Saturday, September 04, 2010

Digital Digest: Parenthood - Season 1 DVD Review

Welcome to another edition of Digital Digest! Our normal Digital Digest blogger (skees53) as you know is off for the summer and is missed. As always, we have the latest news, upcoming releases for Tuesday, and our DVD review this week is of Universal Home Video's Parenthood - Season 1. Invite all of your family to today's Digital Digest!

DIGITAL NEWS

It was another slow week for sitcoms. Actually even slower than ever. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has officially announced The Boondocks - The Complete Third Season which is out on Nov. 9. View the packaging and a list of features. Universal Home Video has announced The Office - Overtime: Digital Shorts Collection coming out on Nov. 16. This single-disc release collects all 6 "webisode" series into one place, plus a "minisode." View the details on this set. And finally, this isn't really concrete news, but Shout! Factory will release Spin City - The Complete Fourth Season early next year (2011). Yeah, not much to say, but it is at least in the works.

Drama wise there was nothing really to note. Very slow week, and let's hope everything picks up after Labor Day. Enjoy the weekend!

For more information on titles that we won't cover with full or blog DVD reviews, you can head on over to the news section of TVShowsOnDVD.com for all of the latest details.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (September 7) will have a few sitcom releases. Shout! Factory is releasing The Norm Show - The Complete Series, and you can read our review of this nice set here. Universal Home Video is releasing The Office - Season 6 on both DVD and Blu-ray and looks for our review of the Blu-ray early next week! Lionsgate/ABC Studios is releasing Less Than Perfect - Season One and you can read our review of that hopefully by early next week, so stay tuned! And finally Lionsgate/ABC Studios is re-releasing Boy Meets World's first three seasons on DVD (Season 1 / Season 2 / Season 3). The content of these DVDs are the same as the previous releases from 2004-05 but smaller packaging. Read our reviews of those original ABC/Disney sets: Season 1 / Season 2 / Season 3. We hope to have reviews of the Lionsgate sets, but they really are the same thing.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

Parenthood - Season 1

DVD Review: Parenthood - Season 1
by Todd

Parenthood - Season 1 (Universal, $39.98) From executive producers Ron Howard (Apollo 13), Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind) and Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights) comes the refreshingly original hit series that critics hail as "hilarious and heartbreaking" (In Touch Weekly) and "in a class of its own" (Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times). Featuring an all-star ensemble cast, including Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls), Peter Krause (Six Feet Under), Dax Shepard (Baby Mama) and Craig T. Nelson (Coach), Parenthood follows four grown siblings of the far-from-perfect Braverman clan as they try to balance kids and careers, dreams and commitments, and romance or a total lack thereof. Join some of the best actors on television for a genuinely funny and heartwarming journey through the most challenging and rewarding role of a lifetime -- being a parent.
The series airs on Tuesdays at 10PM on NBC and stars (alphabetically) Bonnie Bedelia as Camille Braverman, Joy Bryant as Jasmine Trussell, Max Burkholder as Max Braverman, Erika Christensen as Julia Braverman-Graham, Lauren Graham as Sarah Braverman, Miles Heizer as Drew Holt, Sam Jaeger as Joel Graham, Peter Krause as Adam Braveman, Craig T. Nelson as Craig T. Nelson, Monica Potter as Kristina Braverman, Savannah Paige Rae as Sydney Graham, Sarah Ramos as Haddie Braverman, Dax Shepard as Crosby Braverman, and Mae Whitman as Amber Holt. Recurring and guest stars include Mike O'Malley as Jim Kazinsky, Erinn Hayes as Racquel, Marguerite Moreau as Katie, Tom Amandes as Dr. Pelikan, Jason Ritter as Mark Cyr, Minka Kelly as Gaby, and Asher Book as Steve.

