Saturday, April 28, 2007

Mini-DVD Reviews: Beverly Hills, 90210: The First Season and Melrose Place: The Second Season (May 1)

Today we take a look at two classic '90s Fox dramas. Paramount Home Entertainment's Beverly Hills, 90210: The Second Season and Melrose Place: The Second Season. See Shawn Eaton's mini-DVD reviews of both of these sets below:

Beverly Hills, 90210: The Second Season (CBS, $48.99) brings all of your favorite Beverly Hills teens back on DVD! The expanded second season premiered on Fox in the summer of 1991 with 28-episodes (the show always had at least 27 episodes a season throughout its run except for season one which had the normal 22). Beverly Hills 90210 wasn't an instant hit, but with the premiere of a summer series, the show became one of the most popular shows on Fox in the 1990s. The series centers around Minnesota teens Brandon (Jason Priestley) and Brenda Walsh (Shannen Doherty) as they struggle in every day teen life, surrounded by drama and their best friends, the cool Dylan McKay (Luke Perry), brainy Andrea Zuckerman (Gabrielle Carteris), the sarcastic Steve Sanders (Ian Ziering), the bitchy Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth), sweet Donna (Tori Spelling) and awkward David (Brian Austin Green).
The second season kicked off with a slew of summer episodes. We kick things off with "Beach Blanket Brandon" in which Brenda has a pregnancy scare. A few episodes later we meet wild Emily Valentine (Christine Elise) in "Wild Fire." In "Necessity Is a Mother" we meet Dylan's estranged mother, played by Dynasty veteran Stephanie Beacham. In "The Next Fifty Years" the gang ins thrown for a loop by the sudden accidental death of David's best friend, Scott Scanlon. In arguably one of the most powerful episodes to feature Shannen Doherty, "Meeting Mr. Pony" is the one in which Brenda is held at gunpoint while working late at the Peach Pit. In "Things to Do On a Rainy Day," '90s band Color Me Badd drops by while Donna discovers something shocking about her mother. As the season winds down, Brenda and Dylan get trapped in Mexico in "Mexican Standoff" while in the season finale, "Wedding Bell Blues," Jim takes a stand and refuses to let Dylan near Brenda.
The box itself is slip-sleeve and features four pull out snap cases that hold the eight discs on the set. The main art features all eight teens. Unfortunately, on the back of the box there is the dreaded "Music Has Been Changed for This Home Entertainment Version. Some Episodes May Be Edited From Their Original Network Versions." Which basically means nearly all (or all) of the music used in cutaway scenes and in the beginning few minutes after the opening credits has been replaced with cheaper, public-domain music. There could be some scenes where music was originally played completely cut out, like on CBS DVD’s Family Ties set. On to the menu itself--it's basic and features a solo shot of one of the stars (such as Disc 1 features Luke Perry). Each menu immediately pops up with the episode listings. The video itself is actually quite good as well as the audio. Each episode runs a good 44 to 45 minutes in length and each episode features chapter skips. Closed captioning is available.
Now, onto arguably the best part! SPECIAL FEATURES! Yes, a set that actually has special features! It's becoming a rarity these days (especially for CBS DVD)! All of the bonus features are on Disc Eight. The first special feature, "Meet The Walshes" (approx. 7 minutes) features in depth interviews with Carol Potter (Cindy Walsh) and James Eckhouse (Jim Walsh), sharing snippets of information and thoughts put together with some clips from the series. The second special feature, "Our Favorite Valentine" (approx. 5 minutes), focuses on Christine Elise and her run as memorable Emily Valentine. It features an interview with Elise herself as she discusses the character, her laughing at the corny lines, her outside then relationship with Jason Priestley and apparently a chilly relationship with Shannen Doherty. Her favorite scenes are the two confrontations with Brenda and her favorite episode is "U4EA" (Episode 3/Disc 4). In the final special feature, "Everything You Need To Know About Beverly Hills, 90210 Season 2" (approx. 17 minutes) has two guys, John Aboud and Michael Colton discussing everything about season two. It also features them in a very weird recreation of the season two opening credits, with the two guys donning wigs and appearing in the credits as all 10 cast members (from Jason Priestley and Shannen Doherty to Carol Potter and James Eckhouse)--very weird.
In conclusion, another fantastic set by CBS/Paramount! I was highly impressed with the three bonus features and I really hope we get more of them! My one gripe is that I'd like episode commentary and of course the original music is not there. Overall, a good, solid release and I'd naturally encourage any fan of 90210 to pick it up and add it to their collection despite the music issues!

