Family dramas took a hit over the last couple of years.
It seems that producers are determined to make them edgy
and turn them into a fresh faced version of “Gossip Girl”
(IMHO one of the WORST TV shows currently running and a
poster child for everything that is wrong with more recent
TV shows). In our rapid fire media driven age it’s pretty
easy to lose track of a worthwhile family show that you
can watch without you or your kids squirming in their seats.
“Everwood” fit the bill. It had more bite than companion
series like “7th Heaven” and while the writing wasn’t as
distinguished or witty as, say, “Gilmour Girls”, it makes
shows like “Gossip Girl” look like the pig swill it is.
A refresher course for what the series was about for
those who have forgotten; Treat Williams (one of Hollywood’s
most talented and sadly underused actors) plays Dr. Andy
Brown a neurosurgeon who runs away from the rat race of
New York taking his son Ephram (Greg Smith) and daughter
Delia (Vivien Cardone) after his wife is killed in an accident.
The relocation allows Brown and his family to mentally and
emotionally regroup but also forces them to make a major
change in their lifestyle because of the differences between
more rural Everwood and NYC. The new location allows Brown
to finally connect with his kids in a way he didn’t before
but by the third season father and son have a bad connection
when Andy finds out that his son’s girlfriend Mardison (Sarah
Lancaster) is pregnant. Andy elects NOT to tell his son
and makes Madison promise the same if he takes care of her
and her needs a mistake that has massive ramifications during
season three but it’s a fairly bold dramatic decision for
characters that are so likable and prevents the show from
coasting on its own charm introducing a nice, solid dramatic
grenade that has nasty repercussions once the pin is pulled.
Image & Sound:
Many of the classic Warner catalog movie titles have
received stellar, brilliant transfers and restorations but
that care doesn’t always extend to their TV properties which
are handled by a different division. For example, initially
“The Waltons” and “Dallas” have often received indifferent,
mixed releases with either picture quality lacking (because
of the age of the film sources) or the lack of special features.
This often creates the impression that the Warner TV catalog
titles are treated like second class citizens (some of that
criticism is valid but less so for Warner who lavishes attention
when you compare the often slipshod treatment that vintage
TV shows can get at the hands of some of their competitors).
Luckily, “Everwood” is recent enough so that we don’t
have to worry about so-so source material or aged prints
that have been beaten to heck. The show looks almost evergreen—with
a nice, colorful transfer with little in the way of digital
artifacts (although there are a few from cramming so many
episodes on to each disc) and virtually no analog artifacts.
Colors are bold throughout and although there are the occasional
soft images, the presentation is sharp and detailed for
the most part. ***
Audio sounds quite strong with a nice surround presence
for the show although you should keep in mind that this
is primarily a dialogue driven show hence the center and
front speakers are used most convincingly. ---