Saturday, August 27, 2011

Digital Digest: No Ordinary Family - The Complete First Season DVD Review; Detroit 1-8-7 - The Complete First Season DVD Review

Welcome back once again to Digital Digest, your source for all things digital as it relates to sitcoms and other TV series! Hurricane Irene may be coming through on the east coast, so if you need to take shelter (and you have electricity, of course), why not take this time to enjoy some sitcoms through DVDs or websites such as Hulu? (But please, don't take this to mean that you should get so involved in your viewing habits in lieu of staying safe; our lawyers would have made us say that if we had an extensive legal team.) In any event, we are here with more news (another slow week, though!) and we're getting into our steady storm of DVD releases, with reviews of No Ordinary Family - The Complete First Season and Detroit 1-8-7 - The Complete First Season this week. Let's get going!


DIGITAL NEWS

The Monkees is coming to DVD--again--as we have reported several times. Both The Monkees - Season One and The Monkees - Season Two will once again arrive on DVD on September 26. But how will these sets be different from the previously released Rhino sets? Well, according to TVShowsOnDVD.com, they won't be any different, except for new packaging. The article goes into a bit of depth about a few issues that those sets had (we have not previously reviewed the series as it was released before we even began to truly acknowledge TV-on-DVD). As a side note, the MSRP has been adjusted on the set, and is almost half of what it was originally reported to be. The correct MSRP on each of these sets is $39.98, which is much more affordable than the near $70 MSRP that was originally reported.

Fans of the Nicktoon Rocko's Modern Life were happy when Rocko's Modern Life - Season One was released a few months ago, and although the set did have a few flaws, it finally brought the series to pressed DVD. But like one of those cheesy products that Rocko himself may have bought from TV, "wait, there's more!" Apparently, Shout! Factory is getting in gear to release the second season, and creator Joe Murray is going to be involved this time. At the moment, his role is limited to working on the packaging (which means we should actually see some creative new "modern" art on the package), but he is trying to get some more creative features on the set. We'll let you know when we know more.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (August 30) brings several dramas to DVD, including Brothers & Sister - The Fifth and Final Season, The Event - The Complete Series, and Off the Map - The Complete Series. We should have reviews of Brothers & Sisters and Off the Map soon in Digital Digest, but today we have Detroit 1-8-7 - The Complete First Season


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

The Powells are about to go from ordinary to extraordinary! See how that comes about when you watch the very fun series No Ordinary Family! The family obtains powers that are unheard of for humans, but many questions still need to be answered. Michael Chiklis stars! Here is our review of No Ordinary Family - The Complete First Season.

DVD Review: No Ordinary Family - The Complete First Season
by Pavan

No Ordinary Family - The Complete First Season (Lionsgate, $29.98) brings all 20 extraordinary episodes from very fun series to DVD on Sept. 6! The Powell family are about to go from ordinary to extraordinary. After 16 years of marriage, Jim (Michael Chiklis) feels disconnected from his workaholic wife, Stephanie (Julie Benz), and two teenage children, Daphne (Kay Panabaker) and JJ (Jimmy Bennett. To encourage family bonding time, Jim decides the family will join Stephanie on her business trip to South America. When their plane crashes into the Amazon River, they barely enjoy a moment to celebrate their survival before returning to the grind of everyday life. But they will soon realize that their lives have been forever changed. Each member of the family starts to show signs of new, unique and distinct super powers. Will their newfound abilities finally bring them together or push them further apart? Autumn Reeser, Romany Malco and Stephen Collins also star in this star-studded series!

