Saturday, September 04, 2010

Digital Digest: Parenthood - Season 1 DVD Review

Welcome to another edition of Digital Digest! Our normal Digital Digest blogger (skees53) as you know is off for the summer and is missed. As always, we have the latest news, upcoming releases for Tuesday, and our DVD review this week is of Universal Home Video's Parenthood - Season 1. Invite all of your family to today's Digital Digest!

DIGITAL NEWS

It was another slow week for sitcoms. Actually even slower than ever. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has officially announced The Boondocks - The Complete Third Season which is out on Nov. 9. View the packaging and a list of features. Universal Home Video has announced The Office - Overtime: Digital Shorts Collection coming out on Nov. 16. This single-disc release collects all 6 "webisode" series into one place, plus a "minisode." View the details on this set. And finally, this isn't really concrete news, but Shout! Factory will release Spin City - The Complete Fourth Season early next year (2011). Yeah, not much to say, but it is at least in the works.

Drama wise there was nothing really to note. Very slow week, and let's hope everything picks up after Labor Day. Enjoy the weekend!

For more information on titles that we won't cover with full or blog DVD reviews, you can head on over to the news section of TVShowsOnDVD.com for all of the latest details.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (September 7) will have a few sitcom releases. Shout! Factory is releasing The Norm Show - The Complete Series, and you can read our review of this nice set here. Universal Home Video is releasing The Office - Season 6 on both DVD and Blu-ray and looks for our review of the Blu-ray early next week! Lionsgate/ABC Studios is releasing Less Than Perfect - Season One and you can read our review of that hopefully by early next week, so stay tuned! And finally Lionsgate/ABC Studios is re-releasing Boy Meets World's first three seasons on DVD (Season 1 / Season 2 / Season 3). The content of these DVDs are the same as the previous releases from 2004-05 but smaller packaging. Read our reviews of those original ABC/Disney sets: Season 1 / Season 2 / Season 3. We hope to have reviews of the Lionsgate sets, but they really are the same thing.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

Parenthood - Season 1

DVD Review: Parenthood - Season 1
by Todd

Parenthood - Season 1 (Universal, $39.98) From executive producers Ron Howard (Apollo 13), Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind) and Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights) comes the refreshingly original hit series that critics hail as "hilarious and heartbreaking" (In Touch Weekly) and "in a class of its own" (Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times). Featuring an all-star ensemble cast, including Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls), Peter Krause (Six Feet Under), Dax Shepard (Baby Mama) and Craig T. Nelson (Coach), Parenthood follows four grown siblings of the far-from-perfect Braverman clan as they try to balance kids and careers, dreams and commitments, and romance or a total lack thereof. Join some of the best actors on television for a genuinely funny and heartwarming journey through the most challenging and rewarding role of a lifetime -- being a parent.
The series airs on Tuesdays at 10PM on NBC and stars (alphabetically) Bonnie Bedelia as Camille Braverman, Joy Bryant as Jasmine Trussell, Max Burkholder as Max Braverman, Erika Christensen as Julia Braverman-Graham, Lauren Graham as Sarah Braverman, Miles Heizer as Drew Holt, Sam Jaeger as Joel Graham, Peter Krause as Adam Braveman, Craig T. Nelson as Craig T. Nelson, Monica Potter as Kristina Braverman, Savannah Paige Rae as Sydney Graham, Sarah Ramos as Haddie Braverman, Dax Shepard as Crosby Braverman, and Mae Whitman as Amber Holt. Recurring and guest stars include Mike O'Malley as Jim Kazinsky, Erinn Hayes as Racquel, Marguerite Moreau as Katie, Tom Amandes as Dr. Pelikan, Jason Ritter as Mark Cyr, Minka Kelly as Gaby, and Asher Book as Steve.

