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Desperate Housewives - The Complete First Season


TITLE: DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: September 20, 2005 (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
Color/2004-05
MSRP: $59.99
Number of Discs: 6
Number of Episodes: 23
Running Time: approx. 998 minutes
Total Running Time of Special Features: approx. 5 hours, with commentary
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English, Closed Captioned
Special Features:
• Audio Commentaries from Marc Cherry and Larry Shaw
• Deleted Scenes
• 6 Extended Episodes
• “A Stroll Down Wisteria Lane”
• “Desperate Housewives Around the World”
• “Multi Language Sequence: Bree’s Dinner Party”
• “Dressing Wisteria Lane”
• The Ladies’ Favorite Scenes, with optional commentary
• Oprah Winfrey is the New Neighbor
• “Bloopers from the Set”
• “Secrets of Wisteria Lane”
• “Behind the Scenes of Desperate Housewives”


Desperate Housewives menu

Introduction:

TV’s best series & highest rated new series is heading to DVD after a “juicy” opening season! That of course happens to be the Desperate Housewives! Buena Vista Home Entertainment in association with Touchstone Television is bringing all fans a 6 disc set that will keep your dirty laundry dirty. The set is jam-packed with bonus material and 23 sizzling episodes. Marc Cherry’s story of bringing this show on the air is wonderful and now you can watch every single minute, with even more scenes that the actual airings, on DVD! A primetime soap with a truly contemporary take on "happily every after," this hit series takes a darkly comedic look at suburbia, where the secret lives of housewives aren't always what they seem.

The series begins with Mary Alice Young (Brenda Strong) leaving her perfect house in the loveliest of suburbs -- and ending it all. Now she takes us into the lives of her family, friends and neighbors, commenting from her elevated P.O.V.

Desperate Housewives Menu Desperate Housewives Menu
Desperate Housewives Menu Desperate Housewives Menu

Her circle of girlfriends on Wisteria Lane include Susan Mayer (Teri Hatcher), the divorcee and single mom who will go to extraordinary lengths for love; Lynette Scavo (Felicity Huffman), who recently went from being a stay-at-home mother of four back to her fast track career in advertising; Bree Van De Kamp (Marcia Cross), Martha Stewart on steroids; and Gabrielle Solis, the ex-model with everything she's ever wanted - a rich husband, a big house, and a boy toy; and serial divorcee Edie Britt (Nicollette Sheridan), the free spirited real estate maven whose love life has everyone buzzing.

Then there are the men: Mike Delfino (Jamie Denton), a supposedly widowed plumber who has won Susan's heart; Bree’s husband Rex Van De Kamp (Steven Culp) who is tired of Bree’s perfect ness; Lynette's adorable husband, Tom Scavo (Doug Savant), who spends a lot of time at work; Gabrielle's better half, Carlos Solis (Ricardo Antonio Chavira), who is rich as hell, John Rowland (Jesse Metcalfe), the gardener has a affair with Gabrielle; and Mary Alice's widowed husband, Paul Young (Mark Moses), who seems very strange and evil.

The rest of the cast includes the kids Julie Mayer (Andrea Bowen) who plays Susan’s daughter; the crazy Zach Young (Cody Kasch); Bree’s troubled son Andrew Van De Kamp (Shawn Pyfrom); Bree’s teenage daughter Danielle Van De Kamp (Joy Lauren), and the Scavo children Preston, Porter, Parker (Brent Kinsman, Shane Kinsman, and Zane Huett).

From her unique vantage point, Mary Alice sees more now than she ever did alive, and she's planning to share all the delicious secrets that hide behind every neighbor's closed door in this seemingly perfect American suburb.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Since this is a serialized show, all the episodes need to be watched in order. Some of the memorable episodes include, “Pilot” where it all began; “Pretty Little Picture” where Bree hosts a dinner party; “Come in Stranger” is where Mama Solis moves in to the Solis household; “Guilty” is where someone dies; “Love is in the Air” will Susan and Mike break-up?; “Children Will Listen” where Susan’s mother appears; “Goodbye For Now” Susan and mike back together?; and “One Wonderful Day” reveals the mystery for season one!

