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HTF REVIEW: Felicity: The Complete First Season

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#1 of 35 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted October 26 2002 - 11:55 AM

Posted Image

Felicity: The Complete First Season






Studio: Buena Vista
Year: 1998-1999
Rated: NR
Feature Length: 946 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: Full Frame (1.33:1)
Subtitles: English and Spanish




So who is Felicity and what am I doing with a
copy of this show? You can imagine my surprise
when Buena Vista sent me this complete Season One
set for review. I mean, except for The Sopranos,
I haven't watched prime time television in nearly
10-15 years. Still, I had to remind myself that I
am a reviewer, and like it or not, I had a job to do.

First thing I had to do was research this show
and find out a little about the show's history.
Here's what I found out...

Posted Image

Felicity (Keri Rusell) is the 17-year-old daughter
of a successful cardiologist. She's a pre-med student
who has just followed a boy named Ben (Scott
Speedman) across the country, only to find he is
not interested in her the way she had hoped.
Highly emotional, excitable and driven, Felicity
is tumbling her way toward adulthood in New York
City. Thoughtful and adventurous, she goes through
life, fully feeling the sights sounds and people
around her.

Trust me, I was a little hesitant start watching
this show. I figured it would be one of those overly
cute teen shows that would immediately turn me off.
Instead, I was surprised that after watching a few
of the episodes scattered across this 6-disc set,
I was actually liking the show, it's characters and
its humorous college-age environment. Call me a
sissy, but I also liked the way relationships began
to change as the first season evolved. Felicity was
no longer drawn to her dream hunk, but rather found
attraction to Noel (Scott Foley), the college's geeky
Resident Advisor. It's always nice to see the good
guy win the girl.

Felicty: The Complete First Season arrives
in a 6-disc set that contains all 22 episodes from
the first season, including the show's original
pilot. Each show runs under 44 minutes. I was
surprised that Buena Vista decided to skimp a
little on this set, putting a total 6 discs in
3 standard cases. The shows are presented without
any sort of chapter stop breakdowns. In addition,
other than the fact that brief episode descriptions
appear on the back of each case, there's really
no descriptive program guide here that lists
stars or air dates.

The three shows I watched are as follows:

Posted ImagePosted Image

Pilot (Disc One)
On graduation day, Felicty finds the nerve to
approach Ben, the guy she has had a long-term
crush on. When he writes something unbelievable
in her yearbook, she decides to follow him to
college in New York only to find out she made a
mistake. Does Felicity decide to go home or
stick it out?

Posted ImagePosted Image

Spooked (Disc Two)
A robbery caues Felicity and Ben to form a bond
between each other. They both decide to dress as
Frankenstein and the Bride of Frankenstein for a
Halloween party at the loft. Ben forgets about
their costume plans, and completely ignores
Felicity during the party. When Felicity tells him
off, Ben says he's tired of trying to live up to
her expectations.

Posted ImagePosted Image

Finally
Noel and Felicity finally attract. However, they
spend most of their time making out instead of
studying. As everyone crams for the final exam,
Noel has an allergic reaction to a "smart drink"
concocted by Meghan.


How is the transfer?


The show doesn't look as great as I would have
expected from a recent production. Picture has
a sort of dark, murky look to it, with colors
appearing a little more enhanced than they should.
I have seen older television shows look a little
better than this one does. Otherwise, picture is
clear with just a hint of background fuzziness.

I found the show's Dolby surround track to be
quite good and well balanced across the front
and rears. There's nice dynamic range throughout.
The show's musical score separates itself nicely
across the front and rear channels. What's really
nice is that the rears do a very nice job of
creating ambiance in scene after scene. For instance,
in crowded school hallways, you always can hear
students bustling across the rear channels. In
a stairwell scene, you can hear the echoes of Ben
and Felicity's voices. In the dorm room, you can
hear the sounds of the city street behind you.
These nicely placed effect noises really add value
to the overall viewing experience.


