Greek: Chapter One
R1 - America - Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Rob Fields (21st March 2008).
The Show

I would like to say that I know things about fraternities and sororities on college campuses. However, I usually made it a point to keep my distance from them in the real world. Now when it comes to movies and TV, I suppose that the truths about these two organizations are not too far-fetched. And, of course, there are those that stretch them out – BIG TIME. Of course, I’ve probably seen my share of these more than anything. Examples: “National Lampoon’s Animal House” (1978), “Revenge of the Nerds” (1984), “Old School” (2003), “American Pie Presents: Beta House” (2007), etc...I’ve heard that both fraternities and sororities have ways of tapping people to get them to join either/or. New students come to college and decide they want to pledge one or the other depending on the sex of the student. That, or a student has a widely-known reputation that attracts the attention of houses looking for that particular person to pledge. For those of you who don’t know (probably a select few of you)? Guys go to fraternities and girls go to sororities. I’ve heard that students have to go through many tests and challenges to prove they are 'worthy' of being part of a student’s chosen brotherhood or sisterhood. Then there's something called ‘hazing’. There was a time when I didn’t know what this meant, but now I understand it as the process one goes through from the time you pledge to when you finally complete the right of passage and become a fraternity brother or a sorority sister. However, in some cases, I’ve heard that people have been physically hurt by this process. People have also been kicked off campuses and have even done jail time for it. There's also a lot of drinking a boozing that goes on. Okay, enough about the bashing. I’ve actually heard some good things that come out of these, such as the community services and the fond memories that come with being a member of such organizations – even long after you’ve graduated. And it turns out that the concept of the being a ‘legacy’ is true. For example, if you had a brother that was part of a particular fraternity, you can pledge this same fraternity and they have to take you because your brother was a member. Also, I’ve heard that being in a fraternity or a sorority supposedly looks good on certain job applications (don’t ask me which ones). So I guess there is SOME truth to some of the far-fetched movies I’ve referenced. But now that I have the first chapter of “Greek”, perhaps I will have a chance to learn a little more about the real world when it comes to fraternities and sororities. Perhaps those of you who may wonder will want to watch as well, unless you have already seen this on the cable/satellite channel ABC Family. Note: The "pilot" episode has a brief scene of nudity, so be advised.
“Greek: Chapter One” takes you on an unforgettable journey with the students of the Cyprus-Rhodes University as they navigate the social minefield of college life in this hilarious ABC Family original series. Join Casey (Spencer Grammer), a sorority social climber, as she vies for president of Zeta Beta Zeta. Her world gets more complicated when her nerdy little brother Rusty (Jacob Zachar) arrives on campus and risks her reputation by joining a fraternity and trying to go from geek to Greek. On top of it all, she finds herself in the middle of a love triangle between her slouchy ex-boyfriend Cappie (Scott M. Foster), and Evan (Jake McDorman), the handsome president of the top fraternity on campus. Pledge with the hippest young cast on TV. Get initiated into an entertaining world full of characters and relationships that you won’t want to miss.
One of the first things I loved about this series was the Rusty character. Yes, he’s a geek, but at least he stands up for himself and he most certainly doesn’t always finish last. I’ve seen enough movies and TV shows where the geek always gets picked on and the geek doesn’t do a thing for fear of being pounded into hamburger. Not Rusty. In fact, he more than makes it clear to Evan in the "pilot" episode that blood is thicker than water – or brotherhood in this case. I also liked the assortment of characters. You’ve got your stuck-up snobs, you’ve got your geeks, you’ve got a religious freak, a jock, a smooth talker, a gay character or two, the cool guys...Let’s just say that it’s easy to latch on to these characters and grow fond of them, or in some cases hate them (characters you love to hate). While I don’t watch TV these days, I am at times thankful for what DVD's come my way to watch and review. This title is definitely in the club elite here.
The downsides? Check out the Video section of my review. Also, I didn’t like the way the outer slipcase said there were ‘Hidden Extras’. To me this says that there are more than one. Yet, I was only able to uncover one – ONE – hidden Easter Egg. While this won’t touch the final grade, I just wish that the studios would be a little more truthful as to what they put on their stickers, labels, and their covers.
My final word: I suppose there are times when I wish that I had cable or satellite. This way I could watch Chapter Two when it premiers. Oh well, there’s always the world of DVD. At least that has almost never failed. I guess what I’m saying is that I enjoyed this series. My attention was kept throughout all 10 episodes. Okay, it’s an ABC Family series, but that doesn’t mean that this series plays by Disney-style rules. In fact, this series is more for mature teen audiences. If you don’t feel the need to buy it, it’s at least worth a rental (unless you’ve already watched it on ABC Family). However, for those of you who did, there are extras you won’t see unless you get the DVD.

"Greek: Chapter One" includes 10 episodes of the first season (there are 18 episodes that make up the first season but this series is broken up into Chapters and the first 10 episodes make up chapter one), they are:

- "Pilot" (51:14) 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. There is a commentary track for this episode.

- "Hazed and Confused" (43:59) In a bold and mischievous move, Casey attempts to punish Rebecca Logan (Dilshad Vadsaria) 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 (Clarke Duke) and an early physics exam come in direct conflict with Kappa Tau’s beer pong competition against Omega Chi.

- "The Rusty Nail" (43:57) 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 (Amber Stevens) confuses Calvin’s enthusiasm for party planning with having a crush on her.

- "Picking Teams" (43:49) 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.

- "Liquid Courage" (43:44) 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 his blue-blood clan.

- "Friday Night Frights" (43:36) 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. There is a commentary track for this episode.

- "Multiple Choice" (43:55) 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 once again tempted by her past.

- "Separation Anxiety" (43:50) After their community service chairwoman is unceremoniously dismissed from the sorority, the Zeta Beta Zeta 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 women are a sure thing. There is a commentary track for this episode.

- "Depth Perception" (43:41) Allies become enemies when both Casey and Frannie (Tiffany Dupont) are nominated for the title of Omega Chi Sweetheart. Who will prevail in this 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.

- "Black and White and Read All Over" (43:48) When a scandalous story in the college newspaper hits stands trashing the Greek system, the brothers and sisters of Omega Chi, Zeta Beta Zeta and even Kappa Tau are in a frenzy to figure out who the undercover culprit could be. It turns out that the culprit falls right into Rusty’s lap. 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 that he has a secret. Also, Charisma Carpenter of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003) and “Angel” (1999-2004) guest stars.

Video

Each episode is presented in anamorphic widescreen format (1.78:1 ratio). While the episodes do not have chapter selection menus, there are chapter stops (probably where the commercial breaks were). You can play the episodes individually or you can have whole disc marathons using the ‘Play All’ option. The picture itself looks just a bit dull. Don’t get me wrong, I can see the picture great. It just looks as though it could have been brighter. Also, I’ve found some grain in the background where there is darkness (examples: scenes at night, dorm room where there’s lack of lighting...) Still, if they didn’t keep me from watching and enjoying these episodes, then it should be ditto for you. Being that I’ve never seen this series on cable/satellite, I wonder if this was how the series was originally broadcast. Again, I can’t say for sure, but the thought had crossed my mind. Starting with the second episode, all episodes are preceded by a ‘Previously on Greek...’ segment, showing you the previews of the previous episode(s).

Audio

Each episode is accompanied by an English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround soundtrack. The audio seems to be the opposite of the video. The mix utilizes the 5.0 part of the speakers well. The mix between the dialogue and the music seem to go hand-in-hand since one does not overshadow the other. I found that the whole room was filled with this combination. Now this is what it means to have surround sound, at least for a TV series.
There are optional English, French, and Spanish subtitles available for the episodes.

Extras

Buena Vista has released this series with extras that include bonus trailers, three episode audio commentary tracks, a featurette, deleted scenes, an extended music sequence, a Chapter 2 sneak preview, and an Easter egg round out the extras in this set. Below is a closer look at these supplements broken down per disc.

