TITLE: HOT IN CLEVELAND - SEASON ONE
Release Date: January 11, 2011 (TV Land Home Entertainment)
Color / 2010
Packaging: Viva Pack
Number of Discs: 2
Number of Episodes: 10
Running Time: 215 minutes
Running Time of Features: 60 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound English
Subtitles and Captioning: Closed-captioned
Special Features: Original Full-Length Pilot Episode; Retired at 35 Pilot; How'd They Get So Hot?; Victoria's Japanese Commercial; Set Tour; We Love Our Age; Bloopers
It may be the middle of winter, but things are getting hot in the Ohio city of Cleveland with the DVD release of Season One of the TV Land series, Hot in Cleveland from TV Land Home Entertainment! The series, TV Land's first scripted sitcom, stars Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leaves, and Wendy Mallick as three friends who suddenly find themselves in Cleveland, living in a house run by caretaker Elka (Betty White). The premiere season aired in summer 2010 on TV Land and turned out to be successful, leading to a second season of the series (which starts on January 19). The first season is where it all begins, though, so bedazzle your jumpsuits and letís get started.
Melanie (Valerie Bertinelli) is the more typical divorced mother figure with college-aged kids, who has been dragged down by her divorce. Joy (Jane Leaves) is the British-born unmarried cosmetologist who has done work for all of the stars in Los Angeles. Tori (Wendy Mallick) is a soap star who recently had her long-running soap opera canceled, and now seems to be relegated to roles that nobody wants (Japanese undergarments, anybody?). Finally, Elka (Betty White) is the elderly caretaker, who seems to have had a rather unusual life, including escaping from the Nazis, an incredibly active sex life, and a love for marijuana.
The series begins, of course, with the "Pilot" episode, which explains how the ladies end up in Cleveland. Melanie tries to get Elka dating again (with guest star Carl Reiner, in his recurring role) in "Who's Your Mama?," but Joy's date with a younger man may be more than she realizes at first. One of Victoria's old flames (played by Huey Lewis) is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in "The Sex That Got Away." In "Good Neighbors," Melanie's intentions in helping a neighbor are taken the wrong way, and meanwhile, Victoria is hired to do a Japanese undergarment commercial!
Melanie's mother (Juliet Mills) and Victoria's father (Hal Linden) visit on the same weekend, and it isn't exactly the best thing that could happen in "Meet the Parents." Tim Conway guest stars in "It's Not The Complicated," where Elka has to choose between two men. Gary Anthony Williams guest stars in "The Play's the Thing," where Victoria finds herself involved with a high school play that is being directed by a football coach. Victoria fakes having a deadly disease to get publicity in "Good Luck Faking the Goiter," and meanwhile, Melanie's son (played by Joe Jonas) is in Cleveland and possibly has a secret that he is hiding from her (or maybe just a crazed stalker). Susan Lucci guest stars in the season finale, "Tornado," where a twister hits Cleveland, and some things come up about Elka that land her in jail... what will happen next? We'll know soon!
1. "Pilot" (21:03)
2. "Who's Your Mama?" (21:04)
3. "Birthdates" (21:04)
4. "The Sex That Got Away" (21:04)
5. "Good Neighbors" (21:04)
6. "Meet the Parents" (20:44)
7. "It's Not That Complicated" (21:03)
8. "The Play's the Thing" (20:19)
9. "Good Luck Faking the Goiter" (21:36)
10. "Tornado" (21:05)
The set is packaged in a very standard Viva pack, which isn't bad, except it uses one of those "recyclable" packages that has the huge recycling logo cut out of the plastic inside. In theory, these cases are great, except that it makes the cases INCREDIBLY flimsy, and putting the packaging in the wrong place at the wrong time can easily result in a big hole in the package. The cover art simply has a cast photo, and the back has a few episode snapshots, along with a description of the series. There are two discs inside, with the first one containing a photo of the entire cast (including Betty White) and the second disc containing only Betty White. There is not one single insert or episode list to be found anywhere in this set, unfortunately. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-8, while Disc 2 contains only episodes 9 and 10, along with all of the special features.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The main menu has the closing theme song playing in the background, with various photos of cast members popping up on screen. The options on the main menu include Play All, Episodes, and Set Up. Set Up allows you to change the audio from 5.1 Surround Sound to Stereo Surround Sound. The Episodes option takes you straight to the episode once you select it, but there are chapters within each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video and audio quality on the set is about as good as one would expect. The series looked fine on TV (maybe not quite as sophisticated as other modern series) and looks the same here. Or really, it looks better for most people, because TV Land doesn't broadcast the series in high definition, and if you are using a DVD player that upconverts the video, you'll see a bit of a difference here. 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 closed-captioning in English.
There is a long list of special features on the back of the packaging... but it isn't as impressive as it seems once you put in Disc 2 (the disc containing all of them). The best one, perhaps, is the original full-length pilot (24:35), which contains a few extra minutes than the aired version of the pilot. This is actually presented in full-screen, unlike the rest of the set, which is presented in widescreen. "How'd They Get So Hot? Wardrobe on the Set" (1:31) is just a brief interview with the costume designer for the series talking bout the wardrobe. "Victoria's Japanese Lady Pants Commercial" (0:56) is the fictitious commercial that the out-of-work Victoria from the series filmed. In "Hot in Cleveland Set Tour" (3:06), we get to take a brief look at the set of the series with the cast members. "We Love Our Age" (2:05) has all of the cast members talking about, well, just like it sounds, their age. Finally, bloopers (8:36) shows us some of the best outtakes from the series.
There is one more special feature, but it is really more of a promotional thing for the upcoming TV Land original sitcom Retired at 35. You can see the entire pilot episode (21:03) on this set. The series will air on Wednesday nights right after Hot in Cleveland when Hot in Cleveland returns on January 19. I wasn't all that impressed with the pilot, however, so hopefully the series itself will be a little better.
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.
This is a good start for the series on DVD, and doesn't have a whole lot to complain about, but somehow I was expecting more than what we have here. The special features certainly sounded promising, but in actually watching them, they were really a let down. But the episodes are great, and that is really all that matters. Fans of this series will be satisfied at the very least with this set, and I'm sure most are anxious to see what is ahead in the second season of the series. Free Elka!
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 2.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 01/09/11
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