The Fourth Season
Charmed is a television series about the three Halliwell sisters, who in their mid-twenties discovered they are witches with magical powers. As an added bonus, they find out that they are good witches and they are supposed to use their powers only for noble altruistic acts. And in no case should they use it for personal gain (which they have tried to on a few occasions in past seasons and there are always important lessons and repercussions to be learned). In the first season, we learn that they are a staple against evil, and highly covenanted by dark forces. Their powers hold great potential for evil warlocks and demons. The sisters for the first three season were made up of Prue (Shannen Doherty), the older sister with the ability to move physical matter with her mind, Piper (Holly Marie Combs), the middle child with the ability to freeze time within a confined space, and finally the youngest sister Phoebe (Alyssa Milano), who has the power of second sight--she can see past, present, future by coming into contact with an object or a person. And in season four, a new cast member Rose McGowan as Paige replaces Doherty. For more details about this series and its characters, please refer to my reviews of season one, season two, and season three.
Season four picks up where season three left off. In the concluding episodes of season three, the sisters were exposed as witches and their future became very bleak. In order to save them from a horrendous future, Prue made the ultimate sacrifice and gave her life up in turn for The Source to use one of his minions to reverse time to prevent their exposure. In season four, Prue is dead and the power of three is no more, or so it seems that way. What the sisters did not know is there was a fourth sister. Rose McGowan joins the cast as Paige Matthews, a product of the forbidden love of the Halliwell sister's mother and her Whitelighter Sam. In the season four premiere episode "Charmed Again" Phoebe and Piper struggle with the loss of their sister and coming to terms with the fact they have a step-sister they never knew about.
Paige, like her sisters, is a special witch and is able to fill the void of Prue as third sister. She, however, is even more special than her sisters. Since Paige was the product of a witch and Whitelighter, she receives powers from both. Paige has the ability to move objects with her mind as Prue did, but she is also able to orb (teleport) and heal as Whitelighters do. At first I wasn't quite sure what to think of Paige, because I had never seen an episode of Charmed past season three, but I quickly found she fit right in. The loss of Prue and the addition of Paige changed the character's dynamics in a good way. Phoebe is no longer the young inexperienced one (Paige is) and Piper must take on the responsibility of being the older sister as Prue once did. This change works out nicely, because it also helps to show how much the characters have grown since the first season.
As for the season four stories, they are better than ever. I thought the first two seasons were intriguing, but nothing spectacular. The stories were always missing something to keep me drawn and wanting more. With season three, I found it was a lot better. The story arcs became more complex and the drama increased with the addition of Cole Turner. In other words, the generic formulaic approach I noticed in the first two seasons was less noticeable. Season four only gets better with some great story arcs, plot twists, and a heightened level of drama. After watching season four, I can say without a doubt I'm in love with this show.
The stories in season four continue to deal with sister's biggest, baddest foe The Source, who is the source of all evil and ruler of the underworld. In the beginning of season four, the sisters continue to fight The Source, who becomes pro-active in his efforts to kill the Charmed Ones. The other big story is about Cole and Phoebe. Their love continues to grow, but at the same time Cole gets drawn back to the evil side. This makes for a great story because watching Cole go from bad to good in season three was pretty intense and seeing him go good to bad is even more enticing. I won't go into more detail, because I would hate to spoil it for you. Needless to say, the season four story arcs pack a punch and they will leave you clinging to your seat wanting more.
In the end I found with season four of Charmed how much I like the show. The stories are much better crafted than in earlier seasons and the amount of drama, science fiction, and action should prove to be more than enough to keep you enticed and wanting more. Charmed: The Complete Fourth Season comes highly recommended.
1. Charmed Again
2. Hell Hath No Fury
3. Enter The Demon
4. Size Matters
5. A Knight To Remember
6. Brain Drain
7. Black As Cole
8. Muse To My Ears
9. A Paige From The Past
10. Trial By Magic
11. Lost And Bound
12. Charmed And Dangerous
13. The Three Faces Of Phoebe
15. The Fifth Halliwell
16. Saving Private Leo
17. Bite Me
18. We're Off To See The Wizard
19. Long Live The Queen
20. Womb Raider
21. Witch Way Now?
This DVD release is given in 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. The picture quality is viewable. Most viewers will not be troubled with the quality, but some may notice that it has its faults. The image has a noticeable grain that is really noticeable during dark scenes. There are also a few occurrences of compression artifacts in the picture.
The audio track in this release is in English and French 2.0 Dolby digital stereo. The audio in this release comes off fairly flat. However as with most TV on DVD releases it's not necessarily bad, as the majority of the audio is spoken dialogue. The sound quality is good, providing an audible and clean audio track. Music comes off fairly rich and sound effects tend to take advantage of the right and left channels. This release comes equipped with closed captioning.
There are no extras included with this DVD release.
Like season three, season four strays away from the generic format found in the first two seasons. Instead the stories include some well-written story arcs that focus on the never-ending battle between good and evil, and lots of stories that add to character development and their relationships, as well as some devilish supporting characters. The good and evil story arc proves to be the most interesting and intriguing part of season four and it will keep you on the edge of your seat as you sit through a variety of great plot twists. This season set comes highly recommended. It has a great mix of science fiction, action, and drama.