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Desperate Housewives on DVD: Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5

"Desperate Housewives": The Complete Fourth Season:
Sizzling Secrets Edition DVD Review - Page 2

Buy Desperate Housewives: The Complete Fourth Season (Sizzling Secrets Edition) from Amazon.com Desperate Housewives: Season Four (2007-08)
Show & DVD Details

Regular Directors: Larry Shaw, David Grossman, David Warren, Bethany Rooney

Regular Cast: Teri Hatcher (Susan Mayer), Felicity Huffman (Lynette Scavo), Marcia Cross (Bree Van De Kamp), Eva Longoria Parker (Gabrielle Solis), Nicollette Sheridan (Edie Britt), Ricardo Antonio Chavira (Carlos Solis), Andrea Bowen (Julie Mayer), Doug Savant (Tom Scavo), Kyle MacLachlan (Orson Hodge), Brenda Strong (Mary Alice Young), James Denton (Mike Delfino), Shawn Pyfrom (Andrew Van De Kamp), Joy Lauren (Danielle Van De Kamp), Brent Kinsman (Preston Scavo), Shane Kinsman (Porter Scavo), Zane Huett (Parker Scavo), Rachel Fox (Kayla), Dana Delany (Katherine Mayfair), Lyndsy Fonseca (Dylan Mayfair)

Recurring Characters: Nathan Fillion (Adam Mayfair), Kathryn Joosten (Karen McCluskey), Polly Bergen (Stella Wingfield), John Slattery (Victor Lang), Pat Crawford Brown (Ida Greenberg), Hailee Denham (Young Dylan Mayfair), Ellen Geer (Lillian Simms), Kevin Rahm (Lee McDermott), Tuc Watkins (Bob Hunter), Shirley Knight (Phyllis Van De Kamp), Mike Farrell (Milton Lang), Melora Walters (Sylvia Greene), Gary Cole (Wayne Davis), Jason Gedrick (Rick Coletti), Justine Bateman (Ellie Franks)

Notable Guest Stars: Julia Campbell (Muriel), Darien Pinkerton (Penny Scavo), Tahj Mowry (Matt), Jesse Metcalfe (John Rowland), Michelle Pierce (Tammy Rowland), George Wyner (Dr. Rushton), Robert Forster (Nick Delfino), Sarah Paulson (Lydia Lindquist), Carrie Preston (Lucy), Bob Glouberman (Mohel), Richard Chamberlain (Glen Wingfield), J.C. Mackenzie (Walter Bierlich), Dakin Matthews (Reverend Sikes), Jeff Doucette (Father Crowley), Celia Weston (Adele Delfino), Bill Smitrovich (Rev. Green), Gale Harold (Jackson Braddock), Kali Say (Juanita Solis), Daniella Baltodano (Celia Solis)

Running Time: 728 Minutes (17 episodes) / Rating: TV-14
1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned / DVD Release Date: September 2, 2008
Season 4 Airdates: September 30, 2007 - May 18, 2008
Five single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9s); Suggested Retail Price: $59.99
Eight-sided fold-out Digipak with clear slipcover

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Page 1: Show Discussion, Discs 1-3
Page 2: Discs 4-5, Video/Audio, Bonus Features, Menus & Packaging, and Closing Thoughts

A star () denotes my six favorite episodes from the season.

Knocked up and laying down, Susan (Teri Hatcher) is mortified to find her ex-husband and his new woman at her pre-birth class. Gary Cole makes an unexpected multi-episode appearance in Season Four of "Desperate Housewives."

DISC 4

13. Hello, Little Girl (42:59) (Originally aired April 27, 2008)
When Rick's new restaurant is set on fire, Lynette suspects her own husband, Tom.
Also, Carlos brings home a seeing eye dog, Katherine and Bree go into business together, and a mysterious character starts showing up around Dylan.

14. Opening Doors (43:00) (Originally aired May 4, 2008)
Kayla rears her evil head once more, again pitting Lynette against Tom. Meanwhile, the newly reformed Solis family takes in a questionable roommate to help pay the bills and Orson faces a tough choice from Bree after she learns the whole truth about his past.

15. Mother Said (42:59) (Originally aired May 11, 2008)
While Susan copes with an overbearing mother-in-law and Kayla makes vicious accusations against Lynette, a disagreement between Edie and Bree leads to a tough conversation between Edie and the housewives.

