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Desperate Housewives - The Complete Fourth Season - Sizzling Secrets Edition



DVD Release Date: September 2, 2008 (ABC Studios/Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
MSRP: $59.99
Number of Discs: 5
Number of Episodes: 17
Running Time: approx. 721 minutes
Total Running Time of Special Features: approx. 69 minutes (not counting commentary tracks)
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English language; English, Spanish & French subtitles; Closed Captioned
Special Features:
• Audio Commentary and Couples Commentary
• “Getting Desperate: From Beginning to End”
• “Spare Time: Hangin’ with the Men on Wisteria Lane”
• Alternate Ending (to season finale)
• Cherry-Picked: Creator Marc Cherry's favorite scenes (with optional commentary from Marc Cherry)
• Bloopers
• 12 Deleted scenes with optional audio commentary from Marc Cherry


The women of Wisteria Lane are back for a fourth season on DVD from ABC Studios/Buena Vista Home Entertainment, and it’s hotter, hipper and even more exiting in this fourth season! In this fourth season, the ladies are joined by an old friend (Dana Delaney), who brings the simmering neighborhood to a boil! All 17 episodes from the WGA strike-shortened season are here in a scintillating 5-disc set! As always with popular ABC Studios DVDs, it is blazing with many exclusive bonus features that will keep you watching for hours. Desperate Housewives burns even brighter on DVD so relive or catch up with season four just in time for the 5th season, premiering Sept. 28 on ABC!

Starring this season are of course the main ladies, Teri Hatcher as Susan, Felicity Huffman as Lynette, Marcia Cross as Bree, Eva Longoria-Parker as Gabrielle, Nicollette Sheridan as Edie, with Brenda Strong as Mary Alice and joining the cast this season is Dana Delany as Katherine. Then we have the men: James Denton as Mike, Ricardo Antonio Chavira as Carlos, Kyle MacLachlan as Orson, Doug Savant as Tom and joining the cast is Nathan Fillion as Adam. And the kids: Andrea Bowen as Julie, Shawn Pyfrom as Andrew, Joy Lauren as Danielle, Zane Huet as Parker, Brent & Shane Kinsman as Preston & Porter, Rachel Fox as Kayla Huntington and joining the cast this season is Lyndsey Fonseca as Dylan.

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Season three was a very good season and season four is even better! Some of the most memorable episodes of the strike-shortened season are the season premiere, “Now You Know,” where a month has passed on Wisteria Lane since Susan and Gabrielle tied the knot with Mike and Victor, and after a twelve year absence, Katherine Mayfair (Dana Delany) moves back to Wisteria Lane with her new husband Adam and daughter Dylan, who doesn't seem to remember living there. In the fun-filled episode “The Game,” Susan is throwing one of her charade parties, and although reluctant at first, the girls all decide to go when they make sure Katherine is going to be there. In the Halloween episode, “Now I Know, Don’t Be Scared,” Edie Britt's biggest fear comes true when Carlos walks out on their relationship and Danielle goes into labor right in the middle of the Halloween party much to the dismay of Bree, who quickly takes her out of there before anyone knowing...and somebody has to deliver the baby. In a classic episode, “You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover,” on a boat, Victor confronts Gaby about her affair with Carlos and she throws him into the ocean. In probably the best episode of the season, “Something’s Coming,” a tornado comes to Wisteria Lane, forcing residents into basements, cellars and safe rooms, and destroying homes and lives. Then in the very next episode, “Welcome to Kanagawa,” we are seen the aftermath of the tornado and the residents of Wisteria Lane try to rebuild their lives. Bree and Katherine join forces to plan the Founders' Day Ball in “In Buddy’s Eyes.” Dylan meets her estranged father (guest star Gary Cole) in “Hello, Little Girl.” In part-one of the season finale, “The Gun Song,” Lynette is arrested for child abuse of Kayla and Katherine is visited by her ex-husband, Wayne (guest star Gary Cole), who wants to know why Dylan doesn't have a childhood scar on her arm anymore. In part-two of the finale, “Free,” Katherine Mayfair's secrets are finally revealed, and several residents of Wisteria Lane are faced with deadly threats, while the show takes a loom ahead five years in the future at the end of the episode, with serious changes up ahead.

Recurring actors include John Slattery as Victor Lang, Pat Crawford Brown as Ida Greenberg, Kevin Rahm as Lee McDermott, Tuc Watkins as Bob Hunter, Polly Bergen as Stella Wingfield, Justine Bateman as Ellie Leonard, Gary Cole as Wayne Davis, and Emmy award winning Kathryn Joosten as Mrs. McCluskey.

