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Desperate Housewives
The Complete Fourth Season

review by Zach B.

 

 

TV-14 (Dialogue, Language, Sex, Violence)

Running Time: 765 minutes

Starring: Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross Eva Longoria Parker, Nicollette Sheridan, Ricardo Antonio Chavira, Andrea Bowen, Doug Savant, Kyle MacLachlan, Dana Delaney, Brenda Strong and James Denton

 

Studio: Disney

Retail Price: $59.99

Features: Audio Commentaries, Getting Desperate: From Beginning To End, Spare Time: Hanging With The Men Of Wisteria Lane, Cherry-Picked, Deleted Scenes, Alternate Ending, Bloopers

Specs: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Chapters (9 or 10 Chapters per episode), Five-Disc Set

Released: September 2nd, 2008

 

 

All 17 episodes of the fourth season of "Desperate Housewives" are presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. These are pretty great transfers, as colors are well saturated and bold, detail is quite good and fleshtones are pretty superb. The transfers look pretty sharp for the most part as well. However, there are some flaws that are noticeable: edge halos and noise, plus shimmering and a bit of grain at times. I also noticed a blemish here and there. Despite the flaws, which can be a little distracting, these still are a good batch of transfers with well-defined qualities.

 

All the episodes are in English Dolby Digital 5.1, and are pretty good too. Dialogue is always very clear and easy to hear, and the show's music - from composer Steven Jablonsky - have a sense of freshness through the channels. But the surrounds can be quite discrete, with strong subwoofer use, as there are some pretty lively and intense moments in this fourth season. The rears kick in at the right times, and overall dynamics for the mixes are energetic. Fidelity is pretty high, too. The 5.1 mixes for this season are quite satisfying, and do immense justice to the material.

Subtitles in English, Spanish and French are on the discs. English closed captions are available through your television. 

 

There are a slew of Audio Commentaries spread across the five discs, most of them titled "Couples Commentaries" because they feature the actors who are paired on the show. "Now You Know" features Marc Cherry, Bob Daily and Jeff Greenstein; "Now I Know, Don't Be Scared" features Marcia Cross and Kyle MacLachlen; ""Something Coming" has Eva Longoria Parker and Ricardo Antonio Chivaria; "Welcome To Kanagawa" features Felicity Huffman and Doug Savant, while "Mother Said" has two commentaries: one with Teri Hatcher and James Denton, and another with Cherry, Nicolette Sheridan and David Warren. Phew!

I only listened to bits of each commentary, but the strongest ones were the ones that featured Cherry. Cherry dominates both of his tracks, and is really candid - about pleasing ABC executives, and also his creative decisions (especially the cliffhanger from the third season). The other actor commentaries seem pretty good, with lots of laughter and stories from the set. The only weak commentary was from Cross and MacLachlen. They seem a bit quiet and stoic, and didn't offer much as far as insight - though let it be known that Halloween is Marcia Cross's favorite holiday. I'm sure major fans of the series will want to listen to all of these, but for the more casual listener, I recommend just hearing the Cherry commentaries.

The fifth disc has the rest of the supplements. Getting Desperate: From Beginning To End, which is a really terrific look at all the aspects that go into making an episode of the show. In this case, it's more complex than usual since a tornado wrecks Wisteria Lane. All sorts of members from the shows cast and crew - including the main actors, Marc Cherry, production designer Thomas Walsh, executive producer Susan Jaffee, associate producer John Blair, producer Stephanie Hagen, first assistant director Tom Irvine, visual effects supervisor David Carriker, composer Steven Jablonsky, among others - show how it all comes together. Plenty of footage from the set and production offices are also included. Needless to say, making a weekly television show isn't easy - and it requires a lot of teamwork and coordination. Again, a superb look at making the show.

Spare Time: Hanging With The Men From Wisteria Lane, has the male actors of the season hang out at a bowling alley. While they play a few lanes, the men - such as Kyle MacLachlen, Doug Savant, James Denton and Nathan Fillon - talk about their parts, and being part of the series. Also spliced in are some interviews with the women. A bit fluffy, but a decent enough watch at 8 minutes and 34 seconds.

Cherry-Picked has a few scenes from the season that are favorites of Marc Cherry, which you can watch with or without commentary from Mr. Cherry (where, of course, he enthusiastically chimes in the backdrop for the scenes and why he enjoys them so). Cherry also offers commentary for a slew of Deleted Scenes, and an Alternate Ending for the season, and how the ABC president didn't like how the big "five years later" reveal didn't open with much of a bang. Rounding out the set are 4 minutes and 41 seconds worth of Bloopers (in non-anamorphic widescreen).

 

It seems like "Desperate Housewives" rebounded creatively for the fourth season, and all viewers of the show should enjoy this DVD set. The episode presentations are pretty top-notch, and the extras are enjoyable - specificially where Cherry does commentary and the look at how an episode gets put together. This is a set worth checking out or purchasing if you enjoy the series.