Bob and Lee sit down with Lynette and Bree in the Scavos' pizzeria to make final plans for their commitment ceremony. Bree employs desperate measures during desperate times when a broken down car threatens down Bob and Lee's ice sculpture.

DISC 5

16. The Gun Song (42:45) (Originally aired May 11, 2008)
In the first half of the two-hour season finale, Mike and Susan decide on a name for their child, Orson defends Bree's honor, Gabby and Carlos cooperate with the police in investigating their new roommate, Tom finally takes a second look at Kayla, and the Katherine Mayfair mystery begins to unravel.

17. Free (43:02) (Originally aired May 18, 2008)
While Wisteria Lane readies itself for Bob and Lee's commitment ceremony, all the long-hidden details of Katherine Mayfair's time away from Fairview are revealed. The episode ends with a most surprising, tantalizing glimpse five years into the future, during which life on Wisteria Line has clearly undergone substantial change.

Lynette's estranged mother (Polly Bergen) moves into the Scavo household in Season Four, after Lynette is diagnosed with cancer. Bob (Tuc Watkins) and Lee (Kevin Rahm) shake things up on Wisteria Lane, immersing themselves in the petty drama while largely staying out of the earth-shattering secrets.

VIDEO and AUDIO

Each episode is presented in the 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and enhanced for 16x9 displays. The video looks excellent across the board, with no room for complaint. The Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround soundtrack also shows off plenty of channel separation and depth of sound.
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Unlike many television series, the "Desperate Housewives" viewing experience is actually significantly enhanced with a home theater system.

BONUS FEATURES

Five episodes are treated to what the set calls a "Couples Commentary". In each, the actors playing the show's husband/wife pairs sit down together to muse on the production and storyline. On Disc Two, Marcia Cross and Kyle MacLachlan (Bree and Orson) take "Now I Know, Don't Be Scared" and Dana Delany and Nathon Fillion (Katherine and Adam) take "Distant Past". On Disc Three, Eva Longoria Parker and Ricardo Antonio Chavira (Gabby and Carlos) comment on "Something's Coming" and Felicity Huffman and Doug Savant (Lynette and Tom) on "Welcome to Kanagawa". Finally, on Disc Four, Teri Hatcher and James Denton (Susan and Mike) team up for "Mother Said".

The set also offers two other audio commentaries, one featuring Marc Cherry, Bob Daily, and Jeff Greenstein on Disc One's "Now You Know", and the other featuring Cherry, Nicollette Sheridan, and David Warren on Disc Four's "Mother Said" (making two commentary tracks for that episode).

Brenda Strong plays the rarely seen but frequently heard Mary Alice Young, here recording the narrator's opening lines. "Getting Desperate" goes behind the scenes to show the crew filming a frantic Mrs. McCluskey (Kathryn Joosten) with Lynette in tow.

The mix of crew commentaries and specially paired cast commentaries is a good idea. The most enjoyable are the most light-hearted: Parker/Chavira, Hatcher/Denton, and the two including Marc Cherry. If you're pressed for time, just sample those. The others are enjoyable too, but with less levity and longer gaps of silence. All the tracks are pretty candid and in one interesting moment, Nicollette Sheridan actually walks in on Cross/MacLachlan's recording session.

After the commentaries, all the other bonus features are found on Disc Five. "Getting Desperate: From Beginning to End" (26:37) is a very interesting featurette that you should definitely watch. Though the title makes it sound like a series retrospective, it is actually focused solely on "Something's Coming", the noteworthy tornado episode.

In "Spare Time", the male cast of "Desperate Housewives" cuts loose on the bowling alley while the women are hard at work on the set. Phyllis Van De Kamp (Shirley Knight) is locked inside daughter-in-law Bree's closet in a Season Four deleted scene. Teri Hatcher loses composure in this clip from the Season Four blooper reel.

"Spare Time: Hanging with the Men of Wisteria Lane" (8:33) goes behind-the-scenes to see how the male cast members,
who invariably see less screen time than the female stars, pass the time while the housewives are on the set. As it turns out, they have a bowling alley all their own!

After that, as with the previous sets, there are six "Cherry-Picked" scenes, chosen by Marc Cherry as his favorites. On each, there is optional (and recommended) commentary from Cherry. They can be viewed individually or all at once with"Play All".

