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The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Fourth Season


TITLE: THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR - THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: August 8, 2006 (Warner Home Video)
Color/1993-94
MSRP: $29.98
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 26
Running Time: 584 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: French and Spanish subtitles; Closed-Captioned
Special Features: None


Introduction:

Yo yo yo! It's time for another season of the Fresh Prince on DVD! The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: The Complete Fourth Season brings all 26 episodes of the 1993-1994 season of the hit show that helped bring Will Smith from being a name that young people associated with a rapper to somebody that almost everybody recognizes as a Hollywood superstar.

The fourth season marks many changes for the series. Vivian (who is now played by Daphne Maxwell Reid, the wife of actor Tim Reid) has given birth to a new baby, Will and Carlton have finally graduated from high school and are ready to move out, and there is a new character named Jackie that shows up from time to time as Will's love interest, played by Tyra Banks.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

The season begins with what was originally a one-hour episode, but is separated into two parts on the DVD set, "Where There's a Will, There's a Way," where lots of things happen. Will and Carlton move out into their own apartment, except it doesn't take too long for them to become homeless homies. Hillary is about to get married, if her husband can live through the proposal! It is all too much to fit into a typical half hour episode! In "Father of the Year," Will discovers that the women are going for the single dads—and he has a new cousin that can play his son! It is Banks vs. Banks when Phillip sues Carlton and Will in "Will Goes a-Courtin'." With Trevor being dead, Hillary decides to have a séance courtesy of a TV psychic in "Hex and the Single Guy," which Will admits he doesn't believe in. Will he regret not believing in it?

Hugh Heffner guest stars in "Fresh Prince After Dark," where Will and Carlton visit the Playboy Mansion. In "Home is Where the Heart Attack Is," Will brings Phillip some fattening foods when he is on a diet, but when Uncle Phil has a heart attack, who is to blame?

Will decides that the perfect time to study for an exam is the night before in "Sleepless in Bel-Air." Will he regret that decision? In "I Know Why the Caged Bird Screams," Will and Jazz steal a mascot from a rival school, so the rival school decides to steal the University of Los Angeles peacock mascot—which happens to be Carlton! Will has a double date—with the other couple being Ashley and her boyfriend—in "Stop Will in the Name of Love."

Jazz is coming to stay with Will and Carlton for a few days and so is his new wife—and they want to make a baby in "Mother's Day." But that is only Will's smallest concern after Jazz asks Will to be a sperm donor when he is unable to get his girlfriend pregnant! Will's father shows up and promises him everything, and then disappears again in "Papa's Got a Brand New Excuse." Donald Trump guest stars in "For Sale By Owner."


Packaging:

The packaging style is different this time, yet again. The sets have gotten thinner each season it seems! But still, the set maintains four discs as it has for the previous three seasons. The big change this time comes from the fact that the set is using double slim cases this time. Basically easy slim case holds two discs and on the front and back of each slim case, there are episode listings for the discs as well as a brief description of the episode and the original airdate. It is nice to see that the descriptions returned after disappearing on the season 3 set!

The box art is rather simple and is of a similar style as the first three seasons. The cover has Will and Carlton on it, which makes sense because the show become more focused on just those two characters in this season. The back has the typical set description and more photos from the show.

The disc breakdown has 7 episodes on Disc 1, 6 episodes on Disc 2, 7 episodes on Disc 3, and 6 episodes on Disc 4. Each disc has a picture of Will on it, the same picture that is on the front of the box art in fact, with Disc 1 being green, Disc 2 being purple, Disc 3 being blue, and Disc 4 being orange.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are about the same for this set as they have been for previous sets, except they've been simplified a little bit. There is no more animation on the menus, so once you put the disc in, the main menu comes up (after the FBI warning and Warner Home Video logos) with the theme song playing in the background and options for Play, Episodes, and Languages. All are pretty much self-explanatory. On the Episodes menu, once you select an episode, it plays right away. There is no scene selection menu, but chapters are placed appropriately throughout each episode.


Video and Audio Quality:

The audio and video is fine. Not necessarily perfect, but fine. The episodes on the set are, to the best of my knowledge, unedited. It is hard to say for sure because the show originally had some runtimes that were low to begin with. So, with that in mind, as well as the fact that Warner usually does a good job with making sure that their sets include unedited episodes, the episodes are probably all unedited. But you can judge for yourself from the runtimes, which are as follows:

Disc 1:
1. Where There's a Will, There's a Way Part 1 (21:04)
2. Where There's a Will, There's a Way Part 2 (22:44)
3. All Guts, No Glory (22:44)
4. Father of the Year (22:39)
5. It's Better to Have Loved and Lost It… (22:09)
6. Will Goes a-Courtin' (21:58)
7. Hex and the Single Guy (22:44)

Disc 2:
8. Blood is Thicker than Mud (21:32)
9. Fresh Prince After Dark (22:14)
10. Home Is Where the Heart Attack Is (22:44)
11. Take My Cousin… Please (22:14)
12. You've Got to Be a Football Hero (22:43)
13. 'Twas the Night Before Christmas (22:43)

Disc 3:
14. Sleepless in Bel-Air (22:23)
15. Who's the Boss? (22:28)
16. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (22:45)
17. When You Hit upon a Star(22:44)
18. Stop Will In the Name of Love (22:44)
19. You'd Better Shop Around (21:43)
20. The Ol' Ball and Chain (22:43)

Disc 4
21. The Harder They Fall (22:44)
22. "M" Is for the Many Things She Gave Me (22:28)
23. Mother's Day (22:43)
24. Papa's Got a Brand New Excuse (22:43)
25. For Sale by Owner (22:43)
26. The Philadelphia Story (22:31)


Special Features:

No special features are included this time, which probably doesn't make a huge difference as the special features in seasons 2 and 3 were not that impressive. It would be nice if they could do more interviews though, like they did in the season 1 set.


Final Comments:

The set isn't a bad set at all, even without the special features. The show does air practically nonstop in syndication now (particularly on Nick at Nite), but it won't always be that way probably and they don't air most of the episodes unedited (although with the short runtimes on some, those could actually be unedited in syndication). But, if this show is such a popular show (which clearly it was and still is), why can't they get some of the cast members together to have them contribute to special features on these sets?

Personally, I liked the first three seasons a bit more (because the "new Vivian" wasn't nearly as good as the Vivian that was played by Janet Hubert-Whitten in my opinion), but there are still lots of good episodes in these later seasons. If you are a fan of the show, you won't be too disappointed with this set. After all, it serves the basic function of what TV-on-DVD is supposed to be—a collection of episodes from an entire season.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 08/11/06

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000FL7C8W/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

Questions or comments about this set? Post on our message board:

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=180152


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