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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » One Tree Hill - The Complete Fourth Season
One Tree Hill - The Complete Fourth Season
Warner Bros. // Unrated // December 18, 2007
List Price: $59.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted January 13, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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The Fourth Season

One Tree Hill is a teen melodrama about the interactions of a large group of people who are interconnected in their daily lives. The series original looked at the drama that followed two competing step-brothers in sports and love. As the show progressed, the focus changed to melodrama from backstabbing, scheming, murder attempts, love affairs/triangles, and other sordid drama fit for a soap opera. For more information about this series please refer to DVD Talk's reviews of season one, season two, and season three.

The first two seasons of One Tree Hill were a nonstop ride of exciting and well-executed melodrama. However, the quality started to decline with the third season. Still, it was pretty intense with lots of soap opera quality developments. The fourth season takes a turn for the worse and features the worst of the bunch. While it continues to offer plenty of eye-rolling moments, the quality is not as good and several of the storylines are dull and lackluster. If anything, this season will make for a good watch for fans, but it isn't anything you must see.

The season picks up with the aftermath of the Rachel/Cooper crash -- in a drunken stupor, Rachel caused Cooper to drive off of a bridge. Nathan jumps in to save them, only to pass out. Miraculously, everyone is saved and Nathan is credited as a hero. However, he knows he did nothing and faces his morality as he tries to understand what happened. He is convinced his dead uncle Keith saved him. This event introduces the plotline of Keith's ghost, which also plays a role in a Scrooge-like episode with Lucas. It was a little too mystic for my tastes and I thought it moved the show in the wrong direction.

Beyond the accident, Nathan's world is turned upside down in a couple different ways. While he thought life was finally going the right way, he finds out he is going to be a father. He struggles to make enough money to support Haley and his future child. The situation leads him to taking money from a loan shark who is intent on making Nathan to engage in illegal activities. The end result is Nathan's future being crushed. Complicating matters is Rachel, who thinks if she can't have Cooper, she'll have Nathan.

Lucas's drama continues to be at the fore. In the first half of the season he is caught in the middle of a love triangle with Brooke and Peyton. After Brooke found out about Peyton and Lucas kissing in the season three episode "Who Will Survive, and What Will Be Left of Them", Brooke and Peyton stop being friends. Lucas is torn between the two girls. As if that was not enough for Lucas, he finds out the truth about Keith's death. Jimmy did not kill him and a classmate witnessed what really happened. This situation ties into Dan trying to make amends with Karen, who is pregnant with Keith's child, for his misdoings -- which turns out to be one of the season's better storylines.

Peyton is caught up in one unfortunate situation after the other. As if the love triangle and feuding with Brooke were not enough, she tries to find her half-brother Derek. After trying to call him, he shows up at her door. Unfortunately, Derek turns out to be a sexual psycho deviant who wants to give Peyton more than just brotherly love. This plotline is one of the season's worst developments. It is uninteresting, slow going, and gives the shows the appeal of a low quality horror flick -- complete with bad acting.

Other developments include Rachel showing her humane side, Lucas forming a friendship with a nobody named Glenda, Brooke having a sexual affair with her English teacher, Mouth dating a couple girls and losing his virginity, Skills joining the Ravens and becoming one of their star players, Deb losing herself in drugs and alcohol, Brooke getting serious with Chase (Stephen Colletti, Laguna Beach), Brooke and Rachel stealing a calculus exam, Lucas rejoining the Ravens, and more.

Overall, One Tree Hill's fourth season is not the best of the bunch. The season continues with soapy melodrama, but is taken up a notch too many by including some developments that are just hard to stomach. The situations are not crafted as well as earlier seasons. There are moments when you will find yourself bored and uninterested. However, at the same time there are some quality developments, such as Dan trying to be a good person and Nathan's basketball career and subsequent relationship with Haley. For fans of the show, it is worth seeing the Tree Hill gang in their senior year, but not a must.

Episode Guide

1. The Same Deep Water As You: A terrifying accident at the end of Nathan and Haley's wedding sends three people to the hospital - and changes the future for many more people in Tree Hill.
2. Things I Forgot At Birth: Eighteen candles and only one friend: Brooke shares her birthday with Rachel. Meanwhile, Nathan is sure he saw something supernatural at the accident scene, and Dan sees the word "murderer" wherever he looks.
3. Good News for People Who Love Bad News: New relationships. Skills joins the Ravens as the state playoffs begin. A hesitant Peyton gets to know her half-brother, Derek. And Rachel finally finds someone to take Cooper's place in her heart: Nathan.
4. Can't Stop This Thing We Started: The need for speed. Nathan starts tearing around on a motorcycle. Rachel jumps above the level of hometown Hottie when she poses for Maxim. And gossip that Brooke is pregnant gets around faster than a viral video.
5. I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness: Brotherly love. Peyton's relationship with her half-brother takes a dark and terrifying turn. Nathan receives two major pieces of news, one fantastic and one...well, he isn't sure what to think.
6. Where Did You Sleep Last Night: Extracurricular activities. Lucas rejoins the Ravens. A Mystery man takes an interest in the team's fortunes. And Brooke will be seeing a lot of her new boyfriend at school: He's her English teacher.
7. All These Things That I've Done: While others get involved in smalltime crime and sleaze, Nathan hits the big time: He owes a vicious gambler $15,000 just before the state semi-finals...and the gambler has serious bucks riding on the game.
8. Nothing Left to Say but Goodbye: The annual basketball awards banquet is a big night for MVP Nathan. And - as hopes cross and clash - for Brooke, Peyton, Lucas, Haley, Rachel, and Derek, too.
9. Some You Give Away: Q: How can you save your family and your career? A: Throw the state championship. Daunte leans on Nathan to lose the big game... but Lucas and Skills hatch a plan to win.
10. Songs to Love and Die By: While the Christmas classic It's A Wonderful Life plays on the hospital monitors, a gravely ill Lucas sees what Tree Hill would be without him - with Keith as his guide.
11. Everything in Its Right Place: Breaking out: Unexpected news gets Dan out of jail. The knotted-sheets-out-the-window trick gets Deb out of Rehab. Breaking in: Brooke and Rachel swipe a calculus exam. Lucas moves past Peyton's fears and into her arms.

