Saturday, August 25, 2012

Digital Digest: Hazel Season 4 Coming in December; Revenge - The Complete First Season DVD Review; Once Upon a Time - The Complete First Season Blu-ray Disc Review


Welcome to Digital Digest! This week, we have double reviews, with our reviews of Revenge - The Complete First Season and Once Upon a Time - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray). Also, we're going to say farewell to our Click of the Week feature this week (don't worry, we've already got a replacement ready to go next week!) by looking back at some of the best websites we've featured as Click of the Week since it began last year. Let's get going!


DIGITAL NEWS

Who's the gal who's everybody's pal? Why, it's Hazel, and more of her antics are coming to DVD in December! A pre-order recently appeared on the "new and improved" Shout! Factory website for Hazel - The Complete Fourth Season. The four-disc set is scheduled to be released on December 11 at a $34.93 MSRP.

We've all been trying to figure out "what's up with Bob" on DVD as pre-order listings for The Bob Newhart Show season 5 and season 6 appeared on amazon.com over a year ago, but nothing ever really materialized, and Fox has been very quiet on the meaning behind these pre-order listings... that is, until a few days ago. Recently, James Finn at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment stated that the final two seasons of the series may be close to being released, but stopped short of giving a solid release date or absolute confirmation. In Mr. Finn's words:
"We are in talks about bringing seasons 5 and 6 out. While I don't have final, final confirmation or a date yet I did want to just let you know that you can turn that frown upside down. Thanks again to all the fans out there for their drive and passion to see this through (and tweets)."
So what exactly does all of that mean? We'll have to wait and see... but it is much more than the studio has said up to this point. Finn also stated something interesting regarding the possibility of Fox properties being released as MOD releases... we may be seeing them, but no specific details.

It seems that "mega DVD sets" have been the big thing lately, and there were many of them announced just this week. First, details about the Cagney & Lacey complete series releases have been given on TVShowsOnDVD.com. While there is still no release date, we get a nice shot of the packaging, pricing, and some of the special features... this should be an excellent set! Another VEI release that the
website gave a few more details on was McMillan and Wife - The Complete Series. The 24 disc set is scheduled for an October 23 release, and will include the entire "series" of another NBC Mystery Movie family with the complete series of Snoop Sisters. Finally, Acorn has The Red Green Show - The High Quantity Collection, a 50 disc set, scheduled for October 16. If you're a fan of any of these series, then this is all excellent news!


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (August 28) is a light release day, with Warner Home Video bringing us Two and a Half Men - The Complete Ninth Season (see review) and CBS DVD bringing us The Streets of San Francisco - Season 4 (Volume 1 and Volume 2). Review of the latter will be posted next week on the blog. Today on the blog we have a review of Once Upon a Time - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray).


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW



Blog Feature Review: Revenge - The Complete First Season (ABC Studios, $45.99)
by Pavan

The primetime soap is back and better than ever! Beneath the luxurious lifestyle of the Hamptons, lies a dark, dirty secret and a twisted tale of passion, suspense, and ultimate redemption. Enter the alluring world of the rich and ruthless with ABC's Revenge: The Complete First Season. Wealth, beauty, and power define the residents of New York's most exclusive community, but one woman will stop at nothing to exact revenge from those who ruined her father's life. Witness Emily Thorne's (Emily VanCamp) brilliantly vindictive plot against Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe), the reigning queen of the Hamptons, and all who destroyed her family. However, even the best-laid plans can unravel in the wake of an unexpected love triangle between Emily, the son of her greatest nemesis, and a forgotten face from her past. Experience all 22 episodes of ABC's sensational new series, plus exclusive bonus features that draw you deeper into the mystery. It's riveting entertainment that holds you in its grasp from the very first thrilling episode to the season's final climactic moment!

The first season stars Emily VanCamp as Emily Thorne/Amanda Clarke, Madeleine Stowe as Victoria Grayson, Josh Bowman as Daniel Grayson, Henry Czerny as Conrad Grayson, Gabriel Mann as Nolan Ross, Ashley Madekwe as Ashley Davenport, Nick Wechsler as Jack Porter, Connor Paolo as Declan Porter, and Christa B. Allen as Charlotte Grayson. However, there are many recurring stars such as James Tupper as David H. Clarke, Margarita Levieva as Amanda Clarke/Emily Thorne, Amber Valletta as Lydia Davis, Ashton Holmes as Tyler Barrol, Max Martini as Frank Stevens, Emily Alyn Lind as young Amanda Clarke, and Hiroyuki Sanada as Satoshi Takeda. Special guests include Roger Bart as Leo "Mason" Treadwell, CCH Pounder as Warden Sharon Stiles, James Purefoy as Dominik Wright, Veronica Cartwright as Judge Elizabeth Hawthorne, William Devane as Edward "Grandpa" Grayson, Courtney B. Vance as Benjamin Brooks, Merrin Dungey as Barbara Snow, and James Morrison as "the white-haired man."

