Saturday, December 17, 2011

Digital Digest: Growing Pains: The Movie and Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers DVD Review


Welcome back to one of the last editions of Digital Digest for 2011! Don't worry, we still have two more for this year, and we'll be back every Saturday next year, so we aren't going anywhere! In these last few weeks of the year, news and releases are really starting to drop off, but we do have some news for you, as well as a review of the separate releases Growing Pains: The Movie and Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers from Warner Archive. Let's get going!

DIGITAL NEWS

Manufacture-on-demand DVD products have become more prominent in the DVD market lately, and now, another studio is stepping in to the game. This time, the "new" studio to announce manufacture-on-demand releases is Lionsgate. The studio plans to release more than 100 TV and movie titles through the program, which began this week in a partnership with Amazon CreateSpace. The only TV series announced through this so far is ABC Family's Wildfire - Season Four, but hopefully there will be more to come in the future. You can check out this article for more details.

MPI is pushing forward with another release of Here's Lucy, as was speculated a few weeks ago. Now, the release date of February 28 for Here's Lucy - Season Five. The set comes at a $29.98 MSRP and can be ordered now.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (December 20) is the last day for studios to release new products leading in to the Christmas holiday, so it is a very light day with only two releases. First, MPI has the long-anticipated The Donna Reed - Season Four: The Lost Episodes. Also, Fox has Futurama - Volume Six (DVD/Blu-ray Disc). We hope to have reviews of these sets soon.




Blog DVD Review - Growing Pains: The Movie (Warner Archive, $19.95) and Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers (Warner Archive, $19.95)

There were dozens of family sitcoms in the '80s that came and went, and some stood the test of time better than others. One of those that really did stand the test of time was the sitcom Growing Pains. While it started as a series about a family where mom Maggie Seaver (Joanna Kerns) was out working while husband Jason Seaver (Alan Thicke) was the stay-at-home dad, it evolved significantly over the years into a series about a family that attracted a large audience every week. In 2000, eight years after the series ended (and during a brief period where reunion movies were huge), ABC broadcast a made-for-TV movie based upon the series, Growing Pains: The Movie. The movie also had a sequel in 2004, Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers. Now, both of these are available as separate releases from Warner Archive.

In Growing Pains: The Movie, we begin as Jason Seaver begins to catch fans up with what has happened in the past eight years while he is writing his latest book. At the same time, he is also preparing a big surprise for his 30th wedding anniversary, by reuniting the entire Seaver family, which doesn't seem to happen as often as the family has grown up. But in the midst of all of this, Maggie gets a very nasty surprise as she is fired as a staffer for the Congressman in the Seaver's district in Long Island. Unsure of where to head in life now, one of Mike and Kate's kids (they are now married, by the way) makes a suggestion that she run for Congress against the man who just fired her. The entire family works together for nearly a year to put together a campaign and see that she becomes Congresswoman Maggie Malone (using her maiden name, as she often did in the series). The runtime of this movie is 1:27:00.

Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers picks up four years after the original reunion movie, and is set in 2004. In this movie, everybody has gotten older, but in particular, Jason and Maggie have aged and are ready to retire. Part of the problem is trying to decide exactly what to do with their retirement, as Jason and Maggie have completely opposite ideas as to what they want. The situation only gets further complicated with the fact that they plan to sell their home, something that Mike and Carol are completely against. On top of all of that, all of the kids seem to be having problems that they can only turn to their parents to solve. The runtime of this movie is 1:29:00.

Both DVDs come in very standard packaging, but the artwork on the packaging is very professional, and even matches up with the artwork used on the season sets that Warner has released in the past. On the cover of each case, we have the title and a cast snapshot, along with a brief description of the movie and another cast snapshot on the back. Inside, all you will find is the disc, which has artwork similar to the cover artwork.

Both DVDs have incredibly bland and generic menus. The menus have nothing at all to do with the movies, and all we have is a picture of the Warner Bros. Studios water tower and an option of Play. There is nothing else, at all. As for chapters, they are placed every ten minutes throughout each DVD, which means that they do not necessarily correspond with the scene changes.

While neither of the movies were remastered for these DVDs, it really wasn't necessary to begin with. Both of them looked fine when they originally aired, and still look great now. It seems, though, that these were both done JUST BEFORE the beginning of the high-definition era, so they are in full-screen as opposed to widescreen. I'm pretty sure that is how they both originally aired on ABC. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital Stereo. And, while these were originally closed-captioned on ABC, they are not on these DVDs, which is unfortunate. The process for closed-captioning something for broadcast is different than it is for doing it for a DVD release, but those broadcast closed-captions would have in fact been available, and it is a shame that they couldn't find a way to use those.

