One Tree Hill: The Complete Second Season

While the WB's leading teen drama, One Tree Hill, may not have found the same-sized audience or led a taste-making revolution in television "cool" like its competitor, The O.C., it has done one thing better: provided us with a much stronger second season. In a genre that requires as much new blood and freshness as continuing and reintroducing old and key plot lines, creator Mark Schwahn has done a fine job with this basketball-loving show. As the first season found the Scott brothers — Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) and Nathan (James Lafferty) — transforming their hate into friendship, the second season shifts away from their relationship (which doesn't exactly disappear) toward ones with other characters. Nathan is now married to Haley, a move that presents a slew of issues, financial, social and with his disapproving family (but check out Huey Lewis getting in the acting mode as Haley's wacky dad). Even more stressing is Haley's discovered musical talent that takes her away on tour with the Wreckers and a meddling stud of a singer-songwriter threatening the newlywed bliss. Lucas, on the other hand, decides to move back to Tree Hill with Keith when the word of Dan's heart attack arises. The weight of his romances with Brooke and Peyton is no longer felt, as they've moved on with their lives, leaving him to try and open up to his real father, Dan. The best character development, however, goes to Dan Scott, the conniving and downright evil car salesman, who in a bid to save his family and get his life back on track with Lucas turns over a new leaf, which is quickly realised, and enjoyed, as a suspicious ploy. Unfortunately, those looking for more of the basketball action of the first season will find it replaced, for the most part, with more dramatic complexities. In doing so, the writers and producers have involved some new characters and given more screen time to oft-recurring bit part characters like Mouth and Skills. The finale is an even bigger cliff-hanger than the first season's, again involving Dan in a delicious "whodunit?" scenario that will change the show in many ways for the third season. As enjoyable as season two is compared to the second season of The O.C., there are some moments that make you question the originality of the producers' ideas. Following suit, Peyton opens up a club to host bands, much like The O.C.'s Bait Shop. This includes a season finale performance by Jimmy Eat World that also works as a soundtrack for some heavy drama, but this show doesn't quite have the same "cool-as-fuck" musical status that The O.C. maintains. The one interesting idea that comes from this move is incorporating a real tour with the Wreckers and Tyler Hilton (who plays Chris) to promote the show, but that music hardly has the "cool" vibe the show tries to push. A featurette talks about how the show uses music as another element to bring out emotion and give exposure to new artists, but all it proves is how little those in charge of the music really know about emerging talent. Another featurette on new characters does little, but there are some unaired scenes that provide some dialogue fans will find useful. Plus: "Diaries from the Set," commentary for three episodes. (Warner)