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Rules of Engagement - The Complete First Season


TITLE: RULES OF ENGAGEMENT - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: September 4, 2007 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Color/2007
MSRP: $29.95
Number of Discs: 1
Number of Episodes: 7
Running Time: Approx. 150 minutes
Running Time of Special Features: Approx. 19 minutes
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English 5.1 Dolby Digital; English, Closed Captioned
Special Features:

  • From Table Reading to Taping Featurette
  • Bloopers
  • Set Tour with Oliver Hudson
  • DVD-Rom Content
  • Bonus Previews


    Introduction:

    It doesn't matter if you're in love, out of love, or somewhere in between, you have to play by the RULES OF ENGAGEMENT! Join newly engaged couple, Adam (Oliver Hudson) and Jennifer (Bianca Kajlich), as they stumble toward marriage with blind bliss. Their friends -- haggard but happily married couple, Jeff (Patrick Warburton) and Audrey (Megyn Price), and the eternally single Russell (David Spade) -- help prove that no matter what your take on love, you have to follow the rules to win!


    Episodes Included / Notable Guest Stars:

    Rules of Engagement, which returns for a second season this fall, made its mid-season network debut on February 5, 2007. The hit CBS comedy stars Emmy and Golden Globe nominee David Spade (TV's "Just Shoot Me"), Patrick Warburton (TV's "Seinfeld"), Oliver Hudson ("Black Christmas"), Bianca Kajlich (TV's "Vanished"), and Megyn Price (TV's "Grounded for Life"). The series is produced by Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Productions and is distributed by Sony Pictures Television.

    Just seven episodes were produced for the first season. Here is a list:

    1. Pilot (02/05/07) - Audrey and Jeff invite newly engaged Jennifer and Adam to an art opening. But the day before the event, Audrey and Jeff get into an argument causing adam and Jennifer to question their decision to marry. Meanwhile, Audrey tries to fix up Russell, Adam's best friend a self-proclaimed bachelor, with her girlfriend, hoping he will change his mind about marriage.

    2. The Birthday Deal (02/12/07) - Audrey hosts a lavish birthday party for Jeff against her will, but he goes along in order to get his "birthday deal." As Adam and Russell try to discover the secret gift, Adam and Jennifer decide to set up deals on their own.

    3. The Young and the Restless (02/19/07) - Adam isn't sleeping well in Jennifer's small bed, so he brings home the bed he shared with his ex-girlfriend, which leads them to tossing out memories of past relationships. Meanwhile, Audrey is jealous after Jeff takes her up on a bet that he can't get a woman's phone number. Russell is happy to help Jeff in his endeavor.

    4. Game On (02/26/07) - Adam buys an expensive videogame console without consulting Jennifer. She then gets him to agree to check with her on all major purchases, but Russell spins his own version of her motives. Audrey accuses Jeff of being more emotionally involved with sports stats than her.

    5. Kids (03/05/07) - Adam and Jennifer's plans for romance fall apart when they begin to discover their different views toward careers, finances and kids. Audrey wonders why she and Jeff have waited so long to have children. Russell encounters an older neighbor who helped him "celebrate" his 18th birthday.

    6. Hard Days Night (03/12/07) - Jennifer gives Jeff a neck massage with an arising surprise that upsets Audrey. Russell brings Adam to fight his battle with a schoolyard bully so he can get close to the teacher.

    7. Jeff's Wooby (03/19/07) - Adam is surprised when Jennifer confronts him about setting a date, not knowing he has a surprise of his own planned. Audrey makes a quilt out of Jeff's old T-shirts, but regrets it when he won't stop telling the stories behind the shirts. Russell's new date makes sexual references in her conversations, yet she won't sleep with him.

    Jessica Wlater guest starred as Constance in "Kids." Maggie Lawson appeared as Jesse in "Jeff's Wooby."


    Packaging:

    The single disc set comes in your standard Amaray movie-style case. The cover art features a photo of the five cast members in bed. David Spade is in the middle of the couples with the slogan "Between happily and ever after" in the lower left corner. The cast member's names and the Rules of Engagement logo are at the top. On the back of the case, there is a synopsis of the show. There is a photo of David Spade holding up a magazine that lists the special features on the outside. There is a cast photo of the couples to the right and four smaller photos from the episodes in boxes below that. A listing of the DVD specs are listed at the bottom of the case. David Spade is featured on the spine of the box. Inside the case, the disc is held in a plastic holder. The disc features a cropped version of the cast photo laying in bed and the show logo. A single double-sided sheet is included which lists some pretty detailed summaries of the episodes and the writing/directing credits. About the only things missing are the original airdates and guest stars. On the other side of the sheet, some other Sony TV DVD releases are promoted. A 8-page booklet is included that promotes all of Sony's TV DVD releases.


