TITLE: ANGER MANAGEMENT - SEASON ONE (BLU-RAY)
DVD Release Date: January 8, 2013 (Lionsgate)
Packaging: Eco Case with Outer Cardboard Sleeve
Number of Discs: 2
Number of Episodes: 10
Running Time: approx. 220 minutes
Running Time of Features: approx. 30 minutes
Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, English 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio
Subtitles and Captioning: English and Spanish Subtitles, Closed Captioned
Special Features: Anger Mismanagement (Gags), "Charlie's Baby": New Interview with Charlie Sheen,
"Behind the Couch": Meet Charlies's Patients on Set with the Therapy Group
Starring award-winning actor Charlie Sheen, "Anger Management" follows Charlie Goodson, a non-traditional therapist specializing in anger management. He has a successful private practice, holding sessions with his group of primary patient regulars each week, as well as performing pro bono counseling for an inmate group at a state prison. Charlie thrives on the chaos in his life while still battling his own anger issues. His life is complicated by his relationships with his own therapist/best friend (Selma Blair), an ex-wife (Shawnee Smith), and their 13-year-old daughter (Daniela Bobadilla).
Anger Management premiered on FX on June 28, 2012. "Chalie Goes Back to Therapy" was the first episode in which Charlie - a baseball player with anger issues turned anger management therapist - decides to return to therapy after a bad run-in with his ex-wife's new boyfriend. The new "Evolved" Charlie has to deal with a ghost from his old carousing, baseball-playing days when an unattractive woman he slept with just to break a batting slump shows up a new patient in group therapy in "Charlie and the Slumpbuster." Charlie challenges his group to do thirty-six hours of sleep deprivation therapy so that their "inhibitions come down and the truth comes out" - except the result turns out to be the exact opposite in "Charlie Tries Sleep Deprivation." A long-standing rivalry over who's a better therapist leads to war when Kate steals Patrick, one of Charlie's group patients in "Charlie and Kate Battle Over a Patient." Charlie falls for Jen's hot new business partner, Lori - played by Charlie's real-life ex, Denise Richards - only to find she thinks therapy is a scam in "Charlie Tries to Prove Therapy is Legit."
Inflamed by Kate's comment that he's only "nouveau smart," Charlie starts covertly dating a brilliant coffee shop barista in "Charlie Dates Kate's Patient." Charlie and his ex, Jennifer, are having an issue with how Charlie still tries to manage her life when Cleo - one of Charlie's patients from his prison anger therapy group - shows up on his doorstep, fresh out on parole in "Charlie's Patient Gets Out of Jail." Charlie has to evaluate the depth of his involvement in his patients' lives when he aaccidentally helps his patient, who vicariously enjoys other people's anger, hook up with a crazy woman in "Charlie Outs a Patient." Charlie gets an unexpected visit from his hyper-critical, bullying father - played by Charlie's real-life dad, Martin Sheen in "Charlie's Dad Visits." After Charlie and Kate have sex, he innocently asks her if she wants to go to a movie in "Charlie Gets Romantic."
All of the episodes appear to be unedited, with running times of over 21 minutes. Here is the breakdown by disc, including the exact runtimes:
"Charlie Goes Back to Therapy" (21:24)
"Charlie and the Slumpbuster" (21:28)
"Charlie Tries Sleep Deprivation" (21:29)
"Charlie and Kate Battle Over a Patient" (21:25)
"Charlie Tries to Prove Therapy is Legit" (21:08)
"Charlie Dates Kate's Patient" (21:28)
"Charlie's Patient Gets Out of Jail" (21:25)
"Charlie Outs a Patient" (21:27)
"Charlie's Dad Visits" (21:28)
"Charlie Gets Romantic" (21:18)
All 10 season one episodes are included in the 2-disc set. It comes in an eco case that is inside an outer carboard sleeve. Charlie Sheen is pictured on the cover in all white holding a paintbrush, with all white items in the background. The show logo and his name are above him. The back cover has another photo of Sheen, along with four small snapshots from the episodes. Two of them feature guest stars Martin Sheen and Denise Richards. A synopsis of the set, a listing of the special features and the DVD specs are provided. Two inserts are included inside the case. One is an episode guide that lists the episode titles, writing/directing credits and short summaries. The other pictures Charlie Sheen and promotes the show's return in January on FX. Disc One is held in a flip holder in the center of the case. Disc Two is an embedded holder in the back of the case. Both discs feature a different photo of Sheen and the show logo. Each disc contains five episodes.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are well-designed and easy to navigate. They have a series of video clips in two boxes in the background, with sepia-toned photos of the cast members rotated in the foreground. Each disc has a different set of video clips and photos. An extended version of the theme plays in the background for about 30 seconds before looping. Options for Play All Episode, Episode Selection, Set Up and Special Features are at the bottom of the screen. The option you highlight is underlined in white and turns red upon your selection. When you choose Episode Selection, it takes you to a sub-menu. There are snapshots from the episodes with the episode titles underneath them. There's a white border around the episode you highlight that turns red upon your selection. The Set Up menu allows you to choose the audio and turn on/off the subtitles. Selma Blair is featured on Disc One. Michael Arden is on the Disc Two menu. For the Special Features menu, we have Shawnee Smith on Disc One and Charlie Sheen on Disc Two. When you first insert Disc One, there are a series of trailers for Lionsgate Television (2:01) for Mad Men, Weeds, Nurse Jackie and Boss; Epix (1:21); and Mad Men - Season Five (1:15). The trailers can also be played from the Special Features menu. Chapter stops are placed at the appropriate places.
