Saturday, April 19, 2008

Mini-DVD Review: Perry Mason 50th Anniversary Edition; Solomon's Final Rant: Good Times Not a Spin-Off of Maude

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for the mini-DVD review and Solomon's Weekly Rant! First up, is the mini-DVD review. Today we take a look at CBS DVD's Perry Mason - 50th Anniversary Edition. Perry Mason of course is the very popular law series. The series stars the great Raymond Burr. See skees53's mini-DVD review of Perry Mason - 50th Anniversary Edition:

Perry Mason - 50th Anniversary Edition (CBS DVD, $49.98) brings you some of the best episodes of one of the most popular courtroom dramas on television along with plenty of special features on a four-disc set. The series premiered in 1957 on CBS and ran through 1966, making it one of the most successful series of its time. The "meat of the set" so to speak would be the episodes, and on this set, we have the twelve "best" episodes of the series (as chosen by the producers of the DVDs), beginning with the 1960 episode "The Case of The Wary Wildcater," where a woman accuses an oil entrepreneur of killer her sister, and then she is in turn accused of killing him when he is murdered. A clump of fake hair could solve the mystery in "The Case of the Treacherous Toupee," where Robert Redford guest stars. Before he was Batman, Adam West guest stars in "The Case of the Barefaced Witness."
A man may have gone crazy in "The Case of the Counterfeit Crank," but is he crazy enough to commit murder? Leonard Nimoy guest stars in "The Case of the Shoplifter's Shoe." Can Perry prove that a woman that has already been convicted is actually innocent? Find out in "The Case of the Deadly Verdict."
Did you know that Perry Mason was in color? Well it was... but only for one episode... in "The Case of the Twice Told Twist." In "The Case of the Dead Ringer," Raymond Burr plays the bad guy AND Perry Mason in the same episode. The set ends with the final episode, "The Case of the Final Fadeout," where Dick Clark guest stars.
The set comes in a very nice package with two double slimcases, with four discs. As has been the case on previous Perry Mason releases, the video and audio are preserved nearly to perfection, with virtually no flaws to be found... even the one color episode looks amazing! Closed-captioning is also available.
While there aren't any episode commentaries, there ARE video introductions from Barbara Hale on each and every episode... and much, much more. In fact, Disc 4 is nothing BUT special features. It begins with the 1985 movie Perry Mason Returns, which was the first (in a long line of MANY) Perry Mason TV movies of the week. Did you ever want to see what the cast was like when trying out for their roles? Find out in the Talent Tests. In fact, you even get to see actors from the show try out for parts they didn't even get. In "The Case of Erle Stanley Gardner," we get to find out about the history behind the creator of the series.
There are two interviews of Raymond Burr by Charlie Rose from the 1980s, as well a much older "Person to Person" interview. There are brand new interviews on the set from Barbara Hale, Arthur Marks, and Anne Nelson. You can see the entire cast play n the game show "Stump the Stars" on one of the special features. William Talman, while dying of lung cancer, gives a special anti-smoking message (that was taped just before he died) on another feature. And finally, there are some syndication promos and a photo gallery. Oh, and did I mention that except for the last two, all of these special features have an introduction by Barbara Hale?
I think that the verdict is very clear on this set... you'll want it. Normally I'm not a big fan of "best of" sets, but normally such sets don't include this many (and such great) special features. Now CBS DVD needs to get moving on more season sets... and perhaps give us some special features like these on one of those! This is better than those!
-- Reviewed by skees53
(5/5 stars)

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After launching June 2, 2007, Solomon's Weekly Rant is coming to an end after today's column. No, the rant is not canceled, but Solomon wants to go out on top. We enjoyed the rant each Saturday for the last 10 months and he is welcome to come back to do special features for us on the blog whenever we have some time. He of course will still remain an active members on our message boards, so you can still speak to him there. He will leave us today with his final rant that will feature some great thoughts and insight on why Good Times was not a spin-off of Maude. He has constantly said this on our message boards but this will be the first time he has actually written up something officially on this. You'll want to read this...because dare I say it, he could be right!

Solomon's Weekly Rant
Saturday, April 19, 2008
"Why Good Times is NOT a Spin-Off of Maude"
By Solomon Davis

I have said this many times but now I'm actually writing it up for the whole world to see. Good Times is not a spin-off of Maude, damnit. You may think I'm crazy but I have some hard facts to prove this. First, isn't it obvious that the name of Florida's husband is different on both shows? On Maude his name is Henry and on Good Times it changed to James. So if Good Times was a spin-off why wouldn't they have kept the same name for the husband? And it was also obvious that the wife's name was supposed to be changed on Good Times since her husband had a different name on the show. So someone screwed up the naming the characters for Good Times and that's one reason that it can't be a spinoff... all about the names.

Fine you may think the producers might have messed up on the first argument I mentioned. But secondly, the location of Good Times along with the situation of the family lets you know it's not a spinoff. On Maude, the husband had a stable job as a fireman in upstate New York and on Good Times he was working at a car wash and living in the projects section of Chicago. On the last episode ("Florida's Goodbye") they appeared on Maude, they said Henry got a job promotion...so from a fireman to working at a car wash is a promotion? And the last time I checked Chicago is no where near upstate New York which means that Good Times is its own show and not a spinoff. Plus how could a family have moved from upstate New York and then be living in the projects in Chicago? Not a spinoff of Maude, that's why.

Third, the executive producer of Good Times, Allan Manings, stated in a 1974 issue of Ebony Magazine that it's not really a spin-off because Florida Evans was one character on Maude and that character was changed & re-developed for the NEW SHOW called Good Times. If anyone would know, it would be the executive producer of the show that knows whether it was a spinoff or not. The early scripts from Good Times are not connected at all to the final scripts of Maude. Once again, no spinoff.

And my last point, which will really show that Good Times was not a spinoff, is the airdate for the debut of Good Times in 1974. In some markets, CBS aired Good Times on February 1, 1974 and the last episode with the characters on Maude was aired on February 5, 1974. Did they move to Chicago and go back to upstate New York in a week? So if Good Times was supposed to be connected to the last episode of Maude then why would some CBS affiliates air the debut episode of Good Times before the last episode of Maude? And I know some CBS stations aired the launch of Good Times on February 8, 1974 but for the ones that didn't, made it obvious for the last time, that Good Times was never ever a spinoff of the show Maude. The characters were BASED on Maude but not the same exact ones! I hope everyone hears that lound and clear! I don't want to hear that on TV anymore that Good Times was a spin-off of Maude! You hear that E! True Hollywood Story, Entertainment Tonight, Biography, TV Land, and most of all Norman Lear? I hope you all see this!


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DISCLAIMER: Remember, Solomon is not the voice of SitcomsOnline. He is just stating his opinions and does not reflect what SitcomsOnline says or thinks. It is just his 'View' but it is always quite entertaining.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Mini-DVD Review: Woody Woodpecker and Friends: Classic Cartoon Collection Volume 2 (April 15); Solomon's Weekly Rant

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for the mini-DVD review and Solomon's Weekly Rant! First up, are the mini-DVD review. This week we take a look at Universal Home Video's The Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection - Volume 2. Woody Woodpecker is of course the classic TV woodpecker that made his mark in the 40s-70s in feature films! Not only do we get Woody cartoons, we also get classic theatrical cartoons of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Andy Panda, Chilly Willy, some Cartune Classics, and some Music Favorites. See my mini-DVD review of The Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection - Volume 2:

The Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection - Volume 2 (Universal, $39.98) brings 45 more classic unedited Woody Woodpecker cartoons and 30 other unedited classic cartoons from the legendary Walter Lantz to DVD on another classic 3-disc set! This time three of these shorts were nominated for Academy Awards. The set also goes again to the vault for classic behind-the-scenes with Walter Lantz and some rare Lantz pilots.
On this set we not only get 45 Woody Woodpecker cartoons, but also 5 each of the following: Oswald the Luck Rabbit, Andy Panda, Chilly Willy, Cartune Classics, Cartune Co-Stars and Musical Favorites. The Woody Woodpecker cartoons generally are between 6-7 minutes. Chilly Willy is about the same as well, and the others are a bit higher, more like 7-8 minutes each. There are no chapter stops once again, which is acceptable here because the episodes are very short. There are 75 total shorts.
The video is digitally remastered and uncut and it looks great! You see some dust and debris here and there, but a bit better than the last set, as that set had more older shorts...but some shorts like Oswald the Lucky Rabbit are still from the '30s. Woody is from 1952-58 on this set. The audio is decent, nothing too bad about it. It is in mono, but very good for its age.
Packaging has a nice brown outer box (like a tree again) with Woody coming out of the whole on the tree holding a sling shot. His nephew and niece, Knothead and Splinter are also on the cover. The back cover has information on the set and has some screenshots of the shorts along with a big photo of Woody pumping up dynamites or something. A box titled Rare Vintage Bonus Features is also listed on the back of the box. Inside the box is a digipak. The front of the digipak has Woody again coming out of a whole on a tree with a sling shot surrounded by more hole on the three with are screenshots from the show like Smedly and Chilly Willy. Woody's "Ha-Ha-Ha-HAAA-Ha!" is also mentioned on the front of the digipak. The back of the digipak has a nice list of characters from Walter Lantz's shows, with details on each such as Woody, Chilly Willy and Space Mouse. Below that are nice photos of each all together! Opening the case once, we get a very nice disc by disc breakdown as we got on the last set, which is very colorful and has lots of pictures. Opening the case one last time, we get to the discs. We have four panels. The first panel, all the way to the far left, has a a nice paragraph each on each disc and what is inside it. The next three panels hold each disc. The artwork has a tree wooden background with niece Splinter on disc one, Woody himself on disc two and nephew Knothead on disc three. Nice classic images from the shorts are in the background on the case itself.
The menu screen has Play All, Cartoon Selection, Bonus, and Languages...exactly the same as the last set. The main menu has Woody pecking to start and then we hear Woody's famous laugh....again exactly the same as the last set, but that is good! Languages section has us in English only, but subtitles can be added for English, Espanol, and Francais. Bonus Features are on each disc, so they are spread out evenly. Cartoon Selection is where we can choose the classic shorts...we get a list of titles in a tree hole.
Moving on to the extras. As I mentioned, they are evenly placed on each disc. The extras are all from the vaults and are not new material once again, which is indeed classic and great. Since this is a classic collection, might as well dig stuff up from the archives. Disc one has more of those "Behind the Scenes with Walter Lantz" episodes. We get six short segments running between 3-5 minutes or so. We have Creating Woody Woodpecker (Episode 2), Timing a Cartoon (Episode 11), Character Movement (Episode 12), Photography Animation Cels (Episode 13), Animator's Job (Episode 14), and Using Backgrounds (Episode 15). These are all so interesting and it was great of Mr. Lantz to do these...we should have all of these finished by the time we get all Woody episodes finished on DVD. On disc two we have six more "Behind the Scenes with Walter Lantz" episodes! We have Inking Department (Episode 17), Painting Department (Episode 18), Drawing with Walter Lantz (Episode 20), Sound Effects in Cartoons (Episode 22), Storyboarding Woody Woodpecker (Episode 24), and Creating New Characters (Episode 26). So we get a dozen of these on this set...we got six last time, so 18 of them are done! Then we have Rare TV Pilot Episodes of other Lantz characters. We get the pilot episode of The Secret Weapon, with Space Mouse that runs 6:04 and Jungle Medias, with Sam 'n Simian that runs 6:01...rare stuff! On the last disc we have a full episode of The Woody Woodpecker Show. It is episode 47 and runs 26:59. It is from 1957-58 when it aired on ABC...we get four classic shorts packaged together: Ballyhooey/Rough and Tumbleweed/Franken-Stymied/Mother's Little Helper. As I said in the last set, it was later revived in 1970 by NBC with more episodes. And in the '80s it was packed together for syndication we saw different themes and stuff in syndication. I love this the best as I stated last time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5zwBBFJ63c (I hope we get that on a future set as an extra and all the theme songs used in syndication).
I highly do recommend any fan of classic cartoons and Woody Woodpecker to pick-up this set...especially if you have Volume 1. If you remember the show from local syndication in the late 80s/early 90s, you'll be fascinated by this because these shorts were made for theatrical cartoons and not television, which I never knew obviously then. This set covers Woody from 1952-1958...so we have still have 12 years or so left. Volume 1 covered 1940-52. Maybe we will need about 4-5 volumes to finish it up. Let's hope we do and we get all of the Woody shorts released and the other Lantz shorts. I want all of the Chilly Willy shorts too...I loved him and Smedly. So start 'guessing who' is coming to DVD once again? Yes Woody Woodpecker and Friends once again!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
(5/5 stars)

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Solomon's Weekly Rant
Saturday, April 12, 2008
"BET Doing Stuff Wrong Now; Enough Spitzer, Leno; Complaining of High Gas Prices"
By Solomon Davis

BET was almost the cable channel of 2008 with its new acquisitions but now the network is just doing stuff wrong. First, the editing STINKS on Diff'rent Strokes and it is actually worse than ION's editing probably because I never seen a network cut from a scene while two characters are dancing and talking. That's called pre-school editing at its best and it is unacceptable. Second they added more airings of Diff'rent Strokes, which is great, but the additional slots are still during the day. So how is airing Diff'rent Strokes at 3pm any different from 9am? Most people are still at work or school at 3pm. No one at BET has enough sense to air additional airings in the evening or regular airings during weekends? And last, why would BET have two marathons of the same show in one month? We just watched an eight hour marathon of Diff'rent Strokes last Sunday and now they have a five hour marathon coming on Sunday, April 20? It is good they are having marathons at least, but I guess no one at BET ever heard of the month of May where the Strokes marathons can be more spread out.

How much longer is Jay Leno going to make fun of former governor of New York Elliot Spitzer? The jokes are no longer funny because the story is now OLD and it is time to move on and joke about something else. No need to keep bringing up an old news story when there is new stuff to make fun of about everyday. Time for Jay to get some FRESH jokes and start leaving the STALE jokes alone.

I get so annoyed when I hear people who have nice salaries talk about high gas prices like they can't afford to pay the increase. I have heard radio talk show hosts, late night TV hosts, and news anchors mention how ridiculous it is that gas is so high in 2008 and we all know they are not affected. The "average working person" definitely doesn't want to hear someone with a six figure salary complain about high gas prices. It's really amazing that these high paid people don't have a clue on how stupid they sound. I guess news anchors have to report it, though...but they shouldn't be complaining.

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DISCLAIMER: Remember, Solomon is not the voice of SitcomsOnline. He is just stating his opinions and does not reflect what SitcomsOnline says or thinks. It is just his 'View' but it is always quite entertaining.

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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Mini-DVD Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 6 (April 8); Solomon's Weekly Rant

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for the mini-DVD review and Solomon's Weekly Rant! First up, are the mini-DVD review. Today we take a look at Lionsgate's Season 6 of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (actually the ninth DVD release). Ninja Turtles is of course the hit animated series that caused kids and teens to go crazy for in the late '80s and early '90s. See my mini-DVD review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Season 6:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Season 6 (Lionsgate, $19.98) brings all 16 episodes from the series' sixth season on this wonderful two-disc DVD set. Leonardo, Donatello, Michaelangelo, Raphael, Splinter, April are all back to battle Shredder, Krang and other villains! Cowabunga! Starting with season four we started getting season releases. Prior to that, we were getting volume releases. Volume 6 had the last 11 episodes from season three, plus the first episode of season four. The third season had a total of 47 episodes, so they decided to split up that season into volumes, so volumes 3, 4, 5, and 6 covered season three. Season one had only 5 episodes, so that was on Volume 1. For season 2 there were just 13 episodes, so Lionsgate released that for volume two...so yes, technically the first two volumes were season sets. Season 4 and Season 5 had their actual full seasons...season 4 had 39 episodes and season 5 had 18.
Season six has a total of 16 episodes, and we get ALL of those on this set, which is a bit cheaper in quality than the last two sets we got.
The packaging started getting very good starting with season four. The first six volumes the packaging was simple (as they were just one-disc sets)...and we are back to that on this set. This set is 2-discs, but the case is very similar to those volume releases. We get a very thin box holding the case, which I don't understand why it is even needed. Both the thin box cover and the case cover has the same cover art...the four turtles in the middle with their respective weapons. The artwork is very colorful, though. We get a shot of Splinter on the upper left and April on the bottom left. It is in comic book style, so it is nicely done. The back of both the thing box and case are also similar. We get a photo of Leonardo with his sword and some details on the set and series. Below that we get an episode listing of each episode for season six in a rectangular yellow box. When we open the case, it is also pretty simple...black backgrounds surrounding the case with two disc holders holding each disc. At least no overlapping occurs! Disc one holds the first 8 episodes of the season and is in blue with Michaelangelo. Disc two has the rest of the episodes from season six, the final eight, and is in reddish/orangeish color with Dontatello.
The menu screen is not as creative as the last set for sure. No pizza menu this time, but still it is decent. First, we get autotrailers before the main menu appears on disc one only. Then after that is done, we see rotating images of each Turtle before we come to the main menu screen. The theme song is playing in the background, and it does loop, and the photo is similar to the box art, but the weapons of each turtle is moving a bit. Nicely done. Also, the background seems to have video clips playing in the background, but it is in blue and looks transparent. The options are: Play All Episodes, Episode Selection, Trailers. Trailers is on both disc for some reason and is I believe the same as the auto-trailers that are on disc one. Episode Selection takes us to a submenu with episode #, title, and a screenshot from the episode.
The video is on par with the other volumes, with dust and debris here and there but I think it is much better than the previous releases...but probably on par with seasons 4 and 5. The audio is also on par with the previous releases, not bad...and listenable. The episodes run a around 23:35-23:40, with the highest being 23:41 and the lowest at 23:35. We get 5 chapter stops per episode...nice.
Seasons four and five had extras...and decent ones, too...but this time we get absolutely nothing! Why??? Was the reason we were getting extras was because of the new TMNT CGI-movie? I hope not. I hope we get more extras in future seasons.
I still urge fans to buy this set even though it is a bit of a letdown from the seasons 4 and 5 sets. I was afraid of the quality dipping by Lionsgate starting with season six...I expressed my worries on my season 5 review about that. Seasons 7, 8, 9, and 10 still remain to be released, so let's hope they come out soon and in good quality. Season seven had 27 episodes and seasons eight through ten had 8 episodes each. Four of the eight episodes on season ten was released on the Volume 1 DVD, the very first DVD, though.
Anyway, this set will be released this Tuesday, click on the link below to purchase all the thrilling season six episodes and you'll like the comic book style packaging! Eat some pizza while you watch this DVD! Cowabunga dudes!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
(4/5 stars)

