TITLE: GREY'S ANATOMY - THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON
DVD Release Date: September 9, 2008 (ABC Studios/Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
Number of Discs: 5
Number of Episodes: 17
Running Time: 740 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: approx. 50 minutes (not counting commentaries and extended episodes)
Video: Widescreen 1.78:1; Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Subtitles: English, Spanish & French; Closed Captioned.
* 3 Audio Commentaries: “A Change Is Gonna Come,” “Forever Young,” and “The Becoming”
* 2 Extended Episodes: “Forever Young” and “The Becoming” (both with audio commentary options)
* “New Docs on the Block”
* “On Set with Patrick & Eric”
* “One Quick Cut”
* “Dissecting Grey’s Anatomy: Unaired Scenes”
* “Good Medicine: Favorite Scenes”
* “In Stitches: Season 4 Outtakes”
Change is the keyword in the fourth season of ABC’s megahit medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. We enter a world of change in the irresistible and unforgettable fourth season of television’s most acclaimed dramas now on DVD from ABC Studios. Enjoy all 16 episodes from the writers’ strike-shortened fourth season on a comprehensive five-disc DVD box set that features two new regular stars...Chyler Leigh and Brooke Smith as they replace Isaiah Washington and Kate Walsh.
Grey’s Anatomy stars Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey, Sandra Oh as Cristina Yang, Katherine Heigl as Isobel Stevens, T.R. Knight as George O’Malley, Justin Chambers as Alex Karev, Chandra Wilson as Miranda Bailey, James Pickens Jr. as Dr. Richard Webber, Eric Dane as Dr. Mark “McSteamy” Sloane, Sara Ramirez as Dr. Callie Torres, Chyler Leigh as Lexie Grey, with Brooke Smith as Erica Hahn, and Patrick Dempsey as Derek “Dr. McDreamy” Shepherd.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
The third season left us with a cliffhanger ending...with Burke leaving Yang at the altar, and that is where the season premiere starts, “A Change Is Gonna Come.” In that episode, having just returned from her honeymoon with Meredith since Burke left, Cristina searches for Burke, but he's nowhere to be found...later Meredith, Cristina, Izzie and Alex spend their first day as residents with their own groups of interns -- among the interns are George, repeating his intern year after failing his exams, and Lexie Grey, Meredith's half-sister whom she has never met. In “The Heart of the Matter,” a face familiar to Alex shows up and dredges up issues that were never really dealt with, while Dr. Webber’s niece who was the reason for the prom at Seattle Grace finds out her cancer is back and she brings her aunt Adele with her. In “Forever Young,” there has been a bus crash and the patients are in the ER. And Meredith and Derek's relationship gets more complicated as Nurse Rose enters the picture. In the two-part episode, “Crash,” an ambulance crash endangers the lives of the paramedics involved, as Meredith and the Chief work on-site to save them, Bailey treats a patient who refuses her help, and Ava/Rebecca returns for Alex and meets his other girlfriend (Lexie) in the process. In “Piece of My Heart,” Addison visits Seattle Grace because they need skills that only she has, while Ava/Rebecca returns again with shocking news for Alex. Finally, in the two-part season finale, “Freedom,” Meredith and Derek work on their last patient in their clinical trial, as the other surgeons try desperately to free a boy from a hardening block of cement, meanwhile Izzie helps Alex care for Ava/Rebecca and Lexie discovers important information about George's intern status and Callie confronts her feelings about Erica.
Guest starring is Diahann Carroll as Jane Burke, Elizabeth Reaser as Ava/Rebecca, Edward Herrmann as Dr. Norman Shales, Sarah Utterback as Nurse Olivia, Loretta Devine as Adele Webber, Jeff Perry as Thatcher Grey, Kali Rocha as Sydney Haron, Lauren Stamile as Nurse Rose, Amy Madigan as Dr. Wyatt, Seth Green, Gale Harold and John Billingsley in “Crash Into Me,” Jason O’Mara in “Where The Wild Things Are” & “Piece of My Heart,” Martin Spanjers in “Let the Truth Sting,” Rocky Carroll in “Haunt Your Every Day,” Kurt Fuller in “Physical Attraction...Chemical Reaction,” and Jurnee Smollett in the two-part finale “Freedom.”