12. Resolve: Nathan needs a job, so Skills comes up with the obvious solution: become a male stripper. Meanwhile, Brooke meets a great guy, and Lucas begins to question what really happened the day Keith was killed.
13. Pictures of You: Laughs, fears, loves, hopes, plans, secrets. An unusual classroom assignment creates odd couples as students pair up to interview each other. The result: insights, new friendships and some big surprises.
14. Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers: Nathan and his friends scrounge up Deb's hidden booze and realize they have enough alcohol for a rockin' pre-prom party. They're right - it's a party that rocks a lot of people's world.
15. Prom Night at Hater High: Prom day dawns: Peyton has a mad on, Brooke has a black eye, Haley's an emotional train wreck, Nathan's apologizing, Mouth's heartbroken...and everybody has to work together to get ready for the big night.
16. You Call It Madness but I Call It Love: It's prom night, and everyone's paired up: Nathan with Haley, Mouth with Brooke, Dan with Karen. Everyone except Lucas. That's because Peyton has her own date...with terror.
17. It Gets the Worst at Night: The last great road trip: Just days before graduation, a cryptic message from Mouth has his friends heading to Texas, where they run into an old nemesis...and get a second chance at the perfect prom night.
18. The Runaway Found: Everyone has a story to tell: Psycho-Derek (real name Ian) about his past; Lucas about the point-shaving scandal; and - most shocking of all - the eyewitness to Keith's murder about two really pulled trigger.
19. Ashes of Dreams You Let Die: 2good2B4gotten. Yearbook signings brings inscriptions from heartfelt to heartbreaking - and gives Mouth a chance to show what a great friend he is. Lucas heads for a shocking showdown with Dan.
20. The Birth and Death of the Day: Farewell, Tree Hill High. Graduation means new lives, from Nathan adjusting to a future without basketball to Brooke taking another chance on love to the Scott family welcoming a new member.
21. All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone: Farewell, Tree Hill. The graduates gather for one last night of fun - a chance to make plans and make amends. Then they promise to reunite in exactly four years.

The DVD

Video
The video is given in widescreen color with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The quality is good and offers a fairly sharp and clean picture. There is a grain and minor compression artifacts. There are also some hints of edge enhancement, but there is nothing that should interfere with your viewing experience.

Audio
The audio in this release is given in English 5.1 Dolby digital stereo sound. The audio track sounds very good. Dialogue comes off flat and music is rich and vibrant. There is also very little distinction between the left and right channels. The release has subtitles in English, French, and Spanish.

Extras

  • Additional scenes: are included for episodes "Good News for People Who Love Bad News" (2 scenes), "Can't Stop This Thing We Started" (6 scenes), "All These Things That I've Done" (3 scenes), "Some You Give Away" (1 scene), "Everything in Its Right Place" (1 scene), "Resolve" (1 scene), "Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers" (2 scenes), "Prom Night at Hater High" (1 scene), "You Call It Madness, But I Call It Love" (3 scenes), "It Gets the Worst at Night" (2 scenes), and "The Runaway Found" (5 scenes).
  • Audio Commentaries: are included for episodes "Some You Give Away" with Mark Schwahn and Rick Fox, "It Gets the Worst at Night" with Mark Schwahn, Joe Davola, and Greg Prange, and "Sudden I Miss Everyone" with Mark Schwahn, James Lafferty, Lee Norris, and Stephen Colletti.
  • Gag Reel (3:17): is a sequence of bloopers caught on tape from the filming of season four.
  • One Tree Hill in Your Town (28:03): is a featurette with behind the scenes footage and interviews with cast and crew. The content focuses on the episode when the gang goes to Honey Grove, TX. It was part of a promo event with Sunkist. Fans sent in a 30 second clip of why OTH should come to their home town.
  • James Lafferty One Tree Hill Fourth Annual Charity Basketball Game (4:11): is footage from the charity basketball game, interaction with fans, and short interviews.
  • OTH Time Capsule (18:34): is a retrospective featurette with cast and crew. It focuses on Mark Schwahn and the development of the show over its first four years. They also talk about the season four plots.

Final Thoughts
One Tree Hill is a teen melodrama that has been pretty successful in its earlier seasons. The show's strength came from the soap opera quality developments that surrounded the cast. The show's quality declined in season three and hits an all time low in season four. It is hurt by one too many lackluster moments and developments that do not leave you feeling engaged or entertained. In the end, it is a decent watch, as there are a few exciting moments, but it is nowhere near as good as the first two seasons.

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