Buena Vista // 2006 // 1024 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Cynthia Boris (Retired) // October 31st, 2007
They are people you know, juggling life and love just as you do.
If it's a dramedy about love, life, and marriage starring the guy from Seventh Heaven, why does that box shout, "From the Producers of Lost and Alias"? Sounds like they're preaching to the wrong choir, if you ask me.
Dave and Deena are married with children, Nic and Angelo are newly married and Marjorie and Adam are recently engaged. But What About Brian? Yep, he's the oddball in the bunch, the only unattached body in a group of close friends. Will he find love? Will he succeed in life without a mate? Will he stop lusting for his best friend's fiancée? And what exactly is Zap Monkey?
The answers to these and other dramatic questions can all be found in this box set that covers the entire run of the series. Here's what you get:
* "Two in Twenty-Four"
* "Moving Day"
* "The Importance of Being Brian"
* "Sex, Lies and Videotape"
* "What About Second Chances"
* "What About the Wedding"
* "What About Denial"
* "What About the Fish"
* "What About Angelo's Ashes"
* "What About What Was Supposed To Be"
* "What About First Steps"
* "What About Secrets"
* "What About True Confessions"
* "What About the Tangled Web"
* "What About the Exes"
* "What About Marjorie"
* "What About the Lake House"
* "What About Finding Your Place"
* "What About Temptation"
* "What About Strange Bedfellows"
* "What About All That Glitters"
* "What About Secret Lovers"
* "What About Calling All Friends"
Think Dawson's Creek for grown-ups and you'll be pretty close to the mark with this uneven series. It's supposed to be a show about a barely thirty guy (Barry Watson, Seventh Heaven) coming to terms with the fact that all of his friends are coupled. Conveniently, each pair of friends represents a different stage of thirty-dom, from the just getting settled, to the too-settled married with three kids. The series is at its best when it plays heavily into the seventh wheel factor with Brian the odd man out when it comes to room in car or an extra place setting at dinner.
Unfortunately, the series suffers from a personality disorder, which goes to the very roots of the show. Creator Dana Stevens starts off her commentary on the pilot by explaining that there were three different pilots shot over the course of one year. She then tries to match each shot on the screen with which pilot it came from and adds to the confusion by detailing which scenes were supposed to be first, second and so on. Even she sounds confused and it's her TV show. She goes on to explain that producer JJ Abrams was too busy working on Mission Impossible to give the series much guidance (ouch). Apparently he didn't even look at the pilot until it was ready to go to the network then smartly put the brakes on and made some major revisions. His revisions gave the show focus -- if only it had stuck!
Disc One represents the first season and the episode naming convention isn't the only thing that changed in season two. The plots went from light-hearted tales about Brian's attempt to find Miss Right to an ensemble piece about the highs and lows of married life. From the lack of sex after the kids, to the wife who can't conceive, to the usual acts of infidelity, there's really nothing new to be discovered here.
In addition to some audio commentary by series creator, Stevens, there are three other special features. One is an unaired episode titled, "What Happens in Vegas," next is "Calling All Friends: The Story of What About Brian" and lastly, "What About 3: The Season That Never Was."
Both features are fun to watch as they include a lot of candid footage of the stars. The Season Three featurette is particularly telling as Stevens contends that the show was about to return to its roots. More fun dating stories, more odd-man out conundrums, more of what the show was supposed to be in the first place. It's a shame they didn't put that plan in place earlier on.
If you're a young married thirty-something, or the only single in your crowd of friends, you'll likely enjoy this series. Watson is charismatic enough to keep you pulled in and the supporting cast has some real winners including Rosanna Arquette and Amanda Detmer. If, however, you're younger than that, pick up the first season of Dawson's Creek. Older? May I suggest something from the Law & Order franchise for an hour of riveting TV.
This court finds What About Brian: The Complete Series to be guilty misrepresentation.
Review content copyright © 2007 Cynthia Boris; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Buena Vista
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 1024 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Audio commentary by series creator Dana Stevens
* Unaired episode: "What Happens in Vegas"
* "Calling All Friends: The Story of What About Brian"
* "What About 3: The Season That Never Was"
* Official DVD site