Page 1 of 3
Paramount / 2006-2007 / 922 Minutes / Unrated / Street Date: November 23, 2010
Every time a 7th Heaven set comes to my desk, a certain inevitable glee descends upon me. I know I’ll find nothing but fault in it. I know I’ll bemoan the fact that I have to sit through so many hours of a horseshit show. But I’ll be damned if I don’t watch a disc a night for five nights, absolutely blitzkrieging through as much 7th Heaven as I can get my grubby little hands on (seriously - it happens with every new release of the show). Perhaps this is the series' grandest gift to the television world: It proves that TV doesn’t have to be good to be great.
Aaron Spelling, of all people, knew this very well. Whether it was the jiggly crime-play of Charlie’s Angels, the teeny-bop love/sex of Beverly Hills 90210 or the Christian conflicts at the center of marvelous, marvelous 7th Heaven, Spelling and his creative teams had an airtight way of keeping viewers interested even if the material was substandard. Charlie’s Angels’ debut season is a perfect example. I have legitimately tried to convince colleagues that there are three or four episodes from that season that constitute some of the best artistic punch that television has ever aired (both Angels in Chains and that season’s roller-derby installments are grandiose achievements of a massive caliber), but nobody buys it.
And now it's done: 7th Heaven: The Final Season is the last hurrah of the super-cheesy family melodrama, and after succumbing to its histrionic powers over the course of the last few nights (as I have with seasons past), while I didn't get the happy red ribbon tied around my 7th Heaven experience as I may have hoped, at least with this final go-round, I can man up and finally say good-bye.
Unsurprisingly, the show is worse here than it ever has been - we've been dealing with diminishing returns with each new season for a while now. The basic premise of the show doesn't stray from the norm: Eric Camden (Stephen Collins, a long way from searching for V’Ger in Star Trek: The Motion Picture) and his wife Annie (Catherine Hicks, another Star Trek alum) are spiritual, busy, adoring parents with a brood of kids (and now grandkids) running around all over the place - and adventure ensues in every episode. And the tractor beam magic of 7th Heaven guarantees that if you find yourself on the show’s wavelength, you’d better be ready to spend some quality time with your boob tube.
And what happens in this season? Eric's heart problems return, bringing an advent of sickness and death to the show's overall feel, and we get drama with the twins (Lorenzo and Nikolas Brinn), as well as the (surprise, surprise) revelation that after knocking up young Ruthie (Mackenzie Rosman), Martin (Tyler Hoechlin) is forced to choose between her (fresh off the boat from her trip to Scotland!) or his latest flame, Sandy (Haylie Duff).
See, the blandness of these timid plot developments makes me almost embarrassed to have such a sweet tooth for 7th Heaven, but even if these are stupid, I suppose the heart wants what it wants. At the end of the day, this series was as redundant, almost pretentious in its cuteness and showcased very little in terms of being dramatically new or inventive. But I know that at least one person reading this review understands that for certain sensibilities, the show - even in these late seasons - was a nearly irresistible force of nature.
Good, bad or ugly - guilty pleasure, thy name is 7th Heaven. R.I.P.