Other one time appearances include Shirley Knight as Phyllis Van De Kamp (“If There’s Anything I Can’t Stand”), Jesse Metcalfe as John Rowland (“Art Isn’t Easy”), Richard Chamberlain as Glen Wingfield (“Distant Past”), Richard Burgi as Karl (“Opening Doors”), Jason Gedrick as Rick Coletti (“In Buddy’s Eyes” & “Hello, Little Girl”), Ceila Westol as Adele Delfino (“Mother Said”), Bill Smitrovich as Reverend Green (“The Gun Song”), and Chris Carmack as Tim (“Sunday”).


The packaging is very good and similar to the previous seasons. It is a nice clear slip sleeve that is easy to take out and put back in. You take the sleeve out from the ride side. On the front it has the Desperate Housewives logo in red and white with Sizzling Secrets Edition - Season 4 below that. Underneath that is a nice photo of the main women in blue dresses coming out of a fire. It is very hot. When you take out the sleeve, the cover looks different on the case, as the dresses turn into a fire color! It is so cool! So the clear sleeve only really has the blue dresses, while everything else is on the case’s cover. The back of the sleeve has a screenshot of Lynette, a screenshot of Katherine and a screenshot of the main four women, with nice colorful flowers below that. That is all that is on the clear sleeve’s back, but when you remove the sleeve, you can see the synopsis of the show, along with bonus features and technical specifications. In the background of the back of the case is Bob & Lee’s house with that hideous looking statue of theirs.

When we open the case once, on the left side we see house on the bottom with a storm brewing and a holder for inserts/booklets is on top. In previous sets, an episode guide for the show came with the set with nice colorful pictures and a detailed synopsis of each episode on each disc. But not on this set. We do get a very creative booklet though! It is called Fairview Realty. It has a shot of Gaby and Carlos’ house on the front. Inside there are descriptions of the many houses on the street, along with ads for John’s Gardening, Orson Hodge DDS, Scavo’s Pizzeria (with a coupon!), Victor Lang for Mayor, Mike’s Plumbing, Edie’s Realty, and Rick’s Restaurant. Back of that booklet does have a list of episodes per disc, so all is not lost! Then there is an insert for other ABC Studios products like Grey’s Anatomy Season 4 and Samantha Who Season 1. That insert also has an ad for the General Hospital on ABC. The last thing enclosed is a Blue-ray disc catalog for such products as Coyote Ugly and Lost Season 3. We also get a special disc where we can see how our favorite shows got started with pilot episodes of ABC’s Wednesday night series Pushing Daisies, Private Practice, and Dirty Sexy Money. I’ll detail this disc in the special features section.

On the ride side of the case, we see nice color photos of Edie, Susan and Gabrielle in nice dresses with Wisteria Lane in the background, with a quote from US Weekly on the top. When we open the case once more, we see discs one and two in the middle, with a continuation of that color photo on the right of Lynette & Bree. Opening once more, we now see discs three & four and discs five & six on the right.

The discs are overlapped with two other discs again like the previous sets. I hate that. I would have preferred like three slim cases instead but at least they are point in changing it now,, so I should stop it. All the discs have dark blue background (maybe matching the tornado?) and the DH logo in red & white. Disc one has artwork of a ring and episodes 1-4, disc two has artwork of some yummy looking brownies and episodes 5-8, disc three has artwork of two glasses with a win bottle and episodes 9-12, disc four has artwork of a lemon meringue pie with ingredients and episodes 13-15, and disc five has artwork of some matches and episodes 16 & 17, and has all those sizzling bonus materials. When we remove the discs, underneath them are three screenshots on each panel and also more houses with the tornado funnel cloud! Take cover!

