Saturday, September 13, 2008
Private Practice: The Complete 1st Season - Extended Edition (Buena Vista, $39.99) brings the first season of the Grey's Anatomy spin-off starring Kate Walsh on DVD for the first time! Dr. Addison Montgomery leaves Seattle Grace Hospital for Los Angeles in order to join a private practice that her best friend Naomi runs that has a group of other doctors (Pete, Cooper, Violet, Sam) specializing in various fields.
The series will return to its Wednesdays at 9PM timeslot on ABC this coming season after having its first season cut short due to the writers' strike. The series stars Kate Walsh as Dr. Addison Forbes Montgomery (Obstetrics & Gynecology, Genetic Counseling), Timy Daly as Dr. Pete Wilder (Complementary Medicine), Audra McDonald as Dr. Naomi Bennett (Endocrinology & Fertility), Paul Adelstein as Dr. Cooper Freedman (Pediatrics), KaDee Strickland as Dr. Charolotte King (Chief of Staff at the neaby hospital), Chris Lowell as Dell Parker (Receptionist/Nurse), with Taye Diggs as Dr. Sam Bennett (Internal Medicine), and Amy Brenneman as Dr. Violet Turner (Psychiatry). Among the specials guests are James Pickens Jr., Rebecca Mader, Brett Cullen, Valerie Mahaffey, Sara Gilbert, Joy Lauren, and David Sutcliffe.
This first season is somewhat good, but it could be better, however only 9 episodes aired this past season due to the writers' strike. This coming season it'll find its footing and find itself. I have seen the season premiere already and it is the best episode yet. Season premiere is October 1. The show started as a back-door pilot on Grey's Anatomy. Some good first season episodes include the series' first episode , "In Which We Meet Addison, a Nice Girl From Somewhere Else," where Addison resigns from Seattle Grace and heads to the Oceanside Wellness Group in L.A. where she was offered a job. In "In Which Addison Finds the Magic," Addison and Pete treat a recently married couple who are having sexual problems. In "In Which Addison Finds a Showerhead," Naomi's daughter drops by the clinic to see Addison because she thinks she may have an STD...but does she? While Sam answers a dangerous house call, love or at least sex is in the air at Oceanside Wellness as Pete and Addison decide to take their relationship to the next level in "In Which Sam Gets Taken For A Ride." The episodes run usually close to 43 minutes (unless it is an extended episode, which I will discuss a bit later) or just above...unedited of course with all the great music intact. There are about 7 or 8 chapter stops per episode. The video is digitally mastered and 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 the 2007-08 season, so it had better be good.
Packaging has an outer box that you can remove from the right then you'll see the digipak case inside. The outer box's cover has a nice sunset setting with palm trees and we have shots of all eight of our stars. The show logo is on the top near the sunset sky. The back of the box has that sunset sky with bigger palm trees this time, with information on the set and has some screen shots from episodes that feature all eight of our stars. There is also a section detailing the bonus features box with technical specifications also. On the case itself, we have a nice cast photo on the front with the show logo and a nice orange background, that fits a sunset setting. The back of the case has the same style, with a screenshot of Sam and Dell. Opening the case, on the left side we see a pocket that holds inserts and on the pocket itself we see a sunset and palm trees. On the right side, we see screenshots of Charlotte, Naomi, and Addison. There are three inserts in the left side pocket. The first is very cool -- a collectible map in which we see where the doctors work, live, and play. Nice photos and bios of each character are also available, along with an episode breakdown per disc. Then there is an insert for other ABC Studios products like Grey's Anatomy Season 4 and Samantha Who Season 1. That insert also has an ad for the General Hospital on ABC. The last thing enclosed is a Blue-ray disc catalog for such products as Coyote Ugly and Lost Season 3. Then we open the case one final time, in the middle we see discs one & two (overlapping, ugh) and the right side we see disc three. Each disc matches the set's color scheme, that sunset color and has nice character artwork. Disc one has episodes 1-4 with artwork of Addison & Pete. Disc two has episodes 5-8 and has artwork of Sam & Naomi and Dell. Disc three has episode 9 and the bonus features with artwork of Charlotte & Cooper and Violet. When you remove the discs, the panels have nice artwork.