This is a great first season for this addicting guilty pleasure. The series did very well in its Wednesdays at 10pm timeslot on ABC and garnered a big following from the start. We were all hooked and can't get enough! Emily VanCamp is great and easy on the eyes while Madeline Stowe deserved her Golden Globe nomination. We wish the Emmy's would have recognized this show as well. Every episode has to be seen in order, but I will try to pick the most memorable episodes. WARNING: Don't read the descriptions if you have yet to start the series! In the "Pilot," Emily Thorne has returned to the Hamptons to avenge the wrong committed against her father and with a new identity in place, she picks out her first target and starts her vendetta before knowing she has been recognized. In "Guilt," Lydia comes back to the Hamptons determined to restore her place in society, and intent on finding Emily's secrets, while Daniel learns of his father's affair with Lydia and Tyler's manipulation of his relationship with Emily, as Charlotte rebels against her mother with Declan. In "Charade," Victoria and Conrad celebrate their 25th anniversary with a featured article in the local paper and an intimate family dinner and when their children invite unexpected guests, the dinner turns volatile, while Frank continues to dig into Emily's past in order to win back Victoria's affection but he may have dug a little too deep, as Emily asks Nolan's help to deter Tyler's pesky interference.

In "Duress," Tyler becomes desperate as his options disappear, while Emily looks to take advantage of his panic to remove him as a hindrance to her plans and Conrad and Victoria's divorce looks to become no holds barred as both sides maneuver for advantage. In "Chaos," the splendor of Emily and Daniel's Fire & Ice engagement party quickly turns to terror when her vendetta takes a dark, unexpected turn, putting those she loves and hates in imminent mortal danger, while Jack resolves to find Amanda and Charlotte takes desperate measures to soothe the pain of her family's betrayal. In "Legacy," we flashback to the year 2002 in the Hamptons and we see Emily, who is still Amanda Clarke, is wayward and reckless until Nolan convinces her to read her father's journals and it is then that it all starts sinking in, and Amanda starts staking out the Grayson home, identifying all the Grayson Global players her father described, and piecing together the truth, so her anger builds into determination and focus, as this is where it all begins - the genesis of Amanda's ultimate plan to bring justice to her father. In "Grief," a painful loss forges a stronger bond between Emily and Jack, Victoria forms a new alliance that could seal Conrad's fate, and Charlotte sets out on a vendetta of her own with Declan as her target. And on the shocking season finale, "Reckoning," with the end in sight Emily fearlessly pushes forward, closing in on the final phases of her plan for revenge, while the Graysons continue their downward spiral into the rabbit hole of self-destruction, but a big, explosive event leaves much hanging in the balance, courses are altered and even more is left in question.

Episodes are usually around 43 minutes and unedited, as they should be. Runtimes are below:
Disc 1:
1. "Pilot" (42:56)
2. "Trust" (43:01)
3. "Betrayal" (42:54)
4. "Duplicity" (42:46)
5. "Guilt" (42:59)

Disc 2:
6. "Intrigue" (42:31)
7. "Charade" (42:59)
8. "Treachery" (43:00)
9. "Suspicion" (42:58)
10. "Loyalty" (42:59)

Disc 3:
11. "Duress" (42:59)
12. "Infamy" (43:00)
13. "Commitment" (43:01)
14. "Perception" (42:58)

Disc 4:
15. "Chaos" (42:59)
16. "Scandal" (42:17)
17. "Doubt" (42:58)
18. "Justice" (42:56)

Disc 5:
19. "Absolution" (43:03)
20. "Legacy" (42:44)
21. "Grief" (43:01)
22. "Reckoning" (43:00)

