"I have to admit, I was very disappointed in this installment of Soap DVDs. Granted, I didn't expect extras, since they didn't really do any after season 1, but it seems like they could have tried harder for the last one.
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. "
Shabby presentation of a classic
MH | Los Angeles, CA | 06/26/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"While it's true the once-brilliant "Soap" suffers major, terminal creative problems in its fourth and final season (why is Burt suddenly the sanest member of the family?), it bests practically every comedy on the air today with its daring mix of comedy, drama, romance, suspense, and pathos. Season Four offers up plenty of memorable TV moments, if fewer than the previous three seasons, including Burt's crisis of faith, El Puerco and his Juans' hilarious introduction to the family, Chester's touching and too-late realization that he loves Jessica, Dutch and Eunice's tacky wedding, and Mary's struggle to maintain her sanity amidst some veritable insanity. No show today even comes close to "Soap" even in this, its weakest season.
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.) Given Sony's thorough and whole releases of "Soap" Seasons 1-3, this shoddy, incomplete packaging of Season 4 is a puzzle, a disappointment, and of value only to fans who just have to have the entire series on DVD. Otherwise, true fans of the unabridged, unedited series should hold on to--or find--the final year of "Soap" on VHS and suffer the inferior quality until Sony rights this wrong."
These questions WON'T be answered in the next episode of Soa
A. Gammill | West Point, MS United States | 03/03/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It's pretty much universally acknowledged that Soap's final season was not its best. I think a large part of the blame can be attributed to the additon of several new writers to the staff. The brilliant Susan Harris was still at the wheel, but must have lost some control over the other writers. Characters we've grown to know and love seem to have changed for the worse. Two of the best-loved ones (played by, arguably, the show's best comic actors), Jessica and Burt, suddenly became less sympathetic. And Danny Dallas was certainly never that bright, but he seems to have undergone a lobotomy by the fourth season. Dutch and Eunice became increasingly irritating, Billy and the Major were neglected; and of course the loss of Diana Canova as Corinne didn't help matters.
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. "
It wasn't exactly cancelled because of low ratings!
David Deakin | Herne Bay, Kent United Kingdom | 08/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Please take the review here that talked of low ratings in context. The show was no less funny in it's fouth season than it was when it started. Because of the controversial (for the 70's!) plot lines the show had become a target for the conservative elements in the US who began to boycott advertisers who bought time during the show. This is what forced the makers to finally cancel it.
Also, this is not the end, at least not for Jessica who appeared later in an episode of the spin-off Benson."
Best Comedy Ever!
Mugga | USA | 08/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can't wait for this to be released on DVD in October. I was beginning to think they were going to leave us hanging. I have never seen a comedy better than this on tv. Thank you Thank you Thank you for bringing the final installment."