Recurring guest stars include Roger Bart as George, Harriet Sansom Harris as Felicia Tillman, Richard Roundtree as Mr. Shaw, Sam Lloyd as Dr. Goldfine, Richard Burgi as Karl, Christine Estabrook as Martha Huber, Lupe Ontiveros as Mama Solis, Sharon Lawrence as Maisy Gibbons, Marla Sokoloff as Claire, Lesley Ann Warren as Sophie Bremmer, TV legend Bob Newhart as Morty, Melinda McGraw as Annabel, Ryan Carnes as Justin, and Emmy award winning Kathryn Joosten as Mrs. McCluskey. Other one time appearances include Hamilton Camp (“Suspicious Minds”), Steven Eckholdt (“Come in, Stranger”), Heather Stephens as Kendra, Ryan O’Neal as Rodney Scavo (“Your Fault”), Karen Austin (“Your Fault”), Kathryn Harrold as John’s mom, Jon Polito as the Siesta King (“Love is in the Air”), Marlee Maltin as Alisa Stevens (“There Won’t Be Trumpets”), Rick Ravanello (“There Won’t Be Trumpets”), and joining the cast in brief scenes in the final two episodes of this season are Alfre Woodward and Mehcad Brooks.


Packaging:

The packaging is very good and similar to the Lost DVD. It is a nice slip sleeve that is easy to take out and put back in. You take the sleeve out from the ride side, while for Lost it was from the bottom. On the front of the slip sleeve is the Desperate Housewives logo in red and black. Underneath that is a nice photo of the main four housewives in white dresses. Beneath that it says “The Complete First Season.” The slip sleeve looks like it is white, but when you remove the case from the sleeve; the slip sleeve is gray and the ladies’ white dress turns into clear making it looks like they are censored. The spine has the logo and the same photo of the ladies. The back of the sleeve has some nice photos and in the middle of that is a huge body shot of Edie holding her stomach in a very tight and short skirt.

When we take the slip sleeve out, we get to the case. We find out how the slip sleeve looks white, since the cover of the case is ALL white. The back of the case has more photos from episodes with a quote from Variety on the top. Synopsis of the show and set are given, along with bonus features and set specification. When we open the case once, on the left side we see a photo of Mary Alice in a photo frame with a gun besides it and a holder for booklets. An episode guide for the show comes with the set. A nice color booklet that is six pages long and has detailed synopsis of each episode on each disc. There are nice photos on the top of each page, too. The next booklet is about Buena Vista’s other TV on DVD products such as the upcoming Alias Season 4. Then there is a booklet that has merchandise info, such as a DH book, calendar and laundry game. The last thing enclosed is a Nissan ad. When we finally get all the little booklets out, we see the famous note Mary Alice got before her suicide. Good marketing by BVHE there! On the ride side we nice color photos of Gabrielle and Susan, with two quotes from reviewers on the top. When we open the case once more, we see discs one and two in the middle, with more color photos on the right of Lynette and Bree with two additional quotes. Opening once more, we now see discs three & four and discs five & six on the right.

The discs are overlapped with two other discs. I hate overlapping. I would have preferred like 3 slim cases instead. All the discs have a white background and the DH logo in gray. Disc one has artwork of Susan and episodes 1-4, disc two has artwork of Edie and episodes 5-8, disc three has artwork of Bree and episodes 9-12, disc four has artwork of Lynette and the kids with episodes 13-16, disc five has artwork of John & Gabby and episodes 17-20, disc six has artwork of Mary Alice and episodes 21-23.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menu screen is very neat! The opening title sequence is played, but instead of the animated shots of housewives, we see the Desperate Housewives cast with that great theme song playing in the background. When you pop-in disc one, you get 6:30’s worth of previews, which you can skip or just watch. The previews are of the movie Flight Plan, TV on DVD titles, DH Season 2 promo, and a preview of the Alias season 4 DVD. Then we get to the main menu screen, with the animation. After that animation, we get to the actual menu screen, with the options. DH background music is playing the background. The options for the menus screen are: Play All, Bonus Features, Set-Up, Episode Selection, Extended Episodes, Sneak Peek. Sneak Peek is just on disc one and includes the trailers that played before the menu in disc one, plus previews of Scrubs S2, Lost S1 and ABC Daytime. Extended Episodes is on every disc but disc 5. Everything else is on each disc. Set-Up basically is to turn on captions and to register your DVD. Little apples are your selectors; they turn from red to a different color on each disc when selected.


Video and Audio Quality:

The video is in Widescreen and the audio is in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. I’ve never seen the show in widescreen, but man does it look good, just like Lost! I wish we can see widescreen on ABC, but it’s not a major issue as the DVDs will have widescreen anyway. There are chapter stops for each episode, usually 8-10 per episode. Each episode is of course unedited and runs about 43:00-43:30, give or take a few seconds. Also of note, we finally get to watch the actual closing credits! On the network airings, they are in split screen form with promos on the right side. The closing credits are about 34-35 seconds and have a nice touch to it. It seems there is no real theme, as the episodes had different music pieces for the closing.


