Saturday, August 09, 2008

Remembering Bernie Mac; Mini-DVD Review: Route 66 - The Complete First Season

Bernie Mac

Bernie Mac, the actor and comedian who teamed up in the casino heist caper Ocean's Eleven and gained a prestigious Peabody Award for his sitcom The Bernie Mac Show, died Saturday at age 50.

"Actor/comedian Bernie Mac passed away this morning from complications due to pneumonia in a Chicago area hospital," his publicist, Danica Smith, said in a statement from Los Angeles.

Mac's film career started with a small role as a club doorman in the Damon Wayans comedy Mo' Money in 1992. His other film credits include Get on the Bus, Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, Ocean's Eleven and its two sequels, Guess Who, Bad Santa, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle and Transformers. His professional career began in Chicago as a stand-up comedian in 1977, at the age of 19. He was a featured comedian in the 2000 documentary, The Original Kings of Comedy, with Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley and Cedric the Entertainer.

Starting in 2001, Mac was the star of The Bernie Mac Show on the Fox nexwork, which earned two Emmy Award nominations before the show was cancelled in 2006. In addition, the show won the prestigious Peabody award in 2002, the Humanitas Prize, and three NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series. The sitcom was somewhat based on is life and stand-up comedy acts and ran for 5 seasons and 104 episodes. His character was ranked #47 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time." His other sitcom credits include an appearance on The Wayans Bros. and multiple episodes of Moesha as Uncle Bernie.

Bernie Mac is survived by his wife Rhonda McCullough, daughter Je'Niece and granddaughter Jasmine. Bernie and the laughter he brought to millions of people around the world will be greatly missed. Share your memories and condolences here.

As we reported on Monday, The Bernie Mac Show is joining FX's line-up. The four-year deal starts Monday, September 8, 2008 with a launch marathon from 12:30pm-8pm ET. Bernie Mac will then join the weekday line-up on Tuesday, September 9 airing weekdays at 8:00am & 8:30am ET and 4:00pm & 4:30pm ET (although sometimes it will be 4:30pm ET & 5:00pm ET depending on the FX movies).

Releated Links:
Internet Movie Database entry for Bernie Mac
Wikipedia entry for Bernie Mac
The Bernie Mac Show Message Board
The Bernie Mac Show Photo Gallery

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for the mini-DVD review! Today we take a look at Roxbury Entertainment's Route 66 - The Complete First Season. Route 66 ran from 1960-1964 and starred Martin Milner, George Maharis (1960-1963) and Glenn Corbett (1963-1964). See skees53's mini-DVD review of Route 66 -The Complete First Season:

Route 66 - The Complete First Season

Route 66 - The Complete First Season (Roxbury Entertainment, $49.98) -- takes you on a road trip through America to encounter problems all throughout America and to solve them—within 50 minutes. Traveling America by road was all the rage in the 60s. and Route 66, which once spanned from Illinois all the way out to California, was the ultimate path to travel the country. In this series, two young men, played by Martin Milner and George Maharis, travel the country in a Corvette to see what they find along the way.

The series begins with "Black November," where the guys come across a town in Mississippi that seems to have some deep secret—but what is it? The boys are hired to work on a shrimp boat in "The Lance of Straw." In "Ten Drops of Water," the guys encounter a family ranch that is dying due to drought, but does the family want their assistance? A woman is released from prison in "Sheba," but her parole officer happens to be the same guy that put her in prison to begin with. A blind woman wants Buz and Tod to buy her a pistol for self-protection in "An Absence of Tears." The guys get framed after they try to bust somebody for hunting deer in "A Skill for Hunting." The series focused on guest stars, and among those in this season are Suzanne Pleshette, Leslie Nielsen, Lee Marvin, Harvey Korman, Walter Matthau, Robert Duvall, Ed Asner, and more.

This season was originally released as two separate volumes, and this set is essentially just both volumes placed in one larger box. So, the first fifteen episodes of the season are placed in the four disc Volume 1 set and the last fifteen episodes of the season are placed in the four disc Volume 2 set. It would have been nice to see a more integrated set, but that isn't what we have here.

The set claims to be remastered from the original source films, but you'll find that isn't quite accurate for a few episodes in the Volume 1 set. Some of the episodes are taken from 80s prints, and this is made obvious from the fact that a few such episodes are missing their original Screen Gems and CBS logos and have them replaced with logos from the 1980s including Colex and Columbia. It may not sound like a huge deal, but you'll notice that these episodes have poorer video and audio quality than the rest, though for the most part, are still viewable. The episodes that truly were remastered are pretty clear and don't have much grain, but the picture appears to be jumpy at places. It does appear, however, that on the Volume 2 episodes, everything is left intact and unedited. Almost every episode runs around 51 minutes, but on Volume 1, it appears that a syndicated episode may have sneaked in, as the episode "A Fury Slinging Flame" runs at 46 minutes. Again, this is an episode that not taken from the original source prints.