    Menu Design and Navigation:

    The menus are very stylish and easy to navigate. The main menu has the theme song, "How Many Ways" by Señor Happy, playing in the background. It loops after awhile. There are a series of freeze frame photos from the episodes that rotate in boxes to look like moving images at the top of the screen. The show logo is on the left of the screen. At the bottom of the screen, there are options for "Play All Episodes," "Episode Selections," and "Special Features." There is satin background used on the menus. The option you choose is highlighted in a light blue bar that turns light orange after you make your selection. When you choose "Episode Selections," it takes you to a sub-menu that has an image from each episode. Four episodes are listed on the first screen and the remaining three on the second screen. The episode you choose is highlighted in a vertical light blue bar. The "Special Features" menu features individual photos of the cast members in circles. There are chapter stops within the episodes but no separate scene selection menus.


    Video and Audio Quality:

    Since these episodes were just shot in the early part of the year, they look virtually flawless. They have digitally remastered audio and video. According to the back of the case, they have been mastered in high definition. The video is in anamorphic widescreen 1.78:1. I can't imagine these episodes looking any better. The picture is incredibly sharp and the colors are vivid. All of the episodes appear to be unedited, running around 21 to 21 1/2 minutes in length. There is nothing on the packaging to indicate that any of the original music had to be replaced. For the closing logo enthusiasts, there are logos for Game Six Productions, Happy Madison Productions, CBS Paramount Television, and Sony Pictures Television.

    The audio is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Digital Stereo. Once again, there are no major problems with it. The volume is at a good level and the dialogue is easy to understand. It is filmed before a studio audience, so the laugh track is real. They have a catchy theme song, "How Many Ways" by Señor Happy. The music cues are by David Schwartz. You may have heard his music on "Northern Exposure" or "Arrested Development." Closed captioning is available on all of the episodes. The special features are not rated and may not be subtitled or closed captioned.

    Here is the episode list, including the running times:

    Disc 1
    ---------
    1. Pilot (02/05/07) 21:34
    2. The Birthday Deal (02/12/07) 21:33
    3. The Young and the Restless (02/19/07) 21:33
    4. Game On (02/26/07) 21:33
    5. Kids (03/05/07) 21:33
    6. Hard Days Night (03/12/07) 20:58
    7. Jeff's Wooby (03/19/07) 21:34


    Special Features:

    The special features include a Table Read featurette, blooper reel, a tour of the set, and some DVD-ROM content. Some audio commentaries/interviews by the cast and crew and/or deleted scenes would have been great to have on this set.

    From Table Reading to Taping (12:24) - This featurette features footage from the table readings, rehearsal footage and final broadcast version. It starts with the cast at the table read introducing themselves. The footage is mixed with scenes in the main screen and footage from the rehearsal or tape reading shown in a smaller box. It is interesting to see how little the actor's delivery of the lines changes from the table read to the rehearsal to the final filmed scene. There doesn't appear to be a lot of improvisation on the show and they seem to stick mostly to the script, although I'm sure it is revised a lot during the process.

    Bloopers (4:43) - Various bloopers of the cast forgetting their lines or cues. There is some bleeped out profanity. You might have expected more bloopers here, but you have to remember they only produced 7 episodes.

    Set Tour with Oliver Hudson (2:06) - Oliver Hudson gives a short tour or Adam and Jennifer's apartment. It looks so tiny. There isn't even a bedroom set. Maybe we'll see that in season two. It would have been great to see Patrick Warburton or Megyn Price give a tour of their apartment as well.

    DVD-Rom Content - You can play the episodes from here. There are also sections to sign up for a newsletter, check out other DVD releases, and view some weblinks. It would have been nice to see some scripts or a photo gallery here.

    Previews - Trailers for The King of Queens (Seasons 1-8 on DVD), Great TV Families, Meatballs Special Edition, and the film Guess Who.


    Final Comments:

    I only had the opportunity to watch the first two episodes in February, so I look forward to catching up with the rest on the DVD. I liked what I saw in the pilot and second episode. Patrick Warburton is the funniest. I remember him from his "Seinfeld" and "Less Than Perfect" days. David Spade is funny in small doses. The cast has good chemistry and that will only get better as they work together more. Some were a bit surprised that the show got picked up for a second season. After a strong start with 14.98 million viewers, it slipped all the way to 9.32 million by the seventh episode. To be fair, the season finale was up against the season premiere on "Dancing With the Stars." It has the comfortable slot between "Two and a Half Men" and "CSI Miami," but it will have to hold much more of the audience in season two to survive. It will probably need to average around the 12.5 million it did for the season to be considered a success.

    Sony has done a decent job with this first season release. Since there were only 7 episodes produced, I think this set could have been priced a bit lower. Many full 20+ episode seasons are available at the same price as this set. While the special features on the set are pretty interesting to watch, they are pretty short and add up to less than 20 minutes of bonus content. This set could have benefited from having some audio commentaries, cast/crew interviews, and deleted scenes for extra value. Since this is only a single disc set, it might be worth a rental instead of a purchase, unless you are a die-hard fan. Rules of Engagement returns for a second season, starting Monday, September 24, at 9:30 PM ET/PT on CBS!


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

    Video Quality: 5/5
    Audio Quality: 5/5
    Special Features: 2/5
    Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
    Overall: 4/5

    -- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 08/25/07

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

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000RXZL0O/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

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

    http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=207816


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