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As expected, this season of Gossip Girl was filled with feuds, money, shopping, secrets, love-affairs, friendships, hidden identities, hidden objectives, handsome men, beautiful women- I could go on, but you know the drill.
Here's just a quick overview of the plot without giving too much away. For those of you who watched season 3 you will remember that last season finale we were left with a massive cliff hanger after Chuck had been shot and left on the streets bleeding. Firstly, we see how the rest of this story panned out and also Blair and Serena's adventures in Paris. The first half of the season is very much focussed on the arrival of the character 'Juliet'. No one can quite figure out what her motives are but she has a grim determination to wreak havoc with Serena's life. She also manages to rope in two other prominent characters to help her with her plans. Who is she and what does want? After this, the plot moves over to focus more on Chuck and his life's struggles. To be (with Blair) or not to be (with Blair)? That is the question. (Literally.) Chuck has many life choices to make regarding himself, his business and his relationship with Blair. What will come first, work or love? For the last couple of episodes we see the arrival of Charlie, Serena's cousin who has been raised far away from all the glitz and the glam of the Upper East Side. At first everything seems normal, but suddenly Charlie's behaviour becomes suspect to Serena. What is she hiding and what does she want?
Some have said that they believe this to be this to be the best season yet and I can see why. This season does a good job of meshing all the characters together for once. In previous seasons we have seen the characters in Brooklyn and the characters living in the Upper East Side lead very separate lives with only a couple of characters coming into contact with each other (namely Dan and Serena). However, season 4 sees all of the characters coming together with new relationships forming and old relationships falling apart. After the marriage of Lily and Rufus, Dan has become a much bigger player in the Upper East Side and people are starting to see him less as 'Brooklyn boy' and more as Daniel Humprey, love interest of the Serena Van Der Woodsen and friend of Nathaniel Archibald (and later, Blair Waldorf - shocker). I think the marriage of the two parents was a wise move and it really cemented the bridge between Brooklyn and the Upper East Side allowing more character interactions.
Expect to see some familiar faces from the past popping up to cause trouble again, but don't expect this to be the last time you see them, they may just appear when you least expect it. There are also some new characters who add weight and mystery to the drama. Be wary of these new characters, they may not be who they appear to be, then again, people rarely are in Gossip Girl.
Since a picture of Blair and Chuck together is on the front cover of the DVD set, one would assume that the producers think that they are the focal point of this season. I know that the relationship between Chuck and Blair has most viewers hooked, especially since they've got this whole Romeo and Juliet/Lizzie and Darcy thing going on and you'll be pleased to hear that there is a hell of a Chuck/Blair roller coaster waiting for you. Chuck and Blair do finally figure out how they truly feel about each other at the end of this so there probably won't be that much Chuck/Blair drama in season 5. Suck it up while you can! I was extremely shocked by the way the Chuck/Blair drama panned out in this season, I was caught completely off-guard and didn't expect a thing. I'm not going to spoil it for you and tell you what happened, but boy oh boy this is an exciting jaw dropper.
So, I haven't mentioned very much of the other characters but of course, Serena does play a very large role in this season; however, her problems seem to be very much family-orientated and not boy-related. In fact, she doesn't really have any particularly major going on in the boyfriend department, or nothing that's particularly gripping. Nate finds himself a new girlfriend but now he is torn. How can he choose between his best friend and his girlfriend? Trouble ensues. We see Dan become a bigger part of the Upper East Side and he becomes much more accustomed to their ways and manners and is less condescending of them. Some parts of his previous relationship with Serena is reactivated by other characters as he tries to form new relationships which is very exciting. Jenny and Vanessa are of course still skulking around in the background appearing every now and again to cause trouble. Lily Van Der Woodsen plays a much more prominent role in this season than she has in any other as issues from Serena's past crop up again, meaning Lily has to deal with the aftermath.
The season finale is definitely the best episode of the season and it not only wraps up loose ends but it also creates many more which will no doubt be sorted out in season 5. Some plot lines from earlier in the season that you thought had be put to sleep will rise again to slap you in the face. It really was one of the best season finales of any show that I've ever seen that has got the exact balance between coming-to-an-end and leaving-you-begging-for-more that makes this a great conclusion for season 4 whilst leaving enough juice to keep you hanging on to see what happens in season 5.
If you missed Gossip Girl whilst it was aired on television then I highly recommend you buy this on DVD or rent it from your local video store because it is definitely worth it. This is the best season of Gossip Girl yet which the most drama, action, tension, mystery and suspense yet! There are some very big twists and turns in this season and just when you think you've got it all figured out something comes along and changes everything. I was hooked to Gossip Girl from episode one and the drama is so much more intense in this season with each and every episode leaving you begging for more.
