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    The Good Wife: The Fourth Season DVD Review

    DVD TV Reviews Paramount

    Aug 24 2013 01:42 PM | Matt Hough in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
    Four years in and CBS’ The Good Wife continues its winning ways turning in another near-perfect season craftily balancing riveting legal cases with the continually interesting personal lives of all of its major characters. And with the show’s tantalizing knack of bringing back favored friends and enemies of the principals constantly throughout the season plus introducing a series of new and equally effective new folks into their world, there is almost always a fascinating face just around the corner to stir things up with the employees of the law firm of Lockhart/Gardner in Chicago.

    Title Info:

    • Studio: Paramount
    • Distributed By: N/A
    • Video Resolution: 480P/MPEG-2
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
    • Audio: English 2.0 DD, English 5.1 DD
    • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, Other
    • Rating: Not Rated
    • Run Time: 15 Hrs. 56 Min.
    • Package Includes: DVD
    • Case Type: Amray case with leaves in a slipcase
    • Disc Type: DVD-9 (dual layer)
    • Region: 1
    • Release Date: 08/20/2013
    • MSRP: $64.99

    The Production Rating: 4.5/5

    Things have gone from bad to worse for Lockhart/Gardner in the time between the end of season three and the start of season four. The firm is $60 million in debt and is under the gun to clear the debt and pay its creditors. To oversee the firm’s finances, Clark Hayden (Nathan Lane in a startling dramatic role that earned him an Emmy nomination) has been assigned as the firm's financial trustee, and the conservative, meticulous Hayden proves a thorn in the side of the firm for most of the season’s first half. The firm’s perilous financial condition makes winning each case almost a necessity, pressure that is keenly felt by fourth year associates Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) and Cary Agos (Matt Czuchry) as well as their bosses Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) and Will Gardner (Josh Charles). But the cases are very interesting ones ranging from rights of software ownership to a prescient case involving DOMA mere months before the actual Supreme Court’s decision.

    But the entire season didn’t run completely smoothly. The one slight stumble this season involved a protracted story arc involving the firm’s investigator Kalinda Sharma ((Archie Panjabi) and her rough and tumble relationship with her sleazy crime boss husband Nick Savarese (Marc Warren). The usually in-command Kalinda seemed to blow hot and cold with her abusive spouse (his arc lasted for nine painful episodes), decidedly not the Kalinda we saw taking command away from those standing in her way during the show’s first three seasons. His exit was abrupt though it wouldn’t be surprising for this story to come back again during the fifth season in some shape or form (the implication was that Kalinda, in order to save her friends from his wrath, took matters into her own hands and dealt with him with methods only he could appreciate). Things don’t go smoothly for most of the season for political brain trust Eli Gold (Alan Cumming) either. He’s either under investigation for taking bribes and other campaign indiscretions or being undermined by a younger, more casual analyst (T.R. Knight) who wants to be top man in the decision making for Peter Florrick’s (Chris Noth) run for governor of Illinois. And Peter’s season-long campaign is counterbalanced by the slow rekindling of affection between him and Alicia who have been separated for more than a year. Despite Alicia’s lingering attraction to boss Will, Alicia’s messy love life and chaotic work situation (a partnership offer presented, taken away, and then offered again while in secret making plans with Cary to break away and start their own firm) keep the show firing on all cylinders all season long.

    As in the past, the guest star list this season remained stellar from returning players like Dylan Baker (sinister Colin Sweeney), Michael J. Fox (wily lawyer Louis Canning), Martha Plimpton (calculating lawyer Patti Nyholm), Matthew Perry (deranged candidate for governor Mike Kresteva), Dallas Roberts (as Alicia's caring younger brother), and Carrie Preston (genius scatterbrain Elsbeth Tascioni finally earning a well deserved Emmy nomination for her inspired work) to new additions like Maura Tierney (Peter’s political rival Maddie Hayward), Stockard Channing (Alicia’s partially dipsomaniac mother), John Shea (Cary’s demanding and coldly aloof father), and Amanda Peet (new ADA and a potential new romantic interest for Will), all scored in major ways during the season. And, of course, one would be remiss not to mention the entertaining roundelay of guest star judges played by the likes of Denis O’Hare, Rene Auberjonois, Ana Gasteyer, Kurt Fuller, Dominic Chianese, Bebe Neuwirth, and Jane Alexander, among others.

