TITLE: MALCOLM & EDDIE - SEASON ONE
DVD Release Date: April 14, 2009 (Shout! Factory)
Number of discs: 4
Number of episodes: 22
Running Time: 484
Total Runtime of Special Features: N/A
Languages and Subtitles: English
Meet Malcolm McGee, a responsible aspiring sports commentator, and Eddie Sherman -- a fast-talking penniless tow truck driver. Together they are the most dysfunctional roommates you’ll find in Kansas City. Throw in a winning lottery ticket, and watch as their hilarious friendship becomes an off-the-wall adventure, taking them from mere best friends to unlikely business partners.
Starring the Cosby Show’s Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Undercover Brother’s Eddie Griffin, Malcolm & Eddie is a wonderful sitcom that ran for UPN for 4 seasons. As it ran on UPN, it’s also one of several good undiscovered sitcoms from the channel from the era. The only reason *I* even know of the show is through a former roommate, who I owe a great deal of thanks for turning me on to this wonderful comedy. Now, I’m here to turn that favor onto all of you. You can own all 22 episodes from the first season on DVD right now -- and as I’ll hopefully explain I think you’ll enjoy the purchase.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
The series doesn’t actually start out with the lottery ticket -- that’s not introduced until episode four -- except, wait a second, the DVD has the episodes in production order. This bumps back the lottery episode to the SIXTH episode of the season. In the first episodes the show actually has the duo in their normal, pre-winnings careers. In the *first* episode, for example, Malcolm does a demo play-by-play audition on a cassette -- this is interrupted by Eddie accidentally destroying the TV set. Eddie then manages to cajole Malcolm into attending a “wealth seminar” where each attendee is promised either a free TV or a free set of steak knives. The episode “Big Brother is Watching” features Eddie becoming a member of a Big Brothers/Sisters-type organization with the goal of a date with one of their other volunteers. Unfortunately his “little brother” finds out and tries to wreak havoc. There’s a great episode a bit down the line, It’s the Bomb, with Malcolm attempting to rename the bar “McGee’s,” only to have things go wrong.
The aforementioned lottery episode features now-retired NBA player Damon Stoudamire as himself. The episode “Do the KC Hustle” features an appearance by the legendary comedian Richard Pryor as Eddie’s uncle. Tom Arnold appears in “It’s the Bomb.” Ex-“Saved by the Bell” cast member Lark Voorhies appears in “Club Story.” Finally, legendary Tonight Show sidekick Ed McMahon appears in “The Commercial.”
The packaging, while not particularly fancy, is of the type that I consider to be a great mechanism for packaging TV DVDs -- the classic outer box and slimcase system. The cover art is simple, and features Malcolm and Eddie posing on the lower two thirds of the cover, with the show logo on top, all in front of a blue background. The slimcase art follows the theme, with a differentiating factor being that slimcase 1 features a light white to mid-blue gradient, while case two’s gradient starts at mid-blue and ends in black. Both cases feature an additional pose. Rear cover of the cases feature the episode listings. Discs 1 and 3 contain 6 episodes while 2 and 4 hold 5 episodes. For those deficient in either math skills or the ability to sit through one of my reviews until the runtimes section, this breaks down to 1-6, 7-11, 12-17, and 18-22. Disc art features variations on a theme -- an extreme close-up shot of one section of the M&E logo, with each disc being of a different color. They follow the same color patterns as the disc art, with blacks, whites, and blues being heavily present.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are nicely animated, with clip bubbles dropping from the bottom while light and dark blue spirals emanate from the logo. There are Play All and Episodes options at the bottom. Eddie’s tow truck drags in the menu options, which are justified over the aforementioned spiral. In the bottom right corner is an image of Kansas City. The spirals change color on each disc -- red is the theme on disc 2, green is disc 3, and purple on disc 4.
Video and Audio Quality:
Video quality is remarkably good for a 13 year-old sitcom. The colors are nice and vibrant; there aren’t any sharpness issues or other issues with grain or noise. The video is extremely well-presented. Audio is a pretty decent mix that, while it won’t win any awards does its job admirably. Chapter stops occur after each act, producing a total of 4-5 chapters per episode.
Episodes are presented in PRODUCTION ORDER:
Whole Lotta Love Seat: 2157
Jingle Fever: 22:23
Eddie by Moonlight: 22:24
On the Radio: 21:54
Partnership of Fools: 22:04
Someday my TAFKAP will Come: 22:09
Little Sister: 22:24
Big Brother is Watching: 21:55
The Boy Who Cried Werewolf: 22:09
Dead Guy: 22:04
Do the DC Hustle: 21:55
It’s the Bomb: 21:24
Club Story: 22:04
Hai Karate: 21:54
Everynight Fever: 22:07
The Commercial: 22:04
Retreat and Surrender: 22:05
None to be found. This is quite unusual for a Shout Factory release. Some original promos from UPN or a few interviews with Malcolm-Jamal Warner would have sufficed.
It’s a great show to finally own on DVD. At first the program may not seem like your cup of tea -- but it’s really a great show. This is definitely at least worth the rental, but I’m confident you’ll enjoy the series once you watch it. My biggest grievance and disappointment is with the lack of special features. Shout! is normally pretty good for things like that, and I wonder what the deal is that there are none here.
There are three more seasons still to put out, and hopefully the special features will begin to roll along. I know Shout! Factory to be a studio that prides itself on quality. Let’s not besmirch that reputation now. Recommended.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 04/16/09
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