Sometimes a film or TV show will come along that develops a cult following. And in that movie or series, future stars will be born. If you look at cast of the short-lived series like Freaks and Geeks you will see a long list of stars that went on to have success (James Franco, Jason Segel, etc…). Ten years ago, Touchstone Pictures released 10 Things I Hate About You, which was loosely based on Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.” At the time, Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles were relatively new to the Hollywood landscape. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a child star from family fare like Angels in the Outfield and TV’s 3rd Rock from the Sun, was probably the biggest star in the bunch. While it wasn’t successful in theaters, the film became a staple to girls night slumber parties, where they would watch Heath Ledger serenade Stiles to Paul Anka’s “I Love You, Baby.”
Looking for the same success on TV, ABC Family decided to adapt the cult comedy to the small screen. It takes the basic story from the film version and runs with it. The series focuses on two sisters, Bianca (Meaghan Jette Martin) and Kat (Lindsey Shaw), as they start a new high school. While Bianca wants to be popular and become a cheerleader to rule the school, Kat fights for the injustices of the world, looking down on anyone who wants to conform to be popular with others. Despite their differences, they both face the difficulties of high school, which includes boys. Cameron (Nicholas Braun) quickly falls in love with Bianca, despite the fact that she only thinks of him as a friend. Kat suddenly finds herself falling for her the mysterious motorcycle-driving bad boy, Patrick Verona (Ethan Peck). To complicate things further, Bianca and Kat have a strict father, Walter, (Larry Miller reprising his fatherly role from the film), who doesn’t want them dating at all. This is the common thread that often helps Biance and Kat pull together as sisters should.
This series could quickly be dismissed as another attempt from ABC Family to corner the teenage soap market and force The CW audience to watch ABC Family instead. While the storylines essentially consist of your typical high school drama, there are enough twists to keep things fresh and unique. The staff of writers behind this show actually know what they are doing, as the comedy on this show is genuinely funny and witty on many different levels. The melodrama is kept to a minimum as well, because even with all the drama that happens, the comedy keeps everything in check to not let things get too far in that direction. It also helps that that each episode of this series only lasts 30 minutes, so that everything moves along fairly quickly.
The best thing about 10 Things I Hate About You is having a young cast that can keep up with the writing. All of the actors have great chemistry with each other, and Larry Miller is especially wonderful in his scenes with TV daughters Meaghan Jette Martin and Lindsey Shaw. Don’t be surprised if you hear about these two actresses in the future.They may look like stereotypes on the surface, which will immediately make them relatable to teenagers watching. But almost every character on the show has different layers within themselves that viewers weren’t expecting.
The television version of 10 Things I Hate About You will surprise many by how unique it is. IThis isn’t your typical cookie-cutter ABC Family teenage drama. The content is edgy for this network, but shows like Kyle XY, Greek, and The Secret Life of the American Teenager laid the groundwork for more edgy programming.
Episode 1 – Pilot
We get introduced to the Stratford sisters, Kat and Bianca, who are two very different people with very different views in life. They start at a new high school Padua High School. Kat wants to save the world and get out of high school as fast as she can, while Bianca wants to climb the ladder of high school popularity as fast as possible. Can each sister find happiness after getting off to a very rocky start?
Episode 2 – I Want You to Want Me
Bianca tries to impress Chastity by arranging a charity event for the cheerleading squad. But her plan ends up raising more questions than money. Will Bianca receive her flowers? Will Cameron build the courage to express his feelings? While Bianca waits for her carnations to arrive, Kat has a stalker to deal with and also secretly wonder if Patrick might send her a carnation.
Episode 3 – Won’t Get Fooled Again
Bianca asks Cameron to help her to fit in with the popular group at a party. However Bianca’s dad forbids her from attending the party.
Episode 4 – Don’t Give a Damn About My Bad Reputation
Kat learns that first impressions aren’t everything when she makes a shocking discovery about Patrick. Meanwhile, Bianca decides that it’s time to rid herself of her squeaky clean persona. To do this, she starts a rumor about her recent conquests with an older guy. After hearing all of the rumors, Cameron’s feelings are instantly hurt.
Episode 5 – Don’t Give Up
Kat tries to break the stereotype of girls doing everything a boy can do by joining a class to fix cars. Bianca and Joey become lab partners. Chastity makes a deal with Bianca for the top spot as a cheerleader provided Joey passes his Chemistry paper and plays for the team.
