'Gossip Girl: The Complete Second Season'
(Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, et al / 6-Disc DVD / NR / 2009 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: It’s senior year for our beloved Upper East Siders, and the drama is at an all-time high. Applying for college is only one small part of the story, as new romances (and some not-so-new romances) bloom and fade, scandals erupt at every turn and alliances shift even faster than Gossip Girl can send an update. Families and reputations are destroyed and made; so are fortunes. And even the strongest friendships are tested .
DVD Verdict: Based on a series of eleven bestselling and controversial novels by Cecily von Ziegesar, Season One of Gossip Girl introduced us to a small circle of privileged, prep-school friends living in New York's Upper East Side confronted with teenage issues including sex, drugs, relationships, and bulimia. The series features a gossipy voiceover narrative (by Kristen Bell), who blogs about her exclusive circle of friends: Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively), her best friend Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester), Blair's former boyfriend, Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford), Nate's best friend Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick), Serena's former boyfriend, Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley), his sister Jenny Humphrey (Taylor Momsen), and best friend Vanessa Abrams (Jessica Szohr).
New York City is prominently featured in the eighteen episodes of Season one. Season One opened with Serena's return to New York City following a mysterious self-imposed exile in Connecticut after her sexual tryst with her best friend's boyfriend, which was witnessed by corrupt bad-boy, Chuck. Each episode was cleverly-titled ("The Wild Brunch," "The Handmaiden's Tale," "Seventeen Candles," "Roman Holiday," "The Thin Line between Chuck and Nate," "The Blair Bitch Project," and "Woman on the Verge"), the characters were well-drawn, the plot lines were intelligent, and the soundtrack was edgy.
The 24 episodes of Gossip Girl Season Two premiered in September, 2008, with an episode titled "Summer, Kind of Wonderful," an allusion to John Hughes' film Some Kind of Wonderful. All of the original characters returned. New characters include Agnes (Willa Holland), a 16-year-old model; Aaron Rose (John Patrick Amedori), Serena's new love interest; Catherine Mason (Mädchen Amick), an aging, married socialite who seduces Nate; her stepson, Marcus (Patrick Heusinger), Blair's new love interest; and Wallace Shawn as the Manhattan playboy dating Blair's mother, Eleanor Waldorf. Cleverly-titled episodes include: "The Ex Files," "The Serena Also Rises," "New Haven Can Wait," "Chuck In Real Life," "There Might Be Blood," and "Bonfire of The Vanity." Gossip Girl remains my TV addiction.
Anyway, Leighton Meester is a hoot, her comic timing is impeccable and when she lets herself be vulnerable - it's pure magic! Blake Lively's character was kinda cool when she played a witcher version of Serena, she was more real that way than the whole doe-eyed sympathetic teen. The fashion is to die for, the music is fresh, and the off-color jokes work really well, I just wish this show wasn't so calculated and wooden! Hopefully season 3 will blow my expectations. [GM] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the following Special Features:
5th Avenue Meets Gossip Girl: Tour the Gossip Girl Crowd's Favorite Haunts
Faces Behind the Designs: Creative Forces Behind the Show's Art and Fashion
Chasing Dorota Webisodes
Downloadable Audiobook of the Best-selling Novel 'Gossip Girl: You Know You Love Me' by Cecily von Ziegesar. Read by Christina Ricci