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)

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

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Route 66 TV.com Page


New on DVD/Blu-ray (April/May/June)

Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season Father Knows Best - Season Five The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Second Season ALF - The Complete DVD Collection The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Series

04/04 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season
04/11 - Father Knows Best - Season Five
04/11 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Third Season
04/11 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/11 - Veep - The Complete Fifth Season
05/02 - Red, White and Blue Collar Sitcoms - Make TV Great Again
05/09 - ALF - The Complete DVD Collection
05/09 - Divorce - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
05/09 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Second Season
05/16 - The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Series
06/13 - The Andy Griffith Show - Return to Mayberry
06/13 - That's My Mama - The Complete Series
06/20 - Workaholics - The Final (Seventh) Season
06/20 - Workaholics - The Complete Series
06/27 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Third Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, June 22

The Big Bang Theory - "The Escape Hatch Identification" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Raj moves out of his apartment, Leonard and Penny offer him Sheldon’s old room. Christine Baranski returns as Sheldon’s mother, Beverly.

Superior Donuts - "What's the Big Idea?" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Franco’s creative new donut flavors become bestsellers, Arthur tries to prove he’s still relevant by coming up with a unique one of his own. Also, Fawz works to dream up an inventive password in order to keep Maya and James from stealing his store’s WiFi.

Mom - "Freckled Bananas and a Little Schwinn" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Christy and Bonnie dip back into illegal activities, and Adam questions their morality.

Life in Pieces - "Musical Motel Property Bingo" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Heather freaks out when Samantha auditions for the high school musical and the director, Julius Black (Andy Richter), doesn’t give her a part. Also, Matt, Greg and Heather suspect Joan is having an affair; Tyler and Clementine decide to find a home of their own; and, Jen, Colleen and Tim secretly play “Short Family Bingo” to pass the time during the weekly Sunday brunch.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of June 19)

Thursday, June 22

  • Chris Hardwick (Guys Like Us) - Catch Chris on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC. He is also a guest on Access Hollywood LivE, so check your local listings and on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond) - Ray appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry is a guest on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Rob Huebel (Childrens Hospital/Transparent/Burning Love) - Rob appears on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) - Kumail stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) - Thomas is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Jerrod Carmichael (The Carmichael Show) - Jerrod drops by Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm.
  • Rory Scovel (Ground Floor) - Rory appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Laura Benanti (Go On) - Laura guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Kunal Nayyar (The Big Bang Theory) - Kunal is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Sasha Pieterse (Family Affair) - Sasha appears on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Josh Henderson (One on One) - Josh is a guest on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Jane Lynch (Angel from Hell) - Jane gives a sneak peak of the new season of Hollywood Game Night on People Now at 8:30am. She will also be the AOL Build Show at 2:30pm and on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Marisa Tomei (A Different World) - Marisa talks about Spider-man: Homecoming on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Alfonso Ribeiro (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/In the House/Silver Spoons) - Alfonso guest co-hosts Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.