Friday, September 30, 2011

Blog Book Review: The Official Dick Van Dyke Show Book (Revised and Updated Edition); Sitcom Stars On Talk Shows (Week of October 3, 2011)

The Dick Van Dyke Show is celebrating a big anniversary on October 3. It was exactly fifty years ago that day that the series debuted on CBS, and made a big mark in television history that only a few other series have managed to make. Several years ago, sitcom and pop-culture expert Vince Waldron wrote The Official Dick Van Dyke Show Book, a book that was "the definitive history of television's most enduring comedy." Now, Waldron has written a revised and updated edition of this book, just in time for the 50th anniversary of the series. Here is our review of the revised and updated edition of The Official Dick Van Dyke Show Book.

The Official Dick Van Dyke Show Book (Revised and Updated Edition)

Blog Book Review - The Official Dick Van Dyke Show Book (Revised and Updated Edition)

The Official Dick Van Dyke Show Book (Revised and Updated Edition) (Chicago Review Press, $18.95) is not merely a brief history of one of television's greatest classic series; it is the definitive and one-and-only official history of the series. The book takes the reader on a journey from the very infancy of the series up to the very end of the series, and gives details of every little bit of the series that most people will not know. In fact, even series creator and producer Carl Reiner says of the book "what an unexpected pleasure to read a book on a subject about which I thought I knew everything, only to find out that I didn't." Clearly, this isn't just a silly book that retells the stories we all know.

Like the previous edition of the book, we have a brief introduction to the book (and a look back at the series) from the star of the series, Dick Van Dyke. But the new edition actually has a foreword even before that, coming from what may seem an unlikely person: Dan Castellaneta! That's right, the man who plays Homer Simpson writes the foreword to this book (and he even mentions that "you may be asking yourself why they got the guy who plays Homer Simpson, maybe the dumbest dad in sitcom history, to write the foreword"). But when you read the foreword, it is very clear why he writes it. The series served as a springboard to many other series in the future, even (indirectly) The Simpsons.

Once you get past the foreword, introduction, and prologue, you get into the real meat of the book. There is definitely a ton of material to be found in this series of thirty chapters. Of course, we'd be writing all day if we told you the details of every single chapter, because each chapter is so full of details that you'll just have to read on your own! But we'll give you a brief outline of the direction that the book goes in, with some minor tidbits from the book here and there.

The first eleven chapters give a very detailed account of events leading to the creation of the series, casting decisions, producing the Head of the Family pilot (which most fans know featured Carl Reiner in the role of Rob Petrie), and producing "The Sick Boy and the Sitter," which is the first actual episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show. What I found interesting, though, is a view on why the pilot starring him wasn't well received. The book says that the network executives said that it was just "lacking something," but Reiner brings up something that wouldn't be thought of nearly as much these days. Some have accused that anti-Semitism may have played a part in the demise of the first pilot, and that Carl Reiner was in fact "too Jewish" to be starring in a series... that it would be too far out of the mainstream. The book does mention, however, that Reiner finds that notion to be completely unfounded.

What is certain, though, is that Dick Van Dyke was definitely the man to make the series work. With Reiner's failed pilot, he met with Sheldon Leonard, who helped him redevelop the idea for the series, but with one major change: Reiner could not play the starring role. So enter Dick Van Dyke, the man for whom the eventual series was named for. From that point, the book goes into lengthy details on the casting for the series. The casting of Mary Tyler Moore, though, was the most interesting of them all. They could literally not find a person to fill the role of Laura Petrie, until Danny Thomas remembered "some actress" who had auditioned for him some time ago. He was convinced that she should definitely be cast in the role and she pretty much had the role, if only he could remember her name! He knew that she had three names, and of course, what other "girl with three names" could it have been?

Onto creating the first episode of the series, Reiner admits that although the episode chosen as the pilot was not random, it was probably not the best choice. We also get some insight on finding sponsors for the series, and how it turned out to be a bit easier than expected to find those sponsors.

We get a lot more history and tidbits throughout the rest of the book, much of which is difficult to summarize in one lump. We find out about the casting of the roles of other characters on the series, Laura Petrie wearing capri pants (so unusual in those days), an episode about a "revealing" portrait of Laura, filming an episode right after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and even thoughts on the Kent cigarette sponsorship of the series. In fact, the cast and crew of the series would often get free cartons of Kent cigarettes, which nobody really liked, and they'd trade their cigarettes in at the corner market for a pack of their preferred brand. What was really odd was Dick Van Dyke putting his foot down about how inappropriate it was for a family series to be advertising cigarettes--even though he and Mary Tyler Moore were both heavy smokers themselves at the time.

In "The Last Chapter" (which is not only the name of chapter 30 in the book, but also the name of the final episode), we get to see what it was like bringing the series to an end. It talks about how the end of the series was emotional, but not necessarily sad, because most of the people involved with the series actually went on to bigger and better things, and the series was merely a springboard for the remainder of their careers.

One of my favorite features of the book, though, comes in after the epilogue. The book ends with an 88 page "Complete Viewers Guide to The Dick Van Dyke Show," which is a very thorough episode guide detailing every single episode of the series. In these 88 pages, you'll find episode descriptions, original airdates, episode credits, and many behind-the-scenes and historical moments for episodes. One of my favorite trivia tidbits to read was about the inspiration for the character Sally Rogers. According to Carl Reiner, there is one person (a woman who was not an actress at a time, but a writer, much like the character of Sally) in particular who served as an inspiration for the character--Selma Diamond! Yes, the same lady that would play the first of the female bailiffs on Night Court in the 80s served as an inspiration for the character. And in thinking about Diamond's portrayal of her character in Night Court, you can almost see a little bit of Sally Rogers in her there.

If you are a fan of the series, there really is no excuse to not own this book. I've seen many books on the history of a single well-known TV series, and I usually come away from them a bit less than impressed. They often tend to regurgitate everything that we know about the series with the unique writing style of the author. Here, we actually get content that is new to most of us, and the book is a very pleasurable read. Not having seen the older edition of this book, I really can't comment on how it compares to that edition, but I can say with full confidence that this book is worth placing on your coffee table--just don't trip over the ottoman trying to get to it!

A few additional notes on the revised and updated edition:

  • Revised, rewritten and completely updated from the first to the last page
  • Includes tons of new photographs, many of them never before published
  • New passages where needed to incorporate interesting sidelights of the show that the author has since discovered, including the existence of a Dick Van Dyke Show opera
  • New illustration of the cast by Drew Friedman


(5/5 stars)

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Amazon.com




It's Friday, so it is time for "Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows" for the coming week. This is where we list what sitcom stars are appearing on talk shows for the coming week, the stars are both current and past sitcom stars, so this is for all sitcom fans of all eras!
For the week of October 3-7, 2011, we have many current sitcom stars and past sitcom stars on TV talk shows! All times listed are Eastern. So get your DVR's (or whatever you use) ready! Ready? Here is all what you need to know for the coming week!

Monday, October 3, 2011
  • Paul Scheer (The League) - Watch Paul on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:37am on NBC.
  • Jack McBrayer (30 Rock) - Catch Jack on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Ellie Kemper (The Office) - Ellie drops by The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Cheryl Hines (Suburgatory/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Cheryl is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check listings.
  • Cedric the Entertainer (The Steve Harvey Show) - Cedric chats on The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
  • Kaitlin Olson (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) - Catch Kaitlin on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:36am on NBC.
  • John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - John is a guest on The Colbert Report at 11:30pm on Comedy Central.
  • Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory/8 Simple Rules) - The lovely Kaley visits LIVE! with Regis & Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Joel McHale (Community) - Joel drops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check listings.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
  • Growing Pains Cast - The cast of Growing Pains gathers for an I Love the 80s reunion on Good Morning America on ABC between 7-9am. Part Two will air on Thursday, October 6.
  • Tim Allen (Last Man Standing/Home Improvement) - Watch Tim on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno at 11:35pm on NBC. Last Man Standing premieres on October 11 at 8:00pm on ABC.
  • Will Arnett (Up All Night/Arrested Development) - Tune in to see Will on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 12am on ABC. Up All Night airs on Wednesdays at 8:00pm on NBC.
  • Jane Levy (Suburgatory) - Jane drops by Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 12am on ABC. The funny Suburgatory airs on ABC on Wednesdays at 8:30pm.
  • Joel McHale (Community) - Joel continues his appearances this week on Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Eliza Coupe (Happy Endings) - Eliza visits The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Ana Gasteyer (Suburgatory) - Ana stops by The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
  • Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) - Catch Aubrey on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Eliza Coupe (Happy Endings/Scrubs) - Eliza continues her appearances this week on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - John continues to make the rounds on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Brandy (Moesha) - Brandy is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Brooke Shields (Suddenly Susan) - Brooke visits The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Jamie Foxx, Chris Rock, Tina Fey and Betty White - Gayle's funniest guests are part of a Best of: Lolz episode of The Gayle King Show at 10am on OWN.
Friday, October 7, 2011
  • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Watch Bryan on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Alison Brie (Community) - Alison visits Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:37am on NBC.
  • Cheryl Hines (Suburgatory/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Catch Cheryl on a repeat of Chelsea Lately on E! at 11pm.
  • Jennifer Aniston (Friends) - Jennifer chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Florence Henderson (The Brady Bunch) - Florence is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Steve Harvey (The Steve Harvey Show) - Catch Steve on a repeat of The Mo'nique Show at 3am on BET.
Leave us comments on our message board or Tweet/Facebook us to let us know what you think of this Friday feature! We do listen!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

TV Land Celebrates 50th Anniversary of The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Many Schedule Changes; Fox Picks-Up New Girl For Full Season

The Dick Van Dyke Show is turning 50! And to celebrate that milestone, TV Land will air a week-long marathon next week starting Monday, Oct. 3, the night of the premiere in 1961. The marathon will air Mon-Fri from 6-9pm with five classic episodes each night. That is a 3-hour block, so that should mean six episodes, but TV Land is off-the-clock, thus we only get five episodes. Then during the weekend of Oct. 8-9, TV Land will present 16 episodes per day from 12pm-9pm (off-the-clock, once again) to celebrate 50 years of magic. And if that's not all Rob Petrie for you, TV Land will also add the series to its regular schedule starting Monday, Oct. 10! But before we get to that, TV Land will bring back Scrubs and air the series weeknights at 9:00pm & 9:30pm starting Oct. 3. This means Everybody Loves Raymond will now be 10pm-12am instead of 9-11pm. The only other change is an extra Bonanza at 5pm, but for the week of Oct. 3 only. The rest of the schedule changes will start Oct. 10, which we will detail now.

