'Drop Dead Diva - The Complete Series'
(Brooke Elliott, Margaret Cho, April Bowlby, Kate Levering, et al / 12-DVD / TV-PG / (2009-2014) 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)
Overview: 'Drop Dead Diva' tells the story of Deb, a shallow model who dies in a sudden accident. By a twist of fate and a bolt of divine intervention, her soul resurfaces in the body of Jane, a smart, plus-sized and recently deceased attorney.
As she confronts the challenges of her adventurous new life, love and career, she must learn to reconcile her beauty queen ways with her brilliant new mind - finding surprises at every turn.
DVD Verdict: For the record, and much like Tom Hanks, Brooke Elliott has "that certain something" that very few actors have. It has to do with Likability. She exudes a very pleasant charm. She makes it easy to believe that a sweet, model-aspiring airhead has inhabited a high power attorney and has access to her rapid-firing brain cells.
I like it that the Jane Bingum character has a golden moral compass and yet is playful like a Sex in the City girl. Kudos to the creator and writers for creating a character that is like a real person.
The Jane Bingum character reveals great sensitivity and vulnerability along with areas of great strength and fortitude. This is no "one note" character like the many that usually populate series TV shows, of that be sure.
Ergo, 'Drop Dead Diva' is both high drama and wry comedy by virtue of its excellent writers. But, where would this show have been without Brooke Elliott?
Indeed, between the excellent cast that seems to mesh so well together, the clever, poignant and fast-paced fun scripts, and constantly interesting subject matter, it's obvious from the Pilot why this show steadily became known as "Classic TV".
I mean, and sorry for harping on about her, but the Jane character is just so cute and has such an excellent actress working her; so to speak. Adorably ditzy and such a great co-star/supporting actress she just seems so genuine; like anyone would want her as a friend.
OK, moving on from Brooke Elliott and it is also true that all of the acting is superb, and how they jive with each other seems completely unscripted, and real.
Indeed, every episode catches me, so I mourn when it's over - which is why I'm Blessed to have this incredible new 12-Disc DVD Box-Set here with me now for review from Mill Creek Entertainment ie: repeat binge watching!
'Drop Dead Diva' is the perfect mix of light and fun with deep and thought-provoking subject matters and moments between the characters. Running a delightful 6 seasons on Lifetime, quite why it was brought to a close is beyond me; but I'll look into it.
For me, the show filled the void left by 'Boston Legal' without being a total rip off of it. There are moments quite reminiscent of that show - minus David E. Kelly's preaching (which really went overboard as that show reached its final episodes).
Still, the characters in 'Drop Dead Diva' are much more tame, far wittier, and so enjoyable to watch; as I'm sure all you fans of the show already know, of course.
The romantic interest is also a little different, as the boyfriend (played by Jackson Hurst) just can't let go of his dead love. Although, in truth, I find it difficult to see how an intelligent lawyer such as Grayson Kent would fall for a vapid would-be model; but then that's just my "real life" take.
And yes, as much as there was definitely a nice mix of characters and the whole body image conflicts were handled impeccably, April Bowlby is loads of fun in her role, Kate Levering is a solid villain/friend, but it's a shame that Jane loses angel Fred after 3 seasons.
Ben Feldman adds an endearing touch and oddly enough, Margaret Cho is probably the least fun character in the show - despite being the most obvious comedian in the group. For my money she tries a wee bit too hard to squeeze the punch line out, even when it's obviously a tell tale one that deserved to be kept waiting at the gate!
Also, the show lost me a little when it tried its hand in song and dance. I don't know where the idea of dancing lawyers came from, but perhaps it was from the same person who chose a moment of stunt casting like the Kim Kardashian moment!
That never sat well with me, but despite the missteps, the likable cast keeps this a nice watch, that's for sure.
So, and in wrap, there's a strong legal influence, but it feels like fake lawyering which suits the show to a tee. It stops it from feeling too heavy. That being said, 'Drop Dead Diva' plays heavily on your emotions so be aware to keep some tissues to hand!
There is always a general tone of heartbreak and all the romantic relationships can be slightly draining, pulling you in two different directions at the exact same time.
Every episode is like a mini-romantic comedy drama where your emotions are put through the ringer yet you can't help but come back for more! No matter what though, and no matter if you're here for the comedy or the emotive moments, 'Drop Dead Diva' supplies both in equal measures and fast became one of the best shows on TV.
Episode 1 - Pilot
Episode 2 - The 'F' Word
Episode 3 - Do Over
Episode 4 - The Chinese Wall
Episode 5 - Lost and Found
Episode 6 - Second Chances
Episode 7 - The Magic Bullet
Episode 8 - Crazy
Episode 9 - The Dress
Episode 10 - Make Me a Match
Episode 11 - What If?
Episode 12 - Dead Model Walking
Episode 13 - Grayson's Anatomy
Episode 1 - Would I Lie to You?
Episode 2 - Back from the Dead
Episode 3 - The Long Road to Napa
Episode 4 - Home Away from Home
Episode 5 - Senti-Mental State
Episode 6 - Begin Again
Episode 7 - A Mother's Secret
Episode 8 - Queen of Mean
Episode 9 - Last Year's Model
Episode 10 - Will & Grayson
Episode 11 - Good Grief
Episode 12 - Bad Girls
Episode 13 - Freeze the Day
Episode 1 - Hit and Run
Episode 2 - False Alarm
Episode 3 - Dream Big
Episode 4 - The Wedding
Episode 5 - Prom
Episode 6 - Closure
Episode 7 - Mother's Day
Episode 8 - He Said, She Said
Episode 9 - You Bet Your Life
Episode 10 - Toxic
Episode 11 - Ah, Men
Episode 12 - Bride-a-Palooza
Episode 13 - Change of Heart
Episode 1 - Welcome Back
Episode 2 - Home
Episode 3 - Freak Show
Episode 4 - Winning Ugly
Episode 5 - Happily Ever After
Episode 6 - Rigged
Episode 7 - Crushed
Episode 8 - Road Trip
Episode 9 - Ashes to Ashes
Episode 10 - Lady Parts
Episode 11 - Family Matters
Episode 12 - Picks & Pakes
Episode 13 - Jane's Getting Married
Episode 1 - Back from the Dead
Episode 2 - The Real Jane
Episode 3 - Surrogates
Episode 4 - Cheaters
Episode 5 - Secret Lives
Episode 6 - Fool for Love
Episode 7 - Missed Congeniality
Episode 8 - 50 Shades of Grayson
Episode 9 - Trust Me
Episode 10 - The Kiss
Episode 11 - One Shot
Episode 12 - Guess Who's Coming
Episode 13 - Jane's Secret Revealed
Episode 1 - Truth & Consequences
Episode 2 - Soulmates?
Episode 3 - First Date
Episode 4 - Life & Death
Episode 5 - Cheers & Jeers
Episode 6 - Desperate Housewife
Episode 7 - Sister Act
Episode 8 - Identity Crisis
Episode 9 - Hope and Glory
Episode 10 - No Return
Episode 11 - Afterlife
Episode 12 - Hero
Episode 13 - It Had to Be You
These are all Widescreen Presentations (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.
'Drop Dead Diva - The Complete Series' [12-DVD] is out June 4th, 2019 via Mill Creek Entertainment.