7th Heaven: The Final Season – DVD Review

Every television series must come to an end eventually. Well, except for The Simpsons, because animated characters never get old, and Survivor, because there will always be more people looking for their fifteen minutes of fame and a shot at a million dollars. But every scripted show must come to an end, because either the actors get tired of playing the same character year after year or people grow tired of the series. For 11 years, 7th Heaven was a family drama beloved by millions of people. But by the time the eleventh and final season came, though, the young cast had changed so much. Still the final season is now available on DVD for fans everywhere to enjoy or see what they might have missed the first time around.

7th Heaven centers on the Camden family. Minister Eric Camden (Stephen Collins) and wife Annie (Catherine Hicks) are the head of a family containing seven children: Matt (Barry Watson), Mary (Jessica Biel), Lucy (Beverly Mitchell), Simon (David Gallagher), Ruthie (Mackenzie Rosman), and twins David and Sam (Lorenzo Brino and Nikolas Brino). This is in addition to their surrogate son, Martin (Tyler Hoechlin). In past seasons we have seen Simon leave home to go away to college; Matt leave home to get married and become a doctor; Mary being sent to her Grandmother’s house to live because of behavior problems; and Lucy get married and live in a garage apartment with her new husband. Still there are plenty of children left hanging around the house whose hormones are raging and love lives are going through their ups and downs. Even after so many years, everyone is still busy learning tough life lessons going into the tenth season of the series.

The eleventh and final season picks up right after the tenth season’s finale. Simon appeared to be ready to marry Rose (Sarah Thompson). But in the end, they don’t get married and Simon is no longer a central character during this season as a result. Instead, newer characters in the world around the Camden family take center stage. Eric and Annie’s surrogate son, Martin, has a child with his new girlfriend, Sandy (Haylie Duff). Martin is finally ready to commit to Sandy for life, but even with a kid Sandy isn’t sure she’s interested. Meanwhile, Ruthie decides to go to Scotland for a summer program. While she is there, she gets a tattoo and doesn’t want to return home even after hearing some bad health news about her dad. In addition, Lucy and her husband Kevin (George Stults) are dealing with a miscarriage. and Lucy starts to mature even further in this final season. Finally, Eric gets suspicious of a young teacher after deciding to home school twin boys, David and Sam. But perhaps the most important storyline this season had to do with all of Eric’s health issues, which ultimately brings the entire family together again.

As you can already see there are definitely some heavy and serious issues the Camden family is still dealing with. Most of it you have seen before, but there are some new twists, but nothing too shocking. Of course, we are still treated to the 7th Heaven hallmark: a message to be learned at the end of every episode. But also by this point, the cast barely looks the same. Not only is Matt and Mary gone this year, but now Simon is gone for most of the eleventh season. They still kept adding new characters like Sandy, Margaret (Andrea Morris), Jane (Sarah Wright) and T-bone (Colton James) to help make things feel fresh, but they just don’t get the job done.

The final season of 7th Heaven is nothing you haven’t seen before from this show. If you love this show, then the final season is fine way to finally go out. But if you only liked the earlier seasons when Matt, Mary, and Simon were around for the entire season, you won’t be happy with this season. The remaining cast still do great jobs in their roles, but you can’t blame some fans from not wanting to see the cast change over time. Hardcore fans will, of course, watch this season regardless to see how it all ends. Those fans will still be entertained with the final season, because even though the cast has changed, the core elements of 7th Heaven have remained over time.


Disc One:

Episode 1 – Turn, Turn, Turn
Strenuous events impact all the Camdens as Kevin and Lucy cope with an unexpected tragedy in their young lives. Matters worsen when Lucy convinces her father to let her deliver next Sunday’s sermon while she is still in an emotionally unstable condition. Martin frustrates Sandy by suggesting that they get married and build a family for their infant son, then becomes angry when he realizes why Sandy is really holding back. Ruthie is studying in Scotland for the time being, and Annie can’t shake the feeling that something is terribly wrong with Eric.

