Sunday, August 16, 2009

Summer Week 12 Sitcom Ratings; Blog DVD Review: Eli Stone - The Complete Second and Final Season

Summer continues and everything is still pretty light. We will be back with our normal weekly report with the first four nights numbers and analysis in the fall, but we still will have our regular how the sitcoms did all summer long, along with last year's summer favorite, the coming week preview! Here are our summer ratings:

Last Sunday Sitcoms (counts for week of August 3-9)

  • Til Death (Fox) - A repeat at 7pm only mustered 1.58 million...down slightly week-to-week...after going up ever so slightly every week.
  • The Simpsons (Fox) 2 episodes - We got double dose of repeats this week with the regular 8pm airing getting 3.69 million, but a special 8:30pm repeat did better at 4.15 million. 8pm repeat was up a bit from previous week, while the 8:30pm repeat was down some.
  • King of the Hill (Fox) - preempted.
  • Family Guy (Fox) - 4.52 million for a repeat...the best of the bunch. Again a 2.2 18-49 rating...that is excellent for a summer repeat these days.
  • American Dad! (Fox) - Only 1.72 million for a repeat at 7:30...but up a bit than the previous week.

Summer Week 12 (August 10-16)

Monday Sitcoms

  • How I Met Your Mother (CBS) - 4.69 million for a repeat airing, down just a bit from previous week. 1.6 A18-49 rating was the same as the previous week.
  • Rules of Engagement (CBS) - 5.25million for a repeat airing, a bit higher again than previous week and built on the lead-in in A18-49 with a 1.8 A18-49 rating, but that was a tenth down from previous week. Look for Accidentally on Purpose in this slot in the fall...will CBS come knocking on Rules' door early like I'm predicting?
  • Two and a Half Men (CBS) - 8.83 million for a repeat, down a lot from previous week. 2.4 A18-49 rating was also down quite a bit from previous week. Odd.
  • The Big Bang Theory (CBS) - 8.64 million for a repeat is up some from previous week...closest retention yet in total viewers from the lead-in for this show! 2.8 18-49 rating is excellent, up a tick from previous week...and a more impressive up .4 from the lead-in!
Tuesday Sitcoms

  • Better Off Ted (ABC) 2 episodes - The season finale did 2.49 and 2.09 million in the 9pm hour. Not good, but better than recent weeks. It needs another sitcom or two airing with it.
Wednesday Sitcoms

  • Old Christine (CBS) - Only 3.59 million for a repeat, down some from previous week again but again it did match the 1.0 A18-49 rating from previous few weeks.
  • Gary Unmarried (CBS) - Only 3.75 million...on par really from previous week, but did build a bit in A18-49 from the lead-in doing a 1.2 rating.
Thursday Sitcoms

  • The Office (NBC) - 3.17 million for a repeat at 9pm...on par from recent weeks.
  • 30 Rock (NBC) 2 episodes - 2.86 and 3.07 million for repeats at 8 and 9:30pm...9:30pm seems better than recent weeks, while 8pm seems lower.
  • Parks & Recreation (NBC) - A repeat did just 2.25 million at 8:30pm...the lowest of the sitcom repeats.

Friday Sitcoms

  • Everybody Hates Chris (The CW) - A repeat at 9pm did a prelim 1.41 million. That was up from previous week's prelim numbers.
  • The Game (The CW) - A repeat did a prelim 1.54 million, up down from previous week's prelim numbers.
Saturday Sitcoms

  • None.
Tonight you can catch encores of Fox's 'Til Death and animated comedies from 7-10pm. Elsewhere ABC has the 10th anniversary of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? with Regis as night six airs at 8pm leading into a new Shark Tank and an all-new episode of drama Defying Gravity at 10pm. CBS has 60 Minutes & Big Brother followed by a new episode of There Goes the Neighborhood at 9pm, while NBC will have a new Dateline in the 7pm hour, leading into Merlin at 8pm.


