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Week 31 TV Ratings and Analysis; How the Sitcoms Did

Week 31 TV Ratings (first four nights, Mon-Thurs finals):

Households: #1. Fox 7.8/12.5 rating/share; #2. CBS 6.3/10.3; #3. ABC 5.8/9.5; #4. NBC 3.8/6.2; #5. The CW 1.1/1.8
Total Viewers: #1. Fox 13.42 million; #2. CBS 9.92 million; #3. ABC 8.91 million; #4. NBC 5.77 million; #5. The CW 1.67 million.
Adults 18-49: #1. Fox 4.5/12.7 rating/share; #2. CBS 2.5/7.0; #3. ABC 2.5/7.0; #4. NBC 2.1/5.9; #5. The CW 0.8/2.2

Week 31 (April 19-25) Analysis: For week 31, thus far through the first four nights it is a three-network race once again but Fox has a comfortable lead in all categories...but can they hang on? So far through the first four night, Fox is first across the board, with CBS second in HH/viewers. 2nd in 18-49 is a tie between CBS and ABC for the second straight week. ABC is third in HH/viewers. NBC is in fourth across the board again. Last week, week 30, CBS took home first place in HH/viewers, but couldn't squeak by Fox in 18-49 again. ABC squeaked past Fox for second in HH/viewers. ABC was third in 18-49, but only .1 off from 2nd. Fox was third in HH/viewers and NBC was a clear fourth in all categories.

On Monday it was ABC with a big win again with Dancing with the Stars season ten continuing to pull in big ratings. ABC aired a 90-minute edition of Dancing with the Stars this time and it did 21.07 million and a 4.8 18-49 rating, up from previous week in viewers when it was 2-hours. Dancing is once again the top show of the week in viewers beating Idol! Since this was only a 90-minute edition, ABC launched the new sitcom Romantically Challenged at 9:30pm to decent numbers doing 10.67 million and a 2.9 18-49 rating. The key for the sitcom is to keep this audience steady the next few weeks so it can return and possibly move to the Wednesday comedy block next fall! Watch the show, it is funny and stars Alyssa Milano--can't get any better than that! At 10pm, ABC had an all-new Castle doing a solid 10.39 million and a 2.6 18-49 rating, though down 2 million from previous week with a weaker lead-in. Still the 10.39 million is better than what it was doing in the fall. CBS started off the night with a new episode of How I Met Your Mother doing 7.71 million and a 3.2 18-49 rating, up a good amount from the previous week. A new Rules of Engagement was next doing 7.49 million and 3.0 18-49, both up a bit from the previous week again. Then at 9pm a repeat of Two and a Half Men sparked up to 11.42 million and a 3.8 18-49 rating. That's some great numbers for a repeat. Then a repeat of The Big Bang Theory built on the lead-in and did 11.66 million and a 4.1 18-49 rating, great numbers for a repeat as it built from the lead-in and didn't face Dancing on ABC. CBS closed the night with a new CSI: Miami at 11.66 million and a 3.2 18-49 rating, up some from previous week. Tomorrow CBS is all repeats for the night except for Rules. Fox started the night with a brand new House doing 10.81 million and a 4.1 18-49 rating, which is both below normal but on par from previous week. At 9pm a new 24 did 8.94 million and a 2.8 18-49, both up from previous week again. NBC was of course in fourth with a repeat of Chuck barely registering at 2.85 million and a 0.9 18-49. An all-new Trauma followed an needed some trauma at only 4.68 million and a 1.3 18-49 rating, on par really from the previous week. At 10pm a Law & Order repeat did only 4.31 million and 1.2 18-49 rating, on par from previous week's repeat. Over at The CW, they started with an repeat of One Tree Hill at 8pm and did 1.03 million and a 0.5 18-49 rating. Then at 9pm a repeat of Gossip Girl did 820,000 viewers and a 0.4 18-49 rating.

On Tuesday, Fox took the night by a wide margin as CBS was in repeats. Fox aired an all-new American Idol doing 19.67 million and a 6.9 18-49 rating in the 8pm hour, down some from previous week when it was 90-minutes. Then Glee aired from 9:03-10:04pm (why does Idol always run late?) and did 12.98 million and a 5.3 18-49 rating, down some from the spring premiere the previous week. CBS had all repeats again. They started with a NCIS repeat doing 9.99 million and a 1.8 18-49 rating, both down from previous week's repeat. When was the last time this show was under 10 million--new or repeat? The spin-off NCIS: Los Angeles followed with a repeat doing 10.27 million and a 2.0 18-49 rating, building for the first time from the lead-in, but they were repeats. I still think these shows should switch time slots next fall...the stronger show should always air a 9. And finally The Good Wife closed the night with a repeat doing 7.67 million and only a 1.3 18-49 rating, off a bit from previous week's repeat. ABC started off the night with Dancing with the Stars: The Results doing 13.56 million and a 2.4 18-49 rating, on par really in viewers from previous week as Kate Gosselin was sent home. Then an all-new episode of the final season of LOST was next with 9.53 million and a 3.7 rating, up a tad in viewers from week-to-week but down some in 18-49. V finished the night with 5.81 million and a 2.2 rating, up some in viewers and the same 18-49 rating from previous week. This show benefits a ton in DVR/online/iTunes. NBC started with a two-hour The Biggest Loser and did 8.58 million and a 3.4 18-49 rating, up some from the previous week. A new Parenthood was next doing 7.27 million and a 2.9 18-49 rating, both up from previous week and best showing since episode two. The CW aired repeats of 90210 and Life UneXpected as 90210 did only 790,000 viewers and a 0.3 18-49 rating, while Life UneXpected repeat did 760,000 viewers and a 0.3 18-49 rating...this show should come back instead of Melrose Place.

On Wednesday Fox prevailed again with Idol. Fox aired a special American Idol Results that included the charity special Idol Gives Back and did 18.82 million and a 5.9 18-49 rating, down sharply from previous week in both categories. The special aired from 8-10:24pm ET. This show can never end on time. CBS started with a new The New Adventures of Old Christine doing only 5.2 million and a 1.5 18-49 rating, down in both categories from previous week, I know it was up against Idol, but that was lower than usual. Accidentally on Purpose followed with its season finale (or series finale?) doing 5.23 million and 1.5 18-49 rating, down week-to-week, and losing to the competing ABC comedy which was a REPEAT. Next CBS aired a repeat of Criminal Minds and did 8.09 million and a 1.8 18-49 rating. CSI: NY closed the night with a repeat at 10pm with 6.82 million and a 1.4 18-49 rating, seems low. ABC had a night of repeats of Comedy Wednesday and they doubled up on them! In the 8pm hour two repeats of The Middle did 4.36 and 4.71 million and a 1.4 and 1.6 18-49 rating, the latter beating a CBS comedy which was new. In the 9pm hour, two repeats of Modern Family followed with good numbers for a repeat doing 5.55 and 4.92 million and a 2.2 and 2.0 18-49 rating. Next in the 10pm hour we got two repeats of Cougar Town doing 3.14 and 3.09 million and a 1.3 and 1.2 18-49 rating, not much lower than what new episodes of Ugly Betty were doing. ABC launches the new mystery drama Happy Town this week. NBC started with a new Mercy doing 5.06 million and a 1.2 18-49 rating, that is lower than a repeat of A Minute to Win It from previous week. Sad right? A repeat of Law & Order: SVU was next and did 5.25 million and a 1.4 18-49 rating, both up some from previous week's 9pm repeat. An all-new Law & Order: SVU at 10pm did 8.75 million and a 2.8 rating, against repeats. The CW aired America's Next Top Model at 8pm doing 2.97 million and a 1.4 18-49 rating, both up from previous week. Fly Girls followed with 900,000 viewers as viewers flew away again and it also did only a 0.4 18-49 rating...but both were the exact same as previous week. High Society closed the night with 800,000 viewers and 0.4 18-40 rating, but up ever so slightly from previous week in viewers.

Moving on to Thursday, CBS was in control on a below normal night. CBS started with the durable Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains at 8pm doing 11.89 million and a 3.6 rating in 18-49, down a bit from previous week. A new CSI at 9pm did 13.35 million and a 2.8 18-49 rating, up a tad in viewers but down a bit in 18-49 from the previous week. The Mentalist finished the night with a new showing doing 14.96 million and a 3.0 18-49 rating, down from its last new episode two weeks ago. ABC began the night with FLASHFORWARD at 8pm doing 5.53 million and a 1.6 18-49 rating, both up from previous week...good episode! April 29 is this week, which is mentioned on the show a lot. What will happen? Watch! ABC aired an all-new Private Practice on a special time instead of the usual Grey's Anatomy doing a decent 7.49 million and a 2.3 18-49 rating. At 10pm a repeat of Grey's Anatomy on a special time did 4.35 million viewers a 1.3 18-49 rating, Grey's is all-new at 9pm this week for the rest of the season. Fox aired a new Bones and did 9.01 million and a 2.5 18-49 rating, down some from previous week. A new Fringe garnered 5.84 million and a 2.1 18-49 rating, both down from previous week. NBC started off with a new Community doing only 3.67 million and a 1.6 18-49 rating, next Parks and Recreation was preempted but they aired a special new episode of 30 Rock doing only 4.0 and a 1.9 18-49 rating. Not good folks, yes the NFL draft might have been the reason why. At 9pm a new The Office did only 6.3 million and a 3.2 18-49 rating for season lows. Another new 30 Rock was next doing 5.16 million and a 2.5 18049 rating. At 10pm the falling The Marriage Ref was next doing only 4.27 million and a 1.9 18-49 rating. The CW aired a new Vampire Diaries doing 3.33 million and a 1.6 18-49 rating, up some in viewers from previous week. Supernatural followed with 2.82 million and a 1.4 18-49 rating, both up from previous week.

Now, final numbers for Friday and Saturday are not available as usual, but NBC won Friday in viewers and 18-49 on Friday actually for the second straight week as CBS was in repeats again. Fox won on Saturday thanks to their regular crime reality series.
Tonight ABC airs a new episode of America's Funniest Home Videos, a repeat of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition BUT Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters are all-new again! CBS airs a new The Amazing Race but Cold Case is preempted for a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie from 9-11pm that will be old skewing. NBC has A Minute to Win It at 8 followed by a new Celebrity Apprentice starting at 9pm. Fox has repeats of The Cleveland Show & Family Guy and new episodes of 'Til Death, The Simpsons and American Dad. As for the coming week, ABC launches new mystery drama Happy Town on Wednesday at 10/9 central! And don't forget Romantically Challenged starring Alyssa Milano airs episode two tomorrow at 9:30! You need to watch as a fan of sitcoms!

