For those who don't know, I have a bit of a hetero man-crush on all things Duane "Dog" Chapman. Maybe it's not a crush per se, I mean, the guy looks like if Diamond Dallas Page and the partner/sidekick from Renegade had a kid and then set in on fire. But Dog has a couple of good karmic things on his side. As a bounty hunter, he's in a slightly shady business to be sure, however as an ex-con himself, his perspective on redemption and restitution is more unique than others, and in discussing this with captured fugitives, it's very passionate and engrossing viewing on his Dog the Bounty Hunter television show. Then you have the whole "working in Hawaii" thing. As one who was employed in that area myself, I can tell you that yeah, it is that awesome out there, but there are also seedy elements as well which many people don't see. There's prostitution, homeless, and drug addicts through areas of Honolulu and Hawaii in general, and Dog, his wife Beth, and family members Duane, Leland and business partner Tim all introduce you to, reminding you that in paradise, things sometimes aren't all that idyllic.
But the Dog the Bounty Hunter show is about two things; it's about Dog's family and the love he has for it, and the love the whole unit has for each other translates over to the business as well. Three other family members are or have worked in the business at some point as well, and I'd anticipate that more will continue the work of their predecessors (in fact, an episode titled "The Smackdown of Baby Lyssa" highlights one of Dog's daughters indoctrination into the bail bonds business). Then you have the gospel that Dog preaches to his detainees. It's easy to rough them up, throw them in a trunk, hit them with a hammer and take them to jail; Dog gives them a cigarette if they smoke and talks to them to find out why they ran or committed the crimes they did. He knows that for the most part, they are flawed people who have every chance to redeem themselves if they choose to take it and talks to them that way. Many of them wind up being very emotional over what Dog talks about with them. A captured fugitive in "Make a Wish" is reunited with his kids after abandoning them. It's that type of thing that people dismiss; you and I take life and those around us for granted sometimes; Dog knows that having it taken away from you makes you realize how lucky you are to have what you have, and he makes his fugitives realize this. That's what people seem to forget, or at least forgot about when he was vilified for his racist statements in 2007 that caused his show to be suspended.
Now I'm not condoning what he said, but there were some who wanted him to not do what he was doing anymore, yet oddly enough Dog's lessons seemed to get through to the fugitives more than those who claim to rehabilitate others, and oddly enough some of those same people wanted Dog taken off the air and flogged publicly for his words. I just find that slightly ironic is all. In combination with the resumption of his show, A & E put out a "Best of" compilation of episodes from the season before this, which helps remind us why he's one of the highest-rated shows on that network, as this disc has seven of those more memorable installments, supposedly picked by the man himself.
What's disappointing about this season is that one of the bigger events from the season isn't mentioned, and that was the arrest of Dog, Leland and Tim by US Marshals, for charges that Mexican authorities were leveling due to their capture of Max Factor heir (and fugitive) Andrew Luster. The Chapmans discussed the ordeal as part of a standalone video release which is not part of this set for whatever reason. The preceded the furor surrounding Dog's use of the "n-word" to his son in a taped conversation published to the National Enquirer, which unsurprisingly is also not mentioned here. If this were to be a true release of the best of Season Four, let's also include the highs and the lows, which Dog normally allows the viewer to see with surprising candor, such as the death of another of his daughters before his marriage to Beth, which was not only aired, but released as a separate disc to boot. Come on Dog, it's me, don't be afraid to show everything to the audience, warts and all, without an unnecessary and additional monetary charge.
Full frame viewing, pulled straight from the television broadcasts. The picture is crisp and free of any sort of artifacts or other issues, and it's pretty straightforward viewing.
Two-channel Dolby stereo sound here, almost as if it's straight from the television shows or something. To carry on with the theme of this from the video, the sound is also mirrored from the show, there's no hissing, mosquito noises, etc., and the songs which are delicately sprinkled through the show all sound clear.
The only thing here is 12 minutes of footage that didn't make it into the episodes, some of which is actually extended footage. It's not really entertaining and can be skipped.
At the end of the day, as much as I love Dog and that motley crew of ever-growing bounty hunters at Da Kine Bail Bonds, I've got to recommend that people avoid this disc for much the same reason why I suggested avoiding the Criss Angel best-of discs recently. You're basically paying $20 for a few minutes of extra footage. No commentaries, no still biographies or anything else to justify the purchase. It's a shame, because especially in the case of this particular season, these discs could be so much better than they are.