Saturday, September 03, 2011
Digital Digest: Brothers and Sisters - The Complete Fifth Season DVD Review; Off the Map - The Complete Series DVD Review
DVD Review: Brothers and Sisters - The Complete Fifth and Final Season
Brothers and Sisters - The Complete Fifth and Final Season (ABC Studios, $45.99) brings the final 22 episodes of the long-running family drama on a 5-disc DVD! It's the fifth and final season and you will want to see where the Walkers are headed. Featuring one of the most celebrated casts on television, including Sally Field, Calista Flockhart, Rachel Griffiths, and Patricia Wettig, ABC's Brothers And Sisters is outstanding television at its warm and witty best.
The series aired Sundays at 10PM for its entire run on ABC and stars Calista Flockhart as Kitty Walker, Sally Field as Nora Walker, Rachel Griffiths as Sarah Walker Whedon, Ron Rifkin as Uncle Saul Holden, Matthew Rhys as Kevin Walker, Dave Annable as Justin Walker, Luke Macfarlane as Scotty, with Gilles Marini as Luc Laurent, and Patrica Wettig as Holly Harper. Recurring are Balthazar Getty as Tommy Walker, Kerris Dorsey as Paige Whedon, Maxwell Perry Cotton as Cooper Whedon, Isabella Rae Thomas as Olivia and Ken Olin as David.
With special guest stars Emily VanCamp as Rebecca Harper and Beau Bridges as Nick Brody. Other guest stars include Dave Annable's real wife Odette Yustman, Ryan Devlin, Richard Chamberlain, Jon Terry, Sonia Braga, Jeremy Davidson, Cara Buono, Rob Kazinsky and Stephen Collins.
This fifth season is decent and of course not as good as the previous seasons, but still a solid show with great drama and comedic moments. Season five definitely had its moments, but there were some clunkers. As always, when the Walkers get together for a family dinner or any event all together it makes for great television and that is true for season five as well. There is no other family on television like the Walkers! Some classic episodes include the season premiere "Homecoming," where a year has passed since the road accident and a lot has changed for the Walkers, such as Justin has spent the year in the army leaving Rebecca alone to deal with her mother who has amnesia and Robert is in a coma, but Kitty refuses to let him go, and then Kevin and Scotty are distant after their surrogate loses their baby, while Sarah is throwing herself into work and Nora is refusing to get involved in her children's problems. In "Faking It," Kitty meets Jack, a handyman, while staying in Ojai, while Sarah is desperate to hide the fact that she is turning 40 from Luc, to whom she lied to about her age and Rebecca and Justin reunite for a short discussion about what Justin said to Rebecca's mother, while Rebecca meets with her mother which causes her to lose memory again. In one of the better episodes of the season, "An Ideal Husband," Kevin is still reeling after Scotty's betrayal, but doesn't want his family to know about their problems and this becomes difficult after Sarah catches Kevin sleeping in his office, while Justin bartends at a party and bumps into the man Scotty had his one-night stand with. In "Resolved," Justin meets Annie, a nurse, while taking Holly to the hospital, while Kevin isn't willing to talk to Scotty, but the two are forced to spend time together after Paige asks for their help with a school debate. In "Scandalized," Kevin and Scotty decide to adopt, while Kitty's and Seth's relationship becomes public knowledge and Karl has trouble accepting how close Nora and her children are.
In "Safe At Home," Tommy returns with a big surprise for the Walker family, while Sarah announces the wedding date and Justin and Annie have trouble and decide to just be friends, even though they still have feelings for each other, as Olivia becomes part of the Walker family and Tommy and his fiancee, Rose, find out some strange information about Nora. In "Brody," though Nora tries her best to keep Brody (guest starring Beau Bridges) at bay, she can't help but feel the long lost connection between them, and Justin reaches out to a homeless vet reluctant to accept help getting back on his feet. In "Father Unknown," Justin tells Nora that Brody lied about his blood type and the two of them set about doing a secret paternity test, while Sarah thinks her mother's strange behavior is down to her heartbreak and plans to take her away and Luc and Saul prepare a surprise for the wedding, also Kevin and Scotty call the police in the hopes of tracking down their baby but Michelle tells Scotty she wants to stay involved. On the season finale, now series finale, "Walker Down the Aisle," Kevin rushes around planning Sarah's wedding and Luc is disappointed his father doesn't attend and blames his mother, while Justin worries that his relationship with Tyler is too complicated until she tells him she wants to put him first and Kitty discovers she is pregnant but Seth is worried it could affect her health. Sarah becomes stressed about everyone else's problems until she talks and bonds with Brody leading her to ask him to give her away and give her blessing to his relationship with Nora, while Saul and Jonathan decide to get married.
