Release Date: February 12, 2013 (Lionsgate)
Color / 2012
MSRP: $39.98 (DVD); $39.97 (Blu-ray)
Packaging: Viva Case
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 10
Running Time: 280 minutes
Running Time of Features: approx. 35 min.
Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital EX Audio; English 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio
Subtitles and Captioning: English and Spanish Subtitles; Closed-Captioned
Special Features: Commentaries; "On the Floor at All Saints" featurette; "Cruz Control" featurette; Gag Reel
Jackie Peyton is "out of excuses, out of tricks, and out of control" as the series Nurse Jackie returns to DVD (and Blu-ray) once again for Nurse Jackie - Season Four. In these 10 episodes, everything in Jackie's life has come crashing down on her and she is now forced to face reality, whether she likes it or not. Everybody knows she has been abusing prescription drugs, her marriage is being broken up over an affair (surprisingly, not her own, at least not initially), everybody at the hospital is getting fired because of Jackie, and she faces even more issues with daughter Fiona. Everything is becoming complicated for Jackie, and it all happens as she is making a legitimate effort to get clean in the fourth season of the Showtime series, available on DVD and Blu-ray (we received the DVD for this review).
The season kicks off with "Kettle-Kettle-Black-Black," where All Saints has just been purchased by a hospital corporation, and big changes are on the way from new director Mike Cruz (Bobby Cannavale). Jackie checks into rehab in "Disneyland Sucks," and finds a new friend in a 17-year-old junkie she finds in a broom closet. In "The Wall," Jackie steps out of rehab early and returns to All Saints... only to find that nothing is the same. Grace reveals to Jackie that she knows she was in rehab in "Slow Growing Monsters." Jackie tries to bring herself back together with Kevin in "One-Armed Jacks."
Kevin is suing Jackie for full custody in "No-Kimono-Zone," but in the meantime, Jackie's new roommate Zoey is keeping Grace and Fiona happy as "co-mother." Jackie meets with her divorce lawyer in "Day of the Iguana." In "Chaud & Froid," Cruz finds out about Jackie's rehab secret when she brings home an intoxicated Charlie (not realizing that Cruz is his father). All Saints deals with a staffing shortage in the aftermath of the previous episode in "Are Those Feather?," and Jackie decides to take action (against the judgment of Cruz) to fix the problem. The season ends with "Handle Your Scandal," where Cruz pushes Jackie to her breaking point in an attempt to get her fired once and for all... but in the aftermath of it all, something serious is happening with his son.
The episodes appear to be unedited, with runtimes as follows:
5. "One-Armed Jacks" (28:04)
6. "No-Kimono-Zone" (28:23)
7. "Day of the Iguana" (28:00)
8. "Chaud & Froid" (26:00)
9. "Are Those Feathers?" (28:21)
10. "Handle Your Scandal" (27:39)
The DVD cover features another excellent publicity photo for the series, this time with Jackie (in her longer hair that she had for this season) walking through a room full of pills and knocking them off of the shelves, with the tagline "Out of excuses. Out of tricks. Out of control." On the back, there is a cast photo, a listing of special features, a brief description of the season, and a few episode snapshots. Inside the case (which is inside of a cardboard sleeve with the exact same artwork for the early pressings), you'll find the discs, which there are three of in the DVD version. The artwork is simple, just like the previous releases, with the series logo on a blue background, and a number of pills to represent the disc number. There is also a listing of episodes included in the case, along with descriptions for each episode.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The main menu has vertical scrolling images of the cast members, along with video clips from the episodes. Options on the main menu include Play All Episodes, Set Up, Episode Selections, and Special Features. Set Up allows you to change the audio track (two different English tracks) and turn on subtitles (English or Spanish). Episode Selections shows the episodes on the disc, along with a snapshot from the episode. Once you select an episode, it plays immediately (chapters are placed within each episode at all of the appropriate places). Finally, Special Features is pretty much self-explanatory, as it brings up a list of special features for each disc.
Video and Audio Quality:
We only received the DVD of this set for review, so our comments only refer to that version. But even so, the quality of the DVD version is pretty good, without any real flaws. The video is presented in widescreen and looks decent on a DVD player capable of up converting to HD. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, and there is also a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track. Finally, each episode has English and Spanish subtitles, and the episodes are also closed-captioned.
Based upon the previous Blu-ray releases of the series, it would be expected that they are of excellent quality (better than the DVDs, obviously) as well.
The set begins with a few commentaries, all of which include the most important person: Edie Falco. Episodes and commentators are as follows:
"Kettle-Kettle-Black-Black" - Richie Jackson, Edie Falco, and Anna Deavere Smith
"The Wall" - Richie Jackson, Edie Falco, and Liz Flahive
"Handle Your Scandal" - Richie Jackson, Edie Falco, and Liz Flahive
Disc 2 has a gag reel (5:29), which is a series of outtakes from the season. Disc 3 has "On the Floor at All Saints" (13:23), where Stephen Wallem (Thor), Arjun Gupta (Sam), and Lenny Jacobson (Lenny) talk about their past (before Jackie) and a bit about their experiences on the series. I always like seeing cast interviews like this on a DVD set. Finally, we have "Cruz Control" (10:30), where Bobby and Jake Cannavale talk about how they became involved in the fourth season of the series and their experiences in the series. I really liked their characters, and it is a shame that they probably won't be seen on the series again.
I really liked this season of the series... in fact, I think it was one of the best. So many of the previous seasons were all about Jackie being a woman with a lot of secrets and scandal, but in this season, everything came out into the open and the series was suddenly no longer about Jackie popping pills all the time. It is interesting to see how she actually manages to handle some of the most stressful things in her life in this season, all of which seem to be piling upon her while she is actually staying away from her temptations. I particularly enjoyed seeing the unlikely friendship that developed between Jackie and Charlie, which made the season finale (I won't spoil it if you haven't seen it) very sad to see. The season ended with Jackie's career in jeopardy, so I'm eager to see what will play out next for Jackie.
Of course, fans will want to pick up this season (preferably on Blu-ray, which we didn't receive for review), but for those who enjoy medical dramas are sure to enjoy this as well. Lionsgate did an excellent job on the set, even if it could have used a few more special features. But at least what is included is pretty good, and fans shouldn't have too much to complain about here.