Episode 2 – And Tonight’s Specials Are…
Tension mounts in Kevin and Lucy’s marriage as Lucy pulls away from him emotionally, spends increasing amounts of time at the movie theater, and even starts pouring her heart out to a teenage boy who works there. Back at home, Annie encourages Kevin to not give up on Lucy. Eric is less than thrilled with the new name that his twin sons have given him, but it is nothing compared to a little run-in that he has with their very young third grade teacher.

Episode 3 – A Pain in the Neck
Mary has recently given birth to twin daughters, so Annie heads off to Buffalo to help her out. Eric is left to take care of things at home. A difficult issue with the boys’ teacher prompts him to pull them out of school without consulting Annie, and an excruciating physical pain in his neck isn’t helping matters. Kevin’s brother arrives for a visit, but there’s only one way they can convince a emotionally unstable Lucy to let him stay with them for a little while.

Episode 4 – Don’t Ax, Don’t Tell
Eric continues to manage the household in Annie’s absence. He begins home-schooling the twins and finds even more stress added to his life when their third grade teacher shows up at the house, eager to start a relationship with him. Meanwhile, Kevin and Lucy start noticing Eric’s strange behavior, but their attempts to uncover the truth only make matters worse.

Disc Two:

Episode 5 – The Replacements
Eric makes yet another decision without consulting his wife, who finally comes home to some drastic changes in the house. Elsewhere, Sandy finds herself in a romantic triangle with Martin and a guy from school.

Episode 6 – Broken Hearts and Promises
When the paramedics are called to the house, Annie realizes that Eric has been hiding his health issues from her, even though he insists he’s fine. Meanwhile, Lucy contemplates having more children after visiting with Sandy, who has problems of her own when she must choose between the two guys in her life.

Episode 7 – You Take the High Road
Ruthie is nervous when she finds out that Eric and Annie are heading to Scotland. She reveals a very unattractive side of herself when she openly admits that she’s not about to sacrifice her own freedom and happiness to come home and be with her sick father. Kevin has a difficult time helping Lucy come to grips with Eric’s illness; Sandy accepts Martin’s marriage proposal just to get rid of her clingy boyfriend; and Kevin finds out a secret about Jane.

Episode 8 – And I’ll Take the Low Road
Ruthie is informed of her father’s health prognosis when her parents show up in Scotland, but she shocks them by reacting with very little sympathy or understanding. Sandy calls off her marriage plans with Martin after his best friend questions why they are in such a rush. Back at home, Lucy steps up as a much-needed source of stability for her younger siblings, as well as T-Bone, who needs help making a dramatic decision.

Disc Three:

Episode 9 – Thanks and Giving
Eric, Annie and Ruthie are on their way home from Scotland, but they are held for questioning at the airport after Ruthie makes an unusual comment. Elsewhere, as a favor to Martin, Mac seeks information about Sandy’s feelings for Simon. Lucy does her best to stay strong for the whole family as the truth about her father’s health condition comes out.

Episode 10 – You Don’t Know What You’ve Got ‘Til He’s Gone
Eric takes a new approach to counseling members of the church. T-Bone stuns Ruthie by telling her what he really thinks of her selfish and obnoxious attitude, then ending their argument with a kiss.

Episode 11 – Christmas!
Eric suddenly finds himself in heaven, quite literally, when he runs into several people who have gone before him, particularly Annie’s late mother. Meanwhile, the family becomes nervous when Eric doesn’t come home from work, and Annie tries to hold everyone together. Could he soon be headed to the pearly gates himself?

Episode 12 – Can I Just Get Something to Eat?
When Ruthie and T-Bone work on a school assignment about the genocide in Darfur, they get the whole Camden family, and the community involved in the cause.

Disc Four:

Episode 13 – Script Number Two Hundred Thirty-Four
Eric and Lucy tell everyone that they’re going out of town on “offical church business,” which isn’t exactly true, while Annie and Kevin seek the truth about their spouses’ little white lies. Meanwhile, Sandy takes over Lucy’s teen class for the day, and Ruthie will do anything to prove that she is not a little girl anymore.

Episode 14 – Deacon Blues
Ruthie insists that T-Bone get his driver’s license so they can go away for privacy; unfortunately, T-Bone makes the mistake of asking Kevin to help him get ready for the test. Lou informs a stunned Eric that the church deacons feel he and Lucy are no longer appealing to the younger church members, so it is suggested that Sandy deliver the next sermon. Mac gets a job at the movie theater so he can afford an apartment with Jane and Margaret.

