What About Brian - The Complete Series DVD Review
Posted by Tony Farinella on 09.28.2007
411's Tony Farinella reviews The Complete Series of What About Brian, starring Barry Watson.
Brian Davis, played by Barry Watson, is famous for his six-week rule on the show, What About Brian. To sum it up, after six weeks, he gets tired of the girl he's dating and dumps her. He basically looks for any flaws and gets rid of her. It's ironic, because What About Brian starts off in the same fashion as Brian and his love life. At first, everything is going smoothly, and it appears that Brian might find finally find a worthwhile girlfriend. With What About Brian, the show starts off on a high note, and it looks like a well-written show about people in their thirties. Sadly, much like Brian's love life, everything falls apart. It's really sad, to be quite honest with you. I mean, this show started out on such a high note. It was witty, original, well-acted, and a lot of fun. I was really starting to wonder why the show ended up being canceled. After finishing up the Second Season of What About Brian, my questions were answered. It was just a complete and utter mess. I don't think I've ever seen a show start off on such a high note, and then completely fall apart at the end. It was almost like I was watching two completely different shows. Honestly, after watching the first half of the show, I was ready to rave about What About Brian and recommend it to everyone. After watching the second half of the show, I can't do that anymore. The show turned on me!
As stated above, What About Brian follows Brian Davis, played by Barry Watson of 7th Heaven fame. He's in his thirties and refuses to settle down with one girl. He always finds a reason to break up with a girl or get rid of her. In fact, he dumps one girl, because she slurps the milk out of her cereal. Man, I thought I was picky! That said, Brian is very loyal to his group of friends. They always count on Brian to be there when the going gets tough. Whenever you need Brian, all you have to do is call him, and he'll be there. He's like Batman, I guess. Brian's sister, Nicole Varzi, is played by Rosanna Arquette. She's married to Angelo, played by the very Italian Raoul Bova. They're currently trying to have a kid, but that's easier said than done, because of Nicole's age. We also meet Brian's co-worker, Dave Greco, played by Rick Gomez. They work at a place called Zap Monkey, which develops video games. What a gig, eh? Dave is married to Deena Greco, played by Amanda Detmer. They also have three kids. Before I go any further, I have to name drop here. I've had the pleasure of interviewing Amanda Detmer, and let me tell you, she's such a sweetheart. She's so nice, professional, and up-beat. She deserves to be getting more work. Okay. The name-dropping portion of this review is done! I promise.
We also meet Brian's best friend, Adam, played by Matthew Davis. Adam is about to marry Marjorie, played by Sarah Lancaster. But, there's only problem: Brian has a major crush on Marjorie. To be blunt, Brian can't keep his eyes off her. Truthfully, it's hard to blame him! That said, he doesn't want to ruin his friendship with Adam. Also, Marjorie has feelings for Brian. She doesn't want to admit it, but there's something brewing with them. Yes, it's a messy triangle on What About Brian. Oh, we are also introduced to Ivy and Jimmy, played by Amanda Foreman and Jason George. Jimmy and Brian work together and have many conversations about the female race. Ivy is Jimmy's sarcastic girlfriend with an acid tongue. She just can't seem to keep her mouth shut. We also get characters such as the stripper, played by Michelle Trachtenberg's twin, Rachelle Lefevre. She's not really her twin, but, man, she looks A LOT like her. We also meet the WWE's Stacy Keibler, who plays one of Brian's love interests. Let me tell you, she's one of many. It almost seems like a revolving door of women for Brian. It gets a little out of hand. Oh, did I mention that Tiffani Thiessen shows up, too? Yeah, she plays a horny boss. Needless to say, it's quite crowded on What About Brian. Yes, TOO crowded. It's a major, major problem, to say the least.
The first season of What About Brian was really, really good. It was a great show with an engaging cast of characters. It was really refreshing to see a show about people in their thirties who are trying to figure out what it all means. I really enjoyed spending time with them and following them around. Then around the 10th episode of Season Two, the show started to really fall apart. The show stopped being real and authentic. The show turned into a soap opera and gave us random characters for no apparent reason. They were trying to do too much with the show. Why not just stick with the core group of characters? That's what made the show so good in the first place. Instead, random characters like Stacy Keibler and Tiffani Thiessen showed up, and it really ruined the show. As soon as I started to care about someone on the show, they would disappear and be replaced with other characters. I hate when shows try to over-complicate things and just throw random ideas at us. The entire series is 24 episodes, and it felt like they tried to cram about 4 seasons into one. Plus, the show became really, really predictable. You knew it was only a matter of time before a fight broke out between characters or someone dumped their boyfriend or girlfriend. I really don't like when shows try to create problems for the sake of creating problems. I know it's only a TV show, but at least try to make the show unfold in a naturalistic way. With What About Brian, you can sense it coming from a mile away.
Also, Brian started to really irritate me near the end of the series. What's his deal? At first, he's just a confused guy who's trying to figure out what to do with his life. Then, he turns into an annoying man-child who can't make up his mind. I mean, this guy has amazing women who are all over him. What's the problem, man? BE HAPPY AND PICK ONE. Instead, he just whines and whines and whines about every little thing in his life. There's nothing more annoying than a person who refuses to be happy. I would KILL to be in his position. Plus, he's blessed with a ton of wonderful friends. The dude just looks for reasons to bitch and moan. The only characters that I really cared about were Deena and Dave, because they had real marriage issues to deal with and worry about. They were the only characters who appeared real and human. Adam is also a womanizer and a louse. He takes advantage of women and uses them for his own selfish purposes. As far as Ivy, she's just plain unlikable. It's OK to be sarcastic, but she's just rude. She's always mouthing off and chewing people out. After reading this review, you probably think I hated this show. Honestly, I thought it was really good at first, but very crappy near the end. The show just ended on a really sour note for me. It really left me with a bad taste in my mouth. It's a real shame, because this show had a ton of potential. Sadly, it's wasted in Season Two with a lot of unwanted crap and garbage. Instead of calling the show What About Brian, I'll call it What Could Have Been. This is a perfect example of how to ruin a good show by trying way too hard.
DVD Info:What About Brian is released on a 5-disc DVD set from Buena Vista Home Entertainment. The DVD box set features 24 episodes from Seasons 1 and 2 on five discs. The audio is presented in English (Dolby Digital 5.1). We also get subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.
What About 3: The Season that Never Was: This special feature runs at 3 minutes and tells us what might have occurred if the show had lasted for another season.
Exclusive unaired episode: What Happens in Vegas, with introduction by show creator Dana Stevens: This is an unaired episode of What About Brian that never aired on ABC. We get a neat introduction from Dana Stevens that tells us all about the episode.
Calling All Friends: The Story of What About Brian: This is your basic special feature that tells us all about the show from start to finish. We hear from a lot of the cast members about how much fun they had shooting this series. From watching this special feature, you get the sense that they really connected with each other on and off camera. This runs at 13 minutes.
Episode commentary by writer-director Dana Stevens: Dana Stevens offers her thoughts on the pilot episode along with the series finale. It would have been nice to have a cast commentary track on this DVD.
The 411: I know my review seems rather harsh, but this show really let me down. I don't mind if a show is terrible and stays terrible, but to start off on such a night note and then completely collapse is just plain rude. Yes, I said rude. Honestly, the First Season is really, really good. But the Second Season is almost unwatchable. I found myself getting angry at the show. I wanted to turn the show off and never watch it again. But, as you know, it's my duty to watch the entire show. And I did. If they ever release the First Season of What About Brian by itself, I'd highly recommend that you pick it up. But, as far as the entire series, the bad outweighs the good, sadly. It's truly depressing, because a lot of talent is wasted on this show. The Second Season is just a complete and utter mess. It's like a bad soap opera or something. Brian, you let me down, bro!