Warner Bros. // 2008 // 1102 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Daniel Kelly (Retired) // August 31st, 2009
Staying together. Falling apart. Life hits home in season 6!
Teen drama One Tree Hill returns for another round of angst, romance, and questionable life choices in this the show's sixth season. Whilst not as reprehensible as other adolescent-aimed TV confection, One Tree Hill has always been pretty ordinary stuff, something that hasn't changed over the half-a-dozen year lifespan. Fans should have no trouble in enjoying this set, but those who've struggled to tackle Mark Schwahn's dose of teen trauma are unlikely to find the latest offering any more accessible.
Everyone in the little (and fictitious) town of Tree Hill is pursuing their dreams and trying to escape their nightmares. Nathan Scott (James Lafferty, S.Darko) continues his quest to become an NBA hotshot, Lucas (Chad Michael Murray, A Cinderella Story) is engaged to long-time love Peyton (Hilarie Burton, The Secret Life of Bees), and Brooke (Sophia Bush, The Hitcher) is contesting with her witchy mother and a troubled teen. Along with the other residents of Tree Hill, these core protagonists provide 24 episodes worth of gloom, self doubt, and occasional cheer.
You've got to give props to this show for effort; I'll happily admit that much. Whilst ultimately it only succeeds in the fact it "doesn't completely suck," this sixth season at least keeps things spicy and ever changing for those who have enjoyed the other five years of drama. This is the sort of DVD box set that only fans will want and really only fans are interested in; if you happen to be reading this review and haven't at least dabbled in the program at some point, I'd be surprised. Basically for those who aren't particularly turned on by shows such as this (me included), this is eminently skippable stuff. However if you're a One Tree Hill addict, this solidly constructed DVD set should be of satisfying quality.
The writing on show is within the genre pretty decent, and the scribes do make an active attempt to keep things fresh and the plotlines hard to predict. Nobody likes a TV drama where the next episode is easy to deduce, and thus One Tree Hill does a neat job of keeping the various plot contortions unforeseeable and pleasantly hard to fathom. I personally found many of the various story elements to be dull from square one, but for those gripped, it's easy to see the appeal in a show that serves up reasonable cliffhangers and manages to avoid driving specific twists and turns into the grounds of stale repetition.
The performances are for the most part above the average output for such teen-based TV fare. Chad Michael Murray is as unimpressive as ever, but the rest of the cast do make fairly sound stabs at acting. James Lafferty and Bethany Joy Galeotti make a pretty attractive and engaging screen couple, whilst Sophia Bush continues to shine through the mediocrity of most everything to which she's attached. As an actress Bush has natural beauty and a strong screen presence. Her versatility is still debatable, but I'd like to see her move into the realms of feature film sooner rather than later. Hilarie Burton is one note but largely inoffensive as Murray's conflicted squeeze whilst all around further groups of young thespians do quietly efficient work. A large reason why One Tree Hill isn't as nauseating as many of its prime time contemporaries is down to the solid performances -- many of the artists here deserving of better fare. As a group there is believable chemistry, though after six years of working together one would hope such warmth would have naturally developed.
Am I being too kind to this show? Probably. The vast majority of people in the world aren't actually fans and if you're not then the show really is pretty tedious. Add in the generous dollops of cheese and emotional clichés and you have further reasons for disliking the product, yet that's really not fair. For some this sort of easy on the eyes and even easier on the brain styled TV is entertainment comfort food, and if that's the case, then Season 6 is just as effective as any other Tree Hill series.
The DVD release is split up over seven discs and contains a modest assortment of bonus material. Two episode commentaries are likely to appeal exclusively to diehards and in truth make for a pretty dull listen. Considerably more watchable are a set of featurettes, the most interesting of which chronicles the directorial debuts of three of the young cast. In truth no episode of the show looks any different than another so it's hard to comment on their individual success, but it's certainly intriguing to hear what other cast members made of the first time camera wielders. Rounding out the package is a gag reel that actually solicits a few laughs. From a technical perspective this set is decent if a little unremarkable, yet somehow I suspect the core demographic won't be too troubled by such issues.
Would I recommend this show if you've never seen it, or find most TV teen
dramas annoying and vapid?
Would I recommend it if you're a fan?
Sure, it's a decent release and the show is what it is. You either like it or you don't.
From a technical perspective, One Tree Hill: Season Six is not guilty. In terms of the actual show, the verdict will be variable, only you can decide how you feel on this one.
Review content copyright © 2009 Daniel Kelly; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 1102 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Episode Commentaries
* Deleted Scenes
* Gag Reel
* Official Site