Judge Brett Cullum is no gossip. He simply tells it like it is.
Our reviews of Gossip Girl: The Complete First Season (published August 19th, 2008), Gossip Girl: The Complete Second Season (published August 26th, 2009), Gossip Girl: The Complete Fourth Season (published September 8th, 2011), and Gossip Girl: The Complete Fifth Season (published December 24th, 2012) are also available.
And who am I?
Gossip Girl stormed on to the scene first in 2007, and became a sensation garnering faithful fans and addicts quickly. The show appealed to young adults in the same way that something like The O.C. or 90210 did, but offered a decidedly more urban setting, with its New York City flair. Based on a popular book series, the show seems to have more legs for going the distance than other "pretty young people" ones. Still, make no mistake: this is decidedly CW territory. It's all about the looks, the sudsy drama, and the impossibly glamorous lives of rich kids in the upper class of NYC. Gossip Girl may be dealing with more grown-up issues now that senior year of high school is over, but the melodrama rolls on.
We're still following Serena (Blake Lively, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants), Blair (Leighton Meester, Killer Movie), Dan (Penn Badgley, John Tucker Must Die), Nate (Chace Crawford, Twelve), Jenny (Taylor Momsen, How the Grinch Stole Christmas), Chuck (Ed Westwick, S. Darko), and Vanessa (Jessica Szohr, House at the End of the Drive). Of course back for more gossip is the disembodied voice of the "Gossip Girl" (Kristen Bell, Veronica Mars) to fill us in as all the backbiting and scheming commence. In this the third season the show took a huge chance by following most of the core group of characters after high school. That always seems to be a rough transition when the narrative has to open up, and we find the real world mixing in with what used to be clearly confined to high school. Anyone recall how hard that was for Buffy the Vampire Slayer? We get to see Blair Waldorf and Chuck Bass get together and try to rule the world, but they both seem to find that being rich at 19 or 20 doesn't get them as far in the real world as it did in grade school. Serena wonders why her real dad doesn't want to be around her as much, and the whole cast deals with a revolving door of dramatic scenarios around parties and fashion shows. The series seemed to struggle a bit to redefine itself early on in this strange new season, but the drama ignites well by the time the last half dozen episodes crank up to a fever pitch. It seems that the show catches fire late in the set, and we get the old school drama we know and love.
There's not as much bang for your buck as there was in the second season DVD set, but it's still robust enough to entertain fans. Extras can largely be found on the fifth disc in the collection. It starts off with a gag reel that catches the cast messing up their lines. Then there is a look at the production design with a particular focus on how they build the party scenes. We also get music videos such as one constructed around the awesome Lady Gaga cameo from this year. She does "Bad Romance," and it's signature Gaga all the way complete with ladders and dancers in veils. Also included is a video for "Bitch" from the Plasticines. Additional features include what they call an interactive viewing mode for episode 16 "The Empire Strikes Jack." It consists of trivia tidbits that appear as what looks like a text on a cell phone, and then talking head clips from various cast and crew members that tell you about shooting the episode. It's kind of a more hip take on the commentary, but seems to impart less information. Pity they only do this for one episode. Also on each disc you will find quick scenes that were trimmed for running time. These are accessible from each episodes entry on the disc main menu.
Gossip Girl remains a guilty pleasure in the third year. The show stumbles a bit early on trying to find its footing, but the last six episodes pack a good wallop. I don't know how much longer people can worry about Chuck, Serena, and Blair, but for now they still make things work on the upper east side for twenty-something and teen drama. The show is far better than most of these serial prime time soaps aimed at young viewers. The DVD set has enough extras to make fans happy, and the transfers look solid enough. It's five discs of pretty people doing what they do best, making a lot of drama. Not bad, and you even get a killer Lady Gaga cameo.
Guilty pleasure, still.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
• Interactive Viewing Experience
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