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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » What About Brian - The Complete Series
What About Brian - The Complete Series
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // Unrated // September 25, 2007
List Price: $59.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted October 8, 2007 | E-mail the Author
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The Complete Series

What About Brian is a short-lived television drama from ABC. The show was a midseason replacement, with five episodes in its first season (2006). For the show's second and final season (2006-2007), it was renewed for a full season with twenty-two episodes. However, the show's episode billet was cut back to nineteen. Watching the show, I can see why it was cancelled. There is very little about it to attract you.

The series is set in Los Angeles, California and focuses on Brian Davis (Barry Watson). Brian is a thirty-something who has yet to find true love. His single-dom is a pretty big deal, as all of his closest friends are either married or engaged. (It is also the series' main premise.) On more than one occasion, they try to fix him up. But single-life for Brian isn't all that bad, as he gets to meet some terrific girls and miss-out on several of the martial/relationship problems his friends face.

In the show's first season, the extended cast includes Adam Hillman (Matthew Davis), Brian's best friend and aspiring lawyer who recently got engaged to Marjorie, Marjorie Seaver (Sarah Lancaster), a pediatrician and someone who means the world to Brian, Dave Greco (Rick Gomez), Brian's friend and partner at Zap Monkey (video game company), Deena Greco (Amanda Detmer), Dave's wife and mother of three, Nicole Varzi (Rosanna Arquette), Brian's older sister, and Angelo Varzi (Raoul Bova), Nicole's husband.

The first season outlines the general premise of the series. Brian is on the verge of relationship breakdown, as he continually finds himself in destructive relationships. One reason for his behavior is that the girl he loves, he can't have. He is head over heels crazy about Marjorie, his best friend's girl. Hopes go down the tube for him when Adam and Marjorie get engaged. The catch is that there is chemistry between Brian and Marjorie is not one way. Marjorie also has feelings for Brian, which is something they have to deal with. At the same time, Nicole and Angelo deal with the difficulty of a miscarriage and the low-probability of a natural pregnancy, Brian dating roommates named Lisa, Adam has second thoughts about the marriage (for reasons unrelated to Brian), and Deena wants to explore her sexuality with other men than Dave.

At the beginning of the show's second season, there are some shifts in cast. Angelo is cut (he is overseas in Rome starring in his first movie) and two new characters are brought on, Jimmy (Jason George) and Ivy (Amanda Foreman). Jimmy and Ivy are a married couple. Jimmy works at Adam's law firm and Ivy owns a bar. Later into the season, other new characters include Bridget Keller (Krista Allen), Natasha Drew (Tiffani Thiessen), Laura (Jessica Szohr), and Stephanie (Stacy Keibler). All four are love interests for Brian.

The second season content picks up with similar storylines as the first season. The Brian-Marjorie-Adam love triangle gets pretty complicated as Adam and Marjorie's wedding approaches. Marjorie reveals to Adam the chemistry and the kisses shared with Brian, which sets Adam off the deep end. He ends his friendship with Brian. Brian proceeds to try to repair his relationship with Adam, while at the same time fending off his feelings for Marjorie. Dave and Deena seek counseling to work out their martial issues. Nicole finally gets pregnant again and it is up to Brain to take care of her. Angelo left California to shoot a movie in Italy. Other notable storylines include a character death, Adam/Marjorie relationship breakup, Zap Monkey in financial limbo, Adam getting serious with a stripper, new jobs and business ventures, and more.

Overall, I did not care much for What About Brian. The biggest issue I had with the series was that it felt like it had little purpose or direction. The show seemed to wander aimlessly through the desert, never finding its way back to civilization. On that note, the characters never grew on me and I had a hard time caring what happened to them. In the end, What About Brian left me feeling more bored than anything. There was not much in terms of characters or storylines that made the show feel compelling or strong. It is not a surprise to me the series was cancelled.

