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DVD Review: Desperate Housewives The Complete Seventh Season

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Coming to DVD this Tuesday, August 30th from ABC Studios is Desperate Housewives The Complete Seventh Season. Subtitled “Wild, Wild Westeria Edition,” just because, as all of the DH DVDs have ‘edition’ titles, it contains all twenty-three episodes of the hit dramedy’s penultimate season. Getting back to the show’s roots, the seventh season returns some characters not seen in quite awhile, and tries valiantly to recapture the original tone. Couples fall in and out of love, and secrets get darker. This DVD set is a must-watch for anyone who hasn’t seen the series yet. And like other ABC shows, it is only available on DVD, not Blu-ray.

As season seven begins, Paul Young (Mark Moses, Mad Men), fresh out of prison, moves back to Wisteria Lane, determined to get even with the neighbors who abandon him after his trial. He brings along a new wife, Beth (Emily Bergl, Southland, Men in Trees), who also has a dark secret of her own. Beth is actually Felicia Tilman’s (Harriet Sansom Harris, Frasier) daughter, there to get revenge on Paul, who murders Felicia’s sister, Beth’s aunt, in season one. As both Paul and Beth try to carry out their plots, emotion gets in the way, and Paul soon finds unexpected compassion from one of his old friends. It’s a great throwback to what is arguably the best storyline from the entire series, even though it happened at the very beginning.

Joining the cast in season seven is the amazing Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty) as Renee Perry, an old friend of Lynette’s (Felicity Huffman) who moves to town. Renee stirs up trouble and shakes up the dynamic of the housewives in deliciously interesting ways. Williams manages to hold her own against the long-time stars, and actually carves herself a nice little niche that she will sadly get to occupy only one more year, before the series goes dark forever.

Also appearing in an arc throughout much of season seven is Brian Austin Green (Beverly Hills, 90210 and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) as Keith, a much younger love interest for Bree (Marcia Cross) after Orson (Kyle MacLachlan) finally moves out. MacLachlan is missed, but Green is also great, in a totally new-flavor way. John Schneider (Smallville, Dukes of Hazard) plays Keith’s dad, who takes an interest in Bree, too, a more age appropriate, albeit wrong, choice. Both are gone by season’s end, but then Jonathan Cake comes along as Chuck Vance, Bree’s newest love interest, so it’s safe to assume that Bree’s bed won’t remain empty for long.

The seventh season of Desperate Housewives ends with quite the cliffhanger, and a beautiful set up for the final season. All of the housewives, and one of the men, are involved in a murder and the cover up of said murder. For those who haven’t seen the episode, I won’t spoil the twist with too many details, but needless to say, their actions are not evil. But this does set up a very intriguing final season plot where the four women have to band together as never before to protect each other and stay out of prison. Making matters even more complicated, Bree’s new guy, Chuck, is a homicide detective. Talk about a conflict of interest!

Of course, the real soul of Desperate Housewives is provided by the four main women, all of whom undergo major upheavals in their lives in season seven prior to the awesome finale. Bree not only searches for a new man, but also helps son Andrew (Shawn Pyfrom) deal with the alcoholism he inherited from her. Susan (Teri Hatcher) faces her own mortality. She and Mike (James Denton) also face money problems, and have to temporarily move off of Wisteria Lane. While Mike goes out of town to find work, Susan becomes a sexy online cleaning lady for her landlord, Maxine (Lainie Kazan, My Big Fat Greek Wedding). Gabrielle (Eva Longoria) discovers her and Carlos’s (Ricardo Chavira) eldest daughter, Juanita (Madison De La Garza), was switched at birth in the hospital, and their biological child is being raised by illegal immigrants who must flee authorities. It’s an Emmy-worthy performance for Longoria, though she is not nominated.

Lynette faces the possible end of her very long marriage to Tom (Doug Savant), the most stable relationship on the series, up until now. This is a very sad state of affairs. While Mike and Susan have had extremely rocky patches over the years, and Gabi and Carlos even divorce for a time, Lynette and Tom have always been rock solid. With that foundation crumbling, and the threat of a permanent divorce looming, it’s going to take much effort to come back from the brink. Given the final season status, a reconciliation would seem to be a no-brainer. But seeing how bad things are as season seven ends, it won’t be an easy fix, either.

On Desperate Housewives The Complete Seventh Season, there are an average number of bonus features for an ABC release, but they are mostly worthwhile extras. Twelve deleted scenes are interesting, but don’t add much. Most are from the episode “Assassins.” More than four minutes of bloopers seem like too much, yet they are pretty entertaining. A five-minute feature called “Desperate for Trivia” finds the four main women, their three steady men, and Mark Moses answering trivia questions pertaining to all seven seasons of the show. It’s hilarious to see who knows what. For instance, did you know that the episode titles in Desperate Housewives are all Stephen Sondheim references? Ricardo Chavira does! Though it’s also easy to understand how just being on a series doesn’t mean you retain every intimate detail.

The best bonus feature is “Growing Up On Wisteria Lane.” In it, a number of the child actors, especially those who grew up on the series and were never recast, talk about what it’s like to be on the set. Some of the adults also provide insight about working with these particular kids. It’s a poignant retrospective, appropriate with the end so close. It’s also touching that the children, who are forgotten about from time to time, get their very own ten minutes of focus among so few other features. A very worthy addition!

Make sure you check out Desperate Housewives The Complete Seventh Season, on sale this Tuesday, August 30th.

About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome writes TV reviews for BlogCritics.org and Seat42F.com, as well as fiction. He is a frequent guest on two podcasts, Let's Talk TV with Barbara Barnett and The Good, the Bad, & the Geeky. All of his work can be found on his website, jeromewetzel.com