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The New Adventures of Old Christine - The Complete First Season


TITLE: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF OLD CHRISTINE - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: January 15, 2008 (Warner Home Video)
Color/2006
MSRP: $29.98
Number of Discs: 2
Number of Episodes: 13
Running Time: Approx. 278 minutes
Running Time of Special Feeatures: Approx. 37 minutes
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1)
Languages: English, Español & Português
Subtitles: English, Français, Español, Chinese & Português
Special Features: The Real Christine: A Conversation with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Series Creator Kari Lizer and Cast; Unaired Scenes; Gag Reel


Introduction:

Single working mom Christine Campbell has just learned that her ex is dating a much younger woman with the first same name. To avoid any confusion, the new girlfriend is dubbed New Christine, which leaves her with the unfortunate nickname of Old Christine.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus' hilarious and insightful performance in the title role won fans and earned her the 2006 Emmy as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Christine struggles to hold it together as she adjusts to her new nickname, confronts the meanie moms at her son's private school, jumps back to the dating pool - and gets laughs every misstep of the way.


Show History / Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Airing on CBS on Monday evenings, The New Adventures of Old Christine has become a huge fan favorite drawing in over 10 million viewers each week to watch Julia Louis-Dreyfus' hilarious and insightful performances as the title role. The first Seinfeld cast member to return to TV with a huge hit, Julia Louis-Dreyfus earned the 2006 Emmy as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy series for her portrayal of Christine as well as a SAG and Golden Globe nomination. The cast includes Clark Gregg as Richard Campbell, Hamish Linklater as Matthew, Trevor Gagnon as Ritchie Campbell, Emily Rutherfurd as "New" Christine Hunter, Tricia O'Kelley as Marly Ehrhardt, Alex Kapp Horner as Lindsay and Wanda Sykes as Barb.

Memorable episodes included "Open Water," in which the unexpected occurs when Barb and Pete set Christine up on a blind date. After two months of dating, Burton still hasn't met Ritchie in "I'll Show You Mine." Christine rebels against extravagant children's birthday parties in "Teach Your Children Well." When Christine and Richard's old marriage counselor comes to the gym, Christine starts to wonder exactly why they divorced in "No Fault Divorce." Christine's hopes of rekindling her romance with Burton are dashed when she learns he has a new girlfriend...named Christine in "A Fair to Remember."

Notable guest stars included Andy Richter as Stan (Sad Dad) in "Supertramp" and "Long Day's Journey into Stan." Matt Letscher appeared in the recurring role of Burton Shaffer. Jennifer Elise Cox guest starred as Natalie in "Long Day's Journey into Stan." Helen Slater played Liz in "Teach Your Children Well." Nancy Lenehan (who appeared on "Married to the Kellys" with Emily Rutherfurd) was Kit and Liz Torres played Esperanza in "Teach Your Children Well." Lauren Bowles (Julia Louis-Dreyfus' half-sister) appeared as Patty and Ana Ortiz ("Ugly Betty") was Belinda in "Some of My Best Friends Are Portuguese."


Packaging:

