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Sex and the City: Season 4
HBO // Unrated // May 20, 2003
List Price: $39.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
49. 4-1 03-Jun-2001 The Agony And The 'Ex'tasy
50. 4-2 03-Jun-2001 The Real Me
51. 4-3 10-Jun-2001 Defining Moments
52. 4-4 17-Jun-2001 What's Sex Got To Do With It?
53. 4-5 24-Jun-2001 Ghost Town
54. 4-6 01-Jul-2001 Baby, Talk Is Cheap
55. 4-7 08-Jul-2001 Time and Punishment
56. 4-8 15-Jul-2001 My Motherboard, My Self
57. 4-9 22-Jul-2001 Sex and the Country
58. 4-10 29-Jul-2001 Belles of the Balls
59. 4-11 05-Aug-2001 Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda
60. 4-12 12-Aug-2001 Just Say Yes
61. 4-13 06-Jan-2002 The Good Fight
62. 4-14 13-Jan-2002 All That Glitters
63. 4-15 20-Jan-2002 Change of a Dress
64. 4-16 27-Jan-2002 Ring a Ding Ding
65. 4-17 03-Feb-2002 A Vogue Idea
66. 4-18 10-Feb-2002 I Heart Ny
Darren Star started his career with the soap operas "Beverly Hills, 90210" and "Melrose Place". Neither was going to win awards, but both caught on with audiences and swept up ratings until both had gone on longer than they should have. In 1998, the producer/writer created HBO's "Sex and the City" (based on Candace Bushnell's book), a show that originally gained a solid cult following, but rapidly gained mainstream acceptance once word-of-mouth began and the awards started rolling in.
What is it about the show? Personally, I think it's a marriage of perfect casting and sharp writing. Two Star-produced shows that were promoted as such, "The $treet" and "Grosse Pointe", didn't last more than a few episodes when they premiered in 2000. Yet, "Sex" still continues to get high ratings and, if anything, is more popular and somewhat more substancial than before.
The show stars Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw, a columnist who writes about sexual issues. She's accompanied by flirty, naive and adorable Charlotte (Kristin Davis, the best thing about the show, in my opinion), sexually agressive Samantha (Kim Catrall) and lawyer Miranda (Cynthia Nixon). The casting is excellent; while there's many who seem to dislike one or the other, it's difficult to deny that the four seem like believable friends - and more so as the seasons have gone on and the actors have grown more comfortable with their characters. The show continues to be technically strong, too - solid, sometimes classic location choices; great production design and crisp cinematography can be seen throughout.
The third season shifted the show's focus towards more mature topics, such as commitment (Carrie's relationship with Adian, played by John Corbett), pregnancy and getting older. While the show's characters still had plenty of time for shopping and casual relationships, giving the characters a bit more dimension and development has made the third and fourth seasons of the show more entertaining and involving. Quite a few episodes nicely weave lighter issues with one of the characters with a dramatic one that the other is facing, eventually pulling all four characters together to comfort one another. Despite all the controversy that the show has endured over the years, there's a really nice core of the show about friendship - as cheesy as it sounds, these four people are there for each other. And that, I think, is one of the biggest reasons for the show's success.
VIDEO: All of the episodes on Season 4 of "Sex and the City" are presented in 1.33:1 full-frame. Despite the fact that six episodes are presented on each disc, the picture quality remained fairly good throughout. Sharpness and detail are respectable, if not consistent or without a few concerns. Brighter scenes appear crisper than some of the low-lit moments.
Although most episodes looked quite good, some issues did pop up on occasion. Compression artifacts were occasionally noticable, for example. I didn't notice any edge enhancement or shimmering, though. As with the previous seasons, some light-to-mild grain is occasionally seen. Colors are bright, vivid and well-saturated, with no issues.
SOUND: All of the episodes are presented in Dolby 2.0. Occasional ambience is present, but these soundtracks are clearly dialogue-driven. Audio quality is perfectly fine, with clear dialogue and sound effects.
Commentary: Writer and Executive Producer Michael Patrick King offers audio commentaries for three of the episodes included on the third disc. Although there are a few pauses occasionally throughout the track, these are largely very good tracks, taking the viewer through the production process, chatting about writing, character development and how choices large-and-small are made on a day-to-day basis.
Also: Episode previews, bios.
Final Thoughts: I was never terribly interested in the first season of "Sex and the City", which I found to be rather slight entertainment, despite good performances. As I've watched the DVDs of all of the seasons, however, I've been pleased with how the show has grown and changed, developing the characters and bringing in a bit more drama and a bit more emotion into the mix, making for a much more involving show, in my opinion. HBO's DVD set offers picture quality that is good - despite some issues - and fine audio, along with a few supplements. Recommended.