Saturday, December 17, 2011

Digital Digest: Growing Pains: The Movie and Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers DVD Review


Welcome back to one of the last editions of Digital Digest for 2011! Don't worry, we still have two more for this year, and we'll be back every Saturday next year, so we aren't going anywhere! In these last few weeks of the year, news and releases are really starting to drop off, but we do have some news for you, as well as a review of the separate releases Growing Pains: The Movie and Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers from Warner Archive. Let's get going!

DIGITAL NEWS

Manufacture-on-demand DVD products have become more prominent in the DVD market lately, and now, another studio is stepping in to the game. This time, the "new" studio to announce manufacture-on-demand releases is Lionsgate. The studio plans to release more than 100 TV and movie titles through the program, which began this week in a partnership with Amazon CreateSpace. The only TV series announced through this so far is ABC Family's Wildfire - Season Four, but hopefully there will be more to come in the future. You can check out this article for more details.

MPI is pushing forward with another release of Here's Lucy, as was speculated a few weeks ago. Now, the release date of February 28 for Here's Lucy - Season Five. The set comes at a $29.98 MSRP and can be ordered now.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (December 20) is the last day for studios to release new products leading in to the Christmas holiday, so it is a very light day with only two releases. First, MPI has the long-anticipated The Donna Reed - Season Four: The Lost Episodes. Also, Fox has Futurama - Volume Six (DVD/Blu-ray Disc). We hope to have reviews of these sets soon.




Blog DVD Review - Growing Pains: The Movie (Warner Archive, $19.95) and Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers (Warner Archive, $19.95)

There were dozens of family sitcoms in the '80s that came and went, and some stood the test of time better than others. One of those that really did stand the test of time was the sitcom Growing Pains. While it started as a series about a family where mom Maggie Seaver (Joanna Kerns) was out working while husband Jason Seaver (Alan Thicke) was the stay-at-home dad, it evolved significantly over the years into a series about a family that attracted a large audience every week. In 2000, eight years after the series ended (and during a brief period where reunion movies were huge), ABC broadcast a made-for-TV movie based upon the series, Growing Pains: The Movie. The movie also had a sequel in 2004, Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers. Now, both of these are available as separate releases from Warner Archive.

In Growing Pains: The Movie, we begin as Jason Seaver begins to catch fans up with what has happened in the past eight years while he is writing his latest book. At the same time, he is also preparing a big surprise for his 30th wedding anniversary, by reuniting the entire Seaver family, which doesn't seem to happen as often as the family has grown up. But in the midst of all of this, Maggie gets a very nasty surprise as she is fired as a staffer for the Congressman in the Seaver's district in Long Island. Unsure of where to head in life now, one of Mike and Kate's kids (they are now married, by the way) makes a suggestion that she run for Congress against the man who just fired her. The entire family works together for nearly a year to put together a campaign and see that she becomes Congresswoman Maggie Malone (using her maiden name, as she often did in the series). The runtime of this movie is 1:27:00.

Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers picks up four years after the original reunion movie, and is set in 2004. In this movie, everybody has gotten older, but in particular, Jason and Maggie have aged and are ready to retire. Part of the problem is trying to decide exactly what to do with their retirement, as Jason and Maggie have completely opposite ideas as to what they want. The situation only gets further complicated with the fact that they plan to sell their home, something that Mike and Carol are completely against. On top of all of that, all of the kids seem to be having problems that they can only turn to their parents to solve. The runtime of this movie is 1:29:00.

Both DVDs come in very standard packaging, but the artwork on the packaging is very professional, and even matches up with the artwork used on the season sets that Warner has released in the past. On the cover of each case, we have the title and a cast snapshot, along with a brief description of the movie and another cast snapshot on the back. Inside, all you will find is the disc, which has artwork similar to the cover artwork.

Both DVDs have incredibly bland and generic menus. The menus have nothing at all to do with the movies, and all we have is a picture of the Warner Bros. Studios water tower and an option of Play. There is nothing else, at all. As for chapters, they are placed every ten minutes throughout each DVD, which means that they do not necessarily correspond with the scene changes.

While neither of the movies were remastered for these DVDs, it really wasn't necessary to begin with. Both of them looked fine when they originally aired, and still look great now. It seems, though, that these were both done JUST BEFORE the beginning of the high-definition era, so they are in full-screen as opposed to widescreen. I'm pretty sure that is how they both originally aired on ABC. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital Stereo. And, while these were originally closed-captioned on ABC, they are not on these DVDs, which is unfortunate. The process for closed-captioning something for broadcast is different than it is for doing it for a DVD release, but those broadcast closed-captions would have in fact been available, and it is a shame that they couldn't find a way to use those.

