HBO // 2004 // 270 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // January 5th, 2005
Carrie: I'm looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can't-live-without-each-other love. And I don't think that love is here in this expensive suite in this lovely hotel in Paris.
Sarah Jessica Parker decided to wrap up her ground-breaking HBO series after six years of sex, fashion, and friends in New York City. Finally, we have all the DVDs so we can laugh and cry (as well as freeze frame on our favorite Manolo Blahniks). Get ready for the gush...because despite being a guy, I loved this show. It hardly ever faltered, and these last eight episodes are as funny and wonderful as the first. I can't believe it's over. I'm still searching for something to make my Sunday nights complete without the girls who taught me everything I needed to know about sex (and was afraid to ask). Sex and the City -- Season Six, Part Two offers one last glimpse of the fearless fashionable foursome who proved a sitcom on cable could make broadcast television look cheap and shallow. It was the ultimate love story about friends and a city.
Over six seasons we saw Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker, Square Pegs, Honeymoon in Vegas), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon, Advice from a Caterpillar), Samantha (Kim Cattrall, Big Trouble in Little China), and Charlotte (Kristin Davis, Melrose Place) love and gossip about men and their sexual conquests. In these final eight episodes we see a marriage, a fight with breast cancer, a friend moving away, and a touching finale that brilliantly gives them what they need. Despite rumors of an on- and off-again movie project (which now seems permanently derailed), the story comes to a touching conclusion in these last few episodes. The main arc deals with Carrie and her big-time Russian artist lover Aleksander Petrovsky (Mikhail Baryshnikov, White Nights). Will he sweep her away forever with his patented Doctor Zhivago moves? The other girls face their own obstacles as well. Can Miranda come to terms with her love for the bartender Steve (David Eigenberg, The Mothman Prophecies)? Is it possible for Charlotte to find all she desires with her new Hebrew husband Harry (Evan Handler, Natural Born Killers)? And finally, will Samantha finally realize that Smith (Jason Lewis, Next Stop Wonderland) is more than just a boy toy? And of course, there are the burning questions every fan asked. Would somebody die? Are the girls going to be together in the end? And what about Mr. Big (Chris Noth, Law and Order)?
This set is a little different than the previous season releases. It has three discs, and the last one is full of bonus material that covers all six seasons. For fans of the show its the holy grail of deleted scenes and tributes that show highlights from the entire run. All four commentaries are provided by head writer and executive producer Michael Patrick King. So despite the low number of actual episodes, you do get some bang for your buck.
Sex and the City started off as an actual column in The New York Observer by writer Candace Bushnell. There is a book printed that assembles the columns upon which the show was based, and it's wildly cynical and frank (definitely worth a peek for fans). The first season followed the book almost word for word, and pulled all its stories from that source material. Sex and the City was a sensation, and they had to assemble a group of writers (five single women and a gay guy) to continue the narrative over the remaining five seasons. Amazingly, what started off as some sort of sexual anthropology study became a story about four archetypal women in the Big Apple. The show was always shot on location (with very few sets), and had a hip look combining current fashion trends and New York hotspots with extravagant production values. But why did it work so well? The cast was phenomenal; you really believed in these girls and cared about them. The writing was always poignant, and the seasons arced nicely to allow for strong character development and insight. It was a show that was as good as it looked, and delivered humor and real emotion in equal doses.
The episodes in Season Six, Part Two are all outstanding shows, but they were designed for the hardcore fan and not the casual channel surfer. If you're a neophyte and not among the faithful or converted, better to start with the first season than with these eight episodes. Everything is here -- sexy scenes with lots of nudity, outrageous fashions, New York hip spots, '30s-style grand slapstick comedy, sly sarcastic '90s delivery, and moments that will pull at your heartstrings and trigger the waterworks. They truly are eight valentines to the fans of the show, and tie in all the continuity from throughout the series (especially in the two part finale). The final scenes of the show are powerful and well done. I originally watched the last episode in a bar with several friends around me (all drinking martinis, cosmopolitans, and Manhattans of course!). Despite my being a guy, and the very public setting, I was covered in tears of happiness as they gave each character exactly what they deserved to send them on their way after six years. Even watching it again in the privacy of my apartment, I still get very emotional. I'm not an easy target, either (I never cried during Bambi or E.T.). They melted my heart, because this is a show that knows its characters and its audience, and devotedly remains true to both.