The DVD comes in a case held by an outer thin box, similar to other ABC Studios sets earlier this summer. The thin outer box is in a maroon red color and has a very cool shot Emily in her "thorn" black dress and we have headshots of Ashley, Nolan, Jack, Victoria, Daniel and Conrad. The series logo is towards the middle and the complete first season mention is on the bottom. The back of the thin outer box has info on the set and series, with a nice quote from E! Online. We have five very cool episodic photos along with a nice shot of Emily in white. There is also a box showcasing the bonus features as well. When we remove the outer box, we get to the case. The case has the same artwork as the thin box, both cover and back, so everything is the exact same. Inside the case we have a nice cast photo on the panels itself. There is also a disc-by-disc breakdown below the cast photo on the panels listing episode titles per disc. As for the discs themselves, disc one is on a little plastic holder that you can flip like a page in a book. Disc two is on the back of that little plastic holder. Discs three and four are the same way in a second little plastic holder, while disc five is on the right panel itself. All five discs are in the maroon red style with the series logo and a character. Disc one holds episodes 1-5 with an image of Emily (in red!), disc two holds episodes 6-10 with a shot of Victoria & Conrad, disc three holds episodes 11-14 with a shot of Jack & Daniel, disc four holds episodes 15-18 with a shot of Nolan & Ashley and disc five holds episodes 19-22 with a shot of Declan & Charlotte. Each disc has bonus features, but more on that soon! There is also an insert booklet showcasing other ABC TV DVDs that are coming soon like Grey's Anatomy and Castle, along with new upcoming ABC series this fall like Nashville, and it is placed on the left panel.

The menu design is very Hamptons-y! We start off with the infinity logo then we see a wide shot of Emily's house on the Hapmton's beach. We also have background music from the show playing and background sounds from the beach--very cool. Before the main menu, we have auto trailers. On disc one we have trailers for ABC TV DVDs coming this summer, Castle Season 4 and the theatrical movie  Frankenweenie. Disc five has trailers for more ABC TV on DVD, The Avengers and Roger Rabbit. Back to the main menu, the options are: Play All, Episode Selection, Bonus Features, Set Up and Sneak Peeks. Sneak Peeks is only on disc five and has the same trailers as the auto trailers on disc five. Set Up gives us the option for subtitles in English, French, Thai, Chines, Espanol, and Portuguese. You can also register your DVD here. Bonus Features lists what is available on that particular disc, while Episode Selection gives us an episode number and title. There is different artwork on each submenu along with different background music from the series. All this is sort of similar to other recent ABC TV DVDs like Scandal.

Video and audio quality are both outstanding, similar to other recent ABC TV DVDs we have reviewed like The River. We have Digital Dolby 5.1 surround sound and it is perfect. For the video, we are in widescreen (1.78:1), enhanced for 16x9 televisions. It is excellent quality but that is expected for newer/current series. As I keep saying, if anything goes wrong with audio/video for current series, then there is a major problem. Each episode has anywhere between 6-8 chapter stops, so it is easy to jump through an episode if you are looking for something in particular. Jump your way through to see all of Emily's nice outfits! We also hear the closing theme for the first time, as on ABC there are next week's promos playing over the credits. In general, nothing out of the ordinary here but it is all perfectly done.

There are special features on this set as well and they are addicting, too! We have bonus features on every disc, so I always like that. On disc one, we have audio commentary for "Pilot" from series creator/executive producer Mike Kelley and series star Emily VanCamp. They are fun and insightful to listen to and Emily seems VERY nice. I wish we have more audio commentaries, as unfortunately this is the only one on this set. Each disc has deleted scenes from the episodes on the particular disc. I like that layout as we don't have to go to one disc to see them all. Disc one has six deleted scenes (episode 101: 1:24 and 0:43; episode 103: 0:39; and episode 104: 0:39, 0:27 and 0:19). Moving on to disc two, we have eleven deleted scenes (episode 106: 0:52; episode 107: 1:13, 1:21, 0:27, 0:57; episode 108: 0:58 and 0:17; episode 109: 0:18, 1:27, and 1:18; and episode 110: 0:57). Disc three has deleted scenes as well with three deleted scenes (episode 111: 1:28; episode 112 0:10 and episode 113 0:55). Disc four has nine more deleted scenes (episode 115: 0:59, 1:51, and 1:01; episode 116: 0:30 and 1:09; episode 117: 1:00, 1:30, 0:23; and episode 118: 2:12). And finally we have another nine more deleted scenes on disc five (episode 120: 2:11; episode 121: 0:31, 0:25, 0:56, 0:45, 0:39; episode 122: 1:05, 0:26 and 0:23). If you're counting at home, we have a total of 38 deleted scenes! WOW!