Those are followed by another scene with optional (and again recommended) Marc Cherry audio commentary: an "Alternate Ending" (2:09). This discarded version of the five year flash into the future relies on exposition and is decidedly less interesting.

There are twelve deleted scenes on the set; again, optional Cherry commentary ("Commen-Cherry"? No? Okay...) and a "Play All" feature are made available. There are several good moments with Bree and her faux pregnancy to be found here.

Finally, a "Bloopers" reel (4:41) is included, as fun as any other.

At least in initial printings of the set, a separate disc sleeve is attached to the package with an "ABC Wednesday Night Starter Kit". Included on it are the pilot episodes for three ABC series: "Private Practice" and thte recently-axed "Pushing Daisies" and "Dirty Sexy Money". All three pilots are appetizing enough to be interested in more. I've seen additional episodes of "Private Practice" and "Dirty Sexy Money" and of those two, ABC let the wrong show go.

A tornado cooks in the background of Season Four's ominous, animated, 16x9 main menu screens. The 16x9 episode selection screens takes inside the homes and atop the bathroom sinks of Wisteria Lane.

MENUS, PACKAGING, and DESIGN

The 16x9 menu screens on each disc continue the theme employed on the previous season sets. The homes of Wisteria Lane come to life
Desperate Housewives: How do you like them apples? poster Desperate Housewives: Even Juicier poster Desperate Housewives: Better the second time around poster
Desperate Housewives: It's a Hell of a Day in the Neighborhood poster Desperate Housewives: Tempting, isn't it? poster
Browse more available Desperate TV show posters
with little animated bits and many of the submenus take you inside their windows. For this season, a brooding storm looms in the background of the homes, a very nice touch!

The discs are housed in an eight-sided Digipak, itself housed in a transparent slipcover. Per usual, when the Digipak is removed, the women appear to lose their clothes (this time giving way to fiery dresses).

Inside the package are ads for other ABC Studios home video releases and Buena Vista Blu-ray Discs. There is also a very clever "Fairview Realty" booklet, which advertises Wisteria Lane homes and local show-related business with witty summaries and slogans. This is a surprising touch of detail for which Disney should be commended. The back of that booklet's episode guide fails to break the bonus features and audio commentaries down by disc (something that would have been very easy and very helpful).

Disc One plays a series of sneak peeks when the disc is inserted (none of them are available from the main menu screen): "Private Practice": The Complete First Season, "Samantha Who": The Complete First Season, and "Grey's Anatomy": The Complete Fourth Season. Disc Five has additional sneak peeks accessible from a menu screen: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, WALL-E, "Dirty Sexy Money" on ABC, "Brothers and Sisters" on ABC, "Dirty Sexy Money": The Complete First Season, "Brothers and Sisters": The Complete Second Season, "Ugly Betty": The Complete Second Season, and recent Oscar-honored Miramax films.

Even the cattiest of cat fights break up when a tornado barrels down Wisteria Lane. This could be the beginning of a beautiful (and highly competitive) friendship...

CLOSING THOUGHTS

"Desperate Housewives" is one of -- perhaps the -- best shows on television. Despite an abridged season, lengthy gaps, and an ambitious amount of content, the fourth season stands proudly aside the first three as every bit as entertaining. Suspenseful, laugh-out-loud funny, moving, and well-acted, the series is everything you could ask for from a primetime serial. With excellent picture quality, a great 5.1 soundtrack, and a number of great bonus features, there's simply no reason that The Complete Fourth Season of the series shouldn't be in your DVD collection.

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Related Reviews:
Desperate Housewives: Season 3 Desperate Housewives: Season 2 Desperate Housewives: Season 1
Brothers & Sisters: The Complete Second Season Ugly Betty: The Complete Second Season Scrubs: The Complete Seventh Season
Pushing Daisies: The Complete First Season Dirty Sexy Money: The Complete First Season Eli Stone: The Complete First Season
Grey's Anatomy: Season Three Dirt: The Complete First Season Walker, Texas Ranger: The Sixth Season
Early Edition: The First Season Happy Days: The Fourth Season The Golden Girls: The Complete Sixth Season
Over Her Dead Body Sex and the City The Women (2008) Then She Found Me

Page 1: Show Discussion, Discs 1-3
Page 2: Discs 4-5, Video/Audio, Bonus Features, Menus & Packaging, and Closing Thoughts

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Desperate Housewives on DVD: Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5

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Reviewed February 5, 2009.

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