The new schedule with The Dick Van Dyke Show will start Oct. 10 and the classic '60s sitcom will air three-hours a day: weekdays 10-11am, 1pm-2pm and 7-8pm. The schedule will now have Bonanza kick things off at 8am & 9am leading into Van Dyke. At 11am & 11:30am, TV Land will air Sanford & Son. Now 12pm & 12:30pm was, as of last night supposed to be Bewitched, but TV Land is now saying it will be another hour of Sanford & Son leading into more Dick Van Dyke at 1pm. IF Bewitched is listed back on at noon, we'll let you know. Back to the schedule, the TV Land Goes West Bonanza block will air from 2pm-5pm. From 5-7pm will be two more hours of Sanford & Son leading into an hour of Van Dyke at 7pm. TV Land was listing M*A*S*H at 5pm, but now they removed it (probably because they have rights from 7pm-7am only). Next we have primetime and Al Bundy and family are back again on TV Land with Married...with Children airing Mon-Sat from 8-9pm, leading into Scrubs. As mentioned, Raymond airs from 10pm-12am. The late night marathon blocks are no more and now we have a set schedule starting at 12 midnight with generally it being Roseanne at 12am, The Nanny at 1am, Three's Company at 2am, more Roseanne at 3am, more The Nanny at 4am, and Boston Legal at 5am.
Weekends will remain the same except The Andy Griffith Show returns, airing weekends from 4-6pm following Three's Company from 2-4pm. The Andy Griffith Show will be brought in to air before The Dick Van Dyke Show, which will air on weekends from 6-8pm. As mentioned, Married...with Children will air Saturday nights from 8-9pm, leading into Raymond from 9pm-12am. Sunday nights will still have M*A*S*H from 8-10pm into Raymond from 10-12. Late nights for weekends will have three series airing in two-hour blocks from 12-6am: The Nanny, Roseanne and Three's Company.

So this is a lot to digest. To recap, The Dick Van Dyke Show joins the schedule. Scrubs and Married...with Children return to the schedule, as does Andy Griffith Show (but on weekends only). Leaving the schedule for now will be The Jeffersons, Good Times, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, and Home Improvement. And M*A*S*H will now only air in primetime on Sunday nights.
View and discuss this new TV Land Fall 2011 schedule (scroll down to Oct. 10)! Stay tuned tomorrow for our book review of The Official Dick Van Dyke Show Book: The Definitive History of Television's Most Enduring Comedy by Vince Waldron, foreword by Dan Castellaneta (a.k.a. Homer Simpson) and introduction by Dick Van Dyke himself.

After two airings, Fox has ordered an additional 11 episodes of the new single-camera comedy New Girl starring Zooey Deschanel, bringing the series to a 24-episode season order. The comedy premiered as Fox's highest-rated fall sitcom debut in 10 years. Since it launched last week, the single-camera comedy has quickly established itself as Tuesday's No. 1 series among Adults 18-49 and this season's No. 1 new series among Adults 18-34, Women 18-34 and Teens. The series airs Tuesdays at 9:00PM ET/PT and will be all-new next week (Oct. 4). Then, the next two all-new episodes of the new comedy will air at special times (due to MLB Playoffs). The first is on a special night and time on Wednesday, Oct. 12 at 9:30 PM ET/PT and then another new episode the following week on its normal night, but at a special time of 9:30 PM ET/PT on Tuesday, Oct. 18 with guest star Lake Bell.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

CBS Fall Pilot Review: How to Be a Gentleman - Premieres September 29; TeenNick Adds Hey Dude,The Amanda Show, More To The '90s Are All That Block

How to Be a Gentleman

How to Be a Gentleman - Thursdays 8:30PM ET/PT on CBS
Premieres Thursday, September 29, 2011 at 8:30PM ET/PT


Columnist Andrew Carlson (David Hornsby) thinks that he is the "perfect gentleman" in How to Be a Gentleman, but when the publication that he is working for undergoes some significant demographic changes, he either has to change his views or face unemployment. His problem? While he knows how to be a perfect gentleman, he doesn't know how to be the perfect man. He's always been the guy to hold doors open for women and to keep his areas clean and tidy, but he has also been the kid who was constantly bullied when he was younger.

The changes at his magazine, which require Andrew to change his column, are only the beginning of the changes for Andrew's life. While seeking out ways to reinvent his column, Andrew runs into former high school bully Bert Lansing (Kevin Dillon), who now runs a gym. The meeting with Bert gives Andrew a chance to begin reassessing everything that he may be able to write for his column, and further gives him an opportunity to reassess his life, and what it truly means to be a gentleman.

Cast Details:

David Hornsby as Andrew Carlson
Kevin Dillon as Bert Lansing
Dave Foley as Jerry
Mary Lynn Rajskub as Janet
Rhys Darby as Mike

David Hornsby (Andrew) is the star of the series, the columnist who writes about "how to be a perfect gentleman." He has appeared in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Joe Schmo Show, and Six Feet Under. In addition to his role in the series, he is also the creator of the series.

Kevin Dillon (Bert) plays the guy who is going to teach Andrew how to be a man in the series. If the last name sounds familiar, it should: he is the younger brother of actor Matt Dillon. But Kevin Dillon has also had success of his own, playing the role of Drama in the recently ended HBO series Entourage, as well as roles in movies such as Platoon.

Dave Foley (Jerry) plays Andrew's boss at the magazine, a boss who is resistant to the changes, but is too close to retirement to fight them. Canadian-born Foley played the starring role of Dave Nelson in the 90s NBC series NewsRadio, and has had countless guest-starring roles in series such as The New Adventures of Old Christine, Will & Grace, Brothers & Sisters, and many more.

Mary Jane Rajskub (Janet) plays the role of Andrew's sister in the series. Rajskub is well-known for her starring role as Chloe O'Brien on the series 24. She has also had roles in The Larry Sanders Show, NewsRadio, and Veronica's Closet. Additionally, she was one of the original cast members of Mr. Show.

Rhys Darby (Mike) plays Janet's husband and Andrew's quirky brother-in-law. The New Zealand born actor is best known to viewers in the United States as Murray from the HBO series Flight of the Conchords.


Pilot Plot:

In the pilot episode, we are introduced to Andrew Carlson, the author of a magazine column about how to be a perfect gentleman. We see how he is the perfect Mr. Manners. But this all comes crashing down during a meeting with his boss Jerry, who informs Andrew that changes are about to come to the magazine. A new owner of the magazine doesn't see profits in the magazine as it is, and wants to retool the magazine to a more hip and edgier magazine for modern men.

During an incredibly depressing birthday dinner with his sister and brother-in-law, where Andrew recounts all of his failures in life and his disdain over the new changes, Andrew receives a gift of a training session at a gym. Andrew doesn't really like this gift, but a perfect gentleman always uses a gift, whether he likes it or not. When he goes to the gym, he runs in to Bert. Bert used to bully Andrew in high school, but this encounter begins a new relationship between the two when Andrew begins to use Bert's wisdom to help him adapt to the changes in the magazine, as well as his life in general.

Analysis:

Can anybody say Felix Unger and Oscar Madison forty years later? I think that is a fair assessment of what this series is, and this series takes on a lot of the classic series The Odd Couple. Now sometimes, imitation is bad, but in this series, it seems to be rather well executed, and unlike many pilots out there, this puts a fresh perspective on an old idea.

There weren't really that many moments in the pilot that I disliked, and unlike many pilots that I have seen, the action seemed to move pretty fast in the pilot. It seems that many pilots are very slow to develop the main plot of the series, and get annoying by the end of the first episode, often setting a bad tone for the entire series. This one didn't.

As for the comedy of the series, it seemed a bit subdued in the pilot, but that isn't to say that the series is unfunny. A series like this one, on how to be manly, is a perfect setup for some good comedy. The pilot didn't fully take advantage of those capabilities, but I'm hoping that as the series goes on, it will take advantage of them a bit more. Luckily, though, the pilot seemed to be well-written, and good writing can often make up for other areas that may be lacking.

My only criticism of the series is the casting of Kevin Dillon in the role of Bert. That isn't to say that I dislike Kevin Dillon. In fact, I like his acting, and enjoyed him in Entourage. But to me, he seems (and I'll add, is) too old to be playing one of Andrew's classmates from high school. He is about ten years older than Hornsby, and at least in my opinion, the difference really was evident. However, with the series set to air already, this is, lamentably, something that is going to have to remain as is, and despite that age difference, he does well in the role--he just isn't the right person.


Conclusion:

I actually liked the pilot of the series, and I'm hopeful that this could be a great series to add to my weekly viewing schedule. Even though it really is just a modern-day take on The Odd Couple (and I think you'll see that in the first few seconds of the series), it brings that type of show to the modern era. I feel like the odds are against this series from the beginning, as CBS still hasn't established a level of success for the 8:30 Thursday slot, even though they were able to transfer viewers of The Big Bang Theory to the Thursday night slot. But maybe this series will work in the slot after The Big Bang Theory, as viewers will be able to relate the character of Andrew to some on The Big Bang Theory. I hope that this series at least goes for a full season, and perhaps longer. It has potential that I rarely see in new sitcoms these days.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4/5
Funniness: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 09/28/11

Discuss the show after you watch it on Thursday, September 29 on our message board.