Desperate Housewives Menu Desperate Housewives Menu

Special Features:

Now to the special features! This set has everything we could imagine. Well, there is one thing missing, the recap episode that aired in late April, titled “Desperate Housewives: Sorting out the Dirty Laundry” but that isn’t a big loss and many fans considered that to be “boring” anyway. The set has around 5 hours worth of bonus materials, including audio commentary. So, let’s start with that. On disc one there is one audio commentary. “Pilot” has commentary from executive producer and creator Marc Cherry. I would suggest all fans who watched this episode before, to watch it first with the commentary. If you are a new viewer, watch it without the commentary and then watch it with it.

Disc two has audio commentary on two episodes: “Anything You Can Do” from Marc Cherry and director Larry Shaw, and the episode “Guilty” Cherry comments on. Marc Cherry is awesome to listen to. He is so detailed. The next audio commentary is on disc four from Cherry and Shaw on “Impossible.” Disc six has audio commentary from Cherry and Shaw on the season finale, “One Wonderful Day.” So we have 5 full audio commentaries on full episodes.

Disc five has some commentary, but not on whole episodes, but favorite scenes from the ladies! You can view the scenes with or without commentary, but you should all do it with the commentary! The first one commentating is Eva Longoria; she selected two scenes involving her character Gabrielle. Lasting 4:44, she discusses her famous lawn mowing scene in her dress at night from the pilot and the first scene from episode two where she is in the bathtub with John and then Carlos arrives and they hilariously get out of it without him knowing. The next one is Felicity Huffman; she selected two scenes involving her character Lynette. Lasting 4:01, she discusses her breakdown scene with the kids going wild and her seeing an image of Mary Alice, she also discusses a scene of her and Tom arguing about the maid’s dress she wore. The next one is Marcia Cross; she selected two scenes involving her character Bree. Lasting 5:31, she discusses her sexy scene with Rex in the hotel and she also discusses a scene of her and Rex in the hospital after she found out he had an affair. The next one is Nicollette Sheridan; she selected two scenes involving her character Edie Britt. Lasting 6:38, she discusses her scene with Susan in the rowing boat and she also discusses the hilarious scene of her and Susan breaking into Paul Young’s house. The last one is Teri Hatcher; she selected three scenes involving her character Susan. Lasting 10:47, she discusses that famous nude scene she did with that towel slipping off and bushes covering the body parts, she also discusses the singing scene in which she tells Karl off, and finally she discusses that scene where Susan yells at Mike at night after she came back from the police station finding out he had murdered before.

Now let’s move on to the deleted scenes! The first one is on disc one, it comes from the episode “Ah, But Underneath.” It runs about 1:14 and has a scene with John & Gabrielle. Marc Cherry gives commentary on each deleted scene. You can have it on or off, but I prefer watching it with the commentary since Marc is so detailed! Disc two has two deleted scenes. On the episode “Guilty” it has a very sexy scene with Edie coming out of the bathroom in her underwear and bra while Mr. Shaw is sitting on the top of the bed. It is only 17 seconds, but wowsers! Cherry explains why the scene had to be edited out in the final cut. The next scene on disc two is from “Running to Stand Still” it an extended version of what we saw. It’s the scene where Gabrielle sees John and Danielle coming in and going in her room, but there was more after that! Eva Longoria shows her great comedic timing with the spit take and cough in this deleted scene that lasts 1:29. Disc three’s deleted scene comes from the episode “Suspicious Minds” and it runs 1:14. The scene is from the famous fashion show. Remember we didn’t get to see Gabrielle, Bree and Lynette go down the runway? Now we do! It was cut off due to time originally. Disc four has two deleted scenes. One is from the episode “The Ladies Who Lunch” in which Edie is checking Gabby’s house out as Gabby is trying to sell it. It runs about 58 seconds. The next deleted scene on this disc is from “Your Fault” where we see the maid, Gabby and Carlos talking. Disc five’s deleted scene comes from “There Won’t Be Trumpets” and the scene edited out is where Bree & Rex are in Principal Stark’s office. They had to re-do this scene because they thought Stark was more of the central point in this scene, so they re-shot it and that is what you see originally. You can compare both scenes now with this deleted scene! The final deleted scene is on disc six from the season finale, “One Wonderful Day.” It runs about 54 seconds and the ladies are in the hospital discussing Mary Alice and putting all the pieces together.