Week 31 How the Sitcoms Did

Last Sunday Sitcoms (counts for week 30-- April 12-18)

  • 'Til Death (Fox) - An all-new episode only mustered 1.76 million, down even from the previous week.
  • The Simpsons (Fox) 2 airings - A repeat episode at 7:30pm did only 2.39 million, down some from previous week's repeat. A new episode at 8pm did 5.83 million and a 2.7 18-49 rating...seems below normal but it was up some from previous week in viewers.
  • The Cleveland Show (Fox) - A repeat did 5.09 million and a 2.4 18-49 rating. That was just off from previous week, when it was all-new...so good repeat numbers.
  • Family Guy (Fox) - A repeat did 6.03 million and a 2.8 18-49 rating. Even as a repeat, it is still best of the Fox block.
  • American Dad (Fox) - An all-new episode did 5.22 million and a 2.5 18-49 rating. That is actually up from previous week when the lead-in was all-new.

Monday Sitcoms

  • How I Met Your Mother (CBS) - A new episode did 7.71 million and a 3.2 18-49 rating. Both up sharply from previous week's lower numbers...and now tomorrow is a repeat.
  • Rules of Engagement (CBS) - 7.49 million and a 3.0 18-49 rating for a new episode, up some from previous week.
  • Two and a Half Men (CBS) - A repeat did 11.42 million and a 3.8 18-49 rating. Nice repeat numbers.
  • The Big Bang Theory (CBS) - A repeat at 9:30pm did 11.66 million and a 4.1 18-49 rating. Outstanding as it built from the lead-in, but it didn't have to face Dancing on ABC as that did.
  • Romantically Challenged (ABC) - Going up against the highest rated sitcom (and now also scripted series) in 18-49 (new and repeat), the premiere did a solid 10.67 million and a 2.9 18-49 rating. It just needs to stay around this area the next few weeks and ABC will bring it back, and they should place it on Comedy Wednesday next fall. Please watch so this happens! We need another multicam (aka traditional) sitcom hit!

Tuesday Sitcoms

  • None.


Wednesday Sitcoms

  • Old Christine (CBS) - A new episode did 5.2 million and a 1.5 18-49 rating, terrible. I know Idol was on, but that was below its average. Could this be the last season?
  • Accidentally on Purpose (CBS) - The finale did only 5.23 million and 1.5 18-49 rating. I think you have seen the last of this show.
  • The Middle (ABC) 2 airings - ABC aired double episodes all night of its comedies, but in repeats. Two repeats of this show did a decent 4.36 and 4.67 million, and a 1.4 and 1.6 18-49 rating. 1.6 beats the new CBS comedy at 8:30.
  • Modern Family (ABC) 2 airings - Two repeats in the 9pm hour did 5.55 and 4.92 million and a better than average for a repeat 2.2 and 2.0 18-49 rating.
  • Cougar Town (ABC) 2 airings - Two repeats in the 10pm hour did 3.14 and 3.09 million and a 1.3 and 1.2 18-49 rating. If ABC can find a good new comedy at 9:30, I can totally see this show moving to 10pm in the fall. I think it would work, too. More comedies the better!

Thursday Sitcoms

  • Community (NBC) - A new episode did only 3.67 million, ouch...1.6 18-49 rating is not too good either. Series lows.
  • Parks & Recreation (NBC) - preempted.
  • The Office (NBC) - A new episode at 9 did 6.3 million and a 3.2 18-49 rating. Not on my impressive list this week for the first time this season (when it is new, of course). Season lows.
  • 30 Rock (NBC) 2 airings - A special new airing at 8:30pm only did 4.0 million and a 1.9 18-49 rating. Not good at all...9:30pm was a bit better doing 5.16 million and a 2.5 18-49 rating.

Friday Sitcoms

  • None.

Saturday Sitcoms

  • None.

Airing tonight (Sunday) are a mix of new and repeats of Animation Domination.

Summing it up. Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Rules of Engagement were impressive this week. Everything was OK (such as repeats of Modern Family and The Middle) or just plain old terrible (such as Community & Accidentally on Purpose).

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Digital Digest: DVD Reviews of The Unusuals - The Complete Series; I Love Lucy - The Movie; Perry Mason - Season 5, Volume 1

We have a busy week this week for Digital Digest, with more news about your favorite shows on home media, a look at the releases coming out this week, and (for the first time ever) THREE DVD reviews! We'll be looking at The Unusuals - The Complete Series, I Love Lucy - The Movie and Other Great Rarities, and Perry Mason - Season 5, Volume 1. So we'll forgo a lengthy introduction this week to get you into this version of Digital Digest!

DIGITAL NEWS

We've been reporting on a lot of current series being released on DVD lately, as it is pretty common to hear a lot about these releases this time of year. This week, we have word, thanks to a pre-order link on Amazon.com, that the CBS sitcom Accidentally on Purpose - The First Season is slated for a DVD release with an unknown date at a $41.99 MSRP. Of course, the future of that series is still up in the air as of right now, so that title could be changed to The Complete Series... we'll have to wait and see on that.

Even more strange, though, is the announcement of upcoming and not-yet-aired seasons of two cable series. The Boondocks - The Complete Third Season ($49.95 MSRP) and My Boys - The Complete Fourth Season ($39.95 MSRP), neither of which has aired yet, are already available for pre-order on Amazon.com, also with an undetermined release date. Of course, since these details are all very sparse right now, we will definitely update you when we actually do know something. Obviously, the studios are already thinking about home media before a season even gets a chance to air these days, which is definitely a positive since it ensures that everything is preserved for the DVDs.

The highly anticipated release of The Lucy Show - The Official Second Season isn't too far away, with a scheduled release date of July 13. The cover art gives us a brief glimpse into the special features on the set, including cast commercials, newly recorded interviews, and (as it says) "much more." Given the special features on The Lucy Show - The Official First Season, I'm willing to bet that much more will mean exactly what it sounds like, with emphasis on "much." But before that comes out, don't forget that Here's Lucy - Season Three (which will similarly be loaded with special features) is headed to stores on June 15 and I Love Lucy - The Movie and Other Great Rarities which comes out on Tuesday!

We already reported a few weeks ago the upcoming releases of Adam-12 - Season Five and The Patty Duke Show - The Complete Third Season from Shout! Factory, but now we have release dates for both of them! Expect Adam-12 on August 10 and The Patty Duke Show on August 24. Not many details have emerged about these releases yet, but of course, we'll have them as soon as we possibly can. My best guess would be that they will contain few (if any) special features, but you never know what they'll throw in.

Andy Griffith is back for another season of the great 80's legal drama Matlock with Matlock - The Fifth Season on July 20! It comes at a $49.99 MSRP. And while we are talking about legal dramas, we already have a follow up on the very recent release of Ally McBeal - The Complete Second Season (see our review from last week), as Ally McBeal - The Complete Third Season is already scheduled for July 13. Of course, if you just can't wait for season 3 (or 4 or 5), you can always pick up Ally McBeal - The Complete Series, which has been available since October!

Mill Creek Entertainment is up to their usual trickery again with placing unannounced titles in stores, and once again, something that hasn't been announced is already showing up at Target! Target recently started stocking in some (though not all) stores a 21 Jump Street two season pack that includes both seasons 3 and 4, which is odd, because 21 Jump Street - The Complete Second Season hasn't even officially had a general retail release (although it, too, can be purchased at Target in a two season pack with 21 Jump Street - The Complete First Season). The best part is that it is only $14.99 for the two season pack at Target! In trying to find answers, though, I found something even more interesting on the homepage of Mill Creek Entertainment. There is a graphic that advertises a contest that Mill Creek Entertainment is currently having, and in the picture, it can be very clearly seen that there is a package depicting 21 Jump Street - The Complete Series! We can only assume it'll be coming, but the question is when. Of course, Anchor Bay Entertainment has previously released all five seasons of 21 Jump Street, but Mill Creek's offerings bring practically the same thing at pennies on the dollar!

Finally, the series Jersey Shore... no, forget it, I'm not even going to talk about it. We'll never sink this low on Digital Digest!


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Next week (April 27) brings us a couple of repeats (DVDs that have already been released as part of larger collections), including I Love Lucy - The Movie and Other Great Rarities and It's Garry Shandling's Show - The Complete First Season. Fans of these series will probably already own the aforementioned sets as part of the larger sets, but they may appeal to some viewers. As we already mentioned, we have a review of I Love Lucy - The Movie and Other Great Rarities today in Digital Digest. Additionally, we have two Lifetime sitcoms coming, including Sherri - The Complete Season One and Rita Rocks - The Complete Season One. Look for reviews on those coming up on our regular review page soon.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

Last season, ABC brought to American viewers the comedy-drama The Unusuals, which stared Amber Tamblyn as a detective who was transferred from New York City's vice-squad to the homicide unit for one reason: to clean up the corruption that exists within. The series made it through 10 episodes, but was not renewed for a second season. It is now available as an amazon.com exclusive, in The Unusuals - The Complete Series.

DVD Review: The Unusuals - The Complete Series
by Pavan

The Unusuals - The Complete Series (Sony, $29.95) is now on DVD with all 10 episodes from its short run. The series premiered in April 2009 on ABC and went into the summer season, but the ratings were not too good and the series was not renewed, unfortunately. The series is a quirky procedural with a nice mix of comedy and drama and deals with the unusual cases department. The series is created by Noah Hawley. In the series, Detective Casey Shraeger (Amber Tamblyn) has just been transferred to the NYPD's Homicide unit from Vice and is instantly thrown into a setting of bullets and bodies. As she begins her new assignment, Casey finds that the squad is full of secrets, which serves her well, since she's keeping a few of her own. She meets her new partner, Jason Walsh (Jeremy Renner), whose last partner, Detective Burt Kowalski, was just murdered. Tasked with tracking down the murderer, Walsh races off to investigate Kowalski's past, with Shraeger trailing behind.

As the duo seeks out the cop killer, the secrets and eccentricities of the rest of the department begin to emerge: Prank-magnet and social climber Detective Eddie Alvarez (Kai Lennox) has no qualms about stealing cases, as long as he can turn them into front-page stories that make him look good; Detective Eric Delahoy (Adam Goldberg) is trying to get himself killed in the line of duty for reasons known only to him and his doctor; his partner, Leo Banks (Harold Perrineau), is convinced he is going to die and refuses to take off his bulletproof vest; and the very religious Detective Henry Cole (Josh Close) is trying to keep his unholy past from both his streetwise partner, Alison Beaumont (Monique Gabriela Curnen), and from his boss, Sgt. Brown (Terry Kinney), who is struggling to rid the Second Precinct of corruption.

