Created By: Donald Todd, Cecelia Ahern
Starring:Christina Applegate, Jean Smart, Kevin Dunn, Jennifer Esposito, Barry Watson, Melissa McCarthy
Christina Applegate’s new vehicle finds her waking up from an eight day coma with retro grade amnesia. Luckily she has her parents, two friends and an ex-boyfriend to help her figure out who she is. Unluckily she’s figuring out she’s not that great a person.
The pilot starts out with Sam, Christina Applegate, laying in a hospital bed surrounded by her mother and father, Jean Smart and Kevin Dunn, with the Pinacolada song stuck in her head. She shortly comes out of her coma to find her mother and father and a childhood friend Dena, Melissa McCarthy, at her bedside. As she is released from the hospital she meets Todd, Barry Watson, the boyfriend she lives with. Going home with a man who is now is a complete stranger proves just a little to weird so she instead goes home with her parents. Waiting at home for her is her best friend Andrea, Jennifer Esposito, who is waiting to spirit her away from her parents who she is informed that she hasn’t spoke to in two years. Turns out that living with her parents may be even weirder that staying with a strange man. So she heads to the apartment that she shares with Todd. Todd does his best to make her welcome but the awkwardness is palatable. Sam notices the answering machine has some messages on it and in an effort to jog her memory she takes a listen. The first message is a bunch of Todd’s friends telling him that they are going to find the man that ran Sam down, and… buy him a drink. Starting to realize that maybe their relationship may not be on all that solid ground Todd drops a bombshell by informing her that they broke up right before she was struck down by a car.
Over the next episodes Sam learns more about herself and finds a lot not to like, which of course is a big part of what drives the show. The episodes are split between Sam trying to fix things that she screwed up before the amnesia and her experiencing things again for the very first time. For the first season it’s great device for storytelling. I wonder how many seasons the writers can keep it up though. I guess the game plan is to get you hooked on the characters before the amnesia gag wears off. It’s not a bad plan. The supporting cast of characters is interesting and funny right off the bat with a lot of room for growth. The characters are really well formed from the beginning. Part of it is the cast who are all excellent another part of it is the writing which combines the typical sitcom tropes but carries themes over from episode to episode. The writers are not afraid to poke a little fun at themselves which is also keeps the storytelling fresh.
The video is presented in wide screen format and the show is shot more like a drama than a sitcom. The lighting is more dramatic with more range than what you would expect in a typical and it looks good. The blacks are nice and black and there is just a little bit of grain in the darkest scenes. I never noticed any defects or artifacts beyond a little bit of aliasing, with no blooming or moire.
The audio is Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound in English only. There are subtitles in English, French and Spanish. The levels are good with no distortion. The dialog is always clear and the score is interesting. Surround usage is minimal as you might expect from a television series presentation but what’s here is crisp and clean.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The DVD comes in the standard Amaray case with a cardboard slipcase. The artwork may not be that inspired but I like the color palette and the copy actually describes the show pretty well. The bonus features are a little sparse. There are some deleted scenes and some bloopers and an audio commentary for the pilot.
I enjoyed Samantha Who, I like the characters and I’m curious what’s going to happen to them. Probably not curious enough to figure out when it’s coming on and actually try to watch it on TV, but there’s a good chance I would pick up the DVD’s of the next season.
Overall (Not an Average) 7/10
The Movie 7/10
The Video 8/10
The Audio 7/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 5/10
Overall (Not an Average) 7/10