DVD Release Date: January 22, 2013 (Warner Archive)
Packaging: Amaray Case
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 22
Running Time: approx. 464 minutes
Running Time of Features: N/A
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Subtitles and Captioning: None
Special Features: None
"Blue Collar Comedy Tour's" breakout star Bill Engvall created, executive produces and stars as Bill Pearson, a family counselor who could use some counseling of his own to deal with his unconventional brood in this family-centered sitcom. TV titans Nancy Travis and Tim Meadows costar as his wife and pal, while a pre-superstar Jennifer Lawrence ("The Hunger Games") plays his precocious and pugnacious teenage daughter. Graham Patrick Martin and Skyler Gisondo round out the clan as Bill's boys: one a slacker, the other sly.
This 3-disc, 22-episode collection delivers up the remaining seasons of this TV favorite to a clamoring crowd of comedy fans hungry for some savory, old-fashioned family fare. In the final two seasons, the Pearsons face challenges both ordinary and unexpected, from the proper allowance to chore ratio and the horrors of prom to using Facebook to spy on your kids and a sudden, frightening downturn in the family finances.
Season two consisted of twelve episodes. It premiered on June 12, 2008, with "But That's Not Fair," in which Bill and Susan don't believe that their kids are earning their allowances. Bill decides to become more involved at home, when he discovers that his kids go to their mother for everything in "Ask Your Mother." Susan breaks her "no gift" policy, leaving Bill with a terrible surprise and guilty conscience in "No Gifts, Please." Bill agrees to help Bryan build a car for the pineblock derby, but things backfire when Bill and Bryan are disqualified from "The Pine Block Derby" because Bill lied to Bryan that he built the car, and it turns out that Uncle Paul put Led in the car to make it go faster in "Pineblock Derby." Susan's best friend, who has a wild side, comes for a visit; Bill worries that he and Susan are in a rut in "Susan's Best Friend." While Bill and Trent are playing a "Father-And Son" game of Basketball, Bill discovers that Trent can beat him at it in "Bill Talks a Good Game." After Trent seems to lie to Bill and Susan, they snoop around his room to find out more information about a party they think he might be going to where alcohol will be served in "Snoop, Dog." Susan has a premonition that Bill will get involved in an affair with a woman named Penelope; Trent wants to get practice time to prepare for his driver's test in "Dream Lover." Paul asks Bryan and Trent to watch his precious iguana terrarium; Lauren gets a job to earn enough money to buy a designer purse in "A Reptile Dysfunction." Susan goes a little overboard when helping Lauren with her prom and Bill is a little suspicious. Meanwhile Trent comes up with ideas on how to become famous on the internet with the help of Bryan in "PromZilla." When the kids do not show an interest in the upcoming Christmas holiday, Bill tries to show them the true meaning of Christmas in "Night Before Christmas." In the second season finale, "Honey Do," when Susan begins to fix things around the house, Bill gets threatened by it and tries to regain his 'power' as man of the house.
The third and final season had ten episodes. It premiered on July 18, 2009, with two episodes. With money getting tight, Bill must tell Lauren that the family can't afford her spring break trip in "Give Me a Break." Bill realizes that he is being passive aggressively manipulated by Susan and decides to do something about it by taking it upon himself to shop for their new bedspread in "You Decide." Bill gets upset when he finds out Susan and her friends discuss their husbands during their girls-only game night, and he's determined to find out what has been said about him in "Let it Go." When Susan tells Bill she misses the excitement of young love, he decides to revive that feeling by recreating the best moments from their dating days in "The Way We Were." Bill invests a hefty chunk of money in his brother Dan's latest sure-thing business proposition, something he's done too many times before in "Oh Brother." When Bill refuses to shave his beard after a fishing trip, Susan decides to teach him a lesson, and Paul winds up in the crossfire in "I Like It That Way." Now that Bill's brother Danny has hit it big, he's been showering Bill's family with gifts in "The Coffee Maker." After Susan grounds Lauren for three weeks for lying to her, Bill has trouble agreeing with the severity of the punishment in "United Front." After Trent earns enough money to buy a car, Bill decides to help him pick out just the right vehicle in "Car Trouble." In the series finale, "Trash Talk," Bill and Susan get into a feud with a new neighbor over trashcans on the curb, but Bill goes a little overboard in his tactics, especially when Paul decides to get involved. Episode summaries courtesy of Wikipedia.
Notable season two and three guest stars included Brian Doyle-Murray, Chelsea Kane, Cynthia Watros, NASCAR driver Carl Edwards, Stephen Dunham and Valente Rodgriguez.
All of the episodes appear to be unedited, with running times of over 21 minutes, except for one episode ("The Coffee Maker") that runs about 30 seconds shorter. They are presented in their original TBS broadcast order. Runtimes are as follows:
But That's Not Fair (21:03)
Ask Your Mother (21:02)
No Gifts, Please (21:02)
Pineblock Derby (21:02)
Susan's Best Friend (21:04)
Bill Talks a Good Game (21:02)
Snoop, Dog (21:04) *
Dream Lover (21:03)
A Reptile Dysfunction (21:01)
* This episode is titled "Drinking Party" in various online episode guides.