There aren't any special features on the DVDs at all. What would have been nice to see would have been some behind-the-scenes footage about the production of the movies. I recall seeing plenty of this material on entertainment tabloid series such as Entertainment Tonight and Extra while they were producing the movies in Vancouver.

It is great to see both of these movies on DVD, particularly considering that I didn't think either one would ever make it to DVD. Aside from the fact that the DVDs were obviously very rushed and not a whole lot of effort was placed into them, both of these DVDs are perfectly adequate for fans. It would have been nicer if they had put both movies into one single set instead of creating two separate DVDs, though. While these reunion movies are not nearly as great as the original series was, it is still great to see them on DVD. Hopefully, these releases will spark more interest in the original series and we'll see more seasons of that released... in other words, hopefully, the "best is ready to begin!"

(4/5 stars)

To purchase Growing Pains: The Movie, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Warner Archive

To purchase Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Warner Archive

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Growing Pains on TV.com


CLICK OF THE WEEK

TheTVDB.com (www.thetvdb.com) - Recently, I was searching for a website that provides essential information about many TV series in a nice, clean, and easy-to-read format. In searching for this, I came across one that I had never heard of before, TheTVDB.com. As the name suggests, the website is a television database, where you can search for virtually any TV show that has ever existed and find information about those series. You won't necessarily find everything that you need on this site, but for virtually every series that you can even think of, you can find all of the information that is available from the Library of Congress, such as episode lists, airdates, production information, and (for many series) episodes synopses.

The website isn't necessarily an all-inclusive website, and definitely needs more additions to the database, but that is part of the reason why we have included this as the Click of the Week. The website is not created and run by one person or a small few, but this is a website much like Wikipedia where fans can update the database to make the website better and more detailed. The basic information that is provided on the site is very good, but the open interface allows it to infinitely expand to a greater website. As an example of what the website could be with more complete information, check out the page for The Office. It certainly isn't an all-inclusive page like individual websites dedicated to a series would have, but it provides a lot of the good "essentials" in a simple, elegant, and not over-bloated fashion. Hopefully, this site will become even more complete as time goes on, and become an excellent resource for TV fans needing to find basic information quickly.

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


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, April 25

The Big Bang Theory - "The Decision Reverberation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Koothrappali is worried people won’t take him seriously in his own field after publishing a paper that suggests he may have discovered alien life. Also, Leonard wants to be the principal investigator on a plasma physics study.

Young Sheldon - "A Political Campaign and a Candy Land Cheater" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Unhappy that school funds are going towards football rather than academics, Sheldon decides to run for class president.

Mom - "Triple Dip and an Overhand Grip" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bonnie and Tammy revisit childhood memories on a trip to their old foster home. Also, Christy and Jill regret accepting a date with two guys from their AA meeting.

Life in Pieces - "Misery Turd Name Pills" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
While Joan is bedridden recovering from surgery, she persuades Sophia to spend time with her, which she quickly regrets. Also, Jen and Greg select a name for their new baby only to learn that Matt and Colleen chose the same one; Colleen and Matt invite the family over to get to know Morgan (Joey King); and Heather has a new business idea.

Superstore - "QuinceaƱera" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Jonah (Ben Feldman) struggles to find his place at Amy’s (America Ferrera) daughter Emma’s quinceaƱera, while Dina (Lauren Ash) proves very popular with some teenage boys. Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom) and Mateo (Nico Santos) are obsessed with seeing Amy cry.

A.P. Bio - "Sweet Low Road" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When budget cuts threaten to gut Whitlock and put his job in jeopardy, Jack recruits Mary, Stef, and Michelle to take down the Superintendent. Durbin plans an appeal to the heart, while the students plan an appeal to the soul.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "Tickling Clocks" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
In an episode that takes place in real time, Jake and the squad must track down a hacker who has infiltrated the Nine-Nine's servers. Rosa deals with relationship issues. Hitchcock and Scully attempt to cook the perfect lasagna.

Abby's - "Mail Bin" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Abby finds a letter from her estranged father in a pile of unopened mail and opens up to the group about their fraught relationship.