    Here are the twenty-two episodes contained on six discs that make up the contents of this box set:

    1 – I Fought the Law
    2 – And the Law Won
    3 – Two Girls, One Code
    4 – Don’t Haze Me, Bro
    5 – Waiting for the Knock
    6 – The Art of War
    7 – Anatomy of a Joke
    8 – Here Comes the Judge
    9 – A Defense of Marriage
    10 – Battle of the Proxies
    11 – Boom De Ya Da
    12 – Je Ne Sais What?
    13 – The Seven Day Rule
    14 – Red Team, Blue Team
    15 – Going for the Gold
    16 – Runnin’ with the Devil
    17 – Invitation to an Inquest
    18 – Death of a Client
    19 – The Wheels of Justice
    20 – Rape: A Modern Perspective
    21 – A More Perfect Union
    22 – What’s in the Box?

    Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA

    The program is presented on CBS in 1080i and at 1.78:1 for its network broadcasts, and these downconverted 480p transfers look just about as good as it’s possible for a series to look in standard definition. Colors can be warm and rich and nicely saturated, and contrast is always spot on. Flesh tones are usually quite natural. Sharpness is very good but merely a shadow of what we get on high definition broadcasts. Each episode has been divided into 6 chapters.

    Audio Rating: 4/5

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track (the discs also offer Dolby stereo surround 2.0 tracks) does not milk its busy urban streets and legal offices for a maximum of ambient sounds. True, music does offer a nice surround presence in every episode, and dialogue has been expertly recorded and placed in the center channel. More could be done audio-wise to make the soundtrack as involving and immersive as the cases and personalities the series presents.

    Special Features: 3/5

    Thirty-two Deleted Scenes (SD): spread over the six discs, these can be found in the special features part of the menu or attached to each episode where they were excised.

    Seat of Power: Directing The Good Wife (13:16,SD): producers Robert King, Brooke Kennedy, and David Zucker discuss the way directors are assigned to the particular episodes in the series.

    Standards & Practices: Sex and The Good Wife (11:57, SD): producers Robert King and David Zucker discuss network restraints on the portrayals of sex on the show compared to what cable allows. There are several split-screen moments where we see scenes which aired side-by-side with the complete scene which was sent to S&P.

    The Ties That Bind (21:01, SD): the producers and the cast offer overviews of character evolutions over the seasons and where they would like to see things go in season five.

    Style Evolution: The Fashion of The Good Wife (16:08, SD): costume designer and wardrobe coordinator Daniel Lawson discusses his choices for clothes for the principal characters over the course of the show’s four seasons.

    Overall Rating: 4.5/5

    Still the best series on network television, The Good Wife added to its incredible luster with its fourth season being a near-perfect production. Uncommonly well written and performed, the show is a riveting dramatic jewel week after week and by far the shiniest gem in the CBS crown of hit dramatic shows. Despite the fact that CBS/Paramount does not issue the series in high definition for home video, a good upconverting player can make this box set a reasonable if grudging compromise for fans of the show. Highly recommended!

    Reviewed by: Matt Hough
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    I'd like to check out this show, but what's up with no Blu-ray season releases? And it's CBS' best reviewed show?

    I'm guessing that CBS thinks the age demographic skews too old to be interested in Blu-ray releases. How wrong they are!

    Yes, it's kind of sad, because this is a really beautifully shot show and it looks so good in HD.  I'm sure they will get takers on the DVD, and I'm confident it is a solid release, but it is hard to get motivated for an SD release of a show shot and designed for HD.