Saturday, September 08, 2007

Mini-DVD Review: Brothers and Sisters - Season 1 (Sept. 18); Solomon's Weekly Rant: ION's Awful Weekends, NFL Network Glitch

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for mini-DVD reviews and Solomon's Weekly Rant! First up of course is the mini-DVD review. This week we take a look at Buena Vista Home Entertainment's Brothers and Sisters: The Complete 1st Season. Brothers and Sisters is of course the current ABC Sunday family drama starring Calista Flockhart and Sally Field. The show follows the Walker family, with the ups and downs of running a family business. This show is so great and even funny. See my mini-DVD review of Brothers and Sisters: The Complete 1st Season:

Brothers and Sisters: The Complete 1st Season (Buena Vista, $59.99) brings the first season of the hit new family drama on DVD for the first time! We enter the complex world of the Walker family...who are of Irish-Jewish descent. Though they live very different and conflicting lives, the Walkers find unity under the family roof. Relationships bend but never break as they strive to find their own identities and embrace each other's differences. The series airs Sundays at 10PM on ABC and stars Calista Flockhart as Kitty Walker, Sally Field as Nora Walker, Rachel Griffiths as Sarah Walker Whedon, Ron Rifkin as Uncle Saul Holden, Balthazar Getty as Tommy Walker, Matthew Rhys as Kevin Walker, Dave Annabale as Justin Walker, John Pyper-Ferguson as Joe Whedon, Sarah Jane Morris as Julia, Kerris Dorsey as Paige Whedon, Emily VanCamp as Rebecca Harper, with Rob Lowe as Senator Robert McCallister, and Patrica Wettig as Holly Harper. With special guest star Tom Skeritt as William Walker.
This first season is very good. It starts off slow in the first episode or two but it really makes its mark with the episode "Affairs of State." The great Greg Berlanti came in at that time and drastically made this show better. Some classic episodes include "Northern Exposure," "Mistakes Were Made," "The Other Walker," "Game Night," "Grapes of Wrath," and "Matriarchy." Those episodes really stand out, but they are all very good after episode 3. The episodes run usually in the 42-43 minute range...unedited of course. The pilot runs 41:36 as the lowest and the longest is 43:30. There are about 8 chapter stops per episode, though the pilot has 6. The video is digitally mastered and is in widescreen and looks very good! The audio is great and sounds very good, as it is in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. This is from the 2006-07 season, so it has to be good.
Packaging has a nice white/lime outer box with head shots of the main cast on the front cover...the back cover has information on the set and has some screen shots from episodes and a nice family photo. There is also a section detailing the series and set, a lime-colored special features box with technical specifications also. Inside the box is a digipak case. The front of the digipak is the same as the box cover but the digipak cover has the head shots in a shadowy form...more lime. The back of the digipak has nice promotional photos of Sarah, Kitty and Nora. Opening the case once, we get a booklet holder on the left and three more promotional cast shots on the right (Joe, Kevin, Julia & Tommy). The booklet holder holds the episode guide booklet, with nice synopsis of each episode, along with nice photos on top of each page. We also get two other inserts for BVHE products. Opening the case once more, we get discs one and two in the middle, with three more cast shots of Justin, Holly, and Saul. Opening it one final time, now we see discs three and four, and discs five and six. The discs overlap, like most BV DVDs. Each disc is lime green and has two photos of cast members. Disc one has episods 1-4 with photos of Saul & Nora. Disc two has episodes 5-8 and has photos of Joe and Sarah. Disc three has episodes 9-12 and has photos of the Senator and Kitty. Disc four has episodes 13-16 and has photos of Tommy & Julia. Disc five holds episodes 17-20 and has photos of Kevin & Justin. Finally, disc six has episodes 21-23 and the bonus features with photos of Rebecca and Holly.
The menu screen starts by showing us the stairs then it zooms in on to the wall by the stairs, where we see family portraits. It is really neat. Nice background music from the show is playing in the background. The options are Episodes, Bonus Features, Set Up, Play All. But before the main menu screen comes on discs one and six, we get some auto sneak peeks. Sean Peeks can also be found on disc six on the main menu. Set Up section has the option of subtitles in English, French or Spanish. Bonus Features are on discs 1, 2, 4 and 6. Disc 6 has all the actual extras, while the other discs have audio commentary. The Episodes option gives us the episode number and title to choose.
Moving on the bonus features. Disc one has audio commentary on the episode "Affairs of State" by creator Jon Robin Baitz, executive producer Craig Wright, Patricia Wettig (Holly) and Matthew Rhys (Kevin). Disc two has audio commentary on the episode "Northern Exposure" by creator Jon Robin Baitz, writer David Marshall Grant, and write/producer Molly Newman. What a classic episode! Disc four has audio commentary on the episode "The Other Walker" by writer Alison Schapker, writer Monica Breen, producer Marc Guggenheim, Dave Annable (Justin), and Emily VanCamp (Rebecca). Another good episode to comment on. The final audio commentary is on disc six for the season finale "Matriarchy" from executive producer/director Ken Olin, executive producer Sarah Caplan, and Balthazar Getty (Tommy).
That's just the commentaries! There is more on disc six! We have a very interesting and long featurette titled "Creating the Walker Family Tree" that runs 29 minutes. It has interviews with just about everyone involved. Then we have a short 6:13 featurette titled "Behind the Scenes with the Brothers." So catch up with Tommy, Kevin, and Justin here as they give us a tour of the set. Then we have a deleted episode titled "State of the Parties." This was supposed to be the original second episode. There is an introduction by creator Jon Robin Baitz explaining why they didn't use this episode. The episode runs 42:49 with the intro, and 42:03 without. It is interesting how different it is. We have another featurette titled "Family Business," that runs 4:34. Get a low-down on the Olin family, the real family behind the success of the series! We finally have 2:28 worth of Bloopers & Outtakes. Very fun to watch always.
I highly recommend this series and set. It is such a well written and acted show. I look forward to it every Sunday on ABC and can't wait until the second season starts on Sept. 30. But before that buy this set and see what I'm talking about if you have never experienced this great drama. And if you have, you must own this set because it is just about everything you can imagine. So get your family together and watch this together, and the good part about it is that you don't have to have a family business to watch it!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
(5/5 stars)

