Saturday, September 20, 2008

Blog DVD Reviews: Brothers and Sisters: The Complete 2nd Season (Sept. 23) and Cashmere Mafia: The Complete Series

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for the weekly Blog DVD Review. This week we take a look at ABC Studios/Buena Vista Home Entertainment's Brothers and Sisters: The Complete 2nd Season and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's Cashmere Mafia: The Complete Series. 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. Cashmere Mafia only lasted 7 episodes this past season and aired during the writers' strike and is about four women in NYC who are big in the business world. See my Blog DVD Reviews of Brothers and Sisters: The Complete 2nd Season and Cashmere Mafia: The Complete Series:

Brothers and Sisters: The Complete 2nd Season (ABC Studios, $59.99) brings all 16 episodes of the writers' strike shortened second season of the hit family drama on DVD! Take a fascinating look at a complex American family much like your own as you witness the loves, the losses and the personal triumphs of the Walker clan. Their differences make them human and their bond makes them family. 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, Sarah Jane Morris as Julia, Emily VanCamp as Rebecca Harper, with Rob Lowe as Senator Robert McCallister, and Patrica Wettig as Holly Harper. Recurring are Kerris Dorsey as Paige Whedon, Maxwell Perry Cotton as Cooper Whedon, John Pyper-Ferguson as Joe Whedon, Eric Winter as Jason McCalister, Denis O'Hare as Travis, Emily Rose as Lena, Luke Macfarlane as Scotty, Ken Olin as David, Chevy Chase as Stan, Danny Glover as Isaac, and Steven Weber as Graham. With special guest star Tom Skeritt as William Walker.
This second season is very good. It might not be as good as the first year but it is still very well done despite being cut short due to the writers' strike. Some storylines like Justin-Rebecca and Tommy-Lena made some fans upset, but honestly I didn't have a problem with it. Lena was just temporary. Some classic episodes include the season premiere "Home Front," as it picks up the story of the Walkers at the end of the summer, and Nora's video-mail to Justin in Iraq fills everyone in on the family doings, while Kitty is under pressure as the Senator's fiancee and not just as a staffer anymore. In "American Family," Kevin, Nora and Kitty go to pick up Justin who has just returned home from the war. McCallister finds that he’s getting closer to Walkers. Meanwhile, the truth is revealed between Sarah and Rebecca and Tommy is not able to get the hang of being a father. In "Domestic Issues," Sarah becomes embroiled in a difficult battle with Joe for custody of their children. Kitty's Halloween announcement has consequences for the entire Walker family. In "36 Hours," The Walkers unite as Justin's addiction hits an all-time low. Kitty and Robert build new plans for their future. In "Holy Matrimony," Robert and Kitty get married but not before a political scandal and a severe case of cold feet threatens the wedding. Meanwhile Isaac distracts Nora from her romance with Stan, Holly gets a surprise visit from an old friend and some secrets are revealed. In the first episode after the strike, "Separation Anxiety," Isaac has an important question for Nora. Rebecca begins to question whether William Walker is really her father, so she decides to have DNA tests done. Robert and Kitty visit a fertility clinic. In "Moral Hazard," After an international business deal goes bad, Holly becomes the saving grace for Ojai Foods. Meanwhile Justin delivers heartbreaking news about a family member, and Saul makes a shocking confession about himself. Also Scotty and Kevin share a life-changing moment together. And in the season finale, "Prior Commitments," Kevin and Scotty make a commitment to be life partners, while Saul finally comes to grips with his identity in a public way as the family discovers that William kept yet another painful secret from them and Rebecca and Justin begin a new beginning. Those episodes really stand out, but they are all very good I think, while it may not be as good as season one in quality, but it is still good TV. The episodes run usually in the 43 minute range (with a few at 42 or under 42 a bit)...unedited of course. There are about 7-9 chapter stops per episode. 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 2007-08 season, so it has to be good.
