I don’t know what I really expected when I started watching Greek. I never saw the broadcast, and the series was extremely underplayed in the crowded wilderness of promos and press. Honestly, I’m not sure I would have invested any time in the show if I had heard of it. So, when Greek showed up at my door to watch and review, I had to scratch my head a little bit before deciding to put the first disc into my DVD player. The release case almost makes the show sound like a Greek life reality show, and I’m sure as we speak some new reality creator is just now thinking what a great idea that would be. But Greek is not a reality show at all. It’s a teen soap opera set in the party environment of a college campus and both a fraternity and sorority house. The concept would appear to be slightly misplaced on ABC’s Family Network. The prerequisite underage drinking and promiscuous sexual lives don’t appear to be the best “family” entertainment. We don’t get even halfway through the pilot episode before we’re already charting those waters. To be sure, Greek is no Animal House, and the atmosphere is toned down considerably, but the issues remain, and this is not a show for the kiddies.
Greek is one of those new shows that fell victim to the writers’ strike. Production ended after only 10 episodes, leaving the series with the feeling of being incomplete. This first collection of episodes was likely at one point going to be the entire first season; however, the strike finally ended in time for a handful of new episodes to be produced and to be aired beginning in late March. I’d guess the release was already in the works by that time, so rather than postpone the release and include the later episodes the decision was made to continue with this package and call it simply “Chapter One”. There’s a better than even chance that ABC was hoping that the DVD set would spark some interest now that the show has, at least temporarily, resumed.
The story is very much like a soap opera. Casey (Grammer) is a sorority sister for Zeta Beta Zeta and after 2 years is a woman on the rise. She’s dating the rich and handsome Evan (McDorman) and is in line to be the next House president. Her life is about to change when her nerdy brother, Rusty (Zachar) arrives at college. In his hope to experience college life and shed some of his geek reputation, he decides to rush a fraternity and enter Casey’s perfect world. Casey’s other problem is Zeta Beta Zeta’s own new pledge in the form of Rebecca Logan (Vadsaria), the spoiled daughter of a US Senator and rival for Evan’s affections as well as the future House leadership. To further complicate matters, Rusty has pledged Omega Chi Delta, which is led by Casey’s former boyfriend, Cappie (Foster). Most of the episodes deal with the crossover of these various worlds, and there’s a ton of competition not only between the houses but the characters. The show is all about the parties and the rivalries. There’s an interesting enough group of supporting characters, all well cast, which make this series a little more interesting than it really should be.
Each episode of Greek is presented in its original 1.78:1 broadcast format. The presentation is pretty solid. Colors are not overly bright or stunning, but the level of detail is solid. This also includes a very solid black level. There are 4 episodes to a disc, and there is remarkably little to no compression artifact.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track does everything it needs to do and more. This is an extremely dialog heavy series, so that’s what you’re going to want to hear without distractions. The clarity is good, and never does the 5.1 mix interfere with the staples. Musical cues are always solid but never overpower the drama.
There are audio commentaries with cast and crew on all most of the episodes. They range from dry to a little too giddy for my tastes. It appears the cast and crew all enjoy themselves on set.
Deleted Scenes: There are 3 scenes totaling less than 2 minutes. You can view them with play all or individually. There is also an optional audio commentary by series creator Patrick Sean Smith. The stuff really doesn’t add anything, and the picture quality is very poor.
Extended Musical Scene: The bar scene where Darwin Lied plays for Casey is included without cuts here.
I liked Greek more than I expected, but it wasn’t anything I’d end up watching again. I found the actors and their characters to be far more compelling than the very contrived stories and plots. The show is well cast with some young faces I expect you’ll see more of. By the way, you’ll notice a lot of Frasier jokes throughout the show. Actress Spencer Grammer is Frasier’s Kelsey’s daughter. The stuff’s good for mild diversion and is blessed with a very short title sequence. There are even some very funny moments like when Rusty’s Christian roommate is trying to preach to the frat brothers, explaining that David didn’t “get stoned” with the Philistines. But mostly the writing was “much more shallow than I expected”.