Saturday, August 20, 2011

Digital Digest: Parenthood - Season Two DVD Review

Welcome to Digital Digest, your weekly home for news of all things digital! It's another slow news week, but this week we begin getting into our very busy period of reviews of the upcoming DVD/Blu-ray sets of the 2010-2011 TV season! We have our very first review of the previous TV season this week with our review of Parenthood - Season Two. Let's get rolling.


DIGITAL NEWS

As we are talking about the 2010-2011 TV season, there is one series for which we hadn't heard anything about a DVD release, but now there is some news for 30 Rock! On November 29, just before the season premiere (the series will begin midseason for the upcoming season), 30 Rock - Season Five will debut on DVD. However, no Blu-ray release is in the works for the time being (there haven't been any for 30 Rock).

Hulu has consistently been a great source for fans of vintage TV to watch some of their favorite shows, and starting Monday, you can go back to the 60s for a rarely seen series hosted by Joan Rivers! That Show, which aired in the late 60s and early 70s on NBC, was one of Rivers' first ventures into television, and starting Monday, you'll be able to see the first 65 episodes of the series on Hulu, remastered from the original sources.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (August 23) begins the "awakening" of the 2010-2011 season (OK, I'll admit, I'm overdramatizing this), but is still a light day for releases. For Tuesday, we have Brothers & Sisters - The Complete Fifth and Final Season and Off the Map - The Complete Series. We are currently awaiting review copies of these sets and hope to have reviews soon.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

Family dramas are a long-standing and time-tested genre in television, and the Braverman family is no exception. The current NBC series, Parenthood, is a second attempt (after a poorly received sitcom in the early 90s) at recreating the very popular movie from producer Ron Howard. Following the Braverman family through different generations and the good and the bad, here is our review of Parenthood - Season Two.

DVD Review - Parenthood - Season Two
by skees53

Parenthood - Season Two (Universal, $59.98) collects all 22 episodes from the second season of the NBC family drama in a five disc collection. The series, based loosely upon the 1989 film starring Steve Martin, follows the trials and tribulations of different generations of the Braverman family, through the good and the bad.

The second season begins with "I Hear You, I See You," where Crosby tries to cope with his long-distance relationship with his son Jabbar. Crosby is asked to pick up Jabbar in "Date Night," but all might not go so well as Crosby has just had a work party where he has had a little too much to drink. Max decides to face his Halloween fears in "Orange Alert." Adam has difficulty when he is forced to fire seven employees in "Seven Names." In "If This Boat Is a Rockin'," somebody calls Max "retarded," and it isn't sitting too well for Adam, at all.

In "Happy Thanksgiving," Sarah invites her new boss to Thanksgiving dinner, which wouldn't be a huge deal, except did we mention that he is Adam's boss? In "Meet the New Boss," Adam has a new boss, who just happens to be a 20-something stoner. Haddie has had enough with her parents and moves out in "A House Divided." In "Do Not Sleep with Your Autistic Nephew's Therapist," Crosby's one night stand has consequences that rock the entire household. Adam and Kristina struggle to explain Max's Asperger's to him in "Qualities and Difficulties." In "New Plan," everybody is planning for the next stage in life, but how will Amber explain to her mom that she didn't get in to college? Amber's life spirals out of control in "Slipping Away." The season ends with a surprise that'll blow everyone away in "Hard Times Come Again No More."

The episodes on the set appear to be mostly as they aired on NBC, but there is one very obvious change in the DVD version that was seen in the previous set: the theme song has been changed due to music rights reasons. Not to worry too much, however, because the replacement theme is the same one seen in international airings and online, and fits the series very well. It isn't a cheap replacement theme as we see in some DVD sets, but works very well for the series. Runtimes for the episodes are as follows.

