Although Grey’s Anatomy – Season Four stays true to the show’s formula, all of the characters seem quick to cry and are a bit more annoying this season. It didn’t kill the show, but it does make watching back to back episodes a bit of a chore halfway through the season.
Like past seasons, the series once again features solid performances from Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey, T.R. Knight, Sandra Oh, Katherine Heigl, Justin Chambers, and Chandra Wilson (who continues to be my favorite reason to watch the show).
The cast makes the day to day life at Seattle Grace Hospital worth watching and possibly one of the better medical shows on television – though this year seemed to lean heavily on a more soap feeling than medical one.
All of the doctors seem to go through some kind of change this year with the main cast becoming residents. Meredith (Pompeo) and Derek (Dempsey) are still trying to figure out their “will they, won’t they” yo-yo. George and Izzie (Knight and Heigl) discover if they are meant to be in love or just friends. Christina (Oh) tires to find life as a doctor and person after Burke left. Alex (Chambers) deals with some leftover issues from past seasons, and his childhood.
For me, Wilson’s Dr. Bailey was one of the most interesting characters to watch this season. She had to deal with losing a promotion to Sara Ramírez’s Dr. Torres; her own marriage trouble; and the continued stress of balancing being a mom and being a doctor.
Wilson uses the various plots to drop some of "Nazi" toughness of Season One, and lets fans see a softer side. At same time, Wilson keeps all the biting satire and sarcasm that made the character great.
This season also sees some good performances from the supporting cast – including Eric Dane (who provides some comedy to the show when the nurses boycott him), Ramírez (who has to deal with the fallout of her marriage to George), and James Pickens Jr. (who tries to get back with his wife and seems to start "dating" Dempsey's character or at least that is how Dane's Dr. Sloan explains it).
The fourth season also benefits from the introduction of several new characters thanks to our main cast becoming residents with interns of their own. We get a new love triangle with Meredith and Derek after McDreamy starts dating a nurse.
Meredith also has to deal with the arrival of her half-sister, Lexie, who hooks up with Alex and becomes good friends with George (who has to repeat his internship).
The season also benefits from the arrival of Brooke Smith's Dr. Erica Hahn (who appeared as a guest star in past seasons) to replace Dr. Preston Burke as head of Cardiothoracics.
Smith’s character instantly clashes with Oh’s Christina, and begins an odd little friendship with Torres (which develops into more as the season progresses). She also has some fun at Dr. Sloan’s expense. Overall, Smith is an excellent addition to the cast, and fills the spot of the departed Isaiah Washington nicely.
Although I did enjoy Grey’s Anatomy – Season Four, the show got a bit grating towards the end of the season with many of the characters seeming to start crying at the drop of a hat, and some of the show’s medical setting taking a backseat to the love drama. It doesn’t kill the show, but got a bit annoying for me.
I have always enjoyed the interaction of the cast and the chemistry they all seem to have with each other. This season it seemed the characters were all just tired of each other or had pushed their relationships to the breaking points.
This made for some good drama at times, but took away from some of the humor that helped me enjoy the series in past seasons. I am sure the season’s many changes did nothing to hurt the show’s diehard fans.
Like the past seasons, the DVD set comes loaded with special features that will be a treat for any fan of the show. The set includes extended episodes; audio commentary; a look at the new doctors; on set with Dane and Dempsey; a look at some of the season’s favorite scenes and unaired scenes; and a gag reel which will have you laughing.
Overall, Grey’s Anatomy – Season Four is another enjoyable season from the series, and will leave you wanting to see what comes next. The show struggled a bit for me, but not enough to keep me from wanting to watch Season Five.