Moving on to disc five, that is where the bulk of the special features are. We covered the deleted scenes above, so we will cover the rest of the special features. On to the featurettes, we have "Nolan Ross Exposed" (3:03). This is an in-character interview with Nolan Ross (not actor Gabriel Mann!). What the audience think they know about Nolan Ross is only part of the story. In the recently unearthed sit-down interview footage, reporter Sarah Juarez (Stephanie Maura Sanchez) questions Nolan on his past...and gets some answers fans might not expect! A must see! The next featurette is "Roadmap to Reevenge" (13:35), where Revenge is sweet, and set within the rich, beautiful, and elite world of The Hamptons, it's even sweeter. Cast members share how they undertook creating a world where money and desire can make anything possible. Emily VanCamp and the rest of the cast tells us some of the checkpoints on the road to revenge, walking fans through the genesis, pilot, themes, and characters of the show like: Beginnings, Pilot, Rivalries, Find the Heart, Getting Even, Embracing Change, and...Revenge. Interviewed are Mike Kelley (creator/executive producer), Mark B. Perry (co-executive producer/writer), Marty Bowen (executive producer), Jay Beattie (consulting producer/writer), Emily VanCamp, Ashton Holmes, Melissa Lou (producer), Phillip Noyce (pilot executive producer/director), Gabriel Mann, Ashley Madekwe, Henry Czerny, Madeleine Stowe, Hiroyuki Sanada, Liz Tigelaar (consulting producer/writer), Joe Fazzio (writer), Elle Triedman (supervising producer/writer), Nikki Toscano (producer/writer), Connor Paolo, Margarita Levieva, Josh Bowman, Ryan Scott (writer), and Christa B. Allen. Then it is time to go on set with "At Home In 'The Hamptons'" (8:19) where swank parties and lavish houses are as much a part of Revenge as the characters that attend and inhabit them. Viewers can watch as Ashley Madekwe plays tour guide to the not-so-humble abodes – including the plush extravagance of the Grayson's estate as well as the contrasting rustic ambiance of the Stowaway bar, illustrating everything that goes into making things larger-than-life. Along with Madewke, interviewed are Mike Kelley, Emily VanCamp, Madeleine Stowe, Henry Czerny, Bruce Miller (production designer), Christa B. Allen, Gabriel Mann, Nick Wechsler, and Connor Paolo.

And we're still not done! Next we have "Haute Hamptons: Femme Fatale Fashion" (7:46) as they say 'clothes make the woman,' and this exciting bonus feature gives a glimpse into the secrets of styling the show's two leading ladies, Emily VanCamp and Madeleine Stowe. Costume Designer Jill Ohanneson shares key pieces from both of the series' femme fatale's closets as she and the cast discuss what it takes to dress a show for success. Interviewed are Mike Kelley, Jill Ohanneson, Emily VanCamp and Madeleine Stowe. Then we have Bloopers (2:53) where we see all the hilarious flubs and moments from the production fans won't want to miss! And finally we have two music videos! Key music from the show is featured, including Christina Perri's Distance (2:19) and Angus & Julia Stone's For You (4:05). Both are very good!

This is a nicely done set for one of the breakout series of the season. All the episodes are so good and I think season two will be even better! As for the DVD, it is well done and similar to previous ABC TV DVDs this summer but I think it has the best special features so far! We get great audio/video, menus, packaging and special features. We essentially have everything...featurettes, deleted scenes, audio commentary (though, wish we had more) and bloopers! 38 deleted scenes is amazing and I was shocked to see that many on the DVD. ABC Studios knows how to make good DVDs, especially for their current series. This show is just good fun and has an attractive cast for both men and women, so everyone has a reason to watch. Stowe should have been nominated for an Emmy I think and Emily VanCamp is a must-see and will get even better. I really recommend you order this DVD, if you watched every episode or not. Catch up, start up or recap yourself before the season season premieres on a new night and time - Sundays at 9/8c on ABC beginning Sept. 30! As Emily would say, "let it play!"

(4.5/5 stars)

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

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Revenge on TV.com


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW



Blog Blu-ray Review: Once Upon a Time - The Complete First Season (ABC Studios, $79.99)
by Pavan

There is a town in Maine, where every storybook character you've ever known is trapped between two worlds: victims of a powerful curse. Only one knows the truth, and only one can break her spell. Relive the complete first season of ABC's Once Upon A Time, the hit series that boasts unforgettable characters and a tangled web of romance, action and enchantment. Immerse yourself in the magic and mystery of Storybrooke - a sleepy little town where every fairytale character you've ever known is frozen in time and trapped between two worlds, victims of an evil curse. On her 28th birthday, Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) meets Henry (Jared Gilmore), the son she gave up for adoption 10 years ago. Henry believes Emma is the daughter of Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas), prophesied to break a powerful curse. Unconvinced, Emma returns Henry to Storybrooke, where she encounters the enigmatic Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle) and clashes with mayor Regina Mills (Lana Parrilla) - the boy's adoptive mother - who Henry insists is none other than the Evil Queen! Start your epic collection with all 22 captivating episodes, including never-before-seen bonus features, in this spectacular 5-disc boxed set on both DVD or Blu-ray Disc. This review will cover the Blu-ray disc version.

