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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Beverly Hills, 90210 - The Fourth Season
Beverly Hills, 90210 - The Fourth Season
Paramount // Unrated // April 29, 2008
List Price: $59.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted July 27, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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The Fourth Season

Beverly Hills, 90210 first aired in 1990 and ran for ten seasons. It was a popular series that had a huge influence on pop culture in the 90s and made actors/actresses Jason Priestley, Shannen Doherty, Luke Perry, Jennie Garth, Tori Spelling, David Austin Green, and Ian Ziering famous. The series is a soap opera with over-the-top melodramatic content. For more details about this series, please refer to DVD Talk's reviews of season one, season two, and season three.

The fourth season of Beverly Hills, 90210 is soapier than ever. The melodrama is over-the-top with the variety of wild developments for the cast. For each character, they face ups and downs of life. The issues they deal with include going to college, marriage, romantic affairs, love triangles, pregnancy, drug addiction, and more. It is a soapy season and fans will enjoy it. However, while it is entertaining, there are moments when it gets to be a little too much.

In the beginning of the season, the 90210 crew are high school graduates. Some have gone off to college, while others are not. In the case of Brenda, she starts college with open eyes back in Minnesota. Unfortunately, she quickly finds that college is not to her liking. There are just too many things, from classes to her roommate that make it a difficult adjustment. She quits school and returns to the 90210. The rest of the cast have their ups and downs getting adjusted. There are some details about it, but they all eventually end up in the same place and the show continues with lots of drama.

The early drama comes from sororities, fraternities, and mixed priorities. Steve and Brandon pledge fraternities, while Brenda, Kelly, and Andrea consider sororities. Both the boys and the girls face issues as they go through the process. Brandon contemplates his priorities to academics when his extracurricular activities are looked down upon. Andrea's Jewish background rubs a sorority president the wrong way, which is a tough situation for her. There is also some drama between Donna, David, and the radio station. While these situations have their moments, they are not the most exciting aspects of season four. The real fun comes from the romantic relationships and affairs.

Andrea has a pretty big role this season. Her character gets in some pretty risque situations. Her English professor makes a "suggestive" suggestion about her writing. It leads to a date, which becomes a regular thing. Andrea and Dan see each other behind closed doors. Eventually, the situation gets pretty heavy and worse when people find out about it. After it ends with Dan, Andrea meets Jesse (Mark Damon Espinoza) and some real drama comes from an unexpected pregnancy!

Dylan and Kelly also have interesting developments this season. They start off the season to a rocky start. While they date, Kelly is pursued by an old high school classmate, John (Paul Johansson). Dylan also becomes pretty distant. He is carjacked and turns to guns for self protection. Donna and David have quite a bit of drama. Donna's decision of abstinence drives him crazy. Eventually, she agrees to sleep with him. As circumstances would have it, it does not happen. David breaks up with her. About the same time, David slowly gets into drugs and his problem only gets worse as the season progresses.

Brenda's romantic life is not without scrutiny. Jim sets her up on a blind date with a rich client's son, Stuart Carson. Brenda and Stuart hit it off on their first date. Not too soon after, Stuart asks for her hand in marriage; she says yes. This decision causes some tension in the Walsh household. The Brenda-Stuart relationship continues to be of interest throughout the season. Brandon's big romantic interlude involves his professor's wife, Lucinda (Dina Meyer). He befriends her and things get personal. Lucinda also gets close to another character. Jill (Robia LaMorte) also spices things up with Brandon.

Overall, Beverly Hills, 90210's fourth season has some pretty intriguing developments. The majority of the entertainment comes from the cast and their romantic endeavors. Still, the non-romantic drama has its moments. Unfortunately, as the show seems to bounce from romantic melodrama to tackling tough issues like anti-Semitism, animal rights, and drug abuse, the flow just does not seem to work in all cases. For some situation it works, like David's drug habit as it relates to his relationship with Donna. In the end, this season is great for fans.