Parenthood premiered on March 2, 2010 with over 8 million viewers. The show often won or finished second in its timeslot. A total of 13 episodes were produced for the first season. In the "Pilot," when Sarah moves back home with her parents, she sparks a rollercoaster reunion of the Braverman clan--four grown siblings who can handle the day-to-day struggles and joys of parenthood in their own peculiar ways. Adam and Kristina try to come to turns with their son's behavior while Crosby and his son just try to make it through lunch in "Man Versus Possum." Max loses his school; Sarah loses her car; Julia loses her cool at her daughter's swim class; and Crosby loses a boy, but finds his son in "The Deep End of the Pool." Adam and Kristina discover Haddie's secret boyfriend, Drew discovers his manhood and Julia and Joel discover just how hard it is to have a date night in "Whassup."

Adam helps Max play baseball, Julia helps Sydney play princess, and while Haddie's relationship is out in the open, Sarah's feelings for Amber's teacher stay private in "The Situation." Kristina can't stop worrying long enough to enjoy sex, Julia can't help getting jealous of another mother and Crosby can't find a way to tell hi mom and dad about their new grandson in "The Big 'O'." Sarah reveals her secret relationship, Career Day reveals Julia and Kristina's doubts about their life choices and Adam's attempt to get everyone together reveals just how challenging family time can be in "What's Going Down There?" Sydney's obsession could be a sign of problems ahead; Amber's ex is Sarah's problem today; and Zeek takes Adam on a road trip to a problem that's been building for a long, long time in "Rubber Band Ball." As Sarah tries to get Amber excited about college and Julia tries to teach Sydney about lying, Kristina gets back to work, leaving Adam in charge and over his head in "Perchance to Dream."

Sarah keeps Zeek's money trouble secret from Camille, while Crosby and Jasmine keep their relationship secret from Jabbar. And while Julia makes enemies on the soccer field, Adam and Kristina struggle to find Max a friend in "Namaste No More." Zeek moves in with Adam's family while Camille moves in on her art teacher. Amber feels guilty about betraying Haddie as Crosby contemplates the unimaginable--settling down in "Solace." The Bravermans' war over Haddie and Amber jeopardizes a family walk for autism, a bedroom incident could ruin Jasmine's audition and Julia learns the truth about angels and "Team Braverman." When Amber runs away, the feuding family unites to search for her. Julia asks an old flame for help with Zeek, and Crosby feels torn between his two families--the new one moving to New York and the Bravermans of Berkeley.

The episodes run usually in the 42-43 minute range (with the pilot clocking in at nearly 50 minutes). The "Previously On" recaps are included at the start of the episodes. There is a disclaimer on the back of the packaging which states "Music may differ from televised version." One thing that has been changed on the DVD is the original theme song "Forever Young" by Bob Dylan. It has been replaced by "When We Were Young" by Lucy Schwartz. This is the theme song they use internationally and online. For a listing of songs by episode, see the TV.com episode guide. Chapter stops are included within the episodes. See the runtimes for each episode below:

Disc 1
1. "Pilot" 49:58
2. "Man Versus Possum" 43:12
3. "The Deep End of the Pool" 43:12
4. "Whassup" 42:14

Disc 2
5. "The Situation" 43:11
6. "The Big 'O'" 43:11
7. "What's Going on Down There?" 43:38
8. "Rubber Band Ball" 43:00
9. "Perchance to Dream" 43:08

Disc 3
10. "Namaste No More" 43:12
11. "Solace" 42:38
12. "Team Braverman" 43:26
13. "Lost and Found" 43:45

Packaging has a nice orange and white outer box with various photos on the front cover. On the back cover, there is a large photo of the Braverman clan and 2 smaller photos. A synopsis of the set, the bonus features, and the DVD specs are listed. The main Digipak slides out from the right of the outer cardboard box. It has the same photos as the outer box. Episode summaries and various photos are found inside the box. Special features are noted by disc. Underneath the disc holders, there is a large photo of the Braverman clan that stretches out across the 3 panels. The discs are just plain silver with the Parenthood logo on them. Each disc holds 4-5 episodes. A paper sheet promoting the second season with quotes from various publications is included.

