The First Season
From the executive producers of MTV's reality television drama Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County (reviews of season one and season two) Tony DiSanto and Liz Gately, and The Real World producer Andrew Hoegl, comes a new reality television drama called 8th & Ocean. The series aired for the first time in March 2006 and completed its first season run with ten episodes in May of the same year. The series is about the lives of ten would-be-supermodels from the Irene Marie agency as they compete in the real world of fashion. The cast includes Adrian Rozas, Briana Hicks, Britt Koth, Kelly Aldridge, Sabrina Aldridge, Sean Poolman, Talesha Byrd, Teddy John, Tracie Wright, and Vinci Alonso. Throughout the season's episodes, you will be exposed to all of the drama these fashion models find themselves in as they try to get ahead in the modeling world, compete with each other, romance each other, and live together in South Beach Miami, Florida at the corner of 8th & Ocean, through the good, the bad, and the beautiful.
What initially attracted me to 8th & Ocean was not the show's premise or its cast, but the executive producers. DiSanto and Gately, both responsible for Laguna Beach, are what attracted me to 8th & Ocean. Quite frankly, the appeal of how tough and competitive the fashion world is or how much hard work is needed to the best, know the right people, be in the hotness photo shoots, etc. has zero appeal to me. When you talk about how "tough" it is to be a model (I do not doubt for a second it is easy, I surely would never be able to survive in the field, let alone get my foot in the door) I just don't care. There really is not more to it; I have zero interest in the fashion world.
Despite my disinterest, I still find sappy dramas and the occasional reality television series appealing. If you consider Laguna Beach or Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica, I have zero interest in the lives of spoiled rich teenager or formerly married pop stars Nick and Jessica, but I enjoyed both on slightly different levels. These reality series can be so melodramatic that you can't keep your eyes away or so ridiculous you can't help but enjoy it. As for 8th & Ocean, the appeal is similar. I found this series about the fashion world to be pretty fun.
What works for 8th & Ocean is how well the editing (and dare I say, directing) is handled. The content of the episodes deal with the fashion world aspects a fair amount, but the drama surrounding these ten beautiful people plays a huge role in what makes the show enjoyable. The dramatic content, along with the soapy silly ridiculousness, is edited together very well and details moments from the cast that will leave you wanting more. The content is engaging, entertaining, and at some level intriguing. Of course, at the same time the characters tend to have their moments when they come off as whiny and annoying. Sometimes it gets really bad and other times it is so bad it's good.
As for specific content, there are a couple things about the characters I found intriguing. Britt is the new girl in town, well, in the sense she's from Kansas City, Missouri and not quite used to how different things are in Miami. Watching her get accustomed to life in Miami (partying, dealing with new friends and romantic relationships, etc.) is an aspect I liked. She's also a sweet gal. Another enjoyable development deals with the twin sisters Kelly and Sabrina. Despite the girls are identical twins, Kelly gets more work because Sabrina doesn't portray the right "look". The sisters also butt heads with each other on occasion and that makes for some decent drama. Then there is bad boy Vinci, who is the source of some major drama. He has been getting lots of attention and his ego seems to grow to only grow bigger at that. And the girls and guys having romantic interests in each other, flirting and whatnot also makes for some intriguing stories.
Overall, I found the first season of 8th & Ocean to fun a watch. While I have zero interest in the modeling world, I can't help but love the copious melodrama that surrounds these ten beautiful people as the struggle with their careers, friendships, and other such things. The series is also edited very well and the crew definitely has some experience in producing soapy reality television dramas. In the end, if you enjoy other MTV productions like Laguna Beach, Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica, and The Real World, you are going to want to pick this set up. In addition, the season set comes with a DVD specifically for all the extras. There is a lot of material to go through and the fans will definitely get a kick out of it.
Here is a list of the episodes included in this scene, along with episode synopses supplied from the DVD cases/covers.
1. Sibling Rivalry: Britt has just landed in the heat of Miami's smoldering modeling scene where she meets the scrutiny of five gorgeous roommates and the critical eye of Irene Marie. She discovers fast that she is not in Kansas any more, when not knowing how to dance means she's bound to stick out of the crowd. Sabrina isn't getting as much work as her twin sister, Kelly, and starts to realize she'll have to step out of her sister's shadow in order to succeed.
2. Model Misbehavior: Frustrations are growing at the agency when super hot male model, Vinci, shows just how big an ego can get. Britt's innocence starts to reveal, as her moral boundaries are put to the test when a photographer asks her to remove her bra on a shoot.
3. Skin Deep: Teddy, the party boy, sets his sights on Britt and flirts with her during a night on the town. His efforts seem to pay of. Sabrina's insecurity about her skin deflates her confidence while her twin Kelly's confidence soars at her sister's misfortune. The models are starting to learn that the beauty business can get really ugly.
4. Just Another Girl?: Britt gets the low down on dating male models, while Tracie begins to lose her footing in the competitive world of modeling and realizes that she doesn't have all of the answers. Teddy decides to go for Britt, not knowing the depth of her feelings, or the shallowness of his own.
5. Quarter-Life Crisis: Kelly and Sabrina struggle with their twin identities, potentially wanting different things. Kelly seeks counsel from someone who could permanently alter their similarity.
6. She Wears It Well: Teddy is sure about his romantic feelings - surprisingly they are not toward Britt. Sabrina's skin is starting to heal while jealous moves in to the apartment, further creating a wedge between the rivaling twins that pulls them further apart from each other.
