Release Date: April 3, 2012 (Mill Creek Entertainment)
Packaging: Keepcase with paper sleeves
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: 641 minutes
Running Time of Features: 15 minutes
Audio: English Stereo
Subtitles and Captioning: Closed-captioned
Special Features: "Life Imitating Art, Life Imitating Roseanne" Featurette; Interviews with Lecy Goranson and Michael Fischman; Video Commentary (2 episodes)
It's time to spend more time with the Conner family as Roseanne returns with 25 more episodes from the 1991-1992 season of the classic sitcom! Roseanne - The Complete Fourth Season is a three disc set containing all of the moments of laughter and drama of one of the seasons where the series really was on top. In this season, Becky asks for birth control, Dan gets his business going, Roseanne becomes addicted to bingo, Jackie becomes a truck driver, and there is even an alien abduction. The season was previously available from Anchor Bay, but that release is now out of print, and you can own rerelease (with all of the same content!) for under $15.
Becky wants advice on birth control in "A Bitter Pill to Swallow," but is it too little, too late? Becky is in charge at home when Dan and Roseanne are working all day in "Take My Bike, Please." Dan and his friends discover a secret about Leon in "Why Jackie Becomes a Trucker." Darlene is constantly looking for alone time in "Darlene Fades to Black." In "Tolerate Thy Neighbor," Roseanne accidentally allows burglars to clean out the neighbors while they are on vacation. Roseanne is worried about some Halloween revenge in "Trick Me Up, Trick Me Down." In "Vegas," Roseanne and Dan are Vegas bound for Arnie and Nancy's wedding. The story continues in "Vegas, Vegas," where Roseanne and Dan end up renewing their own vows. Wayne Newton guest stars. Roseanne takes up smoking in "Stressed to Kill."
In "Thanksgiving 91," Roseanne and Jackie find out a shocking secret about their father cheating on their mother. Jackie and Roseanne get to meet the mistress in "Kansas City, Here We Come." Roseanne plays Santa in "Santa Claus." In "Bingo," Roseanne takes up a deadly (well, not really) habit and becomes addicted. Darlene meets David (Johnny Galecki, but actually he is named Kevin in this appearance) in "The Bowling Show." In "The Back Story," Roseanne throws her back out and Bev comes to help... and is too much in the way. Roseanne's doctor recommends a breast reduction in "Less is More." Neil Patrick Harris has an appearance in Roseanne's nightmare as Doogie Howser. Jackie and Roseanne visit their vacant childhood home, which is full of memories of their abusive father, in "This Old House."
In "The Commercial Show," the entire family gets to be in a commercial. Roseanne accompanies Jackie to her therapist in "Therapy." In "Lies," Roseanne has to take a lie detector test at work. Crystal goes into labor (again) in "Deliverance." Dan is forced to lie to Roseanne and Becky to after he helps Mark in "Secrets." In "Don't Make Me Over," Becky and Darlene try to deceive Roseanne, which obviously isn't going to get past her. The season ends with "Aliens," where Arnie claims to have been abducted by aliens.
