“One Tree Hill. One last time.”

The speed with which this season hit DVD is quite impressive. One Tree Hill‘s finale aired only a couple weeks before the ninth and final season was released. Was it done to gratify rabid fans, or out of concern that the show would be out of sight and out of mind? Either way, there were a few story lines I’ve not seen dealt with before, and they hooked me enough to wish there were more episodes. So kudos to One Tree Hill for that.

To appease the fan base, The CW decided to grant One Tree Hill an abbreviated ninth season. Even though Season Eight felt like the end, the writers struggled to craft stories that would carry these characters through thirteen additional episodes.

Since many people may still be catching up with this season, I’m going to avoid discussing anything spoilerish. However, I will say my biggest problem with One Tree Hill is its lack of consistency. For half of the cast, it’s as if the writers felt they had to have the characters involved, relegating them to rather juvenile stories. The rest wind up being gifted with plot lines that carry the season.

I fully understand and appreciate the need to build drama and balance it with humor, but Season Nine feels too much like One Tree Hill is catering to different audiences. On the one hand, we have adult stories that serve to not only reflect on who these characters are, but point to where they might go in life. On the other hand, we have stories you’d find on any teen drama. After nine seasons, these teenagers have long since grown up, so why continue to showcase young people problems? Because your audience might have some teens in it?! This was a missed opportunity to really cement a cast of adult characters.

Presented in standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen with a Dolby 5.1 Surround mix, the video and audio are just as you would expect from a current network series. The problems with this set are due to the compression, rather than the source material. With only thirteen episodes, why cram five episodes to a disc and risk any type of loss? Was bumping up the set from three to four discs really so cost prohibitive?

The bonus features are nice, but not packed to the gills. I suspect there’ll be a complete series set at some point, with all the bells and whistles a devoted fan could want. Here we get a lone commentary track, gag reel, some deleted scenes, and a couple of featurettes, one of which is an in-depth Q&A session with the cast.

I’m all for letting a series wrap on its own terms. The One Tree Hill gang owes this ninth season to their fans, so I hope this release makes them happy.

THE VERDICT

Not Guilty.

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