What do you do when your one hit is a show your father produced and you've slipped past the D list? Make a show about making fun of yourself, of course. "So Notorious" (which is actually called, "So NoTORIous", but I'm going to call it "So Notorious", because I think everyone already gets the joke) features Tori Spelling as Tori Spelling, an actress whose one high note (and, as noted in the commentary for "Beverly Hills, 90210", Spelling's Donna Martin was originally a minor character who was supposed to have a few lines an episode) has long since past. Now, in this fictional take on Spelling's life after "90210", she finds herself chasing after roles in Soderberg flicks and ending up in direct-to-DVD movies not ready for Lifetime.
Each episode has Spelling and her fictional friends - such as gay friend Sasan (Zachary Quinto) and pal Janey (Brennan Hesser) - getting into various mix-ups, like spending an entire night trying to get her Blackberry back from a kid who's managed to get his hands on it and is now taunting her from elsewhere in L.A. In another episode, a new boyfriend turns out to be a member of a cult. One episode has Tori under the belief that her mother is using voodoo to ruin her life.
The series doesn't exactly start off on the right foot with the pilot episode, but things start to pick up slowly in the episodes after. The show's issue is that, for every moderately clever little bit, the show offers up a gag that's a little too easy and a little too slapsticky. Thankfully, the series actually does manage to keep the whole idea from getting repetitive, as it potentially could have gotten tired after a few episodes. The running gag of legendary producer Aaron (who is only heard by phone in the series, in a nod to Spelling's "Charlie's Angels") offering his daughter roles on his latest shows ("I hear they need a new witch on 'Charmed',", he notes.) get a laugh each time.
The series portrays her late father in a good (and good-natured) light, but "So Notorious" takes delight in poking fun at her mother (who famously was more than a little upset at the portrayal), Candy (called Kiki here and played by Loni Anderson), portrayed here as completely in her own self-absorbed world, selling off Tori's belongings on Ebay (when she brings this to her mother's attention, she responds, "Well let me tell you she got a steal and she stiffed me on shipping. I gave her negative feedback.") in one episode and stealing her boyfriend in another.
Overall, "So Notorious" is an uneven series, but at its best, the series (which I liked better than the similar "Fat Actress") did suprise me with some solid laughs.
1. 1- 1 2 Apr 06 Plucky
2. 1- 2 2 Apr 06 Whole
3. 1- 3 9 Apr 06 Street
4. 1- 4 16 Apr 06 Accomodating
5. 1- 5 23 Apr 06 Jealous
6. 1- 6 23 Apr 06 Cursed
7. 1- 7 30 Apr 06 Relaxed
8. 1- 8 7 May 06 Charitable
9. 1- 9 14 May 06 Soulful
10. 1-10 Canadian
VIDEO: Psramount presents "So Notorious" in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation quality remained pleasant as, while a few scenes appeared slightly soft, the majority looked crisp and well-defined. Some minor shimmering was seen, but no pixelation, edge enhancement or other flaws were noted. The film's intentionally vibrant, rich color palette looked great here, with superb saturation and no smearing. Black level remained solid and flesh tones looked accurate.
SOUND: The show's stereo soundtrack remains clear and full, with clean, crisp music and dialogue.
EXTRAS: Commentary from Tori Spelling and the show's producers, 17 minutes of deleted scenes (with commentary), 24-minute "behind-the-scenes" featurette, interviews and an unaired episode ("Canadian".)
Final Thoughts: "So Notorious" sometimes gets a little carried away with the easy/obvious cracks at Spelling, but there are definitely some big laughs at times throughout the episodes. The DVD set provides excellent audio/video quality and a nice set of extras. Recommended for fans, while others should try a rental first.