Episode Guide

1. So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye: High school is over, and university life has its own set of challenges. Brenda is miserable at college while Brandon has a new admirer.
2. The Girl From New York City: Brenda drops out of college and returns to Los Angeles. Kelly and Dylan reconsider their relationship upon his return to the United States.
3. Little Fish: David and Donna interview for a job at the campus radio station. Andrea writes a scathing review of the Peach Pit. Dylan and Brenda decide to enroll at California University.
4. Greek To Me: Steve convinces Brandon to consider joining a fraternity, Kelly, Donna, Brenda and Andres pledge a sorority, where Andrea encounters Anti-Semitism.
5. Radio Daze: Donna is offered the afternoon show at the radio station, which causes tension between her and David. Dan, Andrea's English professor, asks her out on a date.
6. Strangers In The Night: Dylan buys a new Porsche and is carjacked. Andrea loses her virginity to Dan. Brenda goes out on a blind date with Stuart, a son of one of Jim's clients.
7. Moving Targets: Dylan is obsessed with self-defense after the carjacking. Brandon is asked to tutor a basketball star, D'Shawn, Andrea kisses Dan in public at the university.
8. Twenty Years Ago Today: At the Walshes' twentieth wedding anniversary party, Stuart proposes to Brenda, and she accepts. Dylan buys a gun for protection. Andrea develops doubts about her relationship with Dan.
9. Otherwise Engaged: Brenda discovers that Stuart wants a prenuptial agreement and decides to sign it. Brandon shares a romantic dinner with Lucinda, who is married to Professor Randall. Steve cheats on Celeste with Laura.
10. And Did It My Way: Brenda and Stuart decide to forgo an elaborate wedding for a quick Vegas elopement but then call it off, much to the Walshes' relief.
11. Take Back The Night: Laura threatens to accuse Steve f date rape until Kelly comes to his defense. D'Shawn tries to blackmail Brandon into taking his mid-term for him.
12. Radar Love: Brandon and Emily renew their romance in San Francisco. Dylan joins the Walshes for Thanksgiving dinner, angering Kelly.
13. Emily: Brandon encourages Emily to study in France. The fraternity and sorority pledges endure humiliations during "Hell Week". Andrea breaks up with Dan and begins dating Jesse.
14. Windstruck: On their second anniversary as a couple, Donna agrees to sleep with David but is thwarted by an unexpected visit from her parents. Professor Randall accuses Brandon of sleeping with Lucinda.
15. Somewhere In The World It's Christmas: David ignores Donna for not sleeping with him, and breaks up with her on Christmas Day. Suzanne, a former lover of Dylan's father, claims that her child, Eric, is Dylan's half-sister.
16. Crunch Time: Dylan offers a loan to Suzanne and bonds with Erica. David experiments with crystal meth. Steve is given the cold shoulder by fraternity members who believe that he tipped off the authorities about a break-in.

