Sex and the City: Season 6 Review
Ally McBeal was one of those so called "girly" shows that I remember sitting down to for its pilot and getting hooked instantly, watching it religiously until its final, fated 5th season. The popularity of that show, its observations and quirky comedy had turned it into an instant smash, unrivalled by any other relationship based comedy/drama series. And then along came Sex and the City one year later - A show about four women who talk openly and frankly about sex, relationships, jobs and so on within New York's bustling social scene. I ignored the show at first and it wasn't until a good friend of mine recommended I should actually sit down and watch an episode that once again I become hooked on a TV series.
This fascinating show about women in the city, supposedly for women turned out to be some kind of bible for both sexes, featuring many trials and tribulations faced by singles or couples that leave a mark by which we can all relate to. Incidentally it is based upon Candace Bushnell's best selling book of the same name (though while I haven't read it I hear it is quite different from the show itself), it is something of an oddity that the series literally took over mainstream TV overnight because it is the kind of show that is so frank and often foul mouthed that you'd have to wonder if America was ready for it. In the years since Sex and the City debuted America had imported a few British sitcoms, with Coupling being the most talked about, largely for its content that was deemed too strong for U.S. audiences. So maybe the case of Sex and the City was that it connected with viewers on such a personal level that it didn't matter any more, it has become a part of modern TV pop-culture. It speaks truths, of that there is no denying and it would defy anyone who hasn't experienced some kind of similar situation, mirrored in any one of its highly entertaining episodes.
For those of you not familiar with the series here is the set up.
Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) has been writing her column "Carrie Bradshaw Knows Good Sex" for a local newspaper for many years. Her articles focus on her daily experiences from recent exploits, her questions that stem from everyday situations and her perceptions of life in the "Big Apple". For the past six years she has been in on and off contact with Mr. Big (Chris Noth), usually by telephone and this mysterious man often raises discussions between her and her friends. While she isn't speaking to Big she is trying to find that perfect partner but for all this time she fails to realise that he may just be under her nose already.
Samantha Jones (Kim Catrall) is a publicist. Her constant need to be the centre of attention and seek the main spotlight continues to drive her passion for life. Not one to ever settle down she promiscuously multi tasks her men and then boasts about it in glorious, foul-mouthed fashion.
Miranda Hobbs (Cynthia Nixon) is a single lawyer who refuses to bow to society's preconceptions of perfect relationships and marital bliss. Now finding herself as a mother she faces new tests in her life and does wonder if the right man for her is out there.
Finally there is Charlotte York (Kristin Davis). She is a curator for an art museum and is the most conservative when it comes to discussing sex. Charlotte believes in finding that one true love, already she has had one failed marriage but continues to search for "Mr. Right" who she hopes will marry her, provide her with a family and settle down with her for the rest of their lives.
Season six is the grand finale. Much has happened over the years for each of our women and now is the time to say goodbye to them, but not before enjoying some wonderfully written episodes that offer a culmination of poignancy, laughter, tears and revelations.
Note: The following section will contain spoilers
Season six picks up right from where season five ended. Carrie is still in the early stages of her relationship with Jack Berger (Ron Livingston), a fellow author she met on a visit to the Hamptons but she soon realises that her relationship is about to go downhill after a successful start. Berger's inability to commit to their relationship is evidently a result from his jealousy after Carrie brings him news of her recent financial gain, when her book is picked up for distribution. When their relationship ends as a result of a post-it, Carrie moves on and it isn't long before she meets Aleksandr Petoskey (Mikhail Baryshnikov), a brilliant, Russian artist who has all the makings of being the perfect man for her to spend the rest of her life with. Their relationship appears to be too good to be true and it most certainly is...
Meanwhile, Miranda, who has been pining over her baby's father Steve (David Eigenberg) finally hooks up with him after much beating around the bush. They move in together and agree on getting wed, but not before some confrontations with Dr. Robert Leads (Blair Underwood). As the series gears toward its finale, Steve's mother begins to show some signs of senility, which will prove to be another test for Miranda as she decides to let her stay with them.
