thirtysomething: The Complete Final Season

thirtysomething: The Complete Final Season
By the time the fourth season of thirtysomething took to the airwaves in 1990, the show was on its last legs. It was barely scratching the top 50 in ratings and merely pulling in the right demographic for advertisers wasn't enough anymore. Apparently, the show's creators (Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick) weren't aware of the cancellation until around the midway point, which explains why this wasn't their best work. Instead, there were the usual issues for Michael and Elliot with scene-stealing boss Miles, Nancy's continuing battle with cancer, Ellyn's wedding day and Melissa's ongoing issues with men. The one saving grace was the show's willingness to take on the issues of the day, dealing with HIV and the start of the recession. The most memorable aspect about this final season is the death of Gary, which comes out of nowhere; it's still a genuinely shocking moment. The aftermath, as his friends deal with the loss, is a recurring theme throughout the latter half of the season, bringing sadness to the show's final moments. The writers were clearly running out of ideas at this point and while there wasn't a genuine attempt to resolve all the storylines, the final episode is relatively satisfying, with Michael and Hope's relationship standing steadfast, ending as the show began. Considering they were the foundation of the entire series, it was an appropriately warm, fuzzy conclusion. It appears Shout! Factory has put out this final season simply to complete the run of the show, rather than as a labour of love. The picture quality, at times, is on par with VHS copies of the show, and not all of the original music has been licensed, meaning there are some awkward substitutions that sound very out of place. But worst of all is the complete lack of extras. No commentary tracks, no retrospective looks at the end of a hugely influential show, no cast reunions with warm reminiscences ― nothing. The show creators do provide an eight-minute introduction on the first DVD, but that's hardly the send-off thirtysomething deserves. This is a missed opportunity. (Shout! Factory)