TITLE: MY WIFE AND KIDS - SEASON 1
DVD Release Date: February 24, 2009 (Lionsgate/ABC Studios)
Number of Discs: 2
Number of Episodes: 12
Running Time: 264 minutes
Total Running Time of Special Features: N/A
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English & Spanish audio & subtitles, Closed-Captioned.
Special Features: None
Finally the first season of the hilarious Damon Wayans sitcom, My Wife & Kids comes to DVD with its first season from Lionsgate/ABC Studios. We get the first 12 episodes produced of the Damon Wayans and Tisha Campfell-Martin comedy that stars them as a loving couple with a crazy family. The series won a People’s Choice Awards this season or Favorite New Television Comedy Series.
Michael Kyle (Damon Wayans) is self-made entrepreneur who dreams of a simple, traditional life on Connecticut. The dream is pushed further and further from its reach by his wife Jay (Tisha Campell-Martin), and their three kids Michael Junior (George O. Gore, III) Claire (Jazz Raycole) an Kady (Parker McKenna Posey). Can Michael and Jay do their best to keep sanity through one family crisis after another? We think so, because through all the problems and distractions, the Kyle family manages to put family first and teach their kids meaningful lessons, even if they come out in a funny and wacky way.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
The first season of many of these long-running and great sitcoms is always weird. This season is not known to many for some reason. Only 12 episodes were produced for this season and ABC aired 11 episodes in midseason 2001. Lionsgate is giving us the episodes in production order, rather than airdate order. So the episode “Failure to Communicate” was produced for this first season and is on this DVD but originally it aired during the series’ second season. That is how this DVD set has 12 episodes rather than 11, if anyone was wondering.
As far as memorable episodes go, this season might not be the most memorable, but it certainly has some funny episodes! Why wouldn’t it, since the series really started with great ratings for a then-deteriorating ABC, who had relied on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” each night. In the “Pilot,” Michael and Jay are a loving and married couple who have three children, find out the story of this family. In the second episode produced, “Making the Grade,” Junior fakes an A in algebra while his family, not fooled by the charade, milks the celebration, then meanwhile, Claire blackmails Junior. In “Working It,” Michael hires an attractive girl to tutor Junior in math and later regrets his actions as Junior has fallen in love with her. And in the season finale, “Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow,” Michael's accountant dies suddenly, making Michael take a whole new perspective about his life: he buys a wig (or a hair piece as he like to call it) and starts to demonstrate his love for his family in a weird way.
The guest stars who not many in this short season, but we still had some big names. The guests include Keenan Ivory Wayans as Michael’s brother Ken, Charlie Robinson & Denise Nicholas as Michael’s parents, and Doug Banks as Michael’s accountant. We have brief cameos by Damon Wayans’ daughters Kyla Wayans and Cara Mia Wayans. Look for his sons Damon Jr. and Michael to make appearances in other seasons.
The packaging for this set has an outer box with a case inside. Both the outer box and case have the same artwork on the front and back. The front has a shot Michael Kyle sitting in a red recliner with his wife and three kids on the top. We get a nice beige background. The show logo also appears on top with Damon Wayans’ name on top of it, the Season 1 line is on the bottom of the packaging. We have the tagline in the middle: “He thinks he is the head of the family. Humor him.” The back has artwork of Jay & Michael posing and we also have a shot of the three kids on top in what appears to be the Kyle house. We also have some info on the series and set.
The case comes out of the outer box from the top and bottom. Inside the case we have on the left side a nice listing insert of the episodes with episode title and synopsis... we have nice promotional photos from the show and a nice cast promotional head shot. Then we have a disc holder that flips like a book and holds disc one! The right side of the case continues the second disc.
As for disc art, disc one has artwork of Jay and Michael (the same as the back of the case/box) and has the show logo with a nice white-beige background and holds episodes 1-6. Disc two has artwork of the kids (the same as the back of the case/box), the same style background and logo, and holds episodes 7-12.
Menu Design and Navigation:
We start off the menu with the theme music playing (or something that sounds like it, at least) and we see moving images on the left side along with a cast photo and the logo on the right side. Lionsgate did a nice job choosing just images from the first season. Good research by them, as it would have been weird to use other images from other seasons, since Jazz Raycole as Claire was replaced in season two. The options are Play All Episodes, Episode Selection, and Set Up. Play All Episodes obviously just plays them all at once on that particular disc. Episode Selection takes us to another menu where we still have that theme music playing and a video screenshot of each episode along with the episode title of course. In Set Up, we can either choose English 5.1 Stereo Sound, English 2.0 Dolby Digital, or Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital. We also have English and Spanish subtitles available.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video is in its original widescreen form (16x9, 1.78:1)! This is very good to hear, and good job by Lionsgate and good job by ABC Studios for providing it to them. They did the same for the According to Jim set as well. The audio is in a nice Dolby Digital 5.1 Stereo audio...and nothing to complain about. Each episode has about 4 chapter stops. The episodes all run at approx. 21:30 range, just one is below 21:30, so check the runtimes below. Nothing is edited out or replaced, as far as I can tell. Approx. 21:30 was pretty standard by the 2001 season. As I mentioned earlier, the episodes are in production order. However, that is good for this series. ABC originally only aired 11 of the 12 episodes produced for season one, so one episode ended up airing in season two. That had to have been weird since Jazz Raycole was replaced by Jennifer Freeman as Claire. The replacement of Raycole as Claire was done last minute during the production of the season premiere. Why? You’ll have to come back to our second season review whenever that set comes out! I’ll say this Freeman is much better looking than Raycole, so it was a good move, even though ABC/the show wasn’t the one who wanted the change.
“Making the Grade” (21:32)
“A Little Romance” (21:32)
“He Said, She Said” (21:32)
“Breaking Up and Breaking It” (21:32)
“Of Breasts and Basketball” (21:31)
“Failure to Communicate” (21:16)
“Grassy Knoll” (21:32)
“Working It” (21:32)
“The Truth Hurts” (21:32)
“Snapping and Sniffing” (21:32)
“Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow” (21:31)
We get no extras at all, which is very surprising. The According to Jim set was loaded with extras, so why not this one? Is it because this show is not in production anymore with new episodes, while Belushi’s show is? Bloopers at least would have been nice. We have bloopers on most of the episodes on the closing credits, so I’m sure a blooper reel would have been easy to clear and add on this set. Let’s hope we get some extras each on the future seasons.
This was an excellent set despite the short episode run for season one and no extras. The episode plots were very good this season. The only thing I didn’t like was Jazz Raycole as Claire. I’m glad she was replaced in season two. As for the DVD itself, Lionsgate did a wonderful job. The packaging is great (all artwork from season one, too!), the video is actually in widescreen, but the extras were missing. I hope we get season two very soon, because only 12 episodes won’t be long to get through. So don’t be stupid like Junior and wait to get this DVD! Get this right now so we are assured of another season on DVD! Personally, the show gets much in season two...so times a wasting if you don’t get this soon!
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
-- Reviewed by pavanbadal
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