Lincoln Heights: The Complete First Season

Lincoln Heights: The Complete First Season
It has taken an unusually long time for Lincoln Heights to find its way onto DVD, considering it debuted back in January 2007 and has now completed its fourth season on ABC Family. Perhaps if there was no repeat value, which is the case with reality programming, or no progression from season-to-season, as in most television crime procedurals, this would make sense, but this issue-focused family drama has a reasonable following and a firm narrative arc. Luckily for fans, Shout! Factory is releasing the first season on four discs, with a write-up from executive producer Kathleen McGhee-Anderson. These 13 episodes introduce the Sutton family as they move from a small apartment in an affluent neighbourhood to a larger home in a struggling inner-city locale as part of landscape rejuvenation project. Since Eddie (Russell Hornsby) is a police officer, the locals are none too friendly upon their arrival, given the community experiences with law enforcement in the past. This, of course, leaves wife Jenn (Nicki Micheaux) concerned for their three children, who struggle to fit into a new school. While Cassie (Erica Hubbard) begins flirtations with a classmate, Lizzie (Rhyon Nicole Brown), gets involved with the basketball team. Episodically, the series handles armed robberies, home invasions, dead prostitutes and drug busts, which is quite edgy for an ABC family drama. The first two episodes, in particular, feature gritty cable styling and impressive editing despite a constant avoidance of political opinion in favour of lessons on telling the truth and staying loyal to friends. This is perhaps where the series falters as an artistic endeavour, raising issues such as interracial dating and racial profiling by police, but failing to criticize or deconstruct them, simply acknowledging the problems and moving on, free from controversy. Then again, this is probably a wise move for a family series that's notable for being an hour-long drama with mostly black characters, which is something unheard of in the television universe. Regardless, as far as entertainment with deliberately broad appeal goes, Lincoln Heights is better and less patronizing than most. (Shout! Factory)