Season One introduces us to the Salinger children: Scott Wolf, Matthew Fox, Neve Campbelland Lacy Chabert, plus infant. The five siblings are orphaned when their parents are killed in acar accident. They decide to stick together and make it on their own. The series then follows theirtrials and tribulations. All sorts of life lessons are learned, and the first season arc takes viewersfull circle, in a sense, as the Salingers must deal with another death in the season finale.>
This here’s I think what you call a “dramedy,” meaning that no humorous moment goesunpunished, as tragedy and doom forever dog the footsteps of the lighter story elements.Combine this with the perpetual warm-wood glow of the soft-focus photography, and the resultcan be pretty oppressive, despite the game cast. Still, this Golden Globe winner is serious ofpurpose, and its approach won it a very dedicated following.
The audio is 2.0, which is par for the course when it comes to TV DVDs. The sound is prettyactive, especially when it comes to surround effects. Thus, scenes in the school, for instance,have all sorts of background noises emerging from the rear speakers. A credible job is thus donein creating an aural environment.
The picture (fullscreen, naturally) is also pretty much on par with most TV packages. Whichis to say that the colours are fine but the image is far from perfect. A lot of the photography hereis pretty soft-focus to begin with, but some scenes are, I think, even softer than they are intendedto be. There are moments of grain in some of the darker scenes. Still, dark as things get, theimage never really gets murky.
Commentary is provided on three episodes: the pilot, “Thanksgiving” (episode 10) and “Idesof March” (the season finale). There are two tracks, the first by Wolf, Fox and Chabert, and thesecond by creators Amy Lippman and Christopher Keyser. The creators’ comments tend to bethe more informative, going into considerable detail as to the aims, themes and story arcs of theseries. “Party of Five: A Look Back” is a 60-minute documentary, and is a fairly comprehensivelook at the origins and impact of the show. “A Family Album” is a much shorter featurette thatfocuses on the coming-together of the first show. There are also a few trailers and ads. The menuis basic.
An overdue release, but one that should cheer the fans of the series, even if the extras couldhave been beefed up a bit.
Special Features List
- Cast Commentary on 3 Episodes
- Creators’ Commentary on 3 Episodes
- “Party of Five: A Look Back” Documentary
- “Party of Five: A Familiy Album” Featurette