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STUDIO:  KOCH Vision
MSRP:  $29.98
RATED:  Unrated
RUNNING TIME:  353 Minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES:
Cast Interviews
Behind the Scenes Photo Shoot
On Set Tours
Behind the Scenes Footage


The Pitch

“It‘s The Brady Bunch, but Canadian and a little less saccharine!”

The Humans

Ashley Leggat, Michael Seater, Jordan Todosey, Daniel Magder, Ariel Waller, John Ralston, Joy Tanner

The Nutshell

George and Nora (Ralston and Tanner) get married.  George has three kids from a previous marriage: Derek (Seater); Edwin (Magder) and Marty (Waller).  Nora has two of her own – Casey (Leggat) and Lizzie (Todosey).  Nora and her daughters move into George’s rather small house (well, small for seven people) and the hijinks begin.

 
“…with special guest-director Wes Anderson!”


The Lowdown

Honestly, there really isn’t a hell of a lot to say here.  The set up pretty much tells you what the show is about and there aren’t really any surprises, situation-wise.  Space and territoriality are pretty much the big themes, along with the typical teenage high school drama.  Most of the conflict is centered between Derek and Casey as they battle for control of the house (well, Casey battles to just have a voice while Derek battles to completely alienate her and maintain the status quo) and how their power struggle affects the family as a whole.

What does sometimes get a little surprising is the fact that the writers aren’t afraid of playing with gender dynamics and sexism and feminism and don’t hide them behind cutesy little allegories.  Sometimes it can be a little heavy-handed, like with the whole men drivers vs. women drivers episode, but often times it’s subtle and it plays into the larger themes of the episode, giving them a little bit of richness that you’re not gonna find in your usual TGIF-type of program.


“Wait, so wearing my collar like this ISN’T cool?  It makes me look like a douche?  Really?  Are you sure?”


Of course, none of that would work without characterization and there’s a fairly good bit of that here.  The majority of it gets devoted to Derek and Casey but most of the supporting cast gets some love as well.  Except Edwin.  That kid is vapor and is really only there to serve as Derek’s lackie and someone for Lizzie to hang out with (and she isn‘t much better but is useful).  George and Nora are pretty good as the parents, Marty is the typical sweet little girl who can be pretty entertaining when she needs to be, but again – it all goes back to Derek and Casey.  He’s lazy and selfish, a bit bossy, but he has a sweet side and he’s really good to his little sister Marty.  Casey is neurotic and insecure, but strong and smart and organized and isn’t intimidated (though sometimes overwhelmed) by her new step-brother.  That’s the basic rundown, but there are some nuances in all of them (again – except Edwin) that make then likeable and relatable.

Obviously, I dig the show.  I kind of feel like I may be over-praising it – it’s not “great” by any rational standards – but it’s fun and a little smarter than its Disney Channel brethren (okay, a LOT smarter).  The kiddo loves it and aside from an annoying theme song (which plays over a title sequence that is an unmistakable riff on the Brady Bunch) there’s nothing to hate, and quite a few things to enjoy.


Not only did Mikey NOT like it, he had no problems telling anyone who listened just EXACTLY how he felt.


The Package

The art is nice but bland – Derek and Casey with the title logo on blue.  It’s got a good layout and good colors but it doesn’t really say anything.  It’s just there.

The features section yields one-on-ones with each of the principal cast and the director, which are full of the typical questions and are edited weird.  Seems like they were meant to be more a collection of soundbites than actual interviews.  There is some “behind the scenes” footage which is nothing more than b-roll, studio tours with Leggat, Seater, Waller and Todosey and a “behind the scenes photo shoot” which lasts about 45 seconds and is just footage of  the taking of a cast photo on the Venturi couch.  Nothing you’ll watch more than once – if that.

 
“Vapor, huh?  Well I got a new 3-Wood that I’ve been meaning to break in.  We’ll see who’s vapor.”


OVERALL 8.0 out of 10