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HTF DVD REVIEW: 7th Heaven: The Sixth Season (1 Viewer)

Matt Hough

Senior HTF Member
Apr 24, 2006
Charlotte, NC
Real Name
Matt Hough

7th Heaven: The Sixth Season
Directed by Tony Mordente et al

Studio: Paramount
Year: 2001-2002
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Running Time: 967 minutes
Rating: NR
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo English
Subtitles: CC
MSRP: $ 49.99

Release Date: June 10, 2008
Review Date: May 30, 2008

The Series


A wholesome family comedy-drama from Aaron Spelling, the man who brought us Charlie’s Angels and Melrose Place and Beverly Hills 90210? Yes, that Aaron Spelling! He also was one of the masterminds behind the squeaky clean The Love Boat, too, so the continuing stories of the large Camden family shouldn't really be much of a surprise. 7th Heaven contains the usual hackneyed soap opera elements (where a person quietly comes up behind a loved one saying or doing something he shouldn’t) along with the moralizing life lessons (lots of speeches about living life honestly; the main character is a minister, and this is one talky show) and slapstick family shenanigans (e.g. twin toddlers stomping on an open bag of potato chips) that helped the show achieve a marathon run. This set represents the show's sixth season on the air.

Minister Eric Camden (Stephen Collins) and wife Annie (Catherine Hicks) are the head of a family containing seven Camden children, all of whom are reaching various ages where hormones are raging, love lives are amped up, careers are being considered and abandoned, and folks are busy learning tough life lessons. Oldest son Matt (Barry Watson) we’ve watched from his junior year on and now find him working in a free clinic while considering going to medical school to become a gynecologist. He’s also desperate to find a steady girl and get married. Lucy (Beverley Mitchell) has left divinity school and moved back home. Oldest daughter Mary (Jessica Biel) has also returned to town and had wanted to train as a firefighter before altering her plans. Simon (David Gallagher) wants his driver’s permit while Ruthie (Mackenzie Rosman) continues to act more maturely than many of her older siblings or her parents on occasion.

Each episode of the series is contrived to place each main character into storylines sharing a particular theme. In one show, the plots all revolve around people teasing or being teased. In another, everyone’s current relationships are all put to the test. This kind of overly manipulated plotting may have endeared the show to millions of fans, but I found it irritating and strained to the point of absurdity. What’s more, the writers tend to speechify too much, placing philosophical words into the mouths of characters which belie their ages or levels of maturity (this is especially true of the precocious Ruthie played by Mackenzie Rosman). Their hearts are certainly in the right place, but as drama, it’s cloying and artificial.

Performances run the gamut, too. Stephen Collins does a herculean job balancing comedy and drama in attending to this overlarge brood of children. Catherine Hicks’ Annie is going through the early stages of menopause in the season’s early episodes which makes her character’s wildly swinging mood changes a trial to endure. Of the children, Barry Watson has the best handle on his character and makes the most of his moments (no surprise he’s had steady employment in a range of series since he left this one). Other actors, Jessica Biel and Beverley Mitchell chief among them, give rather awkward, self-conscious performances giving each of the episodes a very uneven level of achievement. I’ll give them credit for being the best eye-rollers in the business, however. Eye-rolling must have been a major part of the casting sessions for this series.

Guest stars who make worthwhile appearances during the sixth season include Peter Graves, Morgan Fairchild, Miguel Sandoval, Beverly Garland, Brenda Strong, Ed Begley, Jr., Jane Lynch, Richard Lewis, Laraine Newman, Ernest Borgnine, Deborah Raffin, Barbara Rush, Charlie Brill and Mitzi McCall.

Here are the 22 episodes contained in this six-disc set for the sixth season:

1 - Changes
2 - Teased
3 - Sympathy
4 - Work
5 - Relationships
6 - Broken
7 - Prodigal
8 - Ay Carumba
9 - Lost
10 - Consideration
11 - Pathetic
12 - Suspicion
13 - Drunk
14 - Hot Pants
15 - I Really Do
16 - I Really Did
17 - Lip Service
18 - The Ring
19 - Letting Go
20 - The Known Soldier (a tribute to a real Marine lost in the current war)
21 - Holy War (Part 1)
22 - Holy War (Part 2)

Video Quality


The program’s 1.33:1 television aspect ratio is rendered faithfully in these transfers. They’re above average in sharpness and are clean and bright for the most part, but I’ve seen older shows with far sharper imagery. The episodes are not anamorphically enhanced, but aliasing and other video artifacts are not a factor. Each episode is divided into either 5 or 6 chapters.

Audio Quality


The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio track is stereo barely in name only. The show is overly talky, and the dialog certainly remains glued to the center channel, but only an occasional music cue reminds us there is more than one channel at work here.

Special Features


The set contains no bonus features at all.

In Conclusion

2.5/5 (not an average)

The stories of the Camden family were not to my liking, but those desiring a pleasant but banal family show with mild drama and lots of talk will be a far more receptive audience than I. For a show this recent, it’s disappointing that no bonus features could be rounded up to be included with the set for fans of the show.

Matt Hough
Charlotte, NC

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