Video and Audio Quality:
These episodes just aired last summer, so they look and sound outstanding. Anger Management is a traditional multi-camera sitcom. The show has a nice look. The picture is incredibly sharp and the colors are vivid. Most of the show the show appears to be filmed on sets.
Episodes are presented in their original FX broadcast order. They are in 16x9 widescreen 1.78:1 format. The show is also available on Blu-ray for even better quality. For the closing logo enthusiasts, you will be in heaven. The show may have the most closing logos of any show in recent memory. They include Mohawk Productions, Inc., Revolution Studios, Estevez Sheen Productions, Twisted Television - A Mark Burg Company, Debmar-Mercury - A Lionsgate Company, Lionsgate, and FX.
The audio is available in English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio or English 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio. The volume is at a good level. The show is shot in front of a studio audience, so it does have a laugh track like a traditional sitcom. English and Spanish subitles are available. Closed captioning is also provided.
There are around 30 minutes of special features included. They include a gag reel and interviews with the cast and crew. It would have been nice to have some audio commentaries and deleted scenes, but this is a decent amount for a first season release. I would expect that we'll see more extras in future seasons.
Anger Mismanagement (8:45) - A nice mix of gags for all of the cast members from all of the episodes. You can tell they a lot of fun together during breaks of filming the scenes. These bloopers are in excellent video quality.
Charlie's Baby (17:18) - Interviews include Creator Bruce Helford, Charlie Sheen, Derek Richardson, Barry Corbin, Selma Blair,
Shawnee Smith, Daniela Bobadilla, Michael Arden and Noureen DeWulf. This featurette provides a nice overview of the first season. It's broken down into several sections: The Birth, The Breakdown, The Comeback, The Cast and On the Set. They talk about where the idea of the show came from. Sheen's character is discussed. They talk about Sheen's comeback. The cast and their characters are discussed. Guest stars Martin Sheen and Denise Richards are mentioned.
Behind the Couch: Meet Charlie's Patients (4:33) - Interviews include Derek Richardson, Noureen DeWulf, Michael Arden and Barry Corbin. They briefly talk about their characters and the show in general. This is a pretty short featurette. It could have easily been an additional ten minutes and more in-depth.
It was a quick and successful comeback for Charlie Sheen. Anger Management was the highest rated new comedy series on cable last year. It's second episode attractted 5.74 million viewers, which ranked it as the most-watched sitcom premiere in cable history. I think it would have had the same kind of instant success as a network sitcom. Everybody likes a good comeback. Charlie Sheen has a big fan base. There's really not much difference between airing on cable and a broadcast network. They can get away with a little more language and adult situations on cable. The show seems like it is set up for a good run. Sheen is doing a format he is comfortable with. He has surrounded himself with a strong supporting cast, just like he had on Two and a Half Men. The cast appears to have good timing and chemistry. Barry Corbin is especially hilarious as Ed. My main issue with the first season is that the episodes felt a little rushed. They didn't have much time to put together these ten episodes. There was also probably a few too many characters for a limited amount of episodes. Charlie is in the majority of the scenes, so that doesn't leave much time for some of the characters. Some of the recurring cast members, such as Brett Butler and Michael Boatman, seemed to be particularly underutilized in the first season. Since they were picked up for an additional 90 episodes, I would expect some of the characters will be expanded a bit.
This is a well-produced set. The special features aren't exactly plentiful, but they are decent enough for a first season release. The cast and crew interviews provide a good overview of the first season. Some audio commentaries and deleted scenes would have been a welcome addition. There probably wasn't a lot of extra time to put together more because they started filming new episodes in September.
Anger Management's second season premieres on FX on January 17 with back-to-back episodes at 9/8c and 9:30/8:30c. The show's regular timeslot will be Thursdays at 9:30/8:30c.
They are expected to air 45 episodes this year, so it will be airing almost weekly with few breaks. Martin Sheen will be joining the cast as a regular cast member. His guest appearance was one of season one's highlights, so it will be interesting to see more of the father-son duo together.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 2/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller
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