BUY IT AT AMAZON: CLICK HERE!
STUDIO: Walt Disney Video
MSRP: $39.99
RATING: NR
RUNNING TIME: 994 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES:
•    Alternate Ending
•    Deleted Scenes•    Livin’ With the X’
s – Behind the Scenes of Kyle XY

•    Audio Commentaries
•    The Science of Kyle XY



The Pitch

Follow the adventures of Kyle XY, a boy who is just like you, except for the special powers, the lack of a belly button, and a yearning to sleep in bathtubs.


The Humans

Matt Dallas, Marguerite MacIntyre, Bruce Thomas, Jean-Luc Bilodeau, April Matson, Jaimie Alexander, Chris Olivero, Nicholas Lea



The Nutshell

Kyle (Dallas) is a kid with not so many memories. In fact, the only ones he has started when he awoke naked in the woods. After being picked up by the man and thrown into a detention center, the kindly Nicole Trager (MacIntyre) decides to take Kyle home to be a part of her family. At first, the rest of the Tragers aren’t too happy with this addition to the household, but before long Kyle endears himself to the whole group.

The first season pretty much dealt with how Kyle, a boy who doesn’t show any feelings such as fear, or anger, but has incredible powers, relates to the world around him and is helped by the Trager family into learning how to find emotions within himself. It ended with another family coming into town to claim Kyle as their own and take him away from the Tragers. It turns out this family was working for another man who indeed did create Kyle, in a scientific experiment.

The second season starts with Kyle’s creator trying to show him how to harness his powers, but things are cut short when operatives from ZZYZX, the top secret lab where Kyle was “born”, assassinate his “father”. This tragedy sends Kyle back to the only real family he knows, and after assisting his protector in destroying the ZZYZX lab, he returns to the Trager family. But something has survived in the ZZYZX lab, and it is looking for Kyle.



The Lowdown

I don’t mean to be surly or crass about a show that is well intentioned and for the most part intelligent, but I just cannot stand the lead character Kyle. I don’t like that he stands in the frame like a big wooden statue and delivers lines with about as much personality as HAL 9000. Now I am sure that this terribly bland performance is not the fault of Matt Dallas; he is just doing his best to fulfill the needs of the script which has Kyle still trying to figure out what emotions are, but it just makes for boring television when your lead character can’t react to anything on screen, unless that reaction is a blank stare. It’s especially unnerving that he has a classic “Zellweger” face and looks like he is going to burst into crying jags at any moment. Those teary eyes betray the emotionless character of Kyle.

The rest of the show isn’t so bad. It definitely has a teenie bopper X-Files quality to it, with all the undercover experiments and intrigue involving Prom dates and such. The one very positive thing about this show is that it doesn’t talk down to the teen crowd that it is aiming at. The parents leave town for a night; the teens throw a beer bash. That is only one example, but the series writes the kids like they would act in real life, and that is refreshing to see. And overall, it’s a pretty wholesome show (except for all the killings in the first few episodes) about families sticking together through good times and bad. Now that I have caught up with what happened in season two will I continue to watch this show on the Family Channel? Nope!  It’s a decent program hampered by an incredibly boring lead character, but I’m not in the age group that this show is targeting anyways, so what do I know.

 

The Package

You get some directors commentaries (which I admit I didn’t listen to, so I’ll never know why Kyle is so bland), deleted scenes, and Livin’ with the X’s, a special behind the scenes look at the show.




BUY IT AT AMAZON: CLICK HERE!
STUDIO: Walt Disney Video
MSRP: $29.99
RATING: NR
RUNNING TIME: 517 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES:
•    Bloopers
•    Flashback Episode – And so it Begins
•    Plain White T’s music video
•    Audio commentaries



The Pitch

The guys and gals of the coolest frats and sororities of Cyprus-Rhodes University, have problems just like us non-Greeks.