As for the episodes, there are only ten of them. Each should be watched in order, but you really don't have to as they are not too connected with each other. The series opens with the "Pilot," as Det. Shraeger is quickly moved to homicide to help investigate the murder of a fellow officer and finds out if he was crooked or not and Casey begins to find out some interesting facts about her new co-workers. In the very next episode "Boorland Day," one of New York's oldest family of criminals, the Boorlands, go on a crime spree that has the detectives running all over the city, but when Walsh and Shraeger learn the surprising reason behind the family's cluster of crimes, they use this information to negotiate its end; meanwhile, Sergeant Brown tells Shraeger that Walsh's former partner, Kowalski, was a dirty cop and asks her to dig into Walsh's past and Cole's efforts to keep his criminal past a secret are threatened by the arrival of Frank Lutz, Cole's former partner in crime. In "42," Banks continues to be haunted by the number 42 while he and Delahoy investigate a string of bus robberies -- one passenger, a clairvoyant, tries to help them catch the robber with her predictions, causing Banks to question whether fate can be stopped. In "The Dentist," while Sergeant Brown is away, Alvarez is in charge, and things aren't going well -- a U.S. Marshall named Foster convinces Alvarez to release Bo Keebler, a man recently collared for trying to rob a Chinese restaurant, into his custody, while Banks decides to stay in his apartment until he turns 43 in order to avoid getting killed. In the finale, "E.I.D.", Beaumont and Cole interview a couple regarding a break-in at their home, although nothing was taken, the couple discovered that an adult film they rented was shot in their apartment, meanwhile Scraeger becomes emotionally invested in trying to help a serial accuser who was the victim of a violent attack 10 years ago after disappearing from a big prep school party.

The episodes are unedited at just over 43 minutes and have all the original music, of course since this series is basically new. This DVD set is ONLY available on Amazon.com as an Amazon Exclusive. Here are all of the episode titles with runtimes included:

Disc 1:
1. "Pilot" (43:15)
2. "Boorland Day" (43:12)
3. "One Man Band" (43:14)
4. "Crime Slut" (43:14)
5. "42" (43:14)

Disc 2:
6. "The Circle Line" (43:13)
7. "The Tape Delay" (43:12)
8. "The Dentist" (43:11)
9. "The Apology Line" (43:11)
10. "E.I.D." (43:11)

Moving on to the packaging, since this is an Amazon.com Exclusive, the packaging is pretty basic. It is a movie style case, with a shot of Shraeger and Walsh on the cover with NYC in the background. Walsh is holding a gun. The show logo and the two main stars' names (Tamblyn and Renner) are on the top. On the bottom the tagline, "Not your usual cases. Not your usual cops" is printed. The back of the case has a quote from People Magazine, another cool shot of Walsh and Shraeger, some episodic photos, and some info on the series and set. Inside the case, we have the two discs on each panel itself. There is no artwork on the disc, it is plain with the show logo and disc number. The inside of the case has no artwork either, but we do have a nice episode leaflet that has episode titles, synopsis, and credits for each episode.

The menus on the set are pretty basic, too, but the artwork is good. The main menu is blue in color with a NYC background. On disc one we have a shot of Shraeger on the main menu and on disc two it is Walsh. There is no music playing in the background, unfortunately. Menu options are: Play All, Episode Selections, Subtitles, and On the Set with The Unusuals. The latter is only on disc one, as it is a special feature. Disc two only has a Previews option, showcasing other Sony products on Blu-ray and stuff like Rescue Me, The Shield, and Damages. The Episode Selections menu has episode number, title, and a screenshot from the episode, while the Subtitles menu has us in English SDH only. There are about 7 chapter stops per episode and they are all at the appropriate places.

The video and audio on the set looks really good, as they should be. The video is available in a nice widescreen, and if your DVD player upconverts to HD, it looks like it is in Blu-ray. The audio is also very good and is presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital. This set is from material from 2009, so it is only a year old and of course it is very well presented here in both video and audio. I don't see any closed-captioning mention, but there are subtitles in English SDH.

Since this is an Amazon.com Exclusive, I wasn't expecting ANY bonus features...but we do have one! It is a featurette titled "On Set with The Unusuals." It runs 5:20 and we basically get a taste of the show and characters. Interviewed are Robert DeLaurentis (executive producer), Noah Hawley (executive producer/creator), Amber Tamblyn, Jeremy Renner, Peter Tolan (executive producer), Kai Lennox, Monique Curnen, and Joshua Close. I wish we had some more, like deleted scenes, but I'm just glad we got SOMETHING!

This is a decent set and if you have never watched the show, you should watch it. It is only 10 episodes and you'll be done fairly quickly. If you were a fan of the show, then you certainly need to buy it. It is too bad the show was canceled, because it was the perfect procedural. I don't like many of those shows, but this was different and not your usual procedural. Noah Hawley has another ABC pilot in the works (titled Generation Y) and I hope it makes it on air. He has good taste and I hope America tunes in if that series makes it on air. As for this set, it is good. You can only buy it on Amazon (see the link below). It has all of the episodes presented well and a nice featurette. So, get ready to watch some unusual cases and unusual cops in action! It is fun!

(4/5 stars)

To purchase this DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
The Unusuals on TV.com


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

After the first season of I Love Lucy on CBS, Desilu decided to create a theatrical movie based upon the series. Of course, at that time, reruns were less common, so they decided to take the easy route of taking three episodes of the series together and add footage to link them together. The movie ended up not being released (to avoid competition with the film The Long, Long Trailer) and was never seen until nearly a half century later. It was eventually released on DVD as part of I Love Lucy - The Complete Series, but now it is available as a stand-alone disc with bonus features in I Love Lucy - The Movie and Other Great Rarities.

DVD Review: I Love Lucy - The Movie and Other Great Rarities
by skees53

I Love Lucy - The Movie and Other Great Rarities
(CBS DVD, $19.99) presents the entire full-length feature film based upon the classic that was shelved for over 50 years, along with some nice special features. In 1953, Desilu edited together a film that linked three episodes: "The Benefit," "Breaking the Lease," and "The Ballet." The film starts with moviegoers going into a theater where Desi Arnaz (as himself) "premieres" the film for the audience, and even has the audience members showing their excitement for the film--in a sense, breaking the fourth wall. Once Desi is able to introduce the film, it starts playing on the big screen and goes in to the episodes that we are all familiar with from the first season. If you've seen the episodes, the movie honestly isn't all that much, as it just presents them in a connect storyline (which really isn't all that connected anyway). The movie runs at 1 hour, 26 minutes.

There is obviously much more to this, though. There are many very nice "rarities" on this DVD, beginning with the episode of the series, "Lucy Goes to Scotland" (26:27). But there is something unique about this episode this time. It is actually presented in full color! It is the only episode of the series that has been fully colorized, and it looks unbelievably great in color, especially since the episode uses very vivid imagery and costumes that almost necessitate color. Black and white purists, of course, will never like any colorization, but this one looks really good.

We also get to see Lucy and Desi's first joint TV appearance, from The Ed Wynn Show in 1949. It only runs about 3 minutes, so there isn't really a whole lot to see here. Next, there is a clip from the 1954 Emmy Awards--the Sixth Annual--where the series wins an Emmy and Desi Arnaz pays tribute to William Frawley, who was upset about being snubbed for Best Supporting Actor (an award that Art Carney ends up taking home). Finally, we have an On-Set Commercial from the series premiere from Philip Morris (2:17), which is basically an extended cigarette advertisement from the Ricardo living room. You'd never see anything like that on TV today!

The DVD comes packaged in a regular DVD case with a color photo of Lucy and Desi on the front, standing in front of a movie marquee. Inside, we find the disc (which has no artwork, like almost everything else from CBS DVD). The menus on the DVD are very basic, with every option being presented on the main menu (along with an option to turn on Spanish subtitles). Additionally, there are production notes on the sub-menu for just about every one of the features.

The video quality on most of the features is excellent, especially on the movie and the episode "Lucy Goes to Scotland." It is amazing how well this series has been preserved over the years, but especially the movie footage, which hasn't been seen in decades. The Emmy footage and the first joint TV appearance both come from kinescopes, so they are a little rough, but viewable. The audio is fine on all of the features, presented in mono, and close-captioning as well as Spanish subtitles are available.

All in all, this is a great DVD, but I'm not sure who it is really great for. If you are a devoted fan, you'd want to get The Complete Series, which includes this exact same DVD (everything on it is the same except the label art) and every episode of the series. If you aren't such a big fan of the series, then the season sets would suffice, as this really only provides a few minutes of footage that can't be found elsewhere. I guess the best person that this DVD would be for is those who own the season sets and just want to add this disc without repurchasing the whole series. That isn't to say that this is a bad DVD, and it is great that CBS DVD put it out, but it would have been better had they released it at the same time as The Complete Series set. No matter how much you love Lucy, this DVD may not be necessary.

(4/5 stars)

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BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

Legal dramas are a major genre of television, and many of the top-rated and most watched series all throughout history have been legal dramas. But before all of the rest came along, there was one guy who had the first truly successful TV legal drama, who managed to win every single case no matter what: Perry Mason. Here is our review for CBS DVD's latest installment of the series, Perry Mason - Season 5, Volume 1.

DVD Review: Perry Mason - Season 5, Volume 1
by skees53


Perry Mason - Season 5, Volume 1
(CBS DVD, $19.99) brings justice the wrongfully accused once again in fifteen episodes of the classic courtroom drama. The series was the pioneer for all legal television dramas and set the tone for decades of courtroom dramas. But Perry Mason was a little different from the courtroom dramas today, most of which portray the prosecutor as the "good guy" who is given a blatantly obvious case of guilt for the defendant and is trying to push a jury for the harshest possible outcome. Perry Mason was a defense attorney who took these "blatantly obvious" cases and successfully managed to defend his client's innocence, and he won every single time (although there was one infamous episode where he actually lost).

The fifth season begins with "The Case of the Jealous Journalist," where a drowning death of a prominent newspaper editor leads to a string of consequences as heirs fight to take control of the paper... and you know one of those consequences will be another death. Jealousy and blackmail turns a lovely wedding into a murder in "The Case of the Missing Melody." A violent storm at sea forces a ship to have to toss the freight in "The Case of the Malicious Mariner," but as it turns out, the captain gets killed too in the process. In "The Case of the Crying Comedian," a man discovers a former love of his has escaped from a sanitarium, and also that her husband is dead... but he knows she couldn't be to blame, so what can be done? The paranormal must be used to solve a murder in "The Case of the Meddling Medium."
In "The Case of the Posthumous Painter," an artist fakes his own death in order to see the values on his paintings rise, but forgets to tell his wife of his plan leading to real trouble for her when she finds out and he ends up murdered. A health club owner is killed with a dumbbell in "The Case of the Left-Handed Liar," and one of his own employees is accused. In "The Case of the Renegade Refuge," a journalist is murdered while trying to hunt down a Nazi war criminal in the United States. A millionaire bribes his daughter-in-law when he thinks she is responsible for his son's shortcomings, but when the son ends up dead, she is charged with murder in "The Case of the Unwelcome Bride."