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Solomon's Weekly Rant
Saturday, April 5, 2008
"Nick at Nite Delaying Family Matters; TV One Going Downhill Still; ESPN Wrong Again"
By Solomon Davis

Thank you Nick at Nite for deciding at the last minute to launch Family Matters at a later date when the promos were stating it will be coming "next month" (April). And is this decision all because of Home Improvement improving in the ratings lately? Well that means the promos in March were false advertisement and it's unfair to fans when it was stated April was the month that it would launch (was slated to launch April 20 with airings 9-10pm each weekday, bumping Tim Allen and the gang to just 12-1am). So I guess if Home Improvement continues to "improve," Family Matters will probably start in September or NEVER if Home Improvement becomes a new Nick at Nite HIT! That show is no George Lopez!

TV One is going to air a 24-hour marathon of Martin in May (part of their May Friday marathons) and the show has been on the schedule forever? This makes no sense at all since it's not a new show which is another poor program decision by TV One. And on top of that Amen will resurface on the TV One evening schedule this coming week which should be very exciting since it was already on the schedule two years ago. Holding on to shows for years and adding shows that they already had on the schedule means that TV One is nothing but a LARGER version of the station called ION Television.

ESPN wanted to be the first to report a story this week but just ended up looking like a national joke. Now why would ESPN report that Brett Farve may want to come out of retirement? Was the news that slow that day that the network had to make up something that dumb? Thankfully SI.com reported today that Farve never said that he wanted to come back and I'm still annoyed I have to continue to pay money to watch a network that reports false information.


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DISCLAIMER: Remember, Solomon is not the voice of SitcomsOnline. He is just stating his opinions and does not reflect what SitcomsOnline says or thinks. It is just his 'View' but it is always quite entertaining.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Mini-DVD Review: Alvin and the Chipmunks Go To the Movies: Funny, We Shrunk the Adults (April 1); Solomon's Weekly Rant

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for the mini-DVD review and Solomon's Weekly Rant! First up, are the mini-DVD review. This week we take a look at Paramount Home Entertainment's second set of The Chipmunks Go to the Movies. The Chipmunks Go to the Movies is a continuation of Alvin and the Chipmunks from 1990 where the Chipmunks re-enact your favorite classic movies like Big, Back to the Future and Honey I Shrunk the Kids! See my mini-DVD review of The Chipmunks Go to the Movies:

Alvin & the Chipmunks Go To the Movies: Funny, We Shrunk the Adults (Paramount, $16.99) brings three episodes from the short-lived 13 episode series where the Chipmunks spoofed major Hollywood films. This is the fifth set from Paramount featuring the Chipmunks series. The last set was the first Chipmunks Go To The Movies set (which featured "Star Wreck," "Batmunk," and "Funny...We Shrunk the Adults"). Previous sets were the Valentine's, Halloween and Christmas specials releases. Paramount has also released the Chipmunk Adventure feature film from 1987 on a separate set...so six sets really. Well maybe seven because they will also re-release this movie on April 1 as well with a bonus soundtrack disc inside (more on that below).
This set has three episodes from the 1990 series featuring spoofs on Back to the Future, Big & Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Yes, the spoof on Honey, I Shrunk the Kids was on the last Chipmunks Go To The Movies set and for some reason is on this one, too. The episode titles for this set are "Back to Alvin's Future," "Bigger," and "Funny...We Shrunk the Adults." As I said in the previous review, why not just bring all 13 on two-discs or something? It doesn't make sense to me why just three episodes and one of them was already released on the last set. On the last set, each episode ran 21:30 or so, with NO closing credits or chapter stops. On this set two of the three have closing credits, but one doesn't. The two that do, have runtimes of 23:06 and the one that doesn't has a runtime of 22:33 (but that one has the original NBC In Stereo logo during the opening credits). Each episode has 3 chapter stops.
Packaging is simple and in the same line as the previous sets--a nice simple case with the disc inside with an insert for Chipmunks.com. Cover art has Alvin and the Chipmunks Go To The Movies logo with a reel strip and the mention of "Funny, We Shrunk The Adults." Picture of Theodore, Alvin and Simon are on the cover as Alvin holds a shrunken Dave and Ms. Miller. Disc art is the same as the cover art, but with just Alvin's shot from the cover. The last set's packaging featured Star Trek on the cover and Batman on the back, while this set is all about Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.
The menu screen has Play All and all the episodes listed on the main menu, with a screenshot and episode title. The main menu is in blue/pink background.
The video and audio are decent and very watchable and in line with other releases.
I highly do recommend any fan to pick up this set. New fans might also want to see this hilarious take on popular films (such as Tom Hanks in Big and Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future), but I am hoping Paramount (or any other studio) releases the series on DVD in order with the classic episodes, and not just select episodes from The Chipmunks years (1988-1990). I like the old style animation the series had on NBC from 1983-87...why aren't they coming to DVD first? I think those might be from Warner and Ruby-Spears, while these are from DiC. But for now get shrunk (again) but this time we get 'bigger' and go to the 'future' with the Chipmunks. Alvinnnnnnnnnn!

Now I'll just comment a bit on the new release of The Chipmunk Adventure feature film movie from 1987 that runs 76 minutes. The packaging is different and the disc artwork is different, but everything else is the same. We get the same menus, video/audio, scene selections, special feature (original artwork). However, this new release has The Chipmunk Adventure soundtrack with all 11 tracks. So if you want to spend the money just for the soundtrack, because basically everything is the same except for the things I mentioned above, then buy this set. If you haven't bought the movie on DVD, then go for this set instead of the older one. The movie is really fun!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
(4/5 stars) for both sets

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Chipmunks.com


Solomon's Weekly Rant
Saturday, March 29, 2008
"Price DVD Disappointing; Local News Breaks Into Programming, ION Strikes Again"
By Solomon Davis

I thought the Best of Price is Right DVD would be a great buy for fans of the show but when I heard that there are episodes from the 2007 season included, I was no longer in a rush to buy the DVD. Why in the world would FIVE episodes from 2007 be on a best of the Price is Right DVD? The very last episode with Bob Barker I can understand a little but what are the other 4 episodes on the DVD for? Who cares if they are from Bob's last week on the show, this DVD should be all about the HISTORY of the Price is Right and not episodes from this decade at all. I don't even think it should be episodes from 1997, so to hear that 2007 episodes are on the DVD just sounds really stupid. This release proved that BCI Eclipse doesn't have no clue as to what should be on a Best of the Price is Right DVD. I hope they are planning on a second release because besides the 2007 episodes the newest episode is from the mid-70s...they skipped the entire '80s??

I know that someone has experienced watching a show on one of their local stations and the news cuts in to go to a press conference or a breaking news story when they can just tell viewers about it when the news comes on. I lost count at the number of times I was recording something only to have my local news station cut in and stop me from getting an entire show on tape. Which was what happened to me this week on my Fox station when the news station cut in on The Tyra Banks Show at the 40 minute mark to go to a Hilary Clinton press conference in Philadelphia leaving me with an incomplete episode. I just wish local news would leave regularly scheduled programming ALONE if it's not a MAJOR NATIONAL NEWS story...they could wait for the regular local news timeslot to report it. If Charlie Gibson, Brian Williams or Katie Couric are not breaking in, no one else should.

Can't say I'm surprised by the recent programming by ION Television this past week with its new April schedule. ION for some reason feels the need to add shows that have already been played on other cable networks which is not an intriguing pick-up for TV fans. Who hasn't seen The Wayans Bros., Family Feud, and The Steve Harvey Show in syndication before? Plus ION decides to do this ODD mix of primetime scheduling and will now have a drama (Quantum Leap) leading into sitcoms which is just bizarre. OK, Quantum Leap hasn't been played much in syndication, but it is out of place on ION (Mama's Family airs before it and Drew Carey Show plays after it...what???) So it's the same 'ole story with ION each month, which is adding TV shows that are in the "Brand New Old" syndication category.