The Humans

Spencer Grammer, Jacob Zachar, Scott Michael Foster, Paul James



The Nutshell

It’s the second year for the students of the ABC Family Channel’s Greek, and they are all dealing with issues. Casey (Grammer), the new president of the ZBZ sorority is trying to get her gals back on track after a particularly bad previous year while at the same time trying to save her love life with an old flame. Her Brother, Rusty (Zachar), is also dealing with lost love, but has turned toward the fraternity that he is pledging and its president, the slacker with a heart of gold, Cappie (Foster), for enlightenment. Also in the mix is the newly outed Calvin (James), who has just left the very snobby Omega Chi frat house because of some issues they were having with him being gay. How do they all fair on this season of Greek?



The Lowdown

Greek is a show that doesn’t need to exist. As far as I am concerned, there was one great T.V. program about the college experience, and that was Undeclared, and this show is no Undeclared.

Not that Greek doesn’t try to be hip and snappy; the writing is actually not too bad, and the themes are quite grown up for something that is on the ABC Family Channel, but it doesn’t add up to anything you haven’t seen before (and done better) on shows like The Wonder Years and Doogie Howser, M.D.

Take away the idea that it is set at a University and it could just be another high school story about various cliques. In all fairness, I didn’t sit through all twelve episodes that make up this set, I found six to be my limit, so I can’t really tell you how season two ends up, but I can say that I have not watched a show in recent memory that left me caring so little about the characters involved. I wasn’t huge on Kyle XY, but the show has its moments where you are drawn into its story. Greek never gets that far. It is so mired down in balancing the hip lingo with the messages it is trying to deliver, that it just becomes a completely banal experience.



The Package

I give ABC Family and Disney Home Video some credit with their discs; they actually go through the effort of giving the fans a little extra. Like Kyle XY, Greek has commentaries on various episodes, a blooper reel, a music video from the Plain White T’s and a flashback episode.




BUY IT AT AMAZON: CLICK HERE!
STUDIO: Warner Home Video
MSRP: $39.98
RATING: NR
RUNNING TIME: 1,375 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES: none



The Pitch

Follow the Ewings as they connive and scheme to keep their oil business, and their family together.


The Humans

Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, Victoria Principal, Linda Gray, Ken Kercheval


The Nutshell

The tenth season of Dallas follows the Ewing’s (the largest oil producers in Texas) as they try to navigate the tricky waters of dealing with O.P.E.C. in order to keep American oil prices competitive. But it isn’t all business. Bobby Ewing (Duffy), who was killed off in the eighth season cliffhanger, is back from the dead (the ninth season was written off as a bad dream that Pamela Barnes Ewing [Principal] had) and trying to reign in his brother J.R.’s (Hagman) bullheadedness in running the family oil business.



The Lowdown

As a child growing up in the eighties, my mother and I had two rituals that were bonding moments for us; we watched The Exorcist every Thanksgiving and Dallas every Friday night. I remember enjoying the cartoonish theatricality of the program. People on Dallas weren’t just good or bad, they were vile or angelic. And everyone was always scheming. Now, am I sure I didn’t watch up until season ten with my mother. I was getting older and it was more fun to go and hang out with friends on a Friday night than sit at home watching the tube, but looking back on this tenth season, memories come flooding back.

This collection of twenty nine episodes from the 1996 -1997 season are dated to be sure, the hairstyles and fashions all scream eighties, but the plotlines are fairly meaty, and the characters are fun to watch. Everything is played broadly, as a good potboiler should be played, and with this being the tenth season (and also the start of Dallas’ big slide in the ratings) things got even goofier. J.R.’s boozy wife Sue Ellin (Gray) trying to become a lingerie magnet, someone going around blowing up Ewing oil wells, and a man from the past is threatening to take control of the entire Ewing empire is only the start of the twists and turns that season ten takes!



While all of the acting in Dallas is fine, special consideration must be given to Ken Kercheval, who plays Cliff Barnes, a rival oil man (and Sue Ellin’s brother) who has it our for J.R.. Kercheval is about as over the top as an actor can get on a primetime soap opera. He stammers and guffaws, and plays the bad guy with gusto, many times bringing the only moments of humor into a show that definitely was starving in that area.