Related Links:

  • CBS.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • How to Be a Gentleman Photo Gallery

    Preview:





    Effective this week, Doug and Clarissa Explains It All returned to The '90s Are All That block on TeenNick, but that's not all! More shows are coming. For now, Rocko's Modern Life and Hey Arnold! are off the line-up after three weeks, but they could return at some point. All That and Kenan & Kel are still scheduled to stay on the air to kick off the weeknight late night block in the 12-1am hour (encores 2-3am). Onto the new series, replacing Clarissa Explains It starting next week (Monday, Oct. 3), will be Hey Dude! The early '90s comedic western will air at 1am with an encore at 3am. As of now, it is scheduled for two weeks. Then starting October 17, the half-hour will be the Amanda Bynes series The Amanda Show. Then starting Oct. 31, just in time for Halloween it is Are You Afraid of the Dark? at 1am and 3am! It looks like a rotating wheel of classic Nick series is airing in this timeslot. Doug is remaining put in the 1:30am half-hour.
    That's not all! Fridays starting next week (Oct. 7) will see the return of someone familiar. Stick Stickly! Every Friday night will now be: "The 90s Are All That! U Pick with Stick." Yes, Stick Stickly returns to host a special viewer's choice night of The '90s Are All That with options for some rarely seen Nick gems. There are eight choices for the first week: 1. Clarissa Explains It All: The "Normal" Episode, 2. My Brother and Me: Dee Dee Can't Dance, 3. Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: The Snorch Episode, 4. Salute Your Shorts: The Bunk Chief Episode, 5. Rugrats: The Chocolate Milk Football Episode, 6. The First Angry Beavers' Episode, 7. Legends Of The Hidden Temple: The Talking Rock and 8. Doug's Golden Toe Episode.
    Vote for your favorite on the official website! It's a two-hour block, so I think four of these eight will air. This is a nice way to air the rarely seen classics! Friday nights just got better!
  • Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    ABC Fall Pilot Review: Suburgatory - Premieres September 28; This Week's Up All Night and Whitney, Premieres On Yahoo!

    Suburgatory

    Suburgatory - Wednesdays 8:30PM ET/PT on ABC
    Premieres Wednesday, September 28, 2011 at 8:30PM ET/PT

    Single father George only wants the best for his 16-year-old daughter, Tessa. So when he finds a box of condoms on her nightstand, he moves them both out of their apartment in New York City to a house in the suburbs. But all Tessa sees is the horror of over-manicured lawns and plastic Franken-moms. Being in the 'burbs can be hell, but it also may just bring Tessa and George closer than they've ever been.

    Tessa (Jane Levy) and George (Jeremy Sisto) have been on their own ever since Tessa's mom pulled a "Kramer vs. Kramer" before Tessa was even potty trained. So far George has done a pretty good job of raising Tessa without a maternal figure in their lives, but suddenly he's feeling a little out of his league. So it's goodbye New York City and hello suburbs. At first Tessa is horrified by the big-haired, fake-boobed mothers and their sugar-free, Red Bull-chugging kids. But little by little, she and her dad begin finding a way to survive on the clean streets of the 'burbs. Sure, the neighbors might smother you with love while their kids stare daggers at your back, but underneath all that plastic and caffeine, they're really not half bad. And they do make a tasty pot roast.


    Cast Details:

    * Jeremy Sisto as George Altman
    * Jane Levy as Tessa Altman
    * Carly Chaikin as Dalia Royce
    * Rex Lee as Mr. Wolfe
    * Alan Tudyk as Noah Lerner
    * Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce

    Ana Gasteyer guest stars as neighbor Sheila Shay. Jay Mohr appears in the recurring role as Steven Royce, Dallas' (Cheryl Hines) husband.

    Jeremy Sisto (Gregory Altman) is probably best known for playing Billy Chenowith on Alan Ball's Six Feet Under for five years, a role which Ball wrote for him. Last year he finished a three year run on Law & Order as Detective Cyrus Lupo. He was also the lead in the short-lived but critically acclaimed Jason Smilovic show, Kidnapped, and played the title role in the two miniseries Jesus and Julius Caesar. Sisto makes his first foray into single-camera comedy Suburgatory. Sisto's film credits are eclectic and date back to the early '90s with titles such as Grand Canyon, Clueless, Hideaway, Moonlight and Valentino, White Squall, Without Limits, Suicide Kings, Thirteen, Wrong Turn and Waitress. He is in two upcoming releases, As Cool As I Am with Claire Danes and James Marsden, and Robot and Frank with Frank Langella and Liv Tyler.

    Jane Levy (Tessa Altman) grew up in Northern California. Though the acting bug bit her early on (she starred in community theater productions of Annie and The Wizard of Oz) in high school, she was the captain of the varsity soccer team and on the hip hop dance team. She also excelled in chemistry. After a semester in the liberal arts program at Baltimore's Goucher College, Levy moved to New York to pursue acting at the Stella Adler Conservatory. Two years later she moved to Los Angeles, and in a few weeks booked a five-episode arc as a trampy teen vixen in the John Wells Showtime series, Shameless (with William H. Macy). A round of general meetings with film and television executives led to her being cast as the lead in Suburgatory. Levy also recently appeared in her first feature, Nobody Walks,and she is currently shooting Josh Schwartz's debut feature film, Fun Size, with Victoria Justice and Chelsea Handler.

    Carly Chaikin (Dalia Royce) made her big screen debut in The Last Song starring alongside Greg Kinnear, Kelly Preston, Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus. She also appeared in the independent comedies The Consultants and My Uncle Rafael. More recently Chaikin wrapped on the indy horror film Escapee, in which she starred with Dominic Purcell and Faith Ford.

    Rex Lee (Mr. Wolfe) plays Lloyd, the engaging and extremely funny assistant to Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), on HBO's Entourage. When Lee landed that role, it was a four-episode arc. His portrayal of Lloyd was so well received that the role was expanded and he was added as a series regular. The hit show returned this summer for its eighth and final season. In addition to receiving three SAG Award cast nominations, Lee's performance won him the 2007 and 2008 Asian Excellence Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in Television and the "KoreAm" Achievement in Entertainment Award in 2007. He has guest starred in a number of TV shows, including Dave's World, Son of the Beach, Lucky and Andy Richter Controls the Universe, and has appeared in numerous commercials.

    Allie Grant (Lisa Shay) has wanted to be an actress for as long as she can remember. At the age of 10 she was cast in the role of Isabella Hodes on the Showtime hit Weeds, and shares 2007 and 2009 Screen Actors Guild nominations for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. Grant played Elizabeth Perkins' daughter on the show for five seasons. She has also guest starred on Private Practice.

    Alan Tudyk (Noah Lerner) recently completed work in Fox's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, playing Stephen A. Douglas, and will be seen in Paramount's feature film, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, playing the role of Dutch. Tudyk quickly became a sought-after comedic actor following films like Knocked Up, 28 Days, A Knight's Tale and Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. Additional film credits include 3:10 to Yuma,"Death at a Funeral, I, Robot, Beautiful Boy, Serenity, Ice Age: The Meltdown and Ice Age 2: The Meltdown. Additional television credits include Firefly and Dollhouse for creator Joss Whedon, V, Arrested Development and Strangers with Candy.

    Cheryl Hines (Dallas Royce) is a two-time Emmy nominee for her role as Cheryl David on HBO's Golden Globe Award-winning series, Curb Your Enthusiasm, the brainchild of Seinfeld co-creator Larry David. Hines' most recent television project was as executive producer of the NBC Television Series School Pride, a proactive, alternative series that told the stories of communities coming together to renovate their aging and broken public schools. The cameras followed students, teachers and parents as they rolled up their sleeves and rebuilt their own schools, concluding with the unveiling of a brand new, completely transformed school. Additional television projects included a major story arc on ABC's drama series Brothers & Sisters and a starring role opposite Megan Mullally in ABC's In the Motherhood, a single camera comedy series chronicling the hilarious ups and downs of motherhood.


    Pilot Plot:

    #1 "Pilot" (Airs September 28, 2011)
    When single dad George moves 16-year-old daughter Tessa out of their NYC apartment to a house in the suburbs, it's because he wants a better place for her to spend her teen years. Tessa and George have been on their own ever since Tessa's mom pulled a "Kramer vs. Kramer." So far George has done a pretty good job of raising Tessa, but lately he's feeling a little out of his league, especially after he finds a pack of condoms in her room. So it's goodbye New York City and hello suburbs. At first Tessa is horrified by the big-haired, fake-boobed mothers and their sugar-free, Red Bull-chugging kids. But she and her dad slowly begin to find ways to survive, and while being in the 'burbs certainly can be hell, it also may just bring Tessa and George closer than they've ever been.

    Guest starring are Ana Gasteyer as Sheila Shay, Maestro Harrell as Malik, Arden Myrin as Jocelyn and Ryan Shay as Parker Young.
    "Pilot" was written by Emily Kapnek and directed by Michael Fresco.


    Analysis:

    The difference between the suburbs and Manhattan are the moms. And man are these suburb moms wild. This comedy takes a hilarious look at the differences between the city and suburbs. We see a father and daughter move from Manhattan to the suburbs in Connecticut, after finding a box of unopened condoms in his teenage daughter's room. But of course they weren't hers. They move to the suburbs anyway. We are shown right away that the daughter, Tessa, is having trouble adapting to the change. She notices the plastic smiles, the use of sugar-free Red Bull, plenty of nose-jobs, and stay at home mom's who drive their kids places. The father makes friends with Dallas Royce, who is the mother of Dalia Royce, a typical suburban teenager. Dalia was appointed as Tessa's "buddy" by the school guidance counselor, Mr. Wolfe, but Tessa hates Dalia. There is one girl in the school that seems like Tessa, but she avoids Tessa at first and calls her a "lesbian" like everyone else. Later they become friends and Tessa finds out who her mom is. Won't give away who. There is also a "diversity student" named Malik and that short scene will make you laugh out loud!

    Jane Levy, who plays Tessa Harper, works well with every single character. I couldn't stop laughing when Tessa turned into a "mall skank" when her father's friend, Noah, comes over for dinner. Her facial expressions are priceless! It will be interesting to see the dynamic between the Royce family and Altman family. Will Tessa realize maybe these people are all not that bad? Tessa also realizes that her father is also "stuck" in "suburgatory," too. How will he survive all these moms drooling over him? You'll have to watch yourself! Jeremy Sisto does a great job as Tessa's dad and so does Cheryl Hines as Dallas Royce. The cast is great and it is refreshing that a newcomer is leading the pack so well.


    Conclusion:

    This is a strong pilot. It is hilarious and it sets up the series very well. Jane Levy is a star in the making and she is really good in this as Tessa Harper. It is the best comedy pilot of the fall, with the highest review rating so far that we have given this season. It has funny and witty lines throughout and Jane Levy is hilarious in every scene. She reminds me of Amy Davidson, who played Kerry on 8 Simple Rules. They both are great actors and they look alike, too. I am hoping we see Amy guest star this season.

