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The Final Season
Starring: Alyssa Milano, Holly Marie Combs, Rose McGowan
Retail Price: $59.99
Features: Audio Commentaries, The Making of Charmed, Story of Charmed: Genesis, Story of Charmed: Charmed Again, To the Manor Born, Forever Charmed
Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Stereo Surround, French Stereo Surround, Spanish Stereo Surround, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Portuguese Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scenes (8 per episode), Six-Disc Set
Released: September 18th, 2007
All the episodes of the final season of "Charmed" are presented in 1.33:1 full screen, and look pretty fantastic. Other than a bit of noise and some shimmering, plus a good amount of edge halos, these are pretty transfers. Colors are very vibrant and seem to pop off the screen, while fleshtones look smooth and really hit the mark. I was also impressed by the detail in the image, which is very refined. Despite the little instances of distraction with the video quality, these transfers should please everyone.
Each episode also gets the English Stereo Surround treatment. While they don't reach the heights 5.1 mixes probably would, they do pack a little bit of a punch. Most notable in the tracks is when the episodes have a bit of action, such as when magic is conjured. It doesn't feel entirely full through the channels used, but the effects aren't thin, either. Dialogue is very clear and crisp, while the music comes out well.
Each episode also has Stereo Surround tracks in French and Spanish. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese, plus there's English closed captions via your television.
A few Audio Commentaries can be found throughout the set. The first episode of the season - "Still Charmed And Kicking" - has commentary with Writer/Executive Producer Brad Kern, Director/Executive Producer James Conway and Kaley Cuoco; "Vaya Can Leos" has commentary with Kern, Brian Krause and Cameron Litvack, while Kern and Conway team up to speak on the series finale, "Forever Charmed." These are really nice commentaries, as everyone comes across as friendly and are willing to offer up stories about working on the show. Kern and Conway's comments prove to be the most interesting, giving honest thoughts about what it's like to work in the television business and how they went about wrapping up the series - especially since they thought the seventh season was going to be the last. (It also turns out that Kern thought about the series finale in a dream.) These commentaries accessible for die-hard fans of the show as well as casual viewers. Enjoy.
The Making of Charmed is a fascinating featurette about the making of the show. I appreciated the focus on the writing, with lots of the show's writers giving their thoughts on working on the series, and how executive producer Brad Kern plans out a season and figures out what he wants to accomplish within it. After the writing's done, there's a lot of focus on creating the episode at hand: we hear about directing, as well as those in the costume, make-up and visual effects departments. This is an entertaining and very informative look at the behind-the-scenes of a TV series. It runs 18 minutes.
Story of Charmed: Genesis also lasts 18 minutes, and goes into the origins of the series. It's a pretty up-front look at the show's early development. Spelling Entertainment president Jonathan Levin discusses the WB wanting another high concept TV series after "7th Heaven" was a success, and creator Constance M. Burge is shown in archival footage discussing her inspiration. Brad Kern talks about his conflicts with the network and Burge, and it turns out they had to expand the half-hour pilot into an hour, and refigure the casting. Executive producer E. Duke Vincent gives some of his thoughts on the making of the series. It turns out shortly before the series' debut, the WB wanted to pull it but Spelling Entertainment refused. Kern and some of the show's other producers also discuss the themes of the series, and its mythology. I'm sure fans of the show will be delighted by this piece, as it has a lot of tidbits.
Story of Charmed: Charmed Again runs 20 minutes, and focuses on plot points that appeared throughout the series' run. It begins with the casting of Rose McGowan and what she brought to the series after Shannon Doherty left, and then goes into how the show's evil forces that the sisters battled took more of a concrete form, supporting characters, other story devices and reflections on the show ending. This is a good recap of the series, and also goes into why certain decisions were made as far as story arcs.
To the Manor Born is a near-10 minute look at a principal location on the show, Halliwell Manor. Production Designer Paul Staheli gives us a tour of the house, and in-between his musings, the cast and crew recall specific episodes that involved the manor (and clips help illustrate their points). This is a nice recap of the series done from a different perspective.
Finally, Forever Charmed also recaps the series, mainly from the fans' perspectives (though the producers and cast do chime in). Fans recall their favorite moments, and also talk about what appealed to them about the series . This is another nice tribute, and lasts about 11-and-a-half minutes.
"Charmed" had an impressive run on the WB, lasting eight seasons. Now, the cycle is complete on DVD. Fans who have kept up with Halliwell sisters will thoroughly enjoy this final boxed set: the episodes look and sound good, and the supplements delve into the show's production and even honors the fans. Those who haven't picked up sets yet be warned: a complete series box is in the works, so you might want to wait for that.