Saturday, May 16, 2009

Upfront Rumblings; Blog DVD Review: Freakazoid! - Season 2

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Saturday blog DVD review for an update on the network upfronts. This is probably the busiest TV weekend of the year--the weekend before the network upfronts start. Latest buzz on scripted series:

Picked-Up/Close to Being Picked-Up Dramas: Flash Forward, Happy Town, The Associates (David Hemingson Project), Eastwick, The Forgotten, V. (all confirmed)
Picked-Up/Close to Being Picked-Up Sitcoms: Modern Family, Cougar Town, The Middle, Awesome Hank. (all confirmed)
Still Could Be Picked Up Dramas: Inside the Box
Still Could Be Picked Up Sitcoms: Romantically Challenged, The Law
No Shot: Canned, No Heroics, Limelight, See Kate Run
Bubble Current Series Renewals: Castle, Better Off Ted, Samantha Who, Scrubs (all pretty much confirmed)
Possible Current Series Canceled That Had a Chance: Surviving Suburbia, The Unusuals
Comments: ABC is going full frontal on comedy it seems. Scrubs, Better Off Ted, Samantha Who? are all returning, with just the latter not really official yet, but it has a great shot since repeats are going to air Fridays at 9pm starting June 5. Sam and Scrubs could be in a format change too, from single camera to a mix of single/multicamera. And ABC has already ordered new comedy Modern Family last week and Cougar Town was ordered last night. Unofficially it is also ordered The Middle & Awesome Hank last night and possibly Romantically Challenged & The Law will be ordered on the day of the upfront for midseason. My moles tell me it will happen. Lots of comedy!! That's what we like here at SitcomsOnline. Now of course all of these comedies are not for the fall. Some will be held for midseason for sure.
New drama wise, ABC is very high on Flash Forward, and on-air promos are already airing. ABC unofficially set series orders for Happy Town, Eastwick, The Forgotten, The Associates and V. V could be used for mid-season as a 6-hour event (good counter-programming vs. the Winter Olympics maybe?) and The Associates is also likely midseason. Inside the Box also still has a good shot of coming to ABC for fall or midseason, but has not been ordered just yet. Current drama wise, Castle was renewed for a second season. That was the only drama that had a real shot that was not renewed yet. Reality wise, ABC has ordered a season second of True Beauty, likely for midseason with The Bachelor.

Picked-Up/Close to Being Picked-Up Dramas: NCIS: Legend (wt), The Good Wife.
Picked-Up/Close to Being Picked-Up Sitcoms: Accidentally on Purpose, Waiting to Die
Still Could Be Picked Up Dramas: Three Rivers, Washington Field
Still Could Be Picked Up Sitcoms: Happiness Isn't Everything
No Shot: A Marriage, Big D, The Karenskys
Possible On the Bubble Current Series Renewals: The Unit, Flashpoint, Old Christine, Cold Case, Rules of Engagement, Gary Unmarried, Without a Trace
Possible Current Series Canceled That Had a Chance: Eleventh Hour
Comments: CBS is tight-lipped. No official pick-ups at all. Just the buzz is that NCIS spin-of and The Good Wife are locks to being picked-up drama wise., with Three Rivers, Miami Trauma, and Washington Field also in the running. But usually with CBS something comes out of left field on the day of the upfront. Comedy wise, it's the same thing as dramas, no official pick-ups, but Accidentally on Purpose and Waiting to Die are heating up in buzz with Happiness Isn't Everything also on the radar. As for current series that were not renewed yet, only Ghost Whisperer got officially renewed, as there was word it could have been moved to ABC since CBS didn't want to pay full license fees. Cold Case, Gary Unmarried, Flashpoint, Old Christine, Rules of Engagement, The Unit, and Without a Trace are still not picked-up. What will make the cut? I don't think all of these will make it. Amazing Race, Big Bang Theory, Survivor and Two and a Half Men have no worries along with Ghost Whisperer since they were officially renewed, and CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, Criminal Minds, How I Met Your Mother, The Mentalist, NCIS, NUMB3RS are locks for a pick-up of course. Everything else is gone including Eleventh Hour.

