TITLE: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF OLD CHRISTINE - THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON (WBSHOP.COM) (AMAZON.COM)
DVD Release Date: February 21, 2012 (Warner Archive - WBshop.com Exclusive)
Packaging: Viva Pack
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 21
Running Time: approx. 441 minutes
Runtime of Special Features: n/a
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English, no Closed Captioning
Special Features: none
Emmy winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars as divorced working mother Christine Campbell, who attempts to juggle the daily stresses of motherhood and business - which doesn't mean she isn't prone to taking NyQuil to get to sleep or leaving voice-mail messages to herself in the middle of the night. In the fifth season of this hilarious ensemble comedy, Christine goes to the Bahamas to sort out her best friend Barb's immigration issues, but finds that Barb's only solution might just be to marry...Richard, Christine's ex-husband? Plus, as Christine's 13-year-old son, Ritchie, enters middle school, Christine finds the "Meanie Moms" are as present as ever, but her younger brother, Matthew, who lives with her and helps her take care of Ritchie, continues to serve as her emotional rock. Can Christine finally start to move on with her life?
Season five premiered on September 23, 2009, with "Bahamian Rhapsody," in which Christine and Matthew fly to the Bahamas to get Barb an illegal visa after she was arrested by immigration during Richard and New Christine's wedding ceremony. A trip with Barb to retrieve some of Richard's things sees Matthew worry that New Christine isn't letting out her feelings over the wedding fiasco in "Burning Love." Richard discovers a suspicious mole on Christine's chest, and she panics when she can't immediately see a doctor in "The Mole." When Barb—planning to marry Richard to stay in the country—says she's hiring a lawyer to handle her and Christine's divorce, Christine is taken aback and hires an aggressive divorce lawyer who demands that Christine gets alimony in "For Love or Money." Christine starts seeing a therapist who's Matthew's mentor, but they are both confused on whether they want to have a professional or romantic relationship in "Doctor Little Man." When Ritchie is asked to a dance by the most popular girl in school, Christine revels in the newfound popularity she thinks this bestows on her in "The Curious Case of Britney B." Max tells Christine that she quits things at the tiniest obstacle and tries to get her to stick to what she's started in "Nuts." After Richard sets her up with Tom once again, Christine ponders having an actual adult relationship with him in "Love Means Never Having to Say You're Crazy."
Barb fears that Dave is going to propose to her and asks Christine to join them on their next date in "I Love Woo, I Hate You." Discovering Ritchie has become a bully at Westridge, Christine decides to lead by example and apologize to a woman she called "Frankenstein" during junior high in "Old Christine Meets Young Frankenstein." Christine and Matthew reluctantly attend the Christmas block party, where she learns the neighborhood is full of secrets and he questions why he ever broke up with Lucy in "It's Beginning to Stink a Lot Like Christmas." Christine tells Max that she's in love with him, but his reaction is not quite what she is expecting in "A Whale of a Tale." When Mr. Harris re-establishes contact with Christine, Max urges her to go out with him, but quickly regrets his decision—especially when he sees what Mr. Harris looks like in "Truth or Dare." Christine asks Richard to have a baby with her after becoming envious of Richard and New Christine's happiness in planning for theirs in "A Family Unfair." When the gym suddenly begins to become profitable, Christine and Barb find themselves with a small windfall, but vastly different ideas on how to spend their shares in "Sweet Charity." In an attempt to teach Ritchie's class some street smarts, Christine encourages Principal Nunley to have them take the subway on a field trip, but she ends up being stranded at the station and has her own street smarts put to the test in "Subway, Somehow."
Christine realizes that Ritchie has never been on a real family vacation, so she plans a trip to Florida, with disastrous results in "Up in the Airport." Richard is secretly planning an impromptu wedding for him and New Christine, so to help him out, Christine drags a very cranky and pregnant New Christine to a salon while he puts the plan together in "Revenge Makeover." When Christine is told that her five-year car lease is up, she realizes that her life hasn't evolved during that time the way she'd hoped and decides to make some major life changes, with a little help from her boyfriend, Max, in "I Love What You Do for Me." Christine mistakes a good looking cop for a stripper, who alerts her that there is a prowler in the neighborhood in "Scream." Christine has Matthew and Barb throw her a "surprise" engagement party so she can meet Max's friends, but she feels intellectually inferior to one guest in particular, and it leads her to make a surprising decision in "Get Smarter." Episode summaries courtesy of TV.com .
