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The OC : The Complete Fourth Season (DVD)

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Unlike Haley’s Comet, “The OC” arrived on the scene fairly concealed, but stayed around for quite a while – shining ever so brightly as it progressed through its episodes.


Peter Gallagher, Kelly Rowan, Adam Brody, Benjamin McKenzie, Rachel Bilson, Melinda Clarke, Willa Holland, Autumn Reeser, Chris Pratt, Michael Nouri

Unlike Haley’s Comet, “The OC” arrived on the scene fairly concealed, but stayed around for quite a while – shining ever so brightly as it progressed through its episodes.

A sort-of “Dawson’s Creek” meets “Different Strokes” it was the hobbyhorse of the perceptibly talented (and seemingly rather young – judging by the hip dialogue and pop culture references) Josh Schwartz, a “Spaceballs”-sounding scribe who impeccably blended the worlds of TV-soap with that of a realistic undercurrent. So much of “The OC” played real that it didn’t matter that it also encompassed a fair bit of fairy floss… it many respects, it needed the sugar boost to keep its frame balanced.

Pity all that good work had to be undone by season four.

OK, that’s not totally fair – “The OC” was still one of the better American teen series’ on television even when it did start to dip – sometime between getting rid of Tate Donovan and killing off Alan Dale it turned to “Melrose Place” for inspiration – its just it was such a great competitor out of the gate it would’ve been nice to have seen it at least get a place on the finish line. Unfortunately, it was exhausted by the time this, the fourth, season rolled around – and seriously, no one much cared that it was a red stamp away from being cancelled. Sad when good shows go bad.

By Season Four, the whole ‘fish out of water’ storyline involving Chino rough-kid Ryan (Benjamin McKenzie) trying to fit in with his new adoptive family (Parents Peter Gallagher and Kelly Rowan; step-brother Adam Brody) and the resident rich kids had been scrubbed. Now Ryan was no less than just another ‘rich kid’… in many respects, he had taken his step-brother Seth’s place as the goodie-goodie of the family, with Seth seemingly the one getting up to mischief and learning how to brood… going through ‘normal’ rich kid predicaments – like which college to choose; which girl to date and what button-up shirt he should wear to school on any given day. (Granted, when the season opens Ryan’s still his tough-talking fist-swinging self, as he attempts to get over the untimely death of the love of his life, Marisa, by joining a ‘fight club’; now that that lasts for long).

Sure, there are plenty of things going on this season – Summer (Rachel Bilson) is off to college, and meeting new friends (yep, new guys!), so there’s some tension between her and Seth; Ryan finds new love in the arms of the snootiest girl in school, Taylor; Ryan’s father (guest-star Kevin ‘Hercules’ Sorbo) returns to town to reconcile with his son – but nothing holds a candle to the festivities of the early seasons; it just seems to be going through the motions.

Extras include audio commentaries (creator commentary on the finale is probably the only one worth listening to), deleted scenes, a featurette on ‘Chrismukkah’, and a featurette on Rachel Bilson’s character, Summer. The 2.0 soundtrack doesn’t exactly pack a punch, but it’s reasonable – like season four itself.

Rating :
Reviewer : Clint Morris

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About Caffeinated Clint

The writer/publicist/producer who wears the editor hat on Moviehole. Favorite films include "Say Anything...", "The Hunt for Red October", "Jerry Maguire", "Almost Famous", "Die Hard", "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo", "Young Guns", "American Psycho", "Back to the Future" and the "Star Wars" series.
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