Special Features

Posted ImagePosted Image

I was kind of looking through this set for something
extra that may have been thrown in for the fans, but
the only thing I found was audio commentary
by co-creators J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves. These
commentaries appear on the Pilot episode as
well as the last episode of season one, Felicity
Was Here
. I took the opportunity to listen to
the first disc commentary and was surprised to hear
from two cool guys who have known each other since
the age of 14. The entire pilot was mapped out on
a bunch of napkins in a Chinese restaurant. The
guy's idea of making these little movies every week
was readily received by the WB network. J.J. and
Matt give such praise to actress Keri Russell, who
had gone from being a sort of beach babe in past
projects, to immersing herself in the quieter role
of Felicity. The hardest shoes to fill in the
series was the part of Noel, and there was a bit
of controversy in selecting the actors. Of course,
we learn a little about the sets that were built,
the tight shooting schedules, and some personal
stories about the various cast members. A very
pleasing commentary with very little pause.


Final Thoughts


Though I got only a small taste of Felicity,
I was pleasantly charmed by its intelligent look
at a girl's venture into the unknown where she
has her first taste of freedom and independence.

My only fear is that show won't sell well other
than to the show's established fanbase. As much
as this first-timer liked what he saw, I can't see
this being a title that would be picked up on a
whim.


Release Date: November 5, 2002

 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#2 of 35 OFFLINE   Adam_WM

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Posted October 26 2002 - 12:16 PM

I have seen the whole Felcitiy series with my girlfriend (not by choice). You know what? It was a great show. It was certainly worth watching for the four seasons it was on. My girlfriend is really excited about this coming out so I guess I'll be picking this one up for her. Thanks for the review Ron.
.

 


#3 of 35 OFFLINE   Jay Gunn

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Posted October 26 2002 - 02:23 PM

I'm definitely picking this set up, as Felicity was a favorite of mine while it was on the air. I actually started missing episodes during the 3rd season and completely missed the 4th season, so I'm looking forward to catching those on DVD.
-Jay

#4 of 35 OFFLINE   Nate Anderson

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Posted October 27 2002 - 07:15 AM

I loved this show too! Of course I got into it when I started college and started to be able to relate to what was happening to the characters. I really feel this show only gets better as it goes along, although the last few episodes of season 4 started getting a little...strange, but were still lots of fun.

Anyway, it's also funny to remember how the WB blamed the entire reason that the ratings dropped for Felicity during the second season was because Keri Russell cut her hair. Posted Image
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#5 of 35 OFFLINE   Wes C

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Posted October 27 2002 - 11:17 AM

I basically could just copy and paste Adam_VM's comment. This show really is good (dont tell her i said that).

#6 of 35 OFFLINE   Thomas H G

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Posted October 28 2002 - 06:56 AM

It really was a good show if you can get past the idea of it being a "chick show". I used to watch it until they started shuffling it's time schedule around. Then it would just get beat out by other shows. Missed just about all of the 4th season.
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#7 of 35 OFFLINE   Sam Davatchi

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Posted October 28 2002 - 09:58 AM

I remember the publicity was that they shot the series motion picture style and used 35 mm negatives. They said each episode is like a movie!....If I remember correctly!

#8 of 35 OFFLINE   AnthonyMP

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Posted October 28 2002 - 06:31 PM

Quote:
Anyway, it's also funny to remember how the WB blamed the entire reason that the ratings dropped for Felicity during the second season was because Keri Russell cut her hair.


Which also happened to correspond to the time WGN stopped carrying The WB but the hair thing probably makes more sense. Posted Image

#9 of 35 OFFLINE   Matt_Wizall

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Posted October 31 2002 - 10:23 AM

Thanks for the review, Ron. I caught all of the third season and really liked it. Like many other males of my age, I didn't watch it voluntarily Posted Image My gf talked me into it and was pleasantly surprised.
Wish which what has been was which I had wished it was.
Alot -> A lot
Teh -> The

#10 of 35 OFFLINE   Brent_H

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Posted November 05 2002 - 06:45 PM

i guess i am kind of a ferry for buying this DVD set, sight unseen. I have always wanted to watch it, just never did. I know its a "chick" show, but I think Keri Russell is adorable. I suppose I could SAY I only watch it cause of my girlfriend, but wait, I dont have a girlfriend. Oh well, I bought Sports Night to balance it out....its all good. Posted Image

