Saturday, May 14, 2011

Digital Digest: Covert Affairs - Season One DVD Review

We're well into spring now and headed in to summer, but there's always time for Digital Digest, no matter what the season is! It's been another one of those slow news weeks again this week, but hopefully it won't stay that way. After all, we have had a few good weeks in the past month for news. This week, we also have a review of Covert Affairs - Season One. So, let's get going!


If you've been "set in your ways, losing track of the days" watching Webster on DVD, you're about to become even more "set" with the release of the next season of the classic '80s sitcom! Few would have ever guessed that the series would come to DVD at all, but now, the third season has already been announced, with Webster - Season Three set for a release date of August 9 at a $29.93 MSRP.

That isn't all for Shout! Factory, though! Just on week later, on August 16, comes Spin City - Season Five, the first (of two) seasons with Charlie Sheen in the starring role, in place of Michael J. Fox. It also comes at a $29.93 MSRP, but of course, you can purchase it for even less by pre-ordering it now.


Tuesday (May 17) only has one sitcom release, with Shout! Factory's release of the final season of All in the Family with All in the Family - The Complete Ninth Season. You can check out our review of this set here. As for non-sitcoms, we have Covert Affairs - Season One and The Twilight Zone - Season Four (Blu-ray Disc). We have a review of Covert Affairs in today's Digital Digest.


Meet Annie Walker: smart, stunning and the CIA's newest field operative in one of their most secretive branches. Suddenly summoned by headquarters for active duty one month before training is over she's quickly thrown into a shadowy world full of cons killers and international crime rings. What she doesn't know is there's something--or someone--from her past that her bosses want badly enough to put her in harm's way. She just has to survive long enough to find out why. From the producer of the Bourne films comes the action-packed first season of the smash-hit espionage series with co-stars Christopher Gorham, Peter Gallagher, Kari Matchett, Anne Dudek and Sendhil Ramamurthy. Critics are praising it as "the best new drama series of the season" and well, it is, so you should definitely check out our review of Covert Affairs - Season One.

DVD Review: Covert Affairs - Season One
by Pavan

Covert Affairs - Season One (Universal, $59.98) is coming to DVD next week with all the action, comedy, drama and romance you need with Annie Walker and the rest of the CIA. A young CIA trainee, Annie Walker, is mysteriously sent out into the field to work at the Domestic Protection Division (DPD). August "Auggie" Anderson, a blind field operative, is Annie's guide in her new life. Annie's cover story is that she works in Acquisitions at the Smithsonian Museum. Annie knows many languages, including her favorite one Portuguese. The series stars the stunning Piper Perabo as Annie Walker, along with Christopher Gorham as CIA special ops Auggie Anderson, Kari Matchett as Annie's boss Joan Campbell, Anne Dudek as Annie's older sister Danielle Brooks, Sendhil Ramamurthy as CIA office Jai Wilcox and Peter Gallagher as CIA director Arthur Campbell.

The first season premieres last July on USA Network and did well in the ratings airing Tuesday nights in the summer. The series will return for a second season next month (June 7) in its Tuesday at 10pm timeslot. It is unclear how many episodes will air in season two, but it could be 13. The first season had 11 episodes which includes the 75-minute pilot. In the "Pilot," this is where it all starts with young CIA trainee, Annie Walker, is mysteriously sent out into the field. In "No Quarter," when a routine exchange is compromised in Zurich, Annie finds herself on the run from the authorities, and at odds with Eyal (Oded Fehr), a Mossad agent who is somehow linked to the mission's fate and the two operatives must work together to complete the mission and return home safely. In "House for the Holy," Annie is tasked by the DPD to uncover a leak within the Senate, but as Annie begins to hunt for the truth, she finds there's more beneath the surface than once thought. In "What Is and What Should Never Be," after Annie witnesses a suspicious purchase at an art auction, her follow-up brings a surprise visitor, Ben Mercer (Eion Bailey), back into her life. In the action-packed first season finale "When The Levee Breaks," Ben Mercer walks into the CIA Headquarters and confronts Annie with her past and the two travel back to Sri Lanka, while it is revealed that Liza's source is Henry Wilcox and Joan has been asked to replace Arthur as head of DCS.

