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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Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Official Website
The Bronx is Burning TV.com Page


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 (October/November/December)

2 Broke Girls - The Complete Third Season Two and a Half Men - The Complete Eleventh Season WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Series Hot in Cleveland - Season Five Sgt. Bilko - The Phil Silvers Show - The Complete Series
Family Ties - The Complete Series Happy Days - The Sixth Season The Jeffersons - The Complete Series Mister Ed - The Complete Series Mork & Mindy - The Complete Series

10/07 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Classic Christmas Episodes
10/07 - The Flying Nun - The Complete First and Second Seasons (Mill Creek)
10/07 - The Middle - The Complete Fifth Season (Warner Archive)
10/07 - The Office - The Complete Series
10/07 - The Wonders Years - Season One
10/10 - The Wonder Years - The Complete Series - TARGET="_blank">Read Our Review / The Signature Edition / Seasons 1-3
10/14 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Third Season
10/14 - Two and a Half Men - The Complete Eleventh Season
10/21 - Married with Children - Seasons 5 and 6 (Mill Crek)
10/21 - The Soul Man - The Complete Second Season
10/21 - Square Pegs - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
10/28 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Series
11/04 - Hot in Cleveland - Season Five
11/04 - Napoleon Dynamite - The Complete Animated Series
11/04 - Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) - The Complete Series
11/11 - Dads - The Complete Series
11/11 - Family Ties - The Complete Series
11/11 - My Favorite Martian - Best of Collection
11/11 - Taxi - The Complete Series
11/11 - Wings - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
11/18 - King of the Hill - The Complete Seventh Season / The Complete Eighth Season
11/25 - Better Off Ted - The Complete Second Season
12/02 - Happy Days - The Sixth Season
12/09 - Barney Miller - The Complete Sixth Season
12/09 - The Jeffersons - The Complete Series
12/09 - Mister Ed - The Complete Series
12/09 - Mork & Mindy - The Fourth Season / The Complete Series
12/16 - The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis - The Final (Fourth) Season
12/23 - My Favorite Martian - Season Two - Collector's Edition
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, October 24

Last Man Standing - "School Merger" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Mike and Chuck debate the merits of a local ballot measure merging their upscale neighborhood high school with one in the inner city. For Halloween, Ryan dresses up Boyd as a lump of coal – another reminder to Vanessa how her job as a geologist may be hurting the environment.

Cristela - "Mr. Felix and Ms. Daniela" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
After Daniela’s friend mistakes Cristela for the nanny, tensions flare between the two sisters and surprisingly it is Felix who brings them back together. Meanwhile, Alberto tries to get closer to Cristela in an unexpected way.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 20) (All times ET unless noted)

Friday, October 24

  • Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld) - Watch Jerry on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Sarah Silverman (The Sarah Silverman Program) - Sarah appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • John Mulaney (Mulaney) - John is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Melissa Fumero (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Melissa appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother/Stark Raving Mad/Doogie Howser, M.D.) - Neil discusses his new autobiography on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Sean Hayes (The Millers/Sean Saves the World/Will & Grace) - Sean visits The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Amy Yasbeck (Wings) - Amy talks about the legacy of her late husband, John Ritter, and the foundation created in his honor on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Suzanne Somers (Three's Company/Step by Step) - Suzanne chats on The Better Show, so check your local listings.
  • Analeigh Tipton (Manattan Love Story) - Analeigh is a guest on The Better Show, so check your local listings.
  • John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - John talks A Delicate Balance on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Jenny Slate (Married/Parks and Recreation) - Jenny chats about her book (Marcel the Shell: The Most Surprised I've Ever Been) on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Laurence Fisburne (black-ish) - Laurence appears on The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 2am on BET.