There aren't any special features on the DVDs at all. What would have been nice to see would have been some behind-the-scenes footage about the production of the movies. I recall seeing plenty of this material on entertainment tabloid series such as Entertainment Tonight and Extra while they were producing the movies in Vancouver.

It is great to see both of these movies on DVD, particularly considering that I didn't think either one would ever make it to DVD. Aside from the fact that the DVDs were obviously very rushed and not a whole lot of effort was placed into them, both of these DVDs are perfectly adequate for fans. It would have been nicer if they had put both movies into one single set instead of creating two separate DVDs, though. While these reunion movies are not nearly as great as the original series was, it is still great to see them on DVD. Hopefully, these releases will spark more interest in the original series and we'll see more seasons of that released... in other words, hopefully, the "best is ready to begin!"

(4/5 stars)

To purchase Growing Pains: The Movie, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Warner Archive

To purchase Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Warner Archive

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Growing Pains on TV.com


CLICK OF THE WEEK

TheTVDB.com (www.thetvdb.com) - Recently, I was searching for a website that provides essential information about many TV series in a nice, clean, and easy-to-read format. In searching for this, I came across one that I had never heard of before, TheTVDB.com. As the name suggests, the website is a television database, where you can search for virtually any TV show that has ever existed and find information about those series. You won't necessarily find everything that you need on this site, but for virtually every series that you can even think of, you can find all of the information that is available from the Library of Congress, such as episode lists, airdates, production information, and (for many series) episodes synopses.

The website isn't necessarily an all-inclusive website, and definitely needs more additions to the database, but that is part of the reason why we have included this as the Click of the Week. The website is not created and run by one person or a small few, but this is a website much like Wikipedia where fans can update the database to make the website better and more detailed. The basic information that is provided on the site is very good, but the open interface allows it to infinitely expand to a greater website. As an example of what the website could be with more complete information, check out the page for The Office. It certainly isn't an all-inclusive page like individual websites dedicated to a series would have, but it provides a lot of the good "essentials" in a simple, elegant, and not over-bloated fashion. Hopefully, this site will become even more complete as time goes on, and become an excellent resource for TV fans needing to find basic information quickly.

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


Sitcoms Airing Tonight / Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows

Wednesday, February 28

The Conners - "Shrinks Don't Talk and Kids Don't Sing" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Mark adjusts to his first day of college as a commuter student; meanwhile, Becky gets into a disagreement with Beverly Rose’s music teacher over a song.

Not Dead Yet - "Not Polite Yet" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Lexi combines the first two floors of the newsroom, leaving Nell to share a cubicle with T.J., a popular sportswriter who’s friends with everyone … except her.

Abbott Elementary - "Breakup" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
When Barbara’s church choir uses the gym for rehearsals, Ava notices tensions in the group. Jacob’s eagerness for a full social calendar worries Gregory. Melissa and Janine investigate a new substitute.

That Girl Lay Lay - "Lay Lay Goes Away-Way" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Needing a best friend to talk to, Sadie wishes that phone avatar Lay Lay was real and could help teach her how to stand out; when Lay Lay is magically brought to life, the two friends learn that when they are together, they can accomplish anything.

That Girl Lay Lay - "Out the App 2: E-Lay-Lay-tric Boogaloo" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Needing a best friend to talk to, Sadie wishes that phone avatar Lay Lay was real and could help teach her how to stand out; when Lay Lay is magically brought to life, the two friends learn that when they are together, they can accomplish anything.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 26)

Wednesday, February 28

  • Bob Odenkirk (The Larry Sanders Show) - Watch Bob on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Carrie Preston (Crowded/Happyish/Emeril) - Carrie is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. She talks about Elsbeth on CBS Mornings some time between 7-9am.
  • Austin Butler (Ruby & the Rockits/Zoey 101/Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide) - Austin appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Jenny Slate (The Great North/Big Mouth/Married/Bob's Burgers) - Jenny is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Fred Armisen (Los Espookys/Forever/Final Space) - Fred sits in with The 8G Band on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Fortune Feimster (Kenan/Bless the Harts/Champions) and Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) - Fortune and Tig are guests on After Midnight at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm/Son of Zorn/Suburgatory) and Susie Essman (Curb Your Enthusiasm/Broad City/Baby Boom) - Cheryl and Susie are guests on Watch What Happens: Live at 10pm on Bravo
  • Zendaya (K.C. Undercover/Shake It Up) - E! News has an interview with Zendaya at 11pm on E!.
  • Alan Cumming (Schmigadoon!) - Alan is joining Drew and Ross Mathews at the Drew'ss News desk to discuss headlines like the Romy and Michele's High School Reunion sequel in the works and the American alternative to the Irish exit on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kim Fields (The Upshaws/Living Single/The Facts of Life/Baby, I'm Back) - Kim discusses her wellness retreat and the upcoming new season of Netflix's The Upshaws on Access Daily with Mario & Kit, so check your local listings.
  • Vivica A. Fox (Mr. Box Office/Getting Personal/Arsenio/Out All Night) and Michael Beach (The Game) - The cast of Soul Food reunite and discuss Hulu's new Black Stories Always on ABC's GMA 3: What You Need to Know at 1pm.
  • Diane Farr (Splitting Together/Like Family/The Job) - Diane discusses the CBS drama series Fire Country on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (November-February)