Once Upon a Time stars Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow White/Mary Margaret Blanchard, Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan, Lana Parrilla as The Evil Queen/Regina Mills, Josh Dallas as Prince Charming/David Nolan, Jared S. Gilmore as Henry Mills, Raphael Sbarge as Jiminy Cricket/Archibald "Archie" Hopper, Jamie Dornan as The Huntsman/Sheriff Graham, and Robert Carlyle as Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold. Recurring stars are David Anders as Dr. Whale, Eion Bailey as Pinocchio/August Wayne Booth, Meghan Ory as Red Riding Hood/Ruby, Beverly Mitchell as Granny, Tony Amendola as Geppetto/Marco, Lee Arenberg as Grumpy/Leroy, Jessy Schram as Cinderella/Ashley Boyd, Anastasia Griffith as Kathryn Nolan, Alan Dale as King George, Giancarlo Esposito as Magic Mirror/Sidney Glass, Sebastian Stan as The Mad Hatter/Jefferson and Emilie de Ravin as Belle.

This is a wonderful first season for this brand-new tantalizing tale. The series did very well in its Sundays at 8pm timeslot on ABC and was the top new drama among adults 18-49. The writers of Lost has brought this series to us and this is the only show that has even come close to that show since that series ended. Jennifer Morrison is great and beautiful while Ginnifer Goodwin and Lana Parrilla are superb and have great chemistry. We wish the Emmy's would have recognized this show, especially Robert Carlyle. Every episode has to be seen in order, but I will try to pick the most memorable episodes. WARNING: Don't read the descriptions if you have yet to start the series! In the very first episode, "Pilot," Emma Swan, a bail bondsman, is surprised when Henry, the son that she gave up for adoption 10 years earlier, shows up on her doorstep as he begs Emma to come to his hometown of Storybrooke, Maine, and rescue him from his evil adopted mother, Regina Mills as the boy insists that everyone in the town is a fairy tale character with no memory of who they really are... and Emma soon realizes that Henry's claim may be true. In "The Price of Gold," in Storybrooke, Emma tries to help Ashley Boyd, a young pregnant maid who tries to make a deal with Mr. Gold, meanwhile in the fairy tale world, Cinderella makes a deal with Rumplestiltskin but discovers the price is more than she is willing to pay. In "7:15 A.M.," Regina asks Emma to investigate the Stranger, who has taken an interest in Henry, while Dave and Mary Margret try to reconcile their feelings to each other and in the fairy tale world, James and Snow try to reunite although a kingdom stands in their way. In "Skin Deep," Mary Margaret goes out with Ashley and Ruby for Valentine's Day, and Mr. Gold has something stolen from him, while in the fairytale world Belle is forced to give up everything she knows to keep her village safe... by living with the Beast.

In "Red-Handed," while Emma tries to determine if David murdered his wife Kathryn, she hires Ruby as an assistant when the waitress quits her job to go out into the world and find something to do with her life, meanwhile in the fairy tale world Red and Snow meet as a savage wolf plagues the village where Red lives. In "Hat Trick," Emma searches for a missing Mary Margaret, but is abducted by a man who claims to know the truth about Storybrooke... and Emma, meanwhile in the fairytale world, Regina convinces a sorcerer to take her to Wonderland to recover something that the Queen of Hearts has stolen from her. In "The Stable Boy," Emma closes in on the real murderer to clear Mary Margaret's name, but discovers that someone close to her may have betrayed her, meanwhile in the fairtytale world, Regina chooses true love over power, but her mother Cora has a harsh lesson to teach her. In "The Return," Gold is intrigued by August and tries to determine who he really is, while David tries to apologize to Mary Margaret and Emma gets a break in the case of Kathryn's abduction and in the fairytale world, Baelfire makes a deal with his father Rumpelstiltskin when it becomes clear that his magic powers have corrupted him. In "The Stranger," August offers to show Emma how she can regain Henry by telling her the truth about her life, while Regina attempts to seduce David and Mary Margaret returns into teaching and in the fairytale world, Gepetto is told that he can save Snow and Charming's child, but insists on saving his son Pinocchio as payment for his work. On the great season finale, "A Land Without Magic," when Henry is stricken down by a curse intended for Emma, Emma must work with Regina and Gold to find a cure, meanwhile in the fairytale world Prince Charming makes a deal with Rumpelstiltskin to find Snow.

