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!


DIGITAL NEWS

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.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

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.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

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 SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Main DVD Reviews Page
Covert Affairs TV.com page
Covert Affairs Official Site

LOOKING AHEAD

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!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Monday, May 27

The Neighborhood - "Welcome to Game Night" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Unexpected revelations are in the cards during the Johnsons’ first game night together with the Butlers, when Gemma is prompted to rectify a past wrong and Malcolm makes a play for a fresh start with his father, Calvin.

Man with a Plan - "Wife-Proof" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Adam attempts to make the office feel more inviting since Andi will be joining him at work every day. Also, Lowell has been hiding a life-changing secret.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 27)

Monday, May 27

  • Billie Lourd (Scream Queens) - Catch Billie on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Paul Rudd (Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later/Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp/Wild Oats) - Paul appears on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Leonard Ouzts (Abby's) - Leonard is a guest on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Bryan appears on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Margo Martindale (The Millers) - Margo is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Pete Holmes (Crashing) - Pete appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond) - Ray is a guest on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Allison Williams (Girls) - Allison stops by The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Taran Gillam (Single Parents) and Leighton Meester (Single Parents/Making History) - Taran and Leighton are guests on Access Live, so check your local listings.
  • Adam Scott (Ghosted/Parks and Recreation/Party Down) - Adam talks about Big Little Lies on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Will Smith (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - Will appears on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (March/April/May)

Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season Alice - The Complete Ninth Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season Evening Shade - The Complete Collection Perfect Strangers - The Complete Seventh and Eighth Seasons

03/05 - Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
03/12 - Alice - The Complete Ninth Season (WBShop.com)
03/26 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
04/02 - Archer: Danger Island - The Complete Season Nine
04/09 - You're the Worst - The Complete Fifth Season
04/12 - Evening Shade - The Complete Collection
04/16 - The Big C - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
05/07 - Baskets - The Complete Season Three
05/13 - My Three Sons - The Third Season - Volume One
05/13 - My Three Sons - The Third Season - Volume Two
05/14 - The Donna Reed Show - Seasons 1-5
05/14 - Petticoat Junction - Seasons 1-3
05/28 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Seventh and Eighth Seasons
05/28 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Second Season (Blu-ray)
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