I've never understood the appeal of "Laguna Beach" (and I'm really only a little bit older than the show's target audience) - it's a bunch of rich kids and their minor issues - make-ups, break-ups, fashion worries and just about every other possible teen crisis pops up at some point during the episodes. However, the kids have more money than they know what to do with, and am I really supposed to care when one goes into crisis mode when they can't find the best outfit for tonight's party?
"The Hills", which is a "spin-off" of "Laguna", is a step in the right direction. The series, which follows "Beach" star Lauren "L.C." Conrad, actually has characters that do something. This time, Conrad has moved to Beverly Hills in order to secure (read: be given by MTV, who I'm sure set it up) an internship at Teen Vogue. Joined by wilder pal Heidi and friends Audrina and Whitney, the girls try to make it after all. There's certainly a few obstacles along the way though, like Heidi finding out that work requires, well, work.
"The Hills" remains more compelling than "Laguna" thanks to the fact that there's simply more going on as the main characters have to try to move forward in their lives, balance work and a social (in terms of Lauren, old boyfriend Jason comes back into the picture) life and make choices. In terms of production quality, "The Hills" sees some upgrades over "Laguna", with much improved cinematography and a sleeker overall feel. As MTV reality shows go, it's certainly one of their more enjoyable offerings.
1 New City, New Drama 5/31/2006 101
2 A Change of Plans 6/7/2006 102
3 An Unexpected Call 6/14/2006 103
4 Lauren and Jason, Take Two 6/21/2006 104
5 Jason's Birthday 6/28/2006 105
6 Boyfriends and Work Don't Mix 7/5/2006 106
7 Somebody Always Has to Cry 7/12/2006 107
8 You Can't Just Be with Me? 7/19/2006 108
9 Love Is Not a Maybe Thing 7/26/2006 109
10 Timing Is Everything 8/2/2006 110
VIDEO: "The Hills" is presented by Paramount in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Image quality was largely very good, as images looked crisp and clear throughout much of the program, aside from a few soft moments here-and-there. Some slight edge enhancement and artifacting was seen, but the majority of the program looked clean and clear. Colors looked rich and bold, with no concerns.
SOUND: The show's stereo soundtrack remains crisp and clear throughout, with bassy music and well-recorded dialogue.
EXTRAS: Deleted scenes, "MTV.com The Best of The Hills: The After Show" featurettes, "MTV Movie Awards" featurette, "The Hills: Premiere Party" featurette and cast interviews.
Final Thoughts: "The Hills" is one of MTV's better reality efforts, as it follows L.C. and friends as they face the eternal struggle of how to effectively balance work and play. The DVD presentation offers good audio/video quality and a solid selection of supplements. Recommended for fans.