Customer Reviews: Big Love: Season 4
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on November 10, 2010
The first season was spent character building, laying down basic relationships and primary issues. The second and third seasons expanded on that, and in my opinion were incredibly. The third season was spectacular. But the fourth season was a complete disappointment. I will buy this season when it comes out, simply out of continuity, and I will continue to watch the last season because I'm emotionally attached to the characters and story, but my issue with the fourth season is one of plot development. In the previous seasons secrets and twists and clues build up, and get let out to create some really intense drama which is what gives the show its power. However, the fourth season had none of that. The problems were presented, and resolved soon thereafter. Most secrets were discovered in the same episode. There were no build-ups, and nothing left to the imagination. My guess is that the writers have really exhausted most of the problems and issues that could arise with this set of characters in the situation they're in, and there isn't much left to do. I really hope that the final season will redeem the series and end strong.
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on December 1, 2010
My wife and I watched Seasons 1 and 2 of the Big Love Series. It was interesting programing in that the story depicted an unknown world and put it into a believable and interesting framework. It was like looking through a little window into a situation we've read about but had no first-hand knowledge. The acting, scenes and directing were all rather good. So, we watched Season 3. Well, the first two seasons were just an introduction to polygamy. Season 3 built on that introductory base and the situations and personal interactions became more complicated and somewhat more interesting. Season 4 seemed a natural.

In Season 4, the foursome becomes ever more unstable. One of the wives takes an outside job and becomes locally famous. Another wife takes an outside suitor. One of the grandparents gets involved in smuggling parrots from Mexico. The grandfather dies and is frozen. The husband runs for public office and ultimately outs himself as a polygamist. The husband also gets involved in an Indian gaming venture and all the related complications. And it goes on and on. The problem is the story gets to be more and more unbelievable as the program proceeds. Seasons 1 and 2 were believable and were much like a well-done, low-keyed documentary on polygamous life in Utah. Season 3 became a stretch of that situation and was filled with a host of side issues. Season 4 is such a big stretch that it defies credibility, and that's a problem. It's just pure unadulterated fiction, and not very good fiction at that. Don't get me wrong, it's a well done program and many people may love watching it. But, my initial attractions to Season 1 and 2 no longer apply and I have serious doubts that I would ever watch Series 5.

Gary Peterson
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on March 18, 2011
While Seasons 1 to 3 were excellent, Season 4 really jumped the shark, with ridiculous plot lines that really ruined the momentum of this great show. Season 5, the final one, is a bit better, but I could avoid seeing 4 again. Only for die hards.
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Bill Paxton as the polygamist Mormon in this series has driven me absolutely crazy for four seasons. I always want to reach inside of the television and start choking him for the crazy things he does. This season he pushed my buttons even more. He decides to run for political office, of all things, with the express idea of going public about being a polygamous Mormon at his victory speech with his multiple wives and children beside him. "You idiot," I scream at my TV, "how can you be so stupid?!" But this is Paxton's brilliance. He has completely caught someone who is in the continuous, rapt thrall of obsessive religious belief. He is humorless, which is true of all zealots, because he never steps outside of its thrall for even a second. It absolutely controls every aspect of his life. He laments his early beginnings as a lost boy, thrown out of his outlaw Mormon compound, and mistakenly believes he has recovered from all of that. He has never recovered from being raised at a cult religious encampment. What he's done is try to transplant the cult to new soil, mainstream USA life. He plays the character as rather one dimensional and robotic because someone who is in a state of rapturous religious zeal IS one dimensional!

The other characters revolve around him. He is the head so what he says goes. However, he has thrown three wives together, all of whom have his children. They live and function as a unit. Like women everywhere who are cast into subordinate positions from which they can never emerge, they scheme around him. Oh boy, do they scheme. While he has his eye constantly on the prize, being united with heavenly father in paradise with this huge family, the wives jockey for position, power, and play all ends against the middle. If they believe in the end destiny, that takes a very subordinate position to daily contention with the here and now.

Then there is the true horror: when you take on multiple spouses, you take on multiple in-laws. Just imagine having to cope with multiple sets of in-laws instead of just one set. One absolutely needs religious zeal to take on that component of this lifestyle.