All 20 episodes are very fun starting with the pilot. The series goes to an amazing level around episode 7 and on. This was one of my favorite series of this past season. The ratings started strong and were decent for the rest of the fall but it could have been better if it weren't airing opposite Glee and NCIS. The ratings didn't pick-up in the winter and spring and ABC decided not to pick up the series for a second season, unfortunately. Even though the DVD says The Complete First Season, it really is The Complete Series. I'm so sad that it won't get to continue, but we have 20 "no ordinary" episodes here! Among the memorable episodes are of course the "Pilot," where it all begins! "No Ordinary Visitors," when a series of home invasions breaks out at the same time as Stephanie's parents (guest stars Cybill Shepherd and Bruce McGill) unexpectedly visit. In "No Ordinary Accident," Jim's enemy, a group of carjackers, crash into Mr. Litchfield, JJ's math teacher, and pierces Litchfield's aorta, prompting Stephanie and JJ to operate on him. In the fall finale, "No Ordinary Sidekick," George mistakenly receives credit for stopping a robbery that Jim actually stopped, while Katie's new boyfriend Will isn't who he says he is. In "No Ordinary Friends," the family deals with Daphne's sudden memory loss but are able to retrieve it using her powers to see other people's minds through touch and the family befriends the Cottens after Jim saves Dave Cotten (guest star Rick Schroder) from an accident but soon realizes that not all is as it seems with the Cotten family when the trail of mysterious art-thefts lead back to them.
In "No Ordinary Powell," Dr. King uses Victoria to infiltrate the Powell family and find out the reasons behind the permanence of their abilities but her plans are soon thwarted by Jim when he discovers her real identity and purpose, while Stephanie finds out that Dr. King is the one who assigned Victoria to kill her husband and decides to do some infiltration of her by playing a larger role in his human experiments. In "No Ordinary Love," Katie tries to distract herself to take her mind off Joshua, while Jim and Stephanie's marriage is threatened when George's new lady friend, Sophie, uses both Jim and George to destroy Global Tech using the power to make them fall in love with her. In "No Ordinary Future," after witnessing the downfall of her family upon running into space/time slit that took her into the future, Stephanie must do everything she can to alter a chain of events in the present that will expose the Powell's superpowers to the world. On the thrilling season finale, "No Ordinary Beginning," the Powells must join together to save JJ, who's been kidnapped by Mrs. X and forced to solve an enigma that could lead to the permanence of the trillsettum's effects.

Here are the episodes with the runtimes on this disc:

Disc 1:
1. No Ordinary Pilot (42:59)
2. No Ordinary Marriage (42:49)
3. No Ordinary Ring (43:00)
4. No Ordinary Vigilante (43:01)
5. No Ordinary Quake (42:59)

Disc 2:
6. No Ordinary Visitors (42:59)
7. No Ordinary Mobster (42:56)
8. No Ordinary Accident (42:54)
9. No Ordinary Anniversary (42:59)
10. No Ordinary Sidekick (42:57)

Disc 3:
11. No Ordinary Friends (43:02)
12. No Ordinary Brother (43:01)
13. No Ordinary Detention (43:01)
14. No Ordinary Double Standard (43:02)
15. No Ordinary Powell (43:02)

Disc 4:
16. No Ordinary Proposal (43:02)
17. No Ordinary Love (42:59)
18. No Ordinary Animal (43:00)
19. No Ordinary Future (42:51)
20. No Ordinary Beginning (42:59)

The packaging is a simple keepcase. The cover art has the Powell family front and center with a ray of blue light surrounding them. The color scheme is blue. The show logo is in the middle, with "The Complete First Season" mention on the top and the "New Powers. Instructions Not Included" phrase below the logo. The back of the case has info on the series and set, a nice shot of the family running. We also have four small episodic photos, below the main photo. When we open the case, we have two plastic holders holding the discs. The plastic holders are like pages in a book and you can flip them. The first holder has disc one in the front and disc two in the back. The second holder is similar and has disc three in the front and disc four in the back. The disc art has the same artwork as the cover art, but the family is separated. Jim is on disc one. Stephanie is on disc two. Daphne is on disc three. And JJ is on disc four. The same type of background from the cover art are on the disc background as well. Finally, there is no artwork or anything on the panels itself, it is just a plain black background.

The menu screen is very cool. We start off with the show logo and then Jim Powell comes and pushes the logo away and we see the rest of the family. Each disc features the character on the disc art. So after this sequence, we get video clips of Jim Powell on the main menu on disc one. Disc two has Stephanie, while disc three has Daphne and disc four has JJ. It's very nicely done! The closing theme plays in the background as well and the background is similar to the cover art in blue. Submenus have background music from the series playing in the background. The main menu options are: Play All, Episode Selection, and Bonus Features. The latter is only on disc four, though. Episode Selection takes us to a submenu with episode # and title. It is simple and it works with cool artwork.

The video is excellent. It's not Blu-ray quality, but it is a nice widescreen format. And if your DVD player upconverts to HD, it almost looks like it is in real HD like you would see on ABC HD. The audio is a very good English 5.1 Digital Dolby. There is nothing to complain about and everything is how it is supposed to be for a new series like this. The episodes are around 43 minutes, so everything is unedited like how we saw on ABC. And we get 6 chapter stops per episode, so it is easier to go through an episode, if you are looking for anything in particular.

