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Six Feet Under - The Complete 1st Season Review




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Rating
Video:   9/10
Audio:   8/10
Extras:   6/10

Nice opening!
by Gord Lacey (All reviews)
2/09/2003

This is one of the only shows that I'll watch the opening to. The combination of music and images set the tone for a great show. Nathaniel Fisher (Richard Jenkins), owner of "Fisher and Sons" funeral home, is on the way to pick up his son Nate (Peter Krause) at the airport when he is hit by a bus and killed. With the departure of his father, Nate has to choose between returning home to Seattle or staying to help his brother David (newcomer Michael C. Hall) run the family business. Nate also has to deal with his mother Ruth (Frances Conroy), and his sister Claire (Lauren Ambrose).

The drama, and comedy, come from the wonderful characters in the show. Nate doesn't want to be part of the business because death scares him. David is a closet homosexual and has to hide his boyfriend Keith (Mathew St. Patrick) from the others. Ruth had an affair with a hairdresser and has to deal with being unfaithful to her now-dead husband. Claire is an angst-ridden teenager that gets into trouble with her friend/boyfriend Gabe (Eric Balfour). Then there's Nate's girlfriend, Brenda (Rachel Griffiths) and her mentally troubled brother Billy (Jeremy Sisto). I think the only "normal" character is Frederico (Freddy Rodríguez), a restoration specialist that works at Fisher and Sons.

This show has won so many awards; it's hard to keep track of them all. Rachel Griffiths won a 2002 Golden Globe for her work as a supporting actress, and the show won the 2002 Golden Globe for best drama. The show also won 6 Emmy awards in 2002, including "Outstanding Main Title Design" and "Outstanding Main Title Theme Music," and was nominated for another 17. I've been waiting for this show to come to DVD since I watched the first episode.

The menus
Previous HBO releases have included some of the nicest menus I've seen, and they continue this with Six Feet Under: Season One. They are so simple, yet contain so much information. The animated menus are quite similar to the opening of the show and lend to the overall DVD. Selecting an episode displays a synopsis of the episode, "next on," "previously on," scene selection, play episode and play episode with commentary if it's available. They are well designed, never feeling cumbersome. My hat goes off to the wizards at 1K Studios who were responsible for the menu design.

Video

This is another beautiful looking DVD from HBO. The video on this DVD is 1.33:1, the same aspect ratio as it appeared on TV. The colors on the DVD are so vibrant and so clear. The opening of the show contains a bit of grain, but it isn't present in the main show. I thought the show looked great on digital cable, but it's so much better on DVD.

Audio

As with most dramas, the audio in Six Feet Under is heavily dependant on the center channel speaker. There are some sound effects that come from the left and right speakers as well as the rears. All the audio is crystal clear; it's great.

Extras - How we rate extras

Commentary by Alan Ball
These are an entertaining couple of tracks from the creator of Six Feet Under. Ball provides tracks for the first and last episodes of the season.

Cast and Filmmakers
Still screens with information about the cast and crew. Peter Krause (Nate Fisher - 5 screens), Michael C. Hall (David Fisher - 4 screens), Rachel Griffiths (Brenda Chenowith - 6 screens), Frances Conroy (Ruth Fisher - 3 screens), Lauren Ambrose (Claire Fisher - 4 screens), Freddy Rodriguez (Frederico Diaz - 5 screens), Mathew St. Patrick (Keith Charles - 3 screens), Richard Jenkins (Nathaniel Fisher - 3 screens), Jeremy Sisto (Billy Chenowith - 4 screens), Joanna Cassidy (Margaret Chenowith - 3 screens), Robert Foxworth (Bernard Chenowith - 3 screens), Eric Balfour (Gabriel Dimas - 3 screens), Alan Ball (Creator, Writer, Director and Executive Producer - 5 screens) and Alan Poul (Executive Producer - 5 screens).

Series Index
A list of all the episodes in the first season with a very short synopses and the disc it's located on.

"Behind the Scenes" Featurette featuring cast and filmmakers (21:38)
A great featurette full of interviews with the cast. It was shot for the second season and a few of the comments are about the second season. I got a shock when I heard Rachel Griffiths' accent.

Awards and Nominations
17 screens of awards and nominations the show received.

2 Music tracks
The "Six Feet Under Title Theme" (1:38) and "Kid Loco's Gravebeat Mix" (4:36). This is just the music; no video.

Summary

I love the outrageous day dream scenes the characters experience. These are some of the funniest moments in the show; scenes that almost made me spray juice out my noise the first time I saw the show. This show is one of my favorite HBO shows, and one of my favorites in general. March 2 is the season premiere of the third season, and it couldn't come fast enough.


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