Is it worth watching now? That’s a tough call. Modern primetime shows have a lot more leeway in doing sexy storylines than Dallas had twenty years ago. Shows like Nip / Tuck can swear and show nudity and be a lot more daring in their plots. Dallas didn’t have the benefit of showing too much skin or being allowed to use profanity, and that hurts it in the watchability factor. It is a show that was good for its time, loaded with interesting ideas and a top notch cast that, sadly, doesn’t hold up as well today.



The Package

No extras here. The show is presented in the 4:3 aspect ratio and the sound is somewhat muddled, but it looks surprisingly good for something twenty years old.




BUY IT AT AMAZON: CLICK HERE!
STUDIO: Warner Home Video
MSRP: $59.98
RATING: NR
RUNNING TIME: 627 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES:
•    Scenes From the Cutting Room
•    Hollywood Hedonism: The Transition From Miami to Hollywood
•    Gag Reel



The Pitch

The Boys of McNamara / Troy are breakin hearts and fixing faces in the fifth season of Nip / Tuck


The Humans

Dylan Walsh, Julian McMahon, a ton of guest stars.



The Nutshell

Season five (part one) sees televisions favorite plastic surgeons moving from the comforts of Miami to Rodeo Drive, where getting clients can be a bit cutthroat. Sean (Walsh) the talent behind the McNamara / Troy Plastic surgery center is trying to get his life back to normal after splitting with his wife while Christian, his flashy business partner is up to his same old tricks of undermining Sean at every possible turn.



The Lowdown

Nip / Tuck is a show that I would love to hate, but can’t  It is one of the most absurd things on television; a show where ladies making out is not shocking when put up against a woman having her labia minora grafted onto her face. Having an illicit affair isn’t anything, but having an affair where the woman wants to be dipped in an ice bath for a half hour before sex is something.



The show exists in its own world, where the odd an implausible are things that happen regularly. It’s quirky and strange, and if it weren’t written as amazingly good as it is, then I would definitely think much less of Nip / Tuck. But the fact of the matter is that Season Five (part one) is extremely watchable fair. I can’t say I was a big watcher of other seasons (I gave up mid-way through season two), but I think the change of locations helps the show immensely. Our gang our now the outsiders in a world where there’s plastic surgeons on every corner, and the tensions caused by this help to give the show a little heat. Also this season, Sean becomes a bit of a celebrity himself, thanks to his consulting work on the hit TV show Hearts & Scalpels, which leads Christian in a very slow burning inner rage as he does whatever he can to try and one up his partner.



And you want guest stars? You got em! One testament to a well written show is that very decent actors look to get spots on it and Nip / Tuck has never had trouble in this department. Oliver Platt, always a plus in any cast, is in a handful of episodes as the genius behind Hearts & Scalpels and he, as usual, is fun to watch. You also get Jennifer Coolidge, Rosie O’Donnell, and Portia de Rossi. Now you may be thinking “Rosie O’Donnell is fun to watch?” Well, I would contend that any actress who allows themselves to play the victim of a “Butt Bandit” who likes to sneak into hospitals and give anal exams a pretty “game” performer who deserves to be appreciated.



Again, it’s not a show that deals with the “real” world in any way. It exists in its own vacuum, but it is very well put together and a treat for the viewer willing to not be so snobby (that would be me) and just give it a chance. It’s a bit trashy, but this trash is finely polished.


The Package

You get some scenes from the cutting room for in this 16 X 9 anamorphic release, and a small featurette detailing the shows location change. Also, you get a gag reel! And remember Nip / Tuck fans, this is only the first part of Season five, so you are getting only fourteen episodes.



Kyle XY: The Complete Second Season: 6.5 out of 10
Greek: Chapter Two: 4 out of 10

Dallas: The Complete Tenth Season: 6.0 out of 10

Nip / Tuck – Season Five (Part One): 7.5 out of 10