TITLE: 'TIL DEATH - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
DVD Release Date: August 21, 2007 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 22
Running Time: 475 min.
Total Run Time of Special Features: approx 32 min.
Video: Widescreen (1.78:1)
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1
* Behind the Scenes of ‘Til Death
* Brad Garrett on the set of ‘Til Death
* ‘Til Death the Wedding
For better or worse, it’s for keeps! Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond) and Joely Fisher (Ellen) co-star as Eddie and Joy Stark, a loving couple of 24 years of war
stories to share with their new neighbors, Jeff Woodcock (Eddie Kaye Thomas of American Pie) and his blushing bride of 12 days Steph (Kat Foster). It’s not a one-way street
though -- the newlyweds have a thing or two to teach the “old married couple” in this new comedy.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
I sincerely believe this is one of the best new sitcoms that no one is watching, which is a shame. I’m glad to see FOX renew the show, and hopefully it teamed with the new Kelsey Grammer/Patricia Heaton sitcom “Back to You” on Fox, it will do well this season.
Not all of the episodes are hallmarks of television, but most are quite good. In the Pilot, we meet all the main characters -- who wind up in an argument over a pool table. Seems innocent enough, but it’s a solid first episode. In the episode “Your Mother or Your Wife,” Jeff gets in quite a bit of trouble when he takes Steph’s mothers side in an argument rather than Steph’s, leading him to seek the advice of Eddie and Joy. Most episodes tend to follow one of a couple of formulas, but it works for the show. In most episodes, either something occurs to cause conflict between the two couples, or one of the spouses does or says something stupid, and has to turn to the other for advice. Most of the shows still manage to be funny -- due largely to the presence of Garrett.
Fox never injected a lot of star power into the show -- until the end of the season, when in an attempt to boost the show’s numbers a little bit, Garrett’s Everybody Loves Raymond co-star Ray Romano guests. He appears in episode 16, “The Italian Affair.”
The packaging is fairly simple, and is the standard-issue for Sony sets...outer box holding 2 slimcases. The cover art features Joely and Brad, with Joely embracing Brad. It’s a fairