"EVERWOOD: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON"
by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Treat Williams as ANDREW BROWN
Gregory Smith as EPHRAM BROWN
Emily VanCamp as AMY ABBOTT
Debra Mooney as EDNA HARPER
John Beasley as IRV HARPER
Vivien Cardone as DELIA BROWN
Chris Pratt as BRIGHT ABBOTT
Tom Amandes as HAROLD ABBOTT
Available on DVD August 2
Studio: Warner Bros.
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After surviving the challenges of a mother’s death in the show’s premise, “Everwood” faced its own end in the fourth season. Of course, the show saw it coming, so it gave the cast and crew a chance to say a proper good-bye... sort of. With love triangles abound in the Brown and Abbott families, the characters say good-bye to some characters (somewhat permanently at times) and hello to new ones and returning friends. Ephram (Gregory Smith) has grown up and has to balance his love life with his professional one. Dr. Brown (Treat Williams) is fighting for the woman he loves.
WHAT I LIKED
It’s strange to say this, but “Everwood” is a thing of the past, not just in the fact that it was cancelled five years ago but also because I don’t see this kind of show existing on the current CW network. There’s no supernatural element. There’s no catty vixens. Sure, there’s romance and drama and angst, but it was always bundled into a very safe ABC Family kind of box. It just doesn’t have much place in the current CW business model.
That’s a shame because it’s not a bad show at all, especially if a family with teenagers wants to watch it together. It’s higher quality, in both acting and writing, than the family shows we see on ABC Family (like the popular but highly flawed and overly introspective “Secret Life of the American Teenager”), and it manages to tell stories for both the youth and adults.
This season, as much as ever, is about the parents and the kids. It’s not just focusing on one generation. In fact, even the grandparents get a stab at an exciting love life. The show some balance, and you don’t always see that in shows today, as they grab for a specific audience.
“Everwood” is also relatively even-keeled. It doesn’t go over the deep end. While there is drama throughout this final season, it’s not going too far, like the prime time dramas of the major networks. It’s also not terribly unrealistic, and doesn’t turn to soap operay.
Finally, the finale, while it was left a little open ended in case of last-minute renewal back in 2006, was satisfying. Again, it wasn’t out to break molds, but it resolved several storylines and let some of its characters live happily ever after. You don’t see that done well in television today.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
When it comes to the final season of any show, it’s hard to criticize it too much unless you’re a die-hard fan. I haven’t been through every episode of “Everwood,” so I don’t know if they ruined character arcs that were developed from episode one. But on the whole, I thought the characters were fair to each other by the end.
My only problems were some forced drama, often specifically involving the character of Amy (Emily Van Camp), which threatened to be overdeveloped just to keep her interesting. The other problem I had with this DVD set was its transfer, which is terrible. I’m not sure how it looks on an older tube TV, but blown up to a hi-def television with a Blu-ray up-converting player, the image was terrible at times. Interlaced artifacting and dark contrast made me actually wonder if my settings were wrong. I suspect this is a result from the show not being mastered in high definition and also poor DVD authoring.
The six-disc set includes all 22 episodes from the second season. Quite a few of the episodes are presented with scenes not included in the original broadcast, and the finale has an alternate ending which leaves things open for a non-existent season five.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Families who like classic dramas that parents can watch with their teenagers.