    The series is perfectly placed in between The Middle and Modern Family and has a good chance of doing well in the ratings. Why? Because it has the same style as those shows and the clever writing, too. Just how Brick and Sue broke out on The Middle, Tessa on this show is a character to watch. I can't wait for more episodes of this series. Turn on your automatic sprinklers and be prepared to file restraining orders, because you are headed into suburgatory! You'll never know what to expect, but one thing is for sure...you'll laugh!


    Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

    Watchability: 4/5
    Funniness: 4/5
    Overall: 4/5

    -- Reviewed by Pavan on 09/27/11

    Discuss the show after you watch it on Wednesday, September 28 on our message board.

    Related Links:

  • ABC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Suburgatory Photo Gallery

    Preview:





    NBC will partner with Yahoo! to offer exclusive original episodes of its new comedies -- Up All Night (Wednesdays, 8-8:30 p.m. ET) and Whitney (Thursdays, 9:30-10 p.m. ET) -- that will be streamed and promoted on the site prior to the regular network broadcast beginning this morning (Tuesday, September 27). The exclusive first look at this Wednesday's (September 28) episode of Up All Night features guest stars Will Forte and Jorma Taccone, both from Saturday Night Live. As Chris (Will Arnett) tries to get Reagan (Christina Applegate) to bring the sexy back into their relationship with some advice from his new friend Reed (Forte). Meanwhile, when Ava (Maya Rudolph) finds out her ex-boyfriend, B-Ro (Taccone), is getting married, she blames Reagan for the advice she gave her that caused them to break up.
    Viewers streaming Whitney will get an advance look this Thursday's (September 29) which features happily unmarried couple Whitney (Whitney Cummings) and Alex (Chris D'Elia) also finding new ways to keep it sexy. When Whitney realizes that she and Alex have never gone on an official first date she comes up with an unusual idea to recreate the past. Taking this role-play very seriously -- as only Whitney can -- she insists that they both follow the "rules" of a first date, including pretending that they don't know each other. Thus the two awkwardly go to dinner and cap off the night by sleeping in separate apartments. Continuing the charade into the next day the two turn to their friends to plot their next moves.
    In addition to the exclusive premieres, users can access previously broadcast episodes of Up All Night (so far the first 2 episodes) and Whitney (so far the pilot episode) on Yahoo! If your TV schedule is busy on Wednesday and Thursday, you might want to watch these premieres on Yahoo!, as you can watch at anytime your want.
  • Monday, September 26, 2011

    ReelzChannel TV Fall 2011 Schedule Has Coach, Spin City; SOAPnet Obtains Brothers and Sisters

    ReelzChannel TV announced its new fall broadcast schedule starts with a bang as the hit sitcoms Coach and Spin City join the daytime lineup. The two Emmy-winning sitcoms join the daytime lineup as Coach *starting today) and Spin City (starting next Monday) make their Reelz debut. Back-to-back episodes of Coach will air every weekday starting at 10am ET/7am PT with an additional half-hour weekdays at 2pm PT/11am PT starting today (Sept. 26). In Coach, Craig T. Nelson plays university football coach Hayden Fox who is trying to get his bumbling team on track while dealing with the two headstrong women in his life.
    Spin City also joins the Reelz daytime lineup every day of the week with two back-to-back episodes starting at 11am ET/8am PT and two more episodes starting at 4pm ET/1pm PT on weekdays -- all starting Monday, Oct. 3. Saturday and Sundays get a slight spin too with back-to-back episodes of Spin City starting at 1pm ET/ 10am PT. In Spin City, a New York City Deputy Mayor (Michael J. Fox), supported by an unusual staff, must constantly bail out the Mayor (Barry Bostwick) who never knows what is going on. Spin City also stars Charlie Sheen who won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor for his role in the series.
    The rest of the weekday schedule will have Carson's Comedy Classics remaining in the 8am hour, followed by an hour of the Ted Danson sitcom Becker, followed by the aforementioned Coach at 10am and Spin City at 11am. Brothers and Sisters and Ally McBeal will be leaving the line-up to make way for these two comedies. Original series takes over from 12pm-1:30pm, but then Cheers airs at 1:30pm leading into Coach at 2pm. 3rd Rock from the Sun follows at 2:30pm. The 3pm hour will feature more Cheers leading into the new 4pm addition of Spin City. After an hour of original programming, sitcoms air again with an hour of Becker at 6pm and 3rd Rock from the Sun at 7pm. The primetime movie airs at 8pm leading into another hour of Cheers, which will encore at 1am as well after the 11pm movie. Original series airs from 2am on, in the overnight. On to weekends, for both Saturdays and Sundays, sitcoms airing are: Spin City from 1-2pm, Becker 6-7pm, and Cheers 7-8pm & 10pm-11pm.
    Elsewhere, the mini-series 10.5 marks the beginning of Reelz's commitment to miniseries this season as three Emmy® Award-winning and nominated miniseries air over three months, starting with 10.5 on October 2, followed by Reelz's own The Kennedys on November 6 and The Pillars of the Earth on December 4, 2011.
    Well, there you have it, the ReelzChannel TV Fall 2011 schedule! The fun begins today with Coach and next week for everything else -- Monday, Oct. 3! Stay with us for any further updates.

    We mentioned above that Brothers and Sisters has left the ReelzChannel TV line-up starting today. Where is it now? Disney-owned SOAPnet has acquired the rights to the family drama. The series begins tonight at 5pm & 6pm with the first two episodes. Elsewhere, SOAPnet is making room for classic episodes of your favorite ABC daytime soaps: All My Children, One Life to Live, and General Hospital! The changes starting today are: The OC will now air weekdays at 6am & 11am, One Tree Hill will now air in a block airing weekedays from 12pm-3pm, Beverly Hills 90210 will now move up to weekdays at 3pm & 4pm with the addition of Brothers and Sisters at 5pm & 6pm.
    As for the daytime soap changes, classic episodes of All My Children, One Life To Live and General Hospital will air from 3-6am. Current episodes of daytime soaps will have The Young and the Restless now airing weekdays at 7pm, 11pm & 10am; Days of Our Lives now airing weekdays at 8pm, 12am, & 7am; One Life to Live now airing weekdays at 9pm, 1am & 9am; and General Hospital now airing weekdays at 10pm, 2am & 8am. As you all know, All My Children ends its TV run on Friday on ABC, so there won't be anything new to air--so enjoy the classic episodes at 3am.
    Stay with us for further changes, as SOAPnet will continue beyond January 2012 now, (it will be rebranded to Disney Junior sometime in 2012). But for how much longer? We'll let you know when we know.

    Sunday, September 25, 2011

    Week 1 TV Ratings and Analysis; How the Sitcoms Did

    2011-12 Week 1 TV Ratings (first four nights of the season, Mon-Thu):

    Households: #1. CBS 9.1/14.2 rating/share (+7% in rating from week 1 in 2010); #2. ABC 8.2/12.8 (+7%); #3. Fox 5.9/9.1 (+31%); #4. NBC 3.7/5.9 (-21%); #5. The CW 1.0/1.6 (-33%).
    Total Viewers: #1. CBS 14.8 million (+6%); #2. ABC 12.55 million (+3%); #3. Fox 9.97 million (+28%); #4. NBC 5.89 million (-22%); #5. The CW 1.57 million (-33%).
    Adults 18-49: #1. CBS 4.1/10.8 rating/share (+11%); #2. Fox 3.8/10.0 (+27%); #3. ABC 3.4/9.0 (even); #4. NBC 2.1/5.5 (-22%); #5. The CW 0.7/1.6 (-36%).

    Week 1 (Sept. 19-25) Analysis: Summer's over! We're back with another all-new TV season and we're off to a good start, minus NBC and The CW, of course. The 2011-12 season has begun and most of the shows debuted this past week, with still a few shows debuting or having their season premieres in the coming week. Through the first four days, CBS has the lead in all categories thanks to a massive tune-in sampling the new Two and a Half Men, with ABC is in second in HH/viewers, but Fox has nipped by for second in 18-49. Fox is in third in HH/viewers, while NBC is back in the familiar fourth. I expect CBS to take the week and ABC to remain second. I don't think the NFL tonight will even help NBC move to third. It's going to be a fourth place finish in premiere week. CBS, ABC and Fox are up from a good amount from last season's premiere week. Fox is up the most thanks to two nights of The X Factor, which is solid but not gigantic like Idol. NBC and The CW are down double digits from last year's premiere week and it looks to be a long fall for both.

    Monday was the first night of the 2011-12 season and it was CBS on top in 18-49 and ABC in total viewers. Starting with ABC, the two-hour season premiere of Dancing with the Stars won the total viewer race with 19.03 million and a 4.0 18-49 rating, down from last fall's premiere by two million. The season premiere of Castle followed with a first place 13.28 million and a 3.2 18-49 rating, both up a good amount from the season premiere last year. The show keeps getting better and better! Next up was CBS with its comedies, with huge sampling for Ashton Kutcher in Two and a Half Men, and the season premiere of Hawaii Five-0. How I Met Your Mother started it off with 11.0 million and a 4.7 18-49 rating, way up from last year's premiere, while a second episode of How I Met Your Mother followed with 12.22 million and a 5.2 18-49 rating, that is way higher than anything it did last year and perhaps most of the credit will go to Ashton Kutcher for this. It'll be interesting if it can stay near this tomorrow or the next week or two. Then it was the season premiere of Two and a Half Men, with new star Ashton Kutcher, doing a series best 28.84 million and a 10.7 18-49 rating, which seems like ratings from pre-DVR time. Wow. I don't think any series has done this since like season three of Grey's Anatomy. The series premiere of 2 Broke Girls certainly benefited from the huge lead-in and did a great 19.37 million and a 7.1 18-49 rating, the highest rated new sitcom premiere since 2001 when the one-year wonder Inside Schwartz premiered on NBC. Mike & Molly will have its season premiere tomorrow night in this timeslot, while 2 Broke Girls will move to 8:30pm. The season premiere of Hawaii Five-0 was next doing 12.19 million and a 3.4 18-49 rating, off from the series premiere last season despite the huge lead-in. Will the numbers remain here or drop to what it was doing in the winter/spring? Fox was next with the season finale of the summer series Hell's Kitchen doing 6.04 million and a 2.6 18-49 rating at 8pm, followed by the second hour with 5.94 million and still a 2.6 18-49 rating. Not bad at all opposite premieres! Fox will launch new series Terra Nova tomorrow night with a two-hour premiere. Bets are it will do well, but if it can't do a 2.6 rating like Hell's, it will be a big disappointment. House will premiere the following week at a new time of 9pm. NBC followed with the season premiere of The Sing-Off, now a regular series, and it only did 5.3 million and a 1.9 18-49 rating, down from Chuck and The Event's premieres last year. The series premiere of The Playboy Club was next at 10pm and was lost doing only 5.02 million and a 1.6 18-49 rating, that is not good at all. The CW was in repeats, with an encore of H8R doing 1.03 million and a 0.4 18-49 rating, followed by an encore of Ringer doing 820,000 viewers and only a 0.3 18-49 rating. Look for Gossip Girl and the series premiere of Hart of Dixie launching tomorrow night.