This season also sees Charlotte trying for a baby and marrying the love of her life, Harry Goldenblatt (Evan Handler). She seeks new religion and wishes deeply to become a bigger part of his life and his family's. Charlotte goes through some hard times in this season, suffering from a miscarriage and having the worst luck since in her relationship where nothing she does, no matter how hard she tries ever comes together. The worst of luck usually signifies that something good is around the corner and thankfully for Charlotte all of her dreams will end up coming true.
Samantha has always been the intimidating member of the group. Her attitude in life and her philosophies would be the centrepiece of any conversation and here in season six it is time for her to grow. Samantha never saw herself as settling down with anyone but when she meets a young actor who works as a waiter she sets of on a passionate sexual encounter that sees them draw closer to one another. Still trying to keep her distance and refusing to face facts, Samantha begins to realise that her young lover, Smith Jerrod (Jason Lewis) is the guy for her.
Also during this season she receives some bad news, when it is discovered that she has breast cancer. Now she must fight her toughest battle and it is here that her relationship becomes more important and significant than ever, when Jerrod displays a moment that is heartfelt and sweet, spurring Samantha on and encouraging her as she fights the big C.
The makers of Sex and the City did the right thing when they ended the series while it was still at a high point. Many fans are sad to see it go but looking at the big picture it feels right that it should end here.
There is obviously a lot of ground to cover to ensure that every loose end is tied up and early on in the season it almost looks as if everything is coming together. When the writers then turn events upside down, end what would appear to be good relationship, introduce new, shocking revelations and more romantic plotlines it becomes even more curious. You begin to wonder if everyone can pull this off and end the series on a high note.
Thankfully, despite all that goes on in season six it does conclude on an emotional and satisfactory level. It isn't without its moments of predictability. For years we all knew that Mr. Big WAS/IS perfect for Carrie but their time apart and distance bore many a frustrating moment. It was only a matter of time before we'd see them paired together, and what better way than to do it in France for the final two-part episode.
The series ends with the girls carrying on as usual. Samantha's fight against cancer seems to have been a successful one. Her bravery and positive outlook has proven to be inspirational, as she serves plenty of memorable moments. Charlotte and Harry finally get the good news they've been waiting for and Miranda has finally settled with the man of her dreams.
Fans couldn't wish for a better way for the series to end on. In the six years spent watching the adventures of these four women it feels like they have become friends to us, we sympathise with them, cheer for them and in the end hope that they each get what they deserve.
Paramount present Season six in its entirety for this R2 release, unlike the R1 effort from HBO which has shamelessly been split into two sets due to the series originally airing in the States with a sizable break.
Season six isn't entirely bad on DVD but it is disappointing. Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 the show holds up very well in terms of colour and detail but is marred by grain and pixelation. There is simply no excuse for this, even with four episodes per disc they should still be able to look the way they did on television and as good as any feature film. While more and more shows come out on DVD I hope that companies will put a little more effort into spending the money more wisely. Those saying it looks as good as it did on Television are wrong, but it isn't too far off.
For many this may not be a problem and it perhaps it comes down to personal nitpicking. Each episode is perfectly watchable though and the content of each episode should quickly make you forget about any such flaws in the transfer.
There are no chapter stops for the episodes.
AC3 2-channel English and French tracks are made available here. Dialogue is crisp and clear which is all you want really. If listening through a 5.1 set up you will find dialogue spread across all channels which is fine but obviously makes no better use of them.
As with most Paramount releases there are subtitles in English and numerous other languages.
With only two discs on hand for this review I am relying on the press release to confirm there are no extras available. There is plenty of opportunity for them and it would be nice to have commentaries and interviews etc but sadly we're left with a bare bones release. Still, for value for money you can't complain too much.
The final season of Sex and the City is a brilliant, witty and emotional ending to a great series that has found admiration throughout the world. Its universal themes and marvellous central performances make it a show worth remembering and in the years to come it can be looked upon as being an important piece of television, one that dared to explore the way we perceive relationships and pull it off in a truthful and respectful manner.