Soap - The Complete Fourth Season
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These and other plots--including an affair between Danny (Ted Wass) and Chester's new wife Annie (Nancy Dolman), and the climactic kidnapping of Jessica--ensured that Soap's final season was never boring for even a minute, and the one-liners are endlessly quotable as series creator Susan Harris (here backed, for the first time, by a stable of cowriters) dares to combine comedy with heavier elements of betrayal, alcoholism, life-threatening situations, and heartwarming reconciliation. These shifts of tone still qualify Soap as one of the most accomplished sitcoms in TV history (you'd be hard pressed to find a better cast capable of handling such a dynamic range of comi-tragic extremes), and with Sierra and a then-unknown Joe Mantegna providing the best laughs from an impressive guest-star lineup, the series mixed up its volatile ingredients with considerable aplomb and no small degree of genuine humanity. While some characters suffered due to the season's ambitious plotting, it's still clear that Soap could have thrived into a fifth season and beyond. Alas, it wasn't to be. Amidst threats of sponsor withdrawal and the inevitable fallout of ratings in decline, ABC pulled the plug on Soap, depriving loyal viewers to a resolution to this season's cliffhangers, which left several key characters on the brink of disaster. It's therefore regrettable that this DVD set lacks any bonus material that would provide a retrospective summation of what was, for its time, one of TV's boldest comedy experiments. --Jeff Shannon
Top Customer Reviews
What Sony has done to the fourth season is appalling and a mystery. While its presentations of Seasons One through Three were technically unremarkable, much of that due to so-so source materials, at least the episodes remained intact and were presented as they were originally on ABC and on the VHS release of the series by Columbia House in the 1990s. For some reason, Sony has opted here to edit the fourth season of "Soap" by lopping off most of the pre-episode recaps ("In the last episode of 'Soap' . . ."), some of which were quite clever and none of which consumed more than 40 or so seconds of time. Worse, Sony has edited the final five, one-hour episodes of the season into ten half-hours, omitting entire scenes and essentially including heavily-edited syndicated versions of the show's home stretch. (I do not know if these are indeed the syndicated versions of these episodes, but they are significantly different than the episodes as they appeared on the Columbia House tapes, which offered uncut episodes as they appeared on ABC in 1981.Read more ›
Granted, it's been 25 years since they first aired, but I don't remember them dropping the "In the last episode of Soap..." openings in the 4th season, but they only include that on the season's first episode.
Also, I know they were probably filmed as half-hours, but the last portion of the season orginally aired in hour blocks and it seems they should have presented them that way on the DVD.
I was already annoyed that seasons 2 and 3 didn't include the retrospectives that they aired before each new season started. especially season 3's which also served as Benson's exit. However, leaving out the great season 4 one with Jessica in heaven telling everything to Bea Arthur is unforgiveable.
Since the last season was messed up by the anti-Soap campaign by Donald Wildmon, why not include the ads ABC aired explaining why it was pulled temporarily and urging people to call and voice their opinion on the show? Where is a Susan Harris interview discussing this or saying how she planned to resolve the unresolved cliffhangers in a 5th season? At the very least, they could have included the episode of Benson that sort of resolved what happened to Jessica.
And let me join in the chorus of Soap fans unhappy with the DVD presentation of this, the FINAL Soap set we'll ever see. A retrospective segment would seem essential, considering the way the show ended. We know the creators are still out there, as well as several cast members. Longtime fans will recall that the ghost(?) of Jessica Tate appeared in the 5th season of BENSON in an episode appropriately titled "God, I Need This Job." What a terrific "extra" that would have been for this set.
I give it 3 stars simply because Soap was a fantastic, funny, touching and original show. And even with the aforementioned detriments, season four wasn't a complete waste. And if you're a fan of the show, you'll want to have it. I just wish Sony would have spent a little more time and effort to reward our loyalty.
All the best and funniest plotlines such as Chester's memory loss, Corrinne's possessed baby, Billy and the Sunnies and Burt's UFO abduction (ok that one was pushing it a bit!) are distant memories. The dramatic stories were also much better, with Billy's courtroom battle for custody of his daughter as a fine example. Now, with such meagre stories as Jodie being turned into an old Jewish guy and Jessica lost in the revolution, the series struggles to maintain the viewers interest.
After greedily consuming all the episodes in the first three season DVDs - sometimes in batches of 3 or 4 at a time - I really couldn't rustle up much interest in seeing all of the Season 4 episodes after watching the first few. With Jessica not able to interact with any of the other cast due to being lost in the jungle with the dire El Puerco, and Mary turning into an alcoholic (what a horrible storyline to give one of the warmest and most level-headed characters of the whole show), you just don't feel that this is the same story any more.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
So much fun to see again. We did 4 Saturdays in a row with family and friends doing each season. Everyone had soooo much fun!!!Published 1 month ago by suzanne
Great alternative to current programming........really humorous and somewhat provocative for it's time!Published 4 months ago by Bernadette
Liked it as a kid, rewatched it once, but not something I would watch over and over.Published 6 months ago by YYA