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Private Practice - The Complete Fourth Season (2011) Print E-mail
Thursday, 15 September 2011
ImageAs you no doubt know, “Private Practice” is the offspring of “Grey’s Anatomy.”  Addison Montgomery split from Derek and joined her best friend in Santa Monica.  But hey, it wouldn’t be a melo-drama if everything were all peachy.  And these are certainly dramatic within this practice.

This show seems to be best known for its dramatic season finales, practically upstaging the hospital shooting of “Grey’s Anatomy.”  In the season two finale they left us with Violet laying on the floor, her baby cut out of her.  Then in season three we find Maya and Dell in a car accident and an unexpected death.  Then in season four, we are left with the possible disbanding of the Oceanside Wellness Group.

As the fourth season opens we find the practice to be in mourning of Dell’s death.  But once the season gets going it is non-stop drama.  Charlotte King is brutally attacked, with some amount of time keeping us dangling on whether or not the attacker will be brought to justice.  Charlotte and Cooper must work through this attack in there relationship.  Weddings are aplenty with both Violet and Pete and Charlotte and Cooper.  Violet continues to try and reconcile with her attacker.

Naomi and Addison are at odds with each other due to the coupling of Sam and Addison.  In fact, Naomi disappears for much of the season.  Addison deals with her own family tragedy as her mother is diagnosed with a lost cause illness.

Violet begins the trouble, which is seemingly to be the undoing of the practice.  Her book, all about her overcoming her tragedy, begins to anger those written about in the book.  Of course, no approval was ever received from these patients and friends.  Even when everything seems to be righted with friends and family, the practice gets audited by the medical board, and things do not look so good for them.

Come the end of season three my wish was for Amelia Shepherd (Grey’s Derek’s sister), who had been a guest star on a few episodes to become a full cast member was realized in the fourth season.  Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) is a vibrant addition to the cast.  She is headstrong and just as talented of a brain surgeon as her brother.  She provides beauty and comic relief to the show.  But of course she is not without her drama.  Her past alcoholism catches up with her at some point during the season. The fourth season started out a bit rough, but, sadly, it wasCharlotte’s tragedy that really got the season moving along.  “PrivatePractice” is a bit more direct in nature than “Grey’s Anatomy,” and thusit deserves its time slot.  But for those looking for a bit more edgein their dramas, this show is shaping up that way.

For some reason that I cannot comprehend, “Private Practice” only seemsto get a 5-Disc DVD release each season.  The 23 episodes on 5 discstook its toll on the video quality with the season three DVD release. And once again, the video quality could be improved given a bit moreroom to stretch its legs.  Season four consists of 22 episodes on 5discs.  The video quality suffers from compression artifacts, whichbasically goes without saying.  Aside from that, colors do well andfleshtones remain stable, if on the touch of the warm side.  Blacklevels are about as good as DVD allows, and shadow delineation ispassable when called upon.  This DVD release isn’t going to blowanyone’s socks off, but then again, what DVD release does when the powerof Blu-ray is at hand.  Someone please start a petition for ABC Blu-rayTV show releases.

Like with the “Grey’s Anatomy” DVD release, the audio quality of thisset is better, but only marginally than the HD broadcast.  The surroundchannels provide nice ambience in the outdoor sequences.  Dialogueremains stable and weighty.  The dynamic range is limited by the DolbyDigital format.  These audio tracks accurately represent the broadcastquality, but where is the lossless, original intent of the sounddesigner’s quality?

The “Private Practice” season four DVD release comes with three bonusfeatures.  The first is a look at how KaDee Strickland prepared for hercharacter’s violet attack and suffering.  The other bonus materials aresome deleted scenes and bloopers.

“Private Practice” is edgier than its founding show, but it is wellreceived.  It hasn’t garnered the success of Grey’s, and probably won’tlast past the end of Grey’s (which very well could be this upcomingseason).  Still, the show is not without its merits.

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