Each episode is unedited, it appears, and there aren't even any of the usual CBS DVD disclaimers, which is a very positive sign. Runtimes are as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "The Case of the Jealous Journalist" (51:49)
2. "The Case of the Impatient Partner" (52:00)
3. "The Case of the Missing Melody" (50:51)
4. "The Case of the Malicious Mariner" (50:46)

Disc 2:
5. "The Case of the Crying Comedian" (50:49)
6. "The Case of the Meddling Medium" (50:47)
7. "The Case of the Pathetic Patient" (50:47)
8. "The Case of the Traveling Treasure" (50:51)

Disc 3:
9. "The Case of the Posthumous Painter" (50:55)
10. "The Case of the Injured Innocent" (50:50)
11. "The Case of the Left-Handed Liar" (50:53)
12. "The Case of the Brazen Bequest" (50:53)

Disc 4:
13. "The Case of the Renegade Refugee" (50:47)
14. "The Case of the Unwelcome Bride" (50:49)
15. "The Case of the Roving River" (50:46)

Once again, the packaging is just a standard Viva pack (as is common with all CBS DVD products now), with a photo of Perry Mason on the front and some black-and-white still photos on the back. Inside the case, we find episode descriptions and original airdates for each episode on the set. There is no disc artwork at all aside from the series logo on a gray background. There are four discs, with four episodes on the first three discs and three episodes on the fourth disc.

As has been the case with previous releases, the video and audio quality is spectacular. Who could have imagined a series this old looking almost flawless on DVD? There is still some occasional grain and debris, but these episodes mostly look great. The audio is fine too, presented in mono. Each episode is closed-captioned.

There are no special features once again, and it appears that CBS DVD has no intention of including any on this series (aside from the 50th anniversary release a few years back). It is a shame, really.

This is a great set of episodes, but this is the ninth release of the series and CBS DVD only halfway finished with it, mostly because of the half season release model. If they had released it as full seasons, the series would be done now. Still, this poor business practice that CBS DVD engages in doesn't devalue this set at all. It is a great set with great episodes, but I would still like to have the rest of the season in this set. With strong sales on this series (strange, but true, this is actually a top-seller on DVD, presumably due to those in the legal profession who see Mason as an idol), I'm sure we'll see the remaining episodes soon, and perhaps it'll all be remedied with a giant 80 disc complete series set or something along those lines.

(4/5 stars)

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LOOKING AHEAD

We'll be back next week with more news and a review of Marcus Welby, M.D. - Season One and a review of MPI's upcoming Honeymooners DVDs. We will be doing a lot of reviews in Digital Digest for the next few weeks, as there are a lot of DVDs to review in our backlog, but in a few weeks, we will return with some feature articles! If there is anything that you would like to see us cover, tell us on our message board or Tweet/Facebook us. We don't know what you want out of this feature unless you tell us, and we want to make it a very enjoyable blog feature! Until next time, keep it digital!

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Friday, April 23, 2010

TV One May 2010 Highlights Include Tracy Morgan Show Sitcom; Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 26, 2010)

This May on TV One we have some more good sitcom marathons and stunts, including a marathon of a short-lived sitcom! The marathon fun is basically every weekend in May! On Saturday, May 8 beginning at 2pm and running all night, TV One begins celebrating Mother's Day Weekend with a "Mother of all Marathons" (MOM) sitcom event. An all-day sitcom marathon featuring episodes of TV One sitcom favorites Living Single, That's My Mama, The Hughleys, The Jeffersons, Half & Half, and A Different World all focusing on Mother's Day or mom related storylines. On Sunday, May 9 beginning at 12pm Noon, TV One continues the Mother's Day Weekend celebration as they present the All of Us: "Mama Neesee Marathon" featuring a dozen episodes of the TV One sitcom favorite focusing on Neesee (LisaRaye McCoy) and her mother of the year attitude in dealing with her son Bobby.
On Saturday, May 15 beginning at 2pm and running all night, with the NBA Playoffs in full swing, TV One salutes the game of B-Ball (that's basketball, for those who don't know) with a "We Got Game" marathon featuring TV One sitcom episodes focusing on hoops and featuring guest star appearances from current and former NBA and WNBA superstars including Derek Fisher, Grant Hill, Cedric Ceballos, Cheryl Miller, Alonzo Mourning, and Kareem Abdul-Jabaar. Sitcoms in this TV One sports marathon include All of Us, A Different World, Living Single, Martin, Half & Half, Between Brothers, Amen, and Eve.
On Sunday, May 16 beginning at 12pm through 7pm (select encores 3-6am), TV One celebrates the birthday of Grammy Award-Winning superstar Janet Jackson with an all-day Good Times: "Penny For Your Thoughts" marathon featuring episodes of the classic sitcom favorite that focus on Janet's character Penny entering the lives of the Evans family and their neighbor Willona.
On Sunday, May 23, TV One again goes South... South Central that is, as they present a marathon and a movie premiere. First beginning at 3pm through 7pm (select encores 12am-2am), TV One airs a marathon of the comedy/drama series South Central starring Tina Lifford and Larenz Tate. Then at 8pm, TV One premieres the feature film South Central. In the film, A man, coming out of prison after 10 years wants to live a normal life and stop with criminal behavior, but finds his son has begun to follow his criminal path. The film is scheduled to have an immediate encore airing at 10pm.
On Saturday, May 29 beginning at 5pm through all night, it's a TV One "Couples Therapy Marathon" as TV One presents a sitcom marathon focusing on favorite TV One sitcom couples that gives viewers a chance to vote online at TVOneOnline.com on their favorite couple. Sitcom couples featured in the marathon include Overton & Synclaire (Living Single), Dwayne & Whitley (A Different World), J.T. & Shelley (Eve), and Martin & Gina (Martin). The viewers choice favorite sitcom couple will have two episodes showcased in the 9pm hour of the marathon creating a fun interactive evening for all. Also of note, on Sunday, May 30 beginning at 12pm Noon through 10pm (select encores 10pm-2am), join the Sutton family for an all-day marathon of season three episodes of the popular African American drama series Lincoln Heights.
And finally, the biggest news...on Memorial Day (Monday, May 31) beginning at 12pm Noon through 12am, actor/comedian Tracy Morgan comes to TV One for a sitcom marathon! No not 30 Rock, before that show he had a short-lived sitcom titled The Tracy Morgan Show and it makes its bow in a 12-hour Memorial Day marathon including two "lost" episodes premiering at 8pm & 8:30pm that have never before aired on television. The two unseen episodes will have encore airings at 11pm & 11:30pm. Morgan stars in this sharp-edged family multi-camera comedy as father, husband and small business owner Tracy Mitchell, who with his beautiful, no-nonsense wife Alicia (Tamala Jones, Castle), share their modest apartment with their two kids, 13 year-old Derrick (Marc John Jefferies) and 7 year-old Jimmy (Bobb'e J. Thompson).
Stay tuned, maybe The Tracy Morgan Show will join the regular schedule in the summer? Stay with us...


It's Friday, so it is time for "Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows" for the coming week. This is where we list what sitcom stars are appearing on talk shows for the coming week, the stars are both current and past sitcom stars (but we won't cover movie stars like Tom Hanks or John Travolta, since they won't be talking about their past sitcoms likely), so this is for all sitcom fans of all eras!
For the week of April 26-30, 2010, we have many current sitcom stars and past sitcom stars on TV talk shows! So get your DVR's (or whatever you use) ready! Ready? Here is all what you need to know for the coming week!

Monday, April 26, 2010

  • Alyssa Milano (Romantically Challenged/Who's the Boss?) - Alyssa stops by The Wendy Williams Show to talk about her new sitcom. Check local listings for time and channel, but it also airs nationally on BET at midnight. But wait that's not all! She will be on Extra (check local listings for time and channel) and also she will be in the audience on Dancing with the Stars at 8pm on ABC!
  • Megan Mullally (Will & Grace/In the Motherhood) - Megan stops by ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 12:05am.
  • Joel McHale (Community)- Joel will stop by NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno at 11:35pm.
  • Brian Posehn (Just Shoot Me!/Sarah Silverman Program) - Brian heads to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on NBC at 12:35am.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

  • Carol Burnett (Carol Burnett Show/Mama's Family) - Carol stops to chat on The Bonnie Hunt Show. Check your local listings for time and channel.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

  • Julie Bowen (Modern Family) - The lovely Julie Bowen stops by Jimmy Kimmel Live! on ABC at 12:05am.
  • Rico Rodriguez (Modern Family) - Rico stops by The Rachel Ray Show. Check your local listings!
  • Todd Bridges (Diff'rent Strokes) - Todd stops to talk on Oprah about his childhood. Check your listings for time and channel!
  • Anthony Anderson (All About the Andersons/Hang Time) - Though more known for film/TV dramas now, Anthony stops to chat on The Bonnie Hunt Show. Check your local listings.
  • Adhir Kalyan (Rules of Engagement) - Adhir stops by The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS at 12:35am to promote the CBS sitcom.
  • Holly Robinson-Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper) - Holly stops by The Joy Behar Show on HLN at 9pm.
  • Lisa Kudrow (Friends) - Lisa will be on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS at 12:35am.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

  • Holly Robinson-Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper) - Holly will be on The Wendy Williams Show so check your local listings or watch on BET at midnight.
  • Kelsey Grammar (Cheers/Frasier/Back to You/Hank) - Kelsey stops to cook and chat on The Martha Stewart Show. Check your local listings.
  • Sarah Silverman (Sarah Silverman Program) - Sarah heads to The Rachel Ray Show. Check your listings for time and station.
  • Wanda Sykes (Old Christine) - This is a repeat, but catch Wanda on TBS's Lopez Tonight at 11pm.
  • Peter Facinelli (Nurse Jackie) - This is also a repeat, but catch him again on TBS's Lopez Tonight at 11pm.

Friday, April 30, 2010

  • Alyssa Milano (Romantically Challenged/Who's the Boss?) - Alyssa will be on TV Guide Channel's Hollywood 411 airing at 7pm.
Leave us comments on our message board or Tweet/Facebook us to let us know what you think of this Friday feature! We do listen!

