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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Beautiful People - The Complete Series
Beautiful People - The Complete Series
Sony Pictures // Unrated // August 8, 2006
List Price: $49.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted August 16, 2006 | E-mail the Author
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The First and Only Season

ABC Family's television series Beautiful People was first introduced in the summer of 2005. Originally billed for eight episodes, it was eventually renewed for an additional eight episodes, which finished airing in the spring of 2006. However, towards the end of the series' sixteen episodes, which make up season one, ABC Family cancelled the show. And as it stands, Beautiful People came and went like many television series, producing sixteen episodes in its first and only season, as well as leaving viewer's with a minor cliffhanger and no closure. For those who are unfamiliar with the series, it is about a single mother and her two daughters, who have recently relocated from a small town in New Mexico to New York City and their experiences being subjected to a completely different way of life.

In the overall schemes of things, Beautiful People contains enough drama dealing with romantic and plutonic relationships, school, career, and all the other good stuff, but as the series fails to be truly strong. The characters and situations are very common to other dramas and at times, Beautiful People does not feel strong enough to stand up against to the competing soapy dramas out there. Still, this is not to say that Beautiful People is without entertainment value, because it does make for a good watch. The experience is, however, just not great. If you miss out on Beautiful People and the world ended tomorrow, you would not be missing much.

Headlining the cast are three female actors. Daphne Zuniga (best known for her role in Melrose Place) stars as Lynn Kerr, a recently single mother of two. When Lynn found out her husband was having an affair with a younger woman, who happened to be a friend of her oldest daughter, she decided it was time for a change. Helping to shape the decision was the youngest daughter Sophie (Sarah Foret). Sophie is a smart sixteen year old who was given a highly prestigious scholarship to Brighton, an upscale high school in New York City. Karen (Torrey DeVitto) is the older daughter and she joins her mother and sister in New York City as a top-model-in-the-making.

The concept of the "beautiful people" is the center of which this show basis its drama. The beautiful people, also commonly referred to as "BP" by the characters, is a term for the utterly and massively wealthy clicks in society. The BP represent the people who have it all, money, power, and of course, beauty. They are relentless, selfish, and yet so charming. A large part of the drama deals with the Kerr's interacting with the overly elite individuals from New York City as friends, lovers, and enemies.

In the series pilot episode, the focus is about the Kerr girls getting accustomed to their new lives. Sophie begins school at Brighton, which turns out to be a big change from her life in New Mexico. The school is clearly a world of its own, as the BPs rule the school (and the town). Sophie makes a bad impression as the new girl when she embarrasses herself in class. She also catches the eye of Nicky (Jackson Rathbone), the son of a successful magazine publisher, and Gideon (Ricky Mabe), the son of a world famous artist. Unfortunately for Sophie, Nicky is already hooked up with Paisley (Jordan Madley), an uber-bitch who gets what she wants, and she does not react well to Nicky's newfound attention toward Sophie. Drama becomes the key word as Sophie develops a relationship with Nicky and Gideon pines over her, while Paisley does what she can to ruin Sophie's life. To complicate matters more, Sophie and Gideon's friend Annabelle (Kathleen Munroe) lusts after Gideon and she is hurt as he fails to realize what he means to her.

Adding to the drama, Nicky's father Julian Fiske (James McCaffrey) is connected to the Kerr's. Twenty years ago when Julian and Lynn were in college, they were a couple. Julian sees Lynn as the one who got away and after all these years and he still has feelings for her. Despite already being hitched, he tries to find his way back into Lynn's life and helps her, against her will, to get a job as a fashion designer. Lynn must also deal with her ex-husband Daniel, as he wants to regain custody of the children and bring them back home to New Mexico.

The drama dealing with Karen involves her trying to get a jumpstart into modeling, where she finds out it is a dog-eat-dog world. She slowly finds herself spiraling into a bad situation, after being told she isn't pretty enough or thin enough, she finds salvation in unhealthy dieting, drugs, and partying. Life in this respect does not getting better when she starts working at a night club and her co-workers feed her unhealthy habits. Karen also finds herself at the center of attention of a stalker.

Midway into the season, episode nine to be exact, a new character is added to the cast. Chris Prichett (Sean Wing) joins the cast a new player in the game and love interest for Sophie. He is brash good looking kid with own his secrets and problems, which add to the hype and drama surrounding the Kerr's. Throughout the sixteen episodes, the Kerr's are faced with a myriad of new situations and relationships that add more and more drama to their lives.

Overall, I had mixed feelings about the first and only season of Beautiful People. On the plus side, the episodes offered quite a lot of drama and situations the Kerr family goes through to made for some exciting stories. The problem is how some of these dramatic stories are covered. Some have some real potential and depth, but the storylines do not ventured into them as much as they could. There is just so much going on and not enough time to cover them.

In addition, I had a problem with the characters. While the main cast Daphne Zuniga, Sarah Foret, and Torrey DeVitto were strong in their roles, the supporting roles were not equally as strong. For instance, characters like Nicky and Paisley failed to feel real. In the end, Beautiful People makes for a decent drama that will entertain, but I highly doubt it will leave you wanting more. Fans of the series should definitely check this DVD release out, because there are some nice extras you will want to watch and listen to.