The menu screen has clips in the background with the closing theme playing in the background audio wise. The options on the main menu are Play All, Episode Selection, Audio Commentary (discs one and two), Set Up, Bonus Features (disc three), and Sneak Peeks (disc three). But before the main menu screen comes on disc one, we get some auto sneak peeks of other DVDs: Samantha Who, Grey's Anatomy, Brothers & Sisters, and Lost. Sneak Peeks option is only found on disc four on the main menu and has previews of many titles like Desperate Housewives Season 4 DVD and ABC promos of the new season of Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice itself. Set Up section has the option of subtitles in English, French or Spanish and how you can register your DVD. The Episodes option gives us the episode number, title and a screenshot. Bonus Features option is only on disc three and it has all the extras listed, the same goes for Audio Commentary option on discs one and two. All of the sub-menus have different background music.
Moving on the bonus features. We get two extended episodes with never before scenes! Those two episodes are ... the first episode "In Which We Meet Addison, a Nice Girl From Somewhere Else" running 45:38 and "In Which Addison Finds the Magic" running even longer at 47:25. Three episodes get the audio commentary treatment, first on disc one is the first episode "In Which We Meet Addison, a Nice Girl From Somewhere Else," (yes, the extended version) by creator/Executive Producer Shona Rhimes, Executive Producer Betsy Beers and Series Star Kate Walsh. We also get an audio commentary track for "In Which Sam Gets Taken For A Ride," on disc two from Actors Amy Brenneman and Paul Adelstein. The final audio commentary is under Bonus Features on disc three for the season finale "In Which Sam Gets Taken For A Ride," by Taye Diggs and Chris Lowell.
The next extra is an interview featurette titled "Kate Walsh: Practice Makes Perfect," running 32:33. This is a very good detailed extra that gives us the life and career thus far of Kate Walsh...it almost felt like an episode of Biography. Interviewed are Harland & Angela Embree (her parents), Joseph Walsh (brother), Kate Walsh, Jane Hantsinger (best friend), Shira Piven (director/teacher), Joyce Piven (Piven Theatre), Adam McKay (filmmaker), Paul Adelstein, Bruce Helford (executive producer of Drew Carey Show), Mike O' Malley, Tiffany Kuzon (manager), Jesse Dylan (director), Betsy Beers, Chandra Wilson, Justin Chambers, Sara Ramirez, Audra McDonald, KaDee Strickland, Mark Tinker (executive producer/director), Alex Young (husband), Vicki Wagner, Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Taye Diggs, Chris Lowell, and James Pickens Jr.
The next featurette is called the "Alternate Ensemble: Behind the Scenes of Private Practice." It runs 14:28 and we get a taste how this show is an ensemble and how great the cast really is. Interviewed are Betsy Beers, Amy Brenneman, Kate Walsh, Mark Tinker, Tim Daly, Paul Adelstein, Audra McDonald, Chris Lowell and KaDee Strickland.
Then we have six "Deleted Scenes" that are always interesting to see...longest running 2:50 and shorted at 0:32. Finally, we have some "Bloopers" (3:23)...yes, bloopers! See all the goofs and play on the set!
I recommend this series and set...it is an ABC Studios DVD, so it is good. This series will have potential to really break out this coming season and what better way for you to see that in watching these first nine episodes where the show got started. The show got better a bit by the end of the year, but the writers' strike ruined the season and momentum. It will find its footing this season and I saw the season premiere in advance already and it is very well written episode with good storylines and two great medical stories. You'll want to tune in for sure, but you need to refresh yourself, catch up or get started with these nine episodes first! ABC Studios did a marvelous job as usual, but the extras seemed lower in quantity than other ABC shows, but still an abundant amount. Catch up and move to Los Angeles with Addison, but you better hurry before the second season premieres October 1 at 9/8 central on ABC. The relationships, the cases, this show has it all!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
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Dirty Sexy Money: The Complete 1st Season (Buena Vista, $39.99) brings the first season of the new primetime soap that is in the same league as Dynasty and Dallas on DVD for the first time! Keeping America's richest family out of trouble, out of jail, out of the headlines and out of his personal life may be more than lawyer Nick George bargained for when he became entangled in the lives of the Darlings. The Darlings encounter paternity suits, illicit affairs, divorces, extravagant parties, and outlandish spending.
