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That '70s Show - Season Four



DVD Release Date: May 9, 2006 (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)
MSRP: $49.99
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 27
Running Time: 598 Minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: 25 Minutes
Audio: English
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned
Special Features:
*Commentary on 3 Episodes by Director David Trainer
*Episode Promo Spots
*Making Company: David Trainer on Directing “That 70s Show”
*A 70s Flashback: Laura Prepon and Mila Kunis *”Season 4 in 4 Minutes”


Hang the disco ball and get ready to boogie on back to the “Me Decade” of the 1970s as 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment releases season four of That ‘70s Show on DVD! Unfortunately nothing lasts forever, and it seems like the wild and wacky good old days of hanging out at Eric’s “Bat Cave” may just be over after Eric and Donna break up and Kitty decides to redecorate the basement. Meanwhile, as Kelso continues his crazy on-again-off-again relationship with Jackie, Hyde’s new bond with his father is definitely off after his father up and leaves town. On a brighter note, Fez is ecstatic to be going out with Big Rhonda, and Donna is delighted to be dating Kelso’s older brother ­ much to Eric’s horror.

The show stars the six kids: Topher Grace as Eric Forman, Ashton Kutcher as Michael Kelso, Laura Prepon as Donna Pinciotti, Danny Masterson as Steven Hyde, Mila Kunis as Jackie Beulah Burkhart, and Wilmer Valderrama as Fez. Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith star as Eric’s parents. The show also stars Don Stark as Donna’s dad plus Tommy Chong (of Cheech & Chong fame). (Tanya Roberts [Donna’s Mom] and Lisa Robin Kelly [Eric’s sister] both left the show after season three).

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Episodes to Watch Out for:

#1) It’s a Wonderful Life: Honestly, this episode just depresses me. I can’t figure out why, it just does. The points in the episode where the gang does things 80s style (especially Fez as the class reunion) are hilarious ­ the rest just kind of made me a bit…sad.

#9) Forgotten Son: Red chooses Kelso to play the stock boy over Eric, while Kitty and Donna spend time together, and Leo takes Hyde and Fez on a shopping spree.

#20) Class Picture: The gang remembers how they all first met.

#27) Love, Wisconsin Style: Season finale. Kitty and Eric catch Donna (who's drunk) skipping school with Casey. Bob can’t seem to exert any authority over Donna, so a frustrated Red intervenes while everyone watches. Jackie suggests that Kelso kiss another girl so that they can reconcile. Hyde and Fez try to decide what to do with some dead fish that they stole. Season Finale.

The “Oh snap, 3rd Rock is Cancelled” List of Guest Stars:
Wayne Knight (3rd Rock from the Sun): It’s a Wonderful Life
French Stewart (3rd Rock from the Sun: Hyde Gets the Girl
Howard Hesseman (3rd…er…Head of the Class, WKRP in Cincinnati): Hyde Gets the Girl
Carnie Wilson (Musician): Hyde Gets the Girl
Lynsey Bartilson (Grounded for Life): Hyde Gets the Girl
Richard Karn (Home Improvement): Bye-Bye Basement
Nick Bakay (Sabrina, the Teenage Witch): An Eric Forman Christmas
Constance Marie (George Lopez): An Eric Forman Christmas
Pamela Sue Martin (Dynasty): Tornado Prom
Luke Wilson: Donna Dates a Kelso, Kelso’s Career, Everybody Loves Casey, Love, Wisconsin Style


Packaging is a four-disc slim case setup as used before. Front cover features the entire season four cast (sans Tommy Chong) sitting on/behind a couch, in front of/on a blue background with peace symbols (I thought THAT was from the 60s). The box has the T7S logo at the top, and season 4 in some type of 70s-style lettering. The box itself is a pinkish-red. Surrounding the peace/couch picture on the front cover, and the spine art as well, are three single-colored continuous lines that come around full circle. (Color order, outside working in: Purple, Light Blue, Yellow). Each of the four case covers contains two different cast members standing around in front of a different colored background (with the same peace symbols as before), with an episode menu on the reverse side. Disc holder 1 is red, and has Donna and Eric on the front cover. #2 has Kelso and Jackie. #3 has Fez and Hyde, while #4 has Kitty and Red plus Bob. Inside covers feature various shots of the main six standing around in front of the same colored background. The two on the front cover of that disc’s slim case are on the disc, while the other four stand to the left (except for Bob, who is on the Disc 4 HOLDER COVER ONLY. Disc 1 has episodes 1-7, Disc 2 has episodes 8-14, Disc 3 has episodes 15-22, and Disc 4 has episodes 23-27.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are rather nicely done once again...they feature circles with video clips inside appearing ­ sort of “popping up” like bubbles, in front of various 70s colored backgrounds (depending on the disc, though there’s no rhyme or reason). This disc’s “60’s imagery” that seems to be the running theme of the season four set is flowers. Come on, I KNOW that’s 60s. (Eh, what do I know though, I’m a 80s kid [more on that later]). For what it’s worth though, the center part of the flowers has smiley faces, which makes a heck of a lot more sense. Each submenu features a static shot of a cast member in front of a frozen version of the background of the main menu as before. A short, cut-off-with-a-fade version of the theme plays in the background. The music and video clips repeat after 21 seconds. Folks who use their computers for playback (I primarily do myself): I could never roll over the text ­ any part of the menu for that matter ­ on disc 1 to make the episode selection. Play All and Main Menu worked, but the rest I had to use up and down on the keyboard to make work.