Coming Week Preview (Aug. 17-23):

I'm going to have to preempt this section for a blog DVD review, but this week is essentially the same as last week, with Who Wants to Be a Millionaire continuing all-week on ABC at 8pm. New series Shaq Vs. premieres Tuesday at 9 on ABC.



It is time for a special Sunday edition of the "Blog DVD Review." Today we take a look at ABC Studios/Buena Vista Home Entertainment's Eli Stone: The Complete Second Season. Eli Stone is about a lawyer (Jonny Lee Miller) with a special gift of seeing visions of the future, but he has a brain aneurysm that medically says that is the reason why he is zoning out with visions. Is science correct or do you have faith? This show is so great and anything with Natasha Henstridge in it is worth watching! See my mini-DVD review of Eli Stone: The Complete Second Season:

Eli Stone: The Complete Second and Final Season (ABC Studios, $39.99) brings the second and unfortunately final season of the legal drama with lots of comedy, music, science, law and lots of faith on DVD once again! Eli Stone is a man you can believe in. The question is, can he believe himself? He is a lawyer and starts having strange visions, then his job and relationship (and sanity) are in jeopardy. What will he do? Is he getting messages from the divine?
The series was unfortunately canceled after this past season, but that doesn't mean the show wasn't good. It was one of the most unique shows of all-time and it is too bad more people didn't watch. The series starred Jonny Lee Miller as Eli Stone, Natasha Henstridge as Taylor Wethersby, Loretta Devine as Patti Dellacroix, Matt Letscher as Nathan Stone, Sam Jaeger as Matt Dowd, James Saito as Dr. Chen, Julie Gonzalo as Maggie Dekker, Jason Winston George as Keith Bennett, and Victor Garber as Jordan Wethersby. Among the guest stars are Katie Holmes, Sigourney Weaver, Tom Cavanagh, Seal, Taraji P. Henson, Bridget Moynahan, Tom Amandes, Laura Benanti, Debrah Farentino, Gina Torres, Steven Culp, Rachelle Lefevre, Jamie Murray, Gregory Smith, Kurt Fuller and Katey Sagal.

This second season is very good, maybe on par with the first season's greatness. 13 more episodes aired this past season, just like season one. However, the show has been canceled and will not return for a third season, which is not good news. The great Greg Berlanti has done great shows in Brothers & Sisters and Dirty Sexy Money. Some classic episodes this season include the season premiere, "The Path," where Eli is free from his visions for the past six months after having an operation to remove his brain aneurysm--or so he thinks. In the very next episode "Grace," Eli has his vision back with a beautiful brunette singing to him...the lady is Grace who turns out to be very much real and not just a vision after meeting her, Eli and Grace fall for each other. In "Happy Birthday Nate," Eli envisions himself within his father's body. In "The Two Ministers," Eli finds out more about Nate and Beth's engagement being called off. In the finale "Flight Path," Eli's latest visions lead him to believe someone close to him will die in a plane crash.
The episodes run usually 43 minutes, unedited of course with all the great music intact. The season premiere runs 39:57, though. There are 8 chapter stops per episode. The video is digitally mastered and is in widescreen and looks very good once again, as it did on season one! The audio is great and sounds very good, as it is in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. This is from the 2008-09 season, so it had better be good.

Packaging has a thin outer box that you can remove from the top or bottom, like last time. The outer box has the same cover and back as the case inside...I hate when they give us an outer thin box that is pointless with the same art as the case inside. On the front cover we have a nice blue sky with Eli sitting on top of the Golden Gate Bridge, and the show logo is in the sky (it's partly cloud with a chance of visions)...the back cover has information on the series & set and has a shot of Eli on the top and a cast photo on the bottom. Henstridge and Gonzalo are stunning women. There is also a section detailing the bonus features and technical specifications in a box that looks like a diploma. Opening the case, we get an inserts for Blu-ray DVDs. There are only two panels, the left side holds disc one and the right side holds discs two & three...and they are overlapping. Each disc is in a blue color with clouds and has artwork that fits the show and Eli's illusions. Disc one has episodes 1-4 with artwork of a baseball (reps the baseball game where he saw Grace). Disc two has episodes 5-9 and has artwork of a journal (his father kept a journal of all his visions). Disc three has episodes 10-13 & the bonus features and has artwork of wedding figurines that looks to represent Eli, Nate and Beth. The left panel has disc-by-disc breakdown and three screenshots. The right panel has the list of bonus features and three more screenshots. Both panels are in the setting of a sunset at the Golden Gate Bridge.

