Greek: Chapter One – DVD Review

Season 1
Available at Amazon.com

Another successful show on ABC FAMILY that’s not really “family-friendly.”

When the name of a television channel has “family” in its title, you would think that there would be nothing but a lineup of “family-friendly” programs. But this is the world of television and networks want ratings. But since these types of shows usually don’t appeal to lager audiences, recently ABC FAMILY has been airing more original programming like Kyle XY that is less “family-friendly” and more aimed towards teenagers. Still it’s odd that a series about college life called Greek ended up on ABC FAMILY.

Greek centers on Rusty Cartwright (Jacob Zachar), a freshman in college, attending Cyprus-Rhodes University alongside big sister Casey (Spencer Grammer). Originally, Casey insisted that Rusty remain low-profile, in hopes that he would not ruin her chances to be elected president of the Zeta Beta Zeta sorority. In an effort to make nice with the family, Casey’s boyfriend, Evan (Jake McDorman), offers Rusty a spot in the Omega Chi Delta fraternity, which he declines after finding Evan cheating on Casey with Rebecca Logan (Dilshad Vadsaria), the Senator’s daughter who was the sorority’s main target during rush. In turn, Rusty accepts an offer from Cappie (Scott Foster), Casey’s ex-boyfriend and the current president of Kappa Tau Gamma, the black sheep of the Greek system.

The main cast of the show are all relative unknowns. But each actor plays their respective roles near flawlessly. Of course, there are plenty of stereotypical characters on this series. Most of the characters on the show belong to a fictional fraternity or sorority. So you have the usual “frat jerks” and the “dumb sorority chicks”. You also have the token gay guy and black guy, which happen to be one in the same here. But with that being said the top half of the cast has multiple layers to them and you end up caring what happens to them, which is what every successful show wants.

The biggest surprise in this first season of the show is that Greek featured plenty of storylines that aren’t too geared towards family viewing. There is plenty of underage drinking, premarital sex, and drunken hook-ups, all of which that exist in college life but something that you probably thought you would never see on an ABC FAMILY show. Again, there are plenty of storylines and arcs that aren’t unique, but overall they are interesting enough to keep you watching and that’s all that really matters.

Greek is not intended for families despite it being on ABC FAMILY as it will appeal mainly to the older teen demographic. Still the series does provide a somewhat honest look at college life and the Greek system. There are plenty of stereotypes throughout the show, but fortunately the writers of the show don’t just resort to stereotypes to tell the stories during the first season. More often than not, characters on this show are faced with moral dilemmas as they struggle to do the “right thing,” whatever that means. Greek is surprisingly good thanks to those surprising multi-layered characters and storylines and worth a look by non-families despite it being on ABC FAMILY.

Episodes:

Disc One:

Episode 1 – Pilot –
Rusty begins his freshman year at Cyprus-Rhodes University determined to change his life and rush a fraternity. However, his sister Casey, who is already ensconced as a sorority siren, is not too keen on having her younger brother invade her world. From the start, Rusty and Casey’s family bond is tested as Rusty heads into rush week and after meeting both her current and ex-boyfriends, he discovers that no one even knew Casey had a brother. Along the way, he also witnesses something that could hurt his sister but could also jeopardize his bid to the most prestigious fraternity.

Episode 2 – Hazed and Confused
In a bold and mischievous move, Casey attempts to punish Rebecca Logan for sleeping with Evan by giving her the most challenging scavenger hunt assignment during initiation week. Meanwhile, Rusty’s experience with initiation week proves to be rather complicated when his commitment to Dale and an early physics exam come in direct conflict with Kappa Tau’s beer pong competition against the Omega Chis.

Episode 3 – The Rusty Nail
It’s mixer night on Greek Row and Rusty feels pressure to find a date so Cappie sets him up with a “sure thing.” Meanwhile, Calvin volunteers to be the errand boy for Zeta Beta Zeta to help Ashleigh plan the military themed mixer party. However, Ashleigh confuses Calvin’s enthusiasm for party planning with having a crush on her.

Episode 4 – Picking Teams
In the midst of the floor hockey tourney, Evan questions Casey’s loyalty due to the fact that both her brother and ex-boyfriend are members of Kappa Tau. Meanwhile, athletically-challenged Rusty is desperate to play for the Kappa team so he enlists the help of Dale who suggests a scientific approach to the game.