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

TV Land May 2010 Schedule; Just My Show's New Podcast Features Growing Pains and Just the Ten of Us Star

We finally bring you the TV Land May 2010 schedule! We kept delaying it because of various changes. But now we can bring it to you! The regular schedule will have some changes, but not much. Starting April 26, The Cosby Show returns to primetime, airing weeknights in the 8pm hour, replacing Home Improvement, which will move to the 2am hour. That's not all the bad news for Home Improvement, its Saturday evening block from 7-9pm will also be replaced. They will add a block of The Andy Griffith Show from 6-8pm on Saturdays, while Everybody Loves Raymond moves to 8pm-12am instead of 9pm-1am. Also, starting Sunday, May 9, Everybody Loves Raymond gets a Sunday block as well, airing Sundays 10pm-12am. Everything else will remain the same as it is now.
Not sure if this makes any sense, since Tim Allen is hosting the TV Land Awards on Sunday and the very next day Home Improvement moves to late nights?
As for highlights, notoriously uncensored gossip diva Joan Rivers stars in TV Land's PRIME original series, How'd You Get So Rich?. Joan Rivers takes viewers on a journey to meet mega-rich millionaires who worked hard and struck gold once again. As she tours the most lavish and extravagant homes, she introduces viewers to folks who made a lot of money in out of the ordinary, fascinating ways and asks all the questions no one else would - in the way only Joan can. The second season starts Wednesday, May 5 at 10pm and will run though Wednesday, June 9.
Stunts for May 2010 include a Roseanne "Rags to Riches" marathon on Sunday, May 2 from 10pm-2am and an Everybody Loves Raymond Mother's Day marathon on Saturday, May 8 from 8pm-12am. Don't miss this four-hour Everybody Loves Raymond marathon saluting the mother of all mothers, Marie Barone. During these eight Marie-centric episodes, watch her love, cuddle, smother, advise, cajole, and irritate the whole family in her own benevolent and meddling way! And finally on Memorial Day, (Monday, May 31) spend the day with two classic marathons and a classic film! Airing from 9am-4pm spend the day in the sun with Bewitched! Then head on to the junkyard for Sanford & Son from 4pm-7pm. Capping the day will be the movie Sister Act starting at 7pm.
And speaking of movies, TV Land will premiere Sister Act, Ghostbusters, and Mystic Pizza on their Friday night movie block, while encoring films such as The Fugitive.
View the complete TV Land May 2010 schedule and highlights. And stay with us very soon for TV Land June! Will The Brady Bunch be renewed, as its contract is up after the end of May? You'll find out soon!

Our pal Eric of Just My Show has put up another podcast! This time it features Coach Lubbock! Of course that is Bill Kirchenbauer! Long time stand-up comedian Bill Kirchenbauer is known to us sitcom fans as Coach Lubbock on Growing Pains and the star of the spin-off series Just the Ten of Us. He has also appeared on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show 14 times.
Just My Show interviews Just the Ten of Us star! Sounds catchy! So head on over to Just My Show to listen to this great interview!

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

TV Land Orders Second Original Sitcom: Retired at 35; New Seasons for Curb and Parenthood; Top 10 Romantically Challenged TV Couples

We mentioned a few times that TV Land has a sitcom pilot with George Segal in the works and now they have picked it up to series! TV Land announced that it has greenlit 10 episodes of the original sitcom Retired At 35 starring esteemed comedy and drama actor George Segal. The sitcom is a TV Land PRIME original production and is the network's second ever original scripted comedy series along with Hot in Cleveland, which premieres on Wednesday, June 16, 2010.
The cast also includes Jessica Walter, Johnathan McClain, Josh McDermitt, Ryan Michelle Bathe and Casey Wilson, Christine Ebersole, Matt Champagne, George Wyner and
Jere Burns also appear.
In the pilot episode of Retired at 35, David (McClain), a successful young businessman decides to leave the rat race of New York City behind and move into his parents' (Segal and Walter) Florida retirement home to reconnect with them, re-evaluate his life and live the dream of retirement that so many are working toward. While in Florida, David reunites with his best friend Brandon, (McDermitt) and realizes that his former crush Jessica (Bathe) is still as beautiful and elusive as ever. Living close by is David's sister, Amy (Wilson) who has finally found a boyfriend Paul (Champagne). Other characters include Alan's friend, Richard (Wyner) and David's boss, Donald (Burns).
We'll have more info on the series and an actual premiere date in the coming months, but you can expect the series to premiere sometime in early 2011.

It's back! HBO has renewed the hit comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm, starring Larry David, for a ten-episode eighth season. Production of the new episodes will begin this summer in Los Angeles and New York, with the debut slated for 2011.
Curb Your Enthusiasm stars Seinfeld co-creator David as an over-the-top version of himself in an unsparing but tongue-in-cheek depiction of his life. The series also stars Cheryl Hines as David's wife Cheryl, Jeff Garlin as David's manager Jeff and Susie Essman as Jeff's wife Susie.
Concluding its seventh season last November, with 70 episodes to date, Curb Your Enthusiasm is HBO's longest-running scripted comedy or drama series!

Moving on to a rookie series, NBC has renewed its new mid-season drama Parenthood, which airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET, for the 2010-11 season. This is not a surprise, even with the ratings at so-so numbers , it is airing on a competitive night and timeslot.
Parenthood is a one-hour drama inspired by the box-office comedy hit of the same name. The re-imagined and updated production introduces audiences to the large and colorful yet imperfect Braverman family, and features an all-star cast that includes Lauren Graham, Peter Krause, Monica Potter, Craig T. Nelson, Bonnie Bedelia, Erika Christensen, Dax Shepard, Joy Bryant, Sam Jaeger, Sarah Ramos, Mae Whitman, Miles Heizer, Savannah Rae and Max Burkholder. Guest stars include Jason Ritter.

Finally, since the sitcom Romantically Challenged launched on Monday, our friends at TV Tango has come up with "The Top 10 Romantically Challenged TV Couples" to get us even more excited about this new sitcom!
In the new sitcom, Romantically Challenged, four single friends have serious relationship issues, but they still try to help each other find love. Two of them, Rebecca and Perry, have been BFFs since they were kids, and they'd make a decent couple if they weren't kept apart by circumstances. In honor of this new series, TV Tango presented the Top 10 Romantically Challenged TV Couples. Will Perry and Rebecca ultimately make this list? Maybe, but there have been so many good ones from the past. What about Lou Grant & Sue Ann Nivens? Screech & Lisa Tuttle? See who made the cut at TV Tango!
And don't forget to watch this new sitcom Mondays at 9:30pm on ABC! In the next episode airing next Monday, titled "The Charade," Perry (Kyle Bornheimer) goes to the dentist and craziness happens because of his buddy Shawn (Josh Lawson), while Rebecca (Alyssa Milano) sets-up her sister Lisa (Kelly Stables) with a "nice" guy. What will happen? Tune in!

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Blossom Reunion on 'Til Death on May 9; MyNetwork TV Upfront: Fall 2010 Schedule

There is going to be a Blossom reunion on Fox's 'Til Death on Sunday, May 9, 2010! Blossom originally aired on NBC from 1991-95 and starred Mayim Bialik as Blossom Russo, Joey Lawrence as Joey Russo, Jenna Von Oy as Six LeMeure, Michael Stoyanov as Anthony Russo, and Ted Wass as Nick Russo. In the 'Til Death episode, Joy (Joely Fisher) goes overboard planning for Ally's (Kate Micucci) baby shower and becomes obsessed with baby gifts. Meanwhile, Mr. White (guest star Martin Mull) has difficulty giving Ally and Doug (Timm Sharp) their shower gift, and Dr. Bialik (Mayim Bialik as herself) invites her Blossom castmates to participate in a therapy session for Doug in the all-new "Baby Steps" episode of 'Til Death airing Sunday, May 9 at 7:00 PM ET/PT on Fox.
Blossom reunion features Mayim Bialik as Herself, Michael Stoyanov as Himself, Jenna Von Oy as Herself and Gary Shapiro as Fake Joey. Unfortunately Joey Lawrence and Ted Wass do not appear.


MyNetwork TV has announced its Fall 2010 schedule. On Mondays, MyNetwork TV will present the return of back-to-back episodes of repeats of Law & Order: Criminal Intent from 8-10pm ET. Tuesday night's game show block returns with all-new episodes of Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? in the 8pm hour and the half-hour premiere of Don't Forget the Lyrics! hosted by multi-platinum recording artist, Mark McGrath, in the 9pm hour, replacing Deal or No Deal. Burn Notice, cable television's highest-rated drama series (USA Network), will make its broadcast debut with back-to-back episodes each Wednesday night from 8-10pm ET, replacing The Unit. Procedural series Without a Trace and Monk will join the MyNetwork TV line-up airing Thursdays and Fridays respectively. Without a Trace will replace MyThursday Movies and Monk replaces WWE Smackdown!, which will move to cable on Syfy this Fall.
View the MyNetwork TV Fall 2010 schedule and discuss the schedule.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Charlie's Angels Reunion on GMA, Preview of 8th TV Land Awards; ABC Family Pulls 7th Heaven

ABC will present a reunion of Charlie's Angels tomorrow (Tuesday, April 20) on Good Morning America! The classic action-detective drama series aired on ABC from 1976-1981. Jaclyn Smith and Cheryl Ladd will reunite. GMA airs on ABC from 7-9am. GMA will be promoting their appearance at the 8th TV Land Awards, which taped on Saturday and will air on Sunday, April 25 on TV Land.
Celebrities from television, film and music all came out for the unforgettable taping of the eighth annual TV Land Awards premiering on Sunday, April 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Appearances included Billy Crystal, Jay Leno, Betty White, Paula Abdul, Jane Leeves, Wendie Malick, Bob Newhart, Ryan O'Neal and more. Honorees included the cast of Everybody Loves Raymond (Impact Award), Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner (Legend Award), the cast of Bosom Buddies including Tom Hanks (Anniversary Award), cast members from Glee (Future Classic Award), Charlie's Angels (Pop Culture Award), The Love Boat (Fan Favorite Award) and legendary punk rock band Blondie (Icon Award.) The show was taped on Saturday, April 17 and was hosted by Tim Allen on the historic Stage 15 on the Sony Lot in Culver City.
Memorable moments from the show included singer, dancer, choreographer and TV personality Paula Abdul presenting the cast of Glee with the Future Classic Award. Giving a nod to Future Classic Award winner Glee, the show concluded with a performance by TV Land's very own "Glee Club Choir." Fronted by soloists David Hasselhoff and Marilu Henner and accompanied by TV Land's Choir which included Todd Bridges, Joyce Dewitt, Jamie Farr, Marla Gibbs, Howard Hesseman, Shirley Jones, Richard Karn, Richard Moll, Marion Ross, Jimmie Walker, Marcia Wallace and Fred Willard, the group performed their own rendition of the song that started the Glee pop culture phenomenon, Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'."
Trophy presenters Ari Meyers and Allison Smith were reunited on stage for the first time since their stint as the daughters of best friends Kate and Allie on the hit sitcom.
View more highlights from the 8th TV Land Awards, airing Sunday on TV Land!

