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134 of 145 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Akin to reading a Great book that is Impossible to put down, July 25, 2007
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This review is from: My So-Called Life: The Complete Series (+ Book) (DVD)
In the Fall of 1994, ABC premiered what Entertainment Weekly would eventual hail as "the greatest cancelled television series of all time." Airing for a total of 19-episodes, with the final installment airing February of 1995, "My So Called Life" not only jump-started the careers of Claire Danes and Jared Leto, but garnered young Danes a Golden Globe for her performance (she was the youngest actress to receive the honor). Years after the show was cancelled ABC regretting their decision by trying to make lightening strike twice by producing similar series, yet ultimately known of them would garner the acclaim or magic of MSCL. Eventually TV Guide would call the series "the sixth best cult show of all time."

The premise of the show is simple enough, but yet complex enough to make it unique. Premiering in 1994, right at the emergence of the teen-soap genre MSCL was a breath of fresh-air. Unlike "Beverly Hills 90210" and latter "Dawson's Creek," this series was grounded in reality. Instead of glorifying every teenage rite-of-passage for film, the series seems to gloss over these moments in favor of the emotional outburst they produce: much like real life. Many people don't remembers every detail or their prom, first kiss, and first independent car ride? Yet they remember exactly how they felt, and MSCL capitalized on these moments.

The show follows 14-year-old Angela as she tries to ultimately survive not only her freshman year of high school, but the highs (and lows) or first love, as well as becoming her own independent self - separated from the person she tried to be for other people in Middle School. High School is a turbulent time for anyone from the Jocks to the Brains to the Leadership to the Outsiders. Everyone has their ups and downs, just like Angela. But she makes it harder on herself, and yet easier by befriending two outsiders, when she had always been part of the `in-crowd.' The audience follows Angela's transition from quiet wall-flower to her beginning to emerge from her cocoon sometime towards the end of her first year of high school.

While on the outside the show may seems like another "90210"/"The OC" teen-soap, but it really isn't. This is a rich, emotional, and movie relationship-drama that once it gets your hooks into you, you cannot stop watching. Unlike most shows of its genre its realistic and each of the major characters represents a person you probably knew in high school. Yet, they probably weren't the most popular kids. They were the kids you were friends with, hung out with, the ones you actually knew. It is a downright disgrace that ABC only allowed this series 19 episodes. More than almost any other show I've ever watched I would have loved to watch these character bloom into full-grown adults through their high school (and possibly college years).

But what we are ultimately are given is just this one 8-month snap-shot into these characters lives. But this could ultimately make this show the masterpiece that it really is. There was no room for it go downhill, no room for error. And forever it will be remembered. It has been years since my sister and I sat up all night long one weekend watching horrible copies of these episodes on VHS, and I cannot wait for Halloween, when I will finally have a chance to watch them on DVD, almost anew.

This incredibly comprehensive box set includes all 19 episodes uncut (in their ORIGINAL full-screen presentation) on 6 discs. The special features so far include: Interviews with Edward Zwick/Marshall Herskovitz/Winnie Holzman (creator/producers), Todd Holland/Jason Katism/Scott Winant (Directors), Wilson Cruz/Paul Dooley/Devon Gummersall (cast); Audio Commentaries on "the pilot," "Life of Brian," "So-Called Angels," as well as additional episodes; Deleted Scenes; Promos' Book with tridutes from Joss Whedon, Winnie Holzman, and Janeane Garofalo; and more.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 17, 2007 1:30:46 PM PDT
Angela Chase was 15, not 14. She was a sophomore in high school.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 1, 2007 1:28:18 PM PDT
mary burnett says:
oh get over it, who cares if they got the age wrong? that was a beyond perfect review. thanks again!!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2007 3:36:22 PM PST
Tammy Manor says:
I was going to comment about the age too.

Posted on Jan 15, 2008 5:31:37 PM PST
ToddyEnglish says:
What a fantastic review! Hell, it almost brought a tear to my eye. I remember watching it as a teen and identifying with the characters so completely. No one was rich, beautiful, popular, or hip. They were just little guppies in the ocean known as Highschool. And boy could I identify. WONDERFUL review my friend.

Posted on Mar 14, 2008 4:54:46 AM PDT
CloudRyder9 says:
Part of the reason the show was canceled was b/c Claire Danes didn't want to return for another season (She admits it years later). So we can't blame ABC entirely on the demise of this show. But yeah- what a shame.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2009 8:14:15 AM PST
Cosmic-Surf says:
If you consider ABC also pulled the plug on Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick's amazing "Once and Again," we can't blame Claire Danes entirely either....

Posted on Aug 18, 2012 4:54:54 AM PDT
Are the two pilot episodes included in this box set? They're entitled, "Dancing in the Dark" and "Guns". Could you please let me know soon? Thanks.
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