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

Friday, October 23

none scheduled

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 19)

Friday, October 23

  • Emma Roberts (Scream Queens/Unfaboulus) - Watch Emma on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Chelsea Handler (Are You There, Chelsea?) - Chelsa appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle (Pen15) - Maya and Anna are guests on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Anthony Anderson (black-ish/Guys with Kids/All About the Andersons) - Anthony talks about black-ish on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Annie Potts (Young Sheldon/Love & War/Designing Women) - Annie is a guest on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Marlon Wayans (Marlon/The Wayans Bros.) - Marlon will be on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy/American Dad!/The Cleveland Show) and Liz Gillies (Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll/Victorious) - Seth and Liz talk about their new album Liz Gillies and Seth MacFarlane: Songs From Home on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Malin Akerman (Trophy Wife/Sin City Saints) and Kat Dennings (2 Broke Girls/Raising Dad) - Malin and Kat talk about Friendsgiving on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Peter Facinelli (Nurse Jackie) - Peter talks about his latest projects, including becoming certified in hypnotherapy, and watch as he tries to hypnotize one of the hosts LIVE on E!'s Daily Pop at 11am.
  • Tommy Davidson (Between Brothers) - Tommy will be on The Doctors, so check your local listings.
  • Lena Waithe (Master of None) - Lena talks about Bad Hair on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Jay Pharoah (White Famous) - Jay talks about Bad Hair on Couch Surfing at 8am.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (July/August/September/October)

Will & Grace - The Revival -Season Three - The Farewell Season Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season Mom - The Complete Seventh Season The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season

07/07 - Will & Grace - The Revival - Season Three - The Farewell Season
07/21 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Tenth Season
07/21 - The Thundermans - Season 1 / Season 2 / Season 3 / Season 4
07/21 - The Unicorn - Season One
07/28 - The Thundermans - Season 1-4 Bundle
08/04 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Eighth Season
08/04 - The Neighborhood - Season One
08/11 - Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens - Season 1
08/11 - Final Space - The First and Second Seasons (Blu-ray)
09/01 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Season 14
09/01 - What We Do in the Shadows - The Complete Second Season
09/01 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
09/15 - Mom - The Complete Seventh Season
09/15 - South Side - Season 1
09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Second Season
09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Third Season
09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Fourth Season
09/22 - Man with a Plan - Season Three
09/29 - The Bob Newhart Show - The Complete Series (2020 Release)
10/13 - The Jetsons - The Complete Series (Diamond Collection)
10/13 - Our Cartoon President - Season Two
10/27 - The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
10/27 - Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

10/23 - Fri-Yay: Archer Goes Back to Its Roots for Season 11; Everybody Loves Raymond Cast Reunion Tonight
10/22 - CBS Announces More Fall Premieres; REELZ Books Jennifer Aniston Special
10/21 - MeTV Network Acquires Looney Tunes and More Classic Cartoons; Kaley Cuoco HBO Max Series Announces Nov. 26 Premiere
10/20 - Antenna TV Officially Announces Returns of The Jeffersons and One Day at a Time; Holiday Movie Reunites Family Matters Siblings
10/19 - Disney+ Says "Simpsons Forever"; TBS Orders 4th Season of The Last O.G.
10/18 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 19, 2020)
10/17 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Fried Green Tomatoes Series Starring Reba McEntire in the Works at NBC; Last Man Standing to End After Nine Seasons
10/16 - Fri-Yay: COVID-19 Storylines on TV, Will Viewers Watch?; Antenna TV's 70 Episode Jack Benny Marathon for 70th Anniversary
10/15 - Last Man Standing to Conclude After Season 9 in 2021; CBS Announces Fall 2020 Premiere Dates
10/14 - TBS Brings Out Halloween Sitcom Episodes on Halloween; Remembering Conchata Ferrell of Two and a Half Men
10/13 - Freeform's 'Kickoff to Christmas' Schedule; Celebrate 20 Years of Curb on HBO Max
10/12 - TNT Airing The West Wing Reruns on Fridays; Kate Mulgrew Joins Star Trek Animated Comedy
10/11 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 12, 2020)
10/10 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Seinfeld's Newman Returns in PSA to Encourage Mail-In Voting; Showtime Cancels On Becoming a God in Central Florida
10/09 - Fri-Yay: One Day at a Time Makes Broadcast Debut As a Continuation of the Series' Unlikely Journey; Dickinson Season 2 Premiere Date and Renewal for Season 3
10/08 - Hallmark Drama Adding Cheers, Happy Days and The Brady Bunch; Chelsea Handler HBO Max Special Gets Date
10/07 - NBC Fall Pilot Review: Connecting... - Premieres Thursday (Oct. 8); Supernatural Gets Marathons on TNT as Series Finale Airs Nov. 19 on The CW
10/06 - Cobra Kai Season 3 Premiere Date, 4th Season Renewal; Busy Philipps Joins Peacock Comedy Girls5eva
10/05 - Apple TV+ Launches The Snoopy Show in 2021; Antenna TV Celebrates 70th Anniversary of The Burns and Allen Show
10/04 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 5, 2020)
10/03 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Saved by the Bell Reboot Debut Date Set; South Park Pandemic Special a Ratings Hit
10/02 - Fri-Yay: The Return of Sitcoms: black-ish & Superstore; Bounce Acquires Everybody Hates Chris & Greenleaf
10/01 - NBC's Young Rock Announces Cast; OWN Gets Digital Comedy
09/30 - Saved by the Bell Reboot Launching November 25; HBO Orders Weekly Talk Show with Sam Jay
09/29 - The Addams Family Coming to FETV; Netflix Developing Korean Sitcom
09/28 - 2002-2007 Sitcom George Lopez Coming to TBS; Guests Announced for black-ish Election Special
09/27 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 28, 2020)
09/26 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Peacock to Launch All 45 Seasons of Saturday Night Live; Renewal for Family Guy and Bob's Burgers
09/25 - Fri-Yay: Schitt's Creek Emmy Sweep; HBO Max Orders New Pretty Little Liars
09/24 - NBC Moves This Is Us, Connecting Premieres; Fox Orders 2 More Seasons for Bob's Burgers & Family Guy
09/23 - Schitt's Creek Heads to Syndication on Stations and Comedy Central; Apple Orders Patricia Arquette Comedy