Saturday, September 22, 2007

Mini-DVD Review: The Bronx is Burning (Sept. 25); Solomon's Weekly Rant: Surprise Ending to Back to You Pilot; Emmitt Smith on ESPN

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for mini-DVD reviews and Solomon's Weekly Rant! First up of course is the mini-DVD review. This week we take a look at ESPN Home Entertainment's The Bronx is Burning. The Bronx is Burning is the eight episode mini-series that aired on ESPN this summer focusing on the 1977 season of the Yankees and what was going on at that time that summer. This show is well acted and got better with each episode. See my mini-DVD review of The Bronx is Burning:

The Bronx is Burning (ESPN, $39.92) brings the events of summer 1977 to DVD, in the form of The Bronx is Burning! New York City was in a crisis that summer of '77, they were paralyzed by a blackout, political strife, and the Son of Sam killing spree, so the Big Apple was burning. Rising out of this, came the New York Yankees...they signed Reggie Jackson and the trouble and turmoil started, but in the end they won a world championship. This is a true story of how the New York Yankees single-handedly helped to raise the spirits of a city in a time of darkness and uncertainty. Based on the best-selling novel by Jonathan Mahler, this historic 8-part dramatic mini-series captures the summer of 1977 like never before. John Turturro stars as Yankees Manager Billy Martin, Oliver Platt as demanding owner of the Yankees George Steinbrenner, and Daniel Sanjata plays the slugger Reggie Jackson.
Packaging on this DVD is decent. We have an outer box that we slide out to get to the case. I really think we don't need that outer box, because the case is good enough. Plus the outer box has the same exact cover art and back art as the case. Anyway, the cover has the three main stars of this mini-series (Reggie, Martin, and The Boss). It is a great looking cover art. The back of each has synopsis of the series and set, along with a list of bonus features and some nice photos from the mini-series. When we open the case, we see an insert for other ESPN products on the left, on the right we see a holder for disc one. Then like a book, we can turn it and on the back of that holder is disc two. Disc three is on the right side. Each disc has a nice blue background with a different exterior shot of New York City. Disc one also has a photo of The Boss (same as the cover art), disc two has Billy Martin (same as the cover art), and disc three has Reggie (same as the cover art). First half of the mini-series is on disc one and the second half is on disc two, while disc three has bonus features.
This mini-series is excellent. You will have to watch all eight to understand it. The episode run-time is all over the place, but I assure it is unedited. I'll list all the run-times in order: 42:04, 44;22, 41:55, 43:10, 39:57, 44:18, 36:34, 39:02. There are about 6 chapter stops for each episode. The video is in widescreen and looks very good! The audio is great and sounds very good, as it is in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. This is from this past summer, so it has to be good.
The menu screen starts by showing us nice clips with the theme in the background. It is really neat. The Episodes are listed right on the main menu for discs one and two. There are some Bonus Features on disc one, they are also listed right on the main menu. Disc three has all bonus features, and again, they are listed right on the main menu screen.
Moving on to those bonus features. Disc one has Player Bios and '77 Yankee Statistics. The Player Bios are of George Steinbrenner, Billy Martin and Reggie Jackson. They all run two minute each or so, and the text is in a scrolling video. The stats are divided into different categories: Batting Stats, Pitching stats, ALCS Box Scores, World Series Box Scores, Schedule & Results. The Box Scores are like the bios, a scrolling video text that run a but over a minute each. The Schedule & Results is the games for the entire 1977 season, find out who the Yankees beat and loss to. That also is in a scrolling video that runs under 3 minutes.
We have all the rest on disc three. First up is Deleted & Extended Scenes. Approx. 10 1/2 minutes of these. We have 5 scenes and we can also have option commentary on them by executive producer Gordon Greismer. Then we have some Webisodes of The Bronx is Burning. We have 7 of them and they run about 1 1/2 minutes each. Cool stuff. Then we have some Interviews. We have an interview with George Steinbrenner that runs 10:03, an interview with Reggie Jackson that runs 8:36, an interview with Billy Martin's son Billy Martin Jr. that runs 10:32, and John Turturro the actor who played Martin in the movie, running 6:47. Then we have a nice On the Set Featurette that is very detailed and runs 22:26. Finally, we have Stories of '77...Fenway Dugout Brawl that runs 6:30 and Sport Magazine Article that runs 6:20. Find out the scoop from these two huge stories.
I highly recommend this mini-series and DVD. The Yankees overcame a lot in '77 and so did the city of New York. While this is entertaining, it was also a true story. I urge you all to watch this, especially if you are a fan of sports. And if you've watched it on ESPN, you should get the DVD, because you learn more facts and insight from the great bonus features. Like the classic Roots mini-series of that time, this is also eight episodes. This could be our Roots for this generation! Let's hope the Yankees of 2007 can repeat what the Yankees of '77 did...win a championship.
-- Reviewed by Pavan
(4/5 stars)