Video and Audio Quality:

Episodes are 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio, Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0. Chapter Stops! Chapter stops occur at fade-to-blacks. Video looks OK…the colors are nice yet it seems just a TINY bit over-saturated and bright. Edges are normal neither overly sharpened nor dull. No compression artifacts, no grain, no interlacing problems…nice. Audio is clearly voice is fine and not overpowered by music…which is all intact. When did this show go to widescreen? Episode runtimes are as follows.

It’s a Wonderful Life: 22:14
Eric’s Depression: 22:15
Pinciotti vs. Forman: 22:14
Hyde Gets the Girl: 22:15
Bye-Bye Basement: 22:15
The Relapse: 22:!5
Uncomfortable Ball Stuff: 21:53
Donna’s Story: 21:55
The Forgotten Son: 21:55
Red & Stacey: 21:54
Third Wheel: 22:14
An Eric Forman Christmas: 22:04
Jackie Says Cheese: 22:14
Eric’s Hot Cousin: 22:14
Tornado Prom: 22:13
Donna Dates a Kelso: 22:14
Kelso’s Career: 22:15
Leo Loves Kitty: 22:14
Jackie’s Cheese Squeeze: 22:14
Class Picture: 22:15
Prank Day: 22:15
Eric’s Corvette Caper: 22:14
Hyde’s Birthday: 21:44
That 70s Musical: 22:14
Eric’s False Alarm: 21:44
Everybody Loves Casey: 21:45
Love, Wisconsin Style: 22:15

Special Features:

Episode Promos. 30 seconds an episode for 27 episodes. That’s 13 minutes 30 seconds, if you do the math.

Well, that’s what I get for saying “Too many commentaries, not enough time” last time. Yeah….there’s three this time. All three are by director David Trainer. They can be found on Eric’s Depression, Class Picture, and Hyde’s Birthday. They’re essentially continuations for each other, so they’re listed together. Eric’s Depression runs 22:15, Class Picture does as well. Hyde’s Birthday is 21:44. Total: 66:14

Season 4 in 4 Minutes. Runs 4:32 and Introduction is by David Trainer. Is what it says, essentially clips telling the story of season 4 over the course of 4 minutes.

Making Company: David Trainer on Directing That 70s Show: Yet more David Trainer special features. Wow. 7:49 - must have run out of things for the cast to do.

A 70s Flashback: 2 of these:

Laura Prepon: New interview with her spliced with clips of her from the show. 6:23.

Mila Kunis: Same. New interview, clips from the show. People seemed shock that Mila is nothing like Jackie. 6:04

Runtime of Special Features: 125 Minutes

Final Comments:

Wow, the special features section really deflated, didn’t it? Seriously, in one season we went from commentaries on practically 2/3 the episodes…to three. The non-commentary features took a dive too, with only David Trainer, Laura Prepon, and Mila Kunis even being involved on this season’s features. It’s disappointing, big-time. Did the third season not sell well or something, causing FOX to have less features produced, or are they simply running out of things to say THIS early on? And surely there has to be material lying around that could be used to pad the features content (Deleted scenes and bloopers, maybe?). DEFINITELY need more commentaries, by more people, next time. And please put the Play All option on the main menu.

This season is probably not the best to start with (I’d recommend seasons 1 or 3), so if you’re considering a blind buy, you might want to look and see if your retailer is selling either 1 or 3, and purchase it first. Season 4 picks up where season 3 left off to the point that you can get a bit confused if you don’t watch it first. After you know what’s going ON, however, season 4 is QUITE enjoyable, even if it did feel like a bit too much of a drama at points with the Donna/Eric thing. Still, RECOMMENDED ­ with the caveat that you buy either season 1 or season 3 first.

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

Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 2.5/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 05/12/06

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