The menu screen starts by showing us a law office and then we are behind the desk where see a flat screen monitor and on that monitor we see the menu options! How clever! It is exactly the same as the first season DVD though. But before I get to the options, there is nice background music playing in the background. The options on the main menu are Play All, Episode Selection, Set Up, Bonus Features (disc three only), and Sneak Peeks (disc three only). But before the main menu screen comes on disc one, we get some auto sneak peeks of other DVDs: ABC on DVD, Brothers & Sisters, Grey's Anatomy, The Proposal, and Blu-ray DVD. Sneak Peeks option is only found on disc three on the main menu and has previews of many titles like Scrubs, Samantha Who? and Castle. Set Up section takes us to the phone in that law office and the options on that menu are on the phone screen (like last time)! We have the option of subtitles in English, French or Spanish. The Episodes option gives us the episode number, title and a screenshot all on a nice yellow folder type document, again like last time. Bonus Features option is only on disc three all the extras listed on a white filler paper style, same as the first season DVD. All of the sub-menus have nice video transitions and different background music.

Moving on the bonus features. We don't get audio commentary this time, which I miss. We do get good featurettes still, though! First up is "Dancin' in the Streets," running 11:37. This is a behind the scenes look at the great song and dance number they did in the season premiere. Interviewed and seen are Blake Neely (composer), Marc Guggenheim (executive producer), Jason George, Andrew Kreisberg (co-executive producer), Zach Woodlee (choreographer), Victor Garber, Perry Lang (director), Loretta Devine, and Sam Jaeger. Seen in the behind the scenes are actors like Jonny Lee Miller and Natasha Henstridge. Then we have the featurette "Good Morning Eli with Sam and Julie." This runs 5:59 and we see what Sam Jaeger and Julie Gonzalo do on the set in mornings. Gonzalo looks good in curls even! Jaeger is a joker. We also see Vincent Misiano (director), Andrew Kreisberg, Marc Guggenheim, Victor Garber and Natasha Henstridge along the way!
Then we have three deleted scenes that are always interesting to see. They run 1:04, 0:46, and 2:21. So they are relatively short. Finally, we have some bloopers titled "Circular Files: Bloopers from Season 2." This only runs 2:05 and needs to be longer, that is my only gripe on the extras we have here.

I highly recommend this series and set. It is such a well-written and acted show that is greatly presented. If you have season one on DVD...then get this FOR SURE. And if you don't, get both seasons. It is worth watching. The show only had 13 episodes this season again, but they are great. ABC Studios did a marvelous job and I only have minor complaints that are not worth mentioning again. The biggest complaint is that this show isn't coming back for another season...boo! You're going to start Dancin' in the Street like Loretta Devine after seeing this on DVD! Have faith in me!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
(4/5 stars)

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Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Official Website
Eli Stone TV.com Page

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

ABC Announces First Batch of Summer 2009 Schedule; ION Ratings Go Up, Schedule Changes

