TITLE: BROTHERS (2009) - THE COMPLETE SERIES
DVD Release Date: April 3, 2012 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Packaging: Amaray case
Number of Discs: 2
Number of Episodes: 13
Running time: Approx. 278 minutes
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1
Audio Tracks: Dolby Digital Stereo
No subtitles or closed captioning
Special Features: None
Mike Trainor (Michael Strahan) seemingly has it all - he's a good-looking, wealthy, and recently retired NFL player living the high life in New York City - but he's about to get sidelined. When Mike gets a phone call from his mom, Adele (CCH Pounder), who orders him home to Houston, he quickly realizes that the more his life has changed, the more his family has stayed the same. His brother, Chill (Daryl 'Chill' Mitchell), whose life changed drastically after a car accident left him in a wheelchair, is struggling to keep his sports-themed restaurant, Trainor's, afloat. Even though the publicity from his famous brother might help business, Chill doesn't want help from Mike. If they can stop their bickering, put aside their differences, and learn to be teammates, Mike and Chill might just turn out to be each other's biggest assets. Wedged between Mike and Chill are their parents. Their father, whom everyone refers to as Coach (Carl Weathers), is the local high school football coach and the conservative, opinionated alpha male of his clan.
Brothers premiered on Fox on September 25, 2009. The show originally aired on Fridays at 8:00pm before moving to Sundays (although the seventh episode aired on a Friday). In the "Pilot" episode, Mike comes home because his Mother has told him that Coach, his Dad, had a stroke. Adele's sister, Cynthia, and her husband, Lenny, come to visit in "Lenny." Mike Tyson appears as himself. Lenny Clark and Tichina Arnold make their first guest appearances. Mom keeps betting the boys that she and Coach can beat them bowling in "House Rules - Anniversary." Coach's High School football team is on a big losing streak so he fires his current assistant Chill and hires Mike to help with the team in "Meet Mike Trainor." Nancy O'Dell, Clarence Clemons and Kim Kardashian appear as themselves. Mike has another shot at playing in the NFL and his financial crisis may be coming to an end in "Mike's Comeback." The brothers bickering reaches the point where they have lost five bartenders in the space of the last month in "Mom at Bar - Train Buddy." Mike wants to find the money his agent stole so he hires a relative who use to be an ex-con played by Snoop Dogg named Kenny who's now an attorney in "Snoop - Fat Kid." Arsenio Hall and Kevin Nash make cameo appearances.
A former rival and Mike get together to do post-game commentary in "Commercial - Coach DMV." Will Sasso guest stars as Anthony "Avalanche" Carter and Meredith Baxter plays the TV Mom. Mike makes some surprising discoveries about himself and his brother after the two make a bet that Mike can't spend a week in a wheelchair in "Week in the Chair." Coach's brother Maurice is released from jail after Cousin Kenny helps him in "Snoop Returns." Snoop Dogg returns as Kenny, Jimmy Johnson appears as himself and Antonio Fargas plays Maurice. Mike is approached by a national sports magazine to be interviewed for a cover story about life after football in "Follow the Story." When Adele's sister Cynthia ends up in Mexico because of a fight with her husband, Coach and Adele have to try to figure out a way to get them back together in "Christmas." Lenny Clark and Tichina Arnold return as Lenny and Cynthia. Adele sets her son Chill up on a blind date with a Social Worker acquaintance in "Girls, Girls, Girls." Episode summaries courtesy of TV.com .