Episode Guide
1. Pilot
2. Point and Shoot
3. Reload
4. Over Exposure
5. Dark, Room, Chemicals
6. F-Stop
7. Blow Up
8. Photo Finish
9. Flashback to the Future
10. It's All Uphill Here from Here
11. A Tale of Two Parties
12. Das Boots
13. Black Diamonds, White Lies
14. Where are We Now?
15. Best Face Forward
16. And the Winner Is...

The DVD

Video:
The video in this release is given in an anamorphic 1.78:1 ratio widescreen color format. The picture quality is quite good. It suffers from a slight grain, but detail remains to be sharp and clear. However, there are moments when the picture suffers compression artifacts and hints of edge enhancement. This is most noticeable during the darker scenes. Overall it is a great looking picture.

Audio:
The audio track in this release is in English 5.1 Dolby digital surround sound. The 5.1 track is somewhat dynamic and occasionally makes use of the surround sound capability. The track is dialogue driven and you can expect the forward channels to be the busiest. In general, the sound quality is very good and it provides an audible and clean track.

Extras:
After you have finished watching Beautiful People, there are a lot of extras to keep you in the world of the BPs. First off, there are two episode commentaries with creator and executive producer Michael Rauch, executive producer Paul Stupin, and actresses Sarah Foret and Torrey DeVitto for the series pilot and season finale. If you enjoyed the series, you will definitely want to check this out. However if you were not head over heels in love with the show, you will probably find these commentaries to be lackluster.

Next is the featurette "Behind the Scenes of Beautiful People (13:13)", which stars Stupi, Rauch, Foret, DeVitto, and Daphne Zuniga providing various dialogue about different aspects of the series, production, characters, storylines, etc. Again, this is something best reserved for the fans.

Then there are also some screen tests for actors/actresses Jeff Geddis (01:32), Kimberly Huie (02:46), Ricky Mabe (01:28), Kathleen Munroe (00:38), Jackson Rathbone (01:42), Sean Wing (01:29), and Elizabeth Whitmere (01:22).

Located on each disc are a collection of deleted scenes, for a total of twenty-nine scenes. Disc 1 has nine scenes: "Moving to New York (03:24)", "Lynn's New Job (00:26)", "Nicky and Benett (00:54)", "Scheming About Sophie (00:43)", "Sophie Is the Anti-Paisley (00:19)", "Nicky in Photography Class (00:40)", "Paisley Threatens Sophie (00:36)", "Looking for a Camera (00:18)", and "Nicky Offers His Camera (00:52)".

Disc 2 features twelve scenes: Nicky and Paisley (00:29)", "Julian Is Too Busy (00:33)", "Lynn Has a Lot of Work (00:22)", "Zoe Badmouths Karen (00:50)", "Karen's Locker (00:29)", "Toby Can't Wait (00:16)", "Looking for Sophie and Gideon (00:19)", "Lynn Asks Sophie About Karen (00:43)", "Paisley Offers Friendship (00:54)", "Stein Vacates (00:46)", "About Karen (00:22)", and "About Stein (00:48)".

Disc 3 has four scenes: Lynn Is Nervous (00:38)", "Sophie in Shower (00:15)", "Karen Questions Chloe (00:30)", and "Talking About Men (01:05)"

Disc 4 includes eleven scenes: "Chris Asks for an Advance (00:49)", "Annabelle and Ms. Newberg (01:14)", "New Hotel Room (00:27)", "Ben Sends Karen for Lattas (01:04)", "Gideon's Conquests (01:33)", "Annabelle and Ms. Newberg (00:28)", "Lynn Invites Jeremy to Dinner (01:08)", "Chris (00:44)", "Sophie and Gideon (01:20)", "Sophie Invites Chris (00:43)", and "Lynn's Rescue (01:21)".

There are also trailers for Rent, 13 Going on 30, Bewitched, Dawson's Creek, The Nanny, and Ladies' Night (TV).

Please note the times displayed in this section in the format (MM:SS), where MM is minutes and SS is seconds.

Final Thoughts:
When I first started watching Beautiful People, I was not quite sure what to expect. I had not seen the series before and I was under the impression the title of Beautiful People referred to the headlining cast. I found the term "beautiful people" refers to the ultra-elitist and uber-wealthy over-belly of New York City society. The drama the cast faces deals with them adjusting to cultural shock from living in a small town in New Mexico to being surrounded by New York's elite. Of course, along the way the cast starts new relationships, romantic, plutonic, and otherwise, as well as deals with their new lives and problems associated with their various situations and relationships.

In the end, there is a lot of drama, but the series fails to be truly enticing. The unfortunate part is there is so much happening that sometimes some pretty big angles are not fully investigated. The show's writing and dialogue also have their ups and downs, with some material very strong and other parts oddly dull. The headlining cast performs well in their respective roles, but not all of the supporting characters are up to par and it leaves the show missing something. All of which come together and makes Beautiful People a fairly generic melodrama. Fans of the series should be most interested in this complete series set, as there are a number of extras you will want to dive into. However, everyone else--newcomers and the like will probably want to rent it.

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