A few days back we gave you a peek at some of ABC's summer schedule. All of that was right basically but now we have more details! So let's take a look night-by-night! As we knew, the new cycle of The Bachelorette launches May 18 from 9-11pm, but its timeslot launch is Monday, May 25 from 8-10pm. We are not sure how long the cycle will run, since there will be for sure a Men Tell All and After the Final Rose specials, so maybe the finale won't be July 13 and could last longer? We'll let you know. So what will air at 10pm on Mondays? I guessed a second season of Here Come the Newlyweds, and I was right! ABC will air that series for eight straight weeks from May 27-July 13 at 10pm on Mondays. Following the run of that, ABC will launch a new series starting July 20 at 10pm. The reality series Dating in the Dark will air for six weeks making it last through all of August. The show is a unique alternative series that asks the age-old question, "Is Love Blind?" Each week, three single men and three single women, all looking for love, will move into a house together, but be totally sequestered from the opposite sex. While they will have no chance of seeing each other in the light, they will have the opportunity to date in a completely dark room.
Tuesdays will not change until after the NBA Finals are over. Prior to the NBA finals will be filler programming, including two burn-offs of Opportunity Knocks. Then after the NBA Finals (which airs Thursdays, Sundays, and Tuesdays from June 4-18) ends, ABC will launch The Superstars on Tuesdays at 8pm starting Tuesday, June 23. The Superstars, a fresh take on an old favorite, is based on ABC's classic "Wide World of Sports" series, The Superstars, which pitted athletes from all different sports against each other to determine the best athlete in the world. Eight celebrities are paired with eight professional male and female athletes to compete against each other in varying sporting events. Each week a team will be eliminated until one team is ultimately crowned the winner. The six-episode series will be shot entirely on location at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. The finale is set for Tuesday, July 28. As for rest of Tuesday, it is unknown still what will air from 9-11pm starting June 23. And it is unknown what will air following the run of The Superstars starting August 4. As I said, this is only the first batch details.
Moving on to Wednesdays, as we mentioned, Wipeout will have its season premiere on a new night starting Wednesday, May 27 at 8pm. And ABC has 16 episodes this season, well one aired already, as ABC aired the Wipeout Bowl (the 6th one produced) on Super Bowl Sunday. We get new obstacles and a new twist to the big balls! Cannot wait for this as this will last throughout the summer on Wednesdays at 8! Following Wipeout, for six weeks, as we mentioned we get the animated comedy The Goode Family! The Goode Family is a new animated series from he King of the Hill crew Mike Judge, John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky. With standards always changing, no matter how hard you try to be good, it's virtually impossible these days... especially for the Goode family. Gerald and Helen Goode are a couple who live by the motto WWAGD ("What Would Al Gore Do?"). We first thought the series would be aired back-to-back at 9pm & 9:30pm, but now that is not the case. It will air in the 9pm half-hour only. So we get 6 of the 13 episodes produced. Following The Goode Family will be the new night of the Bob Saget sitcom Surviving Suburbia. That sitcom launched to decent ratings on Monday at 9:30 and will air five more times in that slot (through May 11) before moving to Wednesdays at 9:30pm starting May 27 for six more episodes for an original summer run. So ABC will air at least 12 of the 13 episodes produced. I really think this sitcom has potential and ABC could use it next fall to launch new traditional comedies. Both comedies will run through Wednesday, July 1. Starting Wednesday, July 8, we get a second season of the game show I Survived a Japanese Game Show! It is an unscripted reality/game show -- actually a show within a show - that takes an eye-opening, behind-the-scenes look at 12 Americans who are whisked away to Japan to compete in the ultimate Japanese game show. This season we get 10 episodes, so it will last into September. It is unknown what ABC will do at 10pm, but The Unusuals has five episodes remaining in its first season episode order if they want to air originals of that. The series launched last night to good ratings. The series will air for four more straight weeks through May 6, before the Lost two-episode season finale on May 13. So five episodes will for sure air out of its ten episode order. If ABC chooses to air the remaining five in the summer, it would air from May 27 through June 24, for five straight weeks. That would give ABC an entire night of originals on Wednesdays from 8-11pm. If that is the case with The Unusuals, they have not announced what would air Wednesdays at 10pm starting July 1. Or they could hold those episodes for next fall, if the series returns.
There has been nothing announced for Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays. We have specials and stuff, though. Thursday, May 28 will be The Scripps National Spelling Bee from 8-10pm, as we told you. And Sunday, May 24 is the first part of the miniseries Diamonds from 9-11pm, also as we told you. It concludes on Tuesday, May from 9-11pm. ABC has another miniseries in the works called Impact.
Finally, Saturdays at 10pm is a rotating wheel to burn-off remaining episodes of canceled series. Pushing Daisies returns to the schedule from Saturday, May 30 through Saturday, June 13 at 10:00pm for its final three episodes. Then Eli Stone returns on Saturday, June 20 through Saturday, July 11 at 10:00pm for its final four episodes. Then finally Dirty Sexy Money returns on Saturday, July 18 through August 8 at 10:00pm for its final four episodes (which includes the unaired Thanksgiving episode!). It'll be weird seeing the Thanksgiving episode first since they aired three other episodes after that.
Well there you have it, the first batch of ABC summer. Of course more timeslots needs to be announced and we will let you know as soon as we hear what they are! Will Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? return in August for its 10th anniversary? We shall see!

