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Back To New York
Running Time: 50 minutes
Retail Price: $19.99
Features: Cast Bios, House Tour, Haunts
Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Dolby Surround, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (19 Scenes)
Released: December 4th, 2001
It's pretty amazing to me that well after ten years, MTV's "The Real World" is still such a popular staple on the network that is far from dying out. Compared to "Survivor" which has been barely on CBS for two and a half years as I write this (who cares about that?), "The Real World" still does really well in the ratings (well, for cable at least) and makes fine water cooler chat still. I guess it's normal for humans to still be interested in how other humans interact with other humans: talking, loving, backstabbing... you've been there. Just maybe not in a house in some major city with a whole bunch of other people.
Still, I don't think people give enough credit to "The Real World." Whether you want to believe it or not, I consider it the original reality program that really helped define for the genre. Haven't you noticed those separate camera interviews on reality shows where one person dishes about everyone else alone? I give credit to "The Real World" for that. Naturally, given the crappy amount of reality shows on the television landscape these days, it's become a mess of which came first, who did what, who's suing who and the like. But thankfully, there will always be "The Real World" which broke ground in the first place and after all these years, is as popular as ever. It will certainly never be forgotten (well not with all the merchandise, books, tapes and as of late slew of DVDs).
This 50 minute "Real World" DVD is one of several that has one of the casts go back and revisit the show that changed their lives... to an extent. Yes, we see the original cast of New York ten minutes later and whatnot introduce segments. Basically, most of these are ridiculous moments that didn't make it into the show the first time around. They're fun and fully editied... but most of them really don't add more depth to the people that were covered and the events that happened. Still, if you enjoy the show and want some entertaining moments from that groundbreaking first season (come on, you just gotta see Richael, Miz, Malik, Corla, Nicole, Lori, Kevin and Mike again), then it's pretty hard to pass up this nice supplement disc, especially since the first season of the show has just been released on DVD.
Presented in 1.33:1 full screen, just as the show was presented, the quality here is quite nice and sharp. There's a lot of halo edges and some noise, probably due to the show's video quality and high contrast. Still, colors leap off the screen and have a nice, vibrant flavor to them. Color saturation is good, detail is nice and fleshtones are pretty spot on. Even though you're not buying this to show off your new HDTV, you can't go wrong here.
The English Dolby Surround track is perfectly suitable. Everyone's voice is clear and easy to understand (even during those tough moments), the cheesy sound effects add some fun and the contemporary music adds some nice background effects. A 5.1 mix probably wouldn't have helped, but the straightforwardness of this just plain works and does not tend to add more to the presentation. Also included are English closed captions via your television.
Paramount has actually included some extra goodies here. There are some fun Cast Bios that accompany audition clips for each housemate, there's a nine minute House Tour which explores the house many years later (hosted by Kevin and Coral). More or less every room is covered, and it is pretty amusing. Finally, Haunts explores places the cast members hung out: "Flight," "Chelsea," "Lot 61," "Bar and Books" and "Kate's Corner." They're not giant pieces in length, but are nifty to watch.
If you're a fan of "The Real World," then you'll most likely enjoy these bits that were cut from the show. The extra features are nice, while the presentation of the stuff is pretty good and doesn't warrant many complaints. Topped with a good retail price, if you're a fan of the show, then this is a nice purchase.