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


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November)

Dr. Ken - Season One Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season The Lucy Show - The Complete Series The Mindy Project - Season Four

10/04 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Christmas Special (Colorized)
10/04 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #1 (Colorized)
10/11 - Dr. Ken - Season One
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Series
10/11 - Nurse Jackie - Seasons One and Two
10/11 - Weeds - Seasons One and Two
11/01 - Schitt's Creek - Seasons One and Two
11/08 - Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season
11/08 - Your Family or Mine - Season One
11/15 - Community - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Lucy Show - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Mindy Project - Season Four
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, December 9

Last Man Standing - "Help Wanted" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Since losing her teaching job, Vanessa has been spending her time hovering over the family, and it’s driving everyone nuts. Over at Kristin and Ryan’s house, Ryan and Kyle are wrapped-up in a zombie face-off to determine who knows the most about zombies and how to survive an apocalypse. Unable to land a new gig, Vanessa becomes discouraged, but Mike does everything he can to get her back doing what she loves.

Dr. Ken - "Ken's Apology" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Ken wants to apologize to a patient for missing an important medical detail, Pat advises against it, and the situation gets out of hand. Meanwhile, D.K. shakes things up at Dave’s parent/teacher conference.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 5)

Friday, December 9

  • Olivia Munn (Perfect Couples) - Watch Olivia on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. She will also be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Tom Papa (Come to Papa) - Tom is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Kevin Nealon (Man with a Plan/Weeds/Hiller and Diller/Champs) - Kevin appears on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Bella Thorne (Shake It Up) - Bella is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar (The Crazy Ones) - Sarah whips up a delicious treat on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Richard Kind (Spin City/Mad About You) - Richard is a guest on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Jennifer Aniston (Friends) - Jennifer appears on Chelsea on Netflix.