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Kitchen Confidential - The Complete Series


TITLE: KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL - THE COMPLETE SERIES (FOXSTORE.COM)


Info:

DVD Release Date: May 22, 2007 (20th Century Fox)
Color/2005
MSRP: $29.98
Number of Discs: 2
Number of Episodes: 13 (9 which never aired on Fox)
Running Time: Approx. 325 minutes
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English 5.1 Dolby Surround; English, Spanish Subtitles ; Closed captioned
Special Features:

  • 2 Audio Commentaries - Darren Star, David Hemingson and Bradley Cooper on "Exile on Main Street"; Karine Rosenthal, David Hemingson, Bradley Cooper and Dean Lopata on "And the Award Goes to..."
  • Tour of the Nolita featurette
  • A Recipe for Comedy featurette
  • Kitchen Confidential Trailer


    Introduction:

    Jack Bourdain is a talented chef whose party lifestyle has effectively ended his career: too much wine, women and song has made Jack a has-been. But when he's given a second chance and just 48 hours to open an upscale restaurant, Jack assembles a sexy, hilariously dysfunctional staff and things really start cooking, both in the kitchen and the bedroom!

    From the executive producer of Sex and the City comes this fresh comedy that is "slick, sophisticated and worth making a reservation for" (TV Guide)...Bon appetit!


    Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

    Kitchen Confidential was a single camera comedy based on chef Anthony Bourdain's memoir (""Kitchen Confidential") about food, drugs and working in the kitchens of top restaurants. It premiered on Fox on September 19, 2005. The show aired following Arrested Development at 8:30PM on Monday nights. After 3 airings, Fox started their coverage of the baseball playoffs and the show was put on hiatus. It returned for a final airing on December 5, 2005. Series stars and regulars included Bradley Cooper as Jack Bourdain, Bonnie Sommerville as Mimi, Owain Yeoman Steven Daedalus, Nicholas Brendon as Seth Richman, John Francis Daley as Jim, Jaime King as Tanya, Sam Pancake as Cameron, John Cho as Teddy Wong, Frank Langella as Pino, Frank Alvarez as Ramon, Erinn Hayes as Becky Sharp and Tessie Santiago as Donna. The pilt episode was nominated for an Episodic Comedy writing award by the Writer's Guild of America.

    While there were only 13 episodes produced, a few stood out from the rest. After Jack sees Nolita's menu on Michel's restuarant without asking permission, the two restaurants go head-to-head hoping to destroy their rivals restaurant in "French Fight." Jim accidentally accepts a delivery of live rabbits for Nolitas special, but when they arrive alive, no-one has the guts to kill them in "Rabbit Test." Food and Wine magazine writes a favorable review of one of the Nolita meals that Teddy makes but Jack takes total credit for it in "Teddy Takes Off." Mimi is the new owner of Nolita and Jack goes through every dirty trick in the book to gain control of the restaurant in "Power Play." Now that Nolita has changed hands and Jack and Mimi are in charge, Nolita is nominated for an EPICURE Award in "And the Award Goes To...."

    Notable guest stars included Bitty Schram as Reece Ryder and Andrea Parker as Suze in "Exile on Main Street." John Larroquette appeared as Chef Gerard in "Dinner Date with Death." Michael Vartain, who worked on "Alias" with Bradley Cooper, guest starred as Michel in "French Fight." Andrea Martin was Margie in "The Robbery."


    Packaging:

    The outer cardboard box features a large photo of Bradley Cooper in the foreground and smaller photos of John Francis Daley, Bonnie Sommerville, Owain Yeoman, Jaime King and Nicholas Brendon on a plate. There is a large photo of Bradley holding a fish with John Cho next to him and 3 smallers photos from the episodes. A synopsis of the set, listing of the special features and the DVD specs are given. Bradley Cooper is featured on the spine of the box. The white Amaray movie-style case has the same phots on the front and back. Inside the case, the first disc is held in a holder that you flip like a book and the second case is on a holder that is embedded on the back of the case. There is a double-sided sheet that has the episode titles, original airdates, short summaries and select photos from the episodes. A sheet that promotes some other FOX TV DVD releases is also included, although it is quite an old one that says that My Name Is Earl and How I Met Your Mother are coming in the fall 2006. Disc 1 has a photo of Bradley Cooper and the show logo and holds episodes 1-8. Disc 2 looks like a plate and has a fork, knife and spoon on it and has the show logo and holds episodes 9-13 and the bulk of the special features.


    Menu Design and Navigation:

    The static anamorphic widescreen menus are attractive and easy to navigate. Disc 1's main menu features a cast photo of John Francis Daley, Nicholas Brendon, Jaime King, Bradley Cooper, Bonnie Sommerville and Owain Yeoman. Disc 2 has a photo of Bradley Cooper. The menus feature the New York City lights in the background and various kitchen pots and pans on the right of the photo. It would have been nice to hear the theme song in the background of these menus. The text is in white and red. There are options for "Episode Selection," "Language Selection," and "Special Features." Your highlighted option is underlined in blue and turns yellow upon your selection. When you select Episode Selection, it takes you to another sub-menu. Disc 1 features Owen Yeoman, Nicholas Brendon, Bradley Cooper and John Francis Daley. Disc 2 has a photo of Owen Yeoman. The episode titles are listed vertically in white. As you highlight an episode, there is a black bar with the episode title that goes across the photo. There is a "Play All" button available to play all the episodes without any interruptions. My only complaint with these menus is that are a bit slow when selecting an episode. The Language Selection menu has a photo of John Cho on Disc 1 and Bonnie Sommerville on Disc 2. You can choose to play the commentaries and turn on/off the English or Spanish subtitles here. The Special Features menu features Owen Yeoman on Disc 1 and John Francis Daley on Disc 2. The commentaries and featurettes (only on disc 2) can be played here. There are chapter stops within the episodes but no separate scene selection menus. Unfortunately, there is no chapter stop after the opening credits.