The set isn't loaded with special features, but Disc 4 of each volume contains original commercials from the episodes, which are VERY nice to see. Many of these are either from Chevrolet (after all, they did provide the Corvette) or Bayer. You'll even find one commercial featuring the cast of the series My Three Sons. Volume 1 contains some historical information about Corvettes from the 50s and 60s. Fans of the car may enjoy this, but an average fan of the show probably won't care too much about this information. Finally, the set contains filmographies of each and every guest star from the season, which helps anybody that ever asks themselves "where have I seen that person before?"

This was my first experience of watching this series, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed watching these episodes. I always thought that this would be a decent series, but I'm even more impressed than I thought. Roxbury Entertainment has put together a nice DVD set here, although it does contain the few minor flaws mentioned. But fans and those that have never seen the series are sure to appreciate this DVD set in any event!

Reviewed by skees53
(4/5 stars)

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Related links: Full DVD Reviews Page
Route 66 Page

New on DVD/Blu-ray (September)

The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season Modern Family - The Complete Season 7

09/06 - Coach - Season One (Mill Creek) / Season Two / Seasons One and Two
09/06 - South Park - The Complete Ninteenth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season
09/20 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season
09/20 - Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season
09/20 - Modern Family - The Complete Season 7
09/20 - Veep - Season 5
09/27 - The Wonder Years - Season Six
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, October 27

The Big Bang Theory - "The Fetal Kick Catalyst" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Penny is surprised to learn she has fans of her performance in “Serial Ape-ist” when she attends Van Nuys Comic Con with Leonard. Also, Amy hosts a Sheldon-style brunch at Penny’s apartment, and Wolowitz makes an impulsive purchase when he starts stressing out about the baby on the way.

The Great Indoors - "Pilot" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Joel McHale stars as Jack, a renowned adventure reporter for an outdoor magazine who must adapt to the times when he becomes the new desk-bound boss to a group of millennials in the digital department of the publication.

Mom - "High-Tops and Brown Jacket" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bonnie and Adam’s relationship is tested when he moves in with her and Christy for a few weeks. Also, Christy learns the hard way that it may be a mistake to try and meet men with Jill.

Life in Pieces - "Annulled Roommate Pill Shower" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Heather and Tim enlist Clementine’s unusual parents, Mary-Lynn (Megan Mullally) and Spencer (Nick Offerman), to help convince Clementine and Tyler to annul their unexpected marriage. Also, Tommy moves in with Colleen, to the chagrin of her roommate, Dougie (Fortune Feimster); John and Joan run into “complications” after John takes the wrong dose of his daily pill; and Jen and Greg keep a secret from the family.

Superstore - "Halloween Theft" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Dina (Lauren Ash) throws a wrench in everyone's Halloween plans when something goes missing from the store and declares that no employee can leave until someone confesses to stealing. Amy (America Ferrera) is determined to find out who is responsible because she doesn't want to miss trick-or-treating with her daughter and Mateo (Nico Santos) prepares for his secret date with Jeff (recurring guest star Michael Bunin). Meanwhile, Jonah (Ben Feldman) and Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom) struggle to bond until they discover they have more in common than they thought. Garrett (Colton Dunn) has a difficult time defending himself during the store-wide investigation.

The Good Place - "Most Improved Player" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Michael (Ted Danson) has a private meeting with Eleanor (Kristen Bell). Meanwhile, Chidi (William Jackson Harper), who has been harboring a secret, contemplates what to do.

Better Things - "Scary Fun" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Sam makes a point.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 24)

Thursday, October 27

  • Martin Short (Mulaney/The Martin Short Show) - Catch Martin on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds) - Mary-Louise visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • January Jones (The Last Man on Earth) - January appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Lauren Lapkus (Clipped/Are You There, Chelsea?) - Lauren is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) - Abbi visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron appears on Chelsea on Netflix. He also talks about Inferno on NBC's Today in the 10am hour and on the AOL Build Show at 2:30pm.
  • Nathan Lane (Modern Family/Charlie Lawrence/Encore! Encore!), John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) and John Slattery (Maggie) - They talk about Broadway's The Front Page on The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Joel McHale (The Great Indoors/Community) - Joel guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) - Miley is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Eva Longoria (Telenovela) - Eva appears on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Angelique Cabral (Life in Pieces/Enlisted) - Angelique talks about Life in Pieces on the AOL Build Show at 11am.