The packaging is an outer box with a digipak inside similar to the past few releases. The box art has headshots in a red shade of the entire main cast (Bailey, Sloane, Yang, Derek, Meredith, Izzie, Hahn, Alex, Callie, George, Chief, and Lexie). In the middle, it says Grey’s Anatomy - Season Four Expanded. The back of the box has a nice synopsis of the show and set, with snapshots of again the entire cast from the show in different screenshots. In addition, there is section listing all the bonus features for this set and the technical specifications. Then we get to the digipak case. The front has a red background with a cast photo of all 12 with the show logo in white with the Seattle skyline. The back of the case has again the logo, this time bigger.
When we open the case once, we get a booklet holder pocket on the left side with the show logo and Seattle skyline in the pocket’s cover. On the right side we see a bigger view of the Seattle skyline and six headshots of the cast (Izzie, Derek, Meredith, George, Callie, and Sloane). The booklet holder pocket has three inserts. The first insert is a collectible Grey’s Anatomy doctor’s chart, so we know who is who and who’s been where. It is very creative! It outlines key plots and details from all four seasons. This is a must read...the last page on this inset gives an episode breakdown per disc, not detailed like in the past, but the creative doctor’s chart makes up for that! Then there is another insert showcasing Grey’s Anatomy Professional Wear, the magazine, how to save $20 on past DVD releases, Private Practice DVD, General Hospital on ABC, and finally your favorite ABC Studios DVDs! The final insert is a Blu-ray catalog.
Opening the case a second time, we have discs one and two in the middle along with that cast head shots continuing (now we have Yang, Alex, Bailey, Hahn, Chief, & Lexie) on the right. A third open has discs three and four then disc five on the far right. All of the discs have red artwork and a change phrase. Disc one has the “Relationship Changes” phrase and holds episodes 1-4. Disc two has the “Job Changes” phrase and holds episodes 5-8. Disc three has the “Life Changes” phrase and holds episodes 9-12. Disc four has the “Love Changes” phrase and holds episodes 13-15. Disc five has the “Everything Changes” phrase and holds episodes 16-17 & the extras. Underneath the two discs per holder, we have three rows of color photos! We also get a special disc where we can see how our favorite Wednesday shows got started with pilot episodes of ABC's Wednesday night series Pushing Daisies, Private Practice, and Dirty Sexy Money. See our Desperate Housewives Season 4 DVD review, as we detailed that disc already on that set, as this special disc was also on that set.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menu screen is very high-quality and similar to the previous sets. It starts with headshots of the main cast, from Yang to Meredith. The catchy theme (in full!) is playing in the background. Then with the theme still playing, we get to the main menu screen with the options and video images in the background. The theme does loop, so it starts over. However, for disc one, before the main menu we get auto trailers for DVDs of Private Practice, Samantha Who, Desperate Housewives and Dirty Sexy Money. The options are: Play All, Episode Selection, Audio Commentary, Set Up, Bonus Features, and Sneak Peaks. Bonus Features and Sneak Peeks are only on disc five. Audio Commentary option is on discs one, two and four. When you select each sub-menu, you have different background music from the show. Set Up menu has where you can turn on the captions for English, Spanish or French, along with how to register your DVD. Episode Selection menu has a screenshot from the episode along with the title of the episode, and then you can select which one you want to view. Details on the Bonus Features (disc five only) and Audio Commentaries (discs one, two, & four) will be in the extras section. 9 chapter stops are available for each episode, but discs four and five episodes only have 7 stops each for some reason.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video and audio are both excellent, as it should be since this season is from this past season. The video is in widescreen as it should be. Audio is perfect in Dolby Digital Surround Sound. I again have no complaints whatsoever. There are chapter stops, which I mentioned in the last section. Moreover, the episodes are unedited at just below 43 minutes or so with a few lower and a few higher, and we also have two extended episodes just for the DVD. There are also 2 episodes, which were extended when it aired on ABC originally clocking in at 47:55. The video and audio are on par with the previous sets. Again the recap special that aired last season is not on this set. It is not a big deal. Episode runtimes are as follows:
1. “A Change is Gonna Come” 42:59
2. “Love/Addiction” 42:58
3. “Let the Truth Sting” 42:56
4. “The Heart of the Matter” 42:56
5. “Haunt You Every Day” 42:56
6. “Kung Fu Fighting” 47:55 (originally extended on ABC)
7. “Physical Attraction, Chemical Reaction” 47:55 (originally extended on ABC)
8. “Forever Young” 48:36 (extended for DVD)
9. “Crash Into Me, Part 1” 42:57
10. “Crash Into Me, Part 2” 42:55
11. “Lay Your Hands On Me” 42:55
12. “Where the Wild Things Are” 42:58
13. “Piece of My Heart” 42:56
14. “The Becoming” 54:09 (extended for DVD)
15. “Losing My Mind” 42:52
16. “Freedom, Part 1” 41:10
17. “Freedom, Part 2” 41:11
We have many special features once again! Most of the features are on disc five, but the other discs have audio commentaries and extended episodes! The first audio commentary is on for disc one and is for the season premiere “A Change is Gonna Come.” It has commentary from Chyler Leigh (Lexie) and associate producer Karin Gleason. Moving on to disc two, we have an extended episode titled “Forever Young” and that has been extended to 48:36. That episode also has audio commentary from Lauren Stamile (Nurse Rose) and director Rob Corn. Skipping on to disc four, we have an extended episode and a commentary track for the episode “The Becoming.” It clocks in at 54:09, so we see a lot of new scenes indeed! Audio commentary for this episode is from Sandra Oh (Cristina Yang) and director Julie Anne Robinson.
Moving on to disc five we have the REAL extras. But first let me get those Sneak Peeks out of the way. We have trailers for Wall E, Blu-ray, Brothers & Sisters DVD, Miramax, Narnia, and ABC promos for Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice. Now to the real extras...the first featurette on this set is called “New Docs on the Block.” It runs 8:06 and we are introduced to the three new characters...Hahn, Lexie and Rose. Interviewed are executive producer Betsy Beers, Brooke Smith (Hahn), Chandra Wilson (Bailey), Chyler Leigh (Lexie), Patrick Dempsey (Derek), Lauren Stamile (Rose) and Sara Ramirez (Callie). Then we have “On Set with Patrick & Eric.” It runs 5:37 and shows us the great friendship between the two on location and on the set, with other cast members also talking about the duo. Betsy Beers, Sara Ramirez, Chandra Wilson, James Pickens Jr., Justin Chambers, Patrick Dempsey, Eric Dane, Lauren Stamile and Brooke Smith are interviewed.
Then it is “Good Medicine: Favorite Scenes” that runs 13:48. The favorite scenes featurette the cast and crew give their favorite scenes from the season. Interviewed for this great featurette are Chandra Wilson, Betsy Beers, Eric Dane, Sara Ramirez, James Pickens Jr., Justin Chambers, Brooke Smith, Patrick Dempsey, Lauren Stamile and Chyler Leigh. Up next is “Dissecting Grey’s Anatomy: Unaired Scenes.” We have a lot of them! We get 16 total unaired scenes running for a total of 11:52...more than last time.
Finally, we have two more items. “In Stitches: Season 4 Outtakes” that runs 4:31 and “One Quick Cut” that clocks in at 4:18. The bloopers will have you in stitches, literally. Sandra Oh swears a lot! “One Quick Cut” is a very fast-paced (and pretty funny, too) recap of what has happened through the first four seasons. It is very handy and only is 4:18, so take the time to recap for you!
This is indeed a great set once again despite the discs going to just five discs due to the writers’ strike cutting the episodes to 17. This set is still on par with the past few releases despite the fact we get two fewer discs...but the same price, which is not good. This season focused on changes and change is always good. It keeps things fresh. The special features are on par with the last set, but we still had some missing people. This time missing from the interviews are Shonda Rhimes, Ellen Pompeo, Katherine Heigl, T.R. Knight, and Sandra Oh, but Oh does do an episode commentary. The set is very good and I do recommend you to pick this up, especially if you have the first three sets. So, ‘seriously’ be sure to pick up this set on Sept. 9 and catch up in time for the fifth season premiering Thursday, Sept. 25 at 9/8 central on ABC!
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 4.5/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 5/5
-- Reviewed by pavanbadal on 09/06/08
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