Parenthood premiered on March 2, 2010 with over 8 million viewers. The show often won or finished second in its timeslot. A total of 13 episodes were produced for the first season. In the "Pilot," when Sarah moves back home with her parents, she sparks a rollercoaster reunion of the Braverman clan--four grown siblings who can handle the day-to-day struggles and joys of parenthood in their own peculiar ways. Adam and Kristina try to come to turns with their son's behavior while Crosby and his son just try to make it through lunch in "Man Versus Possum." Max loses his school; Sarah loses her car; Julia loses her cool at her daughter's swim class; and Crosby loses a boy, but finds his son in "The Deep End of the Pool." Adam and Kristina discover Haddie's secret boyfriend, Drew discovers his manhood and Julia and Joel discover just how hard it is to have a date night in "Whassup."

Adam helps Max play baseball, Julia helps Sydney play princess, and while Haddie's relationship is out in the open, Sarah's feelings for Amber's teacher stay private in "The Situation." Kristina can't stop worrying long enough to enjoy sex, Julia can't help getting jealous of another mother and Crosby can't find a way to tell hi mom and dad about their new grandson in "The Big 'O'." Sarah reveals her secret relationship, Career Day reveals Julia and Kristina's doubts about their life choices and Adam's attempt to get everyone together reveals just how challenging family time can be in "What's Going Down There?" Sydney's obsession could be a sign of problems ahead; Amber's ex is Sarah's problem today; and Zeek takes Adam on a road trip to a problem that's been building for a long, long time in "Rubber Band Ball." As Sarah tries to get Amber excited about college and Julia tries to teach Sydney about lying, Kristina gets back to work, leaving Adam in charge and over his head in "Perchance to Dream."

Sarah keeps Zeek's money trouble secret from Camille, while Crosby and Jasmine keep their relationship secret from Jabbar. And while Julia makes enemies on the soccer field, Adam and Kristina struggle to find Max a friend in "Namaste No More." Zeek moves in with Adam's family while Camille moves in on her art teacher. Amber feels guilty about betraying Haddie as Crosby contemplates the unimaginable--settling down in "Solace." The Bravermans' war over Haddie and Amber jeopardizes a family walk for autism, a bedroom incident could ruin Jasmine's audition and Julia learns the truth about angels and "Team Braverman." When Amber runs away, the feuding family unites to search for her. Julia asks an old flame for help with Zeek, and Crosby feels torn between his two families--the new one moving to New York and the Bravermans of Berkeley.

The episodes run usually in the 42-43 minute range (with the pilot clocking in at nearly 50 minutes). The "Previously On" recaps are included at the start of the episodes. There is a disclaimer on the back of the packaging which states "Music may differ from televised version." One thing that has been changed on the DVD is the original theme song "Forever Young" by Bob Dylan. It has been replaced by "When We Were Young" by Lucy Schwartz. This is the theme song they use internationally and online. For a listing of songs by episode, see the TV.com episode guide. Chapter stops are included within the episodes. See the runtimes for each episode below:

Disc 1
1. "Pilot" 49:58
2. "Man Versus Possum" 43:12
3. "The Deep End of the Pool" 43:12
4. "Whassup" 42:14

Disc 2
5. "The Situation" 43:11
6. "The Big 'O'" 43:11
7. "What's Going on Down There?" 43:38
8. "Rubber Band Ball" 43:00
9. "Perchance to Dream" 43:08

Disc 3
10. "Namaste No More" 43:12
11. "Solace" 42:38
12. "Team Braverman" 43:26
13. "Lost and Found" 43:45

Packaging has a nice orange and white outer box with various photos on the front cover. On the back cover, there is a large photo of the Braverman clan and 2 smaller photos. A synopsis of the set, the bonus features, and the DVD specs are listed. The main Digipak slides out from the right of the outer cardboard box. It has the same photos as the outer box. Episode summaries and various photos are found inside the box. Special features are noted by disc. Underneath the disc holders, there is a large photo of the Braverman clan that stretches out across the 3 panels. The discs are just plain silver with the Parenthood logo on them. Each disc holds 4-5 episodes. A paper sheet promoting the second season with quotes from various publications is included.

