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Cherry Pop

'7th Heaven: The Sixth Season'
(Stephen Collins, Catherine Hicks, Jessica Biel, et al / 6-Disc DVD / NR / 2008 / Paramount)

Overview: From leading television producer Aaron Spelling comes 7th Heaven a critically acclaimed family drama about a minister his wife and their seven children. The WB's highest-rated series 7th Heaven has captured the hearts of television audiences with its witty charming and heartwarming storytelling and has been praised for providing high-quality entertainment for all ages.

DVD Verdict: With the release of this 6th season now here, that means that more than half of the series is already out. So being able to collect Seasons 1-11 seems more attainable than ever at this stage! Sadly, it appears that the poorly edited episodes and all-too-typical music changes haven't been addressed, but if you're a big "7th Heaven" fan, you can't deny that it's better than not having them on DVD at all!

Like many others, I grew up with this show. I was a fifth grader when it all began, and by the time its last episode aired, I was almost done with college. I think this show will always hold up as one that was brave enough to deal with contemporary issues in a tasteful way, all while portraying a loving American family that managed to stick together, even though they were far from perfect. With each passing year, the social issues presented got deeper without steering away from their classic "family friendly" ways.

I have to admit that Seasons 1-5 were probably the best, and the first two years were my all-time favorites, when the original Camden kids were young, and before the storylines started getting more complex to accommodate the classic "growing pains." It was around Season 6 that I started seeing the show weaken a little bit, but of course, at this point, they were only midway through the series as a whole, and as the kids grew up and new characters were introduced, there was plenty more of a story that the writers wanted to tell.

Season 6 finds oldest child Matt getting into med school at last and receiving his first glimpse at the girl he will eventually marry, whose Jewish roots create a serious clash between the two families. Former "fallen angel" Mary, who is trying to deal with her mistakes and has shaped up quite a bit in the past year (despite having a shameless lapse of good judgment every now and then) trains to be an airplane pilot, struggles to rebuild her relationship with her family, and has two men eager to marry her.

Good girl Lucy, who convinced her parents to let her get engaged right out of high school at the end of last year, returns home after a summer with her fiance, and chooses to mope around and cry instead of explaining why the ring is suddenly off her finger. Teenager Simon enters a more rebellious world of alcohol, dating, and driving, while sassy young Ruthie--who is probably the most intelligent of the Camden bunch--corresponds by letter with a soldier in the Marine Corps and comes face-to-face with an emotionally damaging teacher from her past. Youngest Camden offpsring Sam and David are only about three now, so there isn't much to say about them (although I can't say there really ever was much to say about them, to be honest).

Also present in this season is the infamous "bad boy" Robbie Palmer, who begins building a better reputation for himself and serves as both a son and an older brother to the Camden family. Then, of course, there's Eric, who continues dealing with the various trials and tribulations of being a Reverend (which includes coming to terms with his oldest son's desire to convert to Judaism) and Annie, who takes a teaching job at Ruthie's school and finds herself in the middle of a student's domestic problems. Guest stars include singer Joy Enriquez, the memorable Andrew Keegan as Mary's former boyfriend Wilson, and a first look at the infamous Kevin Kinkirk, who may have what it takes to piece Lucy's broken heart back together. In short, it's not the very best season of the series, but it's still a pretty good one with some very nice moments, most notably (in my opinion) the episode "Suspicion," where 10-year-old Ruthie meets a serious challenge in her young life when she chooses to defend her friendship with a Muslim classmate. If you're a "7th Heaven" enthusiast, you'll want to add this one to your DVD collection ... you just have to! This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs but does not come with any Special Features.