As far as I know, these episodes are unedited... but I don't have original unedited versions to compare them to, so I can't say that for certain. Runtimes are as follows:
1. "A Bitter Pill to Swallow" (23:26)
2. "Take My Bike, Please" (23:27)
3. "Why Jackie Becomes a Trucker" (23:11)
4. "Darlene Fades to Black" (23:26)
5. "Tolerate Thy Neighbor" (23:26)
6. "Trick Me Up, Trick Me Down" (23:25)
7. "Vegas" (23:05)
8. "Vegas, Vegas" (23:33)
9. "Stressed to Kill" (23:25)
10. "Thanksgiving 1991" (23:01)
11. "Kansas City, Here We Come" (23:26)
12. "Santa Claus" (23:04)
13. "Bingo" (23:27)
14. "The Bowling Show" (22:47)
15. "The Back Story" (23:25)
16. "Less is More" (23:24)
17. "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" (22:26)
18. "This Old House" (23:25)
19. "The Commercial Show" (22:55)
20. "Therapy" (22:40)
21. "Lies" (23:24)
22. "Deliverance" (23:11)
23. "Secrets" (23:24)
24. "Don't Make Me Over" (23:26)
25. "Aliens" (23:24)
Once again, we have nice packaging artwork, but poor packaging. The cover art features a large photo of Roseanne and Dan surrounded by several publicity photos from the series. On the back, we have a few more photos, a brief season description, a list of guest stars, and a list of special features. All of this is inside of a case which is the same thickness as a standard DVD case (not the double-thick ones like some of the earlier releases of the first two seasons). It all looks rather nice, but then when you get inside, you find those ugly, ugly black paper sleeves holding the discs. They really aren't the best way of storing DVDs, at all. There are three discs in the set, and each one has the same artwork as seen on the cover. Discs 1 and 2 contain nine episodes each, while Disc 3 contains seven episodes.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus on this set are consistent with all of the previous releases, and that means that they are pretty nice. The main menu features a photo of Dan and Roseanne (not the same as the one on the cover art) with some video clips from the episodes playing in the background, as well as the theme song. From the main menu, you get options of Play All and Episode Select, and Disc 3 also has the Bonus Features option. Once you go to Episode Select, you get a listing of all of the episodes on the disc, and there is even a photo snapshot of the episode on the right side of the screen. Once you select an episode, it plays immediately, and there are chapters throughout each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
There isn't a whole lot to be said about the video and audio quality that hasn't already been said. It is perfectly acceptable, but it is (still) a bit unfocused, and the over-compression by Mill Creek is still a problem. I doubt anybody will be really upset about the quality, but it could certainly be better. The audio, presented in stereo, is fine, though the levels are a little low. Each episode is closed-captioned.
Like the re-release of Roseanne - The Complete Third Season, the special features on this set are exactly the same as they were on the Anchor Bay release. My favorite among the special features is the video commentaries. There are two video commentaries on the set featuring Roseanne herself, on the episodes "Trick Me Up, Trick Me Down" and "Thanksgiving 1991." Here, we get to see Roseanne give a lot of great insights into the series. Don't try to find these on Disc 1 or 2 where the actual episodes are without the commentaries, though... they are actually on Disc 3 (as are all other special features).
"Life Imitating Art, Life Imitating Roseanne" (5:32) gives viewers a little more interview time with Roseanne, where she talks about the series, but most specifically the fourth season and how the series imitated life, to put it bluntly. Mostly, we have a lot of clips here, but we do get to hear new (well, new at the time they were recorded) insights from Roseanne.
Finally, we have "Interviews with Lecy Goranson and Michael Fischman" (9:48), which is a new (again, relative to the original release of the fourth season) interview with the actors who played DJ and Becky on the series. They aren't actually featured together, but what we do get is a series of clips from the fourth season, interspersed with interviews of them talking about growing up as child actors on the series, and their experiences of working with Roseanne and John Goodman. We even get a story from Goranson about her unconventional hairstyle in this season, how the producers were against it, and how Roseanne made them "get over it."
Well, you get what you pay for, I suppose. This isn't a bad set, but as usual, I stand by my comments on how the packaging could be better, and the set could really use a fourth disc. But other than that, this set is fine as far as I can tell. This is also, at least in my opinion, one of the best seasons of the series. Like many series do once they began to approach the middle of the series, we seem to have full development of each character, particular Jackie as we begin to really see some of her strange ways. We are also introduced to Johnny Galecki's character of Mark in this season, so all of the real major players for the series appear in this season. I have somewhat avoided watching this series in syndication (since it airs so much), so seeing these episodes again was probably the first time I've truly sat down and watched the series in over a decade. It really does hold up well, and I think that any fan of this series or other similar sitcoms will enjoy it. If you own the Anchor Bay releases, there is probably no real need to change out those sets, but if not, this is a great bargain for fans of the domestic goddess.