    On Tuesday, Fox nipped by CBS in 18-49, while CBS took care of total viewers. CBS had the always reliable NCIS opening the night off with 19.96 million and a 4.3 18-49 rating, up some from last year's premiere. Amazing. The season premiere of NCIS: Los Angeles was next and did 16.71 million and 3.6 18-49 rating, also up some from last year's premiere. And finally CBS premiered new series Unforgettable and did 14.09 million and a 2.9 18-49 rating. A good start. ABC was next with the a special Dancing with the Stars: Meet the Cast leading the night off doing 10.97 million and a 2.1 18-49 rating, it did well, but lower than last fall's recap. The regular live Results Show followed at 9pm and did 14.79 million and a 2.9 18-49 rating, down big from last fall's premiere, but that was a best-ever Results Show premiere. We sadly said goodbye Metta World Peace (aka Ron Artest). The season premiere of Body of Proof followed and did a decent 9.41 million and a 2.2 18-49 rating, which is on par with series premiere of Detroit 1-8-7. Could be better though and I think it will be consistent, even going up from time to time, unlike Detroit. Fox started off slower than last year with the season premiere of Glee doing 9.21 million and a 4.0 18-49 rating, down big from last fall's premiere as it shredded over 3 million viewers and 1.6 18-49 rating points. Looks like the best days for this series are behind them. At 9pm, we had the debut of new comedy New Girl doing a high 10.28 million and a 4.8 18-49 rating. Another surprise performance with the premiere building on its lead-in. The season premiere of Raising Hope at its new time did 6.73 million and a 3.1 18-49 rating, which was similar to its launch last year. Not bad for this, but could be better given the lead-in. NBC was next with The Biggest Loser 2-hour premiere doing 6.17 million and a 2.3 18-49 rating, down again from its season premiere last fall, followed by an all-new Parenthood at just 5.28 million but a better 2.1 18-49 rating. The CW aired a new 90210 with just 1.47 million and a 0.7 18-49 rating, followed by week two of the Sarah Michelle Gellar drama Ringer at 1.94 million and a 0.9 18-49 rating. That could be better, too. 90210 just needs to call it quits already.

    Wednesday again it was a face-off between Fox and ABC, with CBS in the total viewers race. CBS started the night off on top with week two of Survivor: South Pacfic at 10.46 million and a 3.2 18-49 rating, down big from week two last fall. Veteran drama Criminal Minds did 14.14 million and a solid 4.1 A18-49 rating, on par really with last season's premiere. At 10pm, it was the new night and time premiere of CSI and it did a decent 12.74 million and a 3.2 18-49 rating, up some from the premiere of The Defenders premiere last year but down some from its Thursday premiere last year. Ted Danson or not, it was like last year in the ratings. ABC started off with its Laugh On comedy block with a one-hour premiere of The Middle doing a big 9.74 million and a series best 3.1 18-49 rating, of course up from last year's premiere. The series premiere of new sitcom Suburgatory will be this week. The two-episode season premiere of Modern Family was next and opened with series highs like last year doing 14.53 million and a 6.1 18-49 rating average for both half-hours. Big stuff! The season premiere of Happy Endings will be this week at 9:30pm, as its buzz is great. Hopefully that will translate into better ratings. At 10pm the series premiere of my favorite fall series Revenge premiered to a great 10.02 million and a 3.3 18-49 rating, more than doubling the The Whole Truth's premiere last year. With good buzz and reception to the pilot, it could stay in this area this week and beyond. Hopefully some growth mixed in as well. I saw episode 2 screener this weekend and it is just as good as the pilot, so watch it! Addicting! Fox launched the heavily hyped The X Factor with Simon Cowell to solid numbers doing 12.49 million and a 4.4 18-49 rating. That would be great for any other fall series, but this series has higher expectations, as it didn't even do half of Idol's numbers for a premiere (Cowell was calling 26 million+). It certainly helped Fox over last year's Wednesday, but I'm sure Fox expected more. NBC opened the night with week two of Up All Night dropping to 6.05 million and a 2.4 18-49 rating, which is not too bad but down a good amount from its special premiere. At 8:30pm, the news wasn't as good, with week two of new comedy Free Agents doing only 3.87 million and a 1.3 18-49 rating. Who scheduled this on NBC? It has no compatibility with Up All Night. Look for this comedy to be a free agent soon (but with no signing), sports pun intended! At 9pm, the new night and time premiere of Harry's Law did nothing, doing just a 1.2 18-49 rating and 7.53 million viewers. People watching in their death beds, I guess. The season premiere of Law & Order: SVU was way down from last year's premiere doing 7.63 million and a 2.4 18-49 rating. Make it 0 for 3 for NBC in the new season. The CW had week two of H8R at 1.03 million and a 0.4 18-49 rating, followed by the declining fast America's Next Top Model with 1.6 million and a 0.7 18-49 rating. Maybe the latter moves back to 8pm soon.

    Thursday it was Fox with the win, but ABC and CBS were close. ABC opened the night with the series premiere of Charlie's Angels doing only 8.76 million and a 2.1 18-49 rating, both up from My Generation's premiere last year. This was what I expected in total viewers, but it skewed older than I thought. An OK premiere and if does close to these numbers the rest of the way, ABC will take it in a tough time slot. The two-hour Grey's Anatomy season premiere followed with 10.38 million and a 4.1 A18-49 rating. down from last year's premiere (which featured the hospital shooting). The season premiere of Private Practice is this week, with Benjamin Bratt joining the cast. CBS opened with The Big Bang Theory at 14.3 million and a 4.9 A18-49 rating, on par with its premiere last season. A second episode followed with 14.94 million and a 5.1 18-49 rating, as the series premiere of How To Be A Gentleman is this week. The series premiere of Person of Interest followed with 13.33 million and a 3.1 18-49 rating, down from last season's CSI premiere. That is not encouraging for CBS. The season premiere of The Mentalist followed and did 13.56 million and a 2.8 18-49 rating, down quite a bit from last year's premiere. Fox aired night two of The X Factor premiere and it was nearly identical to night one, doing a solid 12.51 million and a 4.3 18-49 rating. NBC was in the familiar fourth place with the should-be-not leading-off Community doing 3.93 million and a 1.7 18-49 rating only, followed by Parks and Recreation on its new time at only 4.11 million and a 2.1 18-49 rating.The entire hour was down from last fall's premiere night. At 9pm The Office jumped to 7.64 million and a 3.9 18-49 rating, but down from last season's premiere. I am predicting it will go down each week, like it did last season. The premiere of Whitney closed the comedy block with 6.84 million and a 3.3 18-49 rating, but it had a noticeable drop in the second half, so be aware of that this week. It was down from the Outsourced premiere, which had a stronger The Office lead-in, though. NBC has another drama bust with the premiere of Prime Suspect closing the night with only 6.05 million and a 1.8 18-49. The waiting for a scripted hit for NBC continues. The CW's big gun Vampire Diaries did 2.52 million, and a 1.2 18-49 rating in week two, which was down from last year's week 2, followed by a new The Secret Circle at 2.12 million and a 0.9 18-49 rating. What has happened here? No more over 3 million on Thursdays now for The CW?

    Now, final numbers for Friday and Saturday are not available, but CBS won Friday with their dramas including the premiere of A Gifted Man which skewed old and the season premiere of Blue Bloods. ABC was in repeats from 8-10pm and NBC's Dateline season premiere did solid from 9-11pm. Fox had a decent (for Friday) night with the season premieres of Kitchen Nightmares and Fringe. The latter was third in its time period though and fourth in total viewers, losing to an encore of the Revenge pilot on ABC.
    Saturday numbers had ABC win the night with Saturday Night Football, as drama pilot encores on CBS and NBC didn't do much.

    Tonight are the season premieres for ABC Sunday (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Desperate Housewives, and the premiere of Pan Am). It is the final season premiere of Desperate Housewives so watch it! NBC should do well with the NFL but the game is not as intriguing with the Manning-less Colts vs. the Steelers. CBS has the season premiere of Amazing Race following 60 Minutes, and the new night and time premiere of The Good Wife at 9pm leading into CSI: Miami. Fox launches its animation block with season premieres from 8-10pm. No new series on the night for Fox until late October.

    As for the week (week 1), CBS will win in HH, viewers and 18-49 most likely. ABC or Fox could come close in 18-49, especially if Desperate/Pan Am do big tonight and the NFL overrun on Fox, but CBS will likely still win. I think the first four night rankings will remain intact for the end of the week. Look for Pan Am to do well tonight, it was in my top 5 new series to do well in the ratings (with 2 Broke Girls, New Girl, Revenge, and X Factor). As for the coming week (week 2), look for the series premiere of Suburgatory on ABC Wednesday at 8:30pm (our review will be posted Tuesday) with the season premiere of Happy Endings later in the night, the season premiere of CBS' Mike & Molly tomorrow night, and the series premiere of CBS's How To Be A Gentleman at 8:30pm on Thursday.

