One Tree Hill: The Complete Fifth Season

One Tree Hill: The Complete Fifth Season
The recent writers’ strike certainly had repercussions for a number of television series, mostly resulting in delays for just about every show, shorter seasons, rushed scripts and for some of the unlucky, full-on cancellations. It’s unfortunate that One Tree Hill couldn’t use the strike as the scapegoat for their fifth season, as creator Mark Schwahn and his crew utilized a ridiculous and detrimental plot overhaul. In a bid to avoid those awkward "college years,” the high school cast were rushed four years into the future, where everyone is done college and are now balls deep into their careers. Lucas is a published author and head coach for the Tree Hill Ravens he played for in high school; Lucas’s former girlfriend, Peyton, is now an intern at a major label record company; Nathan missed his shot at the NBA after a debilitating brawl but is still married to Haley, who’s a teacher, raising their five-year-old son, Jamie; Brooke is a multi-millionaire fashion designer with her boutique label, Clothes Over Bro’s; and evil dad Dan is in prison for killing his brother. It’s certainly a mixed bag of fates that further pushes OTH’s ever-growing implausibility and exasperating predictability but like a nasty-tasting pill, it’s coated with so much dramatic sugariness that even the most repugnant arcs (Lucas’s teeter-tottering love life, Kevin Federline guest-starring as an obnoxious rocker, Mia the squeaky singer-songwriter and of course, Peyton founding an indie label) somehow go down smoothly. Other than some more grown-up situations, like parenting, educating and marriage, OTH does manage to make adulthood seem rather synonymous with being a 16-year-old — there are still the ridiculous love triangles, the drug overdoses and drinking problems, as well as the basketball fixation, which they’ve managed to resuscitate via Lucas, Nathan and buddy Skills overseeing the school team. Such a transition shouldn’t work and I think at this point I’m too deep into the series to admit it doesn’t but if you’re a lifer like me, no matter how bad, how cheesy and how aggravating One Tree Hill gets, it’s definitely a difficult show to shake. If ever there was a guiltier pleasure, I have yet to watch it. Keeping with tradition, the extras are filled with some lifeless commentaries and the requisite featurettes. It is of interest to hear Schwahn discuss why he chose to fast-forward the series, admitting he felt it was necessary to keep it alive, saying it turned out like a "brand new show that the audience already knows.” Better still is hearing actress Hilarie Burton (Peyton) excitedly confess, "It was awesome playing our own age!” (If OTH can be proud of anything, it’s allowing its actors to be their own age, a rarity in today’s young adult dramas.) Another featurette focuses on the show’s musical side, boasting about having Kevin Federline prove he’s not the K-Fed version everyone reads about. Although that’s certainly not something to be proud of. Plus: unaired scenes. (Warner)