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Tru Calling: The Complete First Season (2003) – DVD Review


Created by: Jon Harmon Feldman
Starring: Eliza Dushku, Shawn Reaves, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Priestley, A.J. Cook


  1. All twenty first season episodes
  2. Running audio commentaries:
    1. Episode 1: “Pilot,” with creator Feldman, executive producer Dawn Parouse, actors Dushku and Reaves
    2. Episode 6: “Star-Crossed,” with creator Feldman
    3. Episode 11: “The Longest Day,” with creator Feldman, executive producer Parouse, actors Dushku and Reaves
    4. Episode 14: “Daddy”s Girl,” with creator Feldman, actors Dushku and Galifianakis
    5. Episode 16: “Two Pair,” with creator Feldman, and actor Priestley
    6. Episode 20: “Two Weddings and a Funeral,” with creator Feldman, actors Dushku and Galifianakis
  3. Deleted scenes with optional commentary by creator/executive producer Feldman
  4. Featurettes: “Finding the Calling: The Pilot,” “The Tru Path: Season One,” “Evil Comes Calling: A Late Season Twist”
  5. Music Video: “Somebody Help Me” by Full Blown Rose

Released by: Fox
Region: 1
Rating: NR
Anamorphic: Yes

My Advice: Check it out on cable, maybe.

[ad#longpost]Tru Davies’ (Dushku) life goal is to become a doctor, to save people. Since her mother’s murder ten years ago, she has been trying to save her fractured family, so she has a little experience. She hits a bump in her plan when her internship falls through and she has to take a job at the morgue. Events then take a strange turn when one of the corpses opens her eyes and asks Tru for help. Tru then awakes to find she is reliving the past day and that she can stop people form dying before their time. With the help of her bumbling but street smart brother Harrison (Reaves) and her bumbling but book smart boss Davis (Galifianakis), she finds herself able to save these people, although admittedly in an unusual manner. Then she means Jack Harper (Priestley). A little odd but charming, she discovers that the dead call to him too. However, he believes that they are fated to die and works to ensure that. Tru and Jack are to begin a battle literally between life and death.

After Eliza Dushku’s standout performance as the evil Slayer Faith in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it seems only natural that she was getting her own series. Shame it was this one. Now Tru Calling isn’t bad, but a show like this should support its main star, not the other way around. Dushku shows an empathy in her character that shows compassion without losing any strength. Of course there can be comparisons made between Tru and Buffy, both with an amazing gift and an awesome responsibility and both trying to have a normal life without allowing the innocent to suffer. But Dushku makes this character her own instead of a Buffy clone.

Another good character is Tru’s brother, Harrison, played by Reaves. He plays this with an ease that could easily be made into a caricature. One of the best lovable rouge with a heart of gold I’ve seen in a while. The shame is that these are the only two characters worth noting. The rest are pretty bland and forgettable. The Davis character is played too hard by Galifianakis, making the oddness come off as affected instead of natural. I know it’s hard to play Mr. Exposition but as Law & Order has shown us, a coroner can be normal and still be interesting.

The writing shows some promise, but bad execution. In many of the shows, what Tru will change on the rewind day is almost shoved in our faces. Not just what killed the person, but little events that almost scream “Do over!” And there are far too many coincidences from the to-be-saved people being part of her life in some way to official people acting way too stupid or criminally negligent. From Tru fooling people into thinking she’s a high school student or an Army nurse, it shows laziness in the writing that they can’t reason out a more credible situation. The use of characters is also handled badly. Meredith, the older sister of Tru and Harrison, is said to be in rehab then simply forgotten. Considering one of the themes of the show is Tru trying to rebuild families, this is handled badly. But at least Meredith gets a brief explanation.

A reporter who starts getting suspicious about Tru’s appearances at crime scenes appears for a few episodes, and then disappears completely without a word. The mid-season addition of Jason Priestly as the dark version of Tru (supposedly an intentional addition) does add some more possibilities, even though your first inclination is that he should be named False. Jack isn’t played as a moustache-twirling villain, he just has a different take on the whole phenomena. He believes the dead should stay dead and saving them upsets the overall cosmic plan. Since this is network television, we are meant to side with Tru’s adherence to Life where Jack is obsessed with Death, but still: at least having the argument in some form is a feat in itself. But given what I’ve seen, I don’t think there will be much followthrough.

The extras are what who expect for a TV DVD release: a few featurettes, some deleted scenes, and some commentaries. Maybe it’s because I’ve reviewed more than a few of these sets, but they all seem kinda bland to me now. The featurettes are somewhat informative, but feel more like the pieces of an infomercial than an actual look behind the scenes. Most of the deleted scenes don’t really add anything to your understanding of the show. And the commentaries, while do have some good details and anecdotes, are primarily happy talk and commentary for the blind. Like I said, maybe it’s because I see a lot of these, but now that all these extras are becoming standard with current TV series out on DVD, the bloom is maybe off the rose. DVD makers may have to start looking into special features and how to make them more interesting. The Tru Calling box set in all could have been better all around. Rent it only if you have a major lust on for Eliza Dushku.

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