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7th Heaven
The Sixth Season

review by Zach B.

 

 

Not Rated

Running Time: 966 minutes

Starring: Stephen Collins, Catherine Hicks, Barry Watson, Jessica Biel, Beverley Mitchell, David Gallagher, Mackenzie Rosman

 

 

Studio: Paramount

Retail Price: $49.99

Features: None

Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Stereo, English Closed Captions, Episode Selection, Chapter Stops (6 chapters per episode), Six-Disc Set

Released: June 10th, 2008

 

 

Aaron Spelling - prolific TV producer. Best known for some of television's most memorable prime-time soap operas and action-adventures: "Charlie's Angels," "Dynasty," "Beverly Hills 90210"... the list goes on and on. Which is why it was a shock to many when Spelling attached himself to a family-oriented show with morals and decent values. The show of course was "7th Heaven." It was an interesting change of pace for Spelling, but if anything it's this: the man certainly believes in solid entertainment for different kinds of audiences. He conquered every demographic in the past with his shows, so why not families?

I'm sure most of you know that "7th Heaven" was a WB staple since its inception in 1996, scoring strong ratings and an incredibly dedicated fan base. After many, many seasons the show ended its run a few years ago after well over 200 episodes. The show went through some major changes in its last few years (such as shifting cast members and a focus on secondary characters) but has somehow still remained consistent with its beloved formula of everyday characters and relatable situations.

The show is situation based and character driven - some of it is serialized, but it's easy to go into an episode and know what's going on. Basically, the jist is this: the Camdens are a normal family that are tight-knit and they love each other. The family goes through all sorts of problems together or with people they know. This includes matters of faith, diseases, relationships, peer pressure and a lot more (especially as the seasons go on). There's father Eric (Stephen Collins) who's a minister, his wife Annie (Catherine Hicks), oldest son Matt (Barry Watson), tomboy daughter Mary (Jessica Biel), middle child Lucy (Beverley Mitchell), persistent son Simon (David Gallagher) and the always curious Ruthie (Mackenzie Rosman) - the youngest in the clan.

I'm not a major fan of "7th Heaven" nor did I regularly watch the show, but I caught it now and then. It's predictable and really corny, but sometimes I just can't resist formulaic dramedys. And when it comes to series dealing with family, important life lessons, good values and strong morals - this show is as good as they get. Sometimes cheese is good, and this show is fun since it's familiar and offers something to take away from it (even if you already know the point the show is trying to make). No, the series hasn't garnered any major awards (or even major nominations) but to quote Satan it "keeps America smiling" (bonus points to you if you know what I'm referencing). I can see girls and families loving this show, but for me (and I'm sure others) it's really just a guilty pleasure that's a more-than-decent escape for an hour. Still, I can't knock a show that has hits priorities straight (with what it's trying to preach, anyway) and balances the drama and humor pretty flawlessly. People really identify with this show and are quite passionate about it. Probably due to the religious backdrop, this show has grown comparisons to the CBS mega-hit "Touched By Angel" (except "7th Heaven" - while having mainly Christian characters - is less Christany) - it's easy to see why since it's all clean family entertainment. The series breaks no ground whatsoever - but it must be doing a few things right since its longevity has been impressive.

The cast is pretty solid, as they really do seem like a real family - they're probably instrumental in the show's success since there is a natural chemistry between them. Most staggering to me though is just how much they've matured in the past eight years - the kids are pretty much adults now and aren't as adorable (Jessica Biel is certainly hotter now, though!) - but that's what puberty and some forms of maturity will do to you. Anyway, Collins and Hicks are commanding, strong but still kind-hearted as the two parents shepherding the household - they bring the right kind of touches to their roles, and work well together as a team. Rosman is really cutesy, but still enthusiastic and that's fine given the nature of the show. Watson captures Matt's angst well, but Gallagher is just a bit annoying as Simon (his character is the most predictable, and in fairness, the annoyance is based on how is role is slanted). Of course, Mitchell and Biel are believable and enjoyable as the daughters going through their own growing pains.

The long running series continues to build its seasons on DVD, and this sixth one has 22 episodes. 

 

The sixth season of "7th Heaven" matches up with the previous season, with above-average transfers, presented in 1.33:1 full screen. Color saturation and fleshtones are okay, and detail is decent. There is some grain and noise to be had on the transfers, plus some blemishes and dirt pieces. Watchable, but nothing really special. 

 

The English Stereo tracks aren't special, either. Dialogue is clear and easy to hear, and the musical cues (plus the theme song) sound pretty standard. Small sound effects make a little bit of an impression (background talking, door closes, etc.) but that's about it. Like past seasons, these are straightforward soundtracks that fit the material and get the job done.

English closed captions through your TV are available.

 

Nothing, again.

 

"7th Heaven" continues to march on on DVD, and I'm sure families and the series die-hard fans will check out this set. Like past seasons, the episodes look and sound pretty good, but nothing more. (And once again, no supplements.) Camden family fans: go nuts.