Case Number 08495


Warner Bros. // 2003 // 993 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Neal Solon (Retired) // February 1st, 2006

The Charge

"Sometimes they come back..."

Opening Statement

Last season, we established that One Tree Hill was more than just a mere throwaway. The question, now, is whether the show can live up to its surprisingly entertaining first season. Stay tuned to find out.

Facts of the Case

When we last left Tree Hill, NC, the Scott brothers, Lucas (Chad Michael Murray, Freaky Friday) and Nathan (James Lafferty, A Season on the Brink), were actually acting like brothers. Of course, things couldn't remain idyllic for long. Lucas was moving to South Carolina. Nathan had gotten married. Their father Dan (Paul Johansson, John Q) was in the middle of a sudden heart attack. Surely this was an omen; a portent of another downward spiral. The 23 episodes of One Tree Hill: The Complete Second Season explore what happens next. They are presented on six discs, as follows:

Disc One
* "The Desperate Kingdom of Love"
* "Truth Doesn't Make a Noise"
* "Near Wild Heaven"
* "You Can't Always Get What You Want"

Disc Two
* "I Will Dare"
* "We Might As Well Be Strangers"
* "Let the Reigns Go Loose"
* "Truth, Bitter Truth"

Disc Three
* "The Trick Is to Keep Breathing"
* "Don't Take Me For Granted"
* "The Heart Brings You Back"
* "Between Order and Randomness"

Disc Four
* "The Hero Dies in This One"
* "Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows"
* "Unopened Letter to the World"
* "Somewhere a Clock Is Ticking"

Disc Five
* "Something I Can Never Have"
* "The Lonesome Road"
* "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning"
* "Lifetime Piling Up"

Disc Six
* "What Could Have Been"
* "The Tide That Left and Never Came Back"
* "The Leavers Dance"

The Evidence

In my review of Season One of One Tree Hill, I mentioned that the WB is sometimes unfavorably compared to UPN -- as the butt of jokes from the uninitiated. Now, it seems, the two networks will be joining to create a sort of super second-tier network called the CW. Interesting. I also expressed my hope that in its second season, One Tree Hill wouldn't abandon the components of the show that make it unique. There are some developments on that front as well. With Lucas and Nathan's brotherly relationship on sure footing, One Tree Hill has been forced to resort to more teenage melodrama. It's a regrettable development, but the results aren't all bad.

One of the shining lights in One Tree Hill: The Complete Second Season is a new character who must deal with her sexual identity on screen, while surrounded by a group of new friends in Tree Hill. While such exploration has been in and out of vogue in recent media, the treatments always run the risk of being laughable. Mark Schwahn and his team, however, treat the topic tenderly and honestly. As a result, it rings true, and is one of the few plot lines in this season of the show that really connects with the audience on an emotional level.

Another positive development in One Tree Hill's second season is the expansion of the role of Marvin "Mouth" McFadden (Lee Norris, Boy Meets World). Mouth has always been an interesting character, but this season he really moves to the forefront. He gets drawn into all of the drama, but also provides some comic relief, including a grand-scale karaoke version of Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back."

Apart from these positive developments, however, the direction One Tree Hill moved throughout this season was a bit of a disappointment. Too much of the teenage drama seems either too contrived or too typical. There is backstabbing galore, and plenty of plotting and conniving, but nothing that makes the show unique. It appears that the show's creators either noticed this themselves or received similar feedback throughout the season, because, by the end of Season Two, Lucas and Nathan -- the pair of characters that set this show apart -- are back on the rocks. Of course, even with the changes in direction, if you need a little slice of teenage drama and take the show for what it is, One Tree Hill is still solid, mindless fun.

Warner Bros. gives One Tree Hill: The Complete Second Season their usual high-quality video and audio presentation. To add to it, they pile on extras that match those from last season's DVD in both quantity and style. First on the pile are three episode commentaries. Creator Mark Schwahn delivers two -- one alone and one with Bryan Greenberg, who has a recurring role on the show -- and Paul Johansson does the third. All three commentaries are worth listening to, though Mark Schwahn gives away his target audience when he stops to explain what a "pilot" episode is, and Paul Johansson's self-deprecating shtick gets a little old.

The deleted scenes included, while plentiful, are mostly uninteresting. The featurettes, too, are mostly fluff. "The Music of One Tree Hill" has some interesting moments, discussing how the producers find and choose music for the show, but it also spends a good deal of time talking about the One Tree Hill spin-off musical tour. "Change is Good" spends ten minutes discussing the new characters introduced in Season Two. One would assume that this featurette would be useless to someone who has just watched the entire second season. One would assume correctly. Rounding out the extras are two video diaries that present footage of a charity football game and of Tyler Hilton on the One Tree Hill tour bus, respectively. Both of these are inexplicably fun, and they are a perfect way to round out the set.

Closing Statement

Despite taking a sharp turn straight for the shipwreck that is teenage drama, One Tree Hill is still an enjoyable ride. Watching these episodes almost a year removed from the first season make them a little better. Watching one of these episodes on the WB while I was reviewing the first set, I remember being terribly underwhelmed. I'm pleasantly surprised, then, that as a whole the show still holds together. I look forward to seeing what the writers have done in the third season with the renewed drama between Lucas and Nathan. If the first season was your cup of tea, this will be too. If you're not familiar with the show, start with Season One.

The Verdict

Melodrama. Gotta love it. All parties are free to go! See you next season...

Review content copyright © 2006 Neal Solon; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 88
Audio: 90
Extras: 85
Acting: 93
Story: 80
Judgment: 80

Perp Profile
Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

* English
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 993 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* 48 Deleted Scenes
* Three Episode Commentaries
* "The Music of One Tree Hill"
* "Diaries of the Set"
* "Change is Good"

* IMDb

* Official Site

* Review: One Tree Hill: The Complete First Season