After just one week, ABC Family is removing 7th Heaven from the line-up. The family drama returned to ABC Family last Monday (April 12), but effective TODAY (April 19), the midday Gilmore Girls returns after a week. Gilmore Girls will remain also in the 4pm and 5pm hours this week, but the 4pm hour will be replaced by back-to-back episodes of Grounded for Life starting next Monday (April 26). Grounded for Life will remain in the 9am half-hour as well. No word yet on if and when 7th Heaven will return, but you can still watch it on The Hallmark Channel and WGN America at least. This is good news for Boy Meets World, as that sitcom will remain in the 7am hour, as that series also returned to the network last week. View our previous story on the changes that happened last week.

And don't forget to watch the premiere of ABC's new sitcom starring Alyssa Milano, Romantically Challenged, tonight at 9:30PM ET/PT! Please watch it live and help the show out. It's a traditional sitcom and we love those! You'll enjoy it, too!

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Week 30 TV Ratings and Analysis; How the Sitcoms Did



Week 30 TV Ratings (first four nights, Mon-Thurs finals):

Households: #1. Fox 7.6/12.5 rating/share; #2. CBS 6.7/11.3; #3. ABC 6.2/10.4; #4. NBC 3.6/6.1; #5. The CW 1.2/2.1
Total Viewers: #1. Fox 12.76 million; #2. CBS 10.59 million; #3. ABC 9.57 million; #4. NBC 5.59 million; #5. The CW 1.94 million.
Adults 18-49: #1. Fox 4.4/12.7 rating/share; #2. CBS 2.7/8.0; #3. ABC 2.7/7.9; #4. NBC 2.1/6.0; #5. The CW 0.9/2.7

Week 30 (April 12-April 18) Analysis: For week 30, thus far through the first four nights it is a three-network race once again with Fox having the edge. So far through the first four night, Fox is first across the board, with CBS second in HH/viewers. 2nd in 18-49 is a tie between CBS and ABC. ABC is third in HH/viewers, though. NBC is in fourth across the board. Last week, week 29, CBS took home first place in HH/viewers, but couldn't squeak by Fox in 18-49. Fox second in HH/viewers. ABC was third in every category and NBC was a clear fourth in all categories.

On Monday it was ABC with a big win again with Dancing with the Stars season ten continuing to pull in big ratings. ABC aired a two-hour Dancing with the Stars doing 20.56 million and an excellent 4.9 18-49 rating, but both down a bit from previous week. At 10pm, the surging Castle had 12.68 million and a 3.0 18-49 rating, up from previous week as Tom Bergeron was among the guest stars. CBS started off the night with a new episode of How I Met Your Mother doing a below normal 6.8 million and a 2.8 18-49 rating, not much above a repeat of Big Bang in the same slot the previous week. A new Rules of Engagement was next doing 7.36 million and 2.8 18-49, both up a bit from the previous week. Then at 9pm a new episode of Two and a Half Men sparked up to 13.71 million and a 4.7 18-49 rating. Great, but down from normal. Then an all-new The Big Bang Theory did 13.39 million and a 5.1 18-49 rating, both below normal but solid retention in viewers and solid gains from the lead-in in 18-49. CBS closed the night with a new CSI: Miami at below normal and second place 10.78 million and a 3.0 18-49 rating. Fox started the night with a brand new House doing 10.8 million and a 4.0 18-49 rating, which is both below normal. At 9pm a new 24 did 8.33 million and a 2.5 18-49, both up from previous week when it was two-hours. NBC was of course in fourth with a repeat of Chuck barely registering at 2.75 million and a 0.9 18-49. An all-new Trauma followed an needed some trauma at only 4.43 million and a 1.3 18-49 rating, both down from the previous week. At 10pm a Law & Order repeat did only 4.07 million and 1.2 rating, both down from previous week's repeat. Over at The CW, they started with an all-new Life UneXpected at 8pm and did 1.8 million and a 0.9 18-49 rating, up some from the previous week. Then at 9pm an all-new Gossip Girl did 1.86 million and a 1.0 18-49 rating, also up a bit from previous week.

On Tuesday, Fox took the night by a wide margin. Fox aired an all-new American Idol doing 20.64 million and a 7.3 18-49 rating for 90 minutes, down a tad from previous week when it was two-hours. From 9:28-10:30pm Glee returned at a special time to series highs (thanks to Idol) at 13.66 million and a 5.6 18-49 rating. The show particularly did well in W18-34 and A18-34. Like High School Musical, I don't understand the Glee craze. CBS had all repeats. They started with a NCIS repeat doing 11.1 million and a 2.0 18-49 rating. The spin-off NCIS: Los Angeles followed with a repeat doing 10.43 million and a 1.9 18-49 rating. I think these shows should switch time slots next fall. And finally The Good Wife closed the night with a repeat doing 7.8 million and only a 1.4 18-49 rating. ABC started off the night with Dancing with the Stars: The Results doing 13.6 million and a 2.8 18-49 rating, both up from previous week as Aiden Turner was sent home. Then an all-new episode of the final season of LOST was next with 9.48 million and a 3.9 rating, down just a tad in viewers from week-to-week. V finished the night with 5.61 million and a 2.2 rating, down ever so slightly from previous week with the added competition from Fox. NBC started with a two-hour The Biggest Loser and did 8.37 million and a 3.3 rating, up from the previous week and highest in a while it seems. A new Parenthood was next doing 6.27 million and a 2.5 18-49 rating, both down just slightly from previous week. The CW aired new episodes of 90210 and Melrose Place but they continue to struggle to find viewers. The already renewed 90210 did 1.45 million and a 0.7 18-49, while Melrose Place did only 1.09 million and 0.5 18-49 rating, both terrible, but up some from previous week.

On Wednesday Fox prevailed again with Idol. Fox started with a new Human Target and did 7.24 million and a 1.9 18-49 rating, down from the previous week. I don't think it deserves to come back. American Idol Results were next at 9pm and did 21.02 million and a 6.8 18-49 rating, up some from previous week in both categories CBS started with a new The New Adventures of Old Christine doing 6.17 million and a 1.7 18-49 rating, both categories were up slightly from previous week but still not good. Accidentally on Purpose followed with a new episode doing 5.9 million and 1.9 18-49 rating, on par week-to-week, but not good. Next CBS aired a new Criminal Minds and did 12.44 million and a 3.2 18-49 rating, down from previous week. CSI: NY closed the night with a new episode at 10pm with 10.85 million and a 2.6 18-49 rating, both up some from previous week, but still low. ABC had a night new episodes of Comedy Wednesday including the series finale of Ugly Betty. Modern Family repeat opened the night with 5.1 million and a 1.6 18-49 rating, up some from previous week. A new The Middle followed with 6.7 million and a 2.3 18-49 rating. The always hilarious Modern Family was all-new at 9 with a solid 8.88 million and a 3.7 18-49 rating. Next Cougar Town was also new and did 5.8 million and a 2.5 18-49 rating, yes it could be better, but I think the second half of Idol is the reason why it is lower since January. Ugly Betty closed the night with the series finale doing 5.41 million and a 1.7 rating, both season highs, but no where near the ratings caliber it once had. Anyway, it was a great finale and was open-ended, so maybe ABC will air a two-hour movie at some point? NBC started with A Minute to Win It repeat doing 5.74 million and a 1.9 18-49 rating, that is on par with a repeat from previous week. Sad that this cheap filler does better than scripted shows for the network. A repeat of Law & Order: SVU was next and had only 4.09 million and a 1.2 18-49 rating, both down from previous week's 9pm repeat. A repeat of Law & Order: SVU at 10pm did 5.6 million and a 1.8 rating. The CW aired America's Next Top Model at 8pm doing 2.85 million and a 1.2 18-49 rating, both down from previous week. Fly Girls followed with 900,000 viewers as viewers flew away and it also did only a 0.4 18-49 rating. High Society closed the night with 770,000 viewers, but up a tad from previous week.

Moving on to Thursday, ABC was mostly in repeats so CBS and Fox was in control. CBS started with the durable Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains at 8pm doing 12.31 million and a 3.8 rating in 18-49, on par really from previous week. A new CSI at 9pm did 13.19 million and a 3.0 18-49 rating, both down quite a bit from the previous week. The Mentalist finished the night with a repeat doing 11.45 million and a 2.4 18-49 rating. Not bad for a repeat. ABC began the night with FLASHFORWARD at 8pm doing 4.98 million and a 1.4 18-49 rating, both down from previous week. It is too bad, this show is good. A repeat of Grey's Anatomy followed with only 4.65 million viewers and a 1.4 18-49 rating, on par from previous week's repeat. At 10pm a repeat of Private Practice could only muster 3.67 million viewers a 1.1 18-49 rating, up a tick in viewers from previous week. Fox aired a new Bones and did 9.92 million and a 2.9 rating, on par from previous week. A new Fringe garnered 6.62 million and a 2.5 18-49 rating, both up from previous week. NBC preempted Community and Parks and Recreation but they did air two repeats of The Office in the 8pm hour doing only 3.83 and 3.81 million. 18-49 rating was a 1.4 and 1.7, a bit better. 30 Rock and the crazy The Marriage Ref were preempted, as NBC aired the special SNL: In the 2000s from 9-11pm doing 6.75 million and a good 2.9 18-49 rating. The CW aired a new Vampire Diaries doing 3.15 million and a 1.6 18-49 rating, down in viewers from previous week. Supernatural followed with 2.45 million and a 1.2 18-49 rating, also down in viewers from previous week.

Now, final numbers for Friday and Saturday are not available as usual, but NBC won Friday in viewers and 18-49 on Friday actually as CBS was in repeats. Fox won on Saturday thanks to a primetime overrun of MLB action between the Mets/Cards that lasted nearly 7 hours and 20 innings!
Tonight ABC airs repeats of America's Funniest Home Videos, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition BUT Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters are all-new! CBS preempts its usual line-up which includes The Amazing Race and Cold Case for The Academy of Country Music Awards from 8-11. NBC has A Minute to Win It at 8 followed by a new Celebrity Apprentice starting at 9pm. Fox has repeats of The Cleveland Show & Family Guy and new episodes of 'Til Death, The Simpsons and American Dad. As for the coming week, ABC launches new sitcom Romantically Challenged starring Alyssa Milano tomorrow at 9:30!!! PLEASE WATCH!

Week 30 How the Sitcoms Did

Last Sunday Sitcoms (counts for week 29-- April 5-11)

  • 'Til Death (Fox) - An all-new episode only mustered 1.93 million, but that was actually up from the previous week.
  • The Simpsons (Fox) 2 airings - A repeat episode at 7:30pm did only 2.48 million, but much better than 'Til Death. A new episode at 8pm did 5.64 million and a 2.7 18-49 rating...seems below normal.
  • The Cleveland Show (Fox) - A new episode did 5.5 million and a 2.7 18-49 rating. Good retention.
  • Family Guy (Fox) - A new episode did 6.96 million and a 3.4 18-49 rating. Best of the block of course.
  • American Dad (Fox) - The series returned to 5.13 million and a 2.4 18-49 rating. Could be better, but it is way better than Sons of Tucson.