    Week 1 How the Sitcoms Did

    Last Sunday Sitcoms (counts for summer week 16 -- September 12-18)

    • The Simpsons (Fox) - preempted, season premiere tonight
    • The Cleveland Show (Fox) - preempted, season premiere tonight.
    • Family Guy (Fox) - preempted, season premiere is tonight.
    • American Dad! (Fox) - preempted, season premiere is tonight.

    Monday Sitcoms

    • How I Met Your Mother (CBS) 2 episodes - The season premiere did 11.0 million and a 4.7 18-49 rating is good, up 3 million and over a point in 18-49 from last year's premiere. A second episode did even better with 12.22 million and a 5.2 18-49 rating. Is this because of pre-tune in for Ashton Kutcher in Two and a Half Men? We shall see the next week or two when normalness kicks in.
    • 2 Broke Girls (CBS) - The series premiere aired at a special time of 9:30pm, after the huge launch of Ashton Kutcher, doing 19.37 million a 7.1 18-49 rating. Excellent start! If it can do even a 4 rating at 8:30pm, CBS will be very pleased. It moves to 8:30pm tomorrow night.
    • Two and a Half Men (CBS) - 28.74 million and a gigantic 10.7 18-49 rating even is more than doubled from last season's season premiere, which I mind you was up from the previous year's premiere. The question now is how much will it drop? We won't be able to tell for another few weeks, but tomorrow night will probably be the steepest drop. I am guessing high 6s. It should be able to do high 4s or 5s the rest of the season though, which is about what it has done in recent seasons. All in all, no one expected the premiere to be this big! It seems like 2006 again.
    • Mike & Molly (CBS) - preempted. Season launch is tomorrow night.


    Tuesday Sitcoms

    • New Girl (Fox) - The series premiere aired after Glee, which did a 4.0 18-49 rating (down 28% from last season's premiere), did very well. The pilot did a surprisingly high 10.28 million and a 4.8 18-49 rating, building on its lead-in. Wow. Sitcoms are certainly back. It'll be interesting if it remain in this range. Even if it does 3's, Fox is happy. I think this premiere is more of a success than 2 Broke Girls, because that show had a huge lead-in while this series built from its lead-in!
    • Raising Hope (Fox) - The season premiere of this comedy did 6.73 million and a 3.1 18-49 rating. This was on par with its series premiere last season at 9pm out of Glee's 5.6 18-49 rating. A good showing, but could have been higher.

    Wednesday Sitcoms
    • The Middle (ABC) - The one-hour season premiere from 8-9pm did nearly series highs in total viewers with 9.74 million and a series best 3.1 18-49 rating. Excellent start to the season!
    • Suburgatory (ABC) - The series premiere is this Wednesday at 8:30! My fave fall comedy!
    • Up All Night (NBC) - After premiering at 10pm the previous week, the second episode dropped to 6.05 million and a 2.4 18-49 rating. OK, but decent for NBC. Will it stay in this range though?
    • Free Agents (NBC) - Week two of this comedy did terrible with only 3.87 million and a 1.3 18-49 rating. That's a big drop from the lead-in.
    • Modern Family (ABC) - The two-episode season premiere did a massive 14.53 million for a series high and a gigantic series high of a 6.1 18-49 rating. This show is breaking out even more than last season! I think it will be the top sitcom once the season ends (and Ashton's sampling ends).
    • Happy Endings (ABC) - The season premiere of this sitcom is this Wednesday and we cannot wait!

    Thursday Sitcoms

    • The Big Bang Theory (CBS) 2 episodes - The season premiere did 14.3 million and a 4.9 18-49 rating, on par with last year's premiere. A second episode did a bit better with 14.94 million and a 5.1 18-49 rating. Nice numbers.
    • How To Be A Gentleman (CBS) - The series premiere will be this Thursday.
    • Community (NBC) - The season premiere did 3.93 million and a 1.7 18-49 rating. Certainly not good and down a good amount from last year's premiere. This show will just never hit, why it leads off is beyond me.
    • Parks and Recreation (NBC) - The season premiere on its new time did 4.11 million and a 2.1 18-49 rating, off from the 30 Rock premiere in this time period last year. Not good, but growing nearly half a point in 18-49 is good.
    • The Office (NBC) - The season premiere of this series did 7.64 million and a 3.9 18-49 rating, down from last year's premiere. Last season this show was dropping each week, so I expect that pattern this year, especially with no Carell.
    • Whitney (NBC) - The series premiere did 6.84 million and a 3.3 18-49 rating, which is decent but down from the premiere of Outsourced last year. The concern was the huge drop from 9:45-10pm and that doesn't bode well for next week. For now, a good start but be aware next week. This is another mismatch pairing for NBC.

    Friday Sitcoms

    • Modern Family (ABC) - A special repeat of the two episode season premiere did OK for a repeat with a prelim 3.9 million and a prelim 1.0 18-49 rating in a weak 8-9pm hour.
    • Up All Night (NBC) - A repeat of the second episode did a prelim 3.16 million and a prelim 0.8 A18-49 rating at 8:30. This series will repeat in this slot through mid-October.
    • Whitney (NBC) - An instant repeat of the pilot from the night before did a prelim 3.1 million and a 0.9 18-49 rating. Look for Friday encores through Oct. 14, if you miss it on Thursdays.

    Saturday Sitcoms

    • American Dad (Fox) - A repeat did a prelim 1.7 million and a prelim 0.7 18-49 rating.
    • The Cleveland Show (Fox) - A repeat of this animated comedy followed with a prelim 1.77 million and a prelim 0.8 18-49 rating. Where's AMW for Fox when you need it?

    Airing tonight (Sunday) are season premieres of Fox's animated comedies from 8-10PM.

    Summing it up. Two and a Half Men, 2 Broke Girls, Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, New Girl, The Office, How I Met Your Mother, The Middle were impressive for the week. Everything else was OK (such as Up All Night, Raising Hope, Whitney) or just plain old terrible (such as Free Agents, Community).

    Saturday, September 24, 2011

    Digital Digest: The Red Green Show - The Geezer Years DVD Review; CSI - The Eleventh Season DVD Review

    Fall is here, but for now, it is time for more Digital Digest! As the temperatures fall and the new series are fully in swing (and don't forget to keep checking the SitcomsOnline.com News Blog weekdays for our reviews of the new sitcoms, by the way!), sometimes we just want to get back into our comfort zones with our favorite classic and contemporary TV hits. This week, we have reviews of The Red Green Show - The Geezer Years and CSI - The Eleventh Season.

    DIGITAL NEWS

    It hasn't been a huge week for DVD news, but it does appear that the short-lived series Mr. Sunshine is coming to DVD, though likely as a manufacture-on-demand product. The series didn't quite live up to the hype that it generated and only made it to nine episodes, but there is even a pre-order listing for Mr. Sunshine - Season One on amazon.com, and as TVShowsOnDVD.com indicates in their article, there is a tentative release date of November 15. We'll have more on this when more information is available.

    We didn't really cover last week's release of Hawaii Five-0 - The First Season, but in looking at last week's ad from Best Buy, something interesting was uncovered. The set was released as a DVD, but if you happen to be shopping at Best Buy, you'll find a release that is exclusive to them for the time being: you'll find the set on Blu-ray! There will very likely be a wider release of this version of the set in the future, but if you want to see this new series in Blu-ray, you have that option available to you.

    We don't normally cover many British series here, but there are plenty of fans out there, and not too many options to view British programs in the United States. But Acorn TV (a division of Acorn Media, a company that releases many DVDs, including The Red Green Show) is trying to change that. Much like Netflix, the recently-launched online pay service offers many complete seasons of series for $24.95 per year (not month, but year), including Doc Martin, Midsomer Murders, and Upstairs Downstairs. You can even watch the first episode of many of these series for free. According to their press release,
    "Programming for Acorn TV is refreshed weekly, with each season available for five weeks. There are 10 seasons and more than 60 hours of programming offered at any given time. Each week content will rotate with two new seasons added. As Acorn TV continues to expand, the programming offering will evolve based on audience preferences."

    UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

    Tuesday (September 27) isn't quite as busy for DVD releases as last week was, but there is still plenty to come for Tuesday! In the "continuing story" of current sitcoms on DVD, we have the ABC series The Middle - Season Two coming just a week later than the season premiere of the third season. Also coming just a week later than the season premiere is the "legendary" How I Met Your Mother - Season Six. Finally, rounding out the comedies of the current series, we have The Cleveland Show - The Complete Season Two. If you like the many different CSI series, they're all coming to DVD on Tuesday as well, with CSI - The Eleventh Season, CSI: Miami - The Ninth Season, and CSI: NY - The Seventh Season. For older releases, we have the re-releases of The Monkees - Season One and The Monkees - Season Two, as well as Mill Creek's new release of Roseanne - Tricks & Treats. Finally, Sony has value-priced collections of Married... with Children - The Complete Series and The King of Queens - The Complete Series.

    BLOG DVD REVIEW

    Get ready to head back to the Possum Lodge for more mayhem, half-baked ideas, and crazy contraptions. In the popular Canadian series, Red Green (Steve Smith) and his friends worked together on a series about home improvement and the outdoors, in a world where the crazy ideas somehow managed to work out every single time. The popular Canadian comedy series (seen on PBS in the United States), The Red Green Show, is back on DVD for three more seasons (seasons 10-12) of fun in The Red Green Show - The Geezer Years.
    The Red Green Show - The Geezer Years

    DVD Review - The Red Green Show - The Geezer Years
    by skees53

    The Red Green Show - The Geezer Years (Acorn Media, $79.99) concludes the classic Canadian series (aired on PBS in the United States) with the final 55 episodes of the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth seasons of The Red Green Show. It may not be a series that just jumps out at fans immediately, but the series has been a cult classic throughout Canada, and has garnered fans in the United States as well. The series stars Steve Smith as Red Green, who is the master of all things Canadian, manly, and, well of course, duct taped! The comedy series spoofs home improvement and outdoor life series as Red Green and his gang (featuring Ranger Gord, Bill Smith, Hap Shaughnessy, and Red's nephew Harold) as they get into more mayhem, contraptions, and unintended consequences, for the final three years at the Possum Lodge.

