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Desperate Housewives: The Complete First Season (2004) – DVD Review

Desperate Housewives: The Complete First Season DVD cover art


Series Created by Marc Cherry
Starring Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross, Eva Longoria, Nicolette Sheridan, Ricardo Chavira, Brenda Strong, and Steven Culp


  • Unrated, extended versions of the episodes “Who’s That Woman,” “Anything You Can Do,” “Every Day a Little Death,” “Impossible,” “Sunday in the Park with George,” and “Goodbye for Now”
  • Running audio commentary by series creator Cherry on “Pilot” and “Guilty”
  • Running audio commentary by Cherry and director Larry Shaw on “Anything You Can Do,” “Impossible,” and “One Wonderful Day”
  • Commentary by actresses Longoria, Huffman, Cross, Sheridan and Hatcher on their favorite scenes
  • Seven deleted scenes with optional commentary by Cherry
  • A Stroll Down Wisteria Lane
  • Desperate Housewives Around the World
  • Multi-language sequence: Bree’s dinner party
  • Dressing Wisteria Lane: A look at the costume and set design
  • Behind the Scenes with The View’s Meredith Viera
  • Secrets of Wisteria Lane
  • Bloopers from the Set
  • Oprah Winfrey Is The New Neighbor

Released by: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Rating: TV-PG
Region: 1
Anamorphic: Yes.

My Advice: At the very least…rent it

[ad#longpost]Wysteria Lane is the Norman Rockwell ideal of American Life; every house is perfect, every neighbor reaches out to help every other neighbor, and the sun seems to always be shining. The mirror that keeps that image out toward the world is shattered when Mary Alice Young (Strong) shoots herself in the head. Needless to say, the neighborhood rallies around her family and offers their support: including her closest friends, Susan Mayer (Hatcher), Lynette Scavo (Huffman), Bree Van De Kamp (Cross), Gabrielle Solis (Longoria), and Edie Britt (Sheridan), but each of them have skeletons in their own closets. We join Mary Alice in the final moments of her life and then, spirit-like, she begins to narrate for us what’s really going on behind the closed doors of Wysteria Lane.

I think that all of America was in agreement that this first season of this show was like nothing we had ever seen before and a vast majority of us set our TiVos to record the latest episode in the lives of these unlikely housewives. We just could not get away from these four ladies. The show was amazingly written, superbly acted, beautifully produced, and very nearly incorrigible. One of the things that made this show work so well is the fact that there was not one star, but rather an ensemble of stars. Hell, even the “lesser” characters were considered part of the ensemble. The four women were believable as neighbors, friends, confidantes, competitors, and accomplices–sometimes all at once! The show is raw, but not raunchy, and it was not afraid to show a darker side to the American dream. I think what drew me to the show was the fact that there was something in each and every episode that I could connect with in some way. Some part of Americana Householdia that I could look at and honestly say, “I’ve been there…almost.”

The DVD will not disappoint…almost. The commentary tracks are excellent and you can tell that everyone involved loved (loves) this project and is ecstatic to be part of it. The commentators range from everyone to creator Cherry to the four actresses who, arguably, made the show a success. My only regret is that there is not enough of them on commentaries together. Instead all we get are their commentaries scattered across all six discs commenting on their favorite moments from the entire season. For all of you completists out there, there are several episodes that are extended, but don’t start drooling yet: there’s really not much added. They are also billed as “unrated, extended” but I think all that means is that they didn’t run them by the ratings board before they put them on the DVD. There are some deleted scenes listed separately and there is some optional commentary by Cherry for these, too.

Cast of Desperate Housewives: The Complete First Season

On the sixth disc, you’ll find most of the main special features for the set. I’m going to start with my least favorite and move forward. Don’t even bother watching the “Oprah Winfrey is the New Neighbor” scene. I have no idea what the hell this is about and there’s no context given. Apparently, Oprah, because she’s Oprah, decided she wanted to be in on the action, so she made a phone call. And, because, she’s Oprah, got a chance to “act” in a little short scene about her moving into one of the houses on Wysteria Lane and discovering all of their little secrets and, of course, she’s got a little secret of her own. What a complete waste of my time. The best feature on the disc is the Gag Reel. Thank God for this. It’s hilarious and it shows what life really must have been like on the set.

The crown jewels of this DVD set are the two behind-the-scene featurettes. The first is titled “The Secrets of Wysteria Lane” and it’s fantastic. It doesn’t ever feel like it’s just skimming the surface. You really get to delve behind the scenes; including writer’s meetings for the second season and interviews with the cast and crew where the aren’t just blowing a bunch of smoke. In short, it’s outstanding. The second is more or less what you’d expect from a featurette on a DVD. However, this one is hosted by Meredith Viera, you know, the lady who’s taking over for Katie Couric? It’s a made for TV documentary that skims the surface a bit more than the first, but there is some information about the process of the show that is worth while.

Teri Hatcher from Desperate Housewives: The Complete First Season

One nice thing this set has going for it is that there are features scattered across nearly every single disc. On the first disc you’ll find the “Stroll Down Wysteria Lane.” This is another interview between Cherry and Viera about the creation of the show as they walk down the backlot which is Wysteria Lane. It’s another of those Made-for-ABC things so, there’s a bit of information presented, but you’ve probably seen it before. Disc Two serves up the international look at the show complete with interviews from “people on the street” all over the world as well as with the various talk shows from all over the world talking about the success of the show. Oh yeah, there also a multi-language sequence of Bree’s Dinner Party. It’s the scene switching back and forth between the various language into which the show has been dubbed (yawn).

Disc three provides a look at dressing the show; both dressing the set and dressing the actors. There are interviews with Cherry and the production and costume designers. If you are into fashion, this is the featurette for you. It goes through the production and costume design ideas for each of the four main characters complete with interviews with the cast and crew.

If you are one of the two people on the planet that hasn’t seen this first episode of this show, go ahead and at least rent this set to catch up on all of the pop culture you’ve been missing.

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