7. What Goes Around: Tracie is losing ground and still doesn't know why. When she meets with Irene Marie she is forced to face her fears. Teddy decides he's ready for a relationship, but with someone who's not ready at all... Heide, Irene Marie's "rising star," is just shining a little too bright and no likes it.
8. Mixed Messages: The twins are breaking apart, possibly without repair. Sabrina sees a side of her sister that she won't soon forget, while Vinci continues to be a problem for the agency. They comedown hard on him, but he doesn't see the problem and wonders if it is time to find a new agency.
9. Over-Exposed: The models of 8th and Once are put to the test answering some questions about their personal lives, so you can get to know them a little better... What is the one thing Teddy would never do? Where will Vinci be when he is 50 years old? What is Kelly's dream career? Meanwhile, back at the apartment, frustration and tempers continue to flare. One model even decides she just can't take it anymore.
10. A Kiss Goodbye?: Heide and Teddy finally see that they have nothing in common. Sabrina and Kelly have reached their limits and are taking sibling rivalry to new heights. Teddy realizes that he's waiting for that "sweet girl," but Britt is still weighing her options. Everything and everyone is changing, and if that's not enough, the girls have a new and very unexpected roommate.
The video is given in its original television aspect ratio of 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. The picture quality is pretty good. The image remains fairly sharp throughout the episodes with detail crisp and clean. However, there are occasional patches when the episodes get a little dark and rough.
The audio is given in English 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound. The track is dialogue driven, but is supplemented with plenty of background music. The music came off fairly rich and vibrant. For the dialogue, it generally sounds good, but there are moments when the cast is quietly talking or in a crowded and loud environment. Most of these hard to hear portions have burned in subtitles.
There are no subtitles (not considering the burned in subtitles) included with this season set. There is support for closed captioning.
8th & Ocean: The Complete First Season comes on three DVDs and the third disc is devoted entirely to extras. The special features include deleted scenes, cast interviews, featurettes, and more. The following is a complete breakdown of the extras.
Talesha and Adrian's Miami Hot Spots is a featurette with, surprise, surprise, Talesha and Adrian. It opens with the couple taking you to a clothing store and trying on some clothes. Next Adrian takes us to the gym and gives a brief tour of the amenities. Finally, we follow Adrian to a night club. The runtime is under six minutes. Nothing really exciting happens.
Advice from the Experts: In this featurette, four women who work at the Irene Marie agency, including Irene herself provide advice. The lineup includes Mia from men's division, Suzy from women's division, Allee from tv & film division, and Irene. The runtime is twenty-two minutes. This featurette has some decent comments and is worth looking into.
Casting Tapes: Contain nine different casting/audition tapes the ten models underwent to get on 8th & Ocean. The tapes are divided by Adrian, Briana, Britt, Kelly & Sabrina, Sean, Talesha, Teddy, Tracie, and Vinci. The tapes can be watched individually or all at once via the play all option. The total runtime is eighteen minutes.
Deleted Scenes: For deleted scenes & extra footage, there are seven scenes included. They are entitled "Vinci & Teddy's Embarrassing Modeling Moments", "Indoor Basket/Football", "The Twins Question Charcoal", "Kelly & Tracie Discuss Traveling", "Britt & Adrian Discuss Evolution", "Britt Talks About Being Homesick", and "Talesha Gives Britt Diva Training". As with the casting tapes, the deleted scenes can be watched individually or all at once via the play all option. The total runtime is eleven and a half minutes.
TRL Segment Featuring the Twins, Britt and Vinci: Kelly, Sabrina, Britt, and Vinci make an appearance on MTV's TRL and answer a few questions. The runtime is under seven minutes.
MTV Overdrive Segments: MTV Overdrive is MTV's online video-on-demand website. Accessed from MTV's main website, Overdrive offers viewers a chance to continue the viewing experience. For its television series, additional footage, featurettes, cast interviews, and other related items are offered. 8th & Ocean had ten after shows for its season one episodes. The after shows contain additional footage and interviews with the cast. All ten after shows are included and they have a total runtime of one hour and thirty five minutes. The nice thing about these after shows is that they are DVD quality. The online streaming videos look horrible in comparison, and it is nice to have the high-resolution format.
Cast Bios: The cast bios are nothing special, as watching the season set you will have a pretty good idea about the cast. However, if you want to learn a few more details, the cast bios offer information you can read from DVD menus about them. It includes all ten models and Irene Marie.
Previews: Trailers include Laguna Beach: The Complete Second Season, The Hills: The Complete First Season, All You've Got, MTV Books - Teen Fiction, and Save the Last Dance Two.
Overall, I found the first season of 8th & Ocean to be a lot better than I expected. The series, like many other MTV reality television series, does a fine job bringing out the dramatic moments in the cast's lives and it makes for some soapy content and ridiculous moments you can't help but enjoy. In the end, 8th & Ocean: The Complete First Season is worth looking into for anyone who enjoys reality programming. However, casual viewers be warned the season episodes have limited replay value, and I am not very sure how much use you will get out of them.
For more soapy, melodramatic reality television, check out DVD Talk's reviews of Laguna Beach: The Complete First Season, Laguna Beach: The Complete Second Season, Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica: The Complete First Season, Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica: The Complete Second and Third Seasons, and Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica: The Complete Fourth & Final Season.