    The "lucky" thirteenth season kicks off with "You've Got Oil," where the guys agree to run an oil pipeline right through their property. The gang demolishes a public school in "The Drive Thru." Winston gets a new fashion accessory that causes a bit of shock in "The Earring." In "The Spelling Bee," who will be the best speller at the Possum Lodge? Red designs the perfect outdoor bathroom in "The Boat Ramp." In "Comrade Harold," Harold is seeing red as he begins to embrace communism! Harold finds a new mate on the world wide web in "Cyber Girl."

    Onto the fourteenth season, Red accidentally destroys a historic statue in "The Statue." Harold auditions for a TV show (is this really a good thing?) in "False Idol." In "Harold's One and Only," the guys take a little trip... to a nude beach! Can you really decorate a Christmas tree using a ceiling fan? Well, even if you can't, Red does in "The Butter Man." It's Hawaii theme week (in Canada???) in "Lodge Luau."In "A Shot in the Dark," it's time for Harold and Red's flu shots. Red sees a problem with chandeliers in "The Possum Drop," that they are too feminine, so the solution? Create a masculine chandelier!

    Finally, in the fifteenth season (and sadly, the very end of the series), Red demonstrates driving with no hands in "Rules of Engagement." The guys get free cell phones in "Cell Hell," but is this technology really going to make their lives better? The lodge "classes it up" as the members begin to drive golf carts in "Cart Blanche." In "Mad You Say?," Harold begins to worry (with good reason) about some suspiciously cheap beef. The world needs bigger crayons, right? That is what the guys are thinking in "The Bigger the Better." Red tries to solve the local drought problem in "Rain Man." The series ends with a bang as Harold gets married in "Do as I Do."

    The episodes appear to be unedited, with an almost uniform runtime of 22:14 for basically EVERY episode. Exact runtimes are as follows:

    Season 13:

    Disc 1:
    1. "You've Got Oil" (22:14)
    2. "The Drive-Thru" (22:14)
    3. "School Demo" (22:13)
    4. "Change Will Do You Good" (22:14)
    5. "The Earring" (22:14)
    6. "Mailbox Wars" (22:14)

    Disc 2:
    7. "The String Ball" (22:13)
    8. "The Spelling Bee" (22:14)
    9. "Pay it Forward" (22:14)
    10. "Possum Day" (22:14)
    11. "The Boat Ramp" (22:14)
    12. "Comrade Harold" (22:14)

    Disc 3:
    13. "Spokesman Red" (22:14)
    14. "The Chain Letter" (22:14)
    15. "The Women's Circle" (22:14)
    16. "Ranger Harold" (22:14)
    17. "The Sink Hole" (22:14)
    18. "Cyber Girl" (22:14)

    Season 14:

    Disc 1:
    1. "Red's Hot Sauce" (22:13)
    2. "Life is a Circus" (22:14)
    3. "Once More to the Well" (22:13)
    4. "The Statue" (22:14)
    5. "False Idol" (22:14)
    6. "Harold's One and Only" (22:13)

    Disc 2:
    7. "The Grapes of Wrath" (22:13)
    8. "The Lodge Election" (22:13)
    9. "Ticket to Fame" (22:14)
    10. "Stay Tuned" (22:14)
    11. "The Butter Man" (22:13)
    12. "Red Green Insurance" (22:13)

    Disc 3:
    13. "Lodge Luau" (22:13)
    14. "Hoard of the Flies" (22:13)
    15. "A Shot in the Dark" (22:14)
    16. "Bye Bye Bonnie" (22:13)
    17. "Fishy CANUSA Games" (22:13)
    18. "The Possum Drop" (22:13)

    Season 15:

    Disc 1:
    1. "Rules of Engagement" (22:14)
    2. "The Folk Art Convention" (22:14)
    3. "Mr. Clean" (22:14)
    4. "No Tell Boatel" (22:14)
    5. "Cell Hell" (22:14)
    6. "Cart Blanche" (22:14)

    Disc 2:
    7. "New Yorkshire Puddings" (22:13)
    8. "Exit Stag Right" (22:14)
    9. "Mad You Say?" (22:14)
    10. "No Place Like the Home" (22:13)
    11. "Flying Blind" (22:14)
    12. "The Bigger the Better" (22:14)

    Disc 3:
    13. "The Big Retreat" (22:14)
    14. "Rites of Passage" (22:14)
    15. "Sasquatch" (22:14)
    16. "Rain Main" (22:14)
    17. "Love is in the Air" (22:14)
    18. "Toe the Line" (22:14)
    19. "Do as I Do" (22:14)

    Acorn has remained fairly consistent with the packaging, again using three Viva-packs inside of a large outer cardboard box. On the cover, we have Red inside of yet another kludge (this time, a golf cart). Inside the box, each individual season has the same artwork that is seen on the outer box. The only thing that really varies is the season description on the back of each case. Inside each Viva-pack, we have the three discs with, you guessed it, the same artwork as seen on the cover. There is also an insert listing all of the episodes, along with a brief description.

    The menus on the set are just like the previous sets, with the main menu having the same artwork seen on the cover, a Play All option, and a list of all of the episodes on the disc--that is, on the discs that don't have any special features. The discs containing special features have an Episode Selection option and an option for the bonus feature. In the background of the main menu, we have the theme song playing. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.

    The video and audio quality of the set is decent, but it isn't perfect. However, that isn't a problem with this series, as it is supposed to be a parody of a really bad/low budget series. It would just be wrong to put this on Blu-ray, for instance. The audio is presented in stereo, and each episode on the set is closed-captioned.

    The set isn't really loaded with special features, but there are definitely some, including one really good one on Disc 3 of season 13. In "Hindsight is 20/20" (59:39), we get to see a very thorough look back at the series history (up to the 2003 season) with interviews from the stars and a series of clips from the series. It is definitely the best special feature we've seen on these sets. Aside from this feature, each season has an introduction by Steve Smith, but they are pretty short. We get a 32 second introduction on season 13, a 42 second introduction on season 14, and 59 second introduction on season 15. Like the season 12 introduction on the previous release, it isn't particularly insightful, and leaves you wanting a whole lot more, but still, it is nice that he participates on the set.

    The series ran for fifteen seasons, which is a very long time in television, yet somehow managed to stay fresh and funny throughout each of those seasons. Honestly, it probably could have gone on even longer if the cast wasn't just burned out on doing the series after fifteen years (which is definitely understandable). For those who have never seen the series, it takes a little getting used to, but it is a series that really hooks you in once you get it. I'd suggest those who have never seen it to check it out on a local PBS affiliate to get a feel for it, and then if you like it, check out more of the episodes on DVD. It is hard to compare the series to any other series, as it has a unique style of comedy that seems to be made just for this series, but it is definitely a hilarious and enjoyable series for those looking for something a bit different.


    (4/5 stars)

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    Related links:
    SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
    The Red Green Show on TV.com


    CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - The Eleventh Season

    DVD Review: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - The Eleventh Season (CBS DVD/Paramount Home Video, $69.99)
    by Todd Fuller

    Sin City proves just as sinful as ever in Season 11 of the procedural drama that started it all. Kicking off the season, we find Dr. Ray Langston (Tony winner, Emmy winner and Academy Award nominee Laurence Fishburne) navigating his way back after being stabbed by a serial killer who was assisting the crime lab at the end of Season 10. Along with veterans Catherine Willows, Nick Stokes, Sara Sidle and Greg Sanders (Emmy winner Marg Helgenberger, George Eads, Jorja Fox and Eric Szmanda), the team unravels a collection of crimes as mind-bending and breathtaking as ever. A convention of vampires and werewolves. A house of hoarders. And a slew of surprise guests including teen sensation Justin Bieber, Ann-Margret, Marlee Matlin and Elliott Gould. In its riveting eleventh season, the Emmy and People's Choice Award-winning series continues to raise the bar and make a killing.

    This 6-disc set contains all 22 sizzling episodes from the eleventh (2010-11) season of the long-running crime drama. The episodes are presented in anamorphic widescreen enhanced for 16:9 TVs with English 5.1, English Stereo and Spanish audio available. It has a total running time of approximately 16 hours, 2 minutes. The attractive packaging has photos of Marg Helgenberger, Laurence Fishburne and George Eads on the front cover, with part of the Las Vegas skyline in the background. There is an embossed CSI: Crime Scene Investigation logo in the center of the box. As with Season 10, they use a cardboard box that holds a clear plastic snapcase. Marg Helgenberger, Wallace Langham, Eric Szmanda, David Berman, Jorja Fox, Robert David Hall, Paul Guilfoyle, George Eads and Laurence Fishburne are pictured on the back of the box. A short synopsis of the set, a listing of the special features and the DVD specs are provided. There is a clear plastic snapcase that slides out from the right of the outer cardboard box. The snapcase has the same cover art, photos and information as the cardboard box. Opening up the snapcase, there is a content locator which lists the episodes and the special features on the inside cover. Discs 1 and 6 are held in embedded holders in the front and back of the case, while Discs 2-5 are held in back-to-back in plastic trays. The discs have the CSI logo on them and part of the city and lights in the background. Episode titles and the special features are listed on the discs. Once again, they don't use the Crime Scene: Do Not Cross tape around the packaging. I always thought that was a nice touch, but I guess they dropped it with the switch in packaging.

    The menus are stylish and easy to navigate. There are no previews on this release, so it jumps right to the main menus. The main menu opens with some views of Las Vegas that lead to a montage of video clips from the show. A nice instrumental cue plays in the background and then the sequence loops. Options for Episode Selection, Set Up and Special Features are available at the bottom of the screen. Episode titles are listed vertically in blue boxes on the Episode Selection menu. You can choose English 5.1, English Stereo or EspaƱol audio on the Set Up menu. English subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing are available. Some options and special features are not rated any may not be subtitled. As you would expect from such a recent show, the video and audio quality is outstanding. They do a lot of nighttime shooting and make the show look dark and like a theatrical film. There is no disclaimer on the back of the box about any of the episodes possibly being edited or any of the music being changed. Episodes are presented in their original broadcast order and numbered by the production number. The broadcast and production order differed for episodes 3-6 this season. Running times are between 42-44 minutes in length. Hopefully we'll see some seasons released on Blu-Ray in the U.S. at some point.

