TITLE: SCRUBS - THE COMPLETE EIGHTH SEASON
DVD Release Date: August 25, 2009 (ABC Studios/Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 19
Running Time: 414 minutes
Running Time of Special Features: approx 89 minutes (excluding commentary)
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French; Closed Captioned
*My Bahamas Vacation
*Scrubs Intern Webisodes
Enjoy every surreal moment of Scrubs hilarious eight season as television’s celebrated sitcom delivers another refill of the prescription of comedy that its fans have come to know and love over 8 seasons. Things are changing at Sacred Heart, however. It’s a different world for attending physicians JD, Turk, and Elliot as they now have their own interns to confuse and bewilder -- and who confuse and bewilder them right back. Meanwhile, a shakeup in the hospital staff might well be enough to finally unite Drs. Cox and Kelso. Get a big shot of comedy as your favorite characters return for a hilarious new year at Sacred Heart.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
It is certainly the right of someone to hold whatever opinion about the show they like. Whether you think the show is one of the best in the history of television, or absolute dreck -- this is your right. In accordance with this radical “freedom of thought” concept, I have an opinion that some Scrubs fans may dislike: This show should have ended a year ago. Even MORE baffling is their decision to continue yet AGAIN into the 2009-10 season. This show should have been cancelled after season 7, period.
But, it wasn’t, and as a consequence you actually do get several good episodes this season, particularly towards the second half of the season. In my mind, you could easily cut out several filler episodes from seasons 7 and 8, combine the remains together, and have a strong season. In reality, though, you have two *decent* seasons.
One great episode, in my opinion, is the season’s second episode “My Last Words.” By this point, the crazy new Chief of Medicine (Courteney Cox) is in her second episode of the show, and in episode two she is finally beginning to show her true nature -- and is actually making people miss Dr. Kelso. That, however, is the B-story. In the wonderful A-story: JD and Turk have a yearly ritual involving a steak night. It’s a night they’ve had every year since the 1990s. But, this year they give it up to spend the night with an old man -- a patient in the hospital -- who is dying. The A plot delivers some of the great emotions the series is known for generating, while the B plot delivers on the laughs. And unlike some episodes from previous seasons, the two forces are actually in balance this time.
The B-plot advances and graduates into the A-plot in the next episode, My Saving Grace, when Dr. Cox conspires with none other than Dr. Kelso to get rid of Dr. Maddox (Courteney Cox). Once they succeed, Janitor is finally able to return in the 4th episode, “My Happy Place.” After that, the show hits a mediocre patch for me for a few episodes until, in the two-parter “My Soul on Fire” the Janitor gets married in the Bahamas and invites everyone hoping to score some presents -- not expecting that the whole Sacred Heart staff would actually show up in the Bahamas... but they do!.
The final few episodes set the stage for the wonderful hour-long season finale -- the episode that REALLY should have been left as-is as the series finale. In “My Cuz,” JD wants to be closer to his kid, Sam; Turk meanwhile tries to get promoted within the surgical department. This continues into “My Chief Concern” -- Turk is now Chief of Surgery at Sacred Heart, and at the end of the episode announces that he’s taking a job at another hospital. Meanwhile, with all of this going on, Elliot starts secretly moving her stuff into JD’s apartment. This leads to the finale -- a mass set of goodbyes (some of which occur only in JD’s own head) and tying of loose ends. The show ends with a great set of endings for JD. He bribes an intern into saying the wrong thing to Dr. Cox, forcing him to admit his genuine feelings about JD. We also learn that Dr. Kelso has finally decided to leave Sacred Heart’s Starbucks-like cafe after a year’s residence. Finally, at the very end, we get an imagined flash-forward sequence that’s strongly hinted within the episode to be what *actually DOES* happen in the future with JD and the others. Two things of particular note in the flash-forward: JD and Elliot are shown to eventually have a baby, while older version’s of JD’s son and Turk and Carla’s daughter are eventually shown as getting married -- officially making JD and Turk family at long last.
Simply from a creative perspective it doesn’t make one iota to continue the show, even as dramatically re-tooled as it will be, beyond that point. The show was always about JD/Turk/et al.; changing the format while still calling it Scrubs simply feels wrong to me. I think someone, somewhere in the food chain, has severely underestimated the fans’ attachment to these specific characters.
Regarding guest stars: Besides the aforementioned Courteney Cox, you can find several other assorted guests throughout the season -- especially in the finale. In “My ABC’s,” the Muppets guest star in an episode that sounds slightly more awesome than the final product turns out. Barry Williams, of The Brady Bunch fame, appears in the first half of the Bahamas two-parter, while show creator Bill Lawrence makes the first of two on-camera appearances this season as the Justice of the Peace in part 2 of the Bahamas episode.
Elizabeth Banks returns as Kim for the final episodes that see JD moving away from Sacred Heart. She and many others from the past return in the final part of the finale, with series creator Bill Lawrence plus many recurring patients including Michael McDonald, Colin Hay, Nicole Sullivan, and others all making returns.
