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Spin City - The Complete Third Season


TITLE: SPIN CITY - THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: November 3, 2009 (Shout! Factory)
Color/1998-1999
MSRP: $39.99
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 24
Running time: Approx. 9 3/4 Hours
Video: Full Screen 1.33:1
Audio Tracks: Dolby Digital 2.0
Closed Captioned
Special Features: None


Introduction:

Michael J. Fox is back as Deputy Mayor Mike Flaherty, the damage-controlling spin wizard to New York City's favorite blundering boss man - Mayor Randall Winston (Barry Bostwick, "Rocky Horror Picture Show").

Season Three spells reelection time, and that means business in the Mayor's office - complete with assasination plots, supermodels, teenage girl muggers, ex-girlfriends and a city full of problems. In the midst of it all, there are enough distractions and obstacles to make business nearly impossible for Mike and his crew (Richard Kind, "Mad About You"; Alan Ruck, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"; Michael Boatman, "Arliss"; Connie Britton, "Friday Night Lights"; Alexander Chaplin, Victoria Dillard, and Jennifer Esposito, "Samantha Who").

Led by Michael J. Fox, Spin City exemplified a perfectly connected cast with all the chemistry and comedic pacing that made the show one of the best and most groundbreaking comedies of its time.


Show History / Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Spin City's third season premiered on ABC on September 22, 1998. The show moved days and timeslots once again. This season it aired on Tuesday nights at 9:00-9:30pm before moving to Thursdays at 9:30-10:00pm from March-April 1999. Third season cast members included Michael J. fox as Deputy Mayor Michael Flaherty, Barry Bostwick as Mayor Randall M. Winston, Jr., Alan Ruck as Stuart Bondek, Richard Kind as Paul Lassiter, Michael Boatman as Carter Heywood, Connie Britton as Nikki Faber, Alexander Chaplin as James Hobert, Victoria Dillard as Janelle Cooper and Jennifer Espositio as Stacy Paterno. Recurring cast members included Faith Prince as Claudia Sachs, Beth Littleford as Deidre, Sam Robards as Arthur, Mark Nelson as the Therapist, and Heidi Klum as herself. The show was produced in New York at Chelsea Piers' Stage D for the first four seasons. Spin City finished in 25h place with a 9.2 rating in the Nielsen ratings. This was up from the 7.63 million viewers the show averaged in the second season.

Memorable episodes included "There's Something About Heidi," in which Mike begins dating Heidi Klum after a picture of them sparks interest from tabloids. Mike, Nikki and Carter are surprised when a fund-raising golfing trip turns into deer hunting in "The Deer Hunter." Nikki makes up a boyfriend to cover her feelings for Mike but finds herself in a bind when Mike invites the "couple" to dinner in "Quest for Fire." When a series of exploding balloons causes a panic at a live media event, the Mayor accuses Mike of diving out of the way to save his own skin in "Not in the Line of Fire." When Stuart finally gets up the nerve to dump Deidre, she retaliates with a sexual harassment suit against him in "Dick CLark's Rockin' Make-Out Party '99." Mike pulls his political mentor, Owen (Christopher Lloyd), out of retirement to help coordinate New York City's year 2000 event - the New York City Millennium Project in "Back to the Future IV: Judgment Day." In "Politically Incorrect," Nikki pressures Mike to tell the office about their relationship and the Mayor appears as a guest on Politically Incorrect, where, in an attempt to prove he's not racist, he reveals that he's dating Janelle. Paul and Claudia, who have been having difficulty conceiving, ask Mike to donate his sperm in "The Last Temptation of Mike."

Notable guest stars included Conan O'Brien as Conan in "Dead Dog Talking." Heidi Klum first appeared as herself in "Dead Dog Talking." "The Deer Hunter" featured Paula Abdul as herself, Tracy Pollan as Renee, Courtney Thorne-Smith as Danielle Brinkman, Daphne Zuniga as Carrie and Carla Gugino reprising her role of Ashley. Beth Littleford made her first appearance as Deidre in "Three Men and a Little Lady." Lou Diamond Phillips guest starred as Nate Scott in "An Office and a Gentleman." Sam Robards played Arthur in "Quest for Fire." Frankie Muniz was Derek Evans and Chris Berman and Jeff Gordon appeared as themselves in "The Kidney's All Right." Joe Torre and Mike Lupica appeared as themselves in "Gobble the Wonder Turkey Saves the Day." Peter Krause plays his character Casey McCall from "Sports Night" in "Internal Affairs." Priscilla Presley appeared as Marie Paterno in "Dick Clark's Rockin' Make-Out Party '99!" and "Back to the Future IV: Judgment Day." Christopher Lloyd guest starred as Owen Kingston in "Back to the Future IV: Judgment Day." Bill Maher appeared as himself in "Politically Incorrect." Jon Stewart played Parker in "Wall Street."