Disc 1:
1. "I Hear You, I See You" (42:02)
2. "No Good Deed" (43:08)
3. "I'm Cooler Than You Think" (42:29)
4. "Date Night" (42:28)

Disc 2:
5. "The Booth Job" (43:05)
6. "Orange Alert" (42:54)
7. "Seven Names" (43:03)
8. "If This Boat Is a Rockin'" (43:09)
9. "Put Yourself Out There" (43:08)

Disc 3:
10. "Happy Thanksgiving" (42:51)
11. "Damage Control" (43:08)
12. "Meet the New Boss" (43:06)
13. "Opening Night" (42:24)
14. "A House Divided" (43:07)

Disc 4:
15. "Just Go Home" (42:52)
16. "Amazing Andy and His Wonderful World of Bugs" (43:04)
17. "Do Not Sleep with Your Autistic Nephew's Therapist" (43:01)
18. "Qualities and Difficulties" (43:04)

Disc 5:
19. "Taking the Leap" (42:50)
20. "New Plan" (43:06)
21. "Slipping Away" (42:36)
22. "Hard Times Come Again No More" (43:10)

Like many Universal DVD sets (and unlike many other studios these days), the set comes packaged in a digipak. On the cover, we have four photos of each of Zeek and Camille's children's family, with a green color scheme in the background. On the back, there are a few more snapshots, along with one giant photo of the entire family. Inside, we have the digipak, which has three panels (there are two discs in each of the first two panels and one in the third panel). Behind the discs, there is one large panoramic photo of the whole family in one of those bounce houses (which was actually originally supposed to be featured as the cover art). On the other side of the digipak, there is a listing of all of the episodes with descriptions. Discs 1, 4, and 5 contain four episodes each, while Discs 2 and 3 contain five episodes each. As for the disc artwork, it is simply the series logo on a silver background for each disc.

The menus on the set are relatively simple, with different photos of the family and options of Play All, Episode Index, Bonus, and Setup. The closing theme plays in the background of the main menu, and loops forever--it actually gets annoying after a while. Episode Index takes you to a menu that shows all of the episodes, along with a snapshot from the episode. You can also select any commentaries or deleted scenes from here. The episode plays immediately upon selecting it, and there are chapters within the episodes. Bonus allows you to select the special features contained on that disc. And finally, Setup is just a place to turn on English subtitles (I wonder why they don't just call it that?).

The video and audio quality of the set is about what you would come to expect from a series that just aired months ago on TV--essentially flawless. The video is crisp and doesn't seem to suffer from any real issues, and the series has a rather nice Dolby Digital 5.1 sound that is loud and clear. Each episode contains English subtitles.

The set isn't exactly loaded with special features, but there are several included on here. First, there are three episodes with commentaries. These include "If This Boat Is a Rockin'" (Peter Krause and Allison Liddi-Brown), "Just Go Home" (Lauren Graham and Lawrence Trilling), and "Do Not Sleep With Your Autistic Nephew's Therapist" (Executive Producer Jason Katims). There are also a few deleted scenes from some episodes, including "The Booth Job" (1:42), "A House Divided" (1:55), "Do Not Sleep With Your Autistic Nephew's Therapist" (2:07), "New Plan" (1:11), and "Hard Times Come Again No More" (1:30). Finally, the special feature "From Page to Screen" (14:30) is a behind-the-scenes look with the cast and crew of taking the series from the script phase to actually producing the episode.

When the series premiered on NBC, it was hoped to be something like NBC's "white knight," but it hasn't really lived up to those expectations. Still, it has earned it's place on NBC, and is actually one of the few good family dramas that I've seen in recent years. The series doesn't really go for the outrageous or extreme, but is a very down to earth series that blends comedy and family drama rather well. This DVD set is another great set (even with the replaced theme song, which really isn't a huge deal with this series), and I'm only more anxious to see what the third season of the series holds now.

(4/5 stars)

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

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


CLICK OF THE WEEK

The Simpsons Archive (www.snpp.org) - Like we said last week, when we talked about the website Bundyology, we only like to include series specific websites when they stand out above the rest. And The Simpsons Archive is another shining example of a website for a TV series. On the main page, the website claims to be "the Internet's clearinghouse of Simpsons guides, news, and information," and they aren't kidding at all when they say this. You can truly find everything that you want to find about the series here, from the basics to the nitty gritty details.

The site, of course, gives you all of the basic information about all of the episodes, tells you about upcoming episodes, and gives news about the series, but that isn't even scratching into the heart of what you can find on the site. Want to know what couch gag was used on a specific episode? You can find it there. Looking for information about Simpsons games, CDs, DVDs, and virtually all other merchandise relating to the series? It's there. How about a complete listing of every song included in every single episode? It's there. Chalkboard gags? Prank calls to Moe? Thorough reviews of every episode? Quotes from every episode? It's all there. And so much more is there, too. It is hard to list everything that you can find on this website, so you should head on over there yourself to check it out!

That's all for this week. Until next time, keep it digital!