DISC ONE:

There is an audio commentary track for “Pilot” by series creator/co-executive producer Patrick Sean Smith and executive producers Shawn Piller and Lloyd Segan. This track has optional English, French, and Spanish subtitles. The track is mostly scene specific and all involved sound enthusiastic about what went into making the pilot, including the characters.

There are bonus trailers in a reel before the start of the Main Menu only (no optional subtitles) and are for:

- "Greek" promo spot which runs for 31 seconds.
- "Kyle XY Season 3" promo spot which runs for 16 seconds.
- "Enchanted" which runs for 2 minutes 30 seconds.

DISC TWO:

There is an actors audio commentary track for the episode “Friday Night Frights” by Spencer Grammer, Dilshad Vadsaria, and Amber Stevens. This track can be very annoying and can be easily avoided. There isn’t much along the way of technical detail. It is more of a giggling session. This track is more for the female fans who may have taken a liking to this series. Features optional English, French, and Spanish subtitles for this track.

There is a second actors audio commentary track for the episode “Separation Anxiety” by Jake McDorman, Scott Michael Foster, Paul James and Clark Duke. Unlike the previous commentary, this one is really interesting. While these guys do share some laughs, they actually have some personal experiences and trivia to give out. The track seems to be a scene-by-scene analysis at times. Note: This track has some spoilers, so don’t listen to it before watching the episode for the first time. Features optional English, French, and Spanish subtitles for this track.

DISC THREE:

The one featurette is "Greek: The Initiation" and runs 9 minutes and 43 seconds. This offers a behind-the-scenes look at the series and features interview footage with the cast and crew. There are also clips from the season.

There are 3 deleted scenes with optional audio commentary by creator/co-executive producer Patrick Sean Smith. Both the scenes and the commentary portions have optional English, French, and Spanish subtitles. Here are the scenes (all are time-coded):

- "Pilot – Scene 3" runs for 27 seconds, Rusty is trying to find his way around, but gets nowhere fast when he tries asking a deaf person.
- "Depth Perception – Scene 25" runs for 20 seconds, Calvin tries to tell a sorority pledge that her um-um is exposed.
- "Depth Perception – Scene 34" runs for 31 seconds, two students walk around campus and find a copy of the campus newspaper exposing the scandal, which would have ended this episode.

The extended music sequence is next from the episode "Separation Anxiety" and runs 2 minutes and 1 second and features the group Darwin Lied song “Heathens Be Warned”. All subtitles are featured for the spoken dialogue at the beginning. However, only English subtitles are featured for the lyrics themselves.

The "Chapter 2" sneak preview runs 3 minutes and 27 seconds. It starts out with interview clips from the cast and crew as they hype up what’s to come in the next chapter. As they talk, you see some clips. It is not a continuous clip. For the most part, it is just interview footage, but what is revealed for the next chapter is enough to whet your appetite. For one thing, you learn that Cappie and Evan used to be really close. Flashbacks will be used for some story lines, including this one. You will find out what drove the wedge between these two.

Bonus trailers can be selected using the ‘Sneak Peaks’ option from the Main Menu (no optional subtitles available) and are for:

- "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" which runs for 2 minutes.
- "Kyle XY Season 3" promo spot which runs for 16 seconds.
- "Wall E" which runs for 1 minute 34 seconds.
- "Greek" promo spot which runs for 31 seconds.
- "Enchanted" which runs for 2 minutes 30 seconds.

There also a hidden Easter egg on this disc. Here’s how to find it: while on the main menu, you should already be on the ‘Play All’ option. Press left to highlight the red cup atop the bed shelf. Select it to see a 3 minute 14 second Mockumentary-style featurette about the telltale red cup.

Packaging

This 3-DVD set is packaged in a clear amaray keep case, with an outer cardboard slip-cover.

Overall

The Show: A+ Video: C+ Audio: A Extras: A- Overall: B+

 


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