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

October 31st, 2011

Victorious: Season One, Volume Two - Buy from Amazon

I've previously reviewed Victorious, both when Season One, Volume One came out and a couple times as part of iCarly releases. I was not a fan of the pilot episode, but by the end of the first half of the season, I felt the quality had improved enough that members of the target audience would want to check it out. Does it continue to improve during the second half of the first season?

The Show

Strangely, like the first volume, the second volume gets off to a slow start. Good news is, The Diddly-Bops, the first episode of the DVD is better than the average episode from the first DVD. Andre is one of the more well-rounded characters in the show and he gets to be the focus on the show. Cat's New Boyfriend focuses on friendship between Tori Vega and Cat Valentine (Ariana Grande), which is threatened after Cat unknowingly starts dating Tori's ex-boyfriend. While Cat can sometimes be a bundle of quirks more than a fully developed character, Cat and Tori do have good chemistry together. In order to teach his students Method Acting, Sikowitz has a sleepover at his house. What parent would allow this? The set up does allow for some great comedic scenes, but seriously, what parent would allow this? A Reality TV crew shows up to film a new TV series at the school called The Woods. Reality TV is a good target for satire and some of the shots hit their mark. However, the B-plot involves Trina and Robbie and those two characters are the weak links on the show. After Tori learns there's a Ping Pong club at the school, she wants to try out. At first, the captain, Jade (Elizabeth Gillies), refuses to let her try out. Then when Tori proves she would be the best player on the team, Jade refuses to let her join. This only makes Tori more determined. In Wok Star, Jade freaks out when the school won't let her put on her play and Tori tries to comfort her and in doing so inadvertently offers to help her find a sponsor to raise the $3,000 needed. Jade and Tori probably have the best dynamic in the show and they work well together as enemies and allies. Or in this case, after the former threatens the latter with a pair of scissors.

There's a heat wave in Survival of the Hottest and the gang decide to go in Beck's (Avan Jogia) RV and head to the beach to cool off. However, before they get there, they all manage to get stuck in the RV, all of them, except Cat. Now they have to rely on Cat to rescue them. In Wi-Fi in the Sky, Tori and Trina are flying home from somewhere, but the plane is late. Because of this, Tori has to do a group homework assignment over video chat while trapped in a plane. It has a guest appearance by Perez Hilton, who can drain the enjoyment out of any show. The season ends with two-parter, Freak the Freak Out, which has three plots. The first has Tori taking care of Trina after the latter has dental surgery. The sibling rivalry is done well, if a tad broad. The second plot has Cat and Jade working together to win a karaoke contest, but after they lose they learn it was rigged. (One of the girls who won is the daughter of the owner.) Cat and Jade working together is a bit of a twist and adds something new to the show. The final plot involves Robbie hitting on some girls and failing. The less said about this part, the better. Despite this, it is a good way to end the season.

For the most part the show has improved over the first half. Most of the characters have more depth. We learn a little bit more about what makes Jade tick, which makes her character more sympathetic. Trina is a little less broadly written, but Robbie is still not clicking as a character. It is still Victoria Justice's show and she has the charm to carry the show.

The Extras

The DVD includes the iCarly crossover episode, iParty with Victorious and the behind-the-scenes of the recording of the special combined theme song for that episode. There's also a music video for "Best Friend's Brother".

The Verdict

Given the number of connections between Victorious and iCarly, it is natural to compare the two shows. While iCarly is still the better show, Victorious is showing a lot more potential during the second half than it did during the first half, especially the pilot episode. Season One, Volume Two doesn't have a lot of extras, but the price-per-minute is good for this type of release.

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