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Father of the Pride - The Complete Series


TITLE: FATHER OF THE PRIDE - THE COMPLETE SERIES


Info:

Release: June 7, 2005 (Dreamworks Home Entertainment)
Color/2004-2005
MSRP: $29.99
Number of Discs: 1 (Double-Sided)
Number of Episodes: 14
Running Time: 228 Minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: Approximately 90 minutes
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, 2.0
Subtitles: English, Español, Français
Closed Captioned
Special Features:
• Three never-before seen episodes, including the original pilot
• The lost tale (Animated Storyboards + Audio of an episode that never reach the animation department)
• Audio Commentaries by Rob Cohen, John Groff, Cheryl Holiday, Jon Pollack, and Jon Ross


Introduction:

The complete (short) series of Father of the Pride is now on DVD! The series is a CGI animation sitcom about a family of white lions who live in Las Vegas and work for Siegfried and Roy. The show has an original take on everything from show business to alternative lifestyles, aging, racial prejudice, drugs, women’s empowerment, and whether it’s okay to murder your zebra neighbor to replace a ruined animal rug (haven’t we ALL had that problem at one time in our lives?)

The family is headed up by Larry (John Goodman), a lion with a tendency to speak before he thinks, who just wants to sit on his couch, watch TV, and be left alone. He’s helped and hindered by his wife Kate (Cheryl Hines), best friend Snack (Orlando Jones), daughter Sierra (Danielle Harris), son Hunter (Daryl Sabara) and father-in-law Sarmoti, an aging lion who tends to see himself as the feline member of the rat pack. The chaos is presided over by Siegfried & Roy (Julian Holloway and David Herman), quite possibly two of the most over-the-top characters in the history of television. Need proof? In the third episode (production order ­ what the DVD is), Siegfried & Roy take over a 7-Eleven.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

For those of you who never quite understood what was going on in the series, watch the original pilot first. It’s a good episode that actually explains the madness quite well, and answers a lot of questions that were never explained in the series. The second episode is also great, as ­the episode title suggests ­ Sarmoti moves in. In the third episode, Larry & Kate find catnip (a.k.a. “the ‘nip”) under a vase in Sierra’s room, and think it’s hers. In the fourth show, Snack finds a new girlfriend, and when she dumps him mid-date Larry covers for her by telling Snack he ate her. In the same episode, Sarmoti manages to win all of the money gambled in a poker game by Sierra’s boyfriend, and Sierra tries to win it back. Most of the episodes follow the same level of quality of the first two shows, so you really can’t go wrong with whatever episodes you watch. The show had MANY guest stars in it’s brief run. Richard Kind, from the sitcom Spin City, voices the zebra in the first-produced episode, Sarmoti Moves In. In episode 4, [episode title], several guests are featured. Christina Applegate (Married with Children) voices Snack’s new girlfriend, Candy. Garry Marshall appears for the first of 3 appearances as one of Sarmoti’s friends, Bernie. R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket, Switchback, and Leaving Las Vegas) guests as Sergeant Bunny ­ the rabbit trainer of a dieting Larry. Dom DeLuise and Pauly Shore also have small parts in the episode. Lisa Kudrow, formerly of Friends, begins her recurring role of the panda Foo-Lin in the next episode. In the episode, Andy Richter also guests as Nelson, the new panda and possible mate for Foo-Lin. In the episode “Larry’s Debut and Sweet Darryl Hannah Too”, Matt Lauer guest stars as himself. Also, John O’ Hurley (Seinfeld) voices Blake, one of Siegfried & Roy’s signature white tigers. (He would again voice Blake in the episode “Possession” and in “Stage Fright”) Garry Marshall returns as Bernie, plus Joe Garagiola voices himself in the 1970s Today Show flashback.

In the episode “And the Revolution Continues,” Danny DeVito voices Emerson the Lobster (FBI Political Prisoner file #16324), the political activist trapped at the restaurant that Siegfried, Roy, Larry, Kate, and Sierra eat at. No other guest spot was more promoted in the show’s brief history than in the episode “Donkey”. Eddie Murphy reprises his role of Donkey from Shrek and Shrek 2 for the episode. In the episode Road Trip, David Spade voices a coyote helping Larry and Sarmoti reach Little Bavaria. In Kelsey Grammar guests as himself in the unaired revised pilot, Stage Fright. Dave Foley, from Newsradio, voices Kelsey Grammer’s cat ­ who helps Larry work through his stage fright. Finally Lisa Kudrow returns as Foo-Lin in “The Siegfried & Roy Movie Fantasy Experience Movie”, another of the unaired episodes.


