Six Feet Under Season One DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 10.0
Video 9.0
Audio 9.0
Special Features 10.0
Total 9.5
Distributor: Warner Bros
Running Time:
693 minutes
Classification:
 PG
Reviewer:
Felix Staica

9.5


Six Feet Under (Season 1)

Wow… where to begin? I guess in my mind, S6ix Feet Under does for TV drama what The Marriage of Figaro does for opera. And by that, I mainly mean it takes all the best elements of the medium and genre, combines them artfully and diligently, strains out the crap and delivers gem after gem of gripping entertainment that is enjoyable both to the novice and the connoisseur because it is quality from top to bottom and back to front. Just as Mozart’s mentioned opera, though four hours long, has no extra bits that sag with tedium, so too each 55 minute instalment of Alan Ball’s (American Beauty) visionary creation had me totally enthralled. 

I had only ever glimpsed snippets of the show late at night. Channel Nine had relegated it to the graveyard shift. I recognised Rachel Griffiths (who plays Brenda) but that’s about all I remembered. I knew they ran some sort of funeral home… 

So what is the marvellous show about? The Fisher family run an independent funeral home in Los Angeles. The pilot episode shows the patriarch surrendering to delicious irony. His two sons (one of the prodigal kind) end up inheriting the company and proceed with the business. It takes the whole season for the two brothers, their sister and their widowed mother to come to terms with the loss of a man who was connected to them all. 

Each episode focuses on one main death, and aptly opens with a scene depicting how the person died. Were this a crime show, we’d have police swarming the body. Six Feet Under shows up what happens to the body after death but prior to burial. One important step is the preparation for viewing, where cosmetic reconstruction is de rigueur. 

The kooky and quirky family, so used to the most frightening thing most of us preoccupy ourselves have space to enjoy life in a way we spend a lifetime learning. There is a genuine love for each of the characters pretty much from the beginning and this is only strengthened. There is a strong team of writers and directors that varies from episode to episode, but it is such a nice touch that creator Alan Ball gets the two ‘book ends’. 

There is a genuine humanity to the show that engulfs the devoted viewer. It is visceral, urban and contemporary. It is how we are and who we are without the usual pretensions—because once we’re gone, our socially constructed persona dies too. The very fact so much effort goes into the ceremony and the perfection of the body lying in state proves that it is purely for the sake of the survivors that these rituals and conventions persist. Realising this point allows you to sit back and giggle along with these characters, who very quickly move from detached weirdoes to fragments of our very selves.

On top of all that, it has many bonus features including a behind the scenes featurette, commentaries on selected episodes and even DVD ROM extras! 

I’d better stop ranting about how much I love this. Definitely a must buy for anyone who’s seen it before or who is sick of condescension from TV makers. 

Felix Staica






 
 



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