The menus are colorful and easy to navigate. They have various still shots from the episodes and a yellow show logo and background. A song from the show plays for about 30 seconds and then loops. There are options for Play All, Epiosde Index, Bonus, Setup and Previews (only on Disc 1). The option you highlight is underlined green and turns red upon your selection. Choosing Episode Index takes you to another meu where there are still images from each episode. You can turn on/off the commentary for the "Pilot" episode here or play the deleted scenes by episode. The Bonus menu has a photo of Peter Krause and the lovely Monica Potter. You can turn on the subtitles for the deaf & hard-of-hearing on the Set Up menu. It features a photo of Dax Shepard holding a birthday cake with various cast members in the background. The Previews section (5:52) has promos for Eureka, In Plain Sight, Miami Vice, The Office, Parks and Recreation, Psych, The A-Team, Knight Rider and Magnum P.I..

The video is excellent and in anamorphic widescreen 1.78:1 format. This is a gorgeously shot show with many outdoor scenes around the Los Angeles area. The audio is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Music plays an intergral part of the show. There are at least 4-9 songs used in each episode. On the back of the packaging, there is a disclaimer that says "Music may differ from televised version." Hopefully nothing major is missing. The original theme song, "Forever Young" by Bob Dylan, is not included as previously mentioned. The set has a total running time of approximately 9 hours, 28 minutes. English subtitles for the deaf & hard-of-hearing are available for the episodes. The Bonus Features are not rated and not all subtitled.

Moving on to the bonus features. They include an audio commentary on the "Pilot" episode, deleted and extended scenes, and a behind-the-scenes featurette. These bonus features should offer a good introduction to the show. It would have been to nice to have some additional audio commentaries by the cast and crew. Another bonus feature that would have been interesting to watch would be the original pilot with Maura Tierney.

Disc 1
"Pilot" Commentary with Executive Producer/Writer Jason Katims and Director Thomas Schalamme - They talk about shooting the original pilot with Maura Tierney who had to leave due to her breast cancer treatment, how Lauren Graham was cast, how they reshot some scenes, the filming locations in northern California for the pilot, and the comparisons between the originally shot pilot vs. the newly shot pilot. A pretty good commentary, although there's some dead air during some scenes.

Disc 2
Deleted and Extended Scenes featuring never-seen-before footage
"The Big 'O'" Deleted Scenes (9:01) - Unfortunately, there is no commentary on the deleted scenes. These scenes were probably just cut because of timing or pacing issues.
"What's Going on Down There?" Deleted Scenes (3:01)
Perchance to Dream Deleted Scene (1:53)

Disc 3
"Namase No More" Deleted Scene (1:31)
"Team Braverman" Deleted Scenes (4:04)
"Lost and Found" Deleted Scene (1:50)

Get to Know Your Parents Featurette (13:06) - Go beind the scenes of Parenthood and explore the characters with help from the cast as they explain what attracted them to the seies and how they approach their roles. This featurette includes interviews with Writer/Executive Producer Jason Katims, Peter Krause, Miles Heizer, Executive Producer Brian Grazer, Executive Producer Ron Howard, Bonnie Bedelia, Sam Jaeger, Dax Shepard, Sarah Ramos, Erika Christensen, Mae Whitman, Lauren Graham, Craig T. Nelson, Monica Potter, Tyree Brown, Savannah Paige Rae and Max Burkholder.

I'm a big fan of Ron Howard's 1989 Parenthood movie. The 1990 TV comedy-drama with Ed Begley, Jr., Jayne Atkinson, Thora, Leonardo DiCaprio and David Arqutte was pretty good but short-lived. I didn't get to watch the 2010 version in the spring, but I have enjoyed catching up with it on DVD.
This is a nicely put together show with an all-star ensemble cast. There are so many recognizable actors who you've probably seen in other TV series and movies. If you enjoy Brothers and Sisters, you will probably like this show as well. There aren't many quality family dramas on the air today, so it's great to see this one have some success in season one. Hopefully they can continue to build an audience in season two. The show has a nice mix of drama and comedy. Many people should be able to relate to the characters and storylines. There is a lot of reality in the show and the cast seems to have great chemistry.

