'Big Love: The Complete Fourth Season'
(Bill Paxton, Jean Tripplehorn, Chloe Sevigny, Ginnifer Goodwin, et al / 3-Disc DVD / NR / 2010 / HBO)
Overview: Magnetic and wholly original, Big Love has boldly portrayed the engrossing life of Salt Lake City native Bill Henrickson, who tries to juggle his three wives, nine kids, three houses, and his own entrepreneurial ambitions. In the fourth season Henrickson faces a host of new and personal challenges including the launch of a Mormon-friendly casino with his Native American partners and the changing of the guard at the Juniper Creek compound.
DVD Verdict: We all know 'Big Love' isn't real. It's HBO's version of what would happen if we took a polygamous family who appear to the world as a middle class, all American family, then thrust them into suburbia and see how they handle their dirty little secret. This formula worked for the first 3 seasons. Indeed, we had to suspend belief at times but there were always straws of realism that we could cling to plus the fact that it had humor, great story lines and a lot of heart. Kiss that goodbye in Season 4!
This time around the characters are put into the most untenable situations. One of the central themes was Bill Hendrickson's decision to run for public office. It made no sense considering what he and his family had to lose, and for me put the kibosh on what was once must see TV. There was still plenty of material to work with, mostly dealing with their daily lives without having to resort to these ridiculous plots. Big Love was always something I couldn't get enough of but this season was mostly viewed with glances to my watch to see how much longer I had to suffer through the drivel.
There were however, a few highlights (very few), particularly the development of a burgeoning homosexual romance for Alby Grant, the maturing of Margene, and Nikki's growing realization of her own abusive upbringing. For anyone who loves this show, it's a sad season indeed, one that will be watched but not with much pleasure. Thank goodness for Grandma Lois and Grandpa Frank, two of the only characters who were true to form and provided some laughs. [CC] This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.