Saturday, August 20, 2011

Digital Digest: Parenthood - Season Two DVD Review

Welcome to Digital Digest, your weekly home for news of all things digital! It's another slow news week, but this week we begin getting into our very busy period of reviews of the upcoming DVD/Blu-ray sets of the 2010-2011 TV season! We have our very first review of the previous TV season this week with our review of Parenthood - Season Two. Let's get rolling.


DIGITAL NEWS

As we are talking about the 2010-2011 TV season, there is one series for which we hadn't heard anything about a DVD release, but now there is some news for 30 Rock! On November 29, just before the season premiere (the series will begin midseason for the upcoming season), 30 Rock - Season Five will debut on DVD. However, no Blu-ray release is in the works for the time being (there haven't been any for 30 Rock).

Hulu has consistently been a great source for fans of vintage TV to watch some of their favorite shows, and starting Monday, you can go back to the 60s for a rarely seen series hosted by Joan Rivers! That Show, which aired in the late 60s and early 70s on NBC, was one of Rivers' first ventures into television, and starting Monday, you'll be able to see the first 65 episodes of the series on Hulu, remastered from the original sources.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (August 23) begins the "awakening" of the 2010-2011 season (OK, I'll admit, I'm overdramatizing this), but is still a light day for releases. For Tuesday, we have Brothers & Sisters - The Complete Fifth and Final Season and Off the Map - The Complete Series. We are currently awaiting review copies of these sets and hope to have reviews soon.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

Family dramas are a long-standing and time-tested genre in television, and the Braverman family is no exception. The current NBC series, Parenthood, is a second attempt (after a poorly received sitcom in the early 90s) at recreating the very popular movie from producer Ron Howard. Following the Braverman family through different generations and the good and the bad, here is our review of Parenthood - Season Two.

DVD Review - Parenthood - Season Two
by skees53

Parenthood - Season Two (Universal, $59.98) collects all 22 episodes from the second season of the NBC family drama in a five disc collection. The series, based loosely upon the 1989 film starring Steve Martin, follows the trials and tribulations of different generations of the Braverman family, through the good and the bad.

The second season begins with "I Hear You, I See You," where Crosby tries to cope with his long-distance relationship with his son Jabbar. Crosby is asked to pick up Jabbar in "Date Night," but all might not go so well as Crosby has just had a work party where he has had a little too much to drink. Max decides to face his Halloween fears in "Orange Alert." Adam has difficulty when he is forced to fire seven employees in "Seven Names." In "If This Boat Is a Rockin'," somebody calls Max "retarded," and it isn't sitting too well for Adam, at all.

In "Happy Thanksgiving," Sarah invites her new boss to Thanksgiving dinner, which wouldn't be a huge deal, except did we mention that he is Adam's boss? In "Meet the New Boss," Adam has a new boss, who just happens to be a 20-something stoner. Haddie has had enough with her parents and moves out in "A House Divided." In "Do Not Sleep with Your Autistic Nephew's Therapist," Crosby's one night stand has consequences that rock the entire household. Adam and Kristina struggle to explain Max's Asperger's to him in "Qualities and Difficulties." In "New Plan," everybody is planning for the next stage in life, but how will Amber explain to her mom that she didn't get in to college? Amber's life spirals out of control in "Slipping Away." The season ends with a surprise that'll blow everyone away in "Hard Times Come Again No More."

The episodes on the set appear to be mostly as they aired on NBC, but there is one very obvious change in the DVD version that was seen in the previous set: the theme song has been changed due to music rights reasons. Not to worry too much, however, because the replacement theme is the same one seen in international airings and online, and fits the series very well. It isn't a cheap replacement theme as we see in some DVD sets, but works very well for the series. Runtimes for the episodes are as follows.

Disc 1:
1. "I Hear You, I See You" (42:02)
2. "No Good Deed" (43:08)
3. "I'm Cooler Than You Think" (42:29)
4. "Date Night" (42:28)

Disc 2:
5. "The Booth Job" (43:05)
6. "Orange Alert" (42:54)
7. "Seven Names" (43:03)
8. "If This Boat Is a Rockin'" (43:09)
9. "Put Yourself Out There" (43:08)

Disc 3:
10. "Happy Thanksgiving" (42:51)
11. "Damage Control" (43:08)
12. "Meet the New Boss" (43:06)
13. "Opening Night" (42:24)
14. "A House Divided" (43:07)

Disc 4:
15. "Just Go Home" (42:52)
16. "Amazing Andy and His Wonderful World of Bugs" (43:04)
17. "Do Not Sleep with Your Autistic Nephew's Therapist" (43:01)
18. "Qualities and Difficulties" (43:04)

Disc 5:
19. "Taking the Leap" (42:50)
20. "New Plan" (43:06)
21. "Slipping Away" (42:36)
22. "Hard Times Come Again No More" (43:10)

Like many Universal DVD sets (and unlike many other studios these days), the set comes packaged in a digipak. On the cover, we have four photos of each of Zeek and Camille's children's family, with a green color scheme in the background. On the back, there are a few more snapshots, along with one giant photo of the entire family. Inside, we have the digipak, which has three panels (there are two discs in each of the first two panels and one in the third panel). Behind the discs, there is one large panoramic photo of the whole family in one of those bounce houses (which was actually originally supposed to be featured as the cover art). On the other side of the digipak, there is a listing of all of the episodes with descriptions. Discs 1, 4, and 5 contain four episodes each, while Discs 2 and 3 contain five episodes each. As for the disc artwork, it is simply the series logo on a silver background for each disc.