Picked-Up Dramas: Trauma, Parenthood, Day One, Mercy. (all confirmed)
Picked-Up Sitcoms: Community, 100 Questions. (all confirmed)
Still Could Be Picked Up Dramas: None.
Still Could Be Picked Up Sitcoms: Off Duty
No Shot: Adler/Hurwitz Project, Legally Mad, Lost & Found
Bubble Current Series Renewals: Chuck, Law & Order, Medium
Possible Current Series Canceled That Had a Chance: My Name is Earl
Comments: NBC's pick-ups came at infront on May 4, so we have nothing new to report really. It's just the on the bubble current series we still need to know. It is looking good for Chuck, Medium, and Law & Order but My Name is Earl looks like will be canceled. Medium is being reported it was renewed, but that is unofficial. Can we expect another new series or two to be picked-up on Tuesday when NBC announced the schedule? Yes, but the only other option really is off-beat comedy Off Duty, since NBC passed on the other pilots. The only thing we really need to see for NBC is a schedule and the one I predicted could very well be something similar.

Picked-Up/Close to Being Picked-Up Dramas: Human Target, Glee, Past Life. (all confirmed)
Picked-Up/Close to Being Picked-Up Sitcoms: Brothers, Sons of Tucson, The Cleveland Show. (all confirmed)
Still Could Be Picked Up Dramas: Maggie Hill
Still Could Be Picked Up Sitcoms: None
No Shot: Absolutely Fabulous, $2 Beer, Eva Adams
On the Bubble Current Series Renewals: Dollhouse
Possible Current Series Canceled That Had a Chance: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Comments: Fox is also pretty much set in terms of new series pick-ups. For dramas, they will launch Glee this Tuesday for a sneak peek, and have picked-up Human Target and Past Life.
Maggie Hill is probably the only other drama that could see a pick-up on the day of the upfront. Comedy wise, Fox is actually picking-up two live-action comedies, but they could be held for midseason. Brothers and Sons of Tucson are the comedies, they join animated comedy The Cleveland Show which will for sure be in the fall on Sunday nights. No other new comedies will be picked-up. Fox also has a few seasons of 'Til Death they could use at some point. In a surprise move, Fox renewed Dollhouse for 13 episodes and it will likely remain on Fridays this fall. The series has terrible ratings, so I don't understand this move. Dollhouse's pick-up means death for Sarah Connor Chronicles. And Fox has thrown us a wildcard. They have picked-up a fall version of So You Think You Can Dance. It will likely launch after the World Series, I would guess, as Hell's Kitchen's summer version will spill into the fall. It's just an actual schedule for Fox we need now. Fox also ordered reality series Someone's Gotta Go for next season, not sure if it is fall or midseason.

The CW:
Close to Being Picked-Up Dramas: Melrose Place, Vampire Diaries
Close to Being Picked-Up Sitcoms: None.
Still Could Be Picked Up Dramas: The Beautiful Life, The Body Politic, Gossip Girl: Lily
Still Could Be Picked Up Sitcoms: None.
No Shot: Perhaps Light Years
Possible On the Bubble Current Series Renewals: Privileged, The Game
Possible Current Series Canceled That Had a Chance: Everybody Hates Chris, Reaper
Comments: The CW is the last network to go at upfront, so they have not announced official pick-ups just yet. Melrose Place and Vampire Diaries are a lock it seems for fall. With Beautiful Life, Body Politic, and Lily battling for mid-season or a third slot in the fall. On the bubble current shows Privileged and The Game are also battling for a slot. What won't make the cut? I think The Game looks like the odd show out. Lily also could be out, but they should order 6 episodes only just in case they need it come midseason. Still too early for The CW, should know more during the week.

Check back periodically as we get more updates all-weekend long! I don't sleep during upfronts week!