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DISCLAIMER: Remember, Solomon is not the voice of SitcomsOnline. He is just stating his opinions and does not reflect what SitcomsOnline says or thinks. It is just his 'View' but it is always quite entertaining.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Mini-DVD Review: The Best of The Price is Right (March 25); Solomon's Weekly Rant

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for the mini-DVD review and Solomon's Weekly Rant! First up, are the mini-DVD review. Today we take a look at BCI's The Best of The Price is Right. The Price is Right of course is the long-running daytime game show hosted by Bob Barker where you guess the prices of various products via different pricing games. See skees53's mini-DVD review of The Best of The Price is Right:

The Best of The Price is Right (BCI, $39.98) gives you a chance to come on down and enjoy 26 episodes of one of the greatest game shows in American history! The four-disc set features four episodes from the 1960s, 17 episodes from the 1970s, and all five episodes from Bob Barker's final week as the host from 2007.
The set begins with Disc 1, which features the "beginnings" so to speak of the series. On here, we have four episodes of the version of the show that was hosted by Bill Cullen in the 1960s. Despite the fact that the version we all know aired (and still does) on CBS, these aired on NBC originally, and later on ABC. But don't expect the flashy colors or a few rounds of Plinko on these episodes. These are all in black and white and basically it is a much different game. On this version, the only thing contestants do is bid on items, and the one that comes closest to the actual retail price without going over wins... this part is only the first step in winning on the current version! Watching these episodes will seem boring to some fans, as that version didn't have the pricing games and excitement as the version we all know does, but if you imagine it as a different series, it really isn't all that bad.
The other three episodes on Disc 1 are episodes from the first week of the show as we know it that was hosted by Bob Barker, and you'll see that the games Bullseye and Grocery Game were VERY popular in the early days. This Bullseye game is NOT the one that we currently have on the series, and in watching these episodes and hearing the rules, you'll discover why this game was retired VERY quickly... it was virtually impossible to win! You almost have to feel sorry for the few unfortunate people that were invited to "come on down" and got stuck playing that game. You'll notice on these episodes that the contestants and audience are nothing like what we see on the show today. They are all calm and subdued, it seems very weird!
On Discs 2 and 3, we have 14 episodes from 1972-1975, and on these episodes, we find all of our classic games that we know and love from the series, like Clock Game, Any Number, and Plinko, as well as some that we have since forgotten, such as Give or Keep and Double Bullseye (a new version of that flawed original Bullseye game, this one featured two players). Throughout these episodes, we start to see a change in the series, and it starts to evolve into how we know it today... the contestants and audience are finally starting to get excited, all the time. Up to this point, all of the episodes are half hour episodes, but on Disc 3, we get to see the first hour long episode (which was part of an experimental week of hour long episodes) as well as the first regular hour long episode of the series. We get introduced to the Showcase Showdown for the very first time, and the Big Wheel... except on the experimental one hour episode, the Big Wheel looks NOTHING like the one we have today! But the rules are still the same.
Finally, Disc 4 contains Bob Barker's final five episodes as the host of the show. Most of these episodes are somewhat uneventful, but we do get to see contestants play the games one last time with Bob Barker as the host. We also get to see the most expensive prize ever offered on the series, valued at over $100,000... and to think, on the first week of the series, contestants were bidding $30 on items while in contestants row!
The video and audio quality on the set can tend to be a little rough, but it is understandable, as game shows were really not intended to be preserved when they originally aired. Besides, this show doesn't exactly need the greatest quality in the first place... I think if it had been preserved too well, it would remove the nostalgia factor from the older episodes. The Cullen episodes look very rough, but again, like the 70s episodes were never really intended to be seen again 30 years later, these Cullen episodes DEFINITELY were not intended to be seen again. The episodes have varying runtimes, with the Cullen episodes running around 26 minutes, the 70s half hour episodes running around 22:30, 70s hour long episodes running around 45 minutes, and the 2007 episodes running around 35 minutes. I have no clue if these runtimes are what the series should be, but daytime shows often tend to be shorter anyway. It appears that many of the sponsorship elements and ticket plugs are in place.
One thing that is annoying about the set, though, is the lack of VARIETY of episodes. The set neglects over 30 years worth of episodes! Where are the late 70s? All of the 80s and 90s? And the early 2000s? There are many great episodes in those years, and many great pricing games within those episodes... some that had a lasting impact, some which were quickly retired. And how can you have a Price is Right DVD set without that infamous incident of Yolanda Bowsley coming on down and having her, err, wardrobe malfunction? That isn't to say that the episodes on here aren't fun to watch, because they are, but a wider variety would have been nicer. We don't even get to hear Rod Roddy announce on a single episode on this set, yet he was the announcer for a majority of the years that the show was on. I seriously hope that there are more sets on the way that might include some of these other episodes!
Another thing that is annoying is the total lack of bonus features on the set. The box mentions Bob Barker's last week as a bonus feature, but how is that a bonus feature? Those episodes are already included in the episode count! It is great that these were included, because they are an important part of the history of the show, but I'd hardly call it a bonus feature. I don't understand why they couldn't get some bonus footage or interviews together. There have been plenty of people involved with the show over the years, and somebody would HAVE to be willing to be interviewed for the set, even if it was just a contestant talking about their experience on the show. It may be a little boring if it was just a contestant, but it would still be better than nothing! The BCI release of Match Game was great as far as special features were concerned, and it is disappointing that a series that is several times more popular than Match Game would be left in the dark on special features.
Still, even though many fans would probably like a more "diverse" selection of episodes than what is on here, as well as more bonus features, this is a great set and it is fun to see the older episodes of the series. I think any fan is certain to appreciate this set, and will want to get it as soon as possible. Personally, I haven't been watching the series that often since Drew Carey has taken over, and it is refreshing to see Bob Barker back in action, if only for a few episodes. It would be nice to see more releases, perhaps with episodes from the 80s and 90s!
-- Reviewed by skees53
(4/5 stars)

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Solomon's Weekly Rant
Saturday, March 22, 2008
"TV Guide Changes; Abdul Needs To Leave Idol; Why More Dancing?"
By Solomon Davis

I noticed in the new issue of TV Guide that the print is smaller in the TV Highlight section for what's coming on TV. Up until now the print was bigger and easier to read but now you need a magnifying glass to read what's coming on TV. And instead of all the days of the week having its own TV Highlight section, all the TV highlights of the week are now jammed together into one section. What is TV Guide trying to accomplish with this sudden change? They should just give up and stick to online listings.

It's just amazing how stupid Paula Abdul sounds everytime she opens her mouth on American Idol. Seriously what in the world is wrong with this woman? Is she on something? I mean every time she critiques someone's performance s just suddenly stops talking in mid-sentence like she forgot what she was going to say. And this is someone's opinion that American Idol contestants should take it seriously? Not only that but she is always afraid to tell someone the truth who had a bad performance and just compliments their outfit instead. This isn't Top Model or a fashion show. I know there is another woman that can replace her since she is nothing but a buffoon who Simon and Randy makes fun of every week.

I'm so sick of seeing the promos for Dancing with the Stars which I'm surprised hasn't been played out yet. Exactly how many more new dances can someone do on that show that viewers haven't seen yet? Hasn't everything been done that can be seen on a dance floor? So I guess the intrigue for this show is the NEW faces each season instead of the new dance moves. Maybe they will plan another collapse this season by one of the dancers to keep it fresh?

Agree or disagree with Solomon? Discuss it here.

DISCLAIMER: Remember, Solomon is not the voice of SitcomsOnline. He is just stating his opinions and does not reflect what SitcomsOnline says or thinks. It is just his 'View' but it is always quite entertaining.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Mini-DVD Review: The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show (March 25); Solomon's Weekly Rant

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for mini-DVD review and Solomon's Weekly Rant! First up, are the mini-DVD reviews. Today week we take a look at Warner Home Video's The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show: The Complete Series. The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show was about Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm of The Flintstones in their teenage years. The whole gang is still there, though...Fred, Barney, Wilma and Betty. Sitcom stars Sally Struthers and Jay North provide the voices for Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm.. See my mini-DVD review of The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show: The Complete Series:

