Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|My So-Called Life |
Actors: Bess Armstrong, Wilson Cruz, Claire Danes, Devon Gummersall, A.J. Langer
Director: Scott Winant
Genres: Drama, Television
For the first time ever, all 19 episodes of the critically-acclaimed television show My So-Called Life, starring Claire Danes, are available in one 5 disc DVD box set. Her portrayal of Angela Chase, the angst-ridden, intro... more »
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Akin to reading a Great book that is Impossible to put down
T. Stewart | Santa Cruz | 07/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the Fall of 1994, ABC premiered what Entertainment Weekly would eventual hail as "the greatest cancelled television series of all time." Airing for a total of 19-episodes, with the final installment airing February of 1995, "My So Called Life" not only jump-started the careers of Claire Danes and Jared Leto, but garnered young Danes a Golden Globe for her performance (she was the youngest actress to receive the honor). Years after the show was cancelled ABC regretting their decision by trying to make lightening strike twice by producing similar series, yet ultimately known of them would garner the acclaim or magic of MSCL. Eventually TV Guide would call the series "the sixth best cult show of all time."
The premise of the show is simple enough, but yet complex enough to make it unique. Premiering in 1994, right at the emergence of the teen-soap genre MSCL was a breath of fresh-air. Unlike "Beverly Hills 90210" and latter "Dawson's Creek," this series was grounded in reality. Instead of glorifying every teenage rite-of-passage for film, the series seems to gloss over these moments in favor of the emotional outburst they produce: much like real life. Many people don't remembers every detail or their prom, first kiss, and first independent car ride? Yet they remember exactly how they felt, and MSCL capitalized on these moments.
The show follows 14-year-old Angela as she tries to ultimately survive not only her freshman year of high school, but the highs (and lows) or first love, as well as becoming her own independent self - separated from the person she tried to be for other people in Middle School. High School is a turbulent time for anyone from the Jocks to the Brains to the Leadership to the Outsiders. Everyone has their ups and downs, just like Angela. But she makes it harder on herself, and yet easier by befriending two outsiders, when she had always been part of the `in-crowd.' The audience follows Angela's transition from quiet wall-flower to her beginning to emerge from her cocoon sometime towards the end of her first year of high school.
While on the outside the show may seems like another "90210"/"The OC" teen-soap, but it really isn't. This is a rich, emotional, and movie relationship-drama that once it gets your hooks into you, you cannot stop watching. Unlike most shows of its genre its realistic and each of the major characters represents a person you probably knew in high school. Yet, they probably weren't the most popular kids. They were the kids you were friends with, hung out with, the ones you actually knew. It is a downright disgrace that ABC only allowed this series 19 episodes. More than almost any other show I've ever watched I would have loved to watch these character bloom into full-grown adults through their high school (and possibly college years).
But what we are ultimately are given is just this one 8-month snap-shot into these characters lives. But this could ultimately make this show the masterpiece that it really is. There was no room for it go downhill, no room for error. And forever it will be remembered. It has been years since my sister and I sat up all night long one weekend watching horrible copies of these episodes on VHS, and I cannot wait for Halloween, when I will finally have a chance to watch them on DVD, almost anew.
This incredibly comprehensive box set includes all 19 episodes uncut (in their ORIGINAL full-screen presentation) on 6 discs. The special features so far include: Interviews with Edward Zwick/Marshall Herskovitz/Winnie Holzman (creator/producers), Todd Holland/Jason Katism/Scott Winant (Directors), Wilson Cruz/Paul Dooley/Devon Gummersall (cast); Audio Commentaries on "the pilot," "Life of Brian," "So-Called Angels," as well as additional episodes; Deleted Scenes; Promos' Book with tridutes from Joss Whedon, Winnie Holzman, and Janeane Garofalo; and more.
We had a time--didn't we. Didn't we have a time.
J. Kim | 10/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Okay, so maybe he's bi. Who cares? His cousin can still DRIVE."