Episode 6 – You Can’t Always Get What You Want
Bianca and her new friend Dawn ask Cameron to help them with a new web reality show, so that Bianca can go in a shopping trip with Chastity. In order to get more viewers the girls realize that they need to be a little more adventurous. Meanwhile, Kat complains about the grading system in one of her classes. Luckily for Kat, the school counselor has a personal vendetta against this particular teacher.
Episode 7 – Light My Fire
Bianca tries to us another opportunity to impress Chastity, when local residents suffer a bushfire and are relocated to Padua High. She tries to find a private room for Chastity in the school. Meanwhile, Patrick tries to have a moment alone with Kat to confess his feelings, but with the panic of the fire his chances might be ruined. They finally find a moment alone together in the school rooftop.
Episode 8 – Dance Little Sister
When the soccer team captain, Beau Bradley asks Bianca go with him to Padua High’s Fall Fling, she tries to convince Patrick to take Kat to the dance because her father will not let her go on a date until Kat does. Meanwhile, Cameron overhears Beau talking about taking Bianca to a hotel after the dance, so he devices a plan to keep an eye on Bianca at all times and don’t let Beau make his moves.
Episode 9 – Fight for Your Right
Kat and Bianca fight for their right to party. At the party Chastity and Joe have some problems of their own regarding their relationship. Patrick attempts to make amends with Kat after he deserted her at the dance.
Episode 10 – Don’t Leave Me This Way
When the school enforces new policies on the students, Kat stages a protest. She gets helped by the most unexpected person, Chastity. But can they put their differences aside for their common goal? Meawhile, Bianca’s dreams of cheerleading can become true if she can keep her kiss with Joey a secret from Chastity. And Cameron has a hard time getting over Bianca.
The video is given in widescreen color with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The transfer is great with colors generally looking bright and vivid details everywhere. No major or minor problems at all here, and on par with other ABC Family shows on DVD now.
The audio included is available in English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound. There are subtitles available in English, French, and Spanish as well. The dialogue and music come out loud and clear. No major problems here either.
Audio Commentaries –
There are two full-length audio commentaries for two separate episodes. Larry Miller (actor), Lindsey Shaw (actress), Carter Covington (writer/producer), and Gil Junger (director comment on both the “Pilot” episode. Dana Davis (actress), Nicholas Braun (actor), Ethan Peck (actor), and Robin Schiff (executive producer) comment on the “Light My Fire” episode. These are a nice balance between being entertaining and insightful.
“10 Things I Hate vs. 10 Things I Love” Featurette –
This runs 12 1/2 minutes and it uses the love/hate format to get the actors talking about their characters and just about everything else that annoys or pleases them.
“Backstage Pass” Episode Featurette –
This runs 3 1/2 minutes. The two main cast members, Shaw and Martin, do a walk-through of this episode. This works best as a preview to this episode.
This is 2 minutes of the usual gags and bloopers. Not that funny really.
Make It Or Break It “Pilot” Episode – Make It Or Break is one of the newest ABC Family teen dramas on the network right now. It airs right after The Secret Life of the American Teenager, so they are hoping the same fans will watch this show. You can find my review of the first volume of this show on this site elsewhere. But in short, if you like Secret Life you will be more than inclined to like this show.
10 Things I Hate About You may look and feel familiar, but it’s probably the best movie-to-TV translation since M#A#S#H. Plus it’s one of the best shows on ABC Family. Give this first volume of episodes a spin and then jot down a list titled “10 Thing I Love About This Show.”
ABC Studios Home Entertainment presents Lost: Season 5. Developed by Carter Covington. Starring Lindsey Shaw, Meaghan Jette Martin, Ehtan Pecj, Nicholas Braun, Dana Davis, Larry Miller, and Kyle Kaplan. Running time: 230 minutes. Rated: NOT RATED. Released on DVD: January 12, 2010. Available at Amazon.com.
I'm not embarrassed to say that my favorite television show of all-time is The O.C. I live by the motto "you can't fight fate!" More importantly, I watch WAY too much television, but I do so for the benefit of everyone reading this now. So to my mom and my wife, I say thanks for reading! To everyone else that might stumble across this, remember TiVo should be your best friend!