Packaging:

The 4-disc set contains all 24 episodes from the third season (1998-99). It comes in the familiar packaging of a cardboard box that holds two slimcases, just like the previous seasons. The main color of this set is gold. On the cover art of the outer cardboard box, there is a large photo of Michael J. Fox in the foreground and the other 8 main cast members and the New York City skyline in the background. An embossed Spin City manhole logo is in the upper left of the box. A synopsis of the set, a filmstrip of four photos of the cast from the episodes and the DVD specs are found on the back of the box. Spin City - Season Three is written on the spine of the box. The two slimcases slide out from the right of the thin, outer cardboard box. They have the Spin City logo and the New York City skyline in the background, just like the cover art. Slimcase #1 has a photo of Jennifer Espositio, Alan Ruck, Michael J. Fox and Barry Bostwick. Slimcase #2 features Richard Kind, Connie Britton, Alexander Chaplin and Michael Boatman. The episode titles and original airdates are listed by disc on the back of the slimcases, which feature the New York City skyline in the background. Inside the slimcases, there is a black and white photo of Michael J. Fox at a podium in slimcase #1 and Barry Bostwick at his desk in slimcase #2. These are the same photos that they've used in the previous seasons, so it would have been nice if they could have changed things up a bit. The discs have the Spin City logo and a yellow background with a different twosome of the cast members on each of them. Disc 1 has Michael J. Fox and Connie Britton. Disc 2 features Barry Bostwick and Richard Kind. Disc 3 has Alexander Chaplin and Alan Ruck. Disc 4 rounds out the set with Michael Boatman and the lovely Jennifer Esposito. An 8-page booklet is included that has some additional photos of the cast, a listing of the cast and crew, and short summaries of the episodes with the writing and directing credits.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are stylish and easy to navigate. When you first insert Disc 1, there are some previews (4:15) for some other Shout! Factory releases like Spin City Seaosns 1-2, My So-Called Life and Sports Night (10th Anniversary Edition) which you can view or skip. A short theme is played and the Spin City manhole logo is animated and spins until it lands in the upper left corner of the screen. A series of videoclips (about a minutes worth and different on each disc) play in a triangular-shaped area on the right side of the screen. The menus have a yellow background. There are options for "Play All" and "Episode Selection" on each disc. When you choose Episode Selection, it takes you to a sub-menu where there is a still image from each episode with the episode title. There are 3 episodes per screen. The photo is highlighted in a yellow border that turns blue upon your selection. Chapter stops are available within the episodes, but there are no separate menus for scene selections.


Video and Audio Quality:

These episodes are a little over 10-years-old and look very good. Spin City was shot on film with multiple cameras and in front of a studio audience. The episodes are presented in their original full frame 1.33:1 ratio and in their original broadcast order. The overall video quality is excellent and slightly better than the first two seasons. The colors and sharpness are very good and without any major problems, just a little grain here and there. There were a number of outdoor scenes on the streets of New York City and those look great. New York City was really a character on the show for the first four seasons. All of the episodes appear to be unedited, with running times of around 22 minutes. The show didn't use a lot of music, but it looks like all of the songs have been included on these DVD releases. For the closing logo enthusiasts, there are logos for UBU Productions, LotteryHill Entertainment and DreamWorks.

The audio is your standard Dolby Digital 2.0 track. The volume is at a good level, and the dialogue is easy to understand. They shot in front of a studio audience, so the laughter is real. Closed captioning is available on all of the episodes.

Here is the breakdown by disc, including the original airdates and running times:

Disc 1
---------
49. Dead Dog Talking (09/22/98) (22:04)
50. There's Something About Heidi (09/29/98) (22:03)
51. Gone With the Wind (10/06/98) (22:04)
52. The Deer Hunter (10/13/98) (22:04)
53. It Happened One Night (10/20/98) (22:04)
54. Three Men and a Little Lady (10/27/98) (22:04)

Disc 2
---------
55. An Officer and a Gentleman (11/03/98) (22:04)
56. Quest for Fire (11/10/98) (22:09)
57. The Kidney's All Right (11/17/98)(22:04)
58. Gobble the Wonder Turkey Saves the Day (11/24/98) (22:03)
59. Local Hero (12/08/98) (22:09)
60. Monkey Business (12/15/98) (22:09)

Disc 3
---------
61. Taxi Driver (01/05/99) (22:09)
62. The Nutty Deputy Mayor (01/12/99) (22:04)
63. Not in the Line of Fire (01/26/99) (22:03)
64. Internal Affairs (02/09/99) (22:03)
65. Dick Clark's Rockin' Make-Out Party '99! (02/16/99) (22:04)
66. Back to the Future IV: Judgment Day (02/23/99) (22:04)

Disc 4
---------
67. Politically Incorrect (03/02/99) (22:04)
68. That's Entertainment (03/16/99) (22:04)
69. The Last Temptation of Mike (04/06/99) (22:03)
70. Carter & Stuart & Bennett & Deidre (04/13/99) (22:03)
71. The Mayor with Two Brains (05/04/99) (22:04)
72. Wall Street (05/11/99) (22:04)
73. Klumageddon, Part 1 (05/18/99) (22:03)
74. Klumageddon, Part 2 (05/25/99) (22:04)


Special Features:

Unfortunately, we once again have no special features on this set. The first season had some nice interviews and audio commentaries. It would have been great to have some season specific featurettes, bloopers or promos on each season. Maybe we will see some for Michael J. Fox's final season and the debut of Heather Locklear.


Final Comments:

It's great having these seasons released at such a quick rate. We are now halfway done with this underrated series. It was another funny season with loads of guest stars, including Heidi Klum in a recurring role. Michael J. Fox was nominated for an Emmy for the third consecutive season and won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Comedy or Musical. Has it really been 10 years already since these episodes originally aired? Time really flies. Overall, this is another solid release by Shout! Factory. It would have been nice to have special features/interviews and commentaries on every season, but I guess the cast is busy with other projects and having good quality, unedited episodes is the most important thing anyway. Hopefully we will get the fourth season sometime in the spring. That was Michael J. Fox's final season and the debut season for Heather Locklear.


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: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 11/01/09

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B002JYPVR2/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

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

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=256435


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