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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Full Frame
  • Dual Layer ( )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • French: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Commentary - English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
    English, French, Dutch, English - Hearing Impaired
  Extras
  • Audio commentary - Creators J.J.Abrams and Matt Reeves
  • Animated menus

Felicity - The Complete First Season

Buena Vista/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 926 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Remember when being a nerd meant I got picked on all the time at school?

Felicity’s a nerd. However, she also has the ability to go beyond her programming and change her life into something different from the expected. On her graduation day, she summons the courage to finally ask her long-time unwitting crush Ben if he’ll write in her yearbook. What he writes makes her think she’s got a shot with him, so she ditches her previous college plans and follows him to college in New York. What happens through the next 22 episodes of the first season of Felicity is the ups and downs of her first year of college life. She has a roommate who she doesn’t get along with, she makes some close friends and falls in love with her dormitory’s resident advisor, sits exams and learns to live away from her overbearing parents. She loses her virginity and, ever present, is the chance that she and Ben will end up together.

"Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can pretty much change your life forever..."

Felicity’s problems are everyday problems that occur for everyone. The subtle politics of relationships, emotional stresses of relationships with friends, having a roommate who shits you and being in love with someone who is seemingly out of reach. She tackles each problem with an almost child-like wonderment as she realises she is finally living her own life and has to figure this stuff out for herself. Even when dealing with the really hard stuff, she manages to maintain some sense of independence and a subtle joy that at last she is free. Of course, that doesn’t make her journey any less painful, just less useless.

Obviously appealing to the teen spectrum of viewers, this series still managed to find a larger fanbase among the 20 somethings and to a lesser extent the early 30s; perhaps because memories are still fresh for this age bracket of the similarities in their own experience. Whatever the reason, this show, while sometimes annoying and encouraging vocal admonitions from the frustrated viewer, still has an unusual appeal for such a soap opera-like series. And I think I know why:
There are no villains.
The only villains are within the characters themselves; bitterness, jealousy, anger etc. However, none of the major cast are baddies, just regular people living regular lives. Any episodes of selfishness or annoyance are there because they’re there in everyone and that doesn’t make us bad, just human.

If there’s any one thing that stands out as annoying in this show it is that everyone is so good looking. When I went to college man, there were some real examples of the detritus of humanity walking around. And I mean real dregs. So I suppose in one sense it’s a little unrealistic like that, but it does save us having to look at the wretched refuse of college life.

Episode List:

  • Pilot
  • The Last Stand
  • Hot Objects
  • Boggled
  • Spooked
  • Cheating
  • Drawing the Line (1)
  • Drawing the Line (2)
  • Thanksgiving
  • Finally
  • Gimme an O!
  • Friends
  • Todd Mulcahy (1)
  • Todd Mulcahy (2)
  • Love and Marriage
  • The Fugue
  • Assassins
  • Happy Birthday
  • Docuventary
  • Connections
  • The Force
  • Felicity Was Here

  Video
Contract

This is a Buena Vista release, so we can usually expect a particular level of excellence. Unfortunately, however, this hasn’t always been meted out in Felicity’s transfer to DVD. Taking into consideration they’ve had to cram 22 episodes onto six discs, they’ve still managed to do alright, but portions of the set are still lacking. Being a TV series of a few years' vintage, this is naturally presented in the TV ratio of 4:3.

Shadows are frequently deep and unyielding, though blacks remain pretty good. Sometimes these deeper shadows almost two-dimensionalise a scene, taking away all depth. Contrast gets a little over-defined at times with solid colours and little gradiation. However, the picture remains fairly sharp throughout. There are occasional instances of grain throughout, though too sporadic for me to be specific. Flesh tones are always natural while the colour palette is also fairly even throughout with nice levels of saturation (but for the mentioned contrasts). Some heavier troubled moments worth mentioning however are in:

  • Episode Five: Spooked, when from 08:11 through to 08:51 we get severe MPEG artefacts in a darkened room sequence.
  • Episode Seven: Drawing the Line Part One, where from 21:45 to 21:49 the scene resembles a brown cartoon in sepia contrasts.
  • Episode 15: Love and Marriage, in which the sepia returns very heavily from 13:36 to 15:04.

The faults are naturally the results of having to compress so much material into so little space and for the most part they don’t distract from the show itself to any great degree.

  Audio
Contract

I couldn’t really fault the audio throughout, but for one glaring instance that I shall come to in a moment. The dialogue is all well spoken and easily understood and the sound effects are subtle and well placed. The whole sound stage is presented in Dolby Digital stereo, of course, and does carry the sound more than adequately. Music too, sounds great with plenty of mainstream moody tracks to amplify the feelings of particular scenes and it is always well placed and well applied to the given situation.

And now for the error. It occurs in Episode Four:Boggled, where the synch appears to be out ever so slightly for most of the episode. I checked it, played others and replayed it again and found it was the same. The first part; “previously on Felicity” is much more affected than the rest of the show, but by the end of the episode I had adapted to it and it didn’t really affect me too much. However, this is the one real flaw in the entire box set and doesn’t detract a great deal from the content, it's more mildly irritating.

  Extras
Contract

Well, the episodes don’t come with chapters, so make sure you don’t stop the show half way through or your fast forward button will get a workout. Animated menus are delivered us and are constant through the discs, which serves well to create a unified feeling to the set.

Other than that there are but two audio commentaries on the first and last episodes. J. J. Abrams and Matt Reeves, the creators plus producer and director respectively. They speak plaintively about the cast and crew, the story behind Felicity’s creation and their original ideas. They obviously love their creation and seem enamoured by it at times, lapsing into silence while something plays out on screen, but they seem so genuinely affectionate of the show it is kinda sweet really. It’s quite an interesting commentary for anyone wishing to know a little more about the show, although the addition of some character bios or interviews, or even a complete cast list and songlists, would have been nice, but we just get the commentaries. Again though, I guess we are restricted by disc space.

And yes, for anyone doing the math there they would realise there’s nearly a whole layer leftover on disc six that would have been nicely filled with anything I’ve just suggested there. Oh well, perhaps in the Season Two set...

  Overall  
Contract

Well, fans of the show are going to be thrilled with the set overall. While the quality of visuals hovers around the 90% mark, the audio is great (but for Episode Four) and the audio commentaries do deliver some interesting behind the scenes stuff. The whole thing is presented in a rather nice, though usual, presentation box and all up is a fairly good investment for anyone wanting to watch the series over and over. I can understand why some would, if not I, and could also see this being used in high schools for English classes or whatever to connect with teens. It’s topical, though not political, and is relatively easily watched and enjoyed for some subtle soap opera without the poor acting and shit storylines.

And yes, college people, while occasionally ugly, are beautiful on the inside... just like all humans.


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      And I quote...
    "College life as seen through the eyes of a blossoming nerd..."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Nintaus DVD-N9901
    • TV:
          Sony 51cm
    • Receiver:
          Diamond
    • Speakers:
          Diamond
    • Surrounds:
          No Name
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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