The menus are colorful and easy to navigate. They have various still shots from the episodes and a yellow show logo and background. A song from the show plays for about 30 seconds and then loops. There are options for Play All, Epiosde Index, Bonus, Setup and Previews (only on Disc 1). The option you highlight is underlined green and turns red upon your selection. Choosing Episode Index takes you to another meu where there are still images from each episode. You can turn on/off the commentary for the "Pilot" episode here or play the deleted scenes by episode. The Bonus menu has a photo of Peter Krause and the lovely Monica Potter. You can turn on the subtitles for the deaf & hard-of-hearing on the Set Up menu. It features a photo of Dax Shepard holding a birthday cake with various cast members in the background. The Previews section (5:52) has promos for Eureka, In Plain Sight, Miami Vice, The Office, Parks and Recreation, Psych, The A-Team, Knight Rider and Magnum P.I..

The video is excellent and in anamorphic widescreen 1.78:1 format. This is a gorgeously shot show with many outdoor scenes around the Los Angeles area. The audio is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Music plays an intergral part of the show. There are at least 4-9 songs used in each episode. On the back of the packaging, there is a disclaimer that says "Music may differ from televised version." Hopefully nothing major is missing. The original theme song, "Forever Young" by Bob Dylan, is not included as previously mentioned. The set has a total running time of approximately 9 hours, 28 minutes. English subtitles for the deaf & hard-of-hearing are available for the episodes. The Bonus Features are not rated and not all subtitled.

Moving on to the bonus features. They include an audio commentary on the "Pilot" episode, deleted and extended scenes, and a behind-the-scenes featurette. These bonus features should offer a good introduction to the show. It would have been to nice to have some additional audio commentaries by the cast and crew. Another bonus feature that would have been interesting to watch would be the original pilot with Maura Tierney.

Disc 1
"Pilot" Commentary with Executive Producer/Writer Jason Katims and Director Thomas Schalamme - They talk about shooting the original pilot with Maura Tierney who had to leave due to her breast cancer treatment, how Lauren Graham was cast, how they reshot some scenes, the filming locations in northern California for the pilot, and the comparisons between the originally shot pilot vs. the newly shot pilot. A pretty good commentary, although there's some dead air during some scenes.

Disc 2
Deleted and Extended Scenes featuring never-seen-before footage
"The Big 'O'" Deleted Scenes (9:01) - Unfortunately, there is no commentary on the deleted scenes. These scenes were probably just cut because of timing or pacing issues.
"What's Going on Down There?" Deleted Scenes (3:01)
Perchance to Dream Deleted Scene (1:53)

Disc 3
"Namase No More" Deleted Scene (1:31)
"Team Braverman" Deleted Scenes (4:04)
"Lost and Found" Deleted Scene (1:50)

Get to Know Your Parents Featurette (13:06) - Go beind the scenes of Parenthood and explore the characters with help from the cast as they explain what attracted them to the seies and how they approach their roles. This featurette includes interviews with Writer/Executive Producer Jason Katims, Peter Krause, Miles Heizer, Executive Producer Brian Grazer, Executive Producer Ron Howard, Bonnie Bedelia, Sam Jaeger, Dax Shepard, Sarah Ramos, Erika Christensen, Mae Whitman, Lauren Graham, Craig T. Nelson, Monica Potter, Tyree Brown, Savannah Paige Rae and Max Burkholder.

I'm a big fan of Ron Howard's 1989 Parenthood movie. The 1990 TV comedy-drama with Ed Begley, Jr., Jayne Atkinson, Thora, Leonardo DiCaprio and David Arqutte was pretty good but short-lived. I didn't get to watch the 2010 version in the spring, but I have enjoyed catching up with it on DVD.
This is a nicely put together show with an all-star ensemble cast. There are so many recognizable actors who you've probably seen in other TV series and movies. If you enjoy Brothers and Sisters, you will probably like this show as well. There aren't many quality family dramas on the air today, so it's great to see this one have some success in season one. Hopefully they can continue to build an audience in season two. The show has a nice mix of drama and comedy. Many people should be able to relate to the characters and storylines. There is a lot of reality in the show and the cast seems to have great chemistry.

