If its one thing that the Disney Channel has done marvelously well, it has been capturing the tween market, especially the girls. With shows like Hanna Montana and the High School Musical franchise, the channel has really tapped into what youngsters want to see, a mix of music, fashion, and comedy with a large dollop of cool. Another hit show that targets the same demographic is The Wizards of Waverly Street. The second DVD to be released, subtitled Supernaturally Stylin' has a quartet of amusing shows that are sure to appeal to the preteens out there.
Alex Russo (Selena Gomez) appears to by a typical student at her school, but she isn't. She and her brothers, older sibling Justin (David Henrie) and younger bro Max (Jake T. Austin) have a secret: They can perform magic. They're not supposed to do it in school, of course, but resisting the urge to use magical abilities isn't easiest thing in the world.
Alex and her brothers live with their (non-magical) Mom (Maria Canals Barrera) and (used to do magic but gave it up to marry his wife) Dad (David DeLuise) who run a sandwich shop in
While the show has a certain formulistic style to it, I have to admit that it wasn't all bad. Yes most of the jokes are very lame and predictable, but they occasionally hit the mark with a gag that works well or a bit that's pretty amusing. The Gielsjay-Timesday spell, which freezes time but only as long as you can hop on one foot was a cute idea, and the continually outrageous clothes (often accented with real fruit) that Alex's best friend Harper (Jennifer Stone) wears are a great running gag.
A lot of the show's charm has to do with star Selena Gomez. She really shines and carries the weaker moments of the show. She has a lot of screen presence and her perky, upbeat demeanor is rather infectious. Even when they lines she's delivering are mediocre-bordering-on-bad, you can't help but like her character.
The episodes on this disc are:
Credit Check: When Alex gets a job interning at a fashion magazine, the editor ends up taking all of her ideas. She and Harper come up with a great idea to get back at her boss, but when it backfires Alex finds herself in a jam.
Smarty Pants: Harper needs a new teammate for the school scholastic competition and Alex joins to show up her brother. She dons the magical Smarty Pants which make her a genius, but she should have paid attention to the side effects.
Beware Wolf: Justin meets a girl on Wizface and arranges for a date. She turns out to be attractive, fun, intelligent.... and a werewolf.
Graphic Novel: Alex's journal, one she where she can use a magic spell to enter the pictures that she's drawn, is stolen by her brothers and falls into the hands of her enemy Gigi. When Justin and Max find out, they panic and send Gigi into the book. Now Alex has to find a way to get her out before all of her secrets, including who she has a crush on, are revealed.
The one thing that really mars the show is the laugh track. It's one of the more up front and annoying tracks I've heard in quite some time. Loud, brash and intrusive, even the slightest throw-away joke gets mechanical guffaws. The show would be much better if the person mixing the laughs used a bit of restraint or better yet just left it off altogether.
The stereo soundtrack was about what you'd expect for a recent show. Clean and clear, it did the job but isn't anything to write home about.
The full frame image is okay. The colors are bright and the lines are fairly sharp. There was some aliasing in the background but that was about it.
In addition to some previews, this disc also has an 8-minute featurette, Fashionista Presto Chango. In this short Selena and her TV brothers show viewers the wardrobe building and all of the clothes they have to pick from. The Fashion Designer for the show makes an appearance and talks about how they come up with the look for each character. Eh. It was there.
While this show doesn't break any comedic ground and it has its moments and will likely play much better for its intended audience of young girls than it did for this jaded aging reviewer. Even so, there were some amusing moments that made me smile. If you've got a tween in the household, this disc comes recommended.