The series will return on air in its Wednesdays at 10PM timeslot on ABC this coming season after having its first season cut short due to the writers' strike. The sexy series stars Peter Krause as Nick George, Donald Sutherland as Tripp Darling, William Baldwin as Patrick Darling, Natalie Zea as Karen Darling, Glenn Fitzgerald as Brian Darling, Seth Gabel as Jeremy Darling, Samaire Armstrong as Juliet Darling, Zoe McLellan as Lisa George, with Blair Underwood as Simon Elder, and Jill Clayburgh as Letitia Darling. Recurring are Daniel Cosgrove as Freddy, Chloe Moretz as Kiki George, Will Shadley as Brian Jr., Bellamy Young as Ellen Darling, Candis Cayne as Carmelita, Shawn Michael Patrick as Clark the Chauffeur, Tamara Feldman as Natalie Kimpton, Laura Margolis as Daisy, and Sofia Vergara as Sofia Montoya. Among the specials guests are Dan Rather and Gina Torres.
This first season is very good. Only 10 episodes aired this past due to the writers' strike, so the show didn't get to flex all of its muscles yet. They actually shot 13 episodes but decided to hold those three episodes for season two, but now the producers have decided to scrap those three and implement some of those storylines into season two itself. I have seen the season premiere, "The Birthday Present," which is #205 (so the fifth one shot, so have they scrapped the first four? Who knows, but this episode I saw was brilliant. I'll get into it a bit later. Anyway, back to season one...some classic episodes include the series pilot, "Pilot," when attorney Nick George's father dies, Nick takes over his law practice and must take care of the Darlings and their problems, including human trafficking, illegitimate children, and illicit affairs. In "The Italian Banker," Nick tries to fix things when the Darlings are blackmailed over a sex tape starring a family member. In "The Chiavennasca," Tripp sends Nick to a vineyard in Italy to get information about his father's death. Karen is getting married, but her strong desire for Nick might be more of a distraction than she could have ever thought, in "The Wedding." In "The Watch," secrets about Dutch (Nick's father) and the relationships he had with Nick, Tripp, and Letitia are revealed via flashbacks. Those episodes really stand out, but they are all very good, I think...anything Greg Berlanti gets his hand on is good. Craig Wright created the series. The episodes run usually close to 43 minutes or at 43...unedited of course with all the great music intact. There are about 7 or 8 chapter stops per episode. The video is digitally mastered and 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. As with Private Practice, this is from the 2007-08 season, so it had better be good.
Packaging has an outer box that you can remove from the right then you'll see the digipak case inside. The outer box's cover has nice black and white headshots of the cast, with a black background ad lettering in white, pink and green. The show logo is in the middle. The back of the box has a color scheme of black, like the front, with three color screenshots in the pink, white, green borders. Nice details on the show and set is also there along with a nice quote from the New York Times on the top. There is also a section detailing the bonus features box with technical specifications below that out of the box. On the case itself, we have a nice color cast photo on the front with the show logo on top with the word Exposed on the bottom in green. The back of the case is Tripp themed...with three screenshots of Tripp with a family member on the left and a bigger screenshot on the right side of Tripp and wife Letitia. Opening the case, on the left side we see a pocket that holds inserts and on the pocket itself we see that very cool show logo in white,pink, and green. On the right side, we see the twins themed screenshots and a big promotional photo of the twins (Jeremy and Juliet). There are three inserts in the left side pocket. The first is very cool -- a National Enquirer type mini-newspaper titled the DSM Observer. It's "The Darling News You Need to Know," a nice two-pager with scandalous stories, along with an episode breakdown per disc. Then there is an insert for other ABC Studios products like Private Practice Season 1 and Lost Season 4. That insert also has an ad for the General Hospital on ABC. The last thing enclosed is a Blue-ray disc catalog for such products as Coyote Ugly and Lost Season 3. Underneath the inserts we get nice black & white screenshots. Then we open the case one final time, in the middle we see discs one & two (overlapping, ugh) and the right side we see disc three. Each disc matches the set's color scheme, the black with lettering in white, pink & green and has nice character artwork. Disc one has episodes 1-4 with artwork of bundles of money. Disc two has episodes 5-8 and has artwork of lots of jewelery. Disc three has episodes 9-10 and the bonus features with artwork of two nice cars. When you remove the discs, the panels have nice artwork.