The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show: The Complete Series (Warner, $26.98) brings us those two lovable toddlers from The Flintstones back in a series when they are teenagers in high school. Sitcom stars Sally Struthers (All in the Family) and Jay North (Dennis the Menace) provide the voices for these two teenagers in this series, with the classic voices of Fred (Alan Reed), Barney (Mel Blanc), and Wilma (Jean Vander Pyl) all back from the original series! Gay Hartwig provides the voice of Betty in this series. She also would do the voice of Betty throughout the '70s in various Flintstones incarnations. In this series though Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm are the stars and you see them with their teenage friends Moonrock, Penny, and Wiggy. Cindy and Fabian play their rivals. The show ran for 16 half-hour episodes in the 1971-72 season. The show returned for 4 more episodes as part of The Flintstone Comedy Show in 1972-73.
Let's now move on to the packaging. We have a thin outer box that holds a very thin digipak case, similar to the recent Smurfs release. The front cover of both the box and case are the same, we see Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm in a car with their friends Moonrock, Penny and Wiggy. Hanna-Barbera Classic Collection is on the top in a green background. The title of the show is below that in a little rock-style billboard, with a mention below that that this is The Complete Series! On the bottom it says 2 discs...16 episodes. To the back of the box we go, we get a nice synopsis of the series in a brown billboard type with Fred coming out of it (Pebbles is right by it, too), along with a list of the special features in a little rock. We also see Bamm-Bamm lying down below the billboard. When we open the case, on the left we have a disc-by-disc breakdown of what we can expect episode title wise and extras wise. The left also has a nice purplish background with Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm playing instruments. On the right side, we see both discs...overlapping each other, ugh...I hate that. Both discs are colorful and feature a Bedrock setting...Pebbles is on disc one and Bam-Bamm on disc two. When you remove both discs from the case, you see their friends playing instruments. The back of the case has another nice Bedrock setting with other characters such as the Grusomes even.
The menu screens are very nice. But first, auto trailers for Dr. Seuss, Smurfs starts off disc one before the main menu comes. Options for the main menu are: Play, Episodes, Trailers (disc 1 only), Languages, Bonus Episodes (disc 2 only). We also have the theme song playing in the background. Trailers has more shows to preview from the Warner library, including Flintstones seasons 2, 3 and 4 DVD trailers. Languages has an option to turn on English subtitles. Episodes have a list of episodes obviously.
The video and audio is very good. I'm not sure if these are remastered, like Smurfs were, but it sure looks good! The show ran for 16 episodes as its own series. Those episodes run 20 minutes. Highest is 20:03 and lowest is 19:44, but most are 19:59/20:00. There are no chapter stops for these. I hate when we don't get chapter stops. Also, we get the orange H-B Taft logo after the end of the credits along with the swirling H-B logo. The bonus episodes are on disc two under Bonus Episodes (as stated above). These four episodes ran during segments on The Flintstone Comedy Show (AKA The Flintstone Comedy Hour). The first bonus episode runs 21:30, and features two mini-episodes, so we get 2 chapter stops. These feature Pebbles & Bamm Show opening and closing credits. The final two bonus episodes run 11:59 and 11:44 and feature opening and closing credits that says The Flintstone Comedy Show. Nice to see that!
I highly do recommend this set for any Flintstones fan, fan of Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm and classic animation in general. I'm sure many of us grew up with The Flintstones, but have never seen this series. It comes on from time to time on Boomerang and has been played on Cartoon Network as well. I've seen a few episodes only but am glad I have the complete series on DVD!. The set is good and it probably is as good as it could get. I'm glad they included those 4 episodes from The Flintstone Comedy Show, so we have every single episode of this incarnation. So we have The Flintstones complete on DVD and now The Pebbles & Bamm Show. So if the pattern continues, I bet we get The Flintstone Comedy Hour/Show on DVD next! There were so many TV series that followed (Fred Flintstone and Friends, The Flintstone Kids, etc), TV specials (The Flintstones: Little Big League, The Flintstones: Fred's Final Fling, etc) and TV movies (Jetsons Meet the Flintstones, A Flintstones Christmas Carol, etc) from this series, so I hope Warner realizes that and gives them all to us, because I'm sure any Flintstone fan would want them all. But for now, let's join in on the teenage fun of Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm on this series on DVD! Give it a chance and we might get every incarnation of the Flintstone family on DVD! Yabba Dabba Do!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
(4/5 stars)

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Solomon's Weekly Rant
Saturday, March 15, 2008
"Media Overboard on Spitzer Case; Page 6 a Joke; BET Screws Up"
By Solomon Davis

The media coverage of the girl who was with New York Governor Spitzer in February has just been crazy this week and I want to know when is it going to end? They have been digging into this girl's life all-week because she is good looking and I know most people don't care where she went to high school and where she grew up in New Jersey. She seems to be getting good with this story as her music has been played and she might be posing for magazines. And because of who she slept with she will probably become famous and get her own reality show in the fall of 2008 titled How To Get Politicians in Bed or something.

Page Six in the NY Post reported on Thursday that The Rachel Ray Show could be probably be canceled due to low ratings and it turns out that was a false report. A representative from King World stated that the show did very well during the February sweeps period and that the show is under contract until 2010, which means it's not going anywhere. So I can no longer read Page Six because not only did they get the Rachel Ray story wrong, they also were wrong about King World syndicating a show for Marie Osmond in 2010 which made the entire Page Six article on Thursday a waste of eyesight. Why post gossip crap on a newspaper? I can understand the Enquirer, but the Post?

BET has been the cable channel of the month with their recent pickups and has not done a good job presenting the shows to viewers. However, recently they used the wrong closing credits for part 2 of a Diff'rent Strokes crossover episode with Hello, Larry. TNN never did that when they aired Diff'rent Strokes in 2001 so why is BET doing it in 2008? Maybe Sony has something to do with it, I'm snot sure. And with the show Thea, BET aired the first episode two weekends in a row for some reason. They did air episode 2 last weekend in one of the four slots, but episode one aired three times last weekend, in addition to the two times it aired the previous weekend. On the listings it said we were supposed to get episodes 2 and 3, but instead we got episode 1 three times and episode 2 once. So I'm really interested in seeing what episode of Thea they air this weekend and hope it's not episode 2 three times like they did episode one the previous week.

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DISCLAIMER: Remember, Solomon is not the voice of SitcomsOnline. He is just stating his opinions and does not reflect what SitcomsOnline says or thinks. It is just his 'View' but it is always quite entertaining.

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Mini-DVD Reviews: South Park: Imaginationland and Lil' Bush Season 1 (March 11); Solomon's Weekly Rant

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for mini-DVD reviews and Solomon's Weekly Rant! First up, are the mini-DVD reviews. Today we take a look at Comedy Central/Paramount's South Park: Imaginationland and Lil' Bush: Season One. South Park of course is the popular cable animated series that is full of laughs for all ages. Join Cartman and the gang for all the holiday fun. Get your hats & coats on! And Lil' Bush is the hilarious Comedy Central animated series about George W. Bush when he was lil'. See skees53's mini-DVD review of Christmas Time in South Park and Lil' Bush: Season One:

South Park: Imaginationland (Comedy Central DVD, $19.99) tells us the story of how a few boys in South Park protected all of our imaginations from the hostile forces of terrorists--or something along those lines! The DVD contains the three-part episode of the Comedy Central hit series that aired last time, presented as one extended length episode.
The story of the episode begins with a bet between Cartman and Kyle about whether or not leprechauns are real...and just as we would expect from a series such as South Park, it turns out that, yes, they are indeed real. Well, at least they are in Imaginationland, where the boys all get taken away to by a very strange man. All is well in Imaginationland until terrorists take over, and of course, Butters is left behind as the other boys quickly flee the scene. How will it all end? Will Imaginationland be nuked? Will Butters be safe? Will Kyle actually follow through on his bet, where he promises Cartman that he would suck a certain body part of his if it turns out that leprechauns are real? The only way to find out is to watch!
The DVD offers a little bit more than just the Imaginationland trilogy, however. It does offer two storyboard featuettes, as well as two bonus episodes of the series that relate to the theme of the Imaginationland episode: "Woodland Critters Christmas" and "Manbearpig." Both of these revolve around characters that may very well be imaginary, or not. And, Matt Stone and Trey Parker provide a commentary for those that are interested in that. Their commentaries aren't all that exciting usually, but it is still interesting. And, as a bonus (or maybe warning for some) about the movie itself, it is worth noting that the DVD uses a slightly different audio track than what was on television, so don't be surprised to hear a few f-words here and there! Fans will definitely want to head on up to South Park and get this DVD set...imagine how much fun you'll have watching it!
-- Reviewed by skees53
(4/5 stars)

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Lil' Bush: Season One (Comedy Central DVD, $19.99) brings all six season one episodes of the Comedy Central series Lil' Bush to a single DVD release. You know about George W. Bush, but this series gives you a chance to meet him (in animated form, of course) when he was little, along with Lil' Condi, Lil' Cheney, Lil' Rummy, Lil' Jeb, and even Lil' Hillary and Lil' Obama... it is almost like The Flintstone Kids!
There are lots of great episodes in the first season. We get to see the gang take a little trip... to Iraq in "Iraq." The kids all go to a summer camp run by Al Qaeda in "Camp." Lil' Bush and Lil' Tony Blair become close--very close in "Gay Friend." The kids learn the beauty of using Mexican immigrants in "Mexicans." Lil' Bush has a problem with evolution in "Evolution." Lil' Bush ends up battling Michael Moore in "Hot Dog." And there is even a bonus unaired episode called "Walter Reed," which you'll understand why it didn't air when you see it on the DVD!
The DVD has more bonus features than just the bonus episode, though. We get to see Lil' Bush take us on the tour of the White House--or at least the one HE lives in on one of these. We have plenty of interviews with the cast members, which in my opinion aren't all that exciting, but still somewhat interesting. We even get to see a table read of a script in one of the bonus features. But forget all of that. The best part would be the commentaries that are included on the episode. We have relevant people giving commentaries on three different episodes. One from Jerry Springer, another from Ralph Nader, and another from Tucker Carlson! Who would have thought that such politically relevant figures would give commentaries on a DVD like this? It gives a very interesting insight onto the episodes that you almost wouldn't expect. All in all, this is a great DVD, and anybody that loves politics, whether you love Bush or hate him, should find this to be a very funny series.
-- Reviewed by skees53
(4.5/5 stars)

