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Schitt\'s Creek: The Complete Collection (Seasons 1 - 6)
As I write this, we're in the wake of Warner Brothers going a long way to remove movie going experiences as we know them. It's part of a continuing surreal nature of 2020, which also included the unexpected success of the Canadian television show Schitt's Creek. With everyone on lockdown a lot of what seemed to come out around my demographic was word about this show, one that my wife has watched all the way through not once but twice this year. So, may as well grab the physical media and take a look at all this.
The name of the show is of a fictitious town, one that finds new citizens in the Rose family; Johnny (Eugene Levy, Best in Show) is a video-store owner whose business has collapsed and finds him and his family looking for a place to live. They're broke, but bought the town years ago as a novelty and as such, find themselves living at a motel there. Johnny's wife Moira (Catherine O'Hara, Home Alone) is a once-famous soap actress, and their children David (Daniel Levy, Admission) and Alexis (Annie Murphy) share a "suite" at the motel, and try to find a new start or reclaiming their past in the town.
At first glance, when you see a show with Levy and O'Hara, and fellow comedy veteran Chris Elliott (Groundhog Day), you have the sense that you are going to see something entertaining. And to be clear, you do, but it is the way the show transforms into something unexpected that for me is a big reason for its charm. The Roses come to a realization after a little while that nothing will come to save them, and then it is a matter of being comfortable to the townspeople that makes for a wonderfully charming evolution. One of the first people the Roses meet is Stevie (Emily Hampshire, Mother!) as the front desk worker of the motel and she keeps the family at arm's length too, for many of the same reasons the Roses want to get out of town. But as the show goes on, Stevie and the Roses learn about each other and love each other more, and Hampshire's performance as her character evolves, particularly at the end of Season Five, is award-worthy.
The focus of the show and people changing is rightfully on the Roses, who become more accepting of their town as they get more accustomed to it. Levy's searching of new feet is understated but welcome whenever he comes on screen, O'Hara takes on the Schitt's drama club while having an intense wig collection and detached intonation makes for laughs. They're there for solid contributions but the workload is shared equally with the kids; Murray's on-again off-again romance with the veterinarian Ted (Dustin Milligan, Extract) helps show the effects of Schitt's on the Roses, particularly as Alexis is a bit detached and like a lite Paris Hilton.
David is the one to watch (Daniel is the producer and showrunner, after all), and not being familiar with his work before the show, I was impressed by the timing he has, learning from one of the greats after all! But seriously, his comic sense is understated, and he gets to show that off even more over the course of David's relationship with Patrick (Noah Reid), a successful local businessman. David and Patrick's relationship is one that builds over time, and one that feels personal. The way that David shows a strength that he may not have exhibited before is touching, but then he says the perfect thing to make you laugh or smile to make the scene feel right. The Roses as a family may start out detached and oblivious; but they come back to a reliance and decency that they always had (but seemed to forget about through the years) that makes their interactions with Schitt's folks even more sensible. They settle into the town, and their acclimation process feels genuine, so that anything else from there can be as funny or sweet as you want it to.
The key to your enjoyment of Schitt's Creek (and you WILL enjoy it) may be the level of which you've heard about the praise of the show. If you have heard a lot from your spouse or significant other, you are liable to be let down by it; but if you tone out your friends and family (as you should!), you will discover that Schitt's Creek is a wonderful, humble show, and for what people have told you about the show, you should regard it, but do not take it as bible truth.The DVDs:
The complete series of Schitt's Creek comes to DVD in a 15-disc set, with two discs each for the first three seasons, and the last three on three discs, all of which appear in 1.78:1 widescreen, consistent with presentation. The overall results are fine, which gradually improve as the seasons evolve, and I looked at a sample of episodes while streaming the show online; the latter of which being a better option quality-wise for me. The show looks fine on DVD, colors are natural, the image lacks any edge enhancement or haloing, and black levels are okay too. Typical TV show stuff reproduced accurately on DVD.The Sound:
Dolby Digital 5.1 surround for all episodes, all of which coming off good. Dialogue is well-balanced, surround effects are occasionally present (like the crow scene!) and sound good, though directional effects are a little wonting. Like the transfer information the sound is fine, not mind-blowing or anything.The Extras:
The show's extras are found on the last episode of each disc, and tend to improve as the seasons roll off. The first three seasons are broken into three sections each; "Inside Schitt's Creek" which are webisodes for the show, deleted/extended scenes are worth the look, as are the bloopers. In season one, the ‘Inside' segments are in-character webisodes (11, 21:45), the additional footage is ok (13, 14:06) and the bloopers (6:02) are funny. Season Two has more webisodes (13, 24:44), additional scenes (14, 18:24) and bloopers (3:38) while Season Three has yet more webisodes (13, 24:32), additional scenes (8, 9:25) and bloopers (3:16).
Season Four transitions to "Behind the Episode" (13, 31:26) include discussions with the younger Levy and the relevant cast of an episode, covering the show, production anecdotes and the like. The webisodes (13, 25:50) are good, and there are featurettes (11, 34:13) include various behind the scenes aspects of the show, the friendship between the older Levy and O'Hara, character evolutions and beer named after dogs! Bloopers continue (1:41) and moving to Season Five, "Behind the Episode" (14, 33:34) covers a lot of the same general topics as the past season does, episode extras (14, 17:13) look at various character quirks and nuances, and seven featurettes (18:22) cover previews, Dan Levy's softball skills and on-set dogs. Season Six includes more featurettes (17, 38:34) that looks at the last season and the fun highs and lows of it, along with guest stars and table reads. "Behind the Scenes" (14, 47:50) are the "Behind the Episodes" part of the extras, and as as related bonus, there is a ‘bonus episode' called "Best Wishes, Warmest Regards," which is a 44-minute look at the show, it's pluses and minuses, the impact on the gay and LGBTQ community, and the thoughts on the popularity that the cast was swept up in. It is kind of on a level of the Breaking Bad look that came out a few years ago, and that helps underscore the popularity of the show beyond its airing.Final Thoughts:
The complete collection of Schitt's Creek is a funny, enjoyable and sweet ride, with a nice presentation both in video and audio, and the extras that start fun and when they do get serious, turn out to be better than expected. Circling back, the technical merits are good and the bonus material gets better as the show realizes its popularity, and if you are curious about the show that ended in 2020 that garnered so much attention, this is a solid package for you, interested prospective buyer.