Monday Sitcoms

  • How I Met Your Mother (CBS) - A new episode did a below normal 6.8 million and a 2.8 18-49 rating. Hmm...
  • Rules of Engagement (CBS) - 7.36 million and a 2.8 18-49 rating for a new episode, up from previous week.
  • Two and a Half Men (CBS) - A new airing did 13.71 million and a 4.7 18-49 rating. Great, but below what it usually does.
  • The Big Bang Theory (CBS) - A new episode at 9:30pm did 13.39 million and a 5.1 18-49 rating. Solid! But now in repeats for a few weeks again...

Tuesday Sitcoms

  • None.


Wednesday Sitcoms
  • Old Christine (CBS) - A new episode did 6.17 million and a 1.7 18-49 rating, could be better.
  • Accidentally on Purpose (CBS) - A new episode did 5.9 million and 1.9 18-49 rating. It might be in danger now.
  • The Middle (ABC) - A new episode did 6.7 million and a 2.3 18-49 rating. Solid out of a repeat!
  • Modern Family (ABC) - A repeat at 8pm did 5.1 million and 1.6 18-49 rating, nearly beating a new Old Christine on CBS. The normal 9pm airing was NEW and did 8.88 million and 3.7 18-49 at 9pm. Grrrreat!
  • Cougar Town (ABC) - A new episode did 5.8 million and a 2.5 18-49 rating.

Thursday Sitcoms

  • Community (NBC) - preempted.
  • Parks & Recreation (NBC) - preempted.
  • The Office (NBC) - Two repeats in the 8pm hour only did 3.83 and 3.81 million.
  • 30 Rock (NBC) - preempted.

Friday Sitcoms

  • None.

Saturday Sitcoms

  • None.

Airing tonight (Sunday) are a mix of new and repeats of Animation Domination.

Summing it up. Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, and Rules of Engagement were impressive this week. Everything was OK (such as How I Met Your Mother and The Middle) or just plain old terrible (such as repeats of The Office & 'Til Death).

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Digital Digest: Ally McBeal - The Complete Second Season; DVD Packaging Changes on Older Releases

It's time for Digital Digest, your weekly roundup of news, reviews, and more about TV on DVD! Luckily, we don't have any bad news to report this week, a refreshing change from last week! We have news about newly announced series on DVD, a major update (with excellent news) about Leave it to Beaver - The Complete Series, an update about Big John, Little John on DVD (a slight bit of good news to counteract last week's announcement of a delay), and a preview of next week's home media releases. Plus, we have a review of Ally McBeal - The Complete Second Season and we're going to take a look at packaging on some of our favorite DVDs, specifically how some DVDs released several years ago are now being repressed with new (and often lower quality) packaging. So enough with the introductions... let's get going!

DIGITAL NEWS

We are finally getting some details in on Shout! Factory's upcoming release of Leave it to Beaver - The Complete Series (June 29), and one thing is for sure: it is going to be one of the most amazing DVD releases ever. Some of the features announced include:
  • Never-before-seen footage of the cast, as shot by the cast, including Barbara Billingsley, Tony Dow, and Jerry Mathers.
  • Six radio episodes of Stu's Show from Shokus Internet Radio featuring the cast of the series.
  • Featurette focusing on Ken Osmond and Frank Bank.
  • Original promos from the series.
  • Original pilot from the series.
  • Savings bond promo film from the United States Treasury featuring Leave it to Beaver.
  • Physical recreation of the Leave it to Beaver board game, manufactured by Hasbro in the 1950s.
Wow! That is simply an amazing list of special features, particularly that physical recreation of the board game! Aside from the radio interviews from Stu's Show, all of these special features will only be available on the Leave it to Beaver - The Complete Series set (they will not be on the individual season sets). The pilot episode of the series was previously released as part of Universal's Leave it to Beaver - The Complete First Season, but this new release appears to be much more worthwhile. It comes at a $199.98 MSRP, which sounds expensive, but in actuality is less than $34 a season, and of course lower prices can be found. You can buy this excellent set now on Amazon.com!

We still have more news from Shout! Factory, though! Special features have been announced for the May 4 release of The Facts of Life - The Complete Fourth Season. It isn't a long list, but both are very nice, and include the movie The Facts of Life Goes to Paris and an interactive trivia game. It comes at a $39.97 MSRP. Also, some details have emerged about the June 29 release of Mad About You - The Complete Fourth Season, specifically in regard to special features. It will contain episode introductions on "select episodes" from Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt. Hopefully we'll have more details and be able to follow up on that in the future.

Last week, we reported that Virgil Film's release of the series Big John, Little John had been delayed on DVD, and that a new date had not been announced yet. That has not changed. But, we have found out, thanks to a member of our message boards, that the entire series has been released on a legitimate DVD release (not a bootleg) in Australia, and that it has been released in a region-free format! Your best bet is to just wait for Virgil Film's release (it should come eventually), but if you just can't wait to see the series, you can order it now, directly on Amazon.com.

There have been several--at least a dozen--reports of various current network and cable series coming to DVD soon in the past week. After all, DVDs are typically announced about 3 to 4 months in advance, and most of the studios want their product on the shelves just in time for the new season to kick off. We won't even discuss all of them, because there are just way too many of them and most are beyond the general scope of our website. But as far as the sitcoms are concerned, Amazon.com has made available for pre-order DVDs of ABC's The Middle - The Complete First Season and NBC's action-comedy series, Chuck - The Complete Third Season (also for Blu-ray). There are absolutely no details about these releases yet, but you can pre-order them. Other current series that have popped up for pre-order on Amazon.com in the past week include C.S.I. - The Complete Tenth Season, C.S.I.: Miami - The Complete Eighth Season, Criminal Minds - The Fifth Season, The Good Wife - The First Season, NCIS: Los Angeles - The First Season, and Numb3rs - The Sixth Season. Wow! That is a long list of series from CBS! I'm sure that nursing homes nationwide are overflowing with joy with this news... we're only kidding, we love CBS.

Finally, we end our news with some excellent news about MPI's long-anticipated release of The Mothers-in-Law - The Complete Series. MPI has been talking about this series for well over a year now, but they have finally set a street date (July 27). The set is going to contain all 56 episodes of the series and a ton of special features, including interviews, the original pilot, unaired pilots of related series, and more at an incredibly low $39.98 MSRP! We encourage you to check out this report from TVShowsOnDVD.com which gives the rather lengthy list of special features. The set doesn't appear to be available for pre-order just yet, but we'll let you know when it is!

UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW
There is only one lonely sitcom scheduled for release for next week (April 20), and that is Shout! Factory's long-awaited The Bill Cosby Show - Season Two. It is one of their direct-to-consumer titles, although as is the case with the rest of these titles, it can be purchased on Amazon.com. We haven't received a review copy of it yet, and we aren't sure when/if we will receive one. Also, Warner Home Video is bringing out Falcon Crest - The Complete First Season and CBS DVD has Perry Mason - Season 5, Volume 1. We will cover both of these titles sometime soon, but you can pre-order all of them now.

BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

In 1997, a new legal drama hit the air that was nothing like anything that preceded it. This one contained a lot of humor, sexual innuendo, hallucinations (anybody remember the dancing baby?), and many other unique elements in a series about a woman trying to balance her romantic life and her life at work. Ally McBeal - The Complete Second Season is the second of five seasons of this unique series.

DVD Review: Ally McBeal - The Complete Second Season
by Pavan

Ally McBeal - The Complete Second Season
(Fox, $39.98) is back on DVD in an individual set featuring all 23 episodes from the series' excellent (and most popular) second season. The series premiered in 1997 on Fox and lasted five seasons, becoming one of the most talked about shows in the late '90s. The series was created by David E. Kelley The cast was brilliant led by Calista Flockhart in the title role as a young lawyer working in the Boston law firm Cage, Fish and Associates with other young lawyers. Also starring on this show are all recognizable names: Gil Bellows as Billy, Courtney Thorne-Smith as Georgia, Greg Germann as Richard Fish, Lisa Nicole Carson as Renée, Jane Krakowski as Elaine, with Peter MacNichol as John Cage and Vonda Shepard as Herself. Portia de Rossi as Nelle and Lucy Liu as Ling Woo join the cast this season.

The second season begins with the episode "The Real World," where Fish and Cage hire a new associate, Nelle "sub-zero" Porter (Portia de Rossi) and Cage tells Ally about his attraction to Nelle. In the very next episode, "They Eat Horses, Don't They?," Lucy Liu joins the cast as Nelle's friend and client, Ling Woo, who sues a radio DJ for making sexually explicit comments on air and to the disgust of Ally, drops the case as a legal tactic. In "It's My Party," Ally defends George Madison (special guest star John Ritter), editor of a feminist magazine fired for his religious views on women and Ally finds herself attracted to George, but Elaine implies that she and George are an item. Later, Ally is told to stop wearing miniskirts in court and when she refuses, she is held in contempt and taken into custody. This is one of the best episodes in the entire series! In the very next episode, "The Story of Love," Ally is arrested after a fight with a young woman angry with her best friend for stealing her boyfriend, meanwhile George (John Ritter) begins to show an interest in Ally, and Elaine begs her not to date him. Cage brings in his pet tree frog, Stefan, whom he is training for a competition. And the frog popularity begins after this!
In "Pyramids On the Nile," Fish agrees to hire Ling, to the annoyance of the firm except Nelle, while Ally and Billy defend a couple fired because they were dating and then Billy admits, after the trial, he still has feelings for Ally and they share a kiss. In "Sex, Lies, and Politics," Cage and Ling help a bookstore owner sue a senator after he falsely accuses her of selling pornography, causing her to lose business, while Ally obsesses over the kiss with Billy, and struggles with the urge to tell Georgia. In "Civil Wars," Georgia finds out about the kiss, and rumors spread through the office, while Ally and Cage oppose Fish and Georgia in court over a date rape case, but as tension increases between Georgia and Ally, the two get into a fight in the bathroom with Ling and Nelle, with Elaine filming. In the season finale, "I Know Him By Heart," Ally becomes increasingly depressed about her love life, until Fish gives her a pep talk, while Ally and Renee decide to go on as many dates as possible until they find the right man. Notable guest appearances for this season include, the aforementioned John Ritter (who was nominated for an Emmy), Wayne Newton, Rob Schneider, Jennifer Holliday, Lara Flynn Boyle, Bruce Willis, Anna Nicole Smith, Barry White, Rosie O'Donnell, Jesse L. Martin, Larry Green, and the Emmy winning performance by Tracy Ullman.