The episodes on this set are all unedited, obviously, with the episodes around 43 minutes. Here are the runtimes for this set:

Disc 1
1. "Pilot" - 43:33
2. "The Thing You Love Most" - 42:33
3. "Snow Falls" - 43:03
4. "The Price of Gold" - 42:48
5. "That Still Small Voice" - 43:04

Disc 2
6. "The Shepherd" - 43:04
7. "The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter" - 43:06
8. "Desperate Souls" - 43:18
9. "True North" - 43:05
10. "7:15 A.M." - 43:05

Disc 3
11. "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree" - 42:59
12. "Skin Deep" - 43:03
13. "What Happened to Frederick" - 43:04
14. "Dreamy" - 43:00

Disc 4
15. "Red-Handed" - 43:04
16. "Heart of Darkness" - 42:57
17. "Hat Trick" - 43:03
18. "The Stable Boy" - 43:04

Disc 5
19. "The Return" - 43:03
20. "The Stranger" - 43:04
21. "An Apple Red as Blood" - 43:04
22. "A Land Without Magic" - 42:48

Let's now move on to the packaging for this Blu-ray set! We have a thin outer box holding the Blu-ray case. The cover art for both has the Once Upon a Time logo in the middle with head shots of Rumpelstiltskin, Evil Queen, Emma, Snow White and Prince Charming on top, while below the logo we have a shot of the kingdom with a dark (the spell clouds?) sky. There is a mention of The Complete First Season right above the series logo. The cover of the outer box is actually a hologram, so if you move it a little, the kingdom turns into Storybrooke, Maine. Very cool. The back of both the outer box and case has three episodic photos. We also have info on the series and set as well, with a bonus features box held up by Rumpelstiltskin. The color scheme is like a dark brown. Inside the Blu-ray case we go, we have an insert booklet on the left showcasing other ABC TV DVDs that are coming soon like Private Practice and Body of Proof, and there is also a page telling us about the Once Upon a Time collection of fairy tales book! As far as the discs itself go, disc one is on a little plastic holder that you can flip like a page in a book. Disc two is on the back of that little plastic holder. Discs three and four are the same way in a second little plastic holder, while disc five is on the right panel itself. All five discs are in a dark blue color set in the woods with the series logo and something in the woods. Disc one has episodes 1-5 and we see Jiminy Cricket in the woods. Disc two has 6-10 and we see a wolf in the woods. Disc three has episodes 11-14 and we see the genie in the woods. Disc four has episodes 15-18 and we see mushrooms in the woods. And disc five has episodes 19-22 and we see the spell cloud coming into the woods. As for the panels, we have nice episodic photos on the panels itself. There is also a disc-by-disc breakdown below the images on the panels listing episode titles per disc.

The menu screen is very cool. Blu-ray menus are so much different I think and it is better than regular DVDs. Background music from the show is playing in the background, as we have artwork of the woods in dark blue (similar to the title card on the series). We have options for Episodes, Bonus Features, Set Up, Season Play and Sneak Peeks. When we select Episodes, on Blu-ray there are no sub-menus, so a pop-up box pops up and you choose the episode with the titles listed. Bonus Features options pops-up all the extras on that disc, including the deleted scenes. The Set Up pop-up has the option for Languages and Subtitles, with audio in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio or English 2.0 Dolby Digital and subtitles in English, Thai, Chinese, Espanol, Portuguese, and French. Season Play is very cool, it is a feature exclusive to the Blu-ray Disc releases. This feature allows you to never have a problem keeping track of where you are (which episode, disc, time stamp) on the season of the show. This feature prevents you from getting lost as to which episode you were on when trying to come back and continue watching an entire season of a show. VERY cool! Sneak Peaks is just on disc five for The Avengers, ABC TV on DVD, and Roger Rabbit. Disc one has auto trailers for ABC TV on DVD, Castle Season 4 and Frankenweenie.

The video is great, as it should be in full HD (1080p widescreen)! This is the Blu-ray version so it is flawless. Everyone should own a Blu-ray player as the video quality is just superb and you feel like you are right inside the show. I have watched all 22 episodes on ABC in HD and it looks even better in Blu-ray! The audio is very good in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. That is the best you can get so you know it will be clear and crisp. Each episode has between 6-8 chapter stops. We also hear the closing theme for the first time, as on ABC there are next week's promos playing over the credits. There is not much else to say!