17. Thicker Than Water: While David's drug problem escalates, Donna meets a handsome ski instructor. Dylan learns that Suzanne has a substantial bank account. Andrea finds out that she is pregnant.
18. Heartbreaker: After Nat has a heart attack, Brandon decides to run the Peach Pit while he recuperates. David performs his radio show under the influence of drugs. Andrea has difficulty informing Jesse of her pregnancy.
19. The Labors Of Love: David loses his job at the radio station, and Dylan buys out the Peach Pit. After much debate, Andrea decides to keep her baby and gets engaged to Jesse. Brandon comforts Lucinda, who is getting a divorce.
20. Scared Very Straight: Brandon and Lucinda secretly se each other and Stuart surprises Brenda on Valentine's Day. David has a very close call with the police.
21. Addicted To Love: Brandon's relationship with Lucinda attracts scrutiny. Brenda breaks up with Stuart and tells Dylan that she is still in love with him.
22. Change Partners: Donna and Brenda meet a stray dog that has escaped from a university animal testing facility, prompting Brenda to become interested in animal rights. Lucinda makes a pass at Dylan.
23. A Pig Is A Boy Is A Dog: Brenda is arrested after getting involved with radical animal rights activists. Dylan is angered when Kelly confesses her kiss with Brandon.
24. Cuffs And Links: An undercover FBI agent offers Brenda immunity if she agrees to testify against the animal rights activists. Steve catches his father cheating during a game of golf.
25. Time Has Come Today: Triggered by her discover of a diary written in the 1960s, Brenda imagines herself, family and friends as the people experiencing the events described in the entries. She then tracks down the author of the diary.
26. Blind Spot: The fraternity president comes out to Steve, who encourages him to stand up for himself when confronted with homophobia. Donna and Kelly persuade the guys to pose for a racy charity calendar.
27. Divas: When a renowned director comes to campus to stage a play, Kelly helps Brenda prepare to audition for the main role, but the director wants Kelly to read for the lead. Andrea worries that something is wrong with her pregnancy.
28. Acting Out: Brenda is furious with Kelly, who decides not to audition for the play. Brandon has a wild night out with Clare, the chancellor's daughter. Andrea is ordered by her doctor to stay in bed until her baby is born.
29. Truth Or Consequences: After Brenda wins the lead role in the play, Laura spreads a rumor that she slept with the director. Brandon tells the chancellor about Clare's out-of-control behavior.
30. Vital Signs: Dylan gives Brenda a present on the opening night of her play, their warm feelings for each other resurface. Dylan breaks up with Kelly, Andres goes into labor.
31&32. Mr. Walsh Goes To Washington (Parts 1 & 2): Brandon meets President Clinton in Washington DC, and Brenda decides to study theater in London. Dylan is defrauded and Andrea gives birth prematurely. Dona catches David with another woman.

The DVD

Video:
The video is given in 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. The picture quality is better than past seasons. For the most part, the episodes look pretty clean (considering their age). In general, there are noticeable visual distortions and some problems with color representation. When the picture is at its worse (usually high motion) it features significant aliasing and a grainy/blocky image that looks like a video that has been compressed too much. I think the problem is a mixture of the video compression and a poor quality source transfer. But the overall picture is acceptable.

Audio:
The audio track included with this release is English 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound. The sound quality is decent with dialogue consistently audible. It is an average TV on DVD audio track, dialogue driven and is pretty flat with little use of the stereo sound. Music is also very flat and bland. There are also subtitles in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Extras:

  • Beverly Hills Moms (6:22): is a featurette about the mothers of the main characters. Carol Potter (Brandon and Brenda's mom) and Katherine Cannon (Donna's mom) guest star. Carol opens with a short dialogue about what it was like watching the younger cast members get famous. The featurette continues with more dialogue from Carol and Katherine about experiences on the show, working with the cast, characters, etc.
  • The Loves of Season 4 (7:12): is a collection of serialized interviews with Dina Meyer, Mark Damon Espinoza, and Mark Damon Espinoza. They all talk about their experiences, memories, and relationships with main characters.
  • A Look Back With Charles Roslin (12:33): is a featurette with executive producer Charles Roslin. He reminisces about his role on the show, surviving past season three (show transition from high school to college; actors/actresses physically looking older) and the risk of continuing, the season four developments/plotlines, new ideas for the show, etc.
  • 90210 Gender Benders: Bad Apples (1:09): a montage of season four clips with narration that reveals the male cast as "bad apples".
  • 90210 Gender Benders: Get the Girl (1:41): a montage of season four clips that reveals the male cast in a dramatic light.
  • 7 Minutes in Heaven (7:12): is a compilation of key scenes from season four.
  • Everything You Need to Know About Beverly Hills, 90210 Season 4 (18:53): is set in David, Donna, and Kelly's apartment. The featurette stars Kathryn Foire and Chris Romano. It follows concept set in past seasons; they dissect the season and try to be funny. The humor felt forced.

Final Thoughts:
In Beverly Hills, 90210's fourth season, the show takes on an even more dramatic approach than season three. However, the series still attempts to include teenage angst-like content. The overly melodramatic tied in with the rather serious issues have their moments. At the same time, they do not always work. Nevertheless, the melodrama is over-the-top and not always in a good way. In the end, season four of Beverly Hills, 90210 has enough solid drama to appease fans. It is good for nostalgia and as a guilty pleasure.

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