Actors often follow a natural progression. They tend to either be really good at acting in television shows or films and stick to doing just that. However, there has been many times where an actor or actress has gotten their start on a popular television show and then progressed to have a pretty good film career. Will Smith and Tom Hanks are both perfect examples of this. But you hardly ever see an actor go from acting in TV shows to acting in films, and then later go back to acting in TV shows. If they do, it’s a clear sign that their film career was a bust, since more times than not you can make a lot more money acting in films. That was until Christina Applegate came along with her new ABC show, Samantha Who?, which could be well on their way of breaking this trend and becoming the exception to this rule.
Samantha Who? is about Samantha Newly (Christina Applegate), a 30-year-old Vice President of a real estate company at a Chicago realty firm. But then one day she gets hit by a car in a hit-and-run accident and falls into a coma. For eight days she is asleep, but upon waking, she finds out that she has retrograde amnesia. She has retained all general knowledge but hasn’t a clue as to who she is or what she’s done with her life. Soon, Samantha finds out she’s been very, very cruel to those around her. Taking her amnesia as a sign that it’s time for change, Sam sets about making up for what the old “Bad Samantha” did, and tries to change her life and become a new “Good Samantha”.
Christina Applegate got her start as an actress on the hit sitcom Married with Children back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. She then went on to a have a pretty successful film career, appearing in a bunch of romantic comedies. But she is back to the world of television here and really this show is a natural fit for her. Over her entire career, Applegate has proven that she is not only beautiful but is also extremely funny. So Samantha Who? was created with her in mind as the star. The supporting cast around her is also very strong, which include her parents (Jean Smart and Kevin Dunn), contrasting best friends (Jennifer Esposito and Melissa McCarthy), mentoring doorman (Tim Russ), and ex-boyfriend (Barry Watson). But Applegate is completely charming and is the main reason this show succeeded in the first season.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that Samantha Who? followed one of the most watched shows on television in Dancing with the Stars during its first season. To be fair, though, that will only give you some viewers for so long. A show has to consistently be entertaining over the long run to stick around for as long as Samantha Who? did in the first season. Besides the strength of Applegate and a great timeslot, there are other reasons Samantha Who? will be having a second season. For one, the premise of this show is fairly unique for a TV series. The pace of this show is also fast enough to keep the laughs coming. But most importantly the comedy featured on this show is not mean-spirited, which is refreshing since most of the top sitcoms in the past featured that kind of “make fun of each other” comedy.
Samantha Who? is a comedy unlike any other on TV today. The pace is fast, the writing is smart, the cast is fantastic, and it’s in a great time slot. The only way this show won’t succeed is if it can’t overcome the premise, which is unique, but also may be too limited to sustain for many years. Samantha Who? was entertaining enough for a strike-shortened 15 episode first season, but it will be “make or break” time in the second season. At least Samantha Who? will be given every chance to succeed, which is a lot more than other recent new shows can say.
Episode 1 – Pilot
Wretched with amnesia after an accident, Samantha attempts to discover her life again. After being the victim of a hit and run, Sam awakens to the shock of everyone that she doesn’t remember any of them, not even her parents who were standing over her bedside.
Episode 2 – The Job
It’s Samantha’s first day back to work and her first board meeting gives her a shocking look at just how cutthroat and competitive she really was.
Episode 3 – The Wedding
Sam attends the wedding of one of her so called friends, as a bridesmaid, only to realize that she forgot that she had been uninvited by the bride earlier. She does everything she can to try and patch things up before it’s too late.
Episode 4 – The Virgin
Since Samantha has no memories of the past, including her sexual experiences, she is faced with the decision of waiting this time for the right guy to come along, or to experiment.
Episode 5 – The Restraining Order
Sam learns that one of her ex-boyfriends has a restraining order out against her, while she is on a walk with Todd. She then wonders if her poor relationship with her father is the cause of her need for constant attention.