The menus on the set are relatively simple, with different photos of the family and options of Play All, Episode Index, Bonus, and Setup. The closing theme plays in the background of the main menu, and loops forever--it actually gets annoying after a while. Episode Index takes you to a menu that shows all of the episodes, along with a snapshot from the episode. You can also select any commentaries or deleted scenes from here. The episode plays immediately upon selecting it, and there are chapters within the episodes. Bonus allows you to select the special features contained on that disc. And finally, Setup is just a place to turn on English subtitles (I wonder why they don't just call it that?).

The video and audio quality of the set is about what you would come to expect from a series that just aired months ago on TV--essentially flawless. The video is crisp and doesn't seem to suffer from any real issues, and the series has a rather nice Dolby Digital 5.1 sound that is loud and clear. Each episode contains English subtitles.

The set isn't exactly loaded with special features, but there are several included on here. First, there are three episodes with commentaries. These include "If This Boat Is a Rockin'" (Peter Krause and Allison Liddi-Brown), "Just Go Home" (Lauren Graham and Lawrence Trilling), and "Do Not Sleep With Your Autistic Nephew's Therapist" (Executive Producer Jason Katims). There are also a few deleted scenes from some episodes, including "The Booth Job" (1:42), "A House Divided" (1:55), "Do Not Sleep With Your Autistic Nephew's Therapist" (2:07), "New Plan" (1:11), and "Hard Times Come Again No More" (1:30). Finally, the special feature "From Page to Screen" (14:30) is a behind-the-scenes look with the cast and crew of taking the series from the script phase to actually producing the episode.

When the series premiered on NBC, it was hoped to be something like NBC's "white knight," but it hasn't really lived up to those expectations. Still, it has earned it's place on NBC, and is actually one of the few good family dramas that I've seen in recent years. The series doesn't really go for the outrageous or extreme, but is a very down to earth series that blends comedy and family drama rather well. This DVD set is another great set (even with the replaced theme song, which really isn't a huge deal with this series), and I'm only more anxious to see what the third season of the series holds now.

(4/5 stars)

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Amazon.com

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


CLICK OF THE WEEK

The Simpsons Archive (www.snpp.org) - Like we said last week, when we talked about the website Bundyology, we only like to include series specific websites when they stand out above the rest. And The Simpsons Archive is another shining example of a website for a TV series. On the main page, the website claims to be "the Internet's clearinghouse of Simpsons guides, news, and information," and they aren't kidding at all when they say this. You can truly find everything that you want to find about the series here, from the basics to the nitty gritty details.

The site, of course, gives you all of the basic information about all of the episodes, tells you about upcoming episodes, and gives news about the series, but that isn't even scratching into the heart of what you can find on the site. Want to know what couch gag was used on a specific episode? You can find it there. Looking for information about Simpsons games, CDs, DVDs, and virtually all other merchandise relating to the series? It's there. How about a complete listing of every song included in every single episode? It's there. Chalkboard gags? Prank calls to Moe? Thorough reviews of every episode? Quotes from every episode? It's all there. And so much more is there, too. It is hard to list everything that you can find on this website, so you should head on over there yourself to check it out!

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


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, August 18

Last Man Standing - "One Flew Into the Empty Nest" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Vanessa wants to board a foreign exchange student, Mike must work overtime to impress her father; Kristen and Ryan try to remain cool when Boyd invites a girl over.

Last Man Standing - "Bride of Prankenstein" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Mike and Chuck find the perfect target for a prank while working late to set up a security system at the store on Halloween; Mandy, Kyle, Kristen and Ryan hold a séance.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 12)

Friday, August 16

  • Lenny Clarke (Are You There, Chelsea?/It's All Relative/The Job/The John Larroquette Show/Lenny) - Watch Lenny on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Billy Eichner (Difficult People) - Billy appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Mark Hamill (The Texas Wheelers) - Mark is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Bradley Whitford (Perfect Harmony/Happyish/Trophy Wife) - Bradley appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Niecy Nash (Getting On/The Soul Man/Reno 911!) - Niecy talks about When They See Us on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Tate Donovan (Partners) - Tate appears on a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Christopher Abbott (Girls) - Christopher is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Sherri Shepherd (Mr. Iglesias/Sherri/Less Than Perfect) - Sherri appears on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Henry Winkler (Barry/Out of Practice/Monty/Happy Days) - Henry is a guest on a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Yvette Nicole Brown (The Mayor/The Odd Couple/Community) - Yvette guest co-hosts a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Loretta Devine (Family Reunion/The Carmichael Show) - Loretta talks about Family Reunion on Couch Surfing at 8am.
  • Leah Remini (Kevin Can Wait/The Exes/Family Tools/The King of Queens) - Leah will be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Marlon Wayans (Marlon/The Wayans Bros.) - Marlon talks about Sextuplets on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Candace Cameron Bure (Fuller House/Full House) - Candace prepares a warm, zesty zoodle salad on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Marilu Henner (Evening Shade/Taxi) - Marilu appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.


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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