23 January 2013

DVD Season Set Review: "VICTORiOUS": Season One, Volume One

Rated: TV-G
Starring: Victoria Justice, Avan Jogia, and Leon Thomas III
Released: July 2011
Synopsis: Tori Vega's life has changed, big time.  After her sister Trina, who goes to the performing arts high school Hollywood Arts, is unable to perform during a showcase, Tori steps in and floors everyone, and is quickly asked to enroll at her sister's school.  Much to Tori's surprise, both the students and the atmosphere are different from what she is used to.  Not only do students get to decorate their lockers and perform in the hallways, but her classmates are an interesting bunch: the insane redhead, Cat Valentine; the talented performer, AndrĂ© Harris; Miss Negativity, Jade West; her beleaguered significant other, Beck Oliver; the guy who is attached to his puppet, Robbie Shapiro; and all-around weirdo Sinjin.  Together, they get into some crazy adventures, from Beck being cast in a movie with a diva actress, to Robbie's puppet getting accosted, to Tori performing in a play while wearing a zombie mask thanks to Cat's makeup mishap.

Stories: 4.5/5
The stories here are typical for sitcoms of this kind, which usually involve rather unrealistic situations, but are good fun nonetheless.  Still, it seems that the storylines take a back seat to the performances at times.

Production Values: 5/5
Everything in this area is impressive.  Great singing, great acting, great sets...what's not to like? Though there are serious moments, the show mostly aspires to be funny, and it is.

Moral Content: 3.75/5
You'd probably expect this to be squeaky-clean, since it is a Nickelodeon show, but this one isn't quite that way.  There's no profanity, save for one or two misuses of God's name per episode, plus usage of terms such as "sucks," "blows," and "butt."  Sexual content is minimal--the jokes about it are both rare and subtle, not to mention "PG"-level--though some of the outfits (short skirts, off-the-shoulder or low-cut tops, and even a bikini in some of the opening sequences) worn by the young ladies could have been more modest.  Violence is purely slapstick.  On the plus side, the episodes do teach moral points--the wrongness of enacting revenge, looking out for your friends, appreciating who you have in your life, etc.--and that is a very good thing.  Compared to much of what's on the major networks, this one is a winner.

Conclusion: Everyone knows I'm a Victoria Justice fan, but what I'm about to say will surprise you: Upon watching these episodes--mostly for the second or even third time--I realized that they don't hold up to repeat viewings that well.  Sure, everything about them is at least passable, but it just felt slightly lackluster.  If you're new to the world of Tori and friends, I would suggest borrowing this from the library or purchasing an episode or two from iTunes, if you're not able to watch Nickelodeon, before plunking down money to buy this.  Fans will find plenty to like, what with the special features and all, but others should try it out first before buying a whole set of episodes, unless you see it at a yard sale for only a dollar or two.

Score: 3.75/5

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