The Season 1 DVD set is a pretty nice one. It has some attractive packaging and the episodes look and sound great. There aren't many special features, but they should provide some good background information on the production of the show and the characters. The only concern with this set is with possible music substitutions. This show usually has 4-9 songs used per episode. They did replace the original theme song, "Forever Young" by Bob Dylan, on the DVD with the theme they use internationally and on nbc.com and hulu.com - "When We Were Young" by Lucy Schwartz. That's not a major loss, but hopefully they were able to clear most of the other songs that were used within the episodes. Catch up with television's most heartfelt family drama before the critcially acclaimed series returns on September 14. Tune in on Tuesday nights at 10PM on NBC! Go Bravermans!

(4/5 stars)

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Amazon.com

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Official Website
Parenthood TV.com Page

LOOKING AHEAD

Come on back right here next week for more news and reviews. Next week we will have another good blog review for you. And don't forget to read our full DVD reviews, as many sitcoms will be coming fast very soon as we near September. So please stay with us! Keep it in the family and of course keep it digital!


New on DVD/Blu-ray (December/January)

American Dad! - Volume 11 Newhart - The Complete Seventh Season I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized) The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two Hooperman - Season One

12/06 - Family Guy - Season Fourteen
12/13 - American Dad! - Volume 11
12/13 - Newhart - The Complete Seventh Season
01/03 - Girls - The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray)
01/10 - Broad City - Season 3
01/17 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized)
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume One
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two
01/24 - Hooperman - Season One
01/24 - Hooperman - Season Two
01/31 - Ballers - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, January 19

The Big Bang Theory - "The Romance Calibration" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Penny feels that Leonard is taking her for granted, she decides to go on a spa weekend with Amy. Also, Wolowitz and Koothrappali try to fix a squeaky floorboard in the baby’s room.

The Great Indoors - "Mason Blows Up" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Jack tries to reassert his dominance as a reporter after Mason scores an investigative coup that turns him into an overnight celebrity. Also, Clark’s low self-esteem causes him to give Emma relationship advice about other guys instead of asking her out himself

Mom - "Good Karma and the Big Weird" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bonnie encourages Christy to pursue Marjorie’s charming nephew, Nick, despite the fact that he’s been declared off limits. Chris Pratt, husband of MOM star Anna Faris, guest stars as Nick, Marjorie’s nephew.

Life in Pieces - "Tailgate Spiral Souvenir Seating" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Colleen and Matt host the family tailgate party at the L.A. Rams game, they invite former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner to spice up their so far dismal event. Also, Tim’s in danger of missing the game when Sophia makes him take her to the restroom and they get sidetracked returning to their seats; Joan and Jen try to sneak into seats closer to the field; and Greg wins a chance to participate in a halftime contest involving a football toss.

The Good Place - "Mindy St. Claire" / "Michael's Gambit" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
With the help of Chidi (William Jackson Harper) and Tahani (Jameela Jamil), Michael (Ted Danson) faces his biggest challenge yet. Meanwhile, Eleanor (Kristen Bell), Jianyu (Manny Jacinto) and Janet (D'Arcy Carden) are faced with a monumental decision.

Eleanor (Kristen Bell) and her friends contemplate their fates in the Good Place.

Baskets - "Freaks" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Chip has to decide between a tarp and snacks.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 16)

Friday, January 20

  • Anthony Anderson (black-ish/Guys with Kids/All About the Andersons) - Catch Anthony on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • JoAnna Garcia Swisher (Reba/Better with You) - JoAnna visits The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - John is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Jim Gaffigan (The Jim Gaffigan Show/My Boys/Welcome to New York) - Jim stops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Cristela Alonzo (Cristela) - Cristela drops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community) - Ken is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He also appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Nicole Byer (Loosely, Exactly Nicole) - Nicole appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Joe Jonas (Jonas L.A.) - Joe guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Bernadette Peters (Mozart in the Jungle/All's Fair) - Bernadette is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Queen Latifah (Living Single) - Queen Latifah is a guest on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Andrew Dice Clay (Bless This House/Hitz) - Andrew stops by Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory/Roseanne - Johnny discusses his role in the new film, Rings, and dishes on this season of The Big Bang Theory on the AOL Build Show at 1pm.