Saturday, November 04, 2006

Mini-DVD Reviews: Beverly Hills, 90210: The Complete First Season and Melrose Place: The Complete First Season (Nov. 7)

Today we take a look at two classic '90s Fox dramas. Paramount Home Entertainment's Beverly Hills, 90210: The Complete First Season and Melrose Place: The Complete First Season. See Shawn Eaton's mini-DVD reviews of both of these sets below:

Beverly Hills, 90210: The Complete First Season (Paramount, $54.99) brings us the classic first season of probably one of the best teen dramas of all-time. School is back in session with the kids of BEVERLY HILLS, 90210 finally coming to DVD! Paramount has issued the Complete 1st Season of the hit FOX teen-soap, which ran on the network from 1990 until 2000, spanning a whopping 10 seasons of friendships, betrayals, rivalries and love affairs. This acclaimed series made stars out of it's entire cast. Leading the pack are Jason Priestley as Brandon Walsh, Shannen Doherty as Brenda Walsh, Luke Perry as Dylan McKay, Jennie Garth as Kelly Taylor, Tori Spelling as Donna Martin, Ian Ziering as Steve Sanders, Brian Austin Green as David Silver and Gabrielle Carteris as Andrea Zuckerman. Rounding out the first season cast are Carol Potter as Cindy Walsh, James Eckhouse as Jim Walsh and Douglas Emerson as Scott (David's nerdy pal).
This six-disc set contains all 21 regular episodes along with the original two-hour pilot (which is broken into two parts). The six discs are spaced out over three slim cases. Discs 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 each contain four episodes. Disc 6 contains three episodes, plus the bonus features.
Notable episodes for this season include "Pilot" which started it all. "The Green Room" is the one that introduces Luke Perry as Dylan. "Higher Education" is the one where straight-ace Brandon cheats on a test after being pushed to the limit by a demanding and harsh teacher. "Perfect Mom" is where we are introduced to Kelly's boozing mom, Jackie (played by Ann Gillespie). "The Gentle Art of Listening" as Brenda joins a teen hotline. "Isn't It Romantic?" is where the foundation for the Brenda/Dylan relationship is set. "Slumber Party" is where a bitchy friend of Kelly's forces all the girls to reveal dark secrets about themselves. "It's Only A Test" in which Brenda finds a lump in her breast and "Home Again" in which Jim gets a job offer that could take the Walsh family right back to Minnesota! The episodes themselves have six chapter skips and they appear to be uncut (as far as I can personally tell, as they each run around a whopping 45-46 minutes), although the music has been changed (the theme song is intact; no worries), which isn't very noticeable, in my opinion and it's the episodes that matter!
The special features on this set are very nice. We have the all-important Commentary by creator Darren Star, on "Pilot" (Part 1 only), and "Spring Dance". We also have some featurettes including: "Beginnings with Darren Star" is a six minute interview with Darren Star as he discusses Season 1, how they expanded Tori Spelling's role, how they told issue-oriented stories, and how great the actors were--a nice interview. "Meet The Class of West Beverly High" is an awesome featurette! You go to a sub-menu and can select each character (Dylan, Brenda, Brandon, Donna, David, Kelly, Andrea and Steve) and you can see the "stats" of the character and then click on a Behind-The-Scenes interview with the cast member of that character in which they talk about their character. Interviews are NOT new, and appear to be from the 1990/1991 era. Very fun! "90210" Behind-The-Scenes Featurette" seems to be from back in 1991 or 1992. It doesn't appear to have been made for the DVD, but was an old Behind-The-Scenes thing. Nice featurette that goes through each character, giving a run-down of the characters. And the "Looking Back: Season One - The Recap" is just recaps of the episodes. It lists the episodes, you select one and it gives a recap.
Overall, a fantastic release by Paramount, and I for one cannot wait until the Second Season!

-- Reviewed by Shawn Eaton
(4.5/5 stars)

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

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Beverly Hills, 90210 TV.com Page