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on April 19, 2015
Disappointed with all the loose ends in story lines. What has happened to Joey? The very weird JJ character and his frankenstein experiments,,,seriously what is that all about? There is just too much story being crammed into every episode. I love Bill Paxton, but he really is just jumping from one place to the next as his character Bill Henrickson. It's getting more difficult to like him. I hope all his wives leave him. He and Nicki are probably best suited to each other, but she is definitely a psycho with no soul.
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on June 14, 2011
I am a big fan of "Big Love" (I'm in the UK) and now own all four seasons. All the previous three series have been brilliant - from the jeopardy in each individual character's life, and the double-standards of their everyday existence (which have made it so enjoyable to relate to), to the progressive pace and excellent direction; the script has been enthrallingly written through three series so far.

Suddenly, with this Fourth Season, there has been a complete departure from the tone of the previous series, insofar as the characters have all suddenly become much more 'smiley' and pliable: basically, I think they've been forced to 'tone it down'!! The direction is APPALLING, make no mistake, with such plodding interactions, and total departures from the normally excellent timing displayed by all the best actors/actresses. The script - and scenarios - are in no way true to the original characters that have been revealed to us over three excellent series.

SUCH a disappointment! And a disgraceful betrayal of fans of the series.

I note that they are trying to interject black comedy into the fourth series, with the emphasis on the word "trying"! Trying too it is spoiled, and you are aware that you are just their pawn as a viewer, rather than feeling any affability towards the previously-understood characters, or with their ongoing personal situations. Without spoiling the plotline, just in episode one alone, suddenly strong characters become weak, surly characters pitiful, there's been a sudden introduction to all the characters, across the board, of heavy face foundation make-up! The clothes are tight-fitting and colourful and bright whereas before the character looked run-down or plain. One character has been made to look so foolish in the script and direction that you lose respect for what was previously a likeable characer. One mother attacks her daughter in a way which previously would have been against her principles. Characters are shot over several seconds smiling innanely at each other, without speaking, and others have their interactions slowed so much that you could practically go and make a cup of tea and come back and you wouldn't have missed anything!! The list I could write about the Fourth Season's failures is ENDLESS.

I wish I could say it had improved in some way, but it hasn't. The opening credits and change in accompanying music (the latter has changed throughout) signals that there is a new hand at work here, and it's not good. The credits seem to go on for hours, with so many repetitive shots; even these have been downgraded from a previously excellent introductory theme to the expected plotline and interactions between the characters.

From fantastic beginnings, and a well-maintained pace and credibility, suddenly everyone has had an about-face and I feel actually sorry for the cast, having to act in a way which reverses the achievements - good or bad - of their characters prior to this series. I wonder whether this is the end of "Big Love". Sack the Director and the Writers, I say!!!
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on August 25, 2015
The manipulations of Bill who wants multiple sex partners and justifies it with religion is disgusting. This is really a dirty series which tries to make light of the fact that Bill is a religious zealot objectifying women through his supposed "care" for his family. If he cared he would never have done to Barb whathe did when she was dying of cancer-taking another lover. There is no justifying polygymy. It is subjugation of women and the extremely manipulative tactics of HBO once again blind the sheepish American audience gullible enough to believe.
Bill marries a 16 yr old when he's tired of witchy boring chloe sevigny. Nice.
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on July 14, 2016
I think that the series as a whole is well written and presented with many of the issues present in the idea of polygyny. The question then where does religious belief end and lust begins and its consequences. The adding of a forth wife demonstrates that expectations makes such things difficult and the politics of being openly ploygamous complicates things even more.
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on August 22, 2014
Big Love is my latest favorite in the long form HBO style of television. I don't watch broadcast stuff, no cable or bills from Comcast or the others so I just see what I want and when I want and I buy the series one season at a time used at a good price on Amazon. Big Love is a superbly well written comic dramatic contemplation of the challenges of a bourgeois middle class polygamist in Salt Lake City who tries to bring his beliefs in the principle of plural marriage into the mainstream while being constantly challenged by off the chart insane fringe cults, one of which he grew up in, that live in rag tag compounds out in the country with their leaders continually spinning out into darker and darker psychopathy. The exploration of the rationale of plural marriage is described in amazingly detached detail while never shying away from the many pitfalls and the awkwardness of social ostracizing. The series is every bit as good as The Sopranos or Breaking Bad, it is an exploration of a culture alien to mainstream America with humor, compassion and a lot of drama.
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on August 22, 2015
Loved it. Well done, great actors and interesting subject and perspectives. Modern day polygamy vs society vs fundamentalist polygamy. Lots of drama and getting to know many characters and points of view. Thought provoking. The stresses, problems, joy, and mindsets of one family with 3 wives. We live through their struggles with themselves, their fundamentalist relatives, and trying to create a bridge and acceptance to the rest of the world. I would watch it again.
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