As for special features, we have a WHOLE lot here. Each disc has special features. We have audio commentary on each disc. On disc one, we have audio commentary for "Pilot" from creators/executive producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. They are very insightful and you'll find out when they came up with the idea for this series! Also on disc one we have "Once Upon a Time Orchestral Suite" (4:05). This is likely just for the Blu-ray! We get the music from the show, as the full soundtrack will be released layer this year. The music plays, while on screen we see the series logo. On disc two, we have audio commentary for the episode "7:15 A.M." from series stars Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas -- Snow White and Prince Charming themselves! On disc three we have audio commentary for the episode "Skin Deep" from writer Jane Epenson and star Robert Carlyle. It would have been cool if Emilie de Ravin was in this as well, but I'm not complaining! On disc four, we have audio commentary for the episode "The Stable Boy," from series creators/executive producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz along with star Lana Parrilla (The Evil Queen). And the final audio commentary is on disc five for the season finale "A Land Without Magic" from Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz and series star Jennifer Morrison! So we have five episodes with audio commentary and these five are really great classic episodes!

The rest of the bonus features are on disc five. The first one is exclusive to Blu-ray, titled "Once Upon a Time: Origins." We travel back through the centuries with Josh Dallas to uncover the historical origins of classic fairy tales -- Snow White, Beauty & the Beast, Little Red Riding Hood, Little Mermaid and Rumpelstiltskin. This was REALLY well done and I could this airing on TV at some point as a special. It's only for Blu-ray! Next up we have "Fairy Tales in the Modern World" (20:24) this exciting feature allows viewers to explore the genesis story of Once Upon A Time, as they learn about the creative approach of adapting a world of fairy tales into the wholly original world of the show. Interviewed are Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz (series creators/executive producers), Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, Eion Bailey, Beverly Mitchell, Robert Carlyle, Meghan Ory, Jared Gilmore, Lana Parrilla, Lee Arensberg, Jennifer Morrison, Daniel T. Thomsen (executive story editor), Andrew Chambliss (co-producer), Ian Goldberg (co-producer), Raphael Sbarge, June Espenson (consulting producer), and Daniel H. Goodman (co-executive producer). Then next we have "Building Character" (7:19) where we have from start-to-finish, following the creation, conceptualization, casting, clothing and filming of the beloved character, Belle, played by Emilie de Ravin, from the ground up! Interviewed are Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, Emilie de Ravin, Eduardo Castro (costume designer), and Veronica Collins (casting director). Then next up, "Welcome to Storybrooke" (6:45) where Ginnifer Goodwin takes audiences on a tour of Storybrooke, Maine, both the town on the show and its real inspiration – a small town outside Vancouver called Steveston. Interviewed are Ginnifer Goodwin, Adam Horowitz, Steve Pearlman (executive producer), Edward Kitsis, Mayor Malcolm Brodie (city of Richmond, BC), David Gordon (owner, Pieces Gift Shop), Kelly Krull (owner, Splash Toy Store), Eric Beaupre (production assistant), Trevor Purvis (set dresser), Eva Kollakis (owner, Cannery Cafe), Nick Constantin (owner, Romania Country Bread), Kate Badenhorst (owner, Sara's Ice Crean), Jared Gilmore and Josh Dallas.

We aren't done yet! The next featurette is called "The Story I Remember...Snow White" (4:26). The show's actors share their childhood memories of the beloved fairy tale Snow White, illustrated to original storybook graphics. Interviewed are Ginnifer Goodwin, Beverly Mitchell, Lana Parrilla, Jared Gilmore, Josh Dallas, Jennifer Morrison, Lee Arenberg, and Meghan Ory. Then we have "Fairest Bloopers Of Them All" (2:18), which are of course often hilarious outtakes fans won't want to miss. And finally we have deleted scenes. It isn't many as say Revenge has, but still good stuff! The deleted scenes are around 12 minutes or so: episode #1 (1:08, 0:32, 11:14); episode #2 (0:53), episode #3 (1:02), episode #5 (0:51), episode #8 (0:54), episode #16 (1:28), and episode #18 (3:53). That's nine deleted scenes from seven different episodes, so about a third of the episodes.

I highly do recommend this Blu-ray set for any Once fan or any fair tale fan. This is really a great show and I hope you all buy this Blu-ray disc (or DVD). There are many special features that will keep you glued for many more hours. The quality of Blu-ray sets is just superb and this one is among the best of this year. I'm calling it the entertainment boxed set of the year! Usually every year the Lost sets were that, but now with that show over with, this is the show that will continue this legacy! If you haven't started this show yet, this is the perfect time to do so before the new season premieres Sunday, Sept. 30 at 8/7c on ABC. Catch up now! If you're still on the fence watch the encores the next few weeks on ABC Sundays (with a marathon) on Sunday, Sept. 9. You'll be hooked after that and will have enough time to catch-up before the new season. As Henry would say, "the curse will end. Good will win." You'll have to see if that is true in this first season set, go click below before the magic goes away! It's more than just a book!

