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Rating: TV 14 (Dialogue, Language)
Running Time: 430 minutes
Starring: Zachary Burr Abel, Chelsea Hobbs, Ayla Kell, Josie Loren, Cassie Scerbo, Susan Ward with Candance Cameron Bure and Peri Gilpin
Retail Price: $29.99
Features: Deleted Scenes, Making It
Specs: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, French Subtitles, Chapter Stops (7 per episode), Two-Disc Set
Released: January 12th, 2010
The first volume of "Make It Or Break It" is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The episodes are often on the sharp side, but sometimes contrast is up way too high: some scenes look overly bright. There are also issues of edge halos, noise and shimmering. Otherwise though, everything looks great. Black levels are solid, fleshtones accurate and detail is rather impeccable. Color saturation is also well done: there is no smearing, and colors often look quite bold and filling. Despite some flaws, these are superb transfers.
The series audio is made up of English Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. These tracks are pretty frontcentric for the most part. Dialogue is firmly centered and easy to hear, while the show's music is mixed decently through the channels but more often than not feels a bit processed and bland. Sound effects are also audible, but save for a few surrounds, there's nothing overly discrete or moments that will really overpower you. Fidelity is pretty high though, and dynamic range is decent. Given the material, what's here is suitable and is enough to bring you more into the plights of these teen gymnasts.
Subtitles in English, French and Spanish are also included.
On the second disc we find Making It, a look at the show's production (in anamorphic widescreen) that lasts 9 minutes. Creator/writer/producer Holly Sorensen is our guide for this featurette, first giving us the hook for the show (and the scope of its ambitions), before touching upon the tough casting process. It seems most of the cast — Cassie Scerbo, Ayla Kell, Chelsea Hobbs, Josie Loren — had a lot of previous background in dance and gymnastics. Costume designer Mary Kate Killiea shows off her impressive leotards, and Karin Silverstri-Coye — the show's gymnastic coordinator — discuss the training of the girls. Other crew members chime in, but mostly its the cast discussing their impressive physical work and what goes into it. It's not easy to act and have the focus for the gymnastics, but clearly everyone has done some great work here as it really shows on the screen. Clips from the series are shown, plus behind-the-scenes footage and even footage from the training. There's a lot to this piece that should make those who watch it appreciate the show more. I was personally impressed how much was covered in a mere 9 minutes.
There are also six Deleted Scenes in full screen (bah). No context is given for these cuts, but before a scene plays a title card lets you know what episode its from. One scene lasts 30 seconds, and one goes as long as nearly 4. The other 4 tend to last a minute or two. (One a little longer than two.)
This release is also an "extended edition," so some episodes (such as the season finale) go over their normal length. I'm assuming this includes footage not shown on ABC Family, but since I'm not a viewer of this show on TV, I can't tell you what.
"Make It Or Break It" is a show that fits perfectly with the ABC Family brand, and not only does this teen soap opera have gymnastics, but the usual plots involving boys, parents, class differences and typical issues of adolescence. Also a bonus: the casting of DJ Tanner herself, Candace Cameron Bure. The episode presentations are good, and while there are really only two extras, those into the show should appreciate them. The DVD makes a good package for fans of the series, or a rental for those interested.