As far as bonus material, we have two items here! It's too bad a new series like this only get two items, but it is better than nothing at all! The bonus features are only on disc four. First up, we have "No Ordinary Bloopers" (3:18). This of course shows all the flubs and mistakes the cast make, but of course it is all in fun! You can tell this cast gelled with each other. And the final extra is "Deleted Scenes" (8:09). We get 9 deleted scenes from various episodes and these are nice to see. I just wish we knew what episodes they belong to. Other than that, I love the deleted scenes! I wish we had some interviews or audio commentaries as well, as I'm sure there is something already out there for this in terms of interviews, so they didn't even have to produce anything.

I urge fans to buy this set. And if you didn't watch the show on TV, now is your chance because it is really fun. If you missed any episodes, now is your chance to catch-up! There are 20 episodes, so you could finish this set in a day or two. I wish we had more bonus features, but other than that, this DVD is well-done. Lionsgate and ABC Studios did a good job with it and the show of course is excellent, too. It's pure family fun and I wish we had a chance to experience more this coming season. So get this DVD and watch the Powells with their new powers! You don't have to have new powers to watch, so buy today!

(4.5/5 stars)

To purchase this DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
No Ordinary Family on TV.com


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

Crime dramas have been a major part of television history. One of ABC's latest attempts at this genre, Detroit 1-8-7 was ABC's most recent attempt at this genre. Originally slated to be a crime "mockumentary," the series quickly evolved into a standard crime drama following detectives trying to solve the most heinous crimes in the city of Detroit. Though canceled after one season by ABC, the series has garnered enough interest that it may potentially be revived on cable in the near future. Here is our review of Detroit 1-8-7 - The Complete First Season.

DVD Review: Detroit 1-8-7 - The Complete First Season
by Pavan

Detroit 1-8-7 - The Complete First Season (Lionsgate, $29.98) brings all 18 gritty first season episodes from gutsy series to DVD this Tuesday (Aug. 30)! What does it take to be a detective in one of America's toughest cities? Follow one homicide unit as Detroit's finest reveal the crisis and revelation, heartbreak and heroism that characterize these inner city cops in Season 1 of Detroit 1-8-7. Headed by Lieutenant Maureen Mason (Aisha Hinds), a strong-willed single mom struggling to balance home and work, the team is made up of quite the firing squad. There's the damaged but driven Detective Louis Fitch (series star Michael Imperioli) along with his new partner, Detective Damon Washington (Jon Michael Hill). Detective Ariana Sanchez (Natalie Martinez) is the sexy and beautiful rising star in the department who teams up with narcotics undercover cop John Stone (D.J. Cotrona). Last but not least, Sergeant Jesse Longford (James McDaniel) is the 30-year veteran who forms an amusing match of experience and enthusiasm with his partner, Detective Vikram Mahajan (Shaun Majumder), a fully Americanized son of Indian immigrants. Erin Cummings also appears as Dr. Abbey Ward, the Wayne County Medical Examiner.

All 18 episodes are very gritty starting with the pilot. The series from start to the end of the season never lets up and you are invested in these detectives. This was also one of my favorite series of this past season. The ratings were decent in the fall following Dancing with the Stars, but struggled in the winter without it. Thus, ABC decided not to pick up the series for a second season, unfortunately. The DVD says The Complete First Season and not The Complete Series because the producers are pitching the series to cable networks so it can continue. It's a long shot, but I hope it does happen! Among the memorable episodes are of course the "Pilot," where it all begins as Detective Louis Fitch helps his new partner Detective Washington fit in to the homicide division while investigating a double homicide at a pharmacy, while Sergeant Longford and Detective Mahajan investigate the murder of a lawyer found in a train yard. When forensics connect the cases they realize they have a serial killer seeking revenge on those whom he believes stole his family from him and Detective John Stone is re-assigned from narcotics to homicide. In "Nobody's Home/Unknown Soldier," Detectives Fitch and Washington investigate who murdered an elderly woman in her home, even though the victim was not allowed to live in the house then connecting a big-time real estate developer, possibly behind the murder, while Sanchez and Stone try to find who murdered a teenage boy and victimized his father by luring them with a vintage car ad. In "Royal Bubbles/Needle Drop," Detectives Fitch, Washington, Stone, and Sanchez investigate the murder of a car-wash owner and they discover that the owner of the carwash was laundering money for a local drug dealer and that his wife has the bank statements and receipts to prove it, while Longford and Mahajan investigate the slaying of a rising hip-hop star who is found on the street in front of a record store. In "Shelter," two bodies are found in an abandoned shelter and Longford's father, to everyone's surprise is able to help with this investigation, while Fitch, Washington, Stone and Sanchez investigate the murder of a Latina. In "Key to the City," Sgt. Longford's surprise retirement party is overshadowed by news of the murder of an assistant prosecutor in the parking lot of the courthouse.
In one of the best episodes, "Road to Nowhere," Detective Fitch is the prime suspect in the murder of Henry Malloy, a prominent philanthropist who had just been given the key to the city, while Lt. Mason is not at all pleased when Jess Harkins, an FBI agent from Chicago, is brought in to lead the investigation just because Mr. Malloy was the subject of a federal investigation. In "Stone Cold," Detective Stone again crosses paths with Pup Clemmons, a drug dealer he knew from his days working undercover narcotics, when he investigates the murder of a college girl, as the episode ends in a shocker. In "Motor City Blues," after a tragedy the detectives deal with it in their own ways, as Detective Fitch attempts to once again be a father to his twelve year old son Bobby (guest star Vadim Imperioli) when his ex-wife brings him from New York for a visit. In the season finale, "Blackout," Sgt. Longford reconsiders his retirement but gets told that it is not that simple to undo and Detective Fitch's time with his son Bobby (Vadim Imperioli) is interrupted by the arrival of 'Big Al' Stram (Tommy Flanagan) from New York.