Night Before Christmas (21:01)
Honey Do (21:01)
Give Me a Break (21:05)
You Decide (21:04)
Let it Go (21:04)
The Way We Were (21:05)
Oh Brother (21:05)
I Like It That Way (21:01)
The Coffee Maker (20:38)
United Front (21:03)
Car Trouble (21:05)
Trash Talk (21:01)
The packaging is a clear plastic Amaray case. Bill Engvall is pictured in the main photo riding in a bumper car with the dog, Raffles. The show logo is above them. At the top of the case, there is a small photo of the rest of the main cast: Skyler Gisondo, Graham Patrick Martin, Nancy Travis and Jennifer Lawrence. A purple and white color background scheme is used. A cast photo of the family inside a museum-type exhibit is used on the back cover. A short synopsis of the set, the cast and crew credits, and the DVD specs are provided. Opening up the case, there is just blank space. It would have been nice to have an episode guide or some additional photos here. Discs 1 and 2 are in a flip holder in the center of the case. Disc 3 is an embedded holder in the back of the case. The DVD-Rs have a cropped version of the Engvall and Raffles photo. They have a purple background and the show logo is printed on them. Disc 1 contains the first 9 episodes of Season 2. Disc 2 contains 9 episodes: the final 3 of Season 2 and the first 6 of Season 3. Disc 3 rounds out the set with the final 4 episodes of the series.
Menu Design and Navigation:
There is a single menu for each disc. They use the same purple and white background scheme. They also have the same photos that are used the cover art. The show logo is in lavender and white. There is a pink box next to the option you highlight that disappears upon your selection. A Play All button is available. Chapter stops are placed at the appropriate places.
Video and Audio Quality:
These episodes just aired in 2008-2009, so the video and audio quality is excellent. I'm not sure if the second and third seasons were broadcast in high definition on TBS. I know the first season was in full frame 1.33:1 format, so it's possible the second and third seasons were as well. They had bugetary reasons due to being a cable series. The episodes on the DVD are in widescreen 16x9/1.78:1 format. The colors are bright and sharp, especially some of the outdoor on-location scenes. Make note of the front of the family house. It is the same house (or a copy of it at least) that was used on a little 1950s family sitcom that you may have heard of called Leave it to Beaver. For the closing logo enthusiasts, there are logos for A Parallel Entertainment Production, TBS Productions and Warner Bros. Television (select episodes).
The audio is an English Dolby Digital Surround 5.1 track. The volume is at a good level and
the dialogue is easy to understand. The Bill Engvall Show was taped before a live studio audience with multiple cameras,
so the laughing is the real response and not a canned laugh track. Since this a manufactured-on-demand release, there are is no closed captioning or subtitles option.
Unfortunately, there are no special features included. This is typical for most manufactured-on-demand releases. If don't already own it, you can pick up the first season DVD set which has over 40 minutes of special features, including cast and crew interviews, a set tour and an "Ask Bill: Answering Fan Letters" feature.
Season One was released shortly before the beginning of season two on May 20, 2008. I thought we would see the second season before the start of season three, but it never happened. It's better late than never to have the final 22 episodes of the series available in this format. The show ran for three seasons over a three-year period, but they only produced 8-12 episodes a season for a total of 30. The show may not have had the most original ideas or storylines, but it was a decent family show. It was heavily promoted the first season. They premiered with 3.85 million viewers and typically had more than 3 million viewers weekly. The second season dipped to 2.3 million viewers. They were moved to Saturdays for the final season where the ratings continued to drop. There were just too long breaks between seasons and too few episodes produced each season to regularly draw a large audience. Although it was shot with a lower budget than a broadcast network sitcom, I think they did good work here. It is comparable to 8 Simple Rules, Rodney, According to Jim and the current ABC sitcom Last Man Standing, which also stars Nancy Travis. The cast seemed to enjoy working together. The series' stars have had success after it ended in 2009.
Bill Engvall continues to have success with his stand-up comedy and as the host of Lingo on GSN. Nancy Travis plays the wife of Tim Allen on Last Man Standing. The Bill Engvall Show was Jennifer Lawrence's first major lead role. Interestingly enough, she had never taken any drama classes or acting lessons before her career began. She has gone on to become an award-winning film actress and major box office star. Graham Patrick Martin has had a recurring role on Two and a Half Men. Skyler Gisondo provides the voice of B-Dawg in the Air Buddies franchise and has had a recurring role on Psych on the USA Network. I'm sure Jennifer Lawrence's rising stardom is one of the reasons the final two seasons have been released. If you enjoy family comedies, it's definitely worth checking out.