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menu screen has changed. We do NOT get the one-minute opening title sequence with the Housewives cast instead of the actual animated intro. Also, the opening theme is not playing in the background anymore, but we do get nice sounding background music. The menus are themed for the tornado. Once again, each disc has a different house on the main menu, but this with storm clouds looming. Disc one has a yellow house that is maybe Susan and Mike’s house, I’m guessing. Disc two has a blue house, maybe Lynette’s I’m guessing. Disc three has another yellow house that is for sure Gaby’s. Disc four has green type house that might be Bree’s. Disc five has a pink/beige house that might be Edie’s. Each sub-menu is also different, so it is very well designed. The options for the main menu screens are on a little white wooden sign and they are: Play All, Episode Selection, Set Up. These are on all five discs. Audio Commentary option is on disc one, while discs two through four have a Couples Commentary section. Disc five has Bonus Features and Sneak Peeks. Bonus Features takes you to Mike’s old house, which is now Katherine’s house. Each sub-menu also has different background music playing in the background. Set Up basically is to turn on captions (English, Spanish or French) and to register your DVD. When we select Episode Selections, it is different for each disc, for example disc one is in a bathroom sink, with episode number, title and screenshot from the episode. Sneak Peeks we get trailers for DVDs of Dirty Sexy Money, Brothers & Sisters, Ugly Betty, Miramax Films, Chronicles of Narnia, Wall E, and ABC promos for Dirty Sexy Money and Brothers & Sisters. In addition, disc one has an auto-preview playing before the menu of new DVDs of Private Practice, Samantha Who, Grey’s Anatomy and Lost. Little apples are your selectors on all menus; they turn from red to a different color on each disc when selected.

Video and Audio Quality:

The video again is in widescreen of course and the audio again is in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound...both as it should be. I know have HD and watch the show on ABC HD, so the DVD is on par with that but it would look better on Blue-ray of course. There are chapter stops for each episode, about 9-10 per episode. Each episode is of course unedited and runs about 42-43 minutes, give or take a few seconds (see runtimes below). Also of note, we get to watch the actual closing credits again, like on the previous sets! On the network airings, they are in split screen form with promos on the right side. The closing credits are about 34-35 seconds and have a nice touch to it. The season finale this season aired as a two-hour episode, but they really were separate episodes, and they are presented that way on this DVD.

Disc one
1 - Now You Know 43:02
2 - Smiles of a Summer Night 42:28
3 - The Game 42:52
4 - If There’s Anything I Can’t Stand 42:57

Disc two
5 - Art Isn’t Easy 41:37
6 - Now I Know, Don’t Be Scared 42:53
7 - You Can’t Judge a Book By Its Cover 42:58
8 - Distant Past 42:57

Disc three
9 - Something’s Coming 42:47
10 - Welcome to Kanagawa 42:40
11 - Sunday 43:00
12 - In Buddy’s Eyes 42:54

Disc four
13 - Hello, Little Girl 42:54
14 - Opening Doors 42:55
15 - Mother Said 42:54

Disc five
16 - The Gun Song 42:40
17 - Free 42:58

Special Features:

Now let’s move on to the special features! Again, the recap episodes that ABC airs are missing, but that isn’t a big loss and many fans considered that to be “boring” anyway. This set has audio commentaries on episodes for the first time since season one, I believe! On disc one, we have an audio commentary track for the episode “Now You Know,” from Marc Cherry, Bob Daily and Jeff Greenstein. It is always informative when the producers and writers do a commentary track. Then on disc two we have two couple’s commentary tracks. First one is for “Now I Know Don’t Be Scared,” the Halloween episode where Danielle has the baby and where Bree and Orson shine and they do commentary for this episode, yes Marcia Cross and Kyle MacLachlan! Then also on disc two we have a couple’s commentary for the episode “Distant Past,” which we learn more about Katherine and Adam, and they do the commentary here, as we have Dana Delaney and Nathan Fillion. We get two more audio commentaries on disc three! First one is by Eva Longoria and Ricardo Antonio Chavira for the episode “Something’s Coming,” which is of course the tornado episode. It would have been nice if Nicollette Sheridan would have joined in on them as Edie was involved with Carlos. Then Felicity Huffman and Doug Savant get together to comment on the next episode, “Welcome to Kanagawa,” which is the post-tornado episode. Then on disc four we get one more couple’s commentary and one more commentary from the producers. The couples one is by Teri Hatcher and James Denton for the episode “Mother Said,” which is the episode where Mike’s mom comes and Susan going into labor. It is nice that all the couples did one each! Finally, the last commentary is for the very same episode, “Mother Said,” but this time by Marc Cherry, Nicollette Sheridan, and director David Warren. At least Nicollette got on one commentary track! We get the rest of the extras are all on one disc--disc five.