The episodes run usually in the 42-43 minute range (a few are just under 42 minutes, though), all unedited of course. There are about 7 chapter stops per episode. See the runtimes for each episode below:
1. "The Homecoming" 42:14
2. "Brief Encounter" 42:51
3. "Faking It" 42:48
4. "A Righteous Kiss" 42:56
5. "Call Mom" 43:03
6. "An Ideal Husband" 42:43
7. "Resolved" 42:27
8. "The Rhapsody of the Flesh" 43:02
9. "Get A Room" 41:51
10. "Cold Turkey" 42:47
11. "Scandalized" 42:35
12. "Thanks for the Memories" 42:16
13. "Safe At Home" 41:38
14. "The One That Got Away" 42:57
15. "Brody" 43:00
16. "Home is Where the Fort Is" 42:10
17. "Olivia's Choice" 42:41
18. "Never Say Never" 43:02
19. "Wouldn't it be Nice" 41:23
20. "Father Unknown" 42:36
21. "For Better or For Worse" 43:03
22. "Walker Down the Aisle" 43:02
Packaging has a nice light yellow/orange outer box with a main cast photo with them sitting at the table on the front cover...the back cover has information on the series & set and has four episodic photos. There is also a section detailing the special features in a darker colored box with technical specifications also. Inside the box is the case. The front of the case has the same artwork as the outer box, and the same goes true for the back of the case. Opening the case, we get a few inserts on the left side and also a disc-by-disc breakdown and lots of episodic photos that are on both panels. We don't get an episode booklet again since the episodes are listed on the panels. Discs one and two are in a little plastic holder that you can flip like a page on a book. The same goes true for discs three and four, but disc five is on the right panel itself. Each disc is in red style color and has artwork of two characters per disc. Disc one has episodes 1-4 with artwork of Kitty & Nora. Disc two has episodes 5-9 and has artwork of Sarah & Luc. Disc three has episodes 10-14 and has artwork of Saul & Holly. Disc four has episodes 15-19 and has artwork of the couple Kevin & Scotty. Disc five holds episodes 20-22 and the bonus features with artwork of the (former) couple Rebecca & Justin. After you remove the discs, you see the nice episodic photos on the panels itself like I mentioned...very cool.
The menu screen starts by showing us little moving images on a clothing line it seems before reaching one image where video clips are playing. Background music from the show is playing in the background. It is really neat once again. On disc one only, before the main menu we have auto trailers for DVDs of ABC on DVD, Lion King and African Cats. The options on the main menu are Play All, Episode Selection, Bonus Features, Set Up, and Sneak Peeks. Sneak Peeks is just on disc five and has trailers for the new ABC 2011 series Castle, The Chew, Prep & Landing, Real Steel and Pirates of the Caribbean. Set Up section has the option of subtitles in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese or Chinese and how to register your DVD. Bonus Features are on each disc because there are deleted scenes (and two total audio commentaries) on each disc, while disc five has the actual bonus features. The Episodes option gives us the episode number and title to choose along with a screenshot from the episode.
The video is digitally mastered and is in widescreen and looks very good! It's HD-like, even though it isn't Blu-ray. I have a DVD player that upconverts to HD, so who needs a Blu-ray player? Ha. The audio is great and sounds very good, as it is in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. This is from the 2010-11 season, so it has to be good. The two-hour episode that aired on April 10, 2011 is presented as two separate episodes, which is fine. Once again, we get to hear the nice closing theme, as on ABC there are promos at the end of the episode.
Moving on to the bonus features. Each disc has deleted scenes for episodes from that disc like the previous sets. I like that instead of having them all on one disc. Disc one has two deleted scenes running 1:56 and 3:28. Disc two has two deleted scenes running 1:26, and 0:28. Disc three has two deleted scenes running 1:01 and 1:50. Disc four has one deleted scene running 0:36. Disc five has two more deleted scenes running 0:30 and 0:13. The latter deleted scene is an alternate ending that was not used because the series was ended by ABC, so they didn't want to end in a cliffhanger. That is a total of 9 deleted scenes, down from the 22 that were on the previous set. That's disappointing. BUT, unlike the previous set, we have TWO audio commentaries! First one is on disc three for the Christmas episode "Cold Turkey" from production coordinator Jonathan Deiner, co-producer Stephen Judge and producer Nicole Carrasco. They are interesting and detailed, but fun, too. These three return once again on disc four for the final audio commentary, for the episode "Wouldn't It Be Nice."