Episode Guide

1. Pilot: Within Brian's tight circle of friends, everyone else has paired off, while he has emerged as the last bachelor standing. At 34, regardless of his run of bad luck in matters of the heart, Brian still holds out hope that one day he'll open the door and be blinded by love. But is he holding out for the wrong girl?
2. Two In Twenty-Four: Adam and Dave encourage Brian to live the ultimate single man's dream by hooking up with two different in 24 hours. Deena thinks about the possibilities of an open marriage when she meets a cute divorced dad at her daughter's school.
3. Moving Day: Brian and Marjorie take stock of their friendship. Meanwhile, Dave and Brian anxiously await a call from a potential client who could solve their money woes. Nicole and Angelo consider their fertility options.
4. The Importance Of Being Brian: With everyone looking for him, Brian decides to spend the day with his new love, Lisa B (Bre Blair). Nicole reacts oddly to her fertility hormone treatments, and Marjorie wants to talk to Brian about their relationship.
5. Sex, Lies And Videotape: Marjorie unwittingly sabotages Brian's new relationship. Dave turns a golf outing with the guys into a complicated stakeout when he thinks his wife is cheating.
6. What About Second Chances...: Dave and Deena suffer the fallout of their disastrous experiment with an open marriage. Meanwhile Brain's sister Nicole is thrilled to finally be pregnant after a year of fertility treatments and is busy preparing for the new arrival.
7. What About The Wedding...: On the day of Marjorie and Adam's wedding, Brian struggles with his feelings for Marjorie while Adam confronts her about he past. And in a series of flashbacks to New Year's 2003, we see the moment when both Brian and Adam first met Marjorie at the same party.
8. What About Denial...: Adam blames Brian for his wedding day disaster. Nicole helps Deena try to save her disintegrating marriage, while Deena reciprocates by letting Nicole practice mothering by babysitting her one-year-old. Brian and Dave go on a local cable program to promote their videogame.
9. What About The Fish...: Brian and Adam wager who can land a new girl first, and Brian adjusts to having Dave as his new roommate after Deena kicks him out of the house. The future of Zap Monkey is in jeopardy, which causes Brian to try anything and everything to save the company.
10. What About Angelo's Ashes...: Tragedy strikes Nicole and her friends. Meanwhile, Brian's dad (William Devane) confronts Brian about his future. Dave and Deena's relationship woes escalate, and Adam continues to connect with Summer (Rachelle Lefevre), the stripper he met at his bachelor party.
11. What About What Was Supposed To Be...: Brian starts a job at his father's high-end real estate firm. Sparks fly when he meets the company's top agent, the beautiful Bridget (Krista Allen). Dave stars a new job as well, and Adam's relationship with Summer may be problematic for his professional future.
12. What About First Steps...: Adam and Heather's announcement shocks the group. As a way for Brian to forge a romantic connection with Bridget, Dave suggests that he get her to join them in a speed dating event, and Nicole immerses herself in Deena's fledgling cupcake business to distract her from her grief.