The set contains three discs in a pretty pink plastic package. The first two contain four episodes each, and the final one is all the supplemental material. Executive producer Michael Patrick King provides four commentaries about the series and what their goals were with these last few shows. He's a lively commentator, even though he seems a little too self-congratulatory. At one point he compares a scene in Sex and the City to Citizen Kane, which seemed way over the top to me (it's not THAT good).
The HBO tributes included give you a comprehensive look at the show from the pilot to the finale, and include interviews with the cast and crew as well as some celebrity fans (most of whom made guest appearances). There is a very nice in-depth interview with Sarah Jessica Parker at the Comedy Arts Festival which includes all the writers. I was a little disappointed with the three alternate endings, because they are not the three versions of the scene on the bridge at the show's climax. The false ending is a coffee house scene that was never really in the show to begin with (you see it, but you don't hear the conversation). Deleted scenes are a nice touch, and are divided into seasons from one through six. Great idea! I wonder why these scenes were not included in the other sets? Guess they wanted to save up their bonus material.
The picture and sound seem to be constant throughout the show and all its releases. Sex and the City has never gotten a stellar transfer, but it's passable. Colors are sharp and the image looks fine. My biggest beef is how the grain often mucks up the night scenes. It detracts from the show's color palette and distracts me. Sound, on the other hand, is killer. They give you a 5.1 surround mix that makes all the music and city sound effects leap right out of the television. Why don't other television shows get this kind of sonic treatment? Here is a program that relies on conversation, and they still provide some real power to their sound mix. Environments always seem better realized because the sound is so sophisticated and layered, and you feel like you are in a city.
My only problem with the show lies in its resolution. Here was a story that empowered single women (and men) everywhere by saying you could have a fabulous life without marriage or children. Not since Mary Tyler Moore threw her hat in the air had we had such a bold statement about women living on their own (and that show was never anywhere near as sexy as this!). Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte were women who lived on their own terms, and forged their own destinies away from Middle America's conventions about how a woman should define herself. And yet on- and off-screen marriages and babies tore them all apart. Sex and the City's cast had started families, and many of the core actresses wanted to focus on that (most notably Sarah Jessica Parker herself). Real life seemed to seep into the plot lines of the show -- in the last episodes the girls often defined themselves by men even when they claimed they didn't. Had the show stopped after any previous season finale, the gang would have been forever single and fabulous in our minds. Yet for some reason the writers felt the finale should conclude many of their quests. Yeah, they got what they wanted, but they also derailed the whole idea these women could be sexy and single forever. I guess even the most forward-thinking of people eventually settle down, but somehow I was wishing for the girls to ride off into the sunset together rather than into the arms of men. Maybe I shouldn't have taken those feminism classes in college, but I felt a little bit betrayed.
I hate that HBO felt the need to split this season into two sets rather than one. I feel like this last half of the season is too short to mandate its own separate box, and in overseas markets Season Six is included in its entirety in one volume. Seems like corporate greed has taken over, and they are hoping die-hard fans will buy two sets to get one season. This hardly seems fair to the consumer. What can you do but shrug and fork over enough cash to make you skip your next shoe purchase?
Whatever your reasons for being a fan, this set is a must-have, if only because it's the climax of the series. Sex and the City -- Season Six, Part Two ties up all the loose ends of the series, and offers you a lot of supplemental material that makes it a nice package. I only wish HBO had decided to release the entire season in one set. Sex and the City ultimately is great television that made me laugh and cry again and again. I can never get through its finale without a tear sliding down my face (even when I watched it with the commentary on). It's rare, beautiful, and powerful.
Carrie and her posse are free to roam around Manhattan until they find happiness. I miss all of them every Sunday night, but I have Sex and the City -- Season Six, Part Two to keep me company. HBO is required to do community service to make up for the way they have exploited fans of this series by breaking Season Six in half. They should give all of us coupons for two months of their services for free (with proofs of purchase).
Review content copyright © 2005 Brett Cullum; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Golden Gavel 2004 Nominee
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (Spanish)
Running Time: 270 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Commentary by Executive Producer Michael Patrick King on Four Episodes
* Three Never-Before-Seen Alternate Endings to Series Finale
* Two Farewell Tributes (30 Mins. Each)
* 2004 US Comedy Arts Festival Seminar
* Deleted Scenes from Seasons 1-6
* Official Site
* Quote Site