Guest stars include Eion Bailey as Ben Mercer, Eriq La Salle as Christopher McAuley, Gregory Itzin as Henry Wilcox, Emmanuelle Vaugier as Liza Hearn, Evan Sabba as Michael Brooks, Lauren Holly, D.W. Moffett, Oded Fehr, Liane Balaban and Anna Chlumsky. The episodes all appear to be unedited how you saw them originally last summer on USA Network. Here are the runtimes:

Disc 1:
1. "Pilot" (65:08)
2. "Walter's Walk" (42:58)
3. "South Bound Suarez" (42:48)
4. "No Quarter" (42:50)

Disc 2:
5. "In The Light" (42:30)
6. "House of the Holy" (42:11)
7. "Communication Breakdown" (42:55)
8. "What Is and What Should Never Be" (42:52)

Disc 3:
9. "Fool in the Rain" (42:44)
10. "I Can't Quit You Baby" (43:04)
11. "When The Levee Breaks" (42:50)

As far as packaging goes, we have an outer box that holds three slim cases. The outer box is all white with a shot of Annie Walker pointing a gun in a white shirt and tight black pants. She is also wearing heals. The tagline "Single woman. Double life" is printed on the front along with the series logo. The back has artwork of the main cast (Gallagher, Gorham, Matchett, Perabo and Ramamurthy). We also have a description of the series and set and a list of bonus features. The slim cases all have different artwork on the front. They all feature Piper Perabo in sexy poses. The first one has Perabo and Ramamurthy. The second one has Perabo and Gallagher. And the third one has Perabo with Matchett & Gorham. Great artwork! The back of these slim cases have a strip of four episodic images on the top followed by episode titles and a description of the episode from the slim case. Disc artwork is plain in grey with lettering in red. There is no artwork on the discs besides the red lettering and the series logo.

The menu screens are really good. Before the main menu on disc one there are auto trailers for series such as In Plain Sight, Royal Pains, Psych and Monk. Then we get to the main menu which has the closing theme playing in the background. The artwork is the same as the box cover with Annie in the white top and tight black pants. The options for the main menu are: Play All, Episode Index, Bonus Features, Setup, and Previews (on disc one only). Previews has more trailers for such series as The Rockford Files, Knight Rider and The A-Team. Setup is pretty useless because you can't change anything, it is English Digital Dolby 5.1 audio and you can turn on English subtitles. Episode Index has the episode number, title and if it has a deleted scene or audio commentary you can choose that here. You can also choose that in the Bonus Features section, which lists all the special features for the disc.

The video quality is superb, as it should be since it is a new series. It looks like HD even on DVD. If this series were being offered on Blu-ray, I can't imagine how better it would look since this DVD is such great quality. The audio is perfect as well. It is clear and crisp and with Dolby Digital 5.1, you can't go wrong. There are 4 chapter stops per episode, so that is convenient if you want to skip to a scene you're looking for in particular.

There are plenty of special features. I'll detail them by disc. For disc one, we have audio commentary for the "Pilot" with Piper Perabo, Christopher Gorham, Doug Liman (executive producer) and Matt Corman & Chris Ord (creators). They are fun to listen to and we learn a lot here. Piper is so nice (and funny). Then we have deleted scenes for three of the four episodes on this disc: "Walter's Walk" (4:60), "South Bound" (0:35), and "No Quarter (1:00). The first one has more than one deleted scene, obviously. Disc two has another audio commentary track, this time for the episode "Communication Breakdown." On hand for this one are Piper Perabo, Christopher Gorham, Dave Bartis & Doug Liman (executive producers) and Matt Corman & Chris Ord (creators). Bartis was added to the fun and we have the same style of information and fun as the first commentary. There are two episodes of the four on this disc with deleted scenes: "House of the Holy" (3:40) and "What Is and What Should Never Be" (3:25).

Moving on to disc three, this is where the main special features are. But first, we have audio commentary for the season finale "When the Levee Breaks" with Piper Perabo, Christopher Gorham, Dave Bartis (executive producer) and Matt Corman & Chris Ord (creators). There is no Doug Liman on this one. There is one episode of the three on this disc with deleted scenes: "Fool in the Rain" (5:23). Now onto the main features, we have a "Gag Reel" that runs 2:20. This is self-explanatory and always fun to watch flubs and goofs. Probably the best feature on the set is "Welcome to the Farm" (13:40). This has interviews with Piper Perabo, Christopher Gorham, Chris Ord, Doug Liman, Dave Bartis, James D. Parriott (executive producer), Sendhil Ramamurthy, Kari Matchett, and Peter Gallagher. We learn a lot about the series and the characters here and it is also nice to put the faces to the voices of the producers from the audio commentaries! The next featurette is "Blind Insight" (4:01). We learn about Christopher Gorham's challenges and experiences of playing a blind character. Chris Ord and Piper Perabo also make comments. We also have a "Set Tour" (13:50) as Sendhil Ramamurthy and Matt Corman go into just about every main set used on the show. This is very cool and one of the best set tours I have ever seen on DVD. And finally, we have "Celebrate the ADA" (0:35). This is a Christopher Gorham PSA for the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). You can watch it here.

