Hope, heartbreak, and a hurricane.
Getting a mannequin made to resemble a now-departed cast member, a little boy singing show tunes, golfing without underwear, these are but some of the stories which will hold you captive during One Tree Hill: The Complete Eighth Season.
This is the story of seven friends who are peripherally involved in one another’s lives in a pseudo-soap opera drama. While Season Eight offers some big moments, most every episode feels as though the viewer is merely getting a small glimpse into these characters’ lives.
There are some definite problems with this season, like uneven narration and weird storyline pacing (a pregnancy began and ended in less than a season, while half a season passed before the resolution of the Clay/Quinn shooting?) But by far the biggest issue with Season Eight (and perhaps the show overall) is that it’s a program about adults aimed at teenagers. It’s hard to imagine how teens could relate to these characters anymore, and it’s difficult to keep watching a show that dumbs itself down and gives little to no credit to its audience. I don’t know why One Tree Hill is still on the air when this season’s finale feels far more like a series finale.
The one thing I did appreciate is the show’s use of repeated lines of dialogue, movements, and props to bridge scenes. There were moments when these shots were held for a beat or two too long, but I love the forethought in trying to bring cohesiveness to the show.
As far as technical specs go, the standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer suffers from being compressed over five discs as opposed to six, though I like keeping deleted scenes on the discs with their respective episodes. The Dolby 5.1 audio is good, but you’d expect that from a show which features so many musical performances. Unfortunately, they only bust out the surrounds to appease the artists who show up for guest spots.
The bonus features are the typical sort one would expect from a recent television series: gag reel, featurettes, deleted scenes, and a couple of commentaries. But there was one noticeable exception: the inclusion of UltraViolet digital copies of each episode, quite atypical for television box sets. The best feature are commentaries, if only because they include Jackson Brundage, the 11 year old who plays the young son of the main protagonists. It’s always nice to see the addition of the kids.
It’s a fair guess that you’re only going to buy One Tree Hill: The Complete Eighth Season if you’re a collector. Otherwise, DVR-ing or streaming these episodes from Hulu or Amazon Instant seems enough of an investment.
When my husband was forced to watch an episode with me, he’d handily predicted everything that occurred and summed up the experience with “So I guess in order to be on that show you have to be good-looking and be able to cry six or seven times in a row on cue?” which pretty well sums up what it’s like to watch One Tree Hill.