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Ned and Stacey - The Complete First Season


TITLE: NED AND STACEY - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON


Info: Release Date: September 20, 2005 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Color 1995/96
MSRP: $39.95
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: 535 Minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: approx. 45 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; Closed Captioned.
Special Features: Featurette - Strings Attached (brand new interviews with Thomas Haden Church, Debra Messing, Greg Germann, Nadia Dajani, and David Litt); Commentary on pilot episode by series creator Michael Weithorn


Introduction:

What happens when two people hate each other at first sight? They get married, of course, in Ned and Stacey, the fast and funny shotgun marriage-of-convenience sitcom from the producers of “The King of Queens.” The show stars Academy Award-nominee Thomas Haden Church (Sideways, Wings), and Emmy Award-winner Debra Messing (Will & Grace).

Ned Dorsey (Church) is a pompous advertising executive who needs a wife to get promoted. Stacey Colbert (Messing) is a freelance writer desperate to move away from her parents. So what happens one week after these two stranger meet? They become in-name-only newlyweds with a great new job and a terrific view of Central Park. This three-disc DVD set includes all 24 hilarious episodes.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Episodes to watch for include the pilot – which is a must see for nearly ANY first-season set, as well as episode 2 “Portrait of a Marriage,” episode 9 “Reality Check,” and the season finale “The End? (Part 1)” – as well as any of several episodes, shown below, containing guest stars.

List of Guest Stars
Paulina Porizkova (uncredited), Episode 5, Model Husband
Olivia Newton-John, Episode 9, Reality Check
Pat Summerall (Voice Only), Episode 12, Threesome
Kathy Griffin, Episode 13, Accountus Interruptus
John O’Hurley, Episode 17, Promotional Rescue
Jason Bateman, Episode 21, Pals


Packaging:

The packaging is actually quite well done. The box is black, with the show title in a red & white font at the top, with a large picture of Thomas & Debra in the middle, and “The Complete First Season” below it in the same font. The reverse cover has Debra and Thomas sitting on a couch – in front of the city skyline. The art for the two slim cases follow nearly the exact same theme, but the case for discs 1 and two uses blue as the dominant color, while the case for disc three uses orange. Each slim case uses a different picture of Thomas & Debra. Episode listings and info for each disc is on the back cover. Inside the box is also a promotional booklet advertising various Sony TV DVD releases. Disc 1, containing the first 8 shows, is a skyline shot colored in a dark blue color. Disc two, containing episodes 9-16, is identical except for the parts of text saying the disc # and episode #s. Disc three is similar, but is orange in color (matching the packaging).


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus tend to follow a theme wholly and entirely separate from the design of the packaging (more sleek and upscale looking). For the menus, a theme of rounded-corner rectangles with various pictures, the show title, and menu options dominate. Disc one has red menus, disc two features blue ones, while disc three features pink menus. The episode selection and bonus feature menus follow the same design nearly to the letter.


Video and Audio Quality:

The video is…ok. On discs one and three, the video has minor problems with digital pixilation due to the compression of the discs. I also noticed a slight amount of grain. Disc two is strange. On several episodes on the disc, the image was prone to jittering. On another episode, a glitch caused the credits to repeat themselves--simply shoddy. I REALLY don’t know what happened with the episodes on disc two – particularly Thanksgiving Day Massacre, but it’s terrible. The video’s still watch able, but there’s EASILY noticeable pixilation (at least on ALL the screens I viewed it on), and the video IS prone to strange glitches, pretty much par for the course for a Sony TV DVD release. Audio’s the same Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track that it is on virtually every TV DVD release between the 1980s and the mid 2000s. It’s wildly unremarkable. It’s just, audio. Chapter stops are well-placed at the end of each scene.

Due to the recent practice by some outfits of releasing syndicated episodes of a series onto DVD as opposed to the much-preferred master copies. I am listing the runtimes of every episode in the DVD set next to the episode title. As I don’t always have the resources to judge every show versus the original or syndicated copies, I may be unable to state with certainty whether a set is original broadcast-length or if it’s syndication-edited in some cases, therefore I’m including runtimes, and you can make up your own mind.

Pilot: 22:33
Portrait of a Marriage: 22:29
Take My Wife, Please: 22:30
Cover Story: 22:27
Model Husbank: 22:30
Saul and Ellen and Ned and Stacey 22:16
Here's to You, Mrs. Binder: 22:28
Halloween Story: 22:15
Reality Check: 22:30
Thanksgiving Day Massacre: See Note #1:
Sleepless in Manhattan: 22:33
Threesome: 22:29
Accountus Interruptus: 22:30
New Year's Eve: 22:15
Paranoia on the 47th Floor: 22:15
The Tender Trap: 22:17
Promotional Rescue: 22:15
Friends and Lovers: 22:12
Gay Caballeros: 21:58
Gut Feeling: 22:14
Pals 22:14
It Happened One Night 22:13
You bet Your Wife: 22:15
The End (Part 1): 22:13

Note #1: The credits are strange on Thanksgiving Day Massacre - the SPT closing logo comes in at 22:00, then there's approximately 22 seconds of black screen, then the same credits come in silent over the black screen. I don't know if this was a glitch in the master, but it's just strange. Runtime is 23:00 with glitch, 22:00 without.


Special Features:

Featurette - Strings Attached: Ned and Stacey, Season One. This has brand new interviews with Thomas Haden Church, Debra Messing, Greg Germann, Nadia Dajani, and David Litt. There are the usual comments by everyone about the first season of the show. Typical talk about how great everyone was to work with, etc. etc. (22:09)

Commentary on Pilot episode - with the creator of the series, Michael Weithorn: The scene from the "wedding" later on was actually meant to be the opening scene of the pilot - THEN go into the back-story. Total Runtime of Commentary: 22:33

Sony DVD Release Previews: Yes, this is technically a special feature. I'm not even going to bother...

Total Runtime of Features, EXCLUDING PREVIEWS: 44:42.


Final Comments:

For the most part, this is an enjoyable set. But something went wrong on disc two. Jittery video, phantom credits, pixilated video, it’s just BAD. It’s still “watch able,” but it WILL hinder your viewing experience. Discs 1 and 3 are better, but are essentially par for the course for Sony releases.

Normally, I’ll use this space to talk about what features I’d like to see for the second season set. May I just simply recommend that Sony make sure that whatever happened on Disc two of this set does not happen again? Now, THAT aside: Sony will only have one more shot at a Ned & Stacey set. I hope, beyond hope, that there are more commentary tracks for the next set – particularly wanted would be at least one track with Thomas and Debra doing commentary. I would LOVE to hear the two of them commentate on ANY of the second season episodes – the finale or season opener would be two great ones. Also, perhaps some previews from the original network broadcasts could be added in, or bloopers or deleted scenes.

Honestly, I’m a rather big fan of the show, so I hope this set sells so that season two comes sooner rather than later. I genuinely think that most anyone will enjoy the show if you’ll just give it a chance (no one did originally).


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

Video Quality: 3.5/5 (Discs 1 and 3), 2.5/5 (Disc 2)
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 2/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 08/28/2005

To order the DVD click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000A7Q1YC/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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