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Related links:
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Solomon's Weekly Rant
Saturday, March 8, 2008
"Gene Simmons; Carsey-Werner DVDs; ESPN and LeBron James"
By Solomon Davis

Every Tuesday night I watch Parking Wars on A&E at 10pm but this past Tuesday the network played the program switch game. There was no new episode of Parking Wars at 10pm because of a new show called Gene Simmons? I guess A&E is just another cable network that likes to surprise viewers instead of mentioning program changes ahead of time. And I also would like to know what is so interesting about KISS star Gene Simmons? I don't even really know who he is!

Just recently I bought season 5 of Carsey-Werner's The Cosby Show on DVD and noticed the episode guide was incomplete on the set. It was just a list of all the episodes with no descriptions or airdates. How would people know what the episodes are about? Why would Carsey-Werner and FirstLook Home Entertainment not include a decent episode guide when the DVD sets are not for free? This is a lazy way to put a set together when fans are paying their money. At least Warner Brothers included a decent episode guide with airdates and episode descriptions for shows I have like George Lopez and Fresh Prince. Let's just say I won't be in the rush to buy seasons 7 and 8 of The Cosby Show in April.

On Wednesday night, NBA star LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers scored 50 points at Madison Square Garden against the hapless New York Knicks and ESPN showed a video clip of security guards aggressively removing a fan off the court who had gotten too close to LeBron James. ESPN's video had viewers thinking the fan was trying to ATTACK LeBron instead of congratulating him. I would have never known that if it weren't for other outlets who covered the story such as MSNBC because the people at that network were smart enough to notice that the fan was not trying to HARM LeBron especially since he was wearing a Cleveland Cavaliers jersey.

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DISCLAIMER: Remember, Solomon is not the voice of SitcomsOnline. He is just stating his opinions and does not reflect what SitcomsOnline says or thinks. It is just his 'View' but it is always quite entertaining.

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Fox Mid-Season Pilot Review: Unhitched - Premieres March 2; Solomon's Weekly Rant

Today instead of our regular Saturday Mini-DVD Review we have a pilot review for a new sitcom premiering tomorrow on Fox! We still have Solomon's Weekly Rant right below the review, so not to fret!

Unhitched Cast

Unhitched - Sundays at 9:30PM ET/PT on Fox
Premieres March 2 at 9:30PM ET/PT

Dating in your 20s is like going to the farmers’ market – if you get there early, there’s plenty of fruit, all ripe, juicy and yours for the taking. But dating in your 30s is like getting there at closing time. The remaining fruit has been sitting in the sun all day. It’s been dropped, squeezed and handled by a thousand different people.

From the creatively fruitful minds of the Farrelly Brothers (Something About Mary, Dumb & Dumber, Stuck on You), UNHITCHED follows a group of newly single friends living in Boston and learning the painful lessons of starting over in their 30s. They’d all love to get remarried, if they could just find their true loves.

JACK “GATOR” GATELY (Craig Bierko) is a charismatic, optimistic guy who never expected to be single again. But now that he is, he’s determined to make the best of it until he finds “the one.”

Joining Gator in bachelorhood redux are his best friends: thrice-divorced TOMMY (Johnny Sneed), the founder and brewmaster of an upstart microbrewery, who has a voracious appetite for food, beer and women; and DR. FREDDY SAHGAL (Shaun Majumder), a successful surgeon who can execute a triple bypass in his sleep, but is all thumbs when it comes to the opposite sex.

Rounding out the group is KATE (Rashida Jones), a smart, successful attorney who handled all three of the boys’ divorces. Having just turned 30, Kate finds herself dumped after a seven-year engagement and reluctantly joins the guys in negotiating the treacherous waters of dating. With Kate owning the brownstone next to Gator’s, this pair, over time, may find that “the one” is just a brick wall away.

UNHITCHED is a 20th Century Fox Television production in association with Conundrum Entertainment and Watson Pond Productions. Bobby and Peter Farrelly directed the pilot and serve as executive producers. Bradley Thomas, Brad Johnson and Mike Sikowitz are executive producers. Chris Pappas and Michael Bernier are co-executive producers.

Cast Details:

Craig Bierko as Jack "Gator" Gately, Rashida Jones as Kate, Johnny Sneed as Tommy, Shaun Majumder as Dr. Freddy Sahgal.

Craig Bierko (Jack "Gator" Gately) - A versatile performer in both comedy and drama on the stage and screen, Craig Bierko’s Broadway debut as Harold Hill in Meredith Willson’s legendary The Music Man garnered him critical acclaim and attention; he was nominated for the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama League Award, and received the Theater World Award. Bierko’s television credits include a recurring role on Boston Legal as well as memorable guest appearances on Nip/Tuck and Sex and the City. He also guest-starred on Ally McBeal and as Paul Reiser's prospective agent on Mad About You.

Rashida Jones (Kate) - Rashida Jones has quickly established herself as one of Hollywood’s bright young stars. Jones portrayed ambitious saleswoman “Karen Filippelli” in the Emmy Award-winning comedy The Office, opposite Steve Carell. Jones starred on FOX’s Boston Public as “Louisa Fenn” and in the cable drama Wanted as Detective Carla Merced. Her television credits also include Freaks and Geeks, If These Walls Could Talk 2, The Chappelle Show, Second Opinion and the British television series NY-LON. Jones also was a weekly correspondent on the talk show Vibe TV.

Johnny Sneed (Tommy) - A native of Gulfport, MS, Johnny Sneed left his home and his career as a lawyer in 2001 to pursue acting in Los Angeles, landing roles on both the big and small screens. Sneed was seen in the Farrelly brothers’ feature comedy The Heartbreak Kid, opposite Ben Stiller. Sneed also starred in The Farrelly Brothers’ film Fever Pitch. His television credits include House, CSI and CSI: NY, Boston Legal, ER and My Name is Earl.

Shaun Majumder (Dr. Freddy Sahgal) - Raised in Burlington, Newfoundland, Canada, Gemini Award-winning actor and comedian Shaun Majumder co-starred in the feature films Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, The Ladies Man, Pushing Tin and Purpose. Majumder was a series regular on the Canadian comedy series This Hour has 22 Minutes. Additional television credits include roles on Season Six of 24, Cedric the Entertainer Presents, Relic Hunter and John Woo's Once a Thief.

Pilot Plot:

We have received the first two episodes of this sitcom, "Pilot" and "Woman Marries Horse."

"Pilot" - March 2, 2008
In the series premiere, Jack "Gator" Gately finds himself ill-prepared to re-enter the dating scene as a blind date goes bananas for him; his friend and neighbor Kate finds big things come in small packages when she dates a member of the Boston Celtics; and Indian-born Dr. Freddy learns that love isn't cheap with the woman of your dreams.
Writer: Kevin Barnett, Mike Bernier, Chris Pappas
Director: Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly
Guest star: Paul Pierce (Himself), Ryan Gomes (Himself), Eliza Coupe (Julia), Lauren Bowles (Annie), Kate Hodge (Katherine), Erinn Bartlett (Nikki), Ben Giroux (Tim), Dan Murphy (Herb)

"Woman Marries Horse" - March 9, 2008
Gator is hung up on his new girlfriend's minor physical flaw, leading Tommy to take drastic measures. Freddy befriends a bouncer; Kate dates a musician whose talents are not what they seem.
Guest star: Christina Moore (Barbara), Reid Scott (Bobby), Daron Fordham (Alonzo)

Analysis:

Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly and Mike Sikowitz serve as executive producers alongside Brad Johnson and Bradley Thomas, with Katy McCaffrey producing. The pilot was directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly. They reportedly had a budget of $3 million to shoot the pilot. The show was originally titled "The Rules for Starting Over," but perhaps they thought that was too similar to CBS's "Rules of Engagement." Fox originally ordered 13 episodes, but due to the strike only 6 were shot and will air this season.