I remember saying in a recent review, I'm pretty sure I watch too much TV. That said, I don't seem to have seen as many things as a lot of my friends so I don't really know how any of us get anything done with our lives. One of my friends will generally start with the first series of a programme and won't stop watching until she's seen every episode to date, even if that means watching five or six series in a row. I'm not really one for that and instead tend to watch programmes a series at a time, wait a few months, re-watch that series and then go onto the next one. My memory's quite poor so I enjoy watching things again more than the average person does as I usually forget a lot of the major plot points as well as the subtleties that make it enjoyable to watch.
Gossip Girl is no exception, and while I've loved this programme for over four years now and series six is just hitting screens in America, I'm only just coming to the end of series four now. My aforementioned friend, on the other hand, started watching it a couple of months ago and has seen nearly as much as I have. I also put off watching this series for a little while as, as much as I love it, Gossip Girl can be a bit samey and it's hard to watch too much of it in one go. I decided to watch the fourth series after a short break following the third one and have to say I'm very glad I did.
Gossip Girl is, as we are told at the beginning of each episode, is your one and only source into the scandalous lives of Manhattan's elite. Well, the fictional elite, that is, as this happily is a drama rather than a reality show. The first series started with most of our main characters being high school students at two of the most elite schools in New York City, with the rest of the show mainly revolving around their parents. Blair is the daughter of a famous fashion designer; her best friend Serena was also born into wealth and is a definite socialite; Nate was Blair's boyfriend all throughout school and is best friends with Chuck, who is the human manifestation of upper class cool. Dan and Jenny Humphrey are less riche than the rest but still attended the same school, but were treated as outsiders, largely due to them being from Brooklyn. Dan's best friend, Vanessa, also finds her way into the Upper East side life without really wanting to.
Gossip Girl Series Four
A lot has changed by this series, but I will try to give away as few spoilers as possible. In any case, the main gang are all still living in New York following some fairly contrived plot points that stopped them from going to colleges elsewhere. Whether they're working hard at college or trying to make their way in the business world, the main gang still have enough time for a lot of drama and falling in love with each other and with other people at the drop of a hat. Most of the (heterosexual) combinations of main characters have been played out in some way or another in the past few series and this one is no different. They are all still very rich and beautiful (honestly, some of the most attractive people in the world are in this programme) and manage to cause and find themselves in more scandal than the normal person could even fathom.
What I Thought
Despite (or perhaps partly because of) there not being much new in the way of format in this series, I have to say I loved it. That may, in fact, be why I loved it. The Gossip Girl formula has been fairly tried and tested over the past few years and Blair and Chuck's scheming, everyone being in love with Serena and the constant lying, backstabbing and revenge is what this programme does the best. While I did find myself getting a bit bored at the start of the series, it soon picked up and this series managed to keep my interest and more with its storylines. No, it's not massively different to previous series, but then very few programmes manage to find something unique each year, and keeping things similar while maintaining quality is certainly impressive enough for me. The acting is still good, with nobody in the cast being 'just a pretty face' (but with Leighton Meester, Blake Lively and Ed Westwick, the faces are very pretty indeed) and, though it is about a section of society I know nothing about, the writing is realistic and believable.
That said, I don't think I'll ever enjoy any series of Gossip Girl as much as I did the first one. Not only because it was new and therefore something I hadn't seen before, but because it was a very well put-together series that actually could have stood on its own. I'm very glad that the programme continued but I wish the intrigue, lies and love triangles could be as well executed as in the first series. Everyone's still as beautiful and the clothes are still as fashionable and desirable as ever, but I doubt the programme will ever properly replicate the charm of the first series.
I really enjoyed series five of Gossip Girl and would highly recommend it, obviously provided you've seen the previous four series. I'm going to award it four stars instead of five for various reasons, however. Firstly, as much as I enjoyed it, no series since has been quite as good as the first ever one. Also, while Gossip Girl is great and enjoyable, I couldn't quite put it on a par with some of the programmes that I've given five stars to, such as Six Feet Under, Dexter and Luther. It's an enjoyable programme, but it is what it is and doesn't reach the high levels of quality that can be found in the aforementioned dramas.
The DVD of series four is available for the very reasonable price of £15 for 22 45 minute long episodes. You can also get the first four or five series together for around £50, but you're probably better of getting them series by series as some of them are already available for under £10.
Highly recommended if you've seen and enjoyed the first three series; if not, why not give the first series a go?