, it would've been nice to have an option other than having to rewatch episodes with an eye on the corner of the screen for a chicken logo, and a finger on the enter button to access the content. Maybe the next tweak of the beast will nudge it closer to South Park's orbit. (Warner)