18 September 2015

TV DVD Review: "7th Heaven": The Complete First Season

Rated: TV-PG (US) / G (Canada)
Starring: Stephen Collins, Catherine Hicks, Jessica Biel, and Barry Watson
Released: August 26, 1996 - May 19, 1997 (original premieres) / September 14, 2004 (DVD)
Synopsis: In this inaugural season of one of the most critically acclaimed and popular primetime shows of the '90s and 2000s, minister Eric Camden (Stephen Collins, Star Trek: The Motion Picture) and his wife Annie (Catherine Hicks, Your Love Never Fails) lead their brood of five--athletic tomboy Mary (Jessica Biel), teenaged son Matt (Barry Watson), middle schooler Lucy (Beverley Mitchell, Right on Track), elementary schooler Simon (David Gallagher), and precocious preschooler Ruthie (Mackenzie Rosman)--through the various perils of growing up.  Between new relationships forming, the loss of a beloved family member, and the usual tween/teen drama, Eric and Annie have their hands full...but, in their household, love and laughter abound among the heartbreak and tears.
As seen on the WB.  Features numerous guest stars, including Keri Russell and Mila Kunis.

The Good: There's a reason why this series was critically acclaimed: In a time when popular entertainment often showed teenagers swearing, doing drugs, and engaging in sexual activity without any shame, 7th Heaven shows adolescents who either do the right thing...or learn a very hard lesson.  The performances, especially from screen legend Stephen Collins, were wonderful, and each of the plots had me hooked.  The episodes deal with serious themes--racism, crime, divorce, teenage parenthood, etc.--but do so in an appropriate way.  Sexual content and profanity are kept to a minimum.  The show itself serves as a reminder of the '90s: a time before 9/11 and all this technology, when life was seemingly simpler.

The Bad: As good as this is by itself, it's almost depressing when you realize where this series ended up.  Some of you may be thinking of last year's incident with Stephen Collins, but, honestly, Plugged In said that this show veered into inappropriate, immoral territory just a few seasons in.  Maybe I shouldn't seek out the other seasons.

Content Concerns:
  • Sex: Occasional banter between married couples; kissing, mostly mild, but sometimes passionate.  It is mentioned that a teenage boy became a father. 3/5
  • Nudity: Occasional midriffs and slight cleavage. 4/5
  • Language: Most episodes have nothing worse than "gosh" or "sucks", but a scant few episodes have two or three uses at most of stronger language, including h-words, "go to hell," d-words, and "bite me". 3/5
  • Violence: Nothing graphic or bloody; probably the worst of the violence is when a hit and run accident leaves a character in the hospital. 4/5
  • Drugs: Occasional consumption of alcohol. 4/5
  • Frightening/Intense Scenes: Emotional intensity is present in almost every episode.  One scene features a robbery. 1/5
Conclusion: I largely avoided this series when it was originally on because I didn't think I'd care for it; however, I do remember seeing the commercials for it when I used to watch Pok√©mon on Kids' WB.  Back then, I probably wouldn't have appreciated it, but, now, I can...and I did.  Most people who would want to check out this show probably already have; if you haven't, you should, because this first season is a treat.  With the reruns pulled from the cable networks--possibly for quite a while--you'd have to seek out the DVD, but, I'm sure eBay, Amazon, or your local library could help you get your hands on it.

Score: 4/5

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