Melrose Place: The Complete First Season (Paramount, $54.99) brings us the classic first season of the spin-off of 90210 and one of the best prime-time soaps of all-time. Let the scheming, the scandals and the sex begin! 4616 Melrose Place is where it all takes place. One of the guiltiest pleasures of all time, the FOX primetime soap (and spin-off of equally popular "Beverly Hills, 90210) "Melrose Place" is finally available on DVD! Paramount has issued a massive 8-disc set of the Complete 1st Season, which features all 32, yes 32, first season episodes of the hit series. A spin-off of "90210," "Melrose Place" took to the airwaves in the summer of 1992, to less than stellar ratings, only to catapult to success with the addition of Heather Locklear and the swift change of issue-oriented story lines to camp soap opera stories. The premise was a bunch of very different 20-somethings living in the same apartment building. The tenants at the start of the series were Josie Bissett as fashion designer and wife Jane Mancini, Thomas Calabro as Dr. Michael Mancini, Andrew Shue as good-natured writer Billy Campbell, Courtney Thorne-Smith as the hapless Alison Parker, Grant Show as biker bad-boy with a heart of gold, Jake Hanson (who had made his debut on "Beverly Hills, 90210" as Jake), Doug Savant as the openly gay Matt Fielding, Vanessa Williams as jazz instructor Rhonda and Amy Locane as southern starlet Sandy. After 13 episodes, Locane left the series and the producers brought in Daphne Zuniga as mysterious photographer Jo Reynolds along with Heather Locklear as the bitchy uber-executive Amanda Woodward. Throughtout the season we also were introduced to future regulars (and some say two of the most popular characters in the series), Marcia Cross as tightly-woven Dr. Kimberly Shaw and Laura Leighton as Sydney Andrews, Jane's sister.
The eight-disc set contains all 32 episodes of the first season. The eight discs are spread over four slim-cases. Each case features two or three of the main cast in a nice teal color. Each disc contains four episodes. The special features themselves are actually spread out over several discs, instead of being on the last disc, like most sets, but I'll get to those in a bit.
The episodes, arguably, start out slow and cheesy (according to most fans, myself included), but I'll list the notable ones to take a second look at. "Pilot," is where it started it all and introduced us to 4616 Melrose Place. "Second Chances" which is one of Rhonda's few storylines to shine in. "Lonely Hearts" in which Sandy and Amy Locane get to shine in a chilling plot. "Burned" is where racism is dealt with. "A Promise Broken" in which we are introduced to Marcia Cross' Dr. Kimberly Shaw. "House of God" is the one where we meet Daphne Zuniga's Jo. "Single White Sister" in which we meet Laura Leighton's Sydney. "Picture Imperfect" is the one where Heather Locklear debuts as Amanda Woodward. "Pushing Boundaries" is the one which Kimberly puts the moves on Michael. "Carpe Diem" is about Alison and Billy having their first "date." "State of Need" is the one where Amanda reveals her pregnancy with Billy's baby. And the season finale "Suspicious Minds" in which Amanda announces herself to be the new owner of Melrose Place! The episodes themselves do appear to be uncut (at least to me, personally) and run about 44-45 minutes in length, although the music has been changed, the popular theme song is still intact, thankfully. Chapter skips for each episode are available.
The special features, themselves, as I have said, are spread out over several discs. Disc 2 features "Beginnings," a 5 minute featurette in which creator Darren Star discuss the start of the series (based on his own personal experiences living in a similar complex, etc.) with interviews with the stars (the interviews are not new and probably from around the start of the show in 1992/1993). Disc 3 features "Friends & Neighbors" a mini-featurette that runs about 6 minutes and features Darren Star discussing several of the characters inter-cut with old press interviews with the cast (appears to be, again, from 1992/1993). Star discusses Jane, Michael (and to a lesser extent Kimberly), Matt, Sandy and Jake. On Disc 4, we have "Neighbors & Friends" which is the same as "Friends & Neighbors" except Star discusses the rest of the characters (Billy, Alison, Jo, Kimberly, and Rhonda). It also runs about 6 minutes in length. On Disc 5 we have "Season One - Episode Guide" in which, like the "90210" release, you can click on an episode title and read the description of the episode. Also on Disc 5 we have "Melrose Place: Behind-The-Scenes Featurette" much like the "90210" one. It appears to be from around the start of the series, 1992/1993, and features a run down of the series and interviews with the cast as they discuss their characters, etc. It runs around 5 minutes. On Disc 6 we have "Amanda", a mini-featurette that runs about 2 minutes and features Darren Star discussing the arrival of Heather Locklear and the formation of Amanda. Disc 7 brings us the final special feature "Melrose Place: New Style Profile" featurette, which runs about 5 minutes and talks about the style of the show (it appears to be another "Behind the Scenes" featurette).
Once again, a truly FANTASTIC release by Paramount that I'm sure Melrose Place fans (like myself) will be absolutely ecstatic about!

-- Reviewed by Shawn Eaton
(4.5/5 stars)

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

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Melrose Place TV.com Page


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Saturday, December 4

none scheduled

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 29)

Friday, December 3

  • Bill Burr (F Is for Family/Townies) - Watch Bill on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Dwayne Johnson (Young Rock) - Dwayne appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Maya Erskine (PEN15/Casual/Betas) and Anna Konkle (PEN15) - Maya and Anna are guests on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Leah Remini (Kevin Can Wait/The Exes/Family Tools/The King of Queens/Fired Up) - Leah guest co-hosts The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For Your Love/Love, Inc.) - Holly is a guest on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm/Son of Zorn/Suburgatory) - Cheryl will be on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kal Penn (Sunnyside/Deadbeat/We Are Men) - Kal appears on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings. He talks about Comedy Central's Hot Mess Holiday on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
  • Michel Urie (Younger/Partners) - Michael is a guest on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • J. K. Simmons (Growing Up Fisher/Family Tools) - J. K. talks about Being the Ricardos on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Julie Bowen (Modern Family/Ed) - Julie talks about Mixtape on ABC's GMA 3: What You Need to Know at 1pm.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October-December)

Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release) Mom - The Eighth and Final Season Punky Brewster (1984-88) - The Complete Series (2021 Release) I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

10/19 - Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
11/02 - The Honeymooners Specials - A Christmas Carol
11/02 - Mom - The Eighth and Final Season
11/02 - Punky Brewster - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
11/02 - Sex and the City - The Complete Collection (Blu-ray)
11/09 - Saved by the Bell (2020) - Season One
11/09 - Younger - The Complete Series
11/16 - Kevin Can F*** Himself - Season 1 (Blu-ray)
11/23 - Dead Pixels - Seasons One and Two
11/30 - I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series (Mill Creek) (2021 Release) (Blu-ray)
12/07 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
12/07 - Rick & Morty - Season 5 (Blu-ray) (Blu-ray Limited Edition Steelbook)
12/14 - The Abbott and Costello Show - Season 1 (Blu-ray)
12/14 - Letterkenny - Season 9
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