Sophisticated and unique, this comedy centers on novelist Hank Moody (David Duchovny) who struggles to raise his 13-year-old daughter, while still carrying a torch for his ex-girlfriend. His obsession with truth-telling and self destructive behavior -- drinks drugs and relationships -- are both destroying and enriching to his career.
Through two seasons of Californication, "brilliant train wreck" and blocked author Hank Moody (David Duchovny, a previous Golden Globe winner and nominated again for this season) seemed pretty much unstoppable. But by the end of season 3, Hank might finally have to answer for his sins, and Hank keeps devising novel ways to sin, which makes him as infuriating a protagonist who has ever graced a TV series. "You're such a mess and you cause such chaos," one of his lovers tells him in the wake of an affair that has helped wreck a marriage, "but I wouldn't change anything." Say one thing for Hank's women: they are gracious to a fault. This season adds another tumultuous chapter to Hank's saga. After unwittingly pushing a celebrated writer and college professor off the wagon, Hank assumes his position at the university under--get this--Dean Koons (Peter Gallagher), and, predictably, proves to be an impolitic educator. Early on he discourages one idolizing student with near fatal results. As the season progresses, he will also indulge in extracurricular activities with a student and an emotionally vulnerable TA (Diane Farr). The limbo that is his home life is beginning to impact on his sardonic daughter Becca (Madeleine Martin), paving the way for the return of Karen (Natascha McElhone), who suggests the three return to New York. Meanwhile, Charlie and Marcie Runkle (Evan Handler and Pamela Adlon), now separated, are forced by the slumping housing market to share their house while their divorce is pending. Hilarity and much sex ensue. Making memorable impressions this season are Embeth Davidtz as the Dean's conquestable wife, Kathleen Turner as Charlie's foul-mouthed and sexually aggressive new boss, and Rick Springfield as a deranged incarnation of himself, who gets it on with Runkle's girl. Madeline Zima makes a fateful return as Mia, who stole Hank's book back in season 1. Her plan to tell all could shatter Hank's dysfunctional family for good. Extras include a blooper reel and a "Marcie's Pajama Party" segment in which Aldon dishes with LA divorcees, along with two season 4 episodes of The Tudors. --Donald Liebenson