America's Next Top Model premiered in 2003. The brainchild of supermodel Tyra Banks, the show would put 10 finalists through training to become a model. From photo shoots to runway training, these women work with some of the finest professionals in the business. Tyra Banks coaches and coaxes them, and then cuts them one by one until one girl is crowned America's Next Top Model. If you've ever wondered what it takes to be a model, check out America's Next Top Model: Cycle One.
I hadn't seen this show before, and I really had no interest. I watch some reality shows (The Apprentice, Survivor, The Amazing Race), but a show about women trying to become models seemed rather boring to me. After watching this show I have no idea what I was thinking!
The 9 episodes are on 3 discs in slim cases, and a cardboard case. If you haven't seen the show before then don't look at the art on the inside slim cases; you'll know who wins. Here's a breakdown of the set:
Disc 1 (2:49:06)
The Girl Who Wants It So Bad (42:40)
The Girl Is Here To Win, Not Make Friends (41:31)
The Girl Who Gets Rushed To the Emergency Room (42:43)
The Girl Who Drives Everyone Crazy (42:12)
Disc 2 (2:49:39)
The Girl Who Everyone Thinks Is Killing Herself (42:32)
The Girl Who Deals With a Pervert (42:41)
The Girls Who Get Really Naked (42:43)
How the Girls Got Here (41:43)
Disc 3 (40:52)
The Girl Who Becomes America's Next Top Model (40:52)
I was very impressed with the video quality of this release. The picture doesn't suffer from some of the common problems with videotaped material; video noise and shimmering. There were a couple of scenes that were soft, and others that were a bit dark due to a dark background and a model with dark clothes. The show switches between full frame (1.33:1) and widescreen (1.78:1) shots depending on the material we're watching; I liked it. There are chapters after the opening of the episode, allowing you to skip over the "previously on..." and the opening credits. The discs lack a "play all" option.
The Dolby Surround audio track is fairly decent for a reality release, though it doesn't make full use of the format. When I think of a "surround" audio track, I want to be surrounded by the audio; Top Model doesn't do that. The rear speakers are used sparingly, and only for musical pieces. I can only think of one instance where I heard audio coming from the rear speakers without actually looking for it. All the dialog was smack dab in the center speaker. The audio is censored, so don't expect to hear models swearing. I noticed some weird reverb in the music at the end of "The Girl Who Deals With a Pervert." I don't think it was intentional since it sounded horrible. There aren't any subtitles, but the episodes are closed captioned.
I'm always bothered by the obvious dubbing of dialog in these types of shows. I noticed it a lot with Top Model, and Trump is horrible about it on The Apprentice.
America's Next Top Model - Casting Call (7:07)
Michelle Mock (casting director), Ken Mok (executive producer) and Tyra Banks talk about what they were looking for when selecting girls for the show.
America's Next Top Model - Reliving the First Season (6:41)
Tyra Banks and Ken Mok look back at the first season of the show.
The Two Jays (2:55)
A short featurette on Jay and J.
Seriously, what was I thinking when I passed on this show before? 10 women thinking they are the most attractive one, all vying for a single prize of a modelling contract and living in cramped quarters? That has drama written all over it, and that's what the show delivers. I sat down and watched all 9 episodes back-to-back (with a short run to the grocery store), so you could say I really enjoyed it; it was a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon/evening.
I gotta tell you that I'm sick and tired of misleading packaging from the studios. The pack of Top Model says, "Packed with Revealing Special Features and Footage Not Seen on TV!" I'm sorry, but I'd hardly call 16:43 PACKED! Last time I checked these DVDs (at least the first two) can hold 4 hours of material, leaving them over an hour on both of the first discs, and over an hour on the third. If you're going to say something is packed then I want to see every disc nearly full, not 17 mins of footage stuck on the last disc. Misleading lines like that piss consumers off, and frustrate DVD reviewers, and it's one reason I always include the length of the bonus material in my reviews.