Overall this is a great set and a great show. It's not Alias, but that doesn't matter because it shouldn't set to copy a show like that. This is its own show and it works. Piper Perabo is brilliant on this show and was nominated for a Golden Globe. This DVD is well-produced with good packaging, menus, audio/video and special features. There is really nothing to complain about. New series on DVD are expected to be as good as this set is. The only thing making this set not a 5 star set is it needed one more big special feature. But 4 1/2 stars is not too shabby! Go inside the farm with Annie Walker (who wouldn't want to be with her??) with this DVD so you can be ready for the second season on June 7 at 10pm ET/PT on USA Network!

(4.5/5 stars)

To purchase this DVD, click below and help support

Related links: Main DVD Reviews Page
Covert Affairs page
Covert Affairs Official Site


We'll be back next week, of course, with more news and reviews in Digital Digest. Up next, we have a review of The Red Green Show - The Mid-Life Crisis Years. Until then, keep it digital!

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

Tuesday, October 25

The Middle - "Halloween VIII: The Heckoning" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
As Halloween approaches, Frankie is taken aback when she discovers that, if the circumstances ever arose where she and Mike got divorced, the kids would all choose to live with Mike. Meanwhile, Sue tries everything in her power to get her room back from Brick, and having to be so nice around girlfriend April all of the time leads Axl to lash out at his family.

American Housewife - "Westport Zombies" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Katie, jealous of Taylor’s friendship with neighbor Viv (Leslie Bibb), reluctantly competes in the Westport Halloween “Zombie Run” after she finds out they’ll both be running. Meanwhile, Greg and Anna-Kat get a little too much in character for the “zombie” part of the run’s obstacle course.

Fresh Off the Boat - "Louisween" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
It’s Louis’ favorite holiday, and he makes every attempt to scare Jessica into the Halloween spirit, but she is buried in her word processor, drafting her first horror novel. Meanwhile, Emery and Evan debate costume choices, and Eddie and his crew are excited to party with high schoolers at Nicole’s house.

The Real O'Neals - "The Real Halloween" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Halloween arrives, or what Kenny refers to as “the gay Super Bowl,” he plans to go to Boystown to watch the festive costume parade. In an effort to prevent Kenny from attending, Eileen agrees to let him throw his own Halloween party at home. Eileen’s tolerance is ultimately tested when Kenny recruits Stuart and his gay friends to join the big party, and he makes a BIG costume change. Meanwhile, Jimmy and Shannon plan to pull off an epic Halloween prank.

Atlanta - "Junteenth" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Why my Auntie trying to make me go to one of these bougie Junteenth parties again? I don't like them sadity people and I'm gonna miss my shows. Le sigh.

Family Time - "Head of House" (Bounce TV, 9:00PM ET/PT)
When the Stallworths have an unexpected visitor, they learn of a vicious crime that took place in their home years ago.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 24)

Tuesday, October 25

  • Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Catch Will on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He also chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Matt LeBlanc (Man with a Plan/Episodes/Friends) - Matt is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother) - Cobie appears on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Skylar Astin (Ground Floor) - Skylar is a guest on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Mary Lynn Rajskub (How to Be a Gentleman/Veronica's Closet/The Larry Sanders Show) and David Koechner (Another Period/Hank/The Office) - Mary and David are guests on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - John appears on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Jamie Lee Curtis (Scream Queens/Anything But Love) - Jamie Lee is a guest on Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Erinn Hayes (Kevin Can Wait/Guys with Kids/Worst Week) - Erinn plays a celeb guessing game with Rach, who’s serving up no-fail make-your-own takeout, on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Mary Steenburgen (The Last Man on Earth/Ink) - Mary joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Ana Gasteyer (People of Earth/Lady Dynamite/Suburgatory) - Ana will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET. She will also be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Cheryl Hines (Son of Zorn/Suburgatory/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Cheryl is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) - Abbi will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. She will also be on the AOL Build Show 4pm.
  • Don Rickles (C.P.O. Sharkey/Daddy Dearest) - Don is a guest on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Nico Tortorella (Younger) - Nico appears on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.