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Solomon's Weekly Rant
Saturday, September 8, 2007
"ION's Awful Weekend Programming; Programming Glitch on the NFL Network"
By Solomon Davis

I never thought that a TV station would operate like a small coffee shop inside the building I work in during the week...open from Monday to Friday and closed on the weekends with an early departure on Fridays. That's the feeling you get from watching the programming on ION during the weekends. Just a programming schedule filled up with a bunch of paid programming and silly movies which can really be called end of the week "Fillers." There is not one sitcom on the schedule from Friday evening all the way to Monday, which is kind of odd since the sitcoms that air during the week, like Mama's Family and Who's the Boss?, do pretty well in the ratings for the network. The look of the weekend schedule just makes viewers think that if they rode pass the ION TV station in a car they would see a sign on the front door saying "closed until Monday." Maybe the programmers at ION feel 95% of America is outside partying like there is no tomorrow when the weekend arrives and like to save their weakest programs for the weekend. ION has to know that some people actually do like to stay home on the weekend and not paint the town red since it's Friday night. So until ION's weekend schedule changes to my liking, the word CLOSED should be displayed on the screen when viewers turn to the channel since ION programmers are wild party animals. However, just to note, the movies they air that I hate, do well on the network. Go figure.

I spotted a programming glitch on the NFL Network recently and was trying to figure out what caused this sudden error. This had to be a glitch because there was a program on the NFL network called College Football Now and I was sure i had the right channel which really had me confused. Now even though college football is similar to pro football, it still does not belong on a channel called the NFL network because it's NOT the NFL. That's exactly why you would never see a program called College Basketball Now on the NBA TV channel since that channel is devoted to pro basketball...the NBA. I do know that some NFL fans like to watch college football on Saturdays but if they want to stay updated on what's going on in College Football they can tune into ESPN/ABC on Saturday nights when the entire day of college football is discussed in full detail. So it would be nice if the NFL Network can just go back to being a 24 hour NFL channel instead of slipping in college football programs because it would be very easy to just rename the channel "The Football Network." Something tells me that College Football program is a small step in the direction of the NFL network airing something called "High School Football Wrap Up" in the upcoming weeks.

My TV Highlight of the Week: Thursday, September 6, 2007 - The return of the NFL season.
My TV Lowlight of the Week: Wednesday, September 5, 2007 - Barbara Walters thinking Whoopi Goldberg went to a commercial break and asked, "Are we still on camera?" on The View.

Agree or disagree with Solomon? Discuss it here.

DISCLAIMER: Remember, Solomon is not the voice of SitcomsOnline. He is just stating his opinions and does not reflect what SitcomsOnline says or thinks. It is just his 'View' but it is always quite entertaining.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight / Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows

Monday, February 26

The Neighborhood - "Welcome to the Other Butlers" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Calvin and Tina are looking to remodel their home when they uncover discriminatory processes with their bank’s appraiser. Meanwhile, Marty asks Trey for fatherly advice on co-parenting with Courtney.

Bob Hearts Abishola - "The Devil's Hot Tub" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Abishola and Kemi’s friendship is pushed to the edge when Kemi wants to disregard Nigerian tradition and have a Las Vegas wedding. Also, Bob and the Wheelers have to avert a strike at MaxDot before it sinks the family business.

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The Odd Couple - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Three's Company - The Official 40th Anniversary Collection Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

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That Girl - The Complete Series The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Official Restored Complete Series

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