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Felicity - The Complete Second Season

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // Unrated // July 22, 2003
List Price: $59.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Aaron Beierle | posted July 28, 2003 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:

Despite being made fun of as a "chick flick" show, I will stand by the fact that I enjoy "Felicity". I'm not a hardcore fan, but I appreciate aspects of it. I like the show's quiet, low-key nature. Yes, every show does have some sort of crisis, but it's dealt with in a realistic manner that doesn't talk down to its audience. "Dawson's Creek" was a little similar, but where "Creek" overdiscussed and overanalyzed some of the problems the characters faced, "Felicity" knew how to let a subtle, quiet moment represent something more. The show's creator, JJ Abrams, has previously been known as a writer ("Armageddon") and producer ("Pallbearer") and has since gone on to create the intensely popular "Alias". As Abrams and co-creator Matt Reves were producer and director of "The Pallbearer", I was distinctly reminded of that film while watching some of the early moments of "Felicity" - not in terms of story or rather dark tone, mind you, but the show's dream-like visuals, marvelous sense of quiet and a good feeling for New York locations. "Felicity"'s writing, performances and character development remained above-average for its run. The show slides easily between well-played comedy and moving drama.

Despite the fact that the show is no longer on the air, the show's fanbase turned out in numbers for the DVD release of the first season, allowing for a bigger second season set that includes more involvement from the show's cast.

The show's second ("Sophmore") season was certainly dominated by the decision to chop off actress Keri Russell's famed curly hair. The hype surrounding the show became too much about "the hair" and not about the actual quality of the show, which I think eventually made the show's ratings suffer. However, the show started to get rolling in the second season, as the show started to focus and develop supporting characters more. But, regarding the show's plot, it revolves around Felicity Porter (Keri Russell, former "Mickey Mouse Club" member), who is graduating high school as the show opens, with little in the way of plans. When Ben (Scott Speedman), Felicity's secret crush, writes something in her yearbook, she changes her plans for college to head across country. When there, she falls for RA Noel (Scott Foley). That's pretty much a base for the whole show; passionate characters doing things that are spur-of-the-moment and finding the consequences of their actions - whether good or bad - and trying to learn from it.

The show's performances are universally superb. Russell's performance and the show's writing allowed the character to develop in season two. Russell carried the show superbly in the first season, which was a tough act, given how she was able to gain sympathy behind her quick college decision in season 1 quite easily. Speedman and Foley provide good support, as do Amy Jo Johnson, Greg Grunberg and Tangi Miller. Amy Smart (who also had a memorable recent spot on "Scrubs") also starts her small role during the second season.

23. Sophomoric
24. The List
25. Ancient History
26. The Depths
27. Crash
28. The Love Bug
29. Getting Lucky
30. Family Affairs
31. Portraits
32. Great Expectations
33. Help for the Lovelorn
34. The Slump
35. Truth or Consequences
36. True Colors
37. Things Change
38. Revolutions
39. Docuventary II
40. Party Lines
41. Running Mates
42. Ben Was Here
43. The Aretha Theory
44. Final Answer
45. The Biggest Deal There Is
(6 DVD Set)


VIDEO: "Felicity" is presented in the show's original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Image quality on the second season episodes is about the same as that of the first season set, although maybe improved slightly. Sharpness and detail are generally pleasing, although the show often has a slightly intentionally "soft" appearance. The show's cinematography is often quite attractive and beautiful (great lighting), and it's presented well here. Problems were kept to a minimum; a little bit of edge enhancement was spotted, but no compression artifacts were noted. Colors remained warm and well-defined.

SOUND: "Felicity" is presented in Dolby 2.0. The statement on the back of the packaging that the episodes have been remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 is a misprint. This is a dialogue-driven show, however, and the absence of a 5.1 presentation doesn't really make it suffer. The soundtracks kick in fairly well when the pop tunes enter, but other than that, these simply deliver dialogue with pleasing clarity.

EXTRAS: Although the first season set included a couple of commentaries from the show's creators, this season includes commentary offerings from Keri Russell, Scott Speedman, Scott Foley, Amanda Foreman, J.J. Abrams, Matt Reeves, Lamont Johnson, Greg Grunberg, Amy Jo Johnson and Tangi Miller. My favorite commentary of the ones offered is the one with Speedman and Russell, who absolutely have a ball (Speedman rips into "the hair", saying Russell looks like "Punky Brewster". Russell calls one moment "attack of the hair.") joking about the episode (although their curses are bleeped) and goofing on some of the events that happened throughout "Felicity". They're very, very funny together; they sound like two people at their college reunion remembering some of their more embarassing stories - and, really, they are. Russell and Foley are amusing on another track, but not nearly as entertaining as the pairing of Russell as Speedman. The commentary with the remaining members of the cast is amusing, but they concenrate a bit too much on how wonderful everyone was. There are commentaries for 5 episodes.

The last disc includes the original pilot presentation for the show, an Emmy parody ("Felicity" as "NYPD Blue", "X-Files" and "ER" - a comment of "what ratings?" in the "NYPD Blue" segment got a big laugh) and finally, a short 3-minute featurette on the casting of Keri Russell (including her audition tape).

Final Thoughts: Although I'd never been much of a fan before sitting down to watch both season sets currently out, I really have gotten to like the show and wish I'd watched it more when it was on. "Felicity" combines fine writing, great performances and a certain low-key, subtle style that's refreshing in this age of in-your-face TV. Buena Vista has improved the second season set, offering quite a bit more in the way of features and somewhat improved video quality. Recommended.

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