Better Things - "The Unknown" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Sam gets theatrical.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 22)

Thursday, April 25

  • Paul Rudd (Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later/Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp/Wild Oats) - Catch Paul on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) - Tig appears on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Susan Kelechi Watson (Louie) - Susan is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Lake Bell (Bless This Mess/Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp/How to Make It in America) - Lake visits E!'s Busy Tonight at 11pm.
  • Steve Lemme and Kevin Heffernan (Tacoma PD) - Steve and Kevin are guests on E!'s Busy Tonight at 11pm.
  • Bradley Cooper (Kitchen Confidential) - Bradley stops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Diedrich Bader (American Housewife/Veep/The Drew Carey Show) - Diedrich visits The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Margo Martindale (The Millers) - Margo appears on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • James Brolin (Life in Pieces) - James talks about Life in Pieces on People Now at 12pm.
  • Alfonso Ribeiro (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/In the House/Silver Spoons) - Alfonso is a guest on Access Live, so check your local listings.
  • Laurie Metcalf (The Conners/The McCarthys/Getting On/Roseanne) - Laurie talks about Hillary & Clinton on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Queen Latifah (Living Single) - Queen Latifah appears on NBC's Today in the 10am hour and on the BUILD SERIES at 3pm.
  • Ali Wentworth (Nightcap) - Ali is a guest on ABC's Strahan & Sara at 1pm.
  • Billy Crystal (The Comedians/Soap) and Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) - Billy and Ben talk about Standing Up, Falling Down on the BUILD Series at 1pm.


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

Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season Alice - The Complete Ninth Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season

02/05 - Family Guy - Part 1 - Volumes 1-5
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 2 - Volumes 6-10
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 3 - Seasons 10-14
02/05 - First Lady of Television - Betty White Collection (40 rare and acclaimed episodes from her early days in television)
02/05 - Mama's Family - Seasons 1-6 - The Complete Series
02/12 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-3 (Blu-ray)
02/12 - Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season
02/26 - What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season
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)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

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04/23 - Antenna TV's Hazel Mother's Day Marathon; Netflix Celebrates Laugh-In's 50th Anniversary
04/22 - Last Man Standing Renewed for Season 8; NBC Moves Tuesday Series Timeslots
04/21 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 22, 2019)
04/20 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Early Look at 2019-2020 Pilots; Fox Cancels Rel
04/19 - Fri-Yay: Can One Day at a Time Be Saved?; ABC Honors All in the Family and The Jeffersons For One-Night Only and It's LIVE!
04/18 - Netflix Gets More Original Comedies Including Mike Myers Series; The CW Summer 2019 Schedule
04/17 - Archer: 1999 Launches May 29; Hulu Gets More Aidy Bryant
04/16 - Remembering Georgia Engel of The Mary Tyler Moore Show; BET Gets Another Comedy Series
04/15 - ABC Mid-Season Pilot Review: Bless This Mess - Premieres Tuesday (April 16); Hallmark Picks Up 7th Season of When Calls the Heart
04/14 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 15, 2019) 04/13 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Disney Announces New Streaming Service Including Every Episode of The Simpsons; NCIS Gets Renewal from CBS
04/12 - Fri-Yay: Why NBC's Abby's Deserves a Chance; Netflix Orders Adult Animated Comedy Q-Force
04/11 - ABC Summer 2019 Schedule; HBO Renews Barry for 3rd Season
04/10 - Younger Stays on TV Land for Season 6; ABC Gets Game Show from Ryan Reynolds
04/09 - Joel McHale Set for Card Sharks on ABC; Christine Lakin to Guest Star on American Housewife
04/08 - MeTV Presents Rarely Seen Carol Burnett Show Episodes; Sherri Shepherd to Host GSN Trivia Series
04/07 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 8, 2019)
04/06 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Could One Day at a Time Move From Netflix to a Linear Network?; Adam Sandler to Host SNL in May
04/05 - Fri-Yay: You’re the Worst Ends with a Memorable Finale; Family Guy Heads to Freeform and FXX
04/04 - ABC Season Finales for May 2019; Lily Collins Set to Star in Paramount Network Series
04/03 - BET Picks Up 2nd Season of Boomerang; FX Scores with Vampire Comedy Series
04/02 - Netflix Schedules Applegate & Cardellini Comedy; NBC Adds More to Summer 2019 Schedule
04/01 - Better Things Gets 4th Season in 2020; Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Returns in May on Fridays
03/31 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 1, 2019)
03/30 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Renewals for Law & Order SVU and More; Evening Shade Complete Series DVD Release Coming Soon
03/29 - Fri-Yay: Broad City Goes Out on a High Note; Freeform Summer 2019 Premieres Includes grown-ish
03/28 - NBC Mid-Season Pilot Review: Abby's - Premieres Tonight (March 28); Fox 2019 Finales and Summer 2019 Premieres
03/27 - Tiffany Haddish Says 'They Ready' for Netflix; CBS Summer 2019 Drama Schedule
03/26 - TBS Celebrates Family Guy's 20th Anniversary; Apple TV+ Launching This Fall
03/25 - Hallmark Channel Upfront: New Podcast; ABC Gets 2nd Season of The Conners
03/24 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of March 25, 2019)