The first extra on disc five is called “Getting Desperate: From Beginning to End.” It run 26:37 and is basically how the tornado episode was done. It is an awesome and must see favorite one. We learn that the tornado was done of course using CGI, along with the flying objects. However, the destruction at the end is all real! They destroyed the set to make it look like a tornado hit! Interviewed are producers, cast and crew: Marc Cherry, Thomas A. Walsh, Brenda Strong, John Blair, Felicity Huffman, Lori Kirkland Baker, Susan Nirah Jaffe, Bob Daily, Stephanie Hagen, Tom Irvine, David Grossman, Dana Delaney, Marcia Cross, Nicollette Sheridan, Eva Longoria, Wally Crowder, John Slattery, David Carriker, and Steve Jablonsky. Then we have another featurette called “Spare Time: Hanging with the Men of Wisteria Lane.” It runs 8:33 and this one is very fun. The guys of DH all go bowling (missing is Chavira though). We have interviews from Nathan Fillion, Doug Savant, James Denton, Kyle MacLachlan, Kevin Rahm, Tuc Watkins, Shawn Pyfrom and a little piece from Nicollette Sheridan at the very end. The guys tried to guess every single death on the show as well.

Then Marc Cherry has "Cherry-Picked" his favorite scenes from the season. He shares his 6 favorite scenes, which include the hilarious scene with Gaby and the handicap spot with the guy in the wheelchair. You can watch the scenes with optional audio commentary, which I really recommend you do, since you’ll see the scenes on the actual episodes anyway. Marc is very detailed! Here are the 6 scenes: #401 “Trick Fork” scene (1:20), #401 “New Doctor” scene (1:25), #402 “Secret Ingredient” scene (2:24), #406 “Test Results” scene (2:27), #412 “Primo Parking Spot” scene (1:58), and #414 “Katherine & Wayne” scene (4:22).

Then there is the “Alternate Ending” running (2:08). Watch the scene straight through first, and then re-watch then with Marc Cherry’s commentary. This is the original final scene from the season finale where they flash-forward five years later. The scene has the same basic idea, but ABC president Steven McPherson said it didn’t really deliver, so he asked Marc Cherry to re-do it and he agreed. I like the scene we saw originally better, but it is nice to see what could have been! They shot this on a Tuesday and it aired the very next Sunday, so it was very last minute! Up next we have a dozen “Deleted Scenes” from the season and Marc Cherry gives optional commentary on each. Watch them straight through first, and then re-watch then with his commentary. Very interesting and it is too bad all of them basically had to be cut because of time issues, as was the case last time. Some scenes did not deliver and had to be cut, though. Among the good ones is a look at the destruction of the street in the deleted scene “Clean-Up.” The deleted scenes are (episode, scene title, and runtime): #403 Charades (0:15), #404 Good At This (0:34), #404 Suspicious (1:12), #405 Calm & Rational (1:30), #406 Invitation (0:35), #406 Disaster (0:34), #407 Ooh Ah Eat (0:29), #407 Deception (1:39), #407 Clean-Up (0:22), #410 Lucky Gaby (0:59), #411 Secrets (0:42), #414 Gossip & Speculation (1:24). They should have inserted the ones that Marc felt was needed for the episode in the actual episode for the DVD, I think, since it was cut for time on ABC. Finally, we have some Bloopers. It runs 4:40 and is longer than last time, so a plus!

As I mentioned earlier, we also get a special promotional 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! The disc comes in a nice colorful cardboard cover. The disc starts off with a promo of all three shows running 1:30 saying they return October 1 on ABC for their second seasons! Then we get to the main menu where we see the ABC logo, Play All, and the show logos of each and we can choose which pilot we want to see. There are no chapter stops for these episodes, but what do you expect? Each pilot episode is followed by a 30 second promo for the new season of each. The pilot for Pushing Daisies runs 41:29, Private Practice runs 43:32, and Dirty Sexy Money runs 43:37. Remember all three are on DVD Sept. 16 and the new season for each launches three weeks later on October 1 on ABC...Start Here!

Final Comments:

The fourth season is literally sizzling because it not only juicy and dirty, but blazing hot! Once again it is a must buy, especially if you have the first three seasons on DVD! Overall, despite the fact this season only had 17 episodes, the quality of the DVD improved from last season. We get audio commentary tracks from all the couples, Nicollette, and Cherry & crew. This is in addition to Cherry giving commentary on other stuff like his favorite scenes, alternate ending and deleted scenes. The other extras were also all so good as well and it seems the like we had more time of extras from the last set, and I am not counting the commentary tracks. I suggest you buy this DVD because before you know it will be 2013 and you’ll miss out! Join in before the Housewives make their five-year leap in season five! Don’t forget to tune in for the fifth season (wow, already...time flies) on ABC starting Sunday, Sept. 28 at 9/8 central!

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 Design/Navigation: 5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

-- Reviewed by pavanbadal on 08/28/08

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