Packaging:

The front cover features the CGI Siegfried & Roy in front of Las Vegas on the bottom half of the cover, Larry & the family (plus Snack) on the top half, and the Father of the Pride logo in the center. The reverse cover has Larry with the DVD features box, plus Siegfried & Roy on a two-seat bicycle, and Snack leaning against a still shot of Larry, Kate, and the zebra from Sarmoti Moves In. The set itself is a single-disc keepcase ­ the type of packaging used for most standard movie releases.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are exceptionally done. They begin with an introduction with an instrumental version of “There’s No Business like Show Business”, that keeps up through the main menu. The introduction has each of the family members getting introduced with a clip one by one. After it finishes, it goes into the main menu, which features the same shot on the top half of the front cover, but this time the gang is in front of 12 panels playing clips from various episodes. The set doesn’t have a Play All feature, but the episode selection menu is intuitive, so it only takes a press of the OK button to go to the next episode. The episode selection menu on both discs features Larry in front of various still shots from the series. The setup menu (containing audio channel [5.1 or 2.0] selection and subtitles] has a similar (though with a purple instead of green tint) look, with Kate, Hunter, and Sierra instead of Larry. The Special Features menu features none other than Siegfried & Roy. Same setup as the other 2 menus, this time with a pink tint. They’re fairly easy to navigate, and easy to read, even from across the room on a small screen. The first seven shows (including the original pilot) are on Side A, while the other side features the other seven episodes.


Video and Audio Quality:

The video is an amazingly high quality transfer. Dreamworks made sure to keep the series in it’s original 1.78:1 aspect ratio which is greatly appreciated by fans of the show (all three of us). Audio comes in two flavors, 5.1 and 2.0. Both sound great. There are NO visual OR audio defects that I could find with the set. Episodes only run in the neighborhood of 20:00 to 21:00, however, the series WAS this short when originally aired. That’s one of the “perks” of increased commercial time. The production values looked right up there with Dreamworks CGI movies -­ that should give you an indication of how fine this set looks and sounds.


Special Features:

On Disc 1 is the commentary track before the original pilot (21:57), the only special feature on the disc. Rob, Cheryl, John, Jon, and Jon do 1:25 of introductory commentary before the original pilot starts up. The episode itself is commentary-free.

Flipping the disc over to side two reveals more commentary. Possession (21:10), Road Trip (20:39), and Stage Fright (21:20) each have commentary. Cheryl, John, Jon, and Jon do the commentary tracks on all three of the above, while Rob joins the four for Possession. Included in on disc two are the two unaired regular episodes (“The Siegfried & Roy Movie Fantasy Experience Movie” and the revised pilot, “Stage Fright”) as well as a “Lost Tale” (24:35) ­ an episode’s storyboards and sound-work animated together. It’s quite a treat for those of you who want to see what a cartoon looks like before it’s sent to the animation studio. For the purposes of this review, the two unaired episodes that WOULD have aired (Fantasy Experience, Stage Fright) aren’t counted toward the final special features time, while the original pilot is.


Final Comments:

Although its short run on NBC shows about how popular this show turned out to be, I for one loved it. Can’t really describe what drew me to the show…there was just something appealing about it. The set ­ and the series for that matter ­ is a technical marvel. The graphics look amazing, regardless of the size of the screen the show is viewed on. The 5.1 audio track sounds amazing, and the 2.0 isn’t too shabby either. I wish they’d aired the pilot ­ as it actually lays out the groundwork for the episodes that DID air. As-is, the series went straight into episodes without the standard introduction, which left many viewers baffled.

Since there won’t be any future releases as the show only lasted a year, it’d be pointless to talk about what I’d like to see for future sets - but there are a few things with the set I wasn’t completely satisfied about I’m not a fan of double-sided discs, but given the run of the series, I can’t blame Dreamworks for wanting to cut costs and just put everything on one two-sider. Two discs with actual disc art would have been nice, but oh well. Also, I think they could have at least tried to get the cast in for commentary ­ of course, if I were on a show that got the boot in 13 weeks, I’m not sure I’d be eager to do MORE work for the show. Also, the various promos NBC ran for the show in it’s brief run could have been included, but they’re not exactly a must-have item for a set. Otherwise, it’s a great set.

For all of you that blew off the show while it was on NBC ­ give this set a rental ­ at just under four hours for the entire series run, it’s not a major time investment. Who knows, you might actually like it.


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

Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 3.0/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.0/5

Seth Thrasher Seal of Approval

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 06/15/05

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005JNA7/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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