If you've seen some of the Farrelly brothers movies, you know they put a lot of sight gags into their films. There are some in the first two episodes, but not as many as I expected. Another trademark of their films is that they put a lot of heart into the stories. That is also evident here. The pilot episode begins with a funny scene between Gator and his date. If you saw Craig Bierko on Jimmy Kimmel Live, you saw this clip involving an orangutan. Talk about the show starting off with a bang... an oranguabang! The rest of the cast is also solid. I loved Rashida Jones on The Office. She plays a different type of character here. Her comedic timing is great. I'm not too familiar with Johnny Sneed or Shaun Majumder, but they do a decent job in the first couple of episodes. The cast appears to have developed some good chemistry. The characters they play are likable, realistic and relatable.

This is a single-camera comedy that is shot without a studio audience. There is no laugh track. The show features a catchy opening main title theme called "Hey" by Timothy Alan Pagotta and Ryan Gilmor. There are also several songs by various artists used in the first two episodes. Boston is the location for the show. In the pilot episode, Rashida Jones (Kate) goes to a Celtics game with her date. Paul Pierce and Ryan Gomes make cameo appearances. You can tell this pilot was shot last spring because Gomes is now a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Conclusion:

I've always been a fan of the Farrelly brothers movies. Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin, There's Something About Mary and Fever Pitch are among my favorites. This is their first real attempt at television. These episodes feel more like mini movies than a traditional sitcom. There are some sight gags and montages. I wonder if this show could be improved a bit if they did some of the writing instead of just being executive producers. The show could use a little quicker pace and more funny jokes.

Fox will be airing 6 episodes on Sunday nights. I'm not sure how this live-action comedy will fit in with Fox's animated comedies. They've never really had a lot of success with them on Sunday nights in recent years. I think this show would have a better chance at developing an audience if it premiered after American Idol or if it was paired with another comedy such as Back to You or 'Til Death. This show may not be the next Seinfeld or Friends, but it could become a minor hit if it is given a chance to develop. With the way the show is set up, there should be a lot of guest stars. It will be interesting to see who appears in episodes 3-6. The first two episodes feature a bevy of beauties.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4/5
Funniness: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 03/01/08

Discuss the show after you watch it on Sunday on our message board.

Related Links:

  • FOX.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Unhitched Photo Gallery




    Solomon's Weekly Rant
    Saturday, March 1, 2008
    "ION Hits a New Low; Stop The Crying On Idol; Fox's Poor Handling of Back to You"
    By Solomon Davis

    Can you believe that ION has been airing episodes this past week with an unclear view? The picture looked like someone already recorded the episode from another TV station and mailed the tape to ION and they just put in the tape and hit play, at least on my ION affiliate. First it was the editing, then the strange TV show pickups of 2008, and now crappy picture quality, which is very unacceptable for viewers who pay a monthly cable bill. I just want to say, "great work once again" by the ION programming staff.

    Why do the girls on American Idol get emotional every time someone gets eliminated off American Idol? You mean to tell me they didn't know that an elimination was every week? I just think it's so dumb to get emotional when you know that someone will be gone each week of the American Idol season. I have news for the remaining females on American Idol, "THERE WILL BE ANOTHER ELIMINATION NEXT THURSDAY SO GET OVER IT!!"

    Why did Fox have to air the first new episode of Back to You on a Tuesday night? It threw me off because I missed Wednesday's episode because I'm only used to seeing one episode of Back to You during the week not two days in a row. Fox could have aired one new episode this past week and one next week or could have aired both episodes on the same night...why do they need two nights of 90-minute American Idol's? They don't have 90-minutes for next week! So on top of missing Wednesday's new episode of Back to You I now have to wait 7 weeks to see the next new episode, because Fox likes to play mind games...they should have held these two episodes until they start again in 7 weeks! Thanks a lot Fox!

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    Saturday, February 23, 2008

    Mini-DVD Review: The Smurfs - Season 1, Volume 1 (Feb. 26); Solomon's Weekly Rant

    It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for mini-DVD reviews and Solomon's Weekly Rant! First up, are the mini-DVD reviews. Today week we take a look at Warner Home Video's The Smurfs: Season 1, Volume 1. The Smurfs of course is the classic Saturday morning animated series about those little blue people. Smurftastic!. See my mini-DVD review of The Smurfs: Season 1, Volume 1:

    The Smurfs: Season 1, Volume 1 (Warner, $26.98) brings us the classic Saturday morning animated series that lasted nearly a decade, on DVD for the first time and the episodes are remastered. The long wait is over...The Smurfs are on DVD for the first time ever! They're finally here! Handy, Hefty, Grouchy, Brainy, Lazy, Dreamy, Smurfette, Papa Smurf and more of your favorite little blue people bring you the greatest show on Smurf. It's Season One, Vol. 1 of The Smurfs, the Emmy-winning animated series [Outstanding Children's Entertainment Series 1982-83] that delighted Saturday morning cartoon fans for nearly a decade. Of course, where Smurfs are, you'll also find evil wizard Gargamel and his cat Azrael - plus monsters, dragons and trolls - keeping the Smurfs on their tiny blue toes throughout 19 cartoon escapades. Ready for adventure, laughs and enchantment? Abso-Smurfly!
    Let's now move on to the packaging. We have a thin outer box that holds a very thin digipak case. The front cover of both the box and case are the same, we see the land of Smurf in the background in a nice and blue sky with Papa Smurf and Smurfette featured, while the other Smurfs are at work. The cover is red and blue. The title of the show is on the top, with a mention below that that this is Season One, Volume One! To the back of the box we go, we get a nice synopsis of the series, along with a list of the special features in a mushroom. We see one of the Smurfs sleeping below a tree with the evil Gargamel watching. When we open the case, we get more colorful backgrounds. On the left we have a disc-by-disc breakdown of what we can expect episode title wise and extras wise. The left also has a nice blue sky background with Gargamel after two Smurfs in the grass. On the right side, we see both discs...overlapping each other, ugh...I hate that. Both discs are in a white background with four Smurfs characters on each disc. When you remove both discs from the case, you can see a nice background of the land of Smurf, with nearly all of the Smurfs. The back of the case has another nice background with a blue sky and Smurfette being romanced by a Smurf, Romeo & Juliet style.
    The menu screens are very nice. We see the land of Smurf in the background with Gargamel approaching. It is very colorful. The catchy theme is playing in the background. Auto trailer for Looney Tunes starts off disc one before the main menu comes. Options for the main menu are: Play, Episodes, Trailers (disc 1 only), Languages , Special Features (disc 2 only). Trailers has five other things to preview from the Warner library. Languages has an option to turn on English subtitles. Episodes have a list of episodes obviously. Now the packaging listed disc two as being double-sided, but it is not. Very strange.
    The video and audio is tremendous. The Smurfs never looked better. The packaging states that the episodes are remastered I am very impressed. Warner did a great job on this once again, but not as good as the Charlie Brown remastering, but still good. Originally season one was an hour long show on Saturdays with three mini episodes in the hour, however after about 2-3 episodes they started to repeat one of the mini episodes from the previous week the following week so they can cover the full hour. So it makes no sense on this DVD to have some repeats of a mini episode, so Warner has removed the repeats. The first two episodes on the set are 47:40 and 47:42 and have 3 chapter stops each, for each mini episode. After that, NBC started to repeat a mini episode. The episodes usually lasted approx. 12 min, 12 min, and 24 min or so for the full hour. Episode 3 on this set is 35:42 with 2 chapter stops, which means only 2 mini episodes are here...so no repeat from the previous week. The 4th episode is 23:37 and has one chapter stop, which means just one episode. On to disc two, episode 5 is 34:12 and has no opening or closing theme. The next episode is 24:30 and has no closing. The rest of the episodes run 35:42, 35:40, 25:32, and the bonus episode runs 24:22. I don't know how they could have handled this, but they are splitting season one in half (meaning in two volumes), so they could have just left the repeats in there so we could get the original NBC versions. I know that would be weird to have repeats, but why split them up in two volumes anyway? I would have rather have season 1 in full without the repeats on 4 or 5 discs...that would work the best and it would have fit. The show has like 9 seasons, splitting them up in two volumes per season would be too much.
    As for special features, we get the bonus episode (The Smurfs' Springtime Special), as I mentioned earlier. We also get a Smurfs Music Video that runs 1:27. It is not really an extra. Warner could have done so much better than that. Their animation sets usually have great audio commentaries which is missing here.
    I highly do recommend this set for any Smurfs fan and classic animation in general. I'm sure many of us grew up with this classic. I know I loved watching this in the 80s...and I still love it. The set is good, but it could have been so much better. The extras are lacking and the episode situation is a mixed bag...I don't know how I would have handled it, but one thing for sure is I would not have split the season in two volumes. Also, I didn't like inside the case it mentioned disc two is double-sided, which it isn't. Other than that, the episodes are great and look great, too. I can't wait until volume two so we can finish off the first season. Then let's hope the sales are very high (I think they already are as this set is very high in the rankings on Amazon) so we can get the remaining seasons each on one volume instead of two. So click below to order this DVD, if you haven't already. You better hurry before that Gargamel sees you and his lazy cat Azrael. Smurf to it!
    -- Reviewed by Pavan
    (4/5 stars)

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    Related links:
    SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
    The Smurfs TV.com Page
    The Smurfs Official Page


    Solomon's Weekly Rant
    Saturday, February 23, 2008
    "Malcolm Airs More Than Strokes; Too Early for DTV Switch Notice; Amen Returns to TV One"
    By Solomon Davis

    I applauded BET this past week for adding Diff'rent Strokes to their program schedule but then I noticed something odd. I noticed that the sitcom Malcolm & Eddie, another show that BET just added, has six airings a day while Diff'rent Strokes only has 2 airings. So why does that show get all this great treatment and it was added at the same time as Diff'rent Strokes? I see no reason why Diff'rent Strokes can't have a repeat airing of the morning episodes which would still be less than six airings a day. I'm very confused as to why BET would treat one of its new acquisitions much better than the other. especially since I think Malcolm & Eddie is nothing but a UPN reject from the 1990's which is definitely not on the entertainment level as Diff'rent Strokes. I am happy they are adding Sanford and Thea to weekends, though!

