This season finds the protagonists well beyond high school, now having adventures in the adult world. So writer Lucas, in the midst of promoting his book, proposes to Peyton. Brooke fights to save her clothing business from the clutches of her mother From Hell. Piece of work Dan is flattened by a car and then finds himself in the hospital, helpless, badly injured, and at the mercy of a sadistic nurse out for revenge. Basketball player Nathan doesn’t know that his mother is having an affair with one of his friends. And on we go, and I haven’t even mentioned the episode that’s a fantasy construction of Lucas’, relocating the entire cast and setting to the 1940s.
Now, I will freely admit that I’m not the target demographic for this series. My fuddy-duddy take is that what we have here are pretty traditional soap opera histrionics delivered with very little subtlety but prettified with nice production values. Imagine The OC without the leavening wit and you get the idea. But in case I simply didn’t get it, being the wrong audience and all, I consulted the target market. The 14-year-old I turned to informed me that the show was stupid and saddled with a completely unbelievable, and hence ludicrous, catalogue of events. So there you go. Maybe I was right after all.
I mentioned those production values, didn’t I? And yes, as silly as the whole enterprise is, it certainly looks handsome. The colours are strong, the blacks and flesh tones are excellent, and there are no compression artifacts to deal with. The grain is present, but very minimal, and the image is very sharp. If you’re staying with the show to look at the pretty people, you will be well served by the transfer.
The sound is clear, the dialogue undistorted. As 5.1 mixes go, though, the track is both uninspiring and annoying. The former because there simply aren’t that many sound cues and effects that make it to the rear speakers, so there isn’t much of an environment created. The latter because the bloody soundtrack is omnipresent, whether the scene works well with music or not, and before long I felt like I was on perpetual hold for tech support, subjected to an endless parade of emo elevator music.
Commentary Tracks: Two of them, headed up by exec-producers Mark Schwahn and Joe Davola. The first, Episode 12 (on Disc 4), has them joined by stars James Lafferty, Jackson Brundage, Kate Voegele and Stephen Colletti. On the second (Disc 6, Episode 18), the actors are Sophia Bush, Daphne Zuniga, Voegele and Colletti. Despite the large groups, the discussions remain surprisingly easy to follow and quite informative.
OTH Goes Back in Time: (Disc 3) A fairly detailed look at the creation of the fantasy 40s episode.
Slammin’ with OTH: (Disc 3) A somewhat more lightweight featurette looking at the playing of SlamBall.
OTH Celebrity Soundtrack: (Disc 5) Remember what was driving me crazy? Here the musical guests of the concert show (Episode 10) put in their two bits of promotion.
OTH – The Directors’ Debut: (Disc 7) Behind the scenes with three directorial newbies who happened to be among the lead performers: Chad Michael Murray, Bethany Joy Galeotti and James Lafferty.
Unaired Scenes. These can be integrated into the relevant episodes.
Gag Reel. (Disc 7)
A fairly substantial collection of extras, as TV box sets go, should keep fans of the series happy. Still, I find the exercise flashy, painful in its musical product placements, and without much substance.