MSCL is full of best-line-ever-lines like that. It is the only show that forever changed the way words arrange themselves in my head, which I guess kinda makes Holzman (et al) the Joyce of network television.
The series finale, ep 19, aired on my 12th birthday--meaning, this show has shaped half of my life. The amazing thing about MSCL is how much it grows up with you, even though, obviously, the episodes are the exact same 19 episodes they always were. The writing and acting is so layered, complex and rich that the show affords new meanings and interpretations, even as its viewers "grow up."
I owned the previous DVD box set, and this one is a major improvement for several reasons:
1) Six episodes have commentary w/writers and actors, including Claire Danes in "Self-Esteem," Devon Gummersall in "Life of Brian," and (my favorite) Wilson Cruz in "My So-Called Christmas."
2) Extras DVD with cast and a making-of/retrospective featurette, and interviews w/Danes and Holzman.
3) Great 36-pg book, lovingly made, with episode liner notes, song lyrics, letters, and other wonderful memorabilia. Includes notes from Holzman and an essay by Janeane Garofalo.
4) Much better title screen/menu, both aestically and functionally. Each disc opens with a 20-sec famous clip ("I'm in love/His name is Jordan Catalano..." for disc one; Angela's "Can you please just explain geometry to me?" plea to Brian for disc 4)
5) Much better, more streamlined packaging overall.
NOTE: I can't comment on image quality between this DVD set and the 2003 one. I watched both on an HDTV w/progressive scan DVD player, and both looked beautiful to me. I have no idea if this DVD set is supposed to look better or enhanced in some way from the previous version--basically, it looks and sounds great.
Buy one for yourself and for everyone you know. Even if they're 12. They'll need it.
In closing, "Two words: Ti-no.""
A Realistic View of High School
Amanda | Maine | 11/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am so glad I never watched this show when it was first on, because I would have been outraged when it was cancelled. Instead, I caught the marathon on MTV - I watched every episode, back-to-back, and enjoyed every second of every episode. A couple of years later, I got into watching Dawson's Creek and was highly amused by how every single high school character talked like a college scholar. I thought that it was refreshing. But now, looking back at My So-Called Life, I realize that it was so much better than any teen drama today. Angela Chase (wonderfully portrayed by Claire Danes) is like a lot of girls in high school: shy, insecure, and in love with the cutest (and baddest) boy in school. She never used big words, she never tried to be clever or cute. In other words, she is the realistic version of a high school student. She had a wild and crazy best friend, a geeky boy across the street who loved her, caring parents, a sometimes-annoying younger sister, and ultimately the coolest guy in school as her boyfriend. A lot of people thought the Angela/Jordan relationship was a little far-fetched, asking themselves what he would ever see in a girl like her. I thought the idea of their relationship was wonderful, far-fetched or not: it showed young women that they don't have to be easy and dress provocatively to get guys to notice them.To this day, I'm still amazed that this show was so short-lived. It dealt with serious issues such as drugs, sex, violence, and it dealt with them realistically. I realize now that My So-Called life was the clever one, not Dawson's Creek. This DVD is a must-have for the many die-hard fans the show still has today. One thing is for sure: the show may have been cancelled, but it will never be forgotten."
TV at it's Best!
maffilms | Flushing, NY United States | 12/04/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My So-Called Life is one of those instant classics. A brilliant show, it just came along at the wrong time and was subsequently canned after one season. But that only adds to the legend and in a small way makes the series even more enjoyable on DVD. The writing never got a chance to waiver. There was never really a bad episode. The cast never had to grow up and face "the college years" or even prom. Instead we are left with this one season, this one year of high school, with a brilliant group of characters who are locked forever in youth.The shows themselves are just great. When you compare this one series, sandwiched between the farce of the early 90s' Beverly Hills 90210 and the junk of the late 90s' Dawson Creek, you see how true, poignant and amazing these 19 hours of teen TV truly are. You also see how Hollywood knows very little about GOOD TV.This is a classic.(why did I not give the dvd 5 stars... if you are looking for extras, look somewhere else all you get is the show... in this case that is enough though.)"