First quarter 2009 has been a record breaking time for ION Television, with double digit growth in primetime viewership among households as well as in the key adults 25-54 demo. ION has delivered more adults 25-54 than at any other time in its history and ION's top five most watched episodes ever in households (HH) all aired during the first three months of this year. ION's extraordinary growth is a continued reflection of the success of its strategy to build viewership through its acquisitions of critically acclaimed off-network series in primetime.
Primetime delivery for households was up 26%, while adults 25-54 rose 44%, year over year. Also during this time period, viewership for adults 25-54 exhibited double digit growth across every hour in primetime: The 8:00 PM hour was up 20%, the 9:00 PM hour grew 49% and the 10:00 PM hour rose 62%.
ION's primetime off-network series continue to deliver. NCIS and Boston Legal have both grown significantly since their launch in fourth quarter 2008. In fact, NCIS delivered ION's top five most watched episodes ever (HH), reinforcing ION's mission in attracting more viewers than ever. NCIS averaged over one million total viewers in first quarter 2009, up 27% among households and up 31% among adults 25-54. Boston Legal's first quarter 2009 performance has grown 18% among households and 17% among adults 25-54.
ION's ratings gains provide the network with considerable momentum as it prepares its programming schedule for the 2009-10 season and beyond. That schedule will feature 12 originally produced movies a year, the new first-run series Durham County, The Border and The Guard; and the newly acquired off-network hits Ghost Whisperer and Criminal Minds.
Speaking of ION Television, they have just announced some changes to April. They are not major changes, though. All of the RHI movies have been pulled for the rest of April. So this Saturday (April 11) from 6-11pm we will get a M*A*S*H marathon instead. Other replacements include a Boston Legal block on Friday, April 17 from 8-11pm, big screen movies and more M*A*S*H. We already told you for May, the RHI movies would be leaving, so now it is earlier than planned. The Lonesome Dove four part mini-series is still slated to air the weekend of May 2-3, then after that there is no more RHI movies scheduled. More mainstream big screen movies will air. Check out the revised April schedule so you know what is on a particular day.

Stay tuned tomorrow for ABC Family upfront update!

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Many Universal Series Seasons Not on DVD on Netflix.com!; Network Notes

Tired of waiting for some of your favorite Universal series to continue on DVD? Now Netflix is giving you the entire run of many series that are not yet complete on DVD from Universal! Shows include Coach, Charles in Charge, Leave it to Beaver, Gimme a Break!, Kate & Allie, Dragnet '67, Adam-12, Emergency!, Kojak, Simon & Simon, McMillian & Wife, Quincy, seaQuest DSV, The Rockford Files, Airwolf, Murder She Wrote and Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries. Wow you can watch every episode of Leave it to Beaver! Even season 6! Now you don't have to wait for Universal to complete the series and all the rest of these! All you have to do is to be a Netflix subscriber and you can watch all these episodes instantly on your computer in a nice streaming quality! Don't like that? Get the Netflix Ready Device so you can download these episodes to a device and play them on your TV! I know many of you would like to own the episodes on DVD, but this is a start in watching them.