Join us all next week (May 18-21) bright and early for the fall schedules. I assure you we will be among the first ones to post the fall line-ups for each network. Fox will be first on Monday, it'll be interesting how they schedule shows now that So You Think You Can Dance is coming in the fall as well.

And now back to our regularly scheduled blog programming:

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for weekly Blog DVD Review! Today we have we take a look at Warner Home Video's animated series Freakazoid! - Season 2. Freakazoid! was an animated series on Kids' WB. See Seth Thrasher's Blog DVD review of Freakazoid! - Season 2:

Freakazoid! - Season 2 (Warner, $26.98) is on DVD for the first time, and you'd have to be crazy not to buy it! Contained in this amazing bundle of plastics and fibers and metals that makes up this DVD set are the final eleven episodes of one of the craziest, and funniest, and most overall enjoyable cartoons I've ever had the pleasure to view. And, as one of the twelve people known to have watched the show when it originally aired in The WB's Saturday morning cartoon block in the mid-90s, I can speak with great aplomb as to what a quality show you're getting with your money.
The season starts off with a bang, with Dexter actually managing to get a date with Steff, only to have the Lobe interfere and potentially blow it. The fun with Freakazoid & the Lobe continues into his next adventure on the next show, when it's Freakazoid's birthday -- which, per the Superhero Codebook, means *he* has to do favors for the others. This sets up a scenario in which every last other superhero is out of town, and Lobe has a plan. The crazy hits keep coming all season, with Freakazoid getting bogged down at a sci-fi convention, Steff getting turned to stone, and so much more madness. In the amazing series finale, Lobe figures out how to destroy Freakazoid once and for all -- but to do so he needs to build his evil device out of wood. Having no talent, he kidnaps master carpenter Norm Abram (This Old House), who voices himself in the strangest cartoon guest appearance ever. Knowing this is the end, the show goes out with a bang making for an enjoyable 22 minutes in one of the most enjoyable series ever. Really, though, how can you go wrong with a cartoon that had recurring voice actors like Ed Asner and Ricardo Montalban -- not to mention the best host in late night TV, Craig Ferguson. Also appearing this season in a guest spot is Leonard Maltin.
Since it's not yet possible to stream these episodes directly into your brain, there must well be packaging that the episodes arrive on. And oh, what wonderful packaging it is. Millions of carbon and hydrogen atoms bonded together just for the benefit of this amazing *HARD plastic!* case. Their sacrifice makes it possible for you to effectively store your DVD set on a shelf near you. The artwork features a giant picture of America's 7th favorite blue skinned superhero pointing to himself and smiling. I'd be happy too if *I* had superpowers so it'd be quite a disappointment to find him unhappy. Background of the artwork is green and features a computer chip-like design, heavily stylized for the purposes of cartoons. Rear cover features more green fun, only this time...Freakazoid has a jetpack! Disc art features more green, with Freakazoid doing a little flexing on disc 1, with Lobe doing some flexing of his own on disc 2. Interior package art features the disc one information, Freakazoid, and Fan Boy on the left panel, with all the villains hiding behind the 2nd disc (the one with Lobe on it).
With a cartoon from the mid-1990s, you're unfortunately not going to get 3D stereovision with 17.2 panaural sound...partially because I just made both things up. What you do get is an animated picture mostly free of defects. I did detect some compression artifacts around the lines on the picture, but I was sitting two feet from a 32" HDTV when doing so. For normal use you're probably not going to notice anything amiss. More importantly, you get 5.1 surround sound. Because of the wonderful musical accompaniment that comes with mid 1990s Warner cartoons, the 5.1 surround sound is wonderfully appreciated, and during a few scenes in the cartoon is enough to make you melt. The chapter stops stop chapters. More importantly than that, they're located after the episode's opening titles, as well as after each act -- where commercial breaks would normally be placed.
When we say special features, we're not implying these features should be riding the short bus, it means that they're a bonus, above and beyond the call of DVD duty. First up is "A Full Season's Worth of Commentaries (in Five Minutes or Less)"and features the creative minds behind the show talking about the season, what went into it, and all the other sorts of things you'd expect. Ideally it would have been nice to do actual commentaries, but pressed for time this is certainly better than a kick in the pants. There's also the demo version of the music to the Hello, Dolly parody Bonjour Lobey -- it's good stuff worth a listen. The true highlight is probably the final feature (say that 81,931 times fast) -- a look into the making of the show's final episode. The feature runs nearly the length of a full episode, and taking a similar tone as the series explores the workings of the last episode.
Let's be serious for a minute. For the basis of pure enjoyment, season one is honestly the better of the two in my opinion. The episodes are just...funnier. But season two is still better than the vast, vast majority of cartoons. Since this set is already out, hopefully you already own it. If you don't already own it, then hopefully you started the order process while reading this review -- I know you can multi-task, come on. If not, you should probably do so now. The review will still be here when you get back. There is probably even a link to buy it below. Needless to say, I recommend this set.

