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Featured TV on DVD Review: Victorious: Season One, Volume One

July 2nd, 2011

Victorious: Season One, Volume One - Buy from Amazon

Victoria Justice has been working with Nickelodeon for a while now, starting in 2005 when she joined the cast of Zoey 101. She was later part of the cast of Spectacular!, a Nickelodeon TV movie that I previously reviewed, and more recently she had guest shots on a few Nick TV shows. However, Victorious is the first TV show where she's the star. I'm not in the target demographic for this show, but how well does it stack up to shows like iCarly or Big Time Rush?

The Show

Victoria Justice stars as Tori Vega, the more intellectual and down-to-earth sister of Trina Vega. Trina is an outgoing performer and goes to the Hollywood Arts High School. The series starts with Trina practicing for a big performance, which will be seen by talent scouts. She practices for days with Andre Harris, a fellow student. Unfortunately, the night of the big performance, Trina has an allergic reaction and can't sing. Fortunately, Tori has been there for the entire time the other two practiced, and she learned the song and can perform in her place. In fact, she does so well, she's given a full scholarship to the Hollywood Arts High School.

Once she starts school, she meets Cat Valentine (Ariana Grande) an eccentric, easily offended, easily distracted performer; Robbie Shapiro, a shy ventriloquist, who often speaks through his dummy, Rex, who is also his constant companion; Beck Oliver (Avan Jogia) the most popular guy in school; and Jade West (Elizabeth Gillies) Beck's girlfriend and instant rival to Tori. She also has to deal with Erwin Sikowitz (Eric Lange) her crazy acting teacher.

I previously watched the first episode when I reviewed iCarly: iSpace Out and at the time I wasn't impressed. After watching the pilot episode a second time, I stand by that initial response. The first episode is really quite bad. However, it is also arguably the worst episode on this two-disc set. They have to cram way too much into one episode with the opening act just setting up how Tori got to go to this performing school, and then introducing the main characters, setting up the main conflict, and then the secondary plot. Too much.

However, quite quickly the show hits its stride and the overall quality improved dramatically. That's not to say the show is without flaws, even compared to other shows aimed at its demographic. Some of the characters only work as supporting characters and when they become the focus of an episode, the show suffers. Robbie, the shy ventriloquist, and Rex Powers, his dummy, spring to mind. The pair are not exactly unique creations for a TV show, and so far the writers have not done enough to lift them past a simple cliché. Jade West has shown a little more depth than just a Mean Girl, which is important, as a one-note character would have grown tiresome quickly.

Granted, I'm judging the show as a kids show with the same target audience as iCarly and Big Time Rush, so keep that in mind. And while I don't think it is quite as good as the former, it's much better than the latter.

The Extras

There's not much here. Firstly, there are two short previews / interview clips, but combined they are barely more than 1 minute. There are also two music videos. Also, there are no subtitles or proper chapter placements.

The Verdict

Victorious: Season One, Volume One is better than average for a show aimed at its target demographic and if you enjoy iCarly, then you will likely enjoy this show as well. There are almost no extras on the DVD, and frankly, I think they could have put all 20 episodes on a three-disc set, so splitting the season into two volumes feels like a cash grab. That said, the overall value is on par with other Nickelodeon releases and it's worth picking up for fans of the show.

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