This 2-disc set includes all 13 episodes from the first season (2006). The cover art features a photo of Julia Louis-Dreyfus in a car. She has left her purse, coffee mug and sunglasses on the top of the roof. The show logo is near the top of the box and a red/marble background is used throughout the packaging. On the back of the box, there is a small photo of Julia standing next to a chair and a listing of the special features on the left side. In the center, there is a synopsis of the show. On the right side, there are three small still images from the show. The main DVD Amaray movie-style case slides out from the top or bottom of the outer cardboard sleeve. The front and back of the main case is the same as the outer sleeve. Inside the case, there is a 4-page booklet that provides the episode titles, original airdates, writing credits and short summaries for the 13 episodes. There are four additional photos from the show inside the booklet. There is a nice cast photo that identifies everybody by real name and character name. Where is Wanda Sykes (Barb) in this photo though? She's one of the funniest cast members! There is also a 12-page booklet that promotes some other Warner Home Video's TV DVD releases by genre. The two discs are held in some pretty sturdy plastic holders. Each disc has a white and red background with the show logo and a photo of Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Disc One has episodes 1-7. Disc Two contains episodes 8-13.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are stylish and easy to navigate. They feature the same photo of Julia in her car as the cover art. An extended version of the theme by "Matter" is played in the background for 1 minute, 4 seconds and then loops. The show logo is in the top left corner of the screen. At the bottom of the screen in a black bar, there are options for "Play," "Episodes," "Features" and "Languages." There is a light blue circle next to the option that you highlight that turns orange upon your selection. When you select Episodes, it takes you to a sub-menu where there are two still images from the show on the right. The episodes titles are listed vertically on the left in a cloud background. The Special Features sub-menu has a shot of a flying "Have A Nice Day" coffee mug and three still images on the bottom. The Languages sub-menu has sunglasses at the top and three still images at the bottom. There are well-placed chapter stops within the episodes but no separate scene selection menus. I didn't remember that the show began with the very short theme at the start of the episodes, but I guess that is how they originally aired. I noticed that at least one of the episodes had one of those "last week on The New Adventures of Old Christine" opening tags.


Video and Audio Quality:

Since these episodes just aired in 2006, they look and sound outstanding. The episodes are presented in their original Anamoprhic Widescreen (1.78:1). The "matted" widescreen format preserves the aspect ratio of its original television exhibition and is enhanced for widescreen tvs. The colors are bright and the picture is sharp. They use a fair amount of outdoor and on location shooting, so those scenes all look excellent. The episodes all appear to be unedited, with running times of 20-21 minutes in length. It's sad these days when some network sitcoms have running times as low as 20:40. There's nothing on the packaging to indicate that any music has been changed. For the closing logo enthusiasts, there are logos for the "Kari's Logo Here" production company and for Warner Bros. Television.

The audio is a Dolby Digital 5.1 track. The volume is at a good level, and the dialogue is easy to understand. There is a minimal amount of music score or songs used in the episodes, so there isn't a lot of use for the speakers. There are additional language tracks in Spanish and Portuguese. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish, Chinese and Portuguese.

If I have one major complaint about this set, it is that the episodes are presented in their original broadcast order and not the production order. Normally, I would prefer to have them in the order that the network broadcast them, but CBS aired them largely out of order after the pilot episode. Since the storylines are loosely connected, the preferred order is the way that that they made them. If you watch them in the broadcast order, look for the inconsistencies as characters meet each other for the first time.

Here is the order that they are presented on the DVD set, including the running times:

Disc 1
---------
1. Pilot (03/13/06) (21:58)
2. Supertramp (03/13/06) (21:25)
3. Open Water (03/20/06) (21:33)
4. One Toe Over the Line, Sweet Jesus (03/27/06) (21:30)
5. I'll Show You Mine (04/03/06) (21:21)
6. The Other F Word (04/10/06) (21:13)
7. Long Day's Journey into Stan (04/17/06) (21:33)

Disc 2
---------
8. Teach Your Children Well (04/24/06) (21:03)
9. Ritchie Has Two Mommies (05/01/06) (21:13)
10. No Fault Divorce (05/08/06) (21:35)
11. Exile on Lame Street (05/15/06) (21:15)
12. Some of My Best Friends Are Portuguese (05/22/06)
13. A Fair to Rembember (05/22/06) (21:26)

If you want to watch them in production order, here is the list:

1. Pilot
2. Ritchie Has Two Mommies
3. Supertramp
4. Some of My Best Friends Are Portuguese
5. Open Water
6. One Toe Over the Line, Sweet Jesus
7. I'll Show You Mine
8. Long Day's Journey into Stan
9. Teach Your Children Well
10. No Fault Divorce
11. Exile on Lame Street
12. The Other F Word
13. A Fair to Remember


