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)

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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!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, October 19

Superstore - "Workplace Bullying" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Tensions arise among the employees after an attempted robbery, pitting Dina (Lauren Ash) against Jonah (Ben Feldman). Meanwhile, Glenn (Mark McKinney) has a tough time firing the store security guard, and Amy (America Ferrera) discovers that her coworkers have been hanging out without her.

The Good Place - "The Trolley Problem" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Chidi (William Jackson Harper) and Eleanor (Kristen Bell) tackle a famous ethical dilemma, leading to a conflict with Michael (Ted Danson). Meanwhile, Tahani (Jameela Jamil) harbors a secret and confides in Janet (D'Arcy Carden).

Will & Grace - "Grandpa Jack" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Jack (Sean Hayes) is stunned to learn that his estranged son, Elliot (guest star Michael Angarano) has a son of his own, Skip (guest star Jet Jurgensmeyer). Moreover, Skip needs the kind of help only Will (Eric McCormack) and Jack can provide. Grace (Debra Messing) and Karen (Megan Mullally) behave badly with the hot new guy at work.

Great News - "Award Show" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
For the first time in years, "The Breakdown" has been nominated for an American Journalism Award. Katie (Briga Heelan) is looking forward to spending the night as a peer with the very reporters she has admired her whole life. Fearing her mother will ruin it, Katie tries to stop Carol (Andrea Martin) from attending but is unsuccessful when Carol secures a position as a seat-filler. Katie is stuck babysitting her mom all night but gets distracted by Jeremy (guest star Reid Scott), a handsome New York Times reporter who looks down on cable news. Chuck (John Michael Higgins) is excited to reunite with all of his old anchormen friends, especially Len Archer (guest star Christopher McDonald), an idol of Chuck's who is receiving a lifetime achievement award.

Better Things - "Eulogy" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Sam demands satisfaction.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 16)

Thursday, October 19

  • Tracy Morgan (30 Rock/The Tracy Morgan Show) - Catch Tracy on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Paul Shaffer (A Year at the Top) - Paul sits in with Cleto and The Cletones on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) - Jim is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Michael Keaton (Working Stiffs/All's Fair) - Michael appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Amy Landecker (Transparent) - Amy is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Carl Reinder (The Dick Van Dyke Show) - Carl appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Garcelle Beauvais (The Jamie Foxx Show) - Garcelle guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Cedric Yarbrough (Speechless/Reno 911!) - Cedric is a guest on Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Angela Kinsey (Haters Back Off/Your Family or Mine/The Office) - Angela talks about the new season of her Netflix show Haters Back Off on the People Now at 8:30am.
  • Jeff Garlin (The Goldbergs/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Jeff appears on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Henry Winkler (Happy Days/Out of Practice) - Henry is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Hayley Orrantia (The Goldbergs) - Hayley appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Joanna Garcia Swisher (Reba/Better with You) - Joanna teams up with Michael Symon in the kitchen, giving the scoop on her new show and whipping up a tasty dish on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT. She also talks about Kevin (Probably) Saves the World on the AOL Build Show at 11am.
  • Redman (Method & Red) - Redman appears on the AOL Build Show at 3pm.
  • Debra Messing and Eric McCormack (Will & Grace) - Debra and Eric are guests on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July/August)

Father Knows Best - Season Six Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season Alice - The Complete Fifth Season Rhoda - Season Four Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four

06/13 - The Andy Griffith Show - Return to Mayberry
06/13 - That's My Mama - The Complete Series
06/20 - Workaholics - The Final (Seventh) Season
06/20 - Workaholics - The Complete Series
06/27 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Third Season
07/04 - Superstore - Season Two
07/18 - Father Knows Best - Season Six
07/25 - Diff'ernt Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season
07/25 - Girls - The Final (Sixth) Season (Blu-ray)
08/01 - Alice - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
08/01 - Crashing - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
08/15 - Rhoda - Season Four
08/22 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four
08/29 - Will & Grace - Season One (Universal)
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