As far as featurettes, disc five has "Gilles Marini: Uncovered" (6:06) where he gives us a tour going behind closed doors in his dressing room and inside his personal workout. The cast members that were were interviewed are Luke MacFarlane, Dave Annable, Matthew Rhys, Gilles Marini, Rachel Griffiths and Gilles' personal trainer was on hand. Next there was a writing featurette titled "Writing for the Walkers" (9:59) and we learn how the writers come up with ideas and stories from their personal lives into this season. Interviewed are David Marshall Grant (showrunner), Sarah Kucserka (writer), Stephen Tolkin (producer/writer), Dave Annable, Matthew Rhys, Luke MacFarlane, Geoffrey Nauffts (writer), David Babcock (writer), Veronica Becker (writer), Molly Newman (writer), Marc Halsey (staff writer), Cliff Olin (writer) and Michael Cinquemani (staff writer). We finally have 2:20 worth of Bloopers & Outtakes. Very fun to watch always and just a bit longer than last year's reel.
I highly recommend this series and set to finish off your collection. It is such a well written and acted show. Sally Field and Rachel Griffiths once again were Emmy material this season and while Calista Flockhart wasn't in all the episodes, she was as always great. I always looked forward to this series every Sunday on ABC will certainly miss it this coming season. We can still catch the series in local broadcast syndication and on cable on ReelzChannel TV. See the Walkers from the beginning! The set is good, but I think the bonus features were reduced in quantity, like season four, from the previous set. But at least we get features and the return of audio commentaries! It is similar to the previous set, which is a good thing. Complete your collection and say goodbye to the Walkers in style!
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Brothers and Sisters on TV.com
ABC has seen much success with medical dramas such as Grey's Anatomy in recent years, and from the same creative team this season came the medical drama Off the Map. The series put a new twist in the medical drama genre by taking six young doctors and literally placing them "off the map" by putting them in practice in a remote area of South America. The series was canceled after just thirteen episodes, but fans can still relive the experience on DVD. Here is our review of Off the Map - The Complete Series.
DVD Review: Off the Map - The Complete Series
Off the Map - The Complete Series (ABC Studios, $29.99) brings all 13 episodes of the short-lived adventure medical drama on a 3-disc DVD! This is a riveting new drama about a team of idealistic young doctors committed to saving lives and pushing the boundaries of medicine with nothing brains, instinct, and the untapped healing of the uncharted jungle. The series was created by Grey's Anatomy producer Jenna Bans and Grey's showrunner Shonda Rhimes is among the executive producers. Often called "Grey's in the Jungle," this series is more than that with lots of adventure and a different take and setting for medicine. It's very unique and gone way too soon.
The series aired Wednesdays at 10PM on ABC from Jan-March and stars Martin Henderson as Dr. Ben Keaton, Jason George as Dr. Otis Cole, Valerie Cruz as Zita Alareina "Zee" Toledo Alvarez, Caroline Dhavernas as Dr. Lily Brenner, Zach Gilford as Dr. Tommy Fuller, Mamie Gummer as Dr. Mina Minard, with Jonathan Castellanos as Charlie, and Rachelle Lefevre as Dr. Ryan Clark. Recurring are Cheech Marin as Papa Ucumari, Aimee Garcia as Alma and Nicholas Gonzalez as Mateo.
Guest stars include Michael McKean, Ed Begley Jr., Jonathan Cake, Judy Reyes, Jayne Brook, Leslie Hope, Jere Burns, and Cynthia Stevenson.