Episode 6 – The Hypnotherapist
As a last ditch effort to try and regain some of her lost memory, Sam seeks professional help from a hypnotherapist, but doesn’t get the help she expected. Sam hears a bombshell confession from Todd.
Episode 7 – The Hockey Date
Regina sets Samantha up on a blind date with the man who is refinishing her floors. She turns to Todd for advice when she leads the guy to think she is an avid hockey fan.
Episode 8 – The Car
Sam gets her father’s car into an accident and pushes it into a lake, making him think it was stolen. He feels so bad for her that he ends up buying her a new car. Regina discovers clues about the accident and uses that as blackmail to force Sam to model at a party.
Episode 9 – The Break-Up
Sam thinks she’s in love with Kevin and steps things up a bit, but it may prove to be more than Kevin can handle.
Episode 10 – The Girlfriend
Sam is forced to move back in with Todd and his new girlfriend, Chloe, after she finds out she could face an eviction because she sublet her apartment to Todd. Regina and Dena bond when Sam misses a makeover night.
Episode 11 – The Boss
The guy that Andrea has a thing for, asks Samantha to marry him. He also turns out to be the wealthy owner of the real estate firm that they both work at. Samantha worries that it may harm their friendship more than
Episode 12 – The Butterflies
Samantha finds out about an endangered butterfly habitat and needs to stop her boss and the firm’s construction project that would kill them. She decides to use Dena, who is clueless about Sam’s plan, to go out with her boss and persuade him to stop the construction project. After Todd and Sam’s passionate kiss, Sam is feeling ignored by him.
Episode 13 – The Gallery Show
Sam is going to Todd’s photo exhibit, but doesn’t want to go alone, so she asks Craig, whom she thinks is a complete stranger, to join her. Sam soon gets the hint that they’ve met before and things doing go smoothly. Howard discovers a demeaning picture of Sam in Todd’s photo collection.
Episode 14 – The Affair
Samantha is suspicious about Regina’s action, which lead her to believe she is having an affair. But she’s not alone. Todd is cheating on Chloe, who is none the wiser, with Samantha. Dena and Regina are contemplating opening up their own coffee shop.
Episode 15 – The Birthday
In the season finale, Samantha is beginning to think that Chloe is using the sympathy card by saying her aunt is sick, just so Todd won’t break up with her like he promised Samantha. Andrea and Regina are having several disagreements over how to plan Samantha’s birthday party.
The video is given in anamorphic widescreen color with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which is enhanced for 16X9 TVs. The transfer is great with minimal grain. Another ABC show with no major problems at all.
The audio included is avaulable in English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound or French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound. There are subtitles available in English, Spanish, and French as well. The dialogue and music come out loud and clear. No major problems here either and the overall quality is a little better than your average TV on DVD set.
Audio Commentary –
There is only 1 commentary for this season. Christina Applegate (actress), Donald Todd (executive producer), and Peter Traugott (executive producer) comment on the “Pilot” episode. Pretty informative, and as about as entertaining you can get with the people involved.
“Samantha Whoops?”: Blooper Reel –
There is only 1 minute worth of gags and bloopers from the first season. Short and not that funny as you might expect.
Deleted Scenes –
There are 7 scenes that didn’t make the final cut of the season. These total 6 minutes, and there is an option to hear why these scenes were cut from executive producer, Donald Todd. Not really worth seeing.
If you are looking for a new and refreshing comedy, give Samantha Who? a rental. It may not be the next great comedy that will be around for years and years, but it is an entertaining, fun television show. Christina Applegate fans will no doubt want to buy this set without even looking at it, because she is at her very best here.
Buena Vista Home Entertainment presents Samantha Who – Season 1. Created by Cecelia Ahern and Don Todd. Starring Christina Applegate, Jennifer Esposito, Kevin Dunn, Melissa McCarthy, Tim Russ, Barry Watson, and Jean Smart. Running time: 322 minutes. Rated: NOT RATED. Released on DVD: September 23, 2008.
Available at Amazon.com