The Season 1 DVD set is a pretty nice one. It has some attractive packaging and the episodes look and sound great. There aren't many special features, but they should provide some good background information on the production of the show and the characters. The only concern with this set is with possible music substitutions. This show usually has 4-9 songs used per episode. They did replace the original theme song, "Forever Young" by Bob Dylan, on the DVD with the theme they use internationally and on nbc.com and hulu.com - "When We Were Young" by Lucy Schwartz. That's not a major loss, but hopefully they were able to clear most of the other songs that were used within the episodes. Catch up with television's most heartfelt family drama before the critcially acclaimed series returns on September 14. Tune in on Tuesday nights at 10PM on NBC! Go Bravermans!

(4/5 stars)

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Amazon.com

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Official Website
Parenthood TV.com Page

LOOKING AHEAD

Come on back right here next week for more news and reviews. Next week we will have another good blog review for you. And don't forget to read our full DVD reviews, as many sitcoms will be coming fast very soon as we near September. So please stay with us! Keep it in the family and of course keep it digital!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, August 25

Last Man Standing - "The Courtship of Vanessa's Mother" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Vanessa's mother comes to visit and hits it off with Ed; Mandy and Kyle tutor Boyd, but they may be the ones getting outsmarted.

Last Man Standing - "Dreams vs. Realty" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Mandy nearly gives up on her dream of becoming a fashion designer when she is faced with rejection; Vanessa looks back at her own career path, which stirs up regrets; Mike steps in to help the women in his family realize their dreams.

The Simpsons - "Crystal Blue-Haired Persuasion" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After Homer's work cuts children's health care benefits, Marge turns to buying healing crystals as a cheaper solution for Bart's ADD; Bart begins to succeed in school, prompting Marge to open her own crystals empire and sell to mothers at school.

What Just Happened??! with Fred Savage - "Neighbor" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Fred struggles to discuss the mysterious cliffhanger from "The Flare" and speak with his guests because of a new noisy neighbor on the stage next door; Eric Stonestreet and Randall Park stop by.

Family Guy - "Trans-Fat" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Peter is mistakenly identified as transgender, which leads to an unexpected event and him learning an important lesson.

What Just Happened??! with Fred Savage - "Elevator" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Fred gets stuck in an elevator and is unable to host the show, Taylor must face her biggest fear: hosting the show alone; Ike Barinholz, Jillian Bell and Taran Killam stop by.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 19)

Sunday, August 25

  • Adam DeVine (Workaholics/Modern Family) - Catch Issa on a repeat of Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July/August)

The Brady Bunch - 50th Anniversary The Brady-est TV & Movie Collection Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season Two The Good Place - The Complete Third Season Life in Pieces - The Complete Fourth Season Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Six

06/04 - The Brady Bunch - 50th Anniversary The Brady-est Brady Bunch TV & Movie Collection
06/18 - Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season Two (Blu-ray)
07/08 - Man with a Plan - Season Two
07/09 - Broad City - Season 5
07/09 - Broad City - The Complete Series
07/09 - Life in Pieces - The Complete Fourth Season
07/09 - Speechless - The Complete Third Season
07/16 - Eight Is Enough - The Complete First Season
07/17 - The Practice (1976) - The Complete Series (WBShop.com)
07/23 - Brockmire - The Complete First Season
07/23 - What I Like About You - The Complete First Season
07/30 - The Good Place - The Complete Third Season
08/06 - Caroline in the City - The Third Season
08/06 - Caroline in the City - The Fourth Season
08/13 - I Love Lucy - Colorized Collection
08/13 - Leave it to Beaver - Seasons One and Two
08/20 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Six
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