It's time for more wheelings and dealings...it's network notes! CBS has given a full season order to its new drama The Mentalist, the season's top new freshman series in viewers and adults 25-54 so far. No surprise.
The Mentalist is averaging 16.14 million viewers (No. 7 among all primetime programs), 5.3/12 in adults 25-54 and 3.8/9 in adults 18-49. The series stars Golden Globe Award nominee Simon Baker as Patrick Jane, an independent consultant with the California Bureau of Investigation (CBI), who has a remarkable track record for solving serious crimes by using his razor sharp skills of observation. The series joins Fringe and 90210 for full season orders for rookie series.
Meanwhile, NBC's veteran drama Medium returns sometime this mid-season (or earlier I bet) and NBC has ordered three additional episodes. Last season the show had 16 episodes, so we are not sure what the original episode order was for this year. Could be 13 or 16 and you can tack on three more for Patricia Arquette's series.
ABC's Eli Stone will have 4 more episodes this season as well. The show was ordered for 13 episodes in its second season, so you can tack on four more to that at least, pending the ratings being decent enough. ABC has been pleased with the quality and direction so far, thus their decision in adding four more. And if you haven't seen the season premiere yet, you missed out on an excellent season premiere with guest Sigourney Weaver. Catch it on abc.com if you missed it and don't forget to tune in for the second episode this Tuesday at 10PM ET, with special guest star Katie Holmes! As I said before, I saw this episode already from a review screener and she is excellent. Gina Torres and Katey Sagal also guest star. Have faith in Eli!
Finally, it seems that Fox will also air the half-hour political ad from Presidential Candidate Barack Obama on Wednesday, October 29. CBS and NBC have already signed on to air it. However, Major League Baseball would have to push back the start of game six of the World Series, if necessary, so Fox can air the Obama. The game was scheduled to have first pitch at 8:20pm, but Fox and MLB could move it to 8:35pm if necessary. ABC is in discussions as well to air it, but maybe on a different night like Tuesday instead, since they air an hour-long sow (Pushing Daisies) in the time period. CBS has two half-hour sitcoms and will preempt Gary Unmarried on the night and shift Old Christine to 8:30 for this night. NBC will preempt Knight Rider altogether and air a TBD show at 8:30.

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Blog DVD Review: Eli Stone: The Complete First Season (Sept. 2)

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for the mini-DVD review...but wait! We're renaming the weekly mini-DVD review now to the weekly "Blog DVD Review." Sometimes our mini-DVD reviews are a bit long and we can't help it because we have a lot to share with you. I laugh sometimes, because sometimes the mini ones are longer than our normal full reviews for sitcoms. So effective today the mini-DVD review is now called the Blog DVD Review...it'll be the same concept, but just a new name. Bookmark the old label to see our past mini-DVD reviews because now we're using the new label for blog DVD reviews.
This week on the Blog DVD Review we take a look at ABC Studios/Buena Vista Home Entertainment's Eli Stone: The Complete 1st Season. Eli Stone is about a lawyer (Jonny Lee Miller) with a special gift of seeing visions of the future, but he has a brain aneurysm that medically says that is the reason why he is zoning out with visions. Is science correct or do you have faith? This show is so great and anything with Natasha Henstridge in it is worth watching! See my mini-DVD review of Eli Stone: The Complete 1st Season:

Eli Stone: The Complete 1st Season (Buena Vista, $39.99) brings the first season of the new legal drama with lots of comedy, music, science, law and faith on DVD for the first time! Follow Eli Stone on his quest for answers in this exciting and upbeat comedic drama. Basically the plot in a nutshell...Eli Stone is discovered to have an inoperable brain aneurysm which is causing hallucinations, according to his brother, Dr. Nathan Stone. However, he visits an acupuncturist named Dr. Chen, and he suggests that his hallucinations are actually divinely inspired visions of the future. These visions often predict future cases and events and are always right, leading Eli to go back and forth in his faith. Is he a prophet? One will have to keep watching and have faith in this series.
The series will air Tuesdays at 10PM, following Dancing with the Stars: The Results, on ABC this coming season and stars Jonny Lee Miller as Eli Stone, Natasha Henstridge as Taylor Wethersby, Loretta Devine as Patti Dellacroix, Matt Letscher as Nathan Stone, Sam Jaeger as Matt Dowd, James Saito as Dr. Chen, Julie Gonzalo as Maggie Dekker, Jason Winston George as Keith Bennett, and Victor Garber as Jordan Wethersby. With special appearances by singer George Michael as himself. Among the specials guests are Tom Cavanagh and Katey Sagal.
This first season is very good. 13 episodes aired this past mid-season during the writers' strike and followed Lost, so the show certainly got sampled. The great Greg Berlanti has done it again and I heavily enjoy his other shows such as Brothers & Sisters and Dirty Sexy Money. Some classic episodes include the series pilot, "Faith," where Eli begins having hallucinations (many of which involve singer George Michael) that may either be linked to a medical condition, or the bizarre chance that he is a modern-day prophet.In "Something to Save," after performing a song in the courtroom, Eli's capabilities to practice law have come under scrutiny and he appears before the State Bar of California for a hearing to determine whether he's fit to practice law. In "Heal the Pain," Eli's new position at the law firm means that he does not have an office, a secretary or the power to take cases. Eli has a vision of an earthquake in San Francisco, so Dr. Chen helps Eli realize that the quake is in the region where his client is planning on building a shopping mall by evicting the residents from their home, in "Praying for Time." In my very favorite episode of the series thus far, "Waiting for that Day," Eli has a vision of traveling in a car when all of a sudden an earthquake hits the Golden Gate Bridge...does it actually happen? Those episodes really stand out, but they are all very good. In the season finale, "Soul Free," Eli goes in for an operation to remove his aneurysm, but it doesn't go as planned and Nathan is left with a difficult decision. The episodes run usually close to 43 minutes or just above...unedited of course with all the great music intact. There are about 8 or 9 chapter stops per episode. The video is digitally mastered and is in widescreen and looks very good! The audio is great and sounds very good, as it is in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. This is from the 2007-08 season, so it had better be good.
Packaging has a a thin outer box that you can remove from the top or bottom. The outer box has the same cover and back as the case inside...I hate when they give us an outer thin box that is pointless. On the front cover we have a nice blue sky with clouds setting with Eli's head from the back side, and the show logo on his head...the back cover has information on the set and has some screen shots from episodes and a nice shot of the Golden Gate Bridge. There is also a section detailing the series and set, a special features box inside a briefcase with technical specifications also. Opening the case, we get two inserts (one for other ABC Studios DVDs and one for Blue-ray DVDs). There are only two panels, the left side holds discs one & two and the right side holds discs three & four...and they are overlapping. The left side, you have to remove disc two to get to disc one, I hate that. Each disc is in a blue color and has artwork that fits the show and Eli's illusions. Disc one has episodes 1-4 with artwork of a San Francisco Trolley. Disc two has episodes 5-8 and has artwork of a WW1 biplane. Disc three has episodes 9-12 and has artwork of the ocean on the Hawaiian beach with surfboards. Disc four has episode 13 and the bonus features with artwork of the Golden Gate Bridge. When you remove the discs, the left panel has disc-by-disc breakdown and three screenshots. The right side has the list of bonus features and three more screenshots.