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SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
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In addition to our sitcom ratings of the week tomorrow on the blog, we will have a special Sunday edition of Mini-DVD Reviews, we will take a look at the What About Brian DVD!


Solomon's Weekly Rant
Saturday, September 22, 2007
"Surprise Ending to Back To You Pilot; Sports Analyst with a Speech Problem"
By Solomon Davis

The new Fox sitcom, Back To You is expected to be a huge hit this TV season (though it certainly wasn't a blockbuster in the ratings in its first episode) but I didn't really get that feeling from watching the pilot episode. The show featured two major sitcom stars, Kelsey Grammar and Patricia Heaton, who starred on hit comedies in the past and I guess Fox is banking on this happening with Back To You. The show was very watchable with some funny moments but I had no idea there was a surprise waiting for me before the show ended. After seeing so much of the newsroom during the episode, suddenly I saw the characters in a home scene which I think could have waited until episode three or four. The other surprise was seeing the 10 year old daughter appear and there was never any hint from the promos or the TV Guide review that a child would appear in the pilot episode. Not only that, the show became serious toward the end and no one wanted to see that in a pilot episode for a new comedy. Mainly because people were sampling this show to see if it was funny not to see serious scenes so early in the series. Maybe the future episodes will be better since there was so much hype by Fox before the premiere and hopefully I'm not saying, "Back To You Fox for another new sitcom" in mid-October.

So because a guy played professional sports for 12 years and won a Dancing with the Stars trophy, that automatically makes him qualified to be a sports analyst on television? I always thought that in order to be a sports analyst on ESPN, you had to speak very clear and look comfortable on camera. Well that has not been the case with the new guy added to the ESPN set this season by the name of Emmitt Smith. This guy who has shown in just six weeks that he is not qualified to be a sports analyst because of his speech problem. He is always stuttering on camera when trying to make a point and that makes it hard for viewers to take him seriously as a analyst. He also tends to grin from ear to ear whenever he speaks and has no idea how goofy he looks on camera. It's not necessary for him to smile every time he opens his mouth which is something you never see from the analysts on other NFL pre-game shows. If Emmitt can't be articulate and speak without stuttering then why he is taking up space on the ESPN set? I know that by now the ESPN producers has probably learned that just because a person can dance doesn't mean they can speak clearly and make intelligent points on camera. It's only been six weeks for Emmitt Smith on the air and he may already be the worst sports analyst in ESPN History and needs to go now before he embarrasses himself anymore.

My TV Highlight of the Week: Friday, September 21, 2007 - Joy Behar's appeared on Larry King Live and she played the interviewer at times.
My TV Lowlight of the Week: Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - The serious ending scene on the Back To You pilot.

Agree or disagree with Solomon? Discuss it here.

DISCLAIMER: Remember, Solomon is not the voice of SitcomsOnline. He is just stating his opinions and does not reflect what SitcomsOnline says or thinks. It is just his 'View' but it is always quite entertaining.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (April)

Barney Miller - The Complete Seventh Season Frasier - The Complete Series What's Happening!! - The Complete Series The Jeffersons - Season Seven Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) - The Second Season