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher
(4.5/5 stars)

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support

Related links: Full DVD Reviews Page
Freakazoid! 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

Sunday, October 23

The Simpsons - "Treehouse of Horror XXVI" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
In an encore of last season’s Halloween episode, Sideshow Bob finally kills Bart, only to reanimate him; Homer wakes up with short-term memory loss; and Lisa, Bart, and Milhouse get super powers from radiation.

Bob's Burgers - "Teen-a-Witch" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT)
With Halloween quickly approaching, Tina reveals her brilliant idea that will finally win her first place in the annual costume contest. When Tammy steals her idea, Tina is forced to seek the help of Mr. Ambrose, who leads her to alternate and other-worldly methods of winning. Meanwhile, Bob is on a mission to figure out who is stealing his perfectly crafted pumpkins.

The Simpsons - "Trust But Clarify" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Lisa and Bart investigate Krusty’s suspicious new “Krustaceans” candy. Meanwhile, Homer wants a promotion at the nuclear plant and asks Marge to help him dress the part, and news anchor Kent Brockman struggles to find his feet in the changing media world.

Son of Zorn - "A Taste of Zephyria" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
After learning how Zephyria is depicted in the media, Zorn attempts to teach Alan about his culture. Meanwhile, Edie wages war with her new neighbors over their talking garden gnome.

Family Guy - "Inside Family Guy" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
FAMILY GUY takes viewers behind the scenes of a regular “FAMILY GUY” production week, with James Woods as the guide. See the ins-and-outs of what goes into the making of a “FAMILY GUY” episode and watch the drama unfold as Peter is replaced and ends up in the office of Fox Television Group Chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman to pitch his very own new series.

The Last Man on Earth - "Five Hoda Kotbs" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
A post-apocalyptic road trip has everyone at war with each other and Gail is really pushed to her breaking point.

Bizaardvark - "Spoiler Alert: Belissa Returns" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Paige and Frankie hit a writing slump and other bad things start happening to them, Paige begins to think they are cursed; Amelia and Dirk are at odds when the lifestyle Diva declutters the Dare Lair.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 24)

Sunday, October 23

  • Patti LaBelle (Out All Night) - Catch Patti on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
Monday, October 24
  • Ricky Gervais (The Office) - Watch Ricky on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Tom Hanks (Bosom Buddies) - Tom appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He also talks about Inferno on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Elijah Wood (Wilfred) - Elijah is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ana Gasteyer (People of Earth/Lady Dynamite/Suburgatory) - Ana visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) - Nick stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) - Zooey is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Michael Chiklis (Daddio) - Michael drops by Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Jameela Jamil (The Good Place) - Jameela appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Aya Cash (You're the Worst) - Aya talks about You're the Worst on the AOL Build ShoW at 2pm. She will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Will is a guest on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Mary Steenburgen (The Last Man on Earth/Ink) - Mary talks about The Last Man on Earth on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. She will also be on the AOL Build Show at 12:30pm.
  • Anna Camp (The Mindy Project) - Anna talks about Good Girls Revolt on People Now at 8:30am.
  • James Brolin (Life in Pieces) - James is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.