The menu screen starts by showing us a law office (it looks like Dowd's office to me) and then we are behind the desk where see a flat screen monitor and on that monitor we see the menu options! How clever! But before I get to that, there is nice music playing in the background...it's the song "Feeling Good" which was hear in the season finale sung by the cast. You know, it starts off with the words, "Birds flying high, you know I feel..." Catchy! The options on the main menu are Play All, Episode Selection, Set Up, Bonus Features (discs three & four only), and Sneak Peeks (disc four only). But before the main menu screen comes on disc one, we get some auto sneak peeks of other DVDs: Private Practice, Samantha Who, Grey's Anatomy and Lost. Sneak Peeks option is only found on disc four on the main menu and has previews of many titles like Desperate Housewives Season 4 DVD and ABC promos of the new season of Eli Stone (Fall 2008) and Lost (2009). Set Up section takes us to the phone in that law office and the options on that menu are on the phone screen! We have the option of subtitles in English, French or Spanish. The Episodes option gives us the episode number, title and a screenshot all on a nice yellow folder type document. Bonus Features option is only on discs three & four and it has all the extras listed on a white filler paper style. All of the sub-menus have nice video transitions and different background music.
Moving on the bonus features. Two episodes get the audio commentary treatment, first on disc three is "I Want Your Sex," by reators/Executive Producers Greg Berlanti & Marc Guggenheim, Executive Producer Chris Misiano and Actors Jonny Lee Miller, Natasha Henstridge, Victor Garber, & Sam Jaeger and Writers Leila Gerstein and Wendy Mericle. We also get an audio commentary track for the finale "Soul Free," on disc four from Creators/Executive Producers Greg Berlanti & Marc Guggenheim and Actors Jonny Lee Miller, Natasha Henstridge, Matt Letscher & Sam Jaeger, Exec. Producer/Director Chris Misiano and Writers Andrew Kreisberg and Courtney Kemp Agboh. Wow! I never have seen that many people on one track. It was a crowd to listen, but still informative!
The next extra is an Extended Pilot Episode that runs 45:56, so we get nearly three more minutes of new footage. We also have optional commentary on this episode, that I recommend. Commenting are Creators/Executive Producers Greg Berlanti & Marc Guggenheim and Actors Jonny Lee Miller, Natasha Henstridge & Sam Jaeger and Director Ken Olin.
Then we have seven deleted scenes that are always interesting to see. Then we have three featurettes that are very good. First one is, "Turning a Prophet: The Creation of Eli Stone" (12:13) and it tells us everything we need to know and has interviews with Berlanti, Guggenheim, Miller, George Michael, Jaeger, Julie Gonzalo, Letscher, Loretta Devine, Jason George, Henstridge, Garber, and James Saito. Then we have "Acting on Faith: Eli & George Michael" (4:33) where we learn from Berlanti, Guggenheim, Jaeger, Henstridge, Garber and George Michael himself on how he got attached and what he brings. Then we have a neat visual effects featurette titled "Creating Vision: The Effects of Eli Stone" (5:35) where we see how the cool effects are done in CGI and how the actors have to deal with it. Discussing it are producers, actors, visual effects department, and other crew members: Guggenheim, Miller, Berlanti, Peter Vasquez, Timothy L. Lonsdale, David Petrarza and Tony Ocampo. We're not done yet...then we have "Inside the Firm: The Natasha Henstridge Tour" (4:58). The lovely luscious Natasha Henstridge gives us a tour of the set and does a good job. She is amazing and does this on her break from shooting. Finally, we have some "Eli Oops!" (3:28)...yes, bloopers! See all the swearing, goofs and play on the set!
I highly recommend this series and set. It is such a well-written and acted show that is greatly presented. The show got better and better it seemed to me as the episodes progressed, and that is a sign of greatness. The show only had 13 episodes and this DVD gives us 4 discs and tons of quality extras. ABC Studios did a marvelous job and I only have minor complaints that are not worth mentioning again. Catch up or discover the magic of Eli Stone with this DVD and hurry before the second season premieres October 14 at 10/9 central on ABC. Because... "Its a new dawn, It's a new day, Its a new life,
For me. And I'm feeling good..." You gotta have faith, so have faith in me and order the DVD below!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
(4.5/5 stars)

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