(5/5 stars)

To purchase Once Upon a Time - The Complete First Season on Blu-ray, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

To purchase Once Upon a Time - The Complete First Season on DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Once Upon a Time on TV.com


CLICK OF THE WEEK 

We've reached that point where we're retiring our Click of the Week feature, but before we do that, we're going to take a look back at our five favorite websites that we've featured. These are in no particular order (it is like comparing apples to oranges since every website has a different purpose), so here are our five favorite ones:

  • TV Tropes (www.tvtropes.org) - There are common themes, referred to as "tropes" all throughout television series. How many series out there had a character who just mysteriously disappeared? What about the "standardized sitcom housing?" There are many different themes which appear all throughout the small screen, and TV Tropes summarizes them all. We featured this website on June 9, 2012.
  • The Simpsons Archive (www.snpp.org) - The Simpsons has the distinction of being one of the few series out there to actually air in parts of four decades now (although in all fairness, it only began in the late '80s and we're still early in the '10s, so it has only aired a little over twenty years), and a series with that sort of legacy deserves a great and inclusive website. The Simpsons Archive has just what you are looking for when it comes to the series. We featured this website on August 20, 2011.
  • TVParty (www.tvparty.com) - The party never ends at TVParty! This website, which is about as old as the internet for a majority of us, features some of the greatest content and commentary on everything related to TV, including things that many of us will experience for the first time ever through this amazing website. We featured this website on September 17, 2011.
  • Museum of Broadcast Communications (www.museum.tv) - We have museums across the country for everything, so why not have one for broadcast communications? Well, there are some of them, but this one is literally a museum which lives online. You can read scholarly articles and even watch a few episodes of many classic series on the website, and not just the run of the mill "it's everywhere online" series. When we featured this website, the physical museum itself was still working on getting a new home in Chicago, and we can happily report that as of June, the physical museum has reopened with a ceremony which included John Mahoney and Betty White. We featured this website on November 26, 2011.
  • Everything Lucy (everythinglucy.youns.com) - The title of the website says it all. This is the place to find out everything you've ever wanted to know about Lucille Ball, known to the Americans (and even across the globe) as the "Queen of Comedy." On this website, you'll find details on everything she ever did throughout her lifetime. We featured this website on December 3, 2011.
Of course, we have to say narrowing this down to a list of just five websites was difficult. We've featured over ten times that many, and almost all of them are worth a second look. Before we let the sun set on the Click of the Week, we'll still let you know when we find a really good website and occasionally feature more websites, but we'll have a new blog feature here next week which will allow you to think about sitcoms a bit more socially.

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


New on DVD/Blu-ray (September)

The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season Modern Family - The Complete Season 7

09/06 - Coach - Season One (Mill Creek) / Season Two / Seasons One and Two
09/06 - South Park - The Complete Ninteenth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season
09/20 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season
09/20 - Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season
09/20 - Modern Family - The Complete Season 7
09/20 - Veep - Season 5
09/27 - The Wonder Years - Season Six
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Monday, September 26

The Big Bang Theory - "The Military Miniaturization" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Colonel Williams (Dean Norris), an Air Force representative from the Department of Material Command sits down to talk with Wolowitz.

Kevin Can Wait - "Sleep Disorder" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Kevin rearranges the house to his liking after his buddies convince him that Donna makes all their decisions and has taken over the house for her own benefit. Also, Kendra enlists her Uncle Kyle (Gary Valentine) to help toughen up Chale.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of September 26)

Monday, September 26

  • Zach Galifianakis (Baskets) - Watch Zach on on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Rob Lowe (The Grinder/Parks and Recreation) - Rob appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He also talks about Code Black on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am and on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings. He will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Kal Penn (We Are Men/How I Met Your Mother) - Kal is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Will visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He will also be on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Norm Macdonald (Norm) - Norm stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Johnny Pemberton (Son of Zorn) - Johnny is a guest on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Margaret Cho (All-American Girl) - Margaret appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Jaleel White (Family Matters/Grown Ups) - Jaleel is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Patton Oswalt (The Goldbergs/The King of Queens) - Patton visits Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Whoopi Goldberg (Whoopi/Bagdad Cafe) - Whoopi drops by Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Kristin Chenoweth (Kristin) - Kristin performs live on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am. She also talks about her new album on the AOL Build Show at 3pm.
  • Sutton Foster (Younger) - Sutton talks about Younger on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • The Cast of Younger) - Sutton Foster, Debi Mazar, Hilary Duff, Nico Tortorella, Peter Hermann, Miriam Shor and Molly Bernard are guests on the AOL Build Show at 2:15pm.