One of the most impressive drama series I have seen on abc Family with a solid script, really good editing and also solid performances by the show's talent, "Make It or Break It" has become one of my favorite drama series to catch on television.
"Make it or Break It" is a new abc family drama series which began in June 2009, and with its debut and run "Make It or Break It" proved to be successful as it received the second best series ratings for the network. The first season consists of a total of 20 episodes, and the first ten episodes are featured in "Make It or Break It: Extended Edition" on DVD.
Created and written by Holly Sorensen, "Make It or Break It" is a captivating drama series that revolves around a female gymnastics team and a girl named Emily Kmetko (played by Chelsea Hobbs, "Beach Girls", "Pasadena", "Lords of Dogtown") from Fresno who practiced gymnastics at a public gym at the YWCA and showed impressive talent.
Because of her talent, she receives the opportunity to attend one of the top gymnastic schools in the country known as "The Rock" (Rocky Mountain Gymnastics Training Center). But life for Emily is difficult as her mother is a single, unemployed mother trying to take care of Emily and her disabled brother. So, Emily tries to balance her life working at a pizza restaurant (secretly), while preparing to make the gymnastics competition with her goals to make it to nationals and become part of the US Olympic Team.
But life is not easy for Emily, the girls of "The Rock" are not exactly welcoming to her especially Lauren Tanner (played by Cassie Scerbo, "Dance Revolution", "Soccer Mom"), who despises her. Especially since Emily is a threat to the top three who want to make it to the Regionals. As the storyline focuses on Emily, as the underdog who tries to prove to her fellow gymnasts that she belongs there and deserves to compete, her other fellow gymnastic friends at "The Rock" have their share of problems.
"Make It or Break It: Extended Edition - Volume One" comes with a total of 10 episodes on two DVD's. Here is a spoiler-less summary of each episode:
* EPISODE 1 - Pilot - The Kmetko's move to Boulder, Colorado where she joins "The Rock", one of the most prestigious gymnastics school in the country. But as the new gymnast coming into the school, many of the top athletes are not to thrilled about her joining them.
* EPISODE 2 - Where's Marty? - With Steve Tanner blackmailing Marty, the Rock loses their head coach prompting the gymnasts and their parents in confusion and shock since nationals are coming up.
* EPISODE 3 - Blowing Off Steam - With a new coach who is very strict, some of the girls decide to go to a kegger party which leads Carter doing something he will later regret.
* EPISODE 4- Sunday, Bloody Sasha, Sunday - It's Sunday and because the girls have went to a party, Sasha disciplines the top 4 with a full day of intense training, meanwhile Emily is afraid she will get fired from work.
* EPISODE 5 - Like Mother, Like Daughter, Like Supermodel - With "The Rock" needing funding, the group will have a fashion show which Sasha makes the girls take part of.
* EPISODE 6 - Between a Rock and a Hard Place - The Rock girls take on the Denver school in a gymnastics competition at the Invitational but what happens to Emily when she doesn't listen to her coach?
* EPISODE 7- Run, Emily, Run - Emily faces the repercussions of not listening to her coach. Meanwhile, Damon comes up with an idea for Emily to continue her training.
* EPISODE 8 - All's Fair in Love, War and Gymnastics - The Cruz family has a send off party for the gymnasts but secrets are revealed.
* EPISODE 9 - Where's Kaylie? - After Kaylie discovers Carter's secret, she runs off the day before the Nationals. Now Emily, Lauren and Payson need to find her.
* EPISODE 10 - All That Glitters (Extended Version) - It's the day of the National Gymnastics Championship in Boston. Who will emerge victorious and make it for the Nationals team?
VIDEO & AUDIO:
"Make It or Break It: Extended Edition - Volume One" is presented in widescreen (1:78:1) and for the most part, the picture quality is satisfactory for a drama series. Also, it helps that the series features various settings, including multiple outdoor shots which definitely makes the PQ for the DVD much better. You can see slight compression at times on certain scenes but not too distracting.
Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. The series is front and center channel driven, dialogue is clear and understandable and music comes out quite clear from the front channels. The series is not the type of series that utilizes special effects or the use of the surround channels but if you have a modern home theater receiver and a 5.1 or 7.2 setup, definitely worth selecting audio on all channels on the receiver for a more immersive soundscape.
Subtitles are in English SDH.
"Make It or Break It: Extended Edition - Volume One" comes with a few special features. Included are:
* Making It - (8:50) Series creator/writer/Executive Producer Holly Sorensen talks about how the series came to be, the training the actresses had to go through to learn gymnastics (or sharing their previous gymnastics experiences) and their stunt doubles and behind-the-scenes footage on the making of the show.
* Deleted Scenes - A total of six deleted scenes: The "M" Word, A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words..., You Go, Girl!, Mrs. Cruz is not your BFF!, Funny Money and What's in the Bag?
My first time watching "Make It or Break It" was through a feature which was included with "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" and I was pretty captivated by the underdog storyline of a girl who came out of nowhere having to prove to others that she has talent while the others at the school tend to not welcome her. Also, the fact that her family are not financially in a well-place. In some way, it has that "Karate Kid" type of storyline that I enjoyed back in the 80's with the exception that no one is getting into fist fights but I could tell this was a show about perseverance, teamwork and possible some major cattiness.
Needless to say, when I started watching the first volume of "Make It or Break It", I watched all of it in one sitting because I found it to be quite engrossing. I have to admit that this is the first abc Family drama series that I really, really enjoyed immensely. For a group of actresses that have not had a long career, each of them did a great job. And it was great to know through the "Making Of", that the actresses had previous gymnastics or dance training but also had to go through weeks of boot camp to learn gymnastics and seeing how the camera shots and editing made this show so believable. I was pretty impressed, the editing of the actresses and their stunt doubles have been quite flawless and it helps that their stunt doubles have a similar height and build.
But I also enjoy the series because as much as its about four young women preparing for Nationals, it's a family series in which parents have a major place in the storyline and some major talent are in this series such as Perry Gilpin of "Frazier" and a grown-up Candace Cameron Bure of "Full House". And also because some parents are in various financial situations, I liked how the show shows the struggles of the families also incorporating how the economy can put a dent into the future of families with children who are athletes. I've known several friends who are in similar positions as the parents shown on this series and the writers did a good job in showing that.
So, I really enjoyed the series a lot. But if there was one little problem was during the finale, why they would introduce storylines that should have interfered with the gymnast's focus on their competition. Gymnasts are very focused athletes. It's a sport where there is a lot of discipline and takes a lot of focus and somehow at times, there are situations that I felt was a bit farfetched but of course, this is a drama series and I can understand why certain things had to happen. Also, for the DVD release, I hope that there will be some kind of audio commentary in the future. It would be fun to have the director or even the four young women share their commentary of an episode or even for the next release, the season finale.
But overall, I have to admit that "Make it or Break It" is a wonderful drama series. Granted, if you have a little or a lot of appreciation for gymnastics, the series although incorporates the sport, it's not to over-dominating as the storyline focuses on the four main athletes of "The Rock" and their family situation.
"Make It or Break It: Extended Edition - Volume One" is a very solid series, definitely recommended!