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

Wednesday, August 17

Abbott Elementary - "Pilot" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
In this workplace comedy, a group of dedicated, passionate teachers — and a slightly tone-deaf principal — are brought together in a Philadelphia public school where, despite the odds stacked against them, they are determined to help their students succeed in life. Though these incredible educators may be outnumbered and underfunded, they love what they do — even if they don’t love the school district’s less-than-stellar attitude toward educating children.

Abbott Elementary - "Work Family" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After Jacob reveals a detail about his personal life, Janine realizes she doesn’t know the other teachers as well as she thought. Meanwhile, as Gregory’s stern teaching approach is causing his whole class to underperform, Barbara and Melissa teach him how to relax and make his lessons more fun.

Abbott Elementary - "Step Class" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Janine is thrilled when Ava asks to help her teach the after-school step class, but the two don’t see eye to eye on how to run the program. Later, when Barbara, Melissa and Jacob plan an “eat-off” to decide who makes the best pizza in Philadelphia, Gregory is forced to reveal a secret.

Abbott Elementary - "Desking" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When the students start participating in a new online trend that causes disruption to the school, the teachers band together to put an end to it. Meanwhile, Mr. Johnson provides comforting life advice to Gregory; and later, the teachers finally meet Jacob’s boyfriend, Zach, who joins in to help stop the students “desking”.

Wellington Paranormal - "Mobots" (The CW, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Officer Minogue meets Officer O'Leary's mom when they use her house for a stakeout to investigate why a mass quantity of obsolete electronics goes missing.

Wellington Paranormal - "The Invisible Fiend" (The CW, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Minogue and O'Leary investigate a mysterious home invasion with no visible signs of entry, managing to arrest an invisible creature and bring it back to the station for questioning.

grown-ish - "You Don't Know Me" (Freeform, 10:00PM ET/PT)
The girls enlist Junior's help to find their shady roommate, Lauryn, who has a habit of mysteriously disappearing; Junior wonders if Annika is starting to catch feelings for him; Aaron suspects that Doug isn't being honest with him.

Everything's Trash - "Rom-Coms Are Mostly Trash" (Freeform, 10:30PM ET/PT)
After Phoebe suddenly sees Michael in a new light, she attempts to set him up with Malika, who already has her eye on an old flame; Jayden worries that he and Jessie have lost their spark, so they decide to spice things up.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 15)

Wednesday, August 17

  • Alison Brie (GLOW/Community) - Watch Alison Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Sasheer Zamata (Home Economics/Woke) - Sasheer appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Nicole Byer (Grand Crew/Loosely Exactly Nicole) - Nicole guest hosts Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Demi Lovato (Sonny with a Chance) - Demi co-hosts The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Kenan Thompson (Kenan/Kenan & Kel) - Kenan will be on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Zazie Beetz (Atlanta) - Zazie appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Simu Liu (Kim's Convenience) - Simu chats with the ladies of The View on a repeat on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Susan Walters (Dear John/The War Next Door) - Susan is a guest on a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Blair Underwood (The New Adventures of Old Christine) - Blair will be on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Kel Mitchell (Game Shakers/Kenan & Kel) - Kel appears on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Sherri Shepherd (Mr. Iglesias/Trial & Error/Sherri/Less Than Perfect/Suddenly Susan) - Sherri guest hosts a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Josh Peck (Grandfathered/Drake & Josh) and Rhea Perlman (Cheers/Pearl/Kirstie) - Josh and Rhea talk about Netflix's 13: The Musical on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
  • Murray Bartlett (Physical/Looking) - Murry talks about White Lotus on ABC's GMA 3: What You Need to Know at 1pm.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (April-August)

Up All Night - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) The Danny Thomas Show (aka Make Room for Daddy) - The Complete Fourth Season Becker - The Complete Series (2022 Release) The Neighborhood - Season Four The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Three