And by the way, I watched the first episode and I was HOOKED. Its a really excellent show so far....Highly recommended, to women anyways. Posted Image

#11 of 35 OFFLINE   Joel C

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Posted November 05 2002 - 09:15 PM

What's with all the defensive "I'm a guy, my girldfriend made me watch" stuff? It IS ok for guys to watch a drama like this, you know. I'm proud to say that I watched this, and My So-Called Life, and other, similar shows, simply because I wanted to. How can liking a certain TV show make you a "fairy"?
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#12 of 35 OFFLINE   Brent_H

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Posted November 06 2002 - 02:16 AM

its society that does it man. well, mostly my male peers. even a girl was over here once and was like, "you sure have a lot of chick flicks" and i responded with " well yeah but look at all the action movies i have...."

haha anyways, whatever

#13 of 35 OFFLINE   Nate Anderson

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Posted November 06 2002 - 02:24 AM

Quote:
I'm proud to say that I watched this, and My So-Called Life, and other, similar shows, simply because I wanted to.


I agree completely. I think this says we appreciate and enjoy quality television.

Quote:
even a girl was over here once and was like, "you sure have a lot of chick flicks"


Man, that could be MY life right there. I dunno, I guess I always enjoyed a good romantic comedy...along with a shoot-em-up action flick or a tear-jerking drama or a scare the piss out of you horror flick or a silly kid's fantasy flick.
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#14 of 35 OFFLINE   Matt_Wizall

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Posted November 08 2002 - 05:47 PM

Quote:
What's with all the defensive "I'm a guy, my girldfriend made me watch" stuff?


It's not that I was afraid of watching it, thus injuring my rep. Couldn't care less - it just wasn't billed as a show I'd enjoy. In fact, the promotion always seemed uninspired, but like I said, it was a nice surprise when I sat down and watched it.
Wish which what has been was which I had wished it was.
Alot -> A lot
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#15 of 35 OFFLINE   Brent_H

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Posted November 11 2002 - 02:49 PM

What are evryones favorite episodes so far? I am almost through the second disc and the Pilot and Cheating stick out in my mind. Anyone else have any input?

#16 of 35 OFFLINE   Nate Anderson

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Posted November 11 2002 - 05:04 PM

I'd have to say "Finally" is my favorite episode when everyone is stressing out over finals and Noel has that weird reaction to the smart powder Megan gives him.
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#17 of 35 OFFLINE   Robert Ringwald

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Posted November 12 2002 - 08:26 AM

Cheating
The Pilot
Gimme an 'O'
Todd Mulcahy (both parts)

It's a really great show, I forgot how much I used to like it.

#18 of 35 OFFLINE   Brent_H

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Posted November 13 2002 - 06:06 PM

Nate:

I just watched "Finally" it was great how Noel took that smart poweder and started freakin out!!! I thought it was brilliant how they used the subtitles for the quiet study room scenes.....makes it more realistic.

I must say, I bought this set blindly, only for Keri Russell....and I might put it in my top 5 favorite shows......its so cleverly written and the acting is great...I told my sister to watch it cause I thought she'd like it....now she is further ahead than me. I went over to their place the other night and her husband was watching Felicity by HIMSELF! I almost fainted!!

Anyways, can't wait for season two!!!!

~Brent

#19 of 35 OFFLINE   Nate Anderson

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Posted November 14 2002 - 04:07 AM

Finally is still my favorite episode, but I also like the Todd Mulchay episodes (I completely forgot about those!)
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#20 of 35 OFFLINE   Brent_H

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Posted November 14 2002 - 06:04 PM

I haven;t gotten to the Todd Mulchay episodes yet.....hopefully this weekend. I will say the WORST episode so far was "Friends." I just didn't like the storyling taken off of Felicity and Noel/Ben/Julie. The whole Blair and whats her name thing pissed me off. I almost skipped that episode Posted Image

~Brent





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