The packaging changed slightly again for this season, though not as drastically as before. Whereas last season used a thin black plastic case, this season’s set uses those clear white plastic cases that have become nearly the standard for TV DVD releases -- but at one point were also the bane of my reviewing. Luckily the durability issues present at one point seem to have resolved themselves -- I haven’t had a broken connector in months.
Disc one has its own hub on the interior left panel, while discs two and three are overlapping on the interior right panel. The problem with overlapping discs is that the disc on the over side almost always winds up scratched due to the presence of the under disc. Cover art features the cast appearing to be trapped inside a medicine bottle. It took me some time to actually figure out the design they were going for, but it eventually worked. . Disc 1 holds episodes 1-7; disc 2 holds episodes 8-15, while disc 3 holds the final 4 episodes.
Menu Design and Navigation:
First things first, before we even get to the menus: I’ve used VLC player to review DVDs for years. One of its nice features is that it (normally) automatically skips all previews and goes straight to the main menus. In five years, I’ve never seen a preview because of this...until now. The previews are skippable, but all of them (roughly a half dozen) load one at a time. What occurs next though is absolutely wonderful -- but you have to be patient. Normally Scrubs menus animate to a location, clips play, and you stay there. Not this time.
This set of menus manages to reference the main menu locations of all the other DVD sets prior -- from the Coffee Bucks laptop and pastry case, to the cafeteria, to the janitor’s closet and flying down the hallways of Sacred Heart. This animation continues for the entire length of the full version of the show’s theme, “Superman,” before eventually coming to rest in the supply closet while the incidental theme plays until you select an option. You go through two full loops of the main theme before even arriving at the secondary main menu. Menus that change based on *not* selecting an option are one of my absolute favorite hidden niceties of a DVD set, and this one has it. Episode selections’ menu is cut-outs of the cafeteria lunch serving area -- various foods are replaced with the episode titles and still images. Active episode is denoted by a spoon.
Video and Audio Quality:
Scrubs aired in HD/widescreen in its eighth season. And while actual HD transfers can’t be expected due to the technological limitations of the DVD format -- widescreen formatting should have occurred. However, it does NOT. All 19 episodes are presented in *full frame* having appear to have been cropped at the center. Visually they’re no different than the episode prints that might appear in syndication or on cable. Audio shines well, which given Scrubs dependence on music is a great thing. Sound is a 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround track. Chapter stops occur at the usual placement of commercial breaks -- now the standard in most DVD presentations. Play All is available, from the main menu.
Runtimes are below: p>
My Jerks: 22:09
My Last Words: 21:39
My Saving Grace: 21:38
My Happy Place: 21:38
My ABC’s: 21:08
My Cookie Pants: 21:37
My New Role: 21:38
My Lawyers in Love: 21:38
My Absence: 21:38
My Comedy Show: 21:39
My Nah Nah Nah: 21:37
Their Story II: 21:38
My Full Moon: 21:38
My Soul on Fire (I): 22:08
My Soul on Fire (II): 21:08
My Cuz: 21:38
My Chief Concern: 21:38
My Finale (I): 21:38
My Finale (II): 21:38
Commentaries: There are commentaries scattered throughout the set. You may not find one on every episode, and they’re not even publicized on the box art, but they’re still here.
My Bahamas Vacation (20:13): It’s another “making of” episode behind the season’s “special” episode. By this point they were running out of “special” episode ideas, and as it just so happened there was time and Bill Lawrence’s parents live in the Bahamas -- so why not do a Bahamas episode, so, road trip! Features a lot of footage made during the production of the episode, interviews, etc.
Deleted Scenes (10:42): We get 15 deleted or extended scenes here
Alternate Lines (13:24): Features alternate lines and setups for 17 different bits during the season.
Bloopers (3:12): A quick little blooper reel.
Intern Webisodes (approx. 40 min): There are the original 10 of these, and for some reason they have to be selected one at a time. In addition there are an extra two exclusive to the DVD set, for a total of 12. The neatest is a full 3 minute “Legal Custodians” short -- an in-series joke sitcom premise based on The Janitor & Ted adopting a kid. I’ve e to say, though, that I’m still not sure that basing the new season more around the interns is a good idea based especially on what I’ve seen here.
Runtime of special features: approx. 89 minutes (excluding commentary)
This season, in my opinion, comes closer to the quality of the earlier years but still falters a bit. That said, there are still highlights in the season and if you’ve enjoyed earlier years of the show you’re bound to find things to love here. If you’re still hesitant, catch reruns in syndication and decide for yourself. What’s here is quite good, and I can’t suggest anything additional as the ninth season hasn’t even started yet (it starts in early 2010 on ABC). This probably isn’t the best season of the show to start with, but for those who already are fans it’s a nice addition to your collection.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
Final Score: 4/5
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 08/18/09
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