Notable guest stars included James Lesure, Corbin Bernsen, Eric McCormack, Marion Ross, Dave Foley, Jennifer Grey, Amy Sedaris, Nancy Lenehan, Molly Shannon, Adrienne Barbeau, Blair Underwood, Tim Meadows, Ed Begley Jr., Ashley Williams, Scott Bakula and Beth Littleford.
All of the episodes appear to be unedited, with running times of 20-21 minutes. There's nothing on the packaging to indicate that any music was changed. They are presented in their original broadcast order. Here is the breakdown by disc, including the exact runtimes:
Bahamian Rhapsody (21:15)
Burning Love (20:28)
The Mole (21:16)
For Love or Money (20:42)
Doctor Little Man (21:17)
The Curious Case of Britney B (21:05)
Love Means Never Having to Say You're Crazy (21:16)
I Love Woo, I Hate You (21:15)
Old Christine Meets Young Frankenstein (21:10)
It's Beginning to Stink a Lot Like Christmas (21:11)
A Whale of a Tale (20:31)
Truth or Dare (21:15)
A Family Unfair (20:22)
Sweet Charity (21:15)
Subway, Somehow (21:09)
Up in the Airport (20:33)
Revenge Makeover (20:48)
I Love What You Do for Me (21:16)
Get Smarter (21:16)
The 3-disc set contains all 21 episodes from the fifth and final season (2009-10). It comes in clear plastic Viva case. The cover art features the show logo and a large photo of Julia Louis-Dreyfus and smaller headshots of Clark Gregg, Emily Rutherfurd, Hamish Linklater, Tricia O'Kelley, Alex Kapp Horner, Trevor Gagnon and Wanda Sykes. The packaging and menu has a nice yellow and light blue color scheme. On the back of the case, a short synopsis of the season and the DVD specs are provided. There are four small snapshots from the episodes and a larger photo of Louis-Dreyfus in pajamas. Inside the case, there is just blank white space. It would have been nice if they had included some episode summaries or additional photos here. Discs One and Two are in a plastic flip holder in the center of the case. Disc Three is an embedded holder on the back of the case. The same shot of Louis-Dreyfus that is used on the cover art is used on the DVD-Rs. They have the show logo and episode titles printed on them. Disc One has episodes 1-8. Disc Two contains episodes 9-16. Disc Three wraps up the set with episodes 17-21.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The main menu is very simple and easy to navigate. It uses the same photo of Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the cover art, although it is cropped. The same light blue and yellow color scheme is used. The episode titles are listed vertically in white text. There's a yellow line under the episode or option that you highlight. A "Play All" option is available to view all of the episodes at once. Chapters are placed at the appropriate places.
Video and Audio Quality:
According to the WBshop.com order page, "this film has been manufactured from the best-quality video master currently available and has not been remastered or restored specifically for this DVD and Digital Download release." These episodes really look the same as they did when they were originally broadcast in 2009-10. They look and sound outstanding. They are presented in their original anamorphic widescreen 1.78:1/16x9 format. 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. 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. Unfortunately, there are no additional language tracks like the early seasons. There's nothing on the packaging to indicate that the episodes are closed-captioned. There are also no foreign subtitles available.
Unfortunately, there are no special features included on this release. Seasons 3-4, which were also manufactured-on-demand releases, also didn't have any special features. The Complete First and Second Seasons included some nice extras like interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, unaired scenes and gag reels. It would have been great to see more material like that on the last three seasons.
That's a wrap for The New Adventures of Old Christine. All 5 seasons and 88 episodes are now available on DVD/DVD-R. The first two seasons were released on standard DVDs and available in stores. Seasons three-five were released as manufactured-on-demand discs from Warner Archive and can be purchased via WBShop.com . If you live outside the U.S., you can purchase them on Amazon.com at a slightly higher price.
The series had a nice and underrated run. It was a pretty solid hit for the first three seasons it aired on Mondays. The ratings dropped quite a bit the final two seasons as expected when they were moved to Wednesday nights. If ABC had decided to pick the show up for a sixth season, I think it could have certainly lasted a couple more seasons. They received 9 Emmy nominations over the 5 season run. Julia Louis-Dreyfus won an Emmy for the first season. Although I don't believe there was ever a "Seinfeld curse", it was nice to see her have some success on this show. I think the show was at its best the first two seasons, but the episodes were still fresh and funny the last three seasons. The ensemble cast was also very good. Wanda Sykes as Barb and Tricia O'Kelley and Alex Kapp Horner as Marly and Lindsay (the Meanie Moms) were especially hilarious.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller
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