This series is a solid show with great adventure, drama and even comedic moments. All 13 episodes are pretty solid and should be watched in order. In the series premiere, "Saved by the Great White Hope," Lily Brenner, Tommy Fuller and Mina Minard are all running away from their lives when they find themselves practicing medicine in paradise and paradise simply happens to be the most challenging place to practice medicine in the world. In "A Doctor Time Out," while Ben, Zee and Lily try to deliver a baby from the woman they rescued from the forest, Tommy and Ryan are fighting for the life of the father and her husband in the jungle, while Mina and Cole treat a patient who has been electrocuted after stepping in a puddle, which resulted in a power outage all over the village, complicating the Caeserean surgery Ben and Brenner are trying to perform to deliver the baby. In "It's Good," the clinic is left without any medication after a robbery, and the doctors are finding it hard to treat the patients, as Ben, Zee and Lily try to treat a patient with a ruptured appendix, but the robbery left them without enough anesthetics to perform the surgery so Cole must face his old demons as he and Mina go to see his old dealer on getting some drugs to use as pain relief, much to the dismay of the other doctors. In the very next episode "Es Un Milagro," a rescue chopper has crashed somewhere deep in the jungle and the clinic team heads out to help, but Lily is nowhere to be found, while in the aftermath of the helicopter crash, Ryan looks for the missing girl with the bug bite, the patient with the ruptured appendix's wife suffers some injuries and Mina races to save her life when they become complicated and Ben, Tommy and Cole try to treat the pilot who is seriously wounded. In "Everything's As It Should Be," an old friend of Ben's visits the clinic and brings two patients to do a transplant, but Lily finds out that there is something suspicious about the patients and the procedure might put the clinic in jeopardy, while Zee and Otis treat a patient who's daughter is his caretaker and wonder if she is abusing him. And in the finale, "There's A Lot to Miss About the Jungle," the country's Holy Week festivities take a chaotic turn when a truck float crashes, and Ben makes a difficult call as Ryan's health deteriorates, while Lily forces her own issues aside when tragedy strikes Mateo's family farm.
The episodes run usually in around 43 minutes, all unedited of course. There are about 6 or 7 chapter stops per episode, depending on the episode. See the runtimes for each episode below:
1. "Saved by the Great White Hope" 43:00
2. "Smile. Don't Kill Anyone" 43:00
3. "A Doctor Time Out" 42:33
4. "On the Mean Streets of San Miguel" 43:00
5. "I'm Here" 42:59
6. "It's Good" 43:00
7. "Es Un Milagro" 43:00
8. "It's A Leaf" 42:59
9. "There's Nothing to Fix" 42:59
10. "I'm Home" 43:00
11. "Everything's As It Should Be" 42:59
12. "Hold on Tight" 42:59
13. "There's a Lot to Miss About the Jungle" 43:00
Packaging has a nice blue outer box with a main cast photo of them standing and looking towards the left in the jungle on the front cover...the back cover has information on the series & set and has five episodic photos. There is also a section detailing the special features in a darker colored box with technical specifications also. Inside the box is the case. The front of the case has the same artwork as the outer box, and the same goes true for the back of the case. Opening the case, we get a few inserts on the left side and also a disc-by-disc breakdown and a nice cast photo that is on both panels. We don't get an episode booklet but the episodes are listed on the panels. Discs one and two are in a little plastic holder that you can flip like a page on a book. And disc three is on the right panel itself. Each disc is in a blue style color and has artwork of two or three characters per disc. Disc one has episodes 1-4 with artwork of Lilly, Ryan & Ben. Disc two has episodes 5-9 and has artwork of Otis & Zee. Disc three has episodes 10-13 plus the bonus features and has artwork of Charlie, Mina & Tommy. After you remove the discs, you see the nice cast photo on the panels itself like I mentioned...very cool.
The menu screen starts by showing us a wide shot of "somewhere in South America" with the logo before reaching the main menu where video clips are playing. Background music from the show is playing in the background as well. On disc one only, before the main menu we have auto trailers for DVDs of ABC on DVD, Lion King and African Cats. The options on the main menu are Play All, Episode Selection, Bonus Features, Set Up, and Sneak Peeks. Sneak Peeks is just on disc three and has trailers for the new ABC 2011 series Castle, The Chew, Prep & Landing, Real Steel and Pirates of the Caribbean. Set Up section has the option of subtitles in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese and how to register your DVD. Bonus Features is on disc three only. The Episodes option gives us the episode number and title to choose along with a screenshot from the episode.
The video is digitally mastered and is in widescreen and looks very good, as it should! It's HD-like, even though it isn't Blu-ray. I have a DVD player that upconverts to HD, so who needs a Blu-ray player? Ha. The audio is great and sounds very good, as it is in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. This is from the 2011, so it has to be good. And we get to hear the nice closing theme, as on ABC there are promos at the end of the episode.