Packaging has a nice light brown/beige outer box with a nice cast photo of the main cast near the front door of the Walker house on the front cover...the back cover has information on the series & set and has three screen shots. There is also a section detailing the special features in a blue box with technical specifications also. Inside the box is a digipak case. The front of the digipak has another cast photo, this time they are all at the family business, "Ojai Foods." The back of the digipak has headshots from episodes of Kitty, Robert, Nora and Sarah. Opening the case once, we get a pocket on the left that holds inserts and four more head shots from episodes on the right (Rebecca, Justin, Saul, Holly). The pocket holds three items, one is so nicely done. We get a nice envelope that holds Collectible Walker Family Recipe Cards, labeled "Nora's Favorite Family Recipes." It is very creative and has nice graphics and the items are actually featured this past season on the show! The back of the envelope has a disc by disc breakdown of episodes. Time to cook some Paella and some Pasta! We also get two other inserts for other ABC Studios products and Blu-ray. Opening the case once more, we get discs one and two in the middle, with three more head shots from episodes of Kevin, Tommy, and Julia. Opening it one final time, now we see discs three and four, and discs five and six. The discs overlap, like most ABC Studio DVDs. Each disc is in beige like the color scheme of the set and has artwork from items of the show. Disc one has episodes 1-4 with artwork of Justin's bedroom as you see his crutches. Disc two has episodes 5-8 and has artwork of some fruit in Ojai Food Co crate. Disc three has episodes 9-12 and has artwork of a flower bouquet from Kitty's wedding. Disc four has episodes 13-16 and has artwork of the vineyard with some grapes and wine bottle from Walker Landing Winery. Disc five holds the bonus features with artwork of Kevin's law office, I believe. After you remove the discs, you get nice promotional photos on the panels itself.
The menu screen starts by showing us the view of the Walker house then clips start playing as the audio gives us nice background music from the show then we see the family album with the snapshot sound. It is really neat once again. On disc one only, before the main menu we have auto trailers for DVDs of Private Practice, Samantha Who, Grey's Anatomy and Dirty Sexy Money. The options on the main menu are Play All, Episode Selection, Bonus Features, Set Up, and Sneak Peeks. Sneak Peeks is just on disc five and has sneak peeks of Wall E, Miramax Films, Narnia, and ABC promos for Dirty Sexy Money and Brothers & Sisters itself. Set Up section has the option of subtitles in English, French or Spanish and how to register your DVD. Bonus Features are on each disc but disc three. Disc 5 has all the actual extras, while the other discs have audio commentary. The Episodes option gives us the episode number and title to choose along with a screenshot...all in a family album form.
Moving on to the bonus features. Disc one has audio commentary on the episode "Homefront" by director Ken Olin, and actors Patricia Wettig (Holly) and Matthew Rhys (Kevin). Disc two has audio commentary on the episode "36 Hours" by actors Dave Annable (Justin), Sarah Jane Morris (Julia), and Emily VanCamp (Rebecca). Disc four has audio commentary on the season finale "Prior Commitments" by executive producer Monica Owusu-Breen and actors Matthew Rhys (Kevin) & Luke Macfarlane (Scotty).
That's just the commentaries! There is more on disc five! We get 7 Deleted Scenes that run: 1:31, 1:53, 0:23, 0:45, 1:36, 0:50, and 0:36. We have a very interesting and long featurette titled "Guestbook" that runs 14:03. We get details on all the great guests and recurring guests for this past season such as Ken Olin, Danny Glover, Chevy Chase, Garry Marshall, Steven Weber, Dennis O'Hare, Emily Rose, Bill Smitrovich, and Luke Macfarlane...they are all interviewed plus the producers and regula cast comment on them! Then we have a short 6:18 featurette titled "TV Dinners: Food from Season 2." Get a taste how food is made for scenes for the show! Food stylist Jessie Sieben discusses how she prepares the food. Producers and the cast discuss the food as well. We have another featurette titled "Open House: Designing the Brothers & Sisters Set," that runs 10:10. Get a low-down how the the set is designed from Denny Dugally (production designer) and set decorator Bryan John Venegas. We finally have 4:21 worth of Bloopers & Outtakes. Very fun to watch always and longer than last year.
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 third season starts on Sept. 28. I have seen the season premiere already in advance and it is very good mixed with great drama and hilarious comedy. The Walkers all get together in a nice beach house at the Laguana, and things come out. You'll want to watch! But before that buy this set and re-live or catch up on season two in time for the third season premiere. I know...they should have released this on Sept. 2 with Desperate Housewives, so fans can catch-up if they missed any episodes. And have Eli Stone come out the 23rd instead. Don't take a "Walker Roadtrip" to buy this DVD because you can just click below to order!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
(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
Official Website
Brothers and Sisters TV.com Page



