Gossip Girl: The Complete First Season (2007)

Genre(s): Drama / Romance
Warner Brothers || NR - 1024 minutes - $59.98 || August 19, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-08-14


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): Cecily von Ziegesar (novel)
Cast: Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Penn Badgley, Chace Crawford, Taylor Momsen, Kelly Rutherford, Matthew Settle, Kristen Bell


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Unaired Scenes
  • The Beginning XOXO: Concept to Execution
  • Gossip Girl Couture
  • A Gossip Girl Wedding
  • LOL: Gag Reel
  • Audio Book
  • Music Videos


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Stereo Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Chinese, French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

I was just a young boy when “90210” hit Fox back in 1990 but every week I would tune in with my older sister and watch each episode not understanding half of what was going on, but always looking forward to next week’s episode. Quickly I became friends with Donna, Dillian, Kelly, Steve and Brandon. When the show launched its two spin-offs (“Melrose Place” and “Models Inc.”), I still tuned in, even though I didn't care for either very much. Once “90210” began to get stale (i.e. college years) teen dramas suddenly died off TV and I was left with a void...

A few years later we finally for a resurgence of teen dramas in the form of “Dawson's Creek” which, while not bad, was not as edgy as I had hoped. Of course we had “Get Real”, “Glory Days”, and a few other teen dramas that didn't make it past their freshman years. Then a magical thing happened in the summer of 2003 on the same network that started it all - Fox debuted “The O.C.”, one of the best teen dramas I’ve had the pleasure of watching. While the show started out great, it slowly started mocking itself a bit too much and Fox ultimately canceled it after four seasons. Creator Josh Schwartz quickly went from a nobody to a celebrity so fast that he instantly had two other shows on two different networks for the next TV season (NBC's “Chuck” and CW's “Gossip Girl”). While I enjoy both shows, “Gossip Girl” remains my guilty pleasure.

“Gossip Girl” is loosely based upon the series of books by the same name which includes a cast of characters who live in New York and each one comes from a family of either great wealth or fame. Our main star of the show is Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively), a young, gorgeous blond who at the start of the show, is getting back from somewhere unknown (and I won't spoil it here) to every other character. She is joined by her younger brother Eric (Connor Paolo) and mother Lily. Serena's B.F.F (I promise, as much as the show uses these terms I will refrain from it) before she left was Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meister), yet another rich girl with an attitude problem.

Serena runs into Dan (Penn Badgley), and the two instantly fall for each other. What Serena does not know is that Dan has been secretly pining over her for years and Dan would do and say anything to be with her. Rounding off our cast of characters is Dan's younger sister and future Queen Bee, Jenny (Taylor Momsen), the sly Chuck (Ed Westwick) and Blair's boyfriend Nate (Chase Crawford). One of the shows most important characters is Gossip Girl herself (voiced by Kristen Bell) who is never seen in the show, but is the one that breaks most of, well, the gossip in the show via text messaging and blogs.

I don't know what it is about this show... but I absolutely love it. It has everything I could want in a teen drama: sex, drugs, betrayal, lust, murder, romance...err yes, I did just say murder. While I won't reveal the "shock" half way through the season, they may have tried to do a bit too much for their first season. Unlike fellow CW show “One Tree Hill”, the show did not lose too much steam after the writers’ strike.

Once again Josh plans on taking a bunch of no-name actors and turn them into stars, just like he did for most of the cast of The O.C. While the show may not be a ratings smash compared to other networks, for The CW its best they have done in years. If you are a fan of teen dramas at all I strongly recommend checking out Gossip Girl because it certainly brings hours of delicious drama.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Unaired Scenes - Spread across all five discs are deleted scenes from ten of the eighteen episodes. Nothing here really screams "amazing" and most are just small snippets.

The Beginning XOXO: Concept to Execution (23 Minutes) - A very in-depth look at the creation of the show, going from book to TV, casting, designs, and of course numerous interviews with cast and crew.

Gossip Girl Couture (~14 Minutes) - A very long look at all the clothes and costumes used in the TV show. I don't think Ive ever seen a featurette this long on clothes.

A Gossip Girl Weddng (~5 Minutes) - The final episode of the season deals with a wedding of two individuals (didn't Josh do the same thing with the Season One final episode of The O.C.?) and this short featurette gives us an idea on how the set was designed.

LOL: Gag Reel (~12 Minutes) - Mostly ad flubs...nothing that great.

Audiobook of the first Novel read by Christina Ricci (~2 Hours 15 Minutes) - One of the best features of the set (and maybe a first for DVD) is the inclusion of one of the Gossip Girl books that can be downloaded onto any MP3 player (it comes in .mp3 format) and listened to. Mine is currently sitting on my iPhone... yeah, that show is a guilty pleasure of mine.

Also included are two music videos by The Pierces.

A really great selection of special features... but commentary tracks are sorely missed. Josh has never been a big fan of them (he recorded only a couple for the four Season of “The O.C.”), but I'd like to hear at least one or two.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

“Gossip Girl” The Complete First Season is presented in its Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 on 5 discs. While these are obviously not going to be as nice as the ones that aired on the HD version of The CW, they are still very nice. Colors can be vibrant and New York looks pretty good.

Warner brings to the table an English Dolby Digital 5.1 that certainly sounds better then when the show aired on The CW. My network was so inconsistent with its picture and audio quality that many times I had to tune into to either the SD channel or download an episode off iTunes. While the show is mostly dialogue heavy (with some pop tunes here and there) I'm happy Warner opted to give us a 5.1 track instead of the typical 2.0 junk.



.::OVERALL::.

Maybe not the best teen drama since 90210, but it certainly will keep you entertained if you are a fan of them. If you liked “The O.C.” at all, give “Gossip Girl” a try. XOXO