13. What About Secrets...: Brian and his dad Michael begin to reconnect, until a secret drives them apart again. After a couple of "practice dates," Deena decides to go for the real thing with the wealthy T.K. (Brennan Elliot), and Dave joins Nicole at a screening of Angelo's last movie, where she meets a mysterious woman with a connection t her late husband.
14. What About True Confessions...: Brian avoids Bridget once he learns of her past, but she's not making it easy. Brian and Adam are sentenced to community service at a homeless shelter to pay for the damage they caused at Ivy's bar, and the very pregnant Nicole goes to some humorous extremes to induce labor.
15. What About The Tangled Web...: Adam pushes his new wife to give up her job, and Nicole promises both Dave and Deena that they can accompany her when she goes into labor - but neither is willing to give up the spot to the other. Brian and Bridget get closer.
16. What About The Exes...: Adam and Heather have to deal with an overzealous x-client of Heather's, and Nicole sets up a photo shoot to promote Deena's cupcake business. Meanwhile, Dave and Deena make a startling discovery, which rings to town a visitor from the friends' not-so-distant past.
17. What About Marjorie...: Marjorie has returned to Los Angeles, and her arrival causes tension between newlyweds Adam and Heather. Nicole has trouble finding the right nanny until Deena introduces her to the very capable and handsome Jamie (Tom Parker).
18. What About The Lake House...: Brian invites the gang to the lake house for one last weekend getaway, hoping to make Bridget feel more like a part of the group of friends. Dave and Deena grapple with making the decision about their daughter's surgery, while Adam tries to figure out his feelings for Heather and Marjorie.
19. What About Finding Your Place...: Bridget moves into Brian's apartment, where he has taken a job as the building manager. Brian helps two gorgeous women, Laura (Jessica Szohr) and Stephanie (Stacy Keibler), move into the apartment downstairs. Nicole fantasizes about Jamie, her "many." Adam takes a vow of celibacy.
20. What About Temptations...: Dave is surprised to see that his new boss Natasha (Tiffani Thiessen) turns out to be his former intern. Brian's downstairs neighbors Laura and Stephanie convince him to let them use his apartment for a party. Meanwhile, the still-celibate Adam continues to pursue his law partnership.
21. What About Strange Bedfellows...: Brian questions his relationship with Bridget. Natasha's favoritism toward Brian becomes apparent when she asks him - and not Dave - to coordinate a major presentation for some Japanese clients. Adam breaks his celibacy rule and goes out on a date with Stephanie, and Nicole and Jamie share a kiss.
22. What About All That Glitters...: Deena's mother Frankie (Meredith Baxter) visits. Brian gets separate invitations from his two attractive downstairs neighbors. Against Natasha's wishes, Brian assigns a big presentation to Dave, and the friends get a surprise when they visit Ivy and Jimmy's home for the first time.
23. What About Secret Lovers...: An embarrassing photo of Brian and Stephanie cools their relationship. Deena's new cupcake store struggles until business partner Nicole comes up with a unique way to get more customers. Natasha sets some rules for her relationship with Adam, and it's time for Deena and Dave to decide if they're going to sign their divorce papers.
24. What About Calling All Friends...: Dave and Deena's plans to renew their wedding vows turns chaotic. After Nicole and Deena's cupcake store starts getting great press, Nicole finds herself overwhelmed, and when a crisis occurs, Brian calls on Stephanie, but realizes that Laura would have been the smarter choice.

The DVD

Video:
The video in this release is given in 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 some occasional moments when the picture suffers compression artifacts. This is a rare occurrence, but it does happen. Needless to say, the show should look good on bigger television sets.

Audio:
The audio in this release is given in English 5.1 Dolby digital surround sound. Overall, the sound quality is very good, providing an audible and clean audio track. The majority of activity is in the forward channels, but there is decent use of the surround sound capability. Music and sound effects sound very rich and vibrant.

There are subtitles in English, French, and Spanish. There is also support for closed captioning.

Extras:
If you haven't had enough of What About Brian, then you are in luck. This complete series set comes with two audio commentaries, an unaired episode, and two featurettes. Here is the breakdown of the special features:

  • Audio Commentaries: are include for episodes "Pilot" and "What About Calling All Friends..." with creator/writer Dana Stevens.
  • Exclusive Unaired Episode: "What Happens In Vegas" (40:09): is a bonus episode that was never aired during the series' twenty-four episode run. "What Happens In Vegas" was originally created to follow the season one finale "Sex, Lies And Videotape", but for reasons not really explained, they went another direction. The episode begins with an introduction with Dana Stevens, which runs for almost half a minute.
  • Calling All Friends: The Story Of What About Brian (13:05): is a featurette with cast and crew that details the concept and ideas behind What About Brian. Specifically, they talk about key plotlines, characters, changes, specific events, and more. There are also behind the scenes footage and clips from the season episodes.
  • What About 3: The Season That Never Was (3:32): is a pretty cool featurette. While I was not a huge fan of the actual show, I did enjoy having this extra. It offers insight into possible directions that the series could have gone with another season. I really liked this concept, because it gave some closure to an ended series. On the flipside, the featurette could have gone into more details and run another couple minutes with some more concrete future plotlines versus humorous speculation.

Final Thoughts:
What About Brian is a short-lived television drama about the last single guy in a small group of friends. The show details his endeavors to find love, while his married and engaged friends face their own relationship problems. As an overall series, What About Brian is not the most sensational drama. In fact, I found it to be overly tedious and an effort to watch. The show moves slowly with little direction and poorly defined characters. What it boils down to is a below average television show.

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