"10 Items Or Less" is an attempt to bring "Office"-like comedy to a supermarket setting and while the series doesn't have the same level of success or widespread appeal, I thought this first season certainly had its positives. This TBS series is a partially improved (the cast goes off a plot outline) sitcom created by Nancy Hower, John Lehr, and Robert Hickey.
The series stars co-creator Lehr as Leslie, a young man whose father ran the Greens and Grains Supermarket in Dayton, Ohio. Determined to impress his father, he tries to head to New York City to find success, only to have his father pass away before he can find a way to prove himself. Deciding on a different course, he heads home to manage the store and its staff of misfits.
In the pilot episode, Leslie has to face former crush Amy (Jennifer Elise Cox, of the "Brady Bunch" movies), who is working for a "Wal-Mart"-like corporation called Super Value Mart, who wants to either buy out or wipe out his store. When Leslie doesn't accept, he has created a powerful enemy - whether he realizes it or not (seemingly not.)
The main problem with the series is that it often has a bit of difficulty trying to gain much comedic momentum; while there are stretches that get a few chuckles and a big laugh or two, when the series tries to venture into the lives of the supporting characters, it doesn't get as far - some of the supporting characters are a little one-dimensional and/or quirky for the sake of being quirky.
While the series manages some funny larger plots (Leslie takes advantage of a stain a wall of the store, Amy loses her job at the Super Value Mart and has to work for Leslie), but once it settles into the relationships between the characters, it starts to run out of steam. There's some great lines and some clever moments scattered throughout the episodes, but the characters themselves feel a little underdeveloped.
Overall, "10 Items Or Less" didn't quite manage to hold my interest throughout, but I thought there were enough laughs that the show displayed some potential. Hopefully the third season - which starts on TBS 1/6/09 - will see some improvements.
VIDEO: "10 Items or Less" is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Image quality is satisfactory, as while some scenes looked rather soft, much of the show appeared crisp and clean. No edge enhancement was spotted, but some light traces of pixelation were occasionally seen. Colors looked natural and accurate, with pleasing saturation and no smearing.
SOUND: The show is presented in stereo for the first season and Dolby 5.0 for the second season. Whether in stereo or 5.0, the show's audio is basic, with not much beyond dialogue (which, given the fact that it's a sitcom, is not exactly unexpected.) Audio quality was fine, with crisp, natural-sounding dialogue.
EXTRAS: Blooper reel, behind-the-scenes featurette, "Notes From the Casting Couch" featurette and viral videos.
Final Thoughts: "10 Items Or Less" is a little on the uneven side in these first two seasons - while there are hilarious moments, they're in-between some flat spots. Some of the supporting characters also just didn't grab my interest, either. The series does have potential though, and hopefully the third season will show some improvements. The DVD set for seasons one and two provides satisfactory audio/video quality, as well as an assortment of extras. Recommended for fans, while others should try a rental - or try the series when the third season premieres soon - before considering a purchase.