Chloe must hate always being the "drab" one.

By Gina Carbone
gina_carbone@comcast.net

Bill Paxton’s a fox. He’s one of the only guys I can imagine pulling off the “Big Love” lifestyle, so kudos to him for somehow making this show heartwarming instead of full-on creepy.

HBO just issued a press release on season four, which starts Sunday, Jan. 10. Read on for details and get your DVRs ready…

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For years, Bill Henrickson has battled Roman Grant, the corrupt “prophet” of Juniper Creek.  Now, with Roman dead and buried, Bill and his ever-growing family can breathe easy.  Or can they?

The critically acclaimed drama series “Big Love” kicks off its nine-episode fourth season with the episode entitled “Free at Last,” debuting Sunday, Jan. 10 (9-10 p.m. ET/PT), on HBO, followed by other episodes on subsequent Sundays at the same time.

Emmy-nominated for Best Drama series earlier this year, “Big Love” tells the story of Salt Lake City businessman Bill Henrickson, who balances the needs of his three wives – Barb, Nicki and Margene – their nine kids and three houses, and his own entrepreneurial ambitions.

Bill Paxton, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloë Sevigny and Ginnifer Goodwin star in the series, which is executive produced by Playtone’s Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, David Knoller, Bernadette Caulfield and series creators and show runners Mark V. Olsen & Will Scheffer.

Having struggled to mend rifts that threatened the very existence of his family in season three, Bill Henrickson now faces a host of new personal and professional challenges.

Story lines in season four of “Big Love” include:  the launch of a Mormon-friendly casino with his Native American partners; the changing of the guard at the Juniper Creek compound; Bill’s potential candidacy for the Utah state senate; Barb’s controversial role at the new casino; Nicki’s stormy relationship with her ex-husband; and Margene’s career as a home shopping personality, as well as ongoing complications involving Bill’s daughter Sarah and his mother Lois.

Series regulars on the fourth season of “Big Love” also include Shawn Doyle, Mireille Enos, Zeljko Ivanek, Matt Ross, Amanda Seyfried, Cassi Thomson, Melora Walters and Grace Zabriskie.  Returning guest stars include Bruce Dern, Anne Dudek, Branka Katic, Joel McKinnon Miller, Aaron Paul, Mary Kay Place, Douglas Smith and Harry Dean Stanton.

New guest stars this season include Adam Beach (HBO’s “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”), Perry King (“Riptide”), Bella Thorne (“Dirty Sexy Money”) and Sissy Spacek (Oscar-winner for “Coal Miner’s Daughter”), who plays a conservative Washington, D.C. lobbyist intent on inserting herself into Bill’s professional and personal life.

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Upcoming episodes:

Episode #35:  “Free at Last”

Debut:  SUNDAY, JAN. 10 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT)

Other HBO playdates:  Jan. 10 (11:15 p.m.), 12 (11:00 p.m.), 13 (10:00 p.m.), 15 (8:00 p.m., 1:45 a.m.) and 27 (8:00 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates:  Jan. 11 (10:00 p.m.), 12 (7:00 p.m.), 16 (1:30 p.m., 11:50 p.m.) and 17 (8:00 p.m.)

With the grand opening of the Blackfoot Magic Casino only days away, the Henricksons make last-minute preparations under the skeptical eye of Tommy Flute (Adam Beach), son of Bill’s (Bill Paxton) partner Jerry (Robert Beltran).  As the feds continue to probe unfinished business concerning Roman Grant (Harry Dean Stanton), Alby (Matt Ross) has a close encounter with Dale Tomasson (Ben Koldyke), the state-appointed trustee of Juniper Creek’s assets.  At the compound, Adaleen (Mary Kay Place) shares a shocking secret with Nicki (Chloë Sevigny), who’s under fire for opening a new bank account for Roman.  Though her home-shopping business is thriving, Margie (Ginnifer Goodwin) makes an on-air slip-up that prompts her boss Beverly (Katherine LaNasa) to voice concerns about possible burnout.  Worried for her safety, Lois (Grace Zabriskie) offers Frank (Bruce Dern) a piece of her fledgling bird-purveying business.  Bill and J.J. Walker (Zeljko Ivanek), Nicki’s unpredictable ex, work out an arrangement allowing Cara Lynn (Cassi Thomson) to stay at the Henricksons’ house while attending high school during the week.  Ben (Douglas Smith) lands a gig with his Christian rock band, and ends up being called into backup duty for another.