Here are the episodes with the runtimes on this disc:

Disc 1:
1. Pilot (41:26)
2. Local Hero/Overboard (42:59)
3. Nobody's Home/Unknown Soldier (42:59)
4. Royal Bubbles/Needle Drop (43:02)
5. Murder in Greektown/High School Confidential (42:54)

Disc 2:
6. Lost Child/Murder 101 (43:03)
7. Broken Engagement/Trashman (43:00)
8. Dejavu/All In (42:59)
9. Home Invasion/Drive-By (42:46)
10. Shelter (43:00)

Disc 3:
11. Ice Man/Malibu (43:02)
12. Key To The City (42:58)
13. Road To Nowhere (42:59)
14. Beaten/Cover Letter (43:00)

Disc 4:
15. Legacy/Drag City (43:02)
16. Stone Cold (42:40)
17. Motor City Blues (43:02)
18. Blackout (43:02)

The packaging is simple keepcase. The cover art has Fitch in the center with the other cast members surrounding him in the background. We have a nice shot of the Detroit skyline. The color scheme is black. The show logo is below Fitch, with "The Complete First Season" mention below that. The back of the case has info on the series and set, with a nice big episodic image featuring Fitch and Mahajan on the top. We also have four smaller episodic photos, below the main photo. When we open the case, we have two plastic holders holding the discs. The plastic holders are like pages in a book and you can flip them. The first holder has disc one in the front and disc two in the back. The second holder is similar and has disc three in the front and disc four in the back. The disc art has the same artwork as the cover art, but the cast is separated. Fitch is on disc one. Mahajan and Lt. Mason are on disc two. Stone and Washington are on disc three. And Sgt. Jesse Longford and Sanchez are on disc four. The same type of background from the cover art are on the disc background's as well with the Detroit skyline. Finally, there is no artwork or anything on the panels itself, it is just a plain black background.

The menu screen is cool, but not as good as the No Ordinary Family set, which we reviewed above. We have the same artwork from the cover art as the image on the main menu. The closing theme plays in the background and the background is similar to the cover art in black. The main menu options are: Play All and Episode Selection. Episode Selection takes us to a submenu with episode # and title. It is simple and it works with cool artwork. Nothing flashy on this set, though.

The video is excellent. Like the No Ordinary Family set, it's not Blu-ray quality, but it is a nice widescreen format. And if your DVD player upconverts to HD, it almost looks like it is in real HD like you would see on ABC HD. The audio is a very good English 5.1 Digital Dolby. There is nothing to complain about and everything is how it is supposed to be for a new series like this. The episodes are around 43 minutes, so everything is unedited like how we saw on ABC. And we get 6 or 7 chapter stops per episode, so it is easier to go through an episode, if you are looking for anything in particular.

As far as bonus material, we have none here. It's a shame because the No Ordinary Family set had some. Oh well, I'll take no bonus materials if we get the series back in production for a second season! Someone pick the show up so we can see more Fitch and the gang!

I urge fans to buy this set. And if you didn't watch the show on TV, now is your chance because it is really gritty and the best true cop series since NYPD Blue. It's a nice throwback to cop series of the past but with a new angle, if that makes sense. If you missed any episodes, now is your chance to catch-up! There are 18 episodes, so you could finish this set in a day or two. I wish we had some bonus features, but other than that, this DVD is well-done and nothing too flashy, but it works. Lionsgate and ABC Studios did a good job with it and the show of course is excellent, too. It's gutsy and represents Detroit well. I wish we had a chance to experience more this coming season. So get this DVD and watch Fitch do his job, even though it may be a bit strange or peculiar...he does it well! And it's always nice to look at Det. Sanchez, too! Get in on the gusty allure of Detroit 1-8-7!

