Grey's Anatomy: Season Four - Extended
R1 - America - Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: James Teitelbaum (27th October 2008).
The Show

This five-disc set presents the complete fourth season of the acclaimed television program "Grey's Anatomy." Some of the episodes have been extended from their original broadcast versions. The large ensemble cast includes Ellen Pompeo as Dr. Meredith Grey, Sandra Oh as Dr. Cristina Yang, Katherine Heigl as Dr. Isobel 'Izzie' Stevens, Justin Chambers as Dr. Alex Karev, T.R. Knight as Dr. George O'Malley, Chandra Wilson as Dr. Miranda Bailey, James Pickens Jr. as Dr. Richard Webber, Patrick Dempsey as Dr. Derek Shepherd, Isaiah Washington as Dr. Preston Burke, Kate Walsh as Dr. Addison Montgomery-Shepherd, Sara Ramirez as Dr. Callie Torres, and Eric Dane as Dr. Mark Sloan.

Walking into this fourth seaon with no prior knowledge about this show at all, I was completely lost from the get-go. The series spends no time at all establishing the characters or giving a new viewer any chance to get caught up. The first episode kicks right in with a large cast of characters discussing a bewildering array of personal issues that a new viewer will not understand - or care about - at all. This program does have a devoted following of viewers who are big fans, but the majority of them must have been following things from season one. Entry into the show from the fourth season is not recommended; I felt completely alienated (unlike watching "Ugly Betty" (2006-Present), for example, which I reviewed on the same day, and was able to get caught up with quickly).

Wading into this DVD set with no preconceptions at all about what this show was about or what kinds of charactes I would encounter, my impressions are that the employees of Grace Hospital in Seattle are, almost entirely, a really unlikable bunch. They're tense, mean, sarcastic, and cranky most of the time. They don't seem to like themselves or each other much at all. This makes it hard for the viewer to care much about them either. Perhaps the familiarity born of following these characters over the first three seasons might make devoted fans empathetic towards them on some level, but I was unable to find any reason to want to follow these people any further than I had to in order to write this review. It also seems implausible that Grace Hospital can function at all, given the amount of time that the doctors and other staff members spend dealing with their personal issues and with sorting out their extracurricular romances, family matters, and personal battles. The show can also be phenomenally depressing, given its core subject matter. Hospitals aren't happy places, and the patients within are more or less miserable most of the time. If patients were in good health, they wouldn't be there. "Grey's Anatomy" pulls few punches in showing the suffering and misery of the people who enter the hospital. Given the pain that the patients are in, coupled with the generally dark demeanors of the doctors, this is not an uplifting show.

Discs one through three contain four episodes each, disc four contains three episodes, and disc five contains two more episodes (seventeen in total):

- "A Change Is Gonna Come"
- "Love/Addiction"
- "Let the Truth Sting"
- "The Heart of the Matter"
- "Haunt You Every Day"
- "Kung Fu Fighting"
- "Physical Attraction... Chemical Reaction"
- "Forever Young"
- "Crash Into Me: Part 1"
- "Crash Into Me: Part 2"
- "Lay Your Hands on Me"
- "Where the Wild Things Are"
- "Piece of My Heart"
- "The Becoming"
- "Losing My Mind"
- "Freedom: Part 1"
- "Freedom: Part 2"

Video

The image is as broadcast, 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. A bluish-grey cast over the image deepens the unhappy tone of the show. There seems to be an undercurrent of cheerfulness that wants to come through, but it just never seems to surface. the blue-grey haze over the whole thing doesn't help much. A few spots of dust or minor damage here and there are not too distracting, but ought not be present in a new production like this one.

Audio

The audio is presented in English, French or Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, with English, Spanish, and French subtitles. Surrounds are used for ambient sound but the mix is ought to be fine under most circumstances. Some of these shows don't really benefit much from a surround mix, and it is a puzzle why they use up extra disc space in tripling the number of audio channels so needlessly.

Extras

Buena Vista has included two audio commentaries, three featurettes, some outtakes, a re-cap clip, some unaired scenes and bonus trailers. Below is a closer look at these supplements.

DISC ONE:

The episode "A Change is Gonna Come" features an audio commentary with actress Chyler Leigh and associate producer Karin Gleason. They discuss introducing the Lexie Grey character and tells stories from the set.

DISC TWO:

The episode "Forever Young" contains an audio commentary by actress Lauren Stamile and executive producer/director Rob Corn. Stamile discusses her character, Nurse Rose, while Corn talks about the themes of growing up in the episode.

DISCS THREE & FOUR:

There are no extras on this disc.

DISC FIVE:

"New Docs on the Block" featurette runs for 8 minutes 6 seconds; three new cast members are introduced in this clip.

"On Set with Patrick and Eric" featurette runs for 5 minutes 37 seconds; all of the cast members praise their fellow actors, Patrick and Eric.

"Good Medicine: Favorite Scenes" featurette runs for 13 minutes 48 seconds; the cast pick their favorite moments from Season Four.

"In Stitches" are season four outtakes runs for 4 minutes 32 seconds and is a standard blooper reel.

"One Quick Cut" re-cap clip runs for 4 minutes 18 seconds; giving this feature an ambiguous name and sticking it at the very end of the last disc of the set was a very bad idea, given that this is a re-cap of the first three seasons, and is sorely needed at the beginning of disc one. This is the only material on the set that is in 4:3 instead of 1.78:1.

16 unaired scenes include:

- "Really Dead Guy" runs for 1 minute 18 seconds; and is of an old guy cracks wise.
- "Be Her Doctor" runs for 1 minute 5 seconds; and two docs discuss death.
- "Go Get Started" runs for 21 seconds; Dr. Hahn's first day.
- "Scut" runs for 25 seconds; interns follow a doctor around.
- "Sensitive About His Toes" runs for 44 seconds; woman doctors talk about their husbands.
- "High School" runs for 24 seconds; a bunch of kids are on their phones.
- "Anything Else" runs for 46 seconds; Dr. Hahn tells a story and is interrupted.
- "Lunch Plans" runs for 19 seconds; Dr. Bailey gives orders.
- "The Metal Things" runs for 23 seconds; a man has metal in his leg.
- "Have You Heard" runs for 30 seconds; some bad news is delivered.
- "Not One Of Us" runs for 1 minute 16 seconds; Dr. Bailey sees a patient.
- "I Hate Work" runs for 57 seconds; Izzy sleeps in.
- "Maybe You'll Be A Surgeon Too" runs for 38 seconds; two doctors have a personal talk.
- "Each One Teach One" runs for 36 seconds; Izzy talks to Dr. Baily in an elevator.
- "Dirty Talk" runs for 1 minute 39 seconds; doctors talk about talking dirty.
- "What We Can't See" runs for 24 seconds; a comatose girl needs an MRI.

Bonus trailers are included for:

- "Brothers and Sisters: Second Season" which runs for 1 minute 17 seconds.
- "Miramax Films" spot which runs for 2 minutes 36 seconds.
- "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" which runs for 2 minutes 6 seconds.
- "Wall-E" which runs for 2 minutes 33 seconds.
- "Grey's Anatomy on ABC" spot which runs for 31 seconds.
- "Private Practice" spot which runs for 31 seconds.

There's a hidden Easter Egg: From the bonus features menu of the fifth disc, click on the left side of the "Main Menu" option to get to a featurette about filming an ambulance crash scene which runs for 3 minutes 26 seconds.

Packaging

This set is packaged in a fold out digi-pack housed in a cardboard slip-case.

Overall

The Show: C- Video: B- Audio: B Extras: B Overall: B-

 


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