-- Reviewed by Shawn Eaton
(4.5/5 stars)

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Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Beverly Hills, 90210 TV.com Page


Melrose Place: The Second Season (CBS, $48.99) brings back all of your favorite twenty-something hotties from 4616 Melrose Place with 32 more episodes (like 90210, this show had at least 27 episodes each season...wow)! Moving into the building full-time is Heather Locklear as uber-bitch Amanda Woodward, who wastes no time meddling in the lives of the residents, especially lovebirds Jake (GRANT SHOW) and Jo (DAPHNE ZUNIGA). Now a couple, Billy (ANDREW SHUE) and Alison (COURTNEY THORNE-SMITH, According to Jim) face a crisis when Alison's ex Keith (WILLIAM R. MOSES) blows back into their lives and isn't ready to let Alison go. Also, young married couple Michael (THOMAS CALABRO) and Jane (JOSIE BISSET) find themselves in the midst of a nasty divorce, only made more difficult by Michael's new love, Kimberly Shaw (MARCIA CROSS, Desperate Housewives), and Jane's scheming sister Sydney (LAURA LEIGHTON). Rounding out the cast is everybody's friend Matt (DOUG SAVANT, Desperate Housewives) who finds himself in a midst of change, with Rhonda gone and losing his job. A notable guest-star this season is Linda Gray (Dallas) guest starring as Amanda's estranged mother, Hilary.
The second season kicks off with "Much Ado About Everything" in which we find all of our couples happy and looking to the future, but this is a soap so we know it won't last! In "Long Night's Journey" Keith makes a dangerous move on Alison while Sydney officially moves into Melrose Place. In "Fire Power" Jake's beloved bike shop burns down. In "Flirting with Disaster" Matt gets married to Katya in order for her to stay in the states. In "Collision Course" Michael and Kimberly's engagement ends in disaster. In "The Young Men and The Sea" Michael's addiction to pain killers increases. In "Swept Away" Jo's being held captive by Reed on his boat, while Sydney blackmails Michael for her own twisted pleasure. In "With This Ball and Chain" Billy and Alison decide to marry while Amanda's dirty secret could prevent their "I do's." In "Otherwise Engaged" Jo finds herself with a lasting reminder of her passionate relationship with Reed while Sydney marries Michael, who isn't at all interested. In "Love, Mancini Style" Michael attempts to kill Sydney, twice. In "The Bitch Is Back" the presumed dead Kimberly Shaw returns, very much alive, and a very different person. In "Imperfect Strangers" Jo helps a model deal with her abusive boyfriend (mostly this episode was to set up the show Models, Inc). And in "Devil With The G-String On" Sydney's stripper ways are uncovered while Jake finds out Amanda's been bedding her mother's boyfriend. And finally, in the season finale, "Till Death Do Us Part" this 90-minute episodes finds Kim and Sydney plotting to destroy Michael, Amanda sued for sexual harassment, and Alison and Billy's wedding day is anything but a happy occasion.
The set itself is slip sleeve and features a snazzy looking cover art, with all of the main cast members on the memorable stairs of Melrose Place. Each slip sleeve case features a range of photos with a theme, mostly focusing on certain storylines, such as Jo/Amanda/Jake, Kimberly/Jane/Sydney/Michael, etc. Also, as with 90210 the music has been changed from the popular '90s music to common public-domain songs, although thankfully, the theme song remains in-place. The menu itself is very basic and features either a group shot of some of the cast members or a solo shot along with the episodes immediately listed. The video itself is in excellent shape as is the audio, very very impressive. Each episode runs a good 44 to 45 minutes and features chapter skips and closed captioning.
Moving on to the all important bonus features! And like 90210 ... yes, a CBS DVD set that actually has special features! The first special feature "Melrose Place: Meet the Neighbors" (Disc 2) features a run down of Jake, Matt, Alison, Billy, Amanda, Michael, Jane, Jo, Sydney. What's cool about it is that the menu for this bonus feature is made to look like the MP mail-boxes and the character names are on each box, and the theme song is playing in the background. When you select a character, it features an INCREDIBLY brief list of facts about the character from that season along with a wonderful color photo. It's brief but a neat little feature! In "Melrose Place: The Best of the Worst, Part 1" (Disc 3) features various memorable clips from Season 2 (Keith's suicide over the phone with Alison, Matt marrying Katya, Syd blackmailing Michael, Kimberly catching Michael in bed with Syd, Michael proposing to Kim and their car careening off of a cliff, Syd getting arrested for prostitution by an undercover cop, Reed kidnapping Jo on his boat, Jo shooting and killing Reed with a shotgun, Jake punching Billy for sleeping with Amanda, Jane and Sydney getting into their infamous pool cat-fight, Michael marrying Sydney, Michael trying to kill Sydney -- twice, etc.). In "Melrose Place: The Best of the Worst, Part 2" (Disc 4) features more memorable clips (Amanda and Jo catching the peeping tom, Amanda torturing him, Kimberly returning from the dead spying on Michael and Sydney, Kimberly showing herself to Michael in a thunderstorm, Kimberly famously pulling off her wig and revealing a throbbing scar, Syd getting beat up by hookers, etc.). In "Complex Relationships, Part 1" (Disc 5), that bonus features Billy and Alison's relationship. In "Complex Relationships, Part 2" (Disc 6), that one features Amanda, Jake, Jo and Reed. In "Complex Relationships, Part 3" (Disc 7), that one features Michael, Jane, Kimberly, Sydney and Matt. And finally, also on the set is COMMENTARY! Series creator Darren Starr recorded commentary on the following episodes: "Collision Course" (Disc 3) and "The Bitch Is Back" (Disc 7).
Sorry for the long winded review but it was a very good set! The set is very well designed and features amazing photos, great commentary, awesome bonus features and of course all of the episodes of season two! What more could you ask for? CBS/Paramount did a wonderful job and of course I urge every fan to go out and grab a copy despite some of the music being replaced!

