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Desperate Housewives: The Complete Fourth Season

Other // Unrated // September 2, 2008
List Price: $59.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted October 22, 2008 | E-mail the Author
The Fourth Season

Desperate Housewives is a popular comedy/drama about the seedy underbelly of American suburbia. The basic premise is that underneath the happy suburban facade is a web of deceit and secrets, as well as unbounded lust and passion. The show first aired in 2004 and was very successful. The attraction of Desperate Housewives comes in multiple flavors, from strong writing to topnotch performances to witty comedy to eye-rolling melodrama. Desperate Housewives has a little bit of everything. It is the kind of show that is easy to get hooked on. For more details about the series, refer to DVD Talk's reviews of season one, season two, and season three.

Season four is another overly melodramatic season with lots of soapy storylines about the women (and men) on Wisteria Lane. The season was affected by the Writer's Guild Strike. Instead of a full episode billet, the season was shortened to seventeen episodes, which resulted in a few storylines not being wrapped up as gracefully as planned. Nevertheless, it is a pretty fun season. Fans of the series will enjoy it. However while it is good, it is not great.

The fourth season has several changes for the desperate housewives. There are pregnancies, affairs, diseases, lying, deceit, and other things to keep the drama fresh. The biggest development is the addition of a new housewife. Katherine Mayfair (Dana Delany) comes to Wisteria Lane with husband Adam (Nathan Fillion), daughter Dylan, and aunt Lilliane. Twelve years ago, Katherine lived in the town and was friends with people like Susan. After some undisclosed events, she moved away, not to be seen again until now. Katherine has a big secret, which she wants to make sure stays a secret. This secret is a pretty big development for the housewives, as well as Katherine causing general friction with some of the other housewives.

The rest of the cast continues to have a myriad of drama. Edie is of note. In season three, she came up with a plan to win Carlos' heart -- a fake suicide. Unfortunately, her execution turned into reality. Fortunately for Edie, Carlos saves her in the nick of time. As the season continues, Edie finds new ways to get her hooks into Carlos. At the same time, Carlos and Gabrielle have an affair. She is married to Victor, but very unhappy. The complex Edie-Carlos-Gabrielle-Victor relationship is a pretty intense story, with private investigators, cops, fighting, lying, and more.

The other housewives have just as desperate stories, as they struggle through their drama. Bree and Orson continue to hide the truth about Danielle's pregnancy. The situation gets complicated when the truth starts to come to light (thanks Edie). Lynette tries to hide her condition from her friends. But the truth comes out and she and Tom continue to struggle with her cancer. Lynnette and Tom also face romantic problems when another guy comes into the picture. Susan and Mike continue life as newlyweds. Their drama is almost benign in comparison to the other women. Susan fears Mike is unhappy in the relationship and later learns he is using drugs. There is also a pregnancy involved.

In addition to the general housewife drama, season four takes a big jump and sets up season five by advancing time. In the season finale, the show moves ahead five years into the future. As season five ramps up, there is a little of mystery and intrigue about what happened during those five years.

Overall, Desperate Housewives's fourth season is pretty enjoyable. The season is packed with soapy melodrama and lots of new developments to keep the content fresh and entertaining. However, the drama does not seem nearly as intense as the early seasons. It is still a guilty pleasure, but nothing so amazing happens that I think the season is a must. Still, fans will enjoy it.