04/05 - Up All Night - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
04/26 - The Danny Thomas Show (aka Make Room for Daddy) - The Complete Fourth Season
04/26 - Jackie Gleason TV Treasures - 70th Anniversary Collection (including Honeymooners Rarities)
05/03 - No Activity - Season Three
05/13 - The Donna Reed Show - The Complete Seasons 1-5 (Time Life)
05/31 - Becker - The Complete Series (2022 Release)
06/14 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Eleventh Season
06/14 - Hacks - Season One (Blu-ray) (DVD)
06/14 - Rutherford Falls - Season One (Blu-ray) (DVD)
06/21 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season One / Season Two
07/19 - The Neighborhood - Season Four
07/19 - Reno 911! - The Hunt for QAnon (Blu-ray) (DVD)
07/26 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Three / Season Four
08/16 - And Just Like That... - The Complete First Season (Warner Bros. - Canada)
08/16 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Fourth Season (Blu-ray) (DVD)
More Recent and Upcoming TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

08/16 - Nexstar Media Group to Acquire The CW Network; Tubi Orders Breaking Bear, New Animated Comedy
08/15 - Abbott Elementary Summer School Marathon on ABC; Freevee's High School Premieres in October
08/14 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 15, 2022)
08/13 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Game Shows Moving to Primetime Emmys; Ring Doorbell Viral Video Show in the Works
08/12 - Apple TV+ Renews Physical for Season 3; Lifetime Orders It's a Wonderful Lifetime and Ripped from the Headlines Titles for Fall & Winter
08/11 - Hallmark Original Series Sets Cast; Remembering Pat Carroll, Roger E. Mosley and Vin Scully
08/10 - Cobra Kai Returns Sept. 9 on Netflix; Marlon Wayans Gets Starz Comedy
08/09 - COZI TV Celebrates Emergency! 50th Anniversary with Documentary; Kaley Cuoco Heads to Peacock for Comedic Thriller Series
08/08 - FETV Acquires Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman; Disney+ Orders 2nd Season of Robin Roberts Talk Show
08/07 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 8, 2022)
08/06 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Everybody Still Hates Chris Animated Series in the Works; HBO Max and Discovery+ Merging Into One
08/05 - Disney+ Series Premiere Dates, Includes Dancing with the Stars; Hallmark Orders New Original Drama
08/04 - NBC Moving Days of Our Lives to Peacock, Replacing with News Show; Selena + Chef Returns on HBO Max
08/03 - FX's Atlanta Final Season Launches Sept. 15; Elisabeth Moss Gets New Hulu Series
08/02 - Showtime Orders Comedy Pilot Titled Mason; NBC Renews Weakest Link Revival for Season 3
08/01 - HBO's Los Espookys Returns in September; Good Grief Is Back on IFC
07/31 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 1, 2022)
07/30 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Max Headroom Reboot in Works at AMC Networks; Jeopardy! to Continue Dual Host Plan
07/29 - HBO Max and Hulu to Share Streaming Rights to Abbott Elementary; Reboot Gets Premiere Date
07/28 - ABC to Present Norman Lear: 100 Years of Music and Laughter; Remembering Tony Dow of Leave it to Beaver and Paul Sorvino
07/27 - The Orville Coming to Disney+ and Continues on Hulu; Retta Continues Partnership with HGTV
07/26 - Mythic Quest Returns for 10 Episodes in Fall; Patton Oswalt's Netflix Comedy Special We All Scream Premieres September 20
07/25 - American Dad! Returns Labor Day on TBS; Krapopolis Gets Special Nov. 27 Preview on Fox
07/24 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 25, 2022)
07/23 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Abbott Elementary Given Full Second Season; Preview of New Beavis and Butt-Head Episode
07/22 - Ghosts Dives Into the Metaverse with a Game; Jo Koy Gets 4th Netflix Special; Remembering Rebecca Balding of Soap
07/21 - South Park's 25th Anniversary Concert Event; FETV's Historic June Numbers
07/20 - Hulu's This Fool Premieres August 12; Mo'Nique Gets Netflix Comedy Special
07/19 - Apple TV+ Comedy Central Park Returns in September; Leah Remini Game Show Is Back on Aug. 1
07/18 - Paramount+ Revives Criminal Minds; AMC Network Sizzling in August with Hot Originals
07/17 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 18, 2022)
07/16 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Beavis and Butt-Head Premiere Date Set; TBS Abruptly Cancels Chad Hours Before Season Premiere