Special Features:

For a first season set, we got a decent amount and variety of special features. They include a gag reel, unaired scenes from six episodes and a featurette with interviews of the cast and crew. Here is the breakdown by disc:

Gag Reel (Disc 1 - 8:05) - The first thing that you'll probably notice is the poor quality of these clips when compared to the final broadcast episodes. It is like night and day. These bloopers/outtakes look to be from a tape source or they didn't go through the final process to get the finished broadcast look. All of the cast members are featured here in some funny clips. There are a couple of bleeped out words by Clark Gregg.

Unaired Scenes (Disc 1 - 8:56) - These are broadcast quality clips. They were likely just cut because of time. There are 3 scenes from the "Pilot" (I remember seeing some of these on the review copy of the pilot I received before it originally aired) and 1 scene from "Supertramp," "One Toe Over the Line, Sweet Jesus," and "Long Day's Journey into Stan."

Unaired Scenes (Disc 2 - 2:10) - One scene from "Teach Your Children Well" and "Some of My Best Friends Are Portuguese."

The Real Christine (Disc 2 - 17:44) - This featurette includes interviews with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Show Creator/Executive Producer Kari Lizer, Wrtier Katie Palmer, Clark Gregg, Hamish Linklater, Executive Producer/Writer Adam Barr, Co-Executive Producer/Writer Jeff Astrof, Tricia O'Kelley, Alex Kapp Horner, Wanda Sykes, Trevor Gagnon and Emily Rutherfurd. They talk about the idea for the show, how it relates to Kari Lizer's life, Julia's interest in playing a mom on tv, the characters relationships, the differences between Julia and Christine, the meanie moms, director Andy Ackerman and various other topics. The interviews are mixed with clips from the episodes. The final minute or so is a montage of highlights from the first season. Overall, this was a nicely produced featurette that gives a good general background on the first season of the show.


Final Comments:

It was a funny first season of The New Adventures of Old Christine. I loved Julia on Seinfeld. She has some of her same mannerisms and delivery of lines on the show, but the character is also different in a lot of ways. She is also good at physical comedy and is still sexy. I think it is safe to say that she broke the so-called "Seinfeld Curse." Besides some excellent writing, this show features a strong ensemble cast. Hamish Linklater's deadpan delivery of his lines is hilarious. I thought it was a great idea that they gave Wanda Sykes a larger role after the first few episodes. Her delivery of lines and expressions are very funny. A lot of moms can probably relate to the meanie and snobbish moms, brilliantly played by Alex Kapp Horner and Tricia O'Kelley. Although this show is more geared to moms, I think all demographics can relate to some of the situations and find the humor in it.

Warner Home Video has done a pretty decent job with this first season release. There are some nice special features, although a few audio commentaries would have been fun to hear. My only major complaint is that they should have presented the episodes in their production order instead of the CBS broadcast order. I'm not sure why they aired out of order on CBS originally. Maybe they wanted to air the strongest episodes at the beginning to hook in the viewers. I also think it would have been better if they had released the first season before the start of the second season or after Julia won her Emmy. I would like to be re-watching the second season before the start of the upcoming third season. This third season is really the make it or break it year for the show. After being a mid-season show in season 1, it was picked up for a full second season. After being moved to a different timeslot, the ratings dropped by about two million the second season. If CBS gave it a chance to fully develop an audience after Two and a Half Men, I'm sure the ratings would rise. The only probablem is that Two and a Half Men will be in repeats until the writer's strike ends, although that show seems to perform well in repeats. The third season will feature the return of Blair Underwood and an appearance by Julia's Seinfeld co-star Jason Alexander as a lizard handler and her date. Watch the third season premiere on CBS on Monday, February 4th at 9:30PM ET/PT!


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

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

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 01/14/08

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000TZ7FTK/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

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

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=217532


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