The episodes are unedited and has all the original music! This season was released in the complete series set back in October 2009, so the content is exactly the same as that set. But if you have not gotten that complete set, there is nothing to worry about on this set. Runtimes are as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "The Real World" (45:16)
2. "They Eat Horses Don't They?" (44:56)
3. "Fool's Night Out" (45:25)
4. "It's My Party" (43:21)

Disc 2:
5. "Story of Love" (44:30)
6. "World's Without Love" (42:56)
7. "Happy Trails" (45:25)
8. "Just Looking" (45:18)

Disc 3:
9. "You Never Can Tell" (44:03)
10. "Making Spirits Bright" (45:27)
11. "In Dreams" (45:26)
12. "Love Unlimited" (45:14)

Disc 4:
13. "Angels Over Blimps" (45:21)
14. "Pyramids On The Nile" (44:23)
15. "Side Show" (44:42)
16. "Sex, Lies & Politics" (45:25)

Disc 5:
17. "Civil Wars" (45:26)
18. "Those Lips, That Hand" (45:25)
19. "Let's Dance" (44:51)
20. "Only The Lonely" (44:45)

Disc 6:
21. "The Green Monster" (45:02)
22. "Love's Illusions" (45:01)
23. "I Know Him By Heart" (45:19)

Now I didn't get the complete series set, but the case (and the rest of the packaging) for season two is the same as it was on that set. The cover art has a full body shot of Ally in black with the show logo in the middle in orange and white coloring. The color scheme for the set is orange and white. Also on the cover art we have four small black and white headshots of Cage, Nelle, Billy and Ling Woo. The back of the case has info on the set and series, with a close-up of Ally in black and a strip about five episodic photos. Inside the case are the discs of course. Disc one is on the left panel, while discs two and three are on a plastic holder that you can flip like a book. The same goes true for discs four and five. And disc six is on the right panel. Artwork inside the case is in orange and we have a disc-by-disc breakdown of episode titles on the panels. When we remove discs one and six, there is some cool artwork, that I won't spoil. Each disc has the same artwork, of a frog, the show logo, and it matches the set's color scheme.

The menus on the set are very nicely done, with different artwork on each disc. The main screen has a different shot of Ally on each disc. The submenus have other castmembers. The main menu has the theme song playing in the background. It is so catchy! The main menu have an option for Play All and the episode titles are listed right on the main menu. When selecting an episode, it takes you to another menu that have the options Play Episode, Language Selection, and Scene Selection. Language tracks are available in English, French and Spanish. Subtitles are available in English and Spanish. In Scene Selection, each episode has about 15 different positions you can start at. Chapter stops have the same selections. It is a bit much for an hour-long series.

The video and audio on the set is looks really good. The video is available in a nice widescreen, and if your DVD player upconverts to HD, it looks so nice. The audio is also very good and is presented in Dolby Surround. This season is from 1998-99, so while it is over a decade in age, it is very well presented here in both video and audio. All of the episodes on the set are closed-captioned for those who need them.

One bad thing about this set is that there are no special features available. They should have gave us a seventh disc with some extras. The complete series set had a bonus disc and in that it did have some features for season two. It would be nice if they included the season two material from that on this set. But that would mean more manufacturing for them. So the only way to see bonus features for this season is to buy the complete series set. That is too bad, especially if someone can't afford that or just wanted this season (like me). I basically was a fan for the first two seasons, but I never really watched the show after that much.

This is a good set, but it is exactly the same content that was available for this season in the complete series set. It is good and amazing that all of the original music is intact, though! Kudos to 20th Century Fox for doing that since this show had A LOT of music! Each episode is also unedited in content, so another thing to be grateful for. The packaging and menus are also great. Everything on this set is great, except for the lack of bonus features. It's not like nothing was available. Fox could have given us the same season 2 features on the bonus disc on the complete set, but they didn't. I was hoping they would, because I have not seen those bonus material. Anyway, the episodes are great and this is my favorite season of the show. It has a nice mix of comedy and drama. Ally's short skirts, Cage's frog, wild hallucinations, special guest John Ritter, this season has it all! A must buy if you don't have the complete series set!

(4/5 stars)

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Related links:
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BLOG FEATURE STORY

DVD Packaging Changes on Older Releases
by skees53

About a month or so ago, Target had a really nice deal on the season sets of the series Saturday Night Live that I couldn't resist. I had always liked the series, but never bothered to pick up the DVDs because the MSRP was more than I wanted to pay. I picked up all of the first four seasons without really looking at the packaging, but when I got home, I noticed that the first season had been placed in a newer (and cheaper) standard digipack inside of a slipcase. I hadn't yet opened the set, but was wondering what exactly was going on with this different packaging. As I later found out, the older releases of the series were no longer being printed with the special limited packaging, and I had to go on a hunt all over town to find a USED (yes, USED) copy of the first season in the original packaging--which ended up costing me about $10 more than my new copy from Target in the new packaging.

At the time, I didn't realize that the studios were repackaging TV series on DVD, but in the past few months, it has become a very common practice. In most cases, the original packaging is being shoved aside in favor of the newer Viva packs--you know, the standard plastic DVD cases that can hold multiple discs. Nobody is publicly saying why this practice is occurring, but there are many potential reasons, including cheaper cost of production (perhaps the main reason), lower package weight, smaller package size (beneficial for storage warehouses and store shelves), or perhaps to just make older releases more consistent with newer releases (which are more often than not being released in Viva packs).

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and ABC Studios seem to be spearheading most of these "evolving packages." As I have discovered, 20th Century Fox began the practice with repackaging older releases of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Arrested Development, and How I Met Your Mother, all of which were previously released in slimcases, in the regular Viva packs. Now, some other older releases series are starting to show up on store shelves in the new packaging, including American Dad!, Family Guy, King of the Hill, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Remington Steele, and even MGM's releases of The Addams Family and Green Acres. All of the 20th Century Fox titles have the same UPC as the original release, same disc content, same disc artwork (sometimes with a few minor changes), but different packaging. Unfortunately, on some of the sets, the different packaging means losing some very nice things included on the original releases, such as detailed episode descriptions. Even more frustrating is Fox's DVDs of The Simpsons, which, even though they have not changed the packaging itself on these sets, they are no longer including the very nice and detailed episode booklets on older releases, instead opting for an empty pocket where the booklet should be.

ABC Studios has been reissuing many of their older titles that were previously released under the Buena Vista Home Entertainment brand, replacing all references to BVHE with ABC Studios. But that isn't all. They have been repackaging many series in their library in the same standard plastic DVD cases as 20th Century Fox, only there is one exception with the ABC Studios products: they are including cardboard slipcovers for most of the products. Packaging has been updated for series including Alias, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, Scrubs, and more. You can also determine which of these sets are the newer ones, as they have the disc count as a banner on the top of the front of the packaging. Just like 20th Century Fox, these sets carry the same UPC as the original releases. ABC Studios has, in the past, had some of the most unique and creative packaging for a lot of their sets, and these newer packages take away what made a lot of these older sets special. You can even see a comparison of the old vs. new packaging for Scrubs - The Complete Fourth Season below. It was originally packaged in a digipack, but has since been replaced with a standard plastic DVD case. Note that the disc artwork (not shown) is the same in both versions.

Old Packaging:


Outside of old packaging for Scrubs - The Complete Fourth Season.



Inside of old packaging for Scrubs - The Complete Fourth Season.

New Packaging:


Outside of new packaging for Scrubs - The Complete Fourth Season.


Inside of new packaging for Scrubs - The Complete Fourth Season.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and ABC Studios aren't the only studios making these changes. HBO Home Entertainment has been re-releasing several older releases of series, including Da Ali G Show and Entourage, in newer (and cheaper) packaging. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is doing the same thing with All in the Family and Soap, releasing them in the cheaper black spindle cases that everybody seems to hate about Sony. One positive note about Sony, though, is that they are at least changing the UPC so that consumers are aware of what they are getting. And Lionsgate, while not making any packaging changes quite yet (that I'm aware of, anyway) has been excluding episode descriptions/booklets and cardboard slipcases on newer copies of older releases. Warner Home Video hasn't changed a whole lot, but some sets (such as The Flintstones) that were originally released with transparent plastic slipcases are being replaced with standard cardboard slipcases. So far, aside from the Saturday Night Live season sets (which were only supposed to be produced in limited numbers for the special packaging anyway), Universal and CBS DVD products haven't been affected... yet.

So is this all a good thing or bad thing? It depends upon what you are looking for. First and foremost, I find the practice of keeping the same UPC on the repackaged products very shameful, because if somebody orders a DVD online, they have no clue which version they will be getting. This issue has even resulted in Amazon.com being forced to put a disclaimer on some products about the packaging. Aside from that issue, though, let's take a look at some of the pros and cons of new packaging for older sets:
Pros:
  • Thinner and more compact, thus allowing more shelf space.
  • Often less cumbersome than old packaging (particularly folding digipacks).
  • Similar style packaging for all releases of a given series rather than having older style packaging for older seasons and more standardized packaging for newer releases.
  • Plastic cases often show much less wear and tear.
Cons:
  • Plastic cases usually simply look cheaper.
  • Retailer selection of DVDs often includes both older and newer packaging, sometimes meaning only newer packaging available for older sets and only older packaging available for newer sets, thus creating a hodgepodge of packaging between seasons for collectors.
  • Creative packaging designs are usually lost in the transition.
  • Episode descriptions, and in some cases even general lists, are being lost in the newer designs.
All in all, there seem to be about an equal number of pros and cons to the new packaging styles. It really all depends upon what your preferences are. Whenever possible, I've attempted to opt for the original packaging on just about every DVD set that I own, and I have been completely successful in this endeavor so far. Recently, it even meant going to four different Target locations to find the original packaging for the first three seasons of How I Met Your Mother. With a little work (and sometimes scouring used book and DVD stores), you can usually find the version that you are looking for, but using the same UPC certainly does create some confusion.

LOOKING AHEAD

We will, of course, return next Saturday with more news and reviews for you. We're still working on what will be on slate for next week, but we will have reviews coming up of The Unusuals - The Complete Series, Perry Mason - Season 5, Volume 1, Marcus Welby, M.D. - Season One, and who knows what else... sometimes we just review random and unexpected things that we stumble upon (and oddly enough those reviews tend to be the most interesting). We are going to have more feature stories in the next few weeks, and among some that we are working on include stories on out-of-print DVDs, an in-depth look at Blu-ray, a look at some rare (as well as some not-so-rare) finds on public domain DVD, and we will even start talking about the online sources for watching TV shows--the legal ones, anyway. We'll also plan to talk about more special deals on home media as we find them (I didn't mention this anywhere else in the blog today as we aren't fully covering deals yet, but I'll just say that you can find some excellent deals on some rather popular Lionsgate releases at T.J. Maxx and Marshalls stores). That's it for this week, but remember, we do want to hear your feedback about Digital Digest. Tell us on our message board or Tweet/Facebook us. Until next time, keep it digital!

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