Disc Two:

Episode 5 – Liquid Courage
Cappie turns to Rusty for his brain power when the volcano for Kappa Tau’s legendary Mt. Vesuvius party fails to erupt. Meanwhile, Casey and Evan are back on track as he introduces her to his powerful parents over dinner. But an unexpected appearance by Rebecca, a Senator’s daughter, instantly bonds her to Evan’s parents, leaving Casey to feel like an outsider with this blue-blood clan.

Episode 6 – Friday Night Frights
In Casey’s bid to become president of Zeta Beta Zeta, she tries to win over her sorority pledges by throwing a slumber party that turns scary when the lights go out. Meanwhile, the same stormy night at Cyprus Rhodes University brings trouble for Cappie when he gets an unexpected visit from a beautiful and mysterious girl named Destiny.

Episode 7 – Multiple Choice
As mid-term week approaches, the pressure is building for Rusty as he is determined to maintain his grades while keeping up his social life at the fraternity. Of course, Cappie has the answers for him but is it the right thing to do? Cappie not only presents Rusty with an appealing offer of help but when he is partnered with Casey on a school project, Casey is tempted once again by her past.

Episode 8 – Separation Anxiety
After their community service chairwoman is unceremoniously dismissed from the sorority, the Zeta Beta Zetas must find a way to make up on lost time with their community service. Will Casey be able to work together with Dale on a charitable performance for the Bible Bunch? Meanwhile, a lovesick Rusty and Cappie try to distract themselves by escaping to the one place where woman are a sure thing.

Disc Three:

Episode 9 – Depth Perception
Allies become enemies when both Casey and Frannie are nominated for the title of Omega Chi Sweetheart. Who will prevail in this the ultimate cat fight? Meanwhile, as Rusty’s relationship with Jen K. heats up, he longs for more private time with her but his judgmental roommate Dale is always around, making it difficult for the two lovebirds to spend time alone.

Episode 10 – Black & White and Read All Over
When a scandalous story in the college newspaper hits stands trashing the Greek system, the brothers and sisters of Omega Chia, Zeta Beta Zeta and even Kappa Tau are in a frenzy to figure out who the undercover culprit could be. Meanwhile, after navigating some troubled waters with her boyfriend, Ashleigh turns to Calvin for support and even goes so far as to hit on him, only to learn he has a secret.

The video is given in widescreen color with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which is enhanced for 16×9 TVs. The transfer is decent enough. A little better quality than what you will find on TV, but nothing too earth-shattering. Then again, for this show the video doesn’t need to. No problems at all.

The audio included is in English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound. There are subtitles available in Spanish and French as well. The dialogue and music come out loud and clear. No problems here either.

Audio Commentaries
We get three tracks total. Patrick Sean Smith (Creator/Co-Executive Producer), Shawn Piller and Lloyd Segan (Executive Producers) comment on the “Pilot” episode. Spencer Grammer, Dilshad Vadsaria and Amber Stevens (actors) comment on the “Friday Night Frights” episode. Jake McDorman, Scott Michael Foster, Paul James and Clark Duke (actors) comment on the “Separation Anxiety” episode. These commentaries have a good balance between being insightful and entertaining with the mix of cast and crew.

“Greek: The Initiation” Featurette
This a 10 minute “behind-the-scenes” featurette. Just your typical stuff here as the cast and crew talk about how the show came to be, casting choices, themes of the show, etc.

Deleted Scenes
There are only three scenes that didn’t make the final cut of the first season of the series. There is an option to hear commentary from the creator, Patrick Sean Smith, on why these scenes weren’t in the show. They really just didn’t add to the overall storyline of the episode they were supposed to be in, but there are so few here that you really don’t need to watch these at all.

Extended Music Sequence
There is one original music sequence in the show is given more time here. It is “Heathens Be Warned” by the fictional group Darwin Lied on the show. It’s a funny song, so check it out.

Chapter Two Sneak Peek
There is a 3 and half minute look at season two of Greek. Basically, the cast tells you what they think may happen and the crew gives you a clue on what could happen. Not too many spoilers here, but there is some interesting things in here to whet your appetite for season two of Greek.

This is mainly a comedy series, but since this deals with college life and relationships there is drama to be found here. But this is the first show to tackle the world of the college Greek system, and Greek was able to provide a fairly accurate look at that world in its first season. If you haven’t seen this show, at least rent it. It is definitely one of the surprise hits of the 2007 TV season no matter what channel it appears on.

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Walt Disney Video presents Greek: Chapter One. Created by Patrick Sean Smith. Starring Jacob Zachar, Spencer Grammer, Jake McDorman and Scott Foster. Running time: 445 minutes. NOT RATED. Released on DVD: March 18, 2008. Available at Amazon.com

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