04/07 - Barney Miller - The Complete Seventh Season
04/07 - The Brady Bunch - The Complete Series
04/07 - The Crazy Ones - The Complete First Season
04/07 - Frasier - The Complete Series
04/07 - King of the Hill - The Complete 9th Season
04/07 - King of the Hill - The Complete 10th Season
04/07 - 1600 Penn - The Complete Season 1
04/07 - Wanda at Large - The Complete First Season (WBShop.com)
04/07 - Wilfred - The Complete Season 4
04/14 - Growing Pains - The Complete Fourth Season (WBShop.com)
04/21 - What's Happening!! - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
04/28 - I Love Lucy - I Love Mom Edition
04/28 - The Jeffersons - Season Seven
04/28 - Mama's Family - Mama's Favorites: Season 5
04/28 - Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) - The Second Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, April 28

New Girl - "Panty Gate" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Schmidt takes the fall to help Fawn out of a political scandal. Meanwhile, Jess declares herself a “love doctor” and Coach faces a life-changing decision with May.

Weird Loners - "The Weirdfather" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Stosh and Eric visit Stosh’s 12-year-old son, Frank, for the first time, and they bond over watching “The Godfather.” Meanwhile, Caryn becomes clingy and overbearing in her friendship with Zara.

Undataeable - "A Sibling Rivalry Walks Into a Bar" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
After Danny (Chris D'Elia) sets Leslie (Bianca Kajlich) up on a horrible blind date, Justin (Brent Morin) steps up when she needs a date to a work event. To prove he is a good brother, Danny makes his case to accompany Leslie. Meanwhile, Shelly (Ron Funches) helps Burski (Rick Glassman) get a cheap suit so he can impress Leslie.

One Big Happy - "Wedlocked" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
After Luke (Nick Zano) learns about a secret that Prudence (Kelly Brook) has been keeping from everyone, he disappears - leaving both their future and her immigration status in serious jeopardy. While Lizzy (Elisha Cuthbert) attempts to console Prudence and fix the situation, Luke hits the bars with Markus (Brandon Smith). And when all looks lost, Lizzy jumps in with a big, bold solution that will catch everyone by surprise.

Your Family or Mine - "The Will" (TBS, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Gil's aunt dies, but nobody liked her until they find out she was leaving beh ind a potential fortune in her will. Oliver and Kelli scramble to find a way out when Shawni asks them to be her horrible son's guardians.

Younger - "Shedonism" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Liza gets to prove herself when Diana tasks her with running a book launch party for a notoriously demanding author. Maggie runs into an old crush, who's finally single, while Kelsey starts to fall for her new author, who's not.

Mann & Wife - "The Ex-Mann" (Bounce TV, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Daniel's ex-wife, Michelle, comes to visit and the family anxiously awaits her arrival; Michael's girlfriend has Daniel worried.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 27) (All times ET unless noted)

Tuesday, April 28

  • Patricia Heaton (The Middle/Back to You/Everybody Loves Raymond) - Catch Patricia on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie) - Edie visits The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Michael Keaton (Working Stiffs/All's Fair) - Michael is a guest on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Anna Faris (Mom) - Anna stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) - Tituss appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Linda Cardellini (The Good Family/Guys Like Us) - Linda visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Stephen Tobolowsky (Californication) - Stephen is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Zach Woods (Playing House/Silicon Valley/The Office) - Zach drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Mo'Nique (The Parkers) - Mo'Nique opens up about why she believes she was blackballed by Hollywood after her Oscar win and more on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • Bradley Whitford (Happyish/Trophy Wife) - Bradley appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Anthony Anderson (black-ish/Guys with Kids/All About the Andersons) and Tracee Ellis Ross (black-ish/Girlfriends) - Anthony and Tracee are guests on Steve Harvey, so check your local listings.
  • Tahj Mowry (Baby Daddy/Smart Guy) - Tahj is a guest on The Real, so check your local listings. He shares the latest, including his role on ABC Family's comedy series Baby Daddy, his transition into music and his upcoming debut album on HuffPost Live at 4:30pm.
  • Tom Arnold (Sin City Saints/Tom/The Tom Show/Roseanne) - Tom talks about Any Day and Sin City Saints on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Cristela Alonzo (Cristela) - Cristela guest co-hosts The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Yara Shahidi (black-ish) - Yara is a guest on People Now.
  • NeNe Leakes (The New Normal) - NeNe appears on People Now.