Leave it to Beaver - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Father Knows Best - The Complete Series 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)

11/07 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Sixth Season (Blu-ray) (DVD)
11/14 - Leave it to Beaver - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
12/05 - Father Knows Best - The Complete Series
12/05 - The Odd Couple - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
12/12 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - The Complete Series
12/12 - Looney Tunes Collector's Choice - Volume 2 (Blu-ray)
12/12 - That Girl - The Complete Series
12/15 - Letterkenny - Season 11
12/19 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Official Restored Complete Series
12/22 - Three's Company - The Official 40th Anniversary Collection (includes The Ropers and Three's a Crowd)
01/09 - South Park - Seasons 11-15 (Blu-ray)
01/16 - Ghosts (UK) - Season Five
02/13 - Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
02/27 - The Really Loud House - Season One

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

More Recent and Upcoming TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

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02/26 - Hulu Orders Chad Powers Starring Glen Powell; Netflix's Mindy Kaling Produced Comedy Rounds Out Cast
02/25 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 26, 2024)
02/24 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Frasier Reboot Gets Second Season; Jimmy Kimmel Hints at End of Talk Show
02/23 - Paramount+ Renews Frasier for Season 2; Netflix Orders Series from Maid Showrunner
02/22 - 30th SAG Awards Presenters Announced; Jay Pharoah Heads to Fox
02/21 - SNL Loads Up for Next 3 Weeks; Tig Notaro Prime Video Special
02/20 - Brittany Snow to Star Opposite Malin Akerman in Starz Series; Dennis Quaid Joining Paramount+
02/19 - Rewind TV's 227 on 2/27 Marathon; Dolly Parton's Pet Gala with Special Guests
02/18 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 19, 2024)
02/17 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Bewitched Reboot in the Works; Paramount+ and Peacock in Merger Talks
02/16 - TCA Winter 2024 Press Tour: The CW; Girls5eva Season 3 Premieres March 14
02/15 - TCA Winter 2024 Press Tour: Peacock, Syfy and NBC
02/14 - Survival of the Thickest Gets 2nd Season; Roma Downey and Ted McGinley Set to Star on Prime Video
02/13 - Netflix Announces Adam Sandler Special; Tyler Perry Gets Another Series
02/12 - TCA Winter 2024 Press Tour: ABC, Disney, Hulu, FX
02/11 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 12, 2024)
02/10 - SitcomsOnline Digest: FX Sticking with Binge Drop for The Bear; Peak TV Declared to Be "Over"
02/09 - More Stars for Netflix's No Good Deed; ID Premiering Quiet On Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV; Remembering Carl Weathers
02/08 - Apple TV+ Comedy Series Palm Royale Has Star Power; Katt Williams Gets New Netflix Comedy Special
02/07 - Hallmark Movies & Mysteries to Rebrand as Hallmark Mystery; Fox Renews Animal Control for Season 3 Ahead of Season 2 Launch
02/06 - COZI TV's The Many Loves of Frasier Crane Marathon; Netflix Announces Cast for Ted Danson Comedy
02/05 - Lopez vs Lopez Airing in April on NBC; Apple TV+ New Peanuts Special on February 16
02/04 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 5, 2024)
02/03 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Curb Your Enthusiasm Really Ending After 12 Seasons; Season Two Premiere Date Set for Lopez vs Lopez
02/02 - Extraordinary Season 2 This March on Hulu; Great American Family Sets Hosts for Gala
02/01 - Colin from Accounts Returning to Paramount+; Weakest Link Days of Our Lives Special
01/31 - Hulu Black History Month Includes Timeless Classics; BUZZR Celebrates Black History Month, Too
01/30 - Good Times 50th Anniversary Marathons on get.; Password Returns for Season 2 on NBC
01/29 - Antenna TV's I Wish for an I Dream of Jeannie Valentine's Day Marathon; Malin Akerman Headlining Starz Drama
01/28 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 29, 2024)
01/27 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Jon Stewart Set to Return to The Daily Show Once a Week; Ted McGinley to Star in Prime Video Series