Written by Mark V. Olsen & Will Scheffer; directed by Dan Attias.

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Episode #36:  “The Greater Good”

Debut:  SUNDAY, JAN. 17 (9:00-10:00 p.m.)

Other HBO playdates:  Jan. 17 (11:00 p.m.), 19 (11:00 p.m.), 20 (10:00 p.m.), 22 (8:00 p.m., 2:25 a.m.) and 27 (9:00 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates:  Jan. 18 (10:00 p.m.), 19 (7:00 p.m.), 23 (1:30 p.m., 11:35 p.m.) and 24 (8:00 p.m.)

Ignoring pleas from Nicki to become Juniper Creek’s next prophet, Bill contemplates running for the vacant Utah State Senate seat against ardent polygamy foe Roy Colburn (Tom Amandes).  Joey (Shawn Doyle) and Wanda (Melora Walters) return to Juniper Creek, but a suspicious J.J. is lurking.  Sarah (Amanda Seyfried) and Scott (Aaron Paul) decide to forgo a wedding in Bill’s church in favor of a civil ceremony, shocking Barb (Jeanne Tripplehorn), who nevertheless takes steps with Bill to be re-admitted to the church that excommunicated them.  J.J., making his mark in a UEB satellite compound in Kansas, has a contentious dinner at the Henricksons’ with his cancer-ridden wife Malinda (Malinda Page Hamilton).  Barb confronts Nicki about her feelings for Ray Henry (Charles Esten), who’s moving away after losing his case.  A reform-minded Dale tries to keep Alby at bay, to little avail.

Written by Paul Redford; directed by David Knoller.

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Episode #37:  “Strange Bedfellows”

Debut:  SUNDAY, JAN. 24 (9:00-10:00 p.m.)

Other HBO playdates:  Jan. 24 (11:00 p.m.), 26 (10:30 p.m.), 27 (10:00 p.m.) and 29 (8:00 p.m., 2:00 a.m.)

HBO2 playdates:  Jan. 25 (10:00 p.m.), 26 (7:00 p.m.), 30 (1:30 p.m., 11:35 p.m.) and 31 (8:00 p.m.)

Bill, Nicki and Cara Lynn travel to Washington, D.C., where Bill tries to land an endorsement from Congressman Clark Paley (Perry King) while repairing his relationship with Nicki.  First, however, he has to get past a faux pas he’s made with Marilyn Densham (Sissy Spacek), Paley’s political crony.  Back in Utah, Margene and her “Hearts on a Sleeve” line go prime time, but her on-air triumph is tempered by a case of mistaken identity.  Joined by Sarah, Barb leads a series of seminars on sensitivity training at the casino.  Fearing that Wanda spilled the beans about Roman’s murder to J.J., Joey goes to extremes to safeguard their dirty secret.  Barb and Sarah hit a young Native American woman with their car, prompting Sarah to personally compensate the victim and her baby.  Even as his affection for Dale deepens, Alby is tormented by reminders of his late father’s judgment.

Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa; directed by Adam Davidson.

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Episode #38:  “The Mighty and Strong”

Debut:  SUNDAY, JAN. 31 (9:00-10:00 p.m.)

Other HBO playdates:  Jan. 31 (11:00 p.m.) and Feb. 2 (10:30 p.m.), 3 (10:00 p.m.), 5 (8:00 p.m., 1:20 a.m.) and 17 (8:00 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates:  Feb. 1 (10:00 p.m.), 2 (7:00 p.m.), 6 (3:00 p.m., 11:30 p.m.) and 7 (8:00 p.m.)

When an audit uncovers insurance discrepancies at Home Plus, Bill takes drastic steps to protect his secrets and save his candidacy.  J.J. approaches Alby with a partial solution on how to dispose of a “flock cast adrift,” flummoxing Nicki.  Lois, Frank and Jodean (Mireille Enos) encounter a border scare in their quest for exotic birds.  Sarah gets a taste of motherhood, albeit with someone else’s child.  Alby is tormented by his inner Roman, and torn by what he sees as Dale’s betrayal.  Troubled by Tancy’s (Bella Thorne) surprising revelation about Margene and Ben, Bill decides that a change of scene might be best for his firstborn son.

Written by Melanie Marnich; directed by Dan Attias.

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In addition to its Emmy nomination, “Big Love” just received three Golden Globe nominations:  Best Television Series – Drama, Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama (Bill Paxton) and Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television (Chloë Sevigny).

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