(4/5 stars)

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Detroit 1-8-7 TV.com Page


CLICK OF THE WEEK

Former Child Star Central (www.fcscentral.com) - The first thing that one may notice about this page is that it is a top-level domain, but it is hosted on a Tripod server. It is a very low-frills website as well. But this website is your go-to place to find out all about your favorite child stars from television (as well as other media). Here, you can find details about former child stars, where they are now, reported sightings of former child stars (like they're aliens!), essays about former child stars, and current news about former child stars. In short, it is like a who's who about all of the child stars.

Though the site no longer maintains active database updates (and hasn't for years, though all of what was posted is still there) on sightings and minor details, it is still actively posting new essays and news about former child stars. You can head to this site and find out the latest on Gary Coleman, for instance--that's right, there is more to be said about him and a legal battle involving him over a year after his death. Wonder what happened to Brandon Call of Step by Step? He may just be working at your local auto repair shop if you live in California. The only unfortunate downfall of the site is that, as mentioned, active sightings are no longer being reported, but it still remains a good source to find information on our former child stars.

That's all for this week. Until next time, 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 / Review
01/24 - Hooperman - Season Two / Review
01/31 - Ballers - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, January 24

The Middle - "A Tough Pill to Swallow" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When a devastated Sue discovers that she has been kicked out of college because she forgot to renew her financial aid, Mike tries to come to her rescue and convince a tough college bursar to reinstate her. Meanwhile, having only taken oral liquid medication all of his life, a frustrated Frankie does everything in her power to teach Brick how to swallow a pill when he gets an ear infection; and Hutch becomes angry with Axl after he keeps driving the Winnebago without permission to Orson to visit new girlfriend April – leaving Hutch without any means of transportation to get to class.

American Housewife - "Art Show" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Anna-Kat draws a super plus-sized portrait of Katie for the school art show, Katie sets out to retrieve it by any means necessary. Meanwhile, with Katie away, Doris is left in charge of Oliver and Taylor. She’s determined to whip them into shape with her Tiger Mom skills, but she may have met her match.

Fresh Off the Boat - "Coming From America" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Louis flies the entire family to Taiwan in an effort to make things right with Gene (Ken Jeong). Upon meeting Gene’s beautiful fiancĂ©, Margaret, and seeing the wonderful life he has built for himself, Louis questions whether his life in Orlando is just as great as it could be in Taiwan. Meanwhile, Jessica takes Eddie, Emery and Evan to her favorite childhood locales, including Dihua Street and Shilin Night Market.

The Real O'Neals - "The Real Match" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Jimmy recruits a reluctant Kenny to join his wrestling team for a one-time match, a surprise victory gives him the confidence to join the team full time to become the first, openly gay athlete at St. Barklays. Kenny’s newfound stardom makes Jimmy feel a bit replaced, but when an opponent refuses to wrestle his brother, Jimmy puts his feelings aside and rallies the team around Kenny. Meanwhile, Pat injures his back trying to help Eileen prepare for a weekend getaway, but things only get worse when she tries to be the perfect caregiver to impress VP Murray but fails miserably.

New Girl - "The Hike" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
While on a day hike, Jess and Robby (guest star Nelson Franklin) discover something unexpected about their relationship. Also, Winston throws a surprise welcome home party for Aly (guest star Nasim Pedrad). Meanwhile, Schmidt and Cece fail to impress their new neighbors.

The Mick - "The Master" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
All hell breaks loose, as the kids fight over who will take the master bedroom. Also, Mickey pursues a wealthy businessman who quickly discovers that she is not the prize he thought she was.

Teachers - "Stranger Danger" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
There’s a trespasser at Fillmore and a new security guard is hired. Ms. Snap and Ms. Bennigan hold a “Women Empowering Women” workshop, Mrs. Adler takes stranger danger too far, and Ms. Watson purchases a male safety dummy.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 23)

Tuesday, January 24

  • Retta (Parks and Recreation) - Catch Retta on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. She will also be on the AOL Build Show at 3pm.
  • Claudia O'Doherty (Love) - Claudia is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) - John talks about Patriots Day on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Yvette Nicole Brown (The Odd Couple/Community) - Yvette visits Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Jennifer Esposito (Samantha Who?/Spin City) - Jennifer appears on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. She will also be on the AOL Build Show at 1pm.
  • Justina Machado (One Day at a Time) - Justina talks about the new Netflix series One Day at a Time on the AOL Build Show at 12pm.