DVD Review: 3rd Rock From The Sun - Season 4
Release Date: May 2, 2006
Distributor: Anchor Bay
· John Lithgow
· Kristen Johnston
· French Stewart
· Joseph Gordon-Levitt
· Jane Curtin
· Simbi Khali
· Elmarie Wendel
· Wayne Knight
· Season 1 DVD Review
· Season 2 DVD Review
· Season 3 DVD Review
by Chad Maddux
Published: April 20, 2006
The fourth season of 3rd Rock From the Sun has come to DVD. 3rd Rock is the story of four aliens who have come to Earth to study humans. Dick, Sally, Tommy, and Harry are trying to understand how humans live and interact. Just like children, everything they experience is a new experience and that is, obviously, filled with problems.
The series lasted for six season on NBC. This season features 24 episodes that originally aired from September 23, 1998 through May 25, 1999. Throughout all six seasons, there was not a single cast member addition or departure. Although there were changes in the recurring guest roles, there were no changes in the eight credited cast members. Since the actors are all very talented and work well together on-screen, keeping them together for the duration of the series was very important.
To read more of my opinions on the series, you may read my past reviews of seasons two and three (linked in the data box at left). For another opinion of the series, please read my colleague RJ Carter's review of season one (also linked in the data box).
This season began with the second-half of a two-part cliffhanger episode that ended the third season. Phil Hartman guest-starred in the final episode of last season as Vicki's ex-boyfriend who abducts Harry. Hartman was scheduled to appear in the season four premiere but was fatally shot to death by his wife during the summer before the episode could be filmed. He was written out of the episode (but not replaced); a flashback to the previous was included.
As with every season, the fourth season features some of my favorite and least-favorite episodes. Two of these episodes appear back-to-back. First, "Alien Hunter" is not one of my favorites. A mother and son team believe that the aliens are really aliens. They are hoping to prove their theory by opening up their skulls. Following that episode is "Dick v. Strudwick." In that episode, Don and Sally, who are no longer a couple, have trouble keeping their hands off each other. Dick is incensed when fellow professor Vincent Strudwick writes a new book that wins high praise. The two appear together in one of my all-time favorite scenes on the ficitional TV program, "Men and Ideas."
The fourth season concludes with a two-part episode starring The Big Giant Head. The Big Giant Head's earthly body resembles the body of William Shatner who guest stars. Also, Larissa Oleynik debuts in the recurring guest role of Alissa Strudwick, Tommy's new girlfriend.
First up are the bloopers. If you've read my previous reviews, you know that I love bloopers. You'll also know that Anchor Bay enjoys blurring out the faces of extras in their bonus features. That tradition continues for a fourth season. Although the video quality of this season's bloopers is better than last season, they cut the length of the bloopers by more than half; there were just under five minutes worth. That's not a good thing.
Next up are the highlights from this season. I don't enjoy this feature because it is simply a clip show of the episodes you just finished watching. At just over 11 minutes, there's not much excitement. The final bonus feature is an interview with Jane Curtin who plays Mary Albright. It is a standard interview with commentary on the cast, the stories, and how she found out about the show. Her comments are mixed with clips and, of course, MORE BLURRING.
The powers-that-be decided to change the size of the case halfway through the release of the series. The first three seasons were all packaged in cases of the same size. However, the case for season four is noticeably smaller as a "dead space" included in the first three seasons has been removed. However, the four single-sided discs are still contained in a single fold-out design like the other seasons. This set features a 16-page booklet with episode titles and descriptions.
Last season, I docked the grade because of the blurring which looks incredibly stupid. I'm docking this season as well for the same reason. However, the drop in the amount of bloopers will further lower the grade. Notwithstanding those issues, the season is still hilarious as 3rd Rock From the Sun remains one of my favorite series of all time. If you've never seen the show before, give the first season a try.
Also available for purchase: Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3
|Disc Guide for Season Four
Dr. Solomon's Traveling Alien Show
Power Mad Dick
Collect Call for Dick
What's Love Got to Do, Got to Do with Dick?
I am Dick Pentameter
DIII: Judgment Day
Happy New Dick!
Dick Solomon of the Indiana Solomons
Dick and Taxes
The House That Dick Built
Dick 'The Mouth' Solomon
Dick v. Strudwick
Near Dick Experience
Dick's Giant Headache - Part I
Dick's Giant Headache - Part 2
Jane Curtin Interview (7:18)
Season Four Highlights (11:07)