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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » One Tree Hill:Complete First Season
One Tree Hill:Complete First Season
Warner Bros. // Unrated // January 25, 2005
List Price: $59.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted February 10, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The First Season

According to the making of featurette, One Tree Hill was originally written to be a feature film. However, after further consideration it was decided that the script had a better chance to run as a series. Quite frankly, I'm glad that they did, because One Tree Hill as a series and not a feature film allows for a lot of in-depth characters and stories that are filled with many twists and turns. In the end, we're left with an extremely powerful and gripping television drama that leaves you wanting more.

At first the series feels a little bit like Varsity Blues, a former high school underdog becomes a superstar and the former high school great loses the focus of the crowd. While this is true in the beginning of the series, it isn't the series' real focus. Instead, the interesting aspects that develop come from the odd relationships and interactions that the characters have. And this season does very well unraveling one high paced dramatic situation after another. I found that this was the most enticing aspect, because the fun never seemed to stop.

The series is essentially about the interactions of a large group of people who are all interconnected in their daily lives. The major characters are two half-brothers Nathan Scott (James Lafferty) and Lucas Eugene Scott (Chad Michael Murray). While they share the same father, one is acknowledged by him and the other is not. Both share their father's natural gift for basketball, which plays a vital role to the beginning of this series. Basketball is what puts Nathan and Lucas in a situation that they must learn to live with each other in their daily lives. Their relationship becomes an extremely enticing portion of the series.

Dan Scott (Paul Johansson) is the father of Nathan and Lucas, and also the kind of guy you have to hate. In college, he left his former high school sweetheart Karen Roe (Moira Kelly) when he found out she was pregnant with Lucas. Since the incident, Dan's older brother Keith Scott (Craig Sheffer) has been at Karen's side and has acted like a father for Lucas. His character is extremely likeable and someone that you really want to see succeed in his endeavors. Deb Scott (Barbara Alyn Woods) is the mother of Nathan and a strong figure that enters the season after the first couple of episodes. Perhaps out of guilt, she tries to make up for her husband's mistakes by befriending Karen. Ultimately, she becomes another one of those really likeable characters. Next there is Coach Whitey Durham (Barry Corbin), who tries to act as a guide for the boys and a buffer for the boys between Dan.

Finally, what would this show be like without plenty of love interests for the two main characters? Peyton Sawyer (Hilarie Burton) is your nonstandard beautiful blonde cheerleader, who isn't necessarily into the "popular" scene and enjoys punk rock. Her personality doesn't always seem to fit, because it just doesn't feel really real. This issue is addressed in the making of featurette. Of course, it is television and anything can happen. Peyton is Nathan's girlfriend and not a surprise, the girl that Lucas is falling for. Haley James (Bethany Joy Lenz) is Lucas' best friend and a girl who eventually gets caught up with Nathan, despite Lucas' disapproval. Brooke Davis (Sophia Bush) is the cheer captain who adds the dramatic and sly perspective of a character like Valerie Malone (Tiffani-Amber Thiessen) from Beverly Hills 90210. Bluntly put, she's a bitch and her rough attitude adds another great layer of drama.

In general, the characters are all represented very well and their roles fit into the stories almost without flaw. There are some aspects that seem unreal, which were mainly the situations that occurred. Despite, the unrealistic approach, it was still quite entertaining. I also really enjoyed the manner that the characters were developed. They had many facets and several chances to completely change their personalities and character roles as the season evolved. However, this is also another one of the series' faults. While I did enjoy how deep the characters were, I had difficulty with some of their transitions from one role to another. All too often, character roles changed a bit too quickly. There seemed to be very little in terms of balance in the transition, as a character would in minutes completely change as a person. But once you get past that, it works perfectly fine.

Overall, the storylines were filled with plenty of awkward situations that made the drama even more intense. The majority of the situations were filled with sexual tension and we all know that leads to some great stories. My favorite aspect of the series came from the adults, watching Karen, Dan, Keith, and Deb understand their relationships together and with their children. I liked watching them interact and face their respective personal problems. I also enjoyed how the season continues to present material that was extremely gripping. The stories were filled with plenty of twists and turns that left you wanting more. One Tree Hill is without a doubt gripping television.

One Tree Hill isn't your average television drama. It offers a wonderful set of characters, whose interactions with each other come off as both gripping and exciting. As you watch one episode, you'll find it impossibly hard to not watch the next. The bottom line is that One Tree Hill is a fantastic series.

The DVD

Video:
The video in this release is given in 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. The quality is good and offers a fairly sharp and clean picture. There is a grain and minor compression artifacts. However, there is nothing that should interfere with your viewing experience.

Audio:
The audio in this release is given in English 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound. The audio track sounds very good. Dialogue comes off flat and music is rich and vibrant. There is also very little distinction between the left and right channels. The release also has subtitles in English, French, and Spanish, and supports closed captioning.

Extras:
The extras with this release include audio commentaries, additional scenes, featurettes, and a few other assorted items. There are four audio commentaries, which include "The Pilot" and "To Wish Impossible Things" with Mark Schwahn, Joe Davola, and two more commentaries, which are both for "The Games That Play Us" (season finale). The first is with the young actors Chad Michael Murray, James Lafferty, Hilarie Burton, Bethany Joy Lenz, and Sophia Bush. The other is with Moira Kelly, Craig Sheffer, Paul Johansson, and Barbara Alyn Woods.

Next there are two featurettes. In "Building a Winning Team: The Making of One Tree Hill", cast and crew talk about the development of the series. Then we have "Diaries from the Set", which is behind the scenes footage with the cast, but is mostly Chad Michael Murray celebrating his birthday (on the set), buying a car, and the cast hanging out in a hotel room.

There are also a total of twenty additional scenes that run for approximately forty-five minutes. Each additional scene begins with an introduction with Mark Schwahn. Finally, there is a music video "Oh, Chariot" by Gavin DeGraw and "Christmas Elf Gag", which is a funny scene with Paul Johansson and Barbara Alyn Woods.

Final Thoughts:
One Tree Hill isn't your average television drama. It offers a plethora of characters with deep personalities and plenty of gripping situations. The series takes place in a small town called Tree Hill and focuses on two half brothers Nathan (James Lafferty) and Lucas (Chad Michael Murray), and their family and friends. The series offers highly dramatic stories that unfold in a gripping and riveting manner that leave you pining for more.

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