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Featured TV on DVD Review: Big Time Rush: Season One, Volume One

March 25th, 2011

Big Time Rush: Season One, Volume One - Buy from Amazon

Big Time Rush first aired in November of 2009 with an hour-long TV special. That special was first released on DVD as part of the iFight Shelby Marx DVD, which I previously reviewed. At the time I was less than impressed, but was willing to consider the possibility that it was just a rough start and once the show found its footing, it could be fine. Now that I've seen Season One, Volume One, was I unfair to judge a show on just its pilot? Or was I being too optimistic?

The Show

In the pilot, four hockey playing friends from Minnesota get discovered and signed to a record label as a boy band. They then travel to Los Angeles to live in a swanky hotel filled with other wannabe stars while they work at becoming famous. Along for the ride is the mother and younger sister of one of the band... I'm not sure which one. In fact, now that I think about it, I only know the names of two of the members, and I'm not sure I could even place the names with the right people.

I just finished watching the show and I can't remember their names. I can't even describe them as "the strong silent type" and "the goofy sidekick type" because their personalities are interchangeable. Wow. That's a bad sign.

Besides the four boy band members, there's the younger sister, Katie, who's a typical precocious preteen. The "Wise beyond her years type", but in a sitcom way. She generally fills up the B-plots of the episodes and in that regard is one of the more successful characters here. Their manager / overlord is Gustavo Rocque, a megalomaniac determined to make them work 24 hours a day and is rather cartoonish in his drive to make the band a success. His assistant, Kelly, is the closest thing we have to a real person in the show, as opposed to a sitcom character. While at the Palm Woods Hotel, they interact with a lot of potential new stars, most notably Camille (Erin Sanders from Zoey 101) who is a little on the crazy side, but at least in an entertaining fashion. (She tends to enter a scene by slapping one of the four leads, in preparation for an audition.) Early in the season, Jo is added as a potential love interest, but it's too soon to tell how well that character will work.

The first half of the first season has a mix of industry related episodes (writing the perfect hit, getting the right photo into a teen magazine, having a bad boy in the bad) to more normal teen stuff (throwing a party, needing time apart). The quality runs the gamut from excruciating to watch to showing some signs of promise. Some of the side characters are interesting, certainly more interesting than the four main leads. Ciara Bravo is good as Katie, although the character as written is a little sitcomy at times. The same can be said of Erin Sanders' performance as Camille. The adults range from underwritten (Kelly & the Mom) to unbelievably cartoonish (pretty much everyone else). And the overall, it feels like a clone of Jonas, right down to the overuse of sound effects.

Let's see if I can get the four right. Carlos is the one in the helmet. James is the wannabe model. Logan is the big brother to Katie, I think. And Kendall... and I don't remember a single thing about him.

How can your four main leads be this forgettable?

The Extras

You can watch one of the episodes with a trivia track on and a short image gallery.

The Verdict

Granted, I'm a little old to be watching Big Time Rush, but I've seen enough shows with similar target demographics to judge it. The average episode on Season One, Volume One is well below the quality of fellow Nick shows like iCarly or Tru Jackson. It does have some rabid fans, but I'm not one of them.

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