-- Reviewed by Shawn Eaton
(4.5/5 stars)

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Melrose Place TV.com Page


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, September 25

Wrecked - "The Dark Prince Returns" (TBS, 10:00PM ET/PT)
With Karen gravely injured, Owen and Danny must journey to the center of the island to defeat Chettywompwomp; Florence learns more about Karen's back story; Pack, Todd and Jess face a futile task.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of September 24)

Tuesday, September 25

  • Sofia Vergara (Modern Family/The Knights of Prosperity/Hot Properties) - Catch Sofia on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • David Alan Grier (The Cool Kids/The Carmichael Show/Life with Bonnie/DAG) - David appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC. He will also be on Access Live, so check your local listings.
  • America Ferrera (Superstore) - America visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Ted Danson (The Good Place/Becker/Cheers) - Ted is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Judy Greer (Kidding/Married/Mad Love/Miss Guided) - Judy stops by Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC. She will also be on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Natascha McElhone (Californication) - Natascha is a guest on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Norm Macdonald (The Show Norm/A Minute with Stan Hooper) - Norm drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Tom Arnold (Roseanne/The Jackie Thomas Show/Tom/The Tom Show) - Tom appears on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Ricky Gervais (The Office) - Ricky visits LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • The Cast of Modern Family - Ed O'Neill, Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Sarah Hyland, Ariel Winter, Nolan Gould and Rico Rodriguez are guests on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Michael Rapaport (Atypical/The War at Home) - Michael appears on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • The Cast of Rel - Lil Rel Howery, Sinbad, Jessica "Jess Hilarious" Moore and Jordan L. Jones are guests on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Jerry O'Connell (We Are Men/Carpoolers/My Secret Identity) - Jerry will be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour and on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Sanaa Lathan (Family Guy/The Cleveland Show/LateLine) - Sanaa dishes on her new Netflix movie Nappily Ever After on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Leighton Meester (Single Parents/Making History) - Leighton talks about Single Parents on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am, on GMA Day at 1pm and on the BUILD Series at 2pm.
  • Ron Livingston (Loudermilk) - Ron talks about A Million Little Things on the BUILD Series at 4pm.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (August/September)

The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Eleventh Season The Middle - The Complete Ninth Season Modern Family - The Complete Ninth Season Step by Step - The Complete Second Season Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fifth Season

08/07 - Happy Endings - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
08/15 - A.P. Bio - Season One
08/28 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Five
08/28 - Man Seeking Woman - The Complete Third Season
09/04 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - The Complete Season 12
09/04 - Mom - The Complete Fifth Season
09/04 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Fifth Season
09/04 - Superstore - Season Three
09/04 - Young Sheldon - The Complete First Season
09/11 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Eleventh Season (Blu-ray)
09/11 - The Middle - The Complete Ninth Season
09/11 - Modern Family - The Complete Ninth Season
09/11 - People of Earth - The Complete Second Season
09/18 - Community - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
09/18 - Step by Step - The Complete Second Season
09/18 - You're the Worst - The Complete Fourth Season
09/25 - Blondie - The Complete 1957 Television Series
09/25 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fifth Season
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