Episode Guide

1. Now You Know: The neighborhood is shocked when news about Edie spreads though Fairview, Lynette battles with the effects of chemotherapy, and a new family moves to Wisteria Lane.
2. Smiles of a Summer Night: Lynette kicks Tom out of her chemotherapy sessions, Susan is mistaken for a stripper and Bree attempts to steal a prize-winning recipe.
3. The Game: Bree informs the housewives of what she overheard in the Mayfair house and Stella makes some special brownies to help Lynette through chemotherapy.
4. If There's Anything I Can't Stand: Bree informs the housewives of what she overheard in the Mayfair house and Stella makes some special brownies to help Lynette through chemotherapy.
5. Art Isn't Easy: Bree informs the housewives of what she overheard in the Mayfair house and Stella makes some special brownies to help Lynette through chemotherapy.
6. Now I Know, Don't Be Scared: Edie Britt's biggest fear comes true when Carlos walks out on their relationship. Susan finds Mike's father - who was supposedly dead - and an unexpected delivery at a halloween party surprises the neighborhood.
7. You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover: Victor confronts Gaby about her affair with Carlos, Bree informs Susan that she thinks Mike is addicted to drugs, and a new Hodge family member is introduced to the neighborhood.
8. Distant Past: Adam Mayfair is shocked when a mysterious stalker from his past shows up on Wisteria Lane, Bree and Orson encounter marital problems with a new baby in their lives.
9. Something's Coming: The residents of Wisteria Lane are forced into basements, cellars and safe rooms to weather a tornado that destroys homes and lives forever.
10. Welcome to Kanagawa: With Mrs. McCluskey's house completely destroyed, Lynette faces the possibility that her family and Ida Greenberg may not have survived; Katherine finds out that someone knows the truth about her mysterious past.
11. Sunday: A surprise wedding ceremony reveals plenty of secrets; Susan's hunky young cousin shares some unexpected news.
12. In Buddy's Eyes: Gaby struggles with Carlos' blindness; someone from Lynette's past shows up at the pizzeria.
13. Hello, Little Girl: Bree and Katherine start a business together; Lynette tries to deny her feelings for another man.
14. Opening Doors: Lynette finds out who was responsible for setting the fire at Rick's restaurant; Susan reconnects with her ex-husband.
15. Mother Said: Susan's mother-in-law (Celia Weston) visits; war breaks out between Bree and Edie.
16. The Gun Song: Mike and Susan show off their new child; Gaby forms a strong bond with Ellie (Justine Bateman); Lynette is accused of child abuse. Death threats rock the neighborhood; Katherine's secrets are revealed.
17. Free: Mike and Susan show off their new child; Gaby forms a strong bond with Ellie (Justine Bateman); Lynette is accused of child abuse. Death threats rock the neighborhood; Katherine's secrets are revealed.


The video in this release is given in anamorphic 1.78:1 ratio widescreen color format. The picture quality is quite good. It suffers from a slight grain, but detail remains to be sharp and clear. However, there are some occasional moments when the picture suffers compression artifacts. This is a rare occurrence, but it does happen. Needless to say, the show should look good on bigger television sets.

The audio in this release is given in English 5.1 Dolby digital surround sound. Overall, the sound quality is very good, providing an audible and clean audio track. The majority of activity is in the forward channels, but there is decent use of the surround sound capability. Music and sound effects sound very rich and vibrant.

There are subtitles in English, French, and Spanish. There is also support for closed captioning.


  • Audio Commentaries: are included for episodes "Now You Know" with Marc Cherry, Bob Daily and Jeff Greenstein, "Now I Know Don't Be Scared" with Marcia Cross and Kyle MacLachlan, "Distant Past" with Dana Delany and Nathan Fillion, "Something's Coming" with Eva Longoria Parker and Ricardo Antonio Chavira, "Weclome to Kanagawa" with Felicity Huffman and Doug Savant, "Mother Said" with Teri Hatcher and James Denton, and "Mother Said" with Marc Cherry, Nicollette Sheridan, and David Warren.
  • Getting Desperate: From Beginning to End (26:36): is a behind the scenes featurette that walks through the beginning to end of an episode (concept to completion).
  • Spare Time: Hanging With the Men of Wisteria Lane (8:30): is an interview featurette focused on the male cast members. The show's cast talks about their roles, characters, quiz each other, and bowl.
  • Cherry Picked: Creator Marc Cherry's Favorite Scenes: is a collection of Marc's favorite scenes, which can be viewed with optional commentary. The scenes include "Trick Fork", "New Doctor", "Secret Ingredient", "Test Results", "Primo Spot", and "Katherine Wayne".
  • Alternate Ending (2:08): is a different conclusion to the season four finale with optional commentary (Marc Cherry).
  • Deleted Scenes: Twelve deleted scenes from season four episodes are included with optional commentary (Marc Cherry).
  • Bloopers (4:40): is a standard gag and outtakes reel.
  • ABC Starter Kit: This DVD set came with an extra DVD, which has episodes for Pushing Daisies, Private Practice, and Dirty Sexy Money.

Final Thoughts:
Desperate Housewives is an over-the-top drama with witty dialogue and comedy. It is a fun show that has lots of eye-rolling drama. Season four is not as intense as earlier seasons, but it still has some solid drama for fans to enjoy. A new character is introduced, who has a pretty exciting, mysterious story arc. There is also a lot of intrigue from the Edie-Carlos-Gabrielle-Victor affair. In the end, it comes recommended for fans.

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