Episode 15 – Tit for Tat
Sandy starts falling for a handsome doctor, and Martin may not be able to handle it. Elsewhere, T-Bone and Ruthie want to do something romantic for Valentine’s Day, and they profess their love for each other in an unusual way. The Colonel and Ruth drop by unexpectedly, prompting Lucy and Kevin to leave town, and Eric fears that his parents know about his health problems.

Episode 16 – Gimme That Ol’ Time Religion
Ruthie tries to hide her tattoo from her parents, not realizing that they already know something’s up with her. Lucy knows about the tattoo, but she has a very specific reason for keeping it to herself. As it turns out, most of the Camdens have dirty little secrets that they’d rather not reveal…

Episode 17 – Small Miracles
When small things happen, some Camdens see them as signs. Lucy and Eric both cross paths with a black bird. They both come to the conclusion that this is a sign, and a bad one at that. Meanwhile, Ruthie gets a sign on her own. When she loses a diamond in the ring that T-Bone gave her as a promise to get engaged someday, she thinks that this is her sign that maybe being with T-Bone is not the best choice.

Disc Five:

Episode 18 – Inked
When Lucy gets an unexpected job offer in a small town known as Crossroads, she and Kevin take a trip out there to see if they might consider making the move. Back in Glenoak, Ruthie learns that removing her tattoo will not be an inexpensive procedure, and after getting no sympathy from her parents, she tries guilting T-Bone into paying the bill.

Episode 19 – Some Break-Ups And Some Get-Togethers
Ruthie gets a text message from what she thinks is T-Bone breaking up with her. But the truth behind the matter is a bit different. Meanwhile, Lucy and Kevin try to decide whether or not they will relocate to Crossroads.

Episode 20 – Nothing Says Lovin’ Like Something From The Oven
With plans for another child, Lucy tells Kevin that it might not be a good idea to move so far away from the rest of the family. T-Bone confides to Eric that he’s having second thoughts about breaking up with Ruthie, who is spending all of her free time lately with her former crush, Martin. Sandy’s boyfriend surprises her with a marriage proposal, and T-Bone’s estranged father shows up on the Camdens’ doorstep.

Episode 21 – Good News For Almost Everyone
Annie rushes her husband to the hospital when he wakes up with a certain hunch about his heart condition. The kids are a bundle of nerves–especially Lucy–since they don’t know whether the news is good or bad. While sitting around in the waiting room, Ruthie and T-Bone decide to get back together, but an unexpected twist of events brings back unresolved issues with the guy who broke Ruthie’s heart a year ago.

Episode 22 – And Away We Go
After 11 heavenly seasons in Glenoak, the longest-running family drama in television history bids us farewell as Eric and Annie decide to celebrate Eric’s clean bill of health in a spontaneous way. Meanwhile, Kevin and Lucy make some final decisions about their future; Ruthie tells Martin how she really feels; and as the lives of the Camden family members start changing dramatically, their most recent live-in houseguests must determine where their own lives are headed.

Like previous season sets, the video is given in fullscreen color with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The transfer is good, but not great since this is only fullscreen. But there are no major problems at all.

The audio included is English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound. There are subtitles available in English as well. The dialogue and music come out loud and clear. The audio, like the video is basic, but there are no major problems here either.

There are still no extras for this season’s DVD set, which is always disappointing.

This set is still only a “must-buy” for hardcore fans of the show that want to own every season of it. The best seasons were in the beginning, so go rent those if you want to see the best of what this series has to offer. If you are curious, though, and like the usual soap opera family drama, this is worth a rental. But don’t start with the final season.

Paramount Home Entertainment presents 7th Heaven: Season 11. Created by Aaron Spelling. Starring Stephen Collins, Catherine Hicks, Beverly Mitchell, Mackenzie Rosman, Lorenzo Brino, Nikolas Brino, George Stults, Tyler Hoechlin, and Haylie Duff. Running time: 922 minutes. Rated: Not Rated. Released on DVD: November 23, 2010.

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