Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hannah Montana - The Complete First Season

Written by Guest Reviewer Jordan Richardson

As I sit here attempting to iron a Hannah Montana transfer on to my hooded sweatshirt, I’m reminded of my personal journey with Miley Cyrus and I start to wonder how it all came down to this. I first discovered Disney’s Hannah Montana juggernaut courtesy of my landlord’s kids. Curious, I checked it out one day and found myself unable to turn away.

The show was colorful, bright, and energetic. It also wasn't very good, brimming with the type of cheese that Disney loves to infuse family-friendly comedy with and utilizing every worn-out Full House format in the book. The setup-problem-solution-lesson foundation ran through each episode, but this time Bob Saget’s Danny Tanner was replaced with Billy Ray Cyrus’s Robby Stewart.

Then came July 2008 and I checked out Miley’s Breakout disc, fully expecting to hate it. I didn’t. Next month, in August, I reviewed Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds 3-D Concert Movie and once again I expected to hate it. And once again, I didn’t. What was happening to me?

Obviously Miley Cyrus has my number.

So with the third round bell echoing in my ears, I got in the ring with Hannah Montana: The Complete First Season 4-Disc Collector’s Set. Right smack dab in time for Christmas, this is one DVD set that will be finding itself under many trees. Most people aren’t on the fence about Hannah Montana and won’t need to be convinced to purchase (or avoid) this.

Produced by It’s a Laugh Productions in association with Disney, Hannah Montana is a television series with a basic premise and a ridiculous laugh track. Interestingly, the idea for Hannah Montana came about as the result of an episode of That’s So Raven. Before Cyrus was tapped for the role, pop singer JoJo was considered. After she turned it down, Cyrus (who had originally auditioned for the role of the “best friend”) was cast.

The show took to the air for the first time on March 24, 2006. The first season, comprised of 26 episodes, took over a year to air.

Cyrus stars as Miley Stewart. In Jem-like fashion, Miley is pop star Hannah Montana but has to keep her identity a secret. Her best friend, Lily Truscott (Emily Osment), soon discovers her distinctiveness (in the first episode, actually) and the two of them go through school and life with the secret between them.

Miley’s father, played by her real-life dad Billy Ray Cyrus, also works as Hannah’s moustache-wearing manager. Jason Earles plays Hannah’s brother, Jackson. The first season also features a number of guest stars, including the legendary Vicki Lawrence as Miley’s grandmother (“Grandma Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Favorites"), Ashley Tisdale, and Dolly Parton as Miley’s godmother (“Good Golly, Miss Dolly”).

Along with all 26 episodes from the first season, the DVD set includes some “Backstage Disney” features. Miley Cyrus goes to the Cyrus Family Farm in Nashville, Tennessee in “Back Home Again With Miley”. It’s a cool feature that lets fans see another side of Hannah Montana. And “Hannah’s Highlights” offer some insight into Hannah/Miley’s favorite episodes with the odd pop-up.

As one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World and as one of ForbesTop Twenty Superstar Earners Under 25, there’s no question that Miley Cyrus is taking the world by storm.

If you have tweens or youngsters, you probably already have this DVD set or you’re probably on your way to the store to pick up a copy. If you’re like me and you want to get an up-close look at the leader of a bizarre, sparkly cult bent on world domination, Hannah Montana – The Complete First Season is critical.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I believe my iron-on transfer is finished…

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