    Video and Audio Quality:

    Although the packaging and original press release state otherwise, these episodes are presented in their original Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1 format. As these episodes are less than 2 years old, they look pretty much flawless to me. The picture has good sharpness and detail. There's a little bit of grain in some of the darker scenes and a few instances of artifacting (although it may just be on the check discs I received). The show was shot on film and without a studio audience or laugh track. It's odd that they put 8 and 5 episodes on each disc instead of 7 and 6. All episodes run between 21 1/2 to 22 1/2 minutes in length. For the closing logo enthusiasts, you will be very satisfied. There are logos for Hemingson Entertainment, Darren Star Productions, New Line Television and 20th Century Fox Television.

    The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround. Overall, the audio quality is excellent. The dialogue is at a good volume and easy to understand. There are some nice surround sound effects in some of the kitchen and restaurant scenes. English and Spanish subtitles are available. Closed captioning is also available. This show had a catch opening theme song written by Mark Walk and performed by the lead singer of Reed. There is no mention on the packaging that any of the music has been changed for the release. Howerver, I did hear somebody in the pilot commentary mention that one of the songs "used to be" Bittersweet Symphony at the end of the episode, so I don't know if it was replaced on the DVD. I can't find a list of the original music used on the show.

    Here is the episode breakdown by disc, including the running times:

    Disc 1
    ---------
    1. Exile on Main Street (09/19/05) (22:29)
    2. Aftermath (09/26/05) (21:48)
    3. Dinner Date with Death (10/03/05) (22:03)
    4. French Fight (12/05/05)(22:04)
    5. You Lose, I Win (Unaired) (21:55)
    6. Rabbit Test (Unaired - was available on myspace.com) (21:35)
    7. The Robbery (Unaired) (22:01)
    8. Teddy, Takes Off (Unaired) (21:31)

    Disc 2
    ---------
    9. Let's Do Brunch (Unaired) (21:34)
    10. Praise Be Praise (Unaired) (21:41)
    11. An Affair to Remember (Unaired) (22:02)
    12. Power Play (Unaired) (21:58)
    13. And the Award Goes To... (Unaired) (22:04)


    Special Features:

    Fox usually does a pretty decent job with special features on their releases. That trend is continued here. There are 2 audio commentaries, a Tour of the Nolita featurette, A Recipe for Comedy (interviews with the cast and crew) and a Kitchen Confidential trailer.

    Commentary on "Exile on Main Street" by Producer/Director Darren Star, Creator/Writer David Hemingson and actor Bradley Cooper (Disc 1) - They talk about the character background of Jack Bourdain, guest star Andrea Parker, the restaurant location and set designer, regular Frank Langella, Bonnie Sommerville, John Francis Daley, the food stylist and food on the set, Jaime King, the casting of Bradley Cooper and other guest stars in the pilot. This was a pretty lively and interesting commentary.

    Commentary on "And the Award Goes To..." by Writer Karine Rosenthal, Creator David Hemingson, actor Bradley Cooper and Writer Dean Lopata (Disc 2) - They discuss their general observations of the episodes, the makeup used on one of the cast members and series regulars Frank Alvarez and Erinn Hayes. This commentary had quite a bit of them laughing at the scenes. Not a bad commentary but not as interesting in terms of trivia as the first one.

    Tour of the Nolita (3:10) (Disc 2) - Bradley Cooper gives a tour of the kitchen, walk-in refrigerator, restaurant and bar set that they replicated for the show. It is interesting to note that the pilot episode was shot at Meson G in Los Angeles. They used the set for the remaining episodes.

    A Recipe for Comedy (13:04) (Disc 2) - This new featurette includes interviews with Creator David Hemingson, Executive Producer Darren Star, Bradley Cooper, Owain Yeoman, John Francis Daley, Jaime King, Erinn Hayes and Sam Pancake. They talk about the development of the show, the casting of Bradley Cooper, their reflections and remembrances of the series, their cooking backgrounds, the episodes they liked and their favorite moments. There are some clips of the cast reuniting before or after their interviews.

    Kitchen Confidential Trailer (0:58) (Disc 2) - A trailer promoting the show. I remember Fox gave the show a lot of promotion. Unfortunately, it didn't lead to many viewers.


    Final Comments:

    I watched the four episodes originally because they aired after Arrested Development, which I really liked. Kitchen Confidential had a lot of potential, but I don't think it had the best lead-in and it was hurt by Fox airing it before the baseball playoffs started. They were just not able to get the audience initially, despite a lot of promotion. If it had started in November and ran continuously for 6 weeks or so on another night, it may have been a different story. The series may have have also benefited from airing on HBO or F/X where they could get away with more jokes/profanity than on network television. I thought the cast had great chemistry and you'll probably recognize many of them from other shows. Fox has done a pretty decent job with this set. It is nice to see some of their short-lived shows get DVD releases with episodes that they never broadcast. There are some nice special features as appetizers, but I would have liked to hear a few more commentaries from the cast members since they had everybody together already for the interviews for the featurette. Some deleted scenes would also have been nice, since I'm sure some funny material had to be cut due to time constraints.


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

    Video Quality: 4.5/5
    Audio Quality: 4.5/5
    Special Features: 2.5/5
    Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
    Overall: 4/5

    -- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 05/20/07

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

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000OCXLA0/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

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

    http://www.foxstore.com/detail?item=3120

    Questions or comments about this set? Post on our message board:

    http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=201260


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