Chances are if you're reading this review, you know your "Boy Meets World." If you're new, I'll dispense the standard advice: go back and start at season one (or if that doesn't immediately grab you, skip to season two). Any new viewers deciding to jump on board in the sixth of seven season just aren't going to see what the fuss over this series is, since fans themselves are generally split down the middle as whether the final two seasons are even worth watching. In a cruel twist of fate though, the show runners ensured viewers would come back if for nothing more than to see how the season five cliffhanger of Topanga (Danielle Fishel) proposing to high school sweetheart Cory Matthews (Ben Savage) would play out. The result would be a series coasting on the charm of its actors and mining the depths of sitcom mediocrity for two final years.
With life at John Adams high behind them, Cory, Topanga, Shawn, Shawn's girlfriend Angela, Shawn's brother Jack, Cory's brother Eric, and Jack and Shawn's roommate Rachel would enroll that the fictional college of Penbrook (well to be fair, the latter three were already there a season prior, but semantics aside). For the first time, "Boy Meets World" had the opportunity to take their characters in a new direction, forcing them to find their place in the world, outside the confines of childhood. That should be an easy task, right? I mean, long time mentor Mr. Feeny (William Daniels) was no longer their principal and was ready for a life of retirement. Wrong. While Feeny was a truly beloved figure by characters and fans alike, the writers, unable or unwilling to place their trust in the rather large cast, cast Feeny as yet another Deus Ex Machina, slowly working him into college life as a new professor (my previous review contained a faulty memory that Feeny became dean) and giving him a love interest in the form of the college's Dean, played by Daniels' real life wife, Bonnie Bartlett. While the breath of fresh air into Feeny's life was a welcome addition, his presence continually feels like a crutch, even when one episode has Feeny and the characters blatantly state he can't help them forever.
If the inability to take risks with the characters and situations wasn't enough, the general backbone of most episodes are sitcom staples that while providing decent laughs, just don't reach the level of comedy contained in previous, superior seasons. If you've seen one sitcom where the two leads were engaged or married, you'll know what to expect: episodes about lost rings, visits to restaurants staffed by scantily clad women, episodes where the marriage is threatened due to cold feet, and yes, shamefully an episode that brings up the genre cliché of a "Newlywed Game." The show only thrives because of the built up on-screen chemistry of the cast and the general enthusiasm they put into even the most trite material.
The supporting cast are given token episodes and b-plots, but it's just as generic. Shawn and Angela face many of the same issues Cory and Topanga did years prior; Cory's parents get a couple of chances to shine, but the glory days of their key role in the series are long past, and finally Eric, Jack, and Rachel are handed the show's most banal gags: pop culture spoofs ("The Truman Show" anyone?) and what boils down to a reverse "Three's Company" relationship. Even the long awaited guest spot of Ben Savage's older brother, Fred is a crushing disappointment. Stunt casting for sure, the elder Savage is cast early on as a hip college professor who sexually harasses Topanga and then through a series of events even ridiculous for a sitcom, threatens Cory's college career. The writers tackle the "very special episode" as if they were aiming at young kids and not the audience who had already grown up with the show. The episode is also noteworthy for containing the previously mentioned pandering moment where Feeny tries to address the issue of his constant involvement in the cast's lives.
Ultimately, the sixth season of "Boy Meets World" is for fans only and only those willing to tread familiar ground just for the love of the cast. No other season of the show has been so disposable and one could very easily make it through the entire season as background noise, since very little of real consequence happens save for a few episodes at the beginning and a few at the end. The seventh and final season would have the added benefit of knowing it was in the homestretch and allow a real resolution to everything, but the same can't be said for this go around, when at times, it's impossible to understand what was going on at the writing meetings; in short, a mildly fun but forgettable season.
The 1.33:1 original aspect ratio transfer is on par with the last three seasons, featuring an interlaced transfer, on par with a cable broadcast, lacking sharp detail in the image. Color levels are also a little more balanced, but often find themselves on the warm side.
The 2.0 English audio track is a serviceable, front loaded with a little bit of life. Fortunately, all dialogue is crisp, clear, and distortion free. English subtitles for the hearing impaired are included.
The black sheep of all seasons, "Boy Meets World: The Complete Sixth Season" is for the most hardcore fans, namely those collecting the series for the sake of completion. The cast does the best with what they're given, it's just that they're given rehashed stories from much better genre fare. Rent It.