Release Date: March 6, 2012 (TV Land Home Entertainment)
Color / 2011
Packaging: Viva Pack
Number of Discs: 2
Number of Episodes: 10
Running Time: 220 minutes
Running Time of Features: approx. minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound English
Subtitles and Captioning: English subtitles
Special Features: Interviews with the Cast and Creators; Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes and A Message From Fran
Fran is back! Fran Drescher (The Nanny) returns to television in a new sitcom loosely bases on her life in Happily Divorced! Now you can own the first season on DVD from TV Land featuring all ten episodes from the freshman season along with cool behind the scenes special features! Meet Fran Lovett (Fran Drescher), an L.A. florist whose husband Peter (John Michael Higgins) came out of the closet, but couldn't afford to move out of the house. Now after 18 years of marriage, Fran is back on the singles scene looking for Mr. Right... and so is Peter! Can they remain "Happily Divorced" while juggling new relationships, and living under the same roof?
The series stars Fran Drescher, John Michael Higgins, Rita Moreno, Tichina Arnold, Valente Rodriguez and Robert Walden.
The first season has ten episodes and aired on TV Land last summer. I’ll go over some of the most memorable episodes of the season. It all starts off in the “Pilot,” when Fran (Fran Drescher) is mortified when, after 18 years of marriage, her husband Peter (John Michael Higgins) comes out as gay, so Fran files for divorce but because their house is worth less than what they owe on it, they continue to live together. In “A Date With Destiny,” Fran and Judy find high-school love letters, so Fran begins dating her high-school crush, Richard, while Peter and Richard bond, it turns out Richard is prejudiced, so Fran dumps him. In “Someone Wants Me,” Fran tries online dating in a failed attempt to forget Elliot. In “Vegas Baby,” after traveling to Las Vegas for a florist convention, Fran and Peter sleep together. And on the season finale, “Torn Between Two Lovettes,” Fran and Peter are attracted to the same guy.
The guest stars for this season include D.W. Moffett as Elliot, Kevin Kilner, Ian Ziering, Lou Diamond Phillips, Rene Raylor, Robert Gant and Charles Shaughnessy.
1. "Pilot" (21:58)
2. "Pillow Talk" (19:14)
3. "Anniversary" (20:04)
4. "A Date With Destiny " (20:20)
5. “Spousal Support” (21:03)
6. "I Wanna Be Alone" (21:04)
7. "Someone Wants Me" (21:03)
8. "A Kiss Is Just A Kiss" (21:04)
9. “Vegas Baby” (20:18)
10. “Torn Between Two Lovettes” (20:54)
The set is packaged in a standard Viva pack, which isn't bad. The cover art has a promotional photo of John and Fran with the show logo. The color scheme is white and red. The back has three episodic snapshots, along with a nice cast photo and a description of the series. The tagline “They say all the good ones are either married or gay. She got both!” is on the top. We also have a list of bonus features in a little box below the episodic photos. There are two discs inside, with the first disc in a little plastic holder. Disc two is on the right panel itself. Wonder why they just didn’t have disc two on the other side of the plastic holder? There is an insert with a Message from Fran from her Cancer Schmancer foundation, but we don’t get an episode list unfortunately. The inside panels are all black and have no artwork. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-7 and has the same artwork as the cover art. Disc 2 contains episodes 8-10 (and the special features), with a close-up shot of Fran.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The main menu has the theme song playing in the background, with the same artwork from the cover art. The options on the main menu are Play All, Episode Selection, Set Up, and Special Features. The selector icon is a heart. Set Up allows you to change the audio from 5.1 Surround Sound to Stereo Surround Sound. You can also turn on Subtitles in English. The Episodes option takes you to a menu where we have a list of episode titles and a cast photo. Finally, Special Features is only on disc two and lists all of the bonus features.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video and audio quality on the set is about as good as one would expect and similar to the other TV Land original series released on DVD: Hot in Cleveland. Or really, it looks better for most people, because TV Land HD isn’t available to many. It certainly isn’t available for me, so it is great to see this in such good quality. It is in widescreen but if you are using a DVD player that upconverts the video, you won’t see the widescreen. It isn't quite "Blu-ray quality" but it is still good. The audio is loud and clear, and can be heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound or Dolby Digital Stereo (which will sound better on less sophisticated setups). Every episode contains subtitles in English, if you wish to turn that on. We have 5 chapter stops per episode. Not much to say here, but that’s a good thing!
We have some special features, but it really isn’t all that great. They are all located on disc two, as mentioned already. First up, we have “Interviews with the Cast and Creators.” These are little interviews that were probably done before the show premiered. They are taken on the set and the cast answers a few questions each. It’s good to have on DVD, but I wish it was longer. We have Fran Drescher and Peter Marc Jacobson (5:22), John Michael Higgins (4:18), Valente Rodriguez (3:10), and Rita Moreno and Robert Walden (4:00).
Moving on, we have “Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes.” These seem to be more for the DVD rather than press interviews. The first one is In the Wardrobe (6:35) and it has a little tour by Brenda Cooper (Costume Designer) of all the costumes on the show. It’s cool to see that! Then we have In the Recording Studio (3:17) with Gavin Lurssen and Rank Pink (Composers). They show us how the music is like on the show with the help of Tichina Arnold, too! And finally, we have 30 second PSA from Fran Drescher about cancer that seems like it was a TV Land PSA.
While it is great to have any special features at all, most of the special features on the set seemed to be lacking in substance, and it probably would have been much better to have one extended length feature that covered the series as a whole. And commentaries for episodes would have been nice, too, along with some bloopers. Oh well, hopefully for the second season?
This is a decent DVD and I don’t have a whole lot to complain about, but I was expecting more than what we have here -- as the special features were lacking again. The episodes are good, and that is really all that matters, but this show isn’t as good as Hot in Cleveland. I really wish they would use Valente Rodriguez more, as he was hysterical on George Lopez. He doesn’t have much to do yet on this show, but I hope that changes in the second season, which premieres Wednesday, March 7 -- a day after the release of this DVD! This set is good about in every other aspect besides the disappointing special features. The series is a solid player for TV Land, so it should have more quantity of special features than this. So what will happen to Fran and Peter after their divorce? Find out by getting this DVD! And after you finish that, it will be time for the new season! Be happy!