The O.C.: The Complete Series

The O.C.: The Complete Series
When it began in 2003, The O.C. was a breath of fresh air. It was a hip soap for teens who wanted to spend an hour hanging out with indie rock lovin’ rich kids and do it through the eyes of a scrappy kid from the wrong side of the tracks. For a while, it was one of the better shows on television, mixing sardonic and bubbly humour with scandalous activity committed by both its teenage and adult characters. Setting trends, coining catchphrases and pastimes ("Chrismakkuh” was a highlight) and reintroducing music as a way to sell television and vice versa, yes, The O.C. certainly had its moments. But as it went deeper into its second season, the show lost some of that bright-eyed lustre it used to lure viewers with initially. Ryan and Marissa would break up and get back together every now and then, ditto with the slightly more steady Summer and Seth, Marissa’s mom Julie would get married at each season’s end (as creator Josh Schwartz points out jokingly in a commentary) and Ryan would punch someone, anyone, mostly for picking on his friends or family (he even hits his brother Tre!). Such problems made the third season tank completely, putting the show on red alert, which resulted in the worst kept secret in TV history: the killing of Marissa. It was a risky move, offing the show’s drunken diva, but for the fourth and final season it seemed to pay off. Without Marissa’s drama (well, it’s not done until the third episode or so, as Ryan takes up ultimate fighting and bounty hunting to battle his depression), the show unexpectedly moved into lighter-hearted terrain, giving the prissy Taylor Townsend a starring role and intertwining her with Ryan to make a hilarious yet endearing couple that thrived off their opposite natures. The series was still cancelled prematurely, ending with a finale that did a decent job tying up the characters’ lives. The complete series comes with 28 discs to absorb, which pretty much collects all of the four previously released DVD sets. Still, there are some highlights in the bonus area to be found, especially Schwartz’s commentary on the finale, where he lets loose on a number of things: how the intro was too Falcon Crest for him; how Marissa’s death was a creative decision and not related to Mischa Barton’s wayward behaviour; how Taylor pulled both the show out of the darkness and the fun out of Ryan. He also pokes fun at the rapid aging of Kaitlin and interestingly, gets political, admitting that since the beginning of the third season, for whatever reason, the new regime at Fox had no interest in keeping the show on the air. His sarcasm gets a little tiresome but describing the last scene containing the signature bagel slicer as a "hero shot” and mentioning that the city of Chino didn’t appreciate the "mattresses on the lawns” is pretty funny. Another interesting extra comes via a collection of animated Atomic County webisodes, which give life to Seth’s failed comic book. Despite being terribly cheesy on most fronts, there is some self-deprecating humour to laugh at, mostly from Marissa’s drinking problem, which is also her superpower — a magic elixir that gives her strength to fight the baddies. Of course, she gets blitzed in one of them and can hardly stand, but that self-mocking disposition is one of the reasons why we loved The O.C., right? (Warner)