Movie Reviews

DVD Review: “The L Word (The Complete Fourth Season)”

(Showtime/Paramount. 2007. 4 discs. Not Rated. 630 minutes. Various directors.) Jennifer Beals, Leisha Hailey, Laurel Holloman, Mia Kirshner, Katherine Moenning, Pam Grier, Rachel Shelley, Daniela Sea, Dallas Roberts, Janina Gavankar, Cybill Shepherd, Marlee Matlin.

Full disclosure: I hadn’t seen seasons 1, 2, or 3 when I started watching this entertaining latest season about a group of lesbian friends in Los Angeles. I also can’t speak to how accurately the lifestyles are portrayed, but after viewing a few episodes I decided it didn’t really matter: it’s well-written soap opera, albeit about homosexual women, but still soap opera. We pick up the story with Bette (Beals), the new dean of the art department at fictional California University; she’s anxious to please the chancellor, Phyllis (Shepherd), who falls in love with Bette’s friend, the radio personality Alice (the excellent Hailey). Bette’s broken up with Tina (Holloman), and is sharing custody of their daughter; she mulls a relationship with the campus’ new star sculptor (Matlin). Her older sister Kit (Grier, who’s looked much better), one of the few straight characters, is pregnant by her much-younger boyfriend Angus (Roberts). Max (Sea) is struggling with his transition from female to male, and unwisely starts dating the boss’ daughter. Then there’s Shane (the stunning Moenning), who can barely take care of herself, and is forced into parenthood when her 9-year-old half-brother lands on her doorstep. Lots more, but you get the idea; kudos to the scriptwriters for keeping the various story lines from getting too entangled. Definitely for mature audiences. Extras include samplers of two other Showtime series, The Tudors and Californication.