produced by Ilene Chaiken ("Fresh Prince of Bel-Air") "The L Word" has become another hit for cable network Showtime, also currently riding high on the success of "Weeds". "L Word" is an hour-long drama that does a remarkable job of following over a dozen different characters (there are already tons of characters, and added to the show's fourth season are Academy-Award winner Marlee Matlin, three time Golden Globe winner Cybill Shepherd, Kristanna Loken,, Rose Rollins and Janina Gavankar) and how their relationship dramas play out against the backdrop of California.
The fourth season of the series begins with "Legend in the Making", a large part of which focuses on the continuing story of Bette (Jennifer Beals) kidnapping baby Angelica in an attempt to force a custody agreement with Tina (Laurel Hollomon), who's left her for a guy. Bette ends up with a teaching gig, finding new love in a teaching assistant and that her new boss (Cybill Shepherd) is a lesbian when she comes out. Writer Jenny also causes a stir with her tales based upon her friends, and finds that, while Hollywood has an interest in her movie, things may not be as easy as she thought. Meanwhile, Alice
"L Word" does an impressive job juggling a large and varied cast, doing about as well as one might expect giving about a dozen or so cast members their moments. The drama can be a bit over-the-top, but the performances carry the show well, especially Beals, Matlin, Shepherd and Mia Kirshner. The series also does have its steamy moments, although these moments don't overshadow the character development and relationships in this excellent fourth season.
39. 4- 1 7 Jan 07 Legend in the Making
- Bette kidnaps baby Angelica until a custody agreement can be brokered with Tina; Shane jilts Carmen at the altar and spirals out of countrol, while Jenny is reunited with Marina and Helena's mother financially cuts her off.
40. 4- 2 14 Jan 07 Livin' La Vida Loca
- Bette adjusts to her new job in academia for a new boss (Cybil Shepherd); Jenny's book gets a nasty review and Tina must fire Helena from the studio.
41. 4- 3 21 Jan 07 Lassoed
- Bette embarks on an ill-advised affair with a teaching assistant, and their boss comes out, while meanwhile, Jenny digs up dirt on the journalist who gave her book a negative review.
42. 4- 4 28 Jan 07 Layup
- Bette deals with an artist (Marlee Matlin), whose work is politically incendiary), while Tina is rejected by her friends on the court and joins another team.
43. 4- 5 4 Feb 07 Lez Girls
- The affair between Bette and her TA may ruin her career, while Jenny publishes a story that upsets Alice and Tina finds Angus with her au pair.
44. 4- 6 11 Feb 07 Luck Be a Lady
- Bette enjoys a new romance even as she clashes with Tina over the baby's plays, and Helena, Shane and Alice learn poker.
45. 4- 7 18 Feb 07 Lesson Number One
- Helena struggles to pay back her poker debt, while Jenny's short story about her friends sparks interest from Hollywood.
46. 4- 8 25 Feb 07 Lexington and Concord
- Jenny's plans for revenge on the critic that panned her goes poorly, while Tina meets Bette's new girlfriend and Kit unloads publically on the cheating Angus.
47. 4- 9 4 Mar 07 Lacy Lilting Lyrics
- Tina and Jenny have creative differences over the development of their movie, while Alice and her friends console Phyllis's heartbroker husband.
48. 4-10 11 Mar 07 Little Boy Blue
- Alice finds investors in her blog, while Kit binge-drinks and Jenny finds the perfect director for the movie.
49. 4-11 18 Mar 07 Literary License to Kill
- Jenny's short stories hit home for Bette, while Iraq flashbacks haunt Alice's girlfriend Tasha, who is ordered by her commander to hide her sexuality.
50. 4-12 25 Mar 07 Long Time Coming
- Jenny may wind up fired from her own movie, while Tina returns to lesbianism and Shane's relationship with Paige becomes serious.
VIDEO: "The L Word" is presented by Paramount Home Entertainment in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation quality is reasonably good, although aspects of it come in somewhat under expectations. Sharpness and detail are a tad soft throughout much of the episodes, although never to the point where the picture looked hazy or blurry. Some slight artifacting was also spotted at times, as was some occasional light edge enhancement. The elements all appeared to be in terrific shape, with no wear or other flaws. Colors generally looked natural and well-saturated, with no smearing. Flesh tones (and there is a fair amount of skin on display in the show at times) looked natural.
SOUND: The show's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack offered minimal use of the surrounds, as the audio was largely spread across the front speakers, with the rear speakers offering some slight ambience and score reinforcement. Audio quality was fine, with crisp dialogue.
EXTRAS: Strangely, the extra features on the last DVD require viewers to be connected to the internet - clicking on any of the extras takes one to a website, where the extras are actually available. What I could get to work had no video and only audio. The second episodes of Showtime's "Californication" and "The Tudors" are offered on the last disc, as well as the "Sundance Diaries With Kate and Leisha" featurette, "Fanlib Sweepstakes Winners", interview with Cynthia Summer and Udi Behr, "Our Charts 'Be Scene' at Dinah Shore", $25 off Showtime and a contest for a trip to Australia. Apparently, this new way of viewing extras is called "N Technology", but I hope this is N Technology is Not something that appears on any other DVDs in the future.
Final Thoughts: With enjoyable performances and mostly enjoyable writing, "L Word" offers a strong set of episodes for this fourth season. The DVD provides reasonably good audio/video quality, but I didn't care for how the extras were presented. Still, recommended for fans.