DVDs in Review: #71: Six Feet Under: The Complete First Series

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In 2001 Alan Ball, the writer of the Academy Award winning American Beauty released his newest creation on an unsuspecting public. A show about a family run funeral home located in Los Angeles, a show looking at the lives of people who live in a world focused on death. From the pilot episode people noted that this show was something exceptional and this boxed set contains the complete first season.

Six Feet Under follows the story of the Fisher family and the people close to them; eldest son Nathaniel Jr (Nate) Fisher (Peter Krause) having turned his back on the business for years returns to spend a little time with his family for Christmas. In the airport he meets a beautiful woman and has a spontaneous fling with her, unaware that his father Nathaniel Fisher Senior is killed by a bus on the way to the airport. This traumatic event changes his life forever and he reluctantly returns to the family business, taking over running and living in the Fisher & Son Funeral Home with his mother Ruth (Frances Conroy), his sister Claire (Lauren Ambrose) and his brother David (Michael C. Hall). The other three core members of the cast are their brilliant mortician Federico (Freddy Rodríguez), David's boyfriend Keith (Mathew St. Patrick ) and the lovely Rachel Griffiths as Brenda, the woman who Nate has his fling with at the airport and later becomes his girlfriend.

Six Feet Under is a show which works on several distinct levels, the primary one being a family based drama which deals with the problems each family member encounters. Nate is struggling to adjust to this new life, David is having problems coming out of the closet, Claire is utterly lost in the wilderness of adolescence and Ruth has lost her life long partner, husband and father of her children.

It's also a philosophical program which took a fresh look at the subject of death and made a bold decision not to shy away from it. Most TV deaths before Six Feet Under were in police procedural and were essentially little more than the initial drive for an investigation. Six Feet Under features at least one death per episode (some of them are exceptionally inventive) and builds the show around both life and death with a darkly comic perspective. It's a show which says, death is to be embraced. It comes to all of use, but there is something beyond, so don't be afraid.

The four disc set itself is wonderfully designed, it's dark and stylish with striking cover art and a brilliant pop up part to it's construction. When you open the box up the internal tray is lifted out slightly, making it easy to pick up the DVDs. Also, in theme with the shows black sense of humor the moving tray reveals a macabre message saying "Your whole life is leading up to this." It simply is an incredibly well thought out and superbly constructed product. The first time I saw that little message when opening the box I was simultaneously amused and provoked into quiet reflection about the truth of it.

Six Feet Under is one of the most significant shows of this decade and the first season is a spellbinding tour de force, if you haven't already seen Six Feet Under you haven't lived.

And who'd want to die without living first?

Behind the scenes featurette including interviews with the cast and Alan Ball
Deleted Scene from the pilot episode
15 min "making of" featurette
2 music tracks

Aspect Ratio: 1:33.1
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Language: English
Rating: 18
Region: 2
Run time: 11 hours 33 mins
Subtitles: English


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