Lionsgate // 1996 // 528 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Patrick Bromley // December 14th, 2010
"Every time I get a haircut, it looks terrible for about six weeks. Then it looks good for, like, a day, and that's how I know it's time for a new haircut. It's what I call the "Haircut Cycle of Shame."
The biggest news about the new Lionsgate release of Boy Meets World: The Complete Fourth Season is that it exists at all. While the first three seasons released earlier this year were just reissues of the sets Disney put out a few years ago, this release of Season Four marks the first time the episodes have ever seen the light of day on home video. For fans of the show, who have waited over a decade to get the fourth season's episodes on DVD, it's a pretty big deal.
As I've mentioned in past season write-ups, I count myself among the fans (though not the devoted) of Boy Meets World, though I would be lying if I said I was bouncing off the walls in excitement about The Complete Fourth Season finally being released on DVD. I'm happy for the fans (mostly because I'm a big believer that everything has its supporters and should be made available for those who want it), but after three seasons I've begun to get my fill of Boy Meets World. Now that the show has found its voice (and by Season Four it has), it has begun to repeat itself a little; even worse, it's started overreaching for broad comic plots (like having Cory and Shawn dress up as girls, or putting Eric on the short-lived MTV dating show Singled Out, a story line that dates the show horribly). It's still funny and totally entertaining and the actors have really found a groove with their characters -- particularly Savage, who has an offbeat style of humor unlike just about any other sitcom protagonist I can think of. It's just that if you've already sat through three seasons of Boy Meets World (as I have), the episodes start to run together when they should be improving.
For the as-yet uninitiated, Boy Meets World focuses on teenaged Cory Matthews (Ben Savage, Chuck) and his best friend Shawn (Rider Strong, Cabin Fever), a kid from the wrong side of the tracks. The stories evolve from Cory and his various relationships: with his girlfriend Topanga (Danielle Fishel, National Lampoon's Dorm Daze), his older brother Eric (Will Friedle, Trojan War) and his principal/neighbor/mentor Mr. Feeny (William Daniels, Blades of Glory). Season Four finds Cory's dad, Alan (William Russ, Deadwood), quitting his job and beginning a new venture; Eric finally finding some purpose in life after a long road trip; the return of Shawn's mother and, of course, a revolving door of romantic relationships.
The episodes that make up Boy Meets World: The Complete Fourth Season
"You Can Go Home Again"
"Hair Today, Goon Tomorrow"
"I Ain't Gonna Spray Lettuce No More"
"Fishing for Virna"
"Sixteen Candles and Four-Hundred Pound Men"
"An Affair to Forget"
"B&B's B 'n B"
"Chick Like Me"
"A Long Walk to Pittsburgh (Part I)"
"A Long Walk to Pittsburgh (Part II)"
"Learning to Fly"
The 22 episodes that make up Boy Meets World: The Complete Fourth Season are spread out over three discs, all presented in their original 1.33:1 full frame TV aspect ratio. Like the seasons that precede it, the show looks decent for being over 10 years old and shot on video; it lacks much sharpness or detail, but the colors are reasonably bold and there's little to detract from one's enjoyment of the show (assuming one is inclined to enjoy the show). The 2.0 stereo soundtrack offers a standard front-and-center mix and is nothing special. And, unlike even the paltry offerings of special features available on past seasons, there is not a single bonus feature on Season Four. I guess Lionsgate is banking on the fact that fans will be happy just to have the shows at all.
Season Four of Boy Meets World still finds the sitcom in a good groove, but it also show hints of the over-the-top stories and too-broad style of humor the show would eventually tackle. It's still superior to later seasons, when new cast members are introduced and everyone heads off to college, but it lacks some of the sweetness and sincerity of the early years. It's still an enjoyable diversion, and kudos to Lionsgate for finally releasing this season. Keep 'em coming, guys. Only three more to go.
Not guilty, but by this point it's only the fans who are paying attention.
Review content copyright © 2010 Patrick Bromley; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 528 Minutes
Release Year: 1996
MPAA Rating: Not Rated