TITLE: EVENING SHADE - SEASON ONE
DVD Release Date: July 15, 2008 (CBS DVD)
Number of Discs: 5
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: 586 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: Closed-captioned
Special Features: None
It’s time to kick back and relax in the shade, the Evening Shade, that is. The first season of the ‘90s sitcom starring Burt Reynolds and Marilu Henner as Wood and Ava Newton comes to DVD in a four-disc set from CBS DVD.
Wood is a former Pittsburgh Steeler that has decided to come back home to be a football coach for a real football team--the hometown high school football team. But life in Evening Shade is anything but normal, and a far cry from what he is used to, when he learns to deal with family and friends that have their fair share of problems. But through it all, in the end, the positive side of life in Arkansas would always be seen. The series was produced by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and Harry Thomason, neither of whom strangers to sophisticated southern sitcoms, as both were concurrently producing the series Designing Women.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
The series begins with the episode “A Day in the Life of Wood Newton,” where a photo of Wood is taken with a stripper, on his wedding anniversary. It’s poker night with the guys, and a crazy aunt, in “There Once Was a Boy Named Wood.” Wood has to have a man-to-man talk with both his father-in-law and son about their choice of dates in “Fast Women.” Ted McGinley guest stars in “The Moustache Show,” where half of Wood’s moustache goes missing. Wood has to be father AND mother when Ava is away in “Mr. Mom.” Wood may just become a movie star in “Hooray for Wood.”
Ava and Wood have new friends, and they happen to be swingers, in “Wood and Ava and Gil and Madeline.” Erin Gray guest stars. Ava and Wood talk about how she became the town prosecutor in “Vote Early and Often.” In “The Trials of Wood Newton,” Wood may have to testify against his own father-in-law in court, who is being represented by Ava! In “Nothing to Fear But Harvey Lujack,” Ava has helped to put a man in prison, but he has escaped and is headed for Evening Shade. Kenny Rogers guest stars in “Gamblers Anonymous.” Can Wood teach sex-ed? Find out in “Sex Education.” Terry Bradshaw guest stars in “Far From the Madden Crowd,” where Ava goes into labor. The story continues with the season finale, “The Baby Show.”
Think of a typical CBS DVD package and you will know exactly what the packaging for this DVD set is like. Basically, there is an Amaray case that has a basic cast photo on the front of the case. Inside, you’ll find five discs, each of which (of course) has no artwork except for the show title. I was a little surprised that they did five discs, considering that there were only 24 episodes in the first season. Each disc contains five episodes, except Disc 5, which contains only four episodes. Behind the discs, you’ll find a listing of all of the episodes, complete with descriptions and original airdates.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are basic--VERY basic. The main menu just has a cast photo shot, a listing of all of the episodes, and a Play All option. Once you select what you want, the episode plays immediately. There aren’t any scene selection menus, but chapters are placed appropriately throughout each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video quality of the episodes tends to be a bit disappointing. The show is 18 years old, so I didn’t exactly expect perfection, but these episodes look more like they are twice as old as they really are. The episodes seemed grainy, out of focus, and some of the colors were even off. It looks like no effort was really made to re-master the episodes (except, of course, for the “important” re-mastering task of removing original music, which I’ll discuss shortly). On the bright side, the original CBS Stereo Sound logo was present at the beginning of each episode. But don’t let that fool you into thinking the audio is superb. It was, at the very least, above average, but it could have been better, specifically a lot clearer than it was. The episodes are all closed captioned.
NOW, as this is a CBS DVD, it is important to discuss the ever-present editing issue. Once again, the famous disclaimer about episodes being edited can be found on the set. And you will notice very obvious scenes where music was indeed removed, entire scenes actually. It is such a disgrace. However, there were some places where original music could be found, so it isn’t a total disaster, but still not great. Runtimes are all over the place, from 22 to 24 minutes. This likely indicates editing. They are as follows:
"A Day in the Life of Wood Newton” (49:03)
“There Once Was a Boy Named Wood” (23:54)
“Whatever Happened to Clutch Newton” (23:25)
“Sadie Hawkins Dance” (23:16)
“Fast Women” (23:36)
“The Moustache Show” (24:09)
“All For Charity” (22:47)
“Something to Hold Onto” (23:53)
“Mr. Mom” (23:28)
“Hooray for Wood” (23:22)
“The Wood Who Stole Christmas” (23:42)
“Wood and Ava and Gil and Madeline” (23:38)
“Woods Thirtieth Reunion” (23:35)
“Vote Early and Vote Often” (23:19)
“Chip Off the Old Brick” (23:19)
“The Trials of Wood Newton” (22:50)
“Into the Woods” (22:58)
“Nothing to Fear But Harvey Lujack” (22:58)
“Gambler Anonymous” (22:20)
“Sex Education” (23:31)
“I Am Wood, Hear Me Roar” (23:20)
“Herman and Margaret Sitting in a Tree” (23:08)
“Far From the Madden Crowd” (23:41)
“The Baby Show” (23:42)
Special features are not part of this set, at all. This show isn’t all that old compared to much older shows, so I can’t understand why they were unable to put anything together at all. Maybe it is just because they wanted to put together a DVD set as cheaply as possible.
I’ve never watched this show before (somehow it is one of those few shows that I’ve totally missed both originally and in syndication), but it was definitely better than I was expecting. It isn’t just some sitcom that makes fun of southern rural stereotypes, but rather gives a more realistic look at the south--which, by pure nature, does include SOME of those stereotypes (but not even close to the majority of southerners).
Of course, I wish that this could have been a better set, but it is about what I’ve come to expect from CBS DVD. They used to put out nothing but the best products back when they were using the Paramount name, and now everything tends to be tainted one way or another...such a shame. But I think most fans will appreciate the set anyway, and will enjoy their 24 episodes “in a place called Evening Shade.”
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 3.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 06/28/08
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