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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 7 April 2011
Californication follows the trials and tribulations of writer Hank Moody, played by David Duchovny. Hank drinks, does drugs, gets far more women than he should, alienates his friends, and somehow shambles on through life without managing to pick a direction. He should be a terrible character, but in fact he's a delight to watch, mostly because Duchovny produces a career-best performance.

This new season opens with Hank facing the consequences, good and bad, of his actions in the first season. He had a one-night stand with a young woman called Mia, who turned out to be the teenage daughter of his ex-girlfriend's fiancé. This inspired him to produce his first book in years based on the event, which Mia promptly stole and passed off as her own. Mia threatened Hank with the consequences of his technically-illegal night with her, and he had to watch as Mia was feted as a great new writer, including a big movie deal. Season three closed with all this coming to light, and this new season opens with the shock of Hank swiftly being arrested and charged with statutory rape. On the upside, the movie company now want Hank to write the script. On the downside, Hank's family are utterly hurt and betrayed by his actions. On the upside, the pretty young actress playing Mia in the movie wants to do some very personal "research" with Hank. And so on.

As usual, Hank's life is a total rollercoaster, and much of the season sees him trying to reconcile with his family, doing some serious soul-searching, in amongst the chaos and partying that he seems unable to avoid. This is a real improvement on season three, and shows a real attempt to recapture the genius of the first season. Part of this involves making this season very rude and crude, which can be unnecessary at times, but it provides the necessary background for Hank's development.

The supporting characters are well balanced this season, with screen time for on-off girlfriend Karen and daughter Becca, and well-balanced storylines for agent Charlie and his ex-wife Marcie. Becca is now too old for her "wise little girl" act, and has graduated to punkish mature teenager. The continuing saga of Charlie and Marcie is much better than in the last season, when it only really had one note as they snarled at each other. Other supporting characters include Hank's pretty lawyer Abby, actress Sasha who is playing Mia, film producer Stu, plus a standout performance from Rob Lowe as the actor who will be playing Hank, and insists on trying to get inside his head.

The main storyline is the impending trial of The People vs Hank Moody, and the spectre of Hank going to jail hangs over everything that occurs. One memorable early episode sees a wealthy film investor hosting a bizarre and ultimately tragic party for Hank, and another fun episode sees Hank's womanising get him in trouble with as many women at a time as possible. The later episodes of the trial are done well, and there are some interesting flashbacks.

Californication lives or dies on Duchovny's portrayal of Hank, and he is the real reason to watch this show. While a little patchy, overall this season is a delight, held together by the sheer charisma of the lead, and fed by imaginative plots that remain rooted in the characters.
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on 15 April 2012
This show manages to pack in more laugh out loud moments than any other I've seen in many a long year. Despite the never ending barrage of hot women that throw themselves at Hank, this still seems fresh and the characters are eternally loveable. I'd say I enjoyed this series more than 3. Plus for the chaps it had the very lovely Carla Gugino in it!

If you enjoyed the previous series you will love this. I can't wait for series 5 (although I'm filled with some trepidation as the ending to 4 does feel like a natural conclusion to a fine program).
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on 30 October 2012
Series One was fresh and very good partly for that reason. Series Two was same as and so not so fresh, same as Series Three, same as Series Four. Hank has messed up so many times! It's become ridiculous, caricaturish (perhaps that's the idea, but it's stopped working for me). It doesn't hang together, as neither does Karen having forgiven him so many times. Even after the statutory rape trial he's still the same, perhaps even worse, and so it's become irritating, his character has become irritating. It feels like the writers hit on a winning formula in Series One and stuck with it as a cash cow. There's been zero character development.
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on 7 January 2013
This is a great season and highly recommend, however my advice would be to stop after this if you havent seen season 5, unfortunately the series runs out of ideas completely by then and becomes mediocre but I also say this as the ending to season 4 would have been the perfect ending to finish this once great programme off
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on 18 January 2013
When I started watching the first series, I wasn't sure whether this wasn't just some veiled soft porn vehicle. It got a bit silly in the second series but by series 3 I was hooked again as the characters moved out of the slightly cliched corner and it's right in your face. I've never laughed so much before Kathleen Turner's character. Hats off for this once all over the world revered sex symbol to strut her stuff in the way she does it in here.
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on 29 February 2012
The characters are all looking a liitle old ;Hanks hair is starting to do its own acting , Becka seems to now be played by a 40 year old Miss piggy and karen is in some shots scraggy . The story is a little tired too , hank is down , he wants karen back , he misbehaves and then has to pay the price . Yes I was a liitle let down by this series , the sex wasnt as sexy nor the one liners as witty . Dont get me wrong still love it but the series does need to get its mojo back . bring back the rock and roll , kick out the angst . Great walk on from Zack Wylde and Tommy lee . Plus its worth sticking with for the last 2 episodes when Hank is really back , plus they play that stones track from first series to tie all loose ends together . So maybe hank still rocks ???? An up and down series .
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on 15 April 2012
Moody is back, providing me quotes and wisdom, laughter, tears and frankly a hell of a time. Fans have to buy this anyway. PS: This is THE season for Runkle - this man is on fire! :)
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on 27 February 2012
I am happy that for the first time this series gets a release on Blu-ray. It is beyond me why they only started with the 4th season to give it the royal Blu.ray treatment. Californication is one of the best and most successful TV shows and would have deserved a release on Blu right from the start!

The high definition image and sound (Dolby TrueHD) are brilliant and in another league compared to the underwhelming offering of the DVD format.

I hope that the first three seasons will also be made availabe on Blu-ray soon!
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on 16 February 2013
Californication gets a 5 star all the way for being one of the freshest and enjoyable series on tv for a long time, but this season is the worst by far. It is still must watch as you can't skip a season, but try and borrow this one, you won't want to watch it again!
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on 18 August 2013
Just buy it, buy it, buy it. The script is excellent and David Duchovny plays the role superbly. I rave about this show.
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