Next up are extended episodes! These have a scene or two that was supposed to be in the episode originally, but had to be edited out due to time constraints. Now, you can watch it where it was meant to be in the episode! The first extended episode is on disc one. “Who’s That Woman?” has a scene on why Mrs. Huber is so desperate. Marc Cherry has intros to each extended episode and his intro on this one lasts 41 seconds. The entire extended episode runs 45:29, almost two minutes more than the original airing! The next extended episode is on disc two. The episode is “Anything You Can Do” it has a scene where Bree & Rex talk to the kids about them getting a divorce. Cherry’s explanation runs 43 seconds and the episode runs 43:52, almost a minute’s worth of extra material. Disc three has an extended episode on the episode “Everyday a Little Death.” A scene with Carols & Gabrielle about how badly Carols wants a child. Cherry’s explanation runs 29 seconds and the extended episode runs 45:13, over two minutes of what the actual episode runs. Disc four has an extended episode for “Impossible.” It has two new scenes, one of Rex & Bree and one of Susan & Julie. Cherry’s intro runs 30 seconds and the episode runs 46:06, almost 3 minutes more than the original airing! The last two extended episodes are on disc six. The first is the episode “Sunday in the Park with George.” The George & Bree gardening scene is new. Cherry’s intro runs 29 seconds and episode at 45:49, almost three minutes more than the original airing. The last extended episode is “Goodbye for Now” and has the scene where Tom comes home from work after getting fired. Cherry’s intro runs 20 seconds and the extended episode runs 45:18, almost two minutes more than the original airing. I recommend watching the extended episodes of these six episodes rather than the original episodes of those six.

Now to all the features and featurettes! First I’ll talk about “A Stroll Down Wisteria Lane” which is on disc one. Meredith Vieira from ABC’s The View is on the set with Marc Cherry during the finale taping. They discuss the storylines for the past season and a little bit about season two, as well. This feature runs 11:37. The next two features are on disc two. The first is “Desperate Housewives Around the World” which is a feature about how big DH is EVERYWHERE. Talk show clips from the U.S. are shown, as well as award show clips, and even the clip where Laura Bush talks about DH. Interviewed are: Felicity Huffman, Doug Savant, James Denton, Teri Hatcher, Nicollette Sheridan, Eva Longoria, Marcia Cross, Steven Culp, and Marc Cherry. This runs 8:04. The next feature on this disc is “Multi Language Sequence: Bree’s Dinner Party,” it runs about 1:25 and is HILARIOUS! Remember that famous dinner party scene from episode three? It shows that with different languages for like each character. Languages include Castilian, Italian, French, Spanish, German and of course the original—English. The clip ends hilariously. The next feature is on disc three titled, “Dressing Wisteria Lane.” It runs 12:33 and discusses how the set is decorated and of course all the ladies: Susan, Gabrielle, Lynette, Bree and Edie. Interviewed are: Thomas A. Walsh (Production Designer), Marc Cherry, Cate Adair (Costume Designer), Teri Hatcher, James Denton, Nicollette Sheridan, Marcia Cross, Ricardo Antonio Chavira, Eva Longoria, Steven Culp, Doug Savant, Felicity Huffman, and Brenda Strong.

Disc six has the remaining features. The famous Oprah Winfrey scene is on this set! “Oprah Winfrey Is The New Neighbor.” It runs 8:25 and it is comical. If you didn’t see the scene before on The Oprah Winfrey Show, then you must watch it! “Bloopers from the Set” are also included. They run 4:54 and have hilarious outtakes, flubs and bloopers. The ladies do the famous Charlie’s Angels intro too! The next feature is “Secrets of Wisteria Lane.” It runs 10:44 and has production secrets, writer’s secrets, and Wisteria Lane’s newest secret. Interviewed are Cherry, Hatcher, Thomas A. Walsh, Cross, Sheridan, and at the end Meredith Vieira interviews Alfre Woodward. The final feature is the longest one. It runs 25:24 and is titled “Behind the Scenes of Desperate Housewives.” Hosted by Meredith Vieira, this is again a good piece. It discusses that Wisteria Lane in real life is Colonial Street at the back-lot of Universal Studios. The street has been on many shows before such as The Munsters and Leave it to Beaver. Many are interviewed, including Cherry, Hatcher, Huffman, Savant, Roger Bart, Savant, Denton, Sheridan, Cross and more!


Final Comments:

This is a must buy! With season two of DH coming Sept. 25 on ABC, this is a quick buy and a quick watch if you are a new viewer. Because you don’t want to miss season two and not know what season one is about. The set has bonus features on each disc, so it is good that you have added value on each disc. The set has over 5 hours of bonus material, not as much as Lost, but still very good. This is for sure the second best TV DVD of the year behind Lost. I’m not sure which show I like more, but I love both so much! It is hard to pick and you should all have both shows on your DVD shelves! Marc Cherry was heavily involved on this set and he gives good commentary, explanations and interviews on this set. Make sure you buy this set so you can see all those Housewives in widescreen! Don’t forget to watch the season premiere Sunday, Sept. 25 at 9/8 central only on ABC!


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 4.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
Overall: 5/5

-- Reviewed by pavanbadal on 09/15/05

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00079FUI6/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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