The Fourth Season
For those who are not familiar with 7th Heaven it is a melodrama that revolves around the Camden family. The main characters include Reverend Eric (Stephen Collins), Annie (Catherine Hicks), Matt (Barry Watson), Mary (Jessica Biel), Lucy (Beverley Mitchell), Simon (David Gallagher), and Ruthie (Mackenzie Rosman). Despite that one of the main characters is a minister the series isn't about religion, but rather the trials that the family members go through. In past seasons, the show's tone had a very goody-goody feeling that has been replaced with more character-driven drama. For more details about the show, please refer to DVD Talk's reviews of season one, season two, and season three.
In season four, 7th Heaven has a very different feeling than its first three seasons. In the past, the show had been very oriented on the characters and intertwining goody-goody stories they go through. At the same time, the show still had a lot of character-driven drama surrounding the Camden family. In season four, the show deviates from the goody-goody approach and focuses more on the dramatic aspect. I thought this difference made for a much more engrossing season.
As for the specific season four content, the Camden's are hit with a lot of changes. Some are good and others are not so good, but it all comes off as exciting. Those who enjoy soapy melodramatic productions will enjoy the great stories this season has to offer. The season begins with Eric having a heart attack while telling his parents about his pregnant and unmarried sister. This single event kicks off the season with a good pace that follows with story arcs such as Mary and her rebellious stages (the season's biggest storyline), and Matt's love life.
In the midst of Mary's final basketball season, her coach puts on the entire team on the bench. He locks up the gym and declares that if the girls do not get their grades up, basketball is over for the season. Responding to the situation, Mary and a couple of her fellows deface the gym. Unfortunately, they are caught in the act and life goes downhill for Mary. She is kicked off of the team, almost expelled from school, faces criminal charges, and loses her college scholarship.
Throughout season four, Mary's conversion into a rebellious kid is at the fore. It sets up her departure from the show in future seasons. Another key development in Mary's rebellious rise includes Robbie Palmer (Adam LaVorgna), a bad boy she met while doing community service. Robbie is not a good guy and he is a huge thorn in Eric and Annie's sides, but a good source of drama.
Another major story arc this season is Matt's love life. At the beginning of season four, his relationship with Shana is still going strong, despite the bump in the road with his ex-girlfriend Heather at the end of season three. Things get complicated when Shana is accepted to NYU with a full scholarship; she leaves mid-year and it puts their relationship on the rocks. They try to stay together in a long distance relationship, which is hard when they both veer off in other relationships! Shana falls for a guy named Brett and Matt rekindles his "friendship" with Heather. John Hamilton (Chaz Lamar Shepherd), Matt's roommate, is by his side to offer advice and help him through the relationship problems.
Overall, 7th Heaven's fourth season is pretty exciting. The drama is more soapy and intense than previous seasons and has several strong story arcs. In addition, there are some general fun episodes, like Ruthie and her first boyfriend. In the end, fans of the series will appreciate this season, because this season has a great collection of episodes.
1. The Tattle Tale Heart: As Matt prepares to move out, Simon starts to feel abandoned. The family keeps Aunt Julie's pregnancy a secret, but then Eric suffers from chest pains.
2. Life Is Too Beautiful: Post-heart attack, Eric has a new outlook on life, while Lucy claims to have found her calling. Matt worries that his roommate John is getting to close to Shana.
3. Yak Sada (One Voice): While Annie and the girls protest the oppression of women in Afghanistan, Eric counsels a young male chauvinist who's about to get married.
4. Come Drive With Me: Eric is sure he's getting a raise...until the church board sees him driving a pricey car! And Matt's new friend at the hospital helps Matt make a career decision.
5. With Honors: Mary gets a big sports award, but a fellow recipient is denied hers. Matt's falsely accused of cheating. And Eric and Annie spot marijuana in the house.
6. Just You Wait And See: Aunt Julie ends up at the Camdens, claiming she left her husband Hank...then proceeds t go into labor! A 15-year-old girl flirts with 13-year-old Simon.
7. Sin...: After Mary's coach forces a lockdown on practice for the team, the players revolt. Meanwhile, Simon is caught making a lewd gesture.
8. ...And Expiation: Eric and Annie are devastated when Mary ends up in jail for vandalizing the school. And Simon and Ruthie consult with God regarding their guilty feelings.
9. Dirty Laundry: Simon's bad mood affects the whole family. And while Annie mediates between Matt and Shana, Eric advises a woman who was interned during World War II.
10. Who Nose?: When Simon's friends huff paint fumes, one is hospitalized. Mary meets fellow offender Robbie at community service. And Ruthie makes sculptures...of noses!
11. Forget Me Not: Lucy ditches her volunteer group for a guy, as Matt mopes over Shana, to the dismay of Simon. Annie is shocked to learn that her father may have Alzheimer's.
12. All By Myself: Annie hits the road alone and meets an unexpected friend. Meanwhile, Eric and the kids vegetate in front of the tube. And Lucy is torn between two boys.
13. Who Do You Trust?: Eric spies on Mary and Lucy when they go n a double date with two brothers. Matt ruins the evening for John when two cute neighbors visit
14. Words: As Matt's ex-girlfriend Heather reappears, Eric counsels a couple whose son may have Tourette's. Annie is disturbed by what a teacher calls Ruthie.
15. Loves Me, Loves Me Not: Not only is it Valentine's Day, it's the twins' first birthday! While Simon gets a love bite, Mary gets mad after Robbie drives her to a motel.
16. Say A Little Prayer For Me: After their father reminds them to pray, Ruthie asks for a pony, Matt and John pray for new girlfriends, and Mary hopes that Robbie will change.
17. Twelve Angry People: Eric tries to convince his fellow jurors to make a fair decision. Mary gives Lucy a black eye. And Annie disapproves when Ruthie cuts a classmate's hair.
18. Hoop Dreams: Mary gets her hopes up when she befriends a girl whose father is a professional basketball coach. Matt wants to sell everything and move to New York.
19. Talk To Me: While Eric counsels a troubled young girl, his efforts to talk to his own children backfire. Aunt Julie's husband Hank reveals a secret about himself.
20. Liar, Liar: When a reporter does a story on the Camdens, Eric is shocked when his children air the family's dirty laundry. Meanwhile, an intern spreads rumors about Matt.
21. Love Stinks (Part 1): Matt is now torn between Heather and Shana. And as Ruthie gains a boyfriend, Simon loses a girlfriend. Mary tells her parents she plans to move in with Robbie.
22. Love Stinks (Part 2): Mary announces she's engaged, but then gets a disturbing phone call. Lucy realizes how much she likes Andrew. And Matt makes a surprising choice in love.
The video is given in its original television aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame color. The video quality is pretty good and offers a fairly clean picture. There is a noticeable grain and dirt. However, there is nothing that should interfere with your viewing experience.
The audio in this release is given in English 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound. The audio track is mainly dialogue driven and sounds good. There is very little distinction between left and right channels. This release is support closed captioning.
Please note the box cover claims "some episodes may be edited from their original network television versions. Music has been changed for this home entertainment version".
There are no extras provided with this release.
7th Heaven is the kind of show you either love or hate. The series takes a very melodramatic approach with family-oriented content. In past seasons, the storylines tended to have morals and promote wholesome family values. This season changes the tone and focuses more on character-driven drama. I enjoyed the change and found the drama to be pretty enticing. This season is a definite improvement over the first three. It comes recommended.