    The last time I checked February 17, 2009 was a year away and from the way the media has been talking about television switching to digital you would think today is January 23, 2009. Why all the hype about DTV now when the switch is 12 months away? It would make more sense to talk about DTV in the Fall 2008 but to see all those commercials about it in early 2008 is just crazy, not to mention the commercials were airing in Fall 2007 as well. Everyone understands that this will be a major move in television but can we just wait until the next TV season to remind everyone that the switch to digital is approaching? The strange thing about all of this is someone who doesn't have cable or a converter box on February 18, 2009 will still be able to get one of those things on February 19, 2009 to watch TV so what is the big deal?

    TV One hasn't changed at all since it started and going by their recent TV show change they have no intention on ever changing. Why in the world would they bring back a TV show to their schedule next month that they already had? TV One is actually bringing back Amen next month from hiatus which is no where near a sexy TV show acquisition of what BET just did. TV One fans have seen Amen already and it's time for something new now since this network just completed 4 years as a cable channel. Yeah, The Hughleys are coming in April, but what about bringing on The Jeffersons or something? Thank goodness for the network called BET since that station has the ability now to make TV fans feel thankful for having cable service and not the "ripped off" feeling you get from watching that joke of a station called TV One. This channel is definitely qualified to be on the basic cable package since it doesn't have much to offer TV fans on a year by year basis.

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    Saturday, February 16, 2008

    Mini-DVD Review: It's The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown (Feb. 19); Solomon's Weekly Rant: Cavemen; Oprah and Cosby Show; Roger Clemens Coverage

    It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for mini-DVD reviews and Solomon's Weekly Rant! First up, are the mini-DVD reviews. Today week we take a look at Warner Home Video's It's The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown. It's The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown of course is the classic holiday special about Easter. This series always gave us classic holiday specials for just about every holiday. See my mini-DVD review of It's The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown:

    It's The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown - Remastered Deluxe Edition (Warner, $19.98) brings us the classic 1974 Easter-themed episode on DVD once again, but this time digitally remastered...and it is really worth it! Plus in addition to Easter, we also get the Arbor Day special. Spring is certainly in the air.
    If you have never seen this special, it is about Linus who tries to tell everyone that the Easter Beagle will take care of everything during Easter. Will he be right? You'll have to see yourself. We also get the classic 1976 special It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown. In that story we have baseball season starting and Arbor Day upon us. The gang goes eco-friendly and plant trees...but do they over do it?
    Let's now move on to the packaging. We have a thin outer box that holds a very thin case, that is movie style. I never understood the reason for the thin box that holds a thin case...what's the point? Also, both the back and front of each is exactly the same, except the box is shinier. The cover is purple in color, and has Charlie Brown, Linus, and Snoopy with easter eggs. The title of the easter special is on the top, with a mention that this is a remastered deluxe edition! The bottom tells is we also get a bonus TV special...Arbor Day. To the back we go, we get a nice synopsis of the Easter special, along with a list of the special features. Easter eggs are flying all over as we see Lucy, Snoopy and the little yellow bird...Woodstock. When we open the case, we get black background all over, very plain, but of course the disc is inside. The disc is in purple and has Sally and Snoopy playing with yes, Easter eggs.
    The menu screen has options of Features, Special Features, and Languages. We get a light blue background this time, not the purple we were used to already, with the theme song playing in the background. It is so catchy. Oh yes, before the main menu begins we get auto trailers for Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown and The Wiggles. Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown came out on DVD with a remastered version last month, but unfortunately we didn't get a copy for review. Anyway back to the menu, when we select something, we see an egg as a pointer. For Languages, we can have either English, Espanol, or Portugues. For subtitles we have those three again and also Chinese, Korean, and Thai...wow! The Features section has the two specials listed, we can also select Play All to play both back-to-back. Finally, Special Features lists the extra (more on that below) and Trailers.
    The video and audio is tremendous. It has never looked better or sounded better ever. I am very impressed. Warner did a great job on this. Easter special runs 25:02 and has 5 chapter stops, which you an use via your DVD remote. The Arbor Day special runs 25:05 and has 4 chapter stops. Both specials look amazing...especially the Easter one. Kudos once again to Warner. Here is hoping they do more...I kind of wish I had gotten Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown.
    As for special features, we get a nice featurette! It is titled "In Full Bloom: Peanuts at Easter" and runs 15:32. We find out lots of behind-the-scenes details and cool facts for the Easter special from members of the Schulz family and more. Interviewed are Lee Mendelson (Producer), Phil Cousineau (Author), Stephen Pastis (Cartoonist), Cathy Guisewhite (Cartoonist), Jean Schulz (Charles Schulz's wife), and Craig Schulz (Charles Schulz's son).
    I highly do recommend this set for any Charlie Brown-Peanuts fan and classic animation in general. I have never seen a classic animated program look this good on DVD ever. Warner really needs to remaster every special for this wonderful franchise and put it on DVD. We got 3 specials on the Valentine's DVD and two more here on the Easter DVD. Let's hope Christmas, Thanksgiving is next, but I just wonder if Warner has the rights to all these now or does Paramount have some still? So I know it is still the middle of February, but it is never too early to think of the spring and Easter (but I am a fan of winter)...so I urge you to buy this DVD before little Woodstock beats you to it! And he can't even talk right!
    -- Reviewed by Pavan
    (4/5 stars)

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    Related links:
    SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
    Charlie Brown Official Page


    Solomon's Weekly Rant
    Saturday, February 16, 2008
    "Cavemen Didn't Get Enough Time; Oprah's Audience Get Cosby Show DVDs; Roger Clemens Story On All-Week"
    By Solomon Davis

    Why is the new sitcom Caveman not returning when the show wasn't really given a fair chance to grab viewers? The show only aired 4 times in October and twice in November and it's GONE? 7 unaired episodes remain. ABC knows that this wasn't a typical TV season with the strike going on and it is mind boggling that they still decide to not bring back the show this season. Lots of people need more than 6 episodes to determine whether or not they like a show and pulling a show after only 6 airings is a joke. The show was just starting to turn around and become interesting before it was pushed to the side for those classic Charlie Brown holiday specials. All I have to say is ABC gave this show the "red-headed step child" treatment and it's really a shame the show could be gone for good.

    I couldn't believe what I was hearing at the end of Oprah this week when she had The Cosby Show kids reunion on earlier this week which falls into the "HUH?" category? The crowd was given both seasons 7 and 8 on DVD while everyone else in the country will have to wait until April 8 when it is officially out. She couldn't give the crowd anything else besides that? Now the rest of The Cosby Show fans have 7 more weeks until they we get those DVDs because we weren't apart of Oprah's audience. I mean this really sucks because season 6 on DVD was so unwatchable because of the Olivia focused episodes and knowing those people will be watching season 7 this month before me makes me want to puke. Oprah could have given away the single-disc "best of DVD" that is already out, not the DVD's that I can't see until April. This is what I get for even watching Oprah because if I hadn't, I would have not known about this unfair news.

    I know it's real easy to just change the channel when you don't want to hear or watch a certain story on a particular network and that's exactly what I did this week. I made every effort to stay away from the Roger Clemens steroid story on ESPN but that still didn't work because it interrupted regular scheduled programming on ESPNews at 6:30pm. That's when the repeat of Pardon the Interruption comes on and because of this Roger Clemens mess all week I didn't get to see PTI on Wednesday night. I wish this story will just go away because even though it's a major sports story, ESPN acts like there are no other sports to discuss in the sports world and just made the 6pm SportsCenter, "ClemensCenter" all-week long and right now I don't know what hate I more, the story or ESPN.

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    DISCLAIMER: Remember, Solomon is not the voice of SitcomsOnline. He is just stating his opinions and does not reflect what SitcomsOnline says or thinks. It is just his 'View' but it is always quite entertaining.

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