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November)

Dr. Ken - Season One Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season The Lucy Show - The Complete Series The Mindy Project - Season Four

10/04 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Christmas Special (Colorized)
10/04 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #1 (Colorized)
10/11 - Dr. Ken - Season One
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Series
10/11 - Nurse Jackie - Seasons One and Two
10/11 - Weeds - Seasons One and Two
11/01 - Schitt's Creek - Seasons One and Two
11/08 - Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season
11/08 - Your Family or Mine - Season One
11/15 - Community - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Lucy Show - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Mindy Project - Season Four
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, December 2

Last Man Standing - "Precious Snowflakes" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Mandy chooses local-celebrity Mike as the speaker for her business school’s graduation. After learning that the school requires his speech to be PC and micro-agression free, Mike decides whether or not to play by the rules. Meanwhile, Eve’s friend Cammy (Sarah Gilman) is home from college, bragging about how fantastic her new life has been, leaving Eve feeling slightly fruitless and discouraged.

Dr. Ken - "D.K's New Girlfriend" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When D.K. overhears Allison complain about him overstaying his welcome, he decides to move in with his girlfriend of three weeks. Meanwhile, Pat wants Dave to pretend he’s his adopted son; and Allison is convinced Molly wants to talk about something when she suggests they do a spa day, but the tables turn when Molly is the one doling out the advice.

I Love Lucy - "I Love Lucy Christmas Special" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The I LOVE LUCY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL features “The Christmas Episode” and the newly colorized “Lucy Gets in Pictures.” Both were colorized with a vintage look, a nod to the 1950s period in which the shows were filmed. The main titles and end credits of the two episodes are seamlessly combined into one set at the beginning and end of the hour, with no interruption between the episodes.

“The Christmas Episode” finds the Ricardos and Mertzes decorating Lucy and Ricky’s Christmas tree and reminiscing about how their lives have changed since the arrival of the Ricardos’ son, Little Ricky (Keith Thibodeaux). Flashbacks recall the night Lucy tells Ricky she is pregnant, the time Lucy shows up unexpectedly as part of a barbershop quartet and the day Ricky and the Mertzes rehearse taking Lucy to the maternity ward.

“The Christmas Episode” was first broadcast on CBS in December 1956. The episode was not included in the series’ long history of rebroadcasts, first on CBS Daytime and later in syndication. Thought to be lost, CBS rediscovered the episode in 1989.

In the newly colorized “Lucy Gets in Pictures,” Lucy’s lifelong dream of appearing in a motion picture seems to have come true when Ricky arranges for her to play a showgirl in a new musical. Unfortunately, the enormous feathered headdress she is expected to wear as she descends a staircase proves to be too cumbersome. After numerous mishaps on the stairs, the musical’s frustrated director (Lou Krugman) decides to make a change.

“Lucy Gets in Pictures” was originally broadcast Feb. 21, 1955, and was an immediate favorite not only of viewers, but of Lucille Ball herself. She restaged the famous headdress scene, again with Krugman, in the 1962 CBS special, “Opening Night,” and in 1965 in a slightly modified form, this time with actor Danny Thomas, in her second CBS series, “The Lucy Show.”

Liv and Maddie: Cali Style - "Cali Christmas-a-Rooney" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Maddie gets upset that she can't be in Wisconsin for Christmas, so Liv helps cheer her up.

Girl Meets World - "Girl Meets a Christmas Maya" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
As Christmas approaches, Riley gets excited to celebrate her favorite holiday, but for Maya, the holidays only bring back unhappy memories from her childhood.

Bunk'd - "How the Griff Stole Christmas" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The holidays arrive at Camp Kikiwaka with everyone in good spirits -- except for Griff.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 28)

Friday, December 2

  • Chelsea Handler (Are You There, Chelsea?) - Watch Chelsea on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) - John appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Andrew Rannells (Girls/The New Normal) - Andrew is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men/The Powers That Be/Bosom Buddies) - Holland chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory) - Melissa appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Busy Philipps (Vice Principals/Cougar Town) - Busy guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat) - Randall stops by LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Scott Patterson (Aliens in America) - Scott is a guest on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Kevin Quinn (Bunk'd) - Kevin appears on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Miss Piggy (The Muppets) - NBC's Today catches up with Miss Piggy in the 10am hour.
  • Gaby Hoffmann (Transparent/Someone Like Me) - Gaby appears on Chelsea on Netflix.