Moving on to the bonus features. All of them are on disc three. As far as featurettes, first we have "On Set At Off the Map" (8:17) where we get set tours and how the cast got their roles, how the South American set was created and what it's like filming in Hawaii. Interviewed are Jenna Bans (showrunner), Shonda Rhimes & Betsy Beers (executive producers), Martin Henderson, Jason George, Rachelle Lefevre, Zach Gilford, Caroline Dhavernas, Mamie Gummer, Sarah Fischer (producer), Kim Hicks (art director), Valerie Cruz, Stephanie Spangler (location manager), Alex Hajdu (production designer), and Jim Van Houghten (sculptor). Next there was a jungle featurette titled "Jungle Medicine" (4:55) and we learn about the show's seemingly impossible medical cases based on real-life jungle medicine and cures. Interviewed are Jenna Bans, Shonda Rhimes & Betsy Beers, Jeannine Renshaw (co-executive producer), Martin Henderson, Jason George, Zach Gilford, and Rachelle Lefevre.
We also have 11 deleted scenes from eight episodes. Here is a list by episode:
"Saved by the Great White Hope" 1:00
"On the Mean Streets of San Miguel" 1:04, 1:07, 1:10
"It's Good" 0:42 and 0:40
"Es Un Milagro" 1:43
"It's A Leaf" 1:22
"There's Nothing to Fix" 0:56
"I'm Home" 1:13
"There's a Lot to Miss About the Jungle" 1:13
We finally have 2:12 worth of Bloopers & Outtakes. Very fun to watch always and Jason George is very funny. He needs to be on TV every season in something! He has appeared on many ABC series since 2006.
I highly recommend this series and if you've never watched it, it is only 13 episodes so it's worth the buy. It is such a unique show with a great setting. I especially think Caroline Dhavernas needs another series to star in, as she was great. Jason George is great in everything he is in on ABC. This series will be missed because it is a different type of medical show with different medicine. No high tech surgeries and hospitals. The set is good, but I think more bonus features would have been nice. Audio commentaries would have been nice along with the catchy "Mina Minard" song. Oh well, head on to South America with just a simple click below!
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Off the Map on TV.com
New on DVD/Blu-ray (December/January)
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
01/24 - Hooperman - Season Two
01/31 - Ballers - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
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Thursday, January 19
The Big Bang Theory - "The Romance Calibration" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Penny feels that Leonard is taking her for granted, she decides to go on a spa weekend with Amy. Also, Wolowitz and Koothrappali try to fix a squeaky floorboard in the baby’s room.
The Great Indoors - "Mason Blows Up" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Jack tries to reassert his dominance as a reporter after Mason scores an investigative coup that turns him into an overnight celebrity. Also, Clark’s low self-esteem causes him to give Emma relationship advice about other guys instead of asking her out himself
Mom - "Good Karma and the Big Weird" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bonnie encourages Christy to pursue Marjorie’s charming nephew, Nick, despite the fact that he’s been declared off limits. Chris Pratt, husband of MOM star Anna Faris, guest stars as Nick, Marjorie’s nephew.
Life in Pieces - "Tailgate Spiral Souvenir Seating" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Colleen and Matt host the family tailgate party at the L.A. Rams game, they invite former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner to spice up their so far dismal event. Also, Tim’s in danger of missing the game when Sophia makes him take her to the restroom and they get sidetracked returning to their seats; Joan and Jen try to sneak into seats closer to the field; and Greg wins a chance to participate in a halftime contest involving a football toss.
Baskets - "Freaks" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
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Friday, January 20
- Anthony Anderson (black-ish/Guys with Kids/All About the Andersons) - Catch Anthony on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
- JoAnna Garcia Swisher (Reba/Better with You) - JoAnna visits The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
- John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - John is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- Jim Gaffigan (The Jim Gaffigan Show/My Boys/Welcome to New York) - Jim stops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Cristela Alonzo (Cristela) - Cristela drops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community) - Ken is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He also appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
- Nicole Byer (Loosely, Exactly Nicole) - Nicole appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
- Joe Jonas (Jonas L.A.) - Joe guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- Bernadette Peters (Mozart in the Jungle/All's Fair) - Bernadette is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- Queen Latifah (Living Single) - Queen Latifah is a guest on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
- Andrew Dice Clay (Bless This House/Hitz) - Andrew stops by Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
- Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory/Roseanne - Johnny discusses his role in the new film, Rings, and dishes on this season of The Big Bang Theory on the AOL Build Show at 1pm.