Cashmere Mafia: The Complete Series (Sony, $29.95) brings all 7 episodes of the series that aired during the writers' strike on DVD! Set in glamorous New York City, four women stay close as they strive for success in the business world. They are known as the "Cashmere Mafia," because they rely on each other for support in both their careers and personal relationships. Executive producer Darren Star was the creator of Sex and the City and he brought to ABC a similar style series. The series aired Wednesdays at 10PM on ABC during the writers' strike and starred Lucy Liu as Mia Mason, Miranda Otto as Juliet Draper, Frances O'Connor as Zoe Burden and Bonnie Somerville as Caitlin Dowd. Recurring are Peter Hermann as Davis Draper, Julian Ovenden as Eric Burden, Tom Everett Scott as Jack Cutting, Lourdes Benedicto as Alicia Lawson, Noelle Beck as Cilla Grey, Jack Yang as Jason Chun, Daniel Gerroll as Clive Hughes, Kevin Kilner as Clayton, and Addison Timlin as Emily Draper. Guest stars include Krista Allen.
The show only lasted 7 episodes and was probably wasted during the strike. Had not for the strike, who knows, this could have done better in the ratings and could have become a hit. The 7 episodes are all good really. The episodes run usually run around 42...unedited of course. Runtimes are as follows: 42:53, 42:32, 42:00, 41:39, 39:51, 41:04, and 40:57. There are about 7 chapter stops per episode. 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 2007-08 season, so you expect the best.
Packaging has a nice white/red outer box with a nice cast photo of the four ladies in a New York City background on the front cover...the back cover has information on the series & set and has five small screen shots along with the four ladies sitting in a fancy dinner table. The table also details the special features. Inside the box we get two slim cases and a Sony booklet for other Sony TV DVDs. The front of both slim cases have a different cast photo on each. The back of both slim cases have three head shots and episode descriptions with the episode number, title, and synopsis. Inside the cases we get nice photos in the background. The discs are on the right side of both slim cases. Disc one holds episodes 1-4 and has artwork of Juliet and Mia. Disc two holds episodes 5-7 and the extras and has artwork of Caitlin and Zoe.
The menu screen starts by showing us four or five different shots of each of the four ladies then we get to the main menu with a shot of all four ladies with the theme music playing in the background. Options are: Play All Episodes, Episode Selection, Subtitles, and Special Features. Special Features are on disc two only. Subtitles are in Thai, Chinese and Korean. Episode Selection gives us a list of episodes with episode number and title. Each submenu has different background music from the series.
Moving on to the special features. We have four very short featurettes and the generic Sony Previews. Each featurette is for one of the four ladies. First one is "Revenge Sex: You Get as Good as You Give," running 2:00 and is Juliet themed and Mirando Otto discusses. Next one is "Move In Or Move Out," running 2:34 and is Mia themed and Lucy Liu discusses. Then we have "Kiss My Glass Ceiling," running 2:12 and is Zoe themed and Frances O'Connor discusses. Finally, we have "Pick a Team, Any Team," running 2:06 and is Caitlin themed and Bonnie Somerville discusses. There are also Sony previews for movies like Made of Honor starring Patrick Dempsey.
I think you should buy this set if you're a fan or if you've never seen the show. It's only 7 episodes, so why not? You can watch it like a long movie. Lucy Liu has already moved on to Dirty Sexy Money (season premiere on Oct. 1 on ABC), so watch her in that. Hopefully the other three ladies can move on to other shows as well. So join the fun and drama of the "Cashmere Mafia" by buying this set!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
(4/5 stars)

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

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Cashmere Mafia TV.com Page


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