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BMG Special Products presents
My So Called Life (1993)

"Things are starting to get to me, just how people are, how they always expect you to be a certain way, even your best friend."
- Angela Chase (Claire Danes)

Review By: Alexandra Orozco   
Published: June 21, 2000

Stars: Claire Danes
Other Stars: Bess Armstrong, Wilson Cruz, Devon Gummersall, A.J. Langer, Jared Leto, Devon Odessa, Lisa Wilholt, Tom Irwin
Director: Scott Winant

Manufacturer: BMG Special Product
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult themes)
Run Time: 02h:15m:00s
Release Date: June 20, 2000
UPC: 755174571497
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A AC+A D+

DVD Review

This disc contains the first three episodes of the series on one DVD, with each episode being forty-five minutes long.

Pilot

The first episode is about Angela Chase (Claire Danes) who is learning about herself, and how to deal with her emotions. She is trying o figure out what she really needs in life. For example in the beginning of the episode she is walking through the hall with her "best friend," Sharon (Devon Odessa), who Angela doesn't seem interested in, but instead searches through the faces in the hallways for Rayanne (A.J. Langer) and Rickie (Wilson Cruz), her new found friends. Rayanne and Rickie dye Angela's hair "crimson glow"(red), and she likes being with them because she feels she can be who ever she wants to be. Angela quits the yearbook committee without an excuse, and her new behavior begins to upset her parents—especially her mom (Bess Armstrong) with whom she is always arguing—and worry her teachers.

In the meantime Angela finds herself falling in love with Jordan Catalano (Jared Leto), and she starts to feel that her family is drifting apart, especially herself. After being dropped off home late one night by a policeman, she sees her dad, Graham (Tom Irwin) talking to a woman leaning on a car, but they do not notice her. Angela does not seem too upset by it., but instead she goes and apologizes to her mom in her bedroom, Patty (Bess Armstrong), for dying her hair, and everything else she has done, and Angela falls asleep.

Episode two: Dancing in the Dark

This episode is basically about how Angela reacts to the people around her. Rayanne and Rickie arrange for Jordan Catalano (on whom Angela has a crush) to make and sell Angela a fake I.D. at Brian Crackow's house (Devon Gummersall). When Angela learns the plan, she is disturbed about what Jordan might think, so at first Angela refuses to meet Jordan. When she finally goes out to Jordan's car to get the I.D., he makes two "moves" on her, the both she refuses, because she does not want to make her obsession "real." When she thinks it is the perfect time for him to kiss her, he instead opens the door, and says, "I have to go."

In the meantime, Patty and Graham are taking dancing lessons, which they think will help their marriage, but instead it makes it worse, especially when Graham does not complement Patty's new hair cut. Afterwards, they have a big fight, but kiss and make up.

Episode three: Guns and Gossip

The third episode is about confrontation, about parenthood, friendship and loyalty, and the effect rumors have on them. A note is passed around school about how Angela and Jordan had sex in his car (when he was giving her the I.D. in the previous episode). Of course, this is not true, which makes Angela furious because she wants to know who would have said something like that. In the middle of history class a gunshot is heard, and the only person who saw anything was Brian Crackow, who was supposed to be in the bathroom at the time. Brian is being harassed by the Principal to fess up the shooters names.

At a parent meeting about the gun incident, Rayanne's mom and Angela's mother, Patty, meet, and Rayanne's mom talks to Patty about how Angela and Jordan are going out, this makes Patty assume that Angela is having sex, causing her to confront Angela. After Angela finds out who started the rumor, Jordan confronts her and tells her that they might as well do it since everyone else thinks they have already.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: (Editor's Note: Considering the source, the transfer is decent. Scan lines and film grain are evident throughout, but if these are the worst offenses for this full frame picture that's not bad. There are some compression artifacts throughout, but I didn't find them overly distracting. My major complaint is the softness of the picture throughout the three episodes. Supposedly (according to some friendly help from the Home Theater Forum) however, the soft, washed-out greenish hue of the pilot was true to its original airing.)

Image Transfer Grade: C+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes
PCMEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: (Editor's note: Well, BMG does know music, and the mixes on this disc prove that out. While the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is extraordinarily immersive, with an array of ambient sounds and excellent surround during the opening sequence and other musical interludes, the Dolby Surround 2.0 track is very nice as well. Even the PCM is nothing to scoff at, and the least of what one would expect from a TV show...and then you have the progressively better 2.0 and 5.1 tracks to boot! While the music and sweeping effects (cars driving by) are nice, even the quiet times in this mix are successful as well (21m.45s). A nice surprise.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 15 cues and remote access
0 Other Trailer(s)Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Production credits
  2. Preview of future episode DVD releases:

    Disc 2 Episodes: Father Figures, The Zit and The SubstituteDisc 3 Episodes: Why Jordan Can't Read, Strangers In The House and Other People's Daughters
Extras Review: (Editor's Note: The menus appear plain, but they have a neat transitional technique and theme music as well. While the previews of the upcoming releases are nice, the lack of at least cast and crew bios and filmographies is disheartening. I hope BMG will do better on the next sets.)

Extras Grade: D+

 

Final Comments

I think this is a great series, it is probably the only DVD that really tells the truth of high school, and teenage life.

 


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