Felicity - The Complete First Season
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // Unrated // $59.99 // November 5, 2002
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted November 8, 2002
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The Movie:

I'll admit that I watch quite a bit of television on a daily basis. While there are shows that I love and shows that I hate, there are quite a few in-between. "Felicity" would fall into one of those in-between catagories - in this case, a good show that I liked when I watched, but never really got into because there'd always be something else on that I was already a fan of.

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. Last, but not least, "Felicity"'s use of music doesn't seem to just use the music of the moment, but actually uses music wonderfully to set the mood.

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. While heading 3,000 miles for someone she hardly knows may sound like a stupid move, Russell's heartfelt performance - not to mention some particularly good writing in the episodes I've viewed - makes us feel for her and become involved, not ponder what a potentially foolish move she's made.

"Felicity" eventually started to get more attention for star Keri Russell's changing hairstyle, but these early episodes are really quite well-handled drama, with warm comedy added in occasionally. This is a refreshing show where not every episode has to have a huge crisis, but manages to add in some issues and doesn't approach them in a manner that's heavy-handed. For the most part, "Felicity" is a charming, enjoyable show that is carried quite admirably by Russell, who I don't think has given a better performance elsewhere. Russell is also surrounded by a set of fine supporting performers, although she's required to do most of the work. It's not that there aren't a few iffy episodes scattered throughout, but for the most part, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed what I watched here.

This six-DVD set includes the pilot and all twenty-one episodes from the first season. Disc one: Pilot, The Last Stand, Hot Objects, Boggled. Disc Two: Spooked, Cheating, Drawing the Line, Drawing the Line - Part Two. Disc Three: Thanksgiving, Finally, Gimme an O, Friends. Disc Four: Todd Mulcahy, Parts 1 & 2, Love and Marriage, the Fugue. Disc Five: Assassins, Happy Birthday, Documentary, Connections. Disc Six: The Force, Felicity was Here. Although the box may appear to have only three discs, there is a flap inside each case that holds the other disc.


VIDEO: "Felicity" is presented in the show's original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio - 22 episodes are presented across 6 dual-layer discs. Although the show is often filmed with an intentionally slightly soft focus, the show's beautiful visuals often still look very good here (considering its a TV show), with solid detail and clarity.

The presentations are not perfect, but they are less flawed than most TV product released on DVD that I've seen. The only noticable problem that I found was the occasional presence of some light grain and a few minor instances of pixelation. No edge enhancement or shimmering was seen and, for the most part, the image looked fresh and natural. Colors remained bright and rich, with only a little smearing. While not flawless, these are quite nice presentations.

SOUND: All of the shows are presented in Dolby 2.0 and nicely balances both the show's dialogue and fine choices of music. Audio quality isn't terribly noteworthy, but it's still very nice.

MENUS: Audio/video clips from the show make up classy and elegant animated main menus.

EXTRAS: Audio commentary by co-creators JJ Abrams and Matt Reves is included on both the pilot and the last episode, "Felicity Was Here". Both are quite funny and informative, chatting about the history of the series and its development. Although there's a bit of praise and a few moments where the two get caught up in watching the show again after a few years, these are good tracks that should entertain fans of the show. It's just too bad that nothing else - promos, deleted scenes, featurettes - are included.

Final Thoughts: I quite liked the episodes of "Felicity" that I watched here. Not all were without concerns, but it's a very nice, grounded, low-key show that combines good writing and well-realized characters. Russell also makes a superb lead. Buena Vista doesn't present much in the way of supplements here and the price is a bit high, but the six-disc set has solid presentations of the episodes and fans of the show should find it an enjoyable release. Recommended.

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