The menu screen has snapshots of the characters with the theme music playing in the background. The options on the main menu are Play All, Episode Selection, Set Up, Bonus Features, and Sneak Peeks (disc three only). But before the main menu screen comes on disc one, we get some auto sneak peeks of other DVDs: Private Practice, Samantha Who, Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters. Sneak Peeks option is only found on disc three on the main menu and has previews of many titles like Ugly Betty Season 2 DVD and ABC promos of the new season of Brothers & Sisters and Dirty Sexy Money itself. Set Up section we have the option of subtitles in English, French or Spanish and how to register your DVD. The Episodes option gives us the episode number, title and a screenshot. Bonus Features has all the extras listed. All of the sub-menus have different background music.
Moving on the bonus features. Three episodes get the audio commentary treatment, first on disc one for the pilot episode "Pilot," by creator Craig Wright, executive producers Greg Berlanti & Matthew Gross, actors Peter Krause & Natalie Zea, and director Peter Horton. We also get an audio commentary track for the episode "The Bridge," on disc two from Craig Wright, actors Peter Krause, Seth Gabel & Zoe McLellan and writers Jesse Brickman & Peter Gilkoff. The final commentary track is on third and final disc for the episode "The Watch," with Craig Wright, actors William Baldwin, Glenn Fitzgerald, Candis Cayne, Will Shadley, director Andrew Bernstein, and writer Yahlin Chang.
Then we have eight deleted scenes that are always interesting to see...and we get more scandals in these, with the highest running 3:48 and lowest at 0:40. Then we have four featurettes that are very good. First one is, "The Road to Excess: Making Dirty Sexy Money" (20:24) and it tells us everything we need to know about the series and how it was formed and has interviews with Peter Horton, Peter Krause, Craig Wright, Greg Berlanti, Matthew Gross, Donald Sutherland, Glenn Fitzgerald, Will Shadley, director Tim Matheson, director Michael Grossman, Natalie Zea, Jill Clayburgh, Blair Underwood, William Baldwin, Bellamy Young, Seth Gabel, Tamara Feldman, Samaire Armstrong, and Zoe McClellan. Then we have "Enter the Penthouse: A VIP Set Tour" (7:17) where we see the set and how it was made. The pilot was shot in New York, but the rest of the episodes the penthouse is on a soundstage on a set in L.A. Interviewed are Craig Wright, Greg Berlanti and production designer Steven Wolf. Then we have a neat wardrobe featurette titled "Haute Couture: Dressing the Darlings" (6:49) where we see those nice clothes the cast wears. Discussing it are Craig Wright, costume designer Roberta Haze, wardrobe department's Brian Mahon, Seth Gabel, Peter Krause, Donald Sutherland, Samaire Armstrong, Natalie Zea and Jill Clayburgh. We're not done yet...then we have "The Other Woman: Candis Cayne" (5:26). Candis is a real-life transvestite, in case you didn't know. This talks about that and her character Carmelita. Interviewed are Craig Wright, Greg Berlanti, Matthew Gross, Candis Cayne, William Baldwin, Donald Sutherland, and executive producer Josh Relms. Finally, we have some "Tripp Ups!" (3:04)...yes, bloopers! Clever name!
I highly recommend this series and set. It well-written, well acted show, and scandoulous! It is unfortunate the show only had 10 episodes last season due to the writers' strike and this DVD gives us those, but this coming season we will see the show blossom even more. I saw the season premiere, and it is even more dirtier and sexier than before! It is an amazing season premiere that will keep you guessing and stunned. So tune in October 1 for that. As for season one, ABC Studios did a marvelous job and the special features are great and I think better than Private Practice's extras. Tripp orders you to buy this DVD and get ready for the second season on ABC which will feature the addition of Lucy Liu, the object of all men's affections (she even has a steamy scene in her first episode...dirtier indeed!) So get it 'done' before Tripp or Simon or whoever is behind all this mystery gets you. As many of the characters say, "Done!"
-- Reviewed by Pavan
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