The episodes appear to be unedited, with running times over 21 minutes. They are presented in the original production order (the order in which the episodes were made). Fox aired the episodes wildly out of order at the beginning of the series. They should make more sense continuity wise in the production order. The runtimes are as follows:
101. Brothers (Pilot) (09/25/09) (21:34)
102. Lenny (10/11/09) (21:21)
103. House Rules - Anniversary (09/25/09) (21:25)
104. Meet Mike Trainor (10/23/09) (21:43)
105. Mike's Comeback (11/08/09) (21:06)
106. Mom at Bar - Train Buddy (10/02/09) (21:12)
107. Snoop - Fat Kid (10/09/09) (21:40)
108. Commercial - Coach DMV (10/18/09) (21:02)
109. Week in the Chair (11/22/09) (21:12)
110. Snoop Returns (12/13/09) (21:42)
111. Follow the Story (12/27/09) (21:32)
112. Christmas (12/13/09) (21:42)
113. Girls, Girls, Girls (12/27/09) (21:04)
The 2-disc set contains all 13 episodes of the series, which aired on Fox from September 25, 2009 to December 27, 2009. It comes in a standard Amaray movie-style case. A photo of the four cast members is used as the cover art. The back cover features a photo of Strahan, Pounder and Mitchell and another one that includes Weathers, Snoop Dogg, Jimmy Johnson, Strahan and Mitchell. A short synopsis of the series and a listing of the DVD specs is provided. Strahan is featured on the spine of the case. There is just blank space inside the case. An episode guide would have been nice. The DVD-Rs have a white background, with the show logo and disc number in black text. Disc 1 contains the first 7 episodes produced of the series. Disc 2 contains the final 6 episodes.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menu is very basic and no thrills. It just has various televisions in the background with a blue/green tint. This is one of the most unimaginative menus I've ever seen. I'm surprised that they just didn't use a cast photo, even if it was just the same one as the cover art. The episode titles are listed vertically in black text in a teal box on the left side of the screen. There's a "Play All" button or you can view the episodes individually. A film cannister type icon is next to the option you highlight that turns yellow upon your selection. Unfortunately, there are no chapter stops within the episodes.
Video and Audio Quality:
The product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. The packaging notes that this disc is expected to play back in DVD Video "Play only" devices, and may not play in other DVD devices, including recorders and PC drives. The episodes are presented in anamorphic widescreen 1.78:1 format. As you might expect for such a recent show, the episodes look and sound excellent. Brothers was a traditional multi-camera sitcom. The episodes have closing logos for Impact Zone Productions, Tantamount Studios and Sony Pictures Television.
The audio is an English Dolby Digital Stereo track. I didn't notice any problems. The volume is at a good level. The dialogue is easy to understand. I don't recall the show using any original songs, so there should be no issue with any music substitions. There are no subtitles or closed captioning on any of the episodes.
Unfortunately, there are no special features included. This is usually the case with these on manufactured on demand type releases. You just get the episodes here. The show did use outtakes in the closing credits, so those are fun to watch. It would have been nice to see more of these outtakes and view some interviews with the cast.
Brothers was a pretty funny show that had some occasional warmth. I reviewed the first two episodes before the show aired. I thought the show had some decent potential, but it was buried on Friday nights at the start. It was the only African-American sitcom on broadcast TV at the time. There have been no others since the show went off the air. The series had a good ensemble cast. Michael Strahan was basically playing himself. He has some natural instincts as an actor. His personality and on-screen charisma translated pretty well to a sitcom. The rest of the cast brought a lot of experience, but not all of it was from comedies. CCH Pounder is known mostly for dramas, but she proved she could do comedy here and stole the show at times with some hilarious lines. Carl Weathers was coming off some appearances on Arrested Development at the time. His Coach character was funny here. The show had some fun guest stars like Snoop Dogg and Mike Tyson. There were also cameo appearances from Kim Kardashian, Arsenio Hall, Kevin Nash and Jimmy Johnson.
The biggest problem with the show is that Fox didn't really know how to schedule it. It just never really found an audience. They put it on Friday nights with multiple episodes. It's always tough for a rookie show with no lead-in. The first two episodes had under 3 million viewers. When Fox re-aired the pilot on a Sunday, it had more than 6 million viewers. Then the show continued airing on Fridays for a few more weeks before moving to Sundays. If the show had aired on Sundays in a consistent timeslot, I think it would have had a better chance at success. It would have also helped if they had another live-action sitcom paired with it. This was a series that was getting better as the episodes went on, but the writing was already on the wall and the show was facing cancellation with such a small audience.
I didn't watch all 13 episodes at the time Fox aired them, so it's nice to catch up with them. This is a pretty basic and no thrills release, but it's nice to have them available in any format. I think they could have put a little more effort into designing the menu and included chapter stops, but those are pretty minor issues. The set is also priced like many full season releases, but they only produced 13 episodes. It should be sold at more of a discount.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 1/5
-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 05/06/12
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