    Here is the episode breakdown by disc, including the runtimes:

    Disc 1
    Episode 1101 "Shockwaves" (43:13)
    Episode 1102 "Pool Shark" (42:33)
    Episode 1104 "Blood Moon" (44:03)

    Disc 2
    Episode 1103 "Sqweegel" (44:13)
    Episode 1106 "House of Hoarders" (44:33)
    Episode 1105 "Cold Blooded" (44:13)

    Disc 3
    Episode 1107 "Dump & Grind" (43:13)
    Episode 1108 "Fracked" (44:13)
    Episode 1109 "Wild Life" (43:23)
    Episode 1110 "418/427" (43:23)

    Disc 4
    Episode 1111 "Man Up" (43:23)
    Episode 1112 "A Kiss Before Frying" (44:13)
    Episode 1113 "The Two Mrs. Grissoms" (43:13)
    Episode 1114 "All That Cremains" (44:33)

    Disc 5
    Episode 1115 "Targets of Obsession" (43:33)
    Episode 1116 "Turn On, Tune In, Drop Dead" (42:33)
    Episode 1117 "The List" (44:33)
    Episode 1118 "Hitting for the Cycle" (43:43)

    Disc 6
    Episode 1119 "Unleashed" (44:33)
    Episode 1120 "Father of the Bride" (44:13)
    Episode 1121 "Cello and Goodbye" (43:13)
    Episode 1122 "In a Dark, Dark House" (44:13)

    A nice amount and mixture of special features are spread out over the 6 discs. There seems to be a few more featurettes this season than in the last few releases. Once again, there are only 2 audio commentaries on this set. This has been the norm with all of the CSI franchise releases recently. There are two deleted scenes included. Here is the breakdown by disc:

    Disc 1
    Getting Personal: Season 11 of CSI (28:11) - This is the most extensive featurette on this release and details the eleventh season. They went back to the style of the earlier seasons by adding more humor and made it more about the team. Some of the topics covered include the character's personal stories and highlights of the season, the hoarders and cycle episodes, Bill Irwin as Nate Haskell, and having fun this season. Interviews include the Creator of CSI/Executive Producer Anthony E. Zuiker, Executive Producer Louis Shaw Milito, Executive Producer Carol Mendelsohn, Executive Producer Don McGill, Marg Helgenberger, George Eads, Paul Guilfoyle, Eric Szmanda, Jorja Fox, Wallace Langham, David Berman, Robert David Hall and Writer Tom Mularz. Laurence Fishburne is notably absent from the interviews.

    Las Vegas Headliners (22:21) - Many of this season's guest stars are detailed in this featurette. They talk about Justin Bieber guest starring in two episodes, Marlee Matlin as Grissom's ex-girlfriend, Carrot Top, Dita Von Teese in the burlesque episode, Elliott Gould and Ann-Margret. Interviews include Jorja Fox, George Eads, David Berman, Robert David Hall, Justin Bieber, Executive Producer Don McGill, Marg Helgenberger, Executive Producer Carol Mendelsohn, Eric Szmanda, Marlee Matlin, Dita Von Teese, Wallace Langham, Ann-Margret, Creator of CSI/Executive Producer Anthony E. Zuiker and Paul Guilfoyle.

    Disc 2
    Audio Commentary by George Eads, Director Alec Smight and Writer Christopher Barbour on "House of Hoarders"

    Something Twisted This Way Comes (9:21) - This featurette focuses on the "Sqweegel" episode. It's about a forensic-proof killer. They talk about the development of the episode and working with Daniel Browning Smith (the world's most flexible man) as Sqweegel. Interviews include Creator of CSI/Executive Producer Anthony E. Zuiker, Executive Producer Carol Mendelsohn, Daniel Browning Smith, Marg Helgenberger, George Eads, David Berman and Eric Szmanda.

    Cold-Blooded Killers (9:26) - This featurette focuses on the "Cold Blooded" episode that dealt with the Walking with Dinosaurs experience. They talk about the idea for the episode and working with the dinosaurs. Interviews Writer Tom Mularz, Executive Producer Carol Mendelsohn, Director/Executive Producer Louis Shaw Milito and Wallace Langham.

    Disc 3
    Deleted Scene for "Fracked" (1:20) - Greg, Ray, Nick and Frankie watch a TV news report.

    Disc 4
    Deleted Scene for "Man Up" (1:13) - Mandy talks to Catherine about some evidence.

    Audio Commentary by Eric Szmanda, Dita Von Teese and Brad Tanenbaum on "A Kiss Before Frying"

    Dita Von Teese Burlesque Performance (3:50) - The stunning Dita Von Teese's full performance from the "A Kiss Before Frying" episode.

    Disc 5
    Intelligent Design: Creating Aeron's Legion (7:06) - This episode focuses on the episode "Hitting for the Cycle." They talk about the creation of the game for this episode. Interviews include Eric Szmanda, Senior Pixel Pusher/CEO Symbient Paul LeBlanc and 2D/3D Animator/Programmer Symbient Trevor Phillips.

    An Underground Perspective (7:28) - This featurette focuses on "The List" episode. They talk about the production of the episode and the building of the underground tunnel set. Interviews include George Eads, Director/Executive Producer Louis Shaw Milito, Production Designer Daniel Novotny, Eric Szmanda, Marg Helgenberger.

    CSI continues to be a highly entertaining series. They celebrated their 250th episode this season. This was one of the better seasons in recent years. They went back to the style of the early seasons and focused more on the team and the characters. Some more humor was included in some of these episodes. Memorable episodes this season included "Sqweegel," "House of Hoarders," "Cold Blooded," "Bump & Grind," "The Two Mrs. Grissoms," and "Unleashed." The "House of Hoarders" episode was one of my favorites. The set was amazing and looked very realistic.

    This is another excellent set. There seems to be a few more special features than normal on this release. Unfortunately, Laurence Fishburne wasn't part of any of the interviews. It will be sad to leave him the series, but the show will go on. Ted Danson should add more humor to the show and will probably re-energize them a bit. Watch CSI on their new night on Wednesdays at 10pm on CBS.

    -- Reviewed by Todd Fuller

    (4/5 stars)

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    Related links:
    SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
    CSI: Crime Scene Investigation CBS.com Official Site
    CSI: Crime Scene Investigation TV.com Page

    CLICK OF THE WEEK

    Television Obscurities (www.tvobscurities.com) - We all love websites that bring us unique content that we haven't seen before, and a little bit of the obscure, and with a name like Television Obscurities, you know that you must be getting the obscure. The website isn't just a website that merely tells the stories about the long-lost and forgotten memories of television (though it does do that, and very well, I'll add), but it also poses questions to the public in hopes of finding answers and video to help rebuild some of the obscure past of television, particularly the earlier days of television.

    On the main page, you'll find a blog that is updated semi-frequently, but when you click around, you'll find so much more. You'll find a variety of articles on the site from different perspectives. The first type of article you'll find is a series about some of the long-lost television shows of the past, with thorough information, photos, video, and audio about series that you've likely never even heard of. Another type is articles about the history of individual moments of the different networks. In addition, you'll find many other articles that don't fit into either of these categories, such as articles about unsold pilots and just the history of television in general. In addition to these articles, you'll find a "museum" of sorts on the website containing exhibits of various video and audio related to television history. It's a bit like going to one of the major TV museums without leaving your home. There is so much to discover on this website, and we encourage you to explore it for yourself.

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


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (September)

    New Girl - The Complete Season Three The Goldbergs - The Complete First Season The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Seventh Season Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season One How I Met Your Mother - The Ninth and Legendary Final Season

    Modern Family - The Complete Fifth Season Mom - The Complete First Season Mike & Molly - The Complete Fourth Season

    09/02 - Benson - Season 1 (Mill Creek) / Season 2 / Seasons 1 & 2
    09/02 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Halloween Episodes Collection
    09/02 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - The Complete Season Nine
    09/02 - The League - The Complete Season Five
    09/02 - New Girl - The Complete Season Three
    09/02 - Soap - Season 1 (Mill Creek) / Season 2 / Seasons 1 & 2
    09/02 - What's Happening!! - Season 1 (Mill Creek) / Season 2 / Seasons 1 & 2
    09/09 - The Goldbergs - The Complete First Season
    09/11 - Growing Up Fisher - Season One
    09/16 - About a Boy - Season One
    09/16 - Awkward - Season 3
    09/16 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Seventh Season (Blu-ray/DVD)
    09/16 - South Park - Season 17 (Blu-ray)
    09/23 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season One
    09/23 - How I Met Your Mother - The Ninth and Legendary Final Season / The Complete Series
    09/23 - Mama's Family - The Complete Fifth Season / The Complete Collection
    09/23 - Modern Family - The Complete Fifth Season
    09/23 - Mom - The Complete First Season
    09/30 - The Donna Reed Show - Season 1 (MPI)
    09/30 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Fourth Season
    Other TV Series:
    09/02 - Grey's Anatomy - The Complete Tenth Season
    09/09 - Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
    09/16 - CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - The Fourteenth Season
    09/16 - Castle - The Complete Sixth Season
    09/23 - Nashville - The Complete Second Season
    09/23 - Scandal - The Complete Third Season
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Friday, September 19

    Jessie - "Between the Swoon and New York City" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Jessie gets a to know a new guy she met in the park named Brooks; she later finds out that he is Ms. Chesterfield's son.

    Girl Meets World - "Girl Meets 1961" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Riley and her friends experience New York circa 1961 when Corey hands out a living-history assignment.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of September 15) (All times ET unless noted)

    Friday, September 19

    • Michael Strahan (Brothers) - Watch Michael on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Tina Fey (30 Rock) - Catch Tina on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings. She will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
    • Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory/8 Simple Rules) - Kaley appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother/Stark Raving Mad/Doogie Howser, M.D.) - Neil is a guest on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • Marlon Wayans (The Wayans Bros.) - Marlon is tentatively scheduled to appear on Good Day New York on WNYW-Fox5 in New York sometime between 7-10am.
    • Craig Ferguson (The Drew Carey Show) - Craig joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
    • Rachel Lefevre (Life on a Stick/Big Wolf on Campus) - Rachel will be on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
    • Billy Crystal (Soap) - Billy chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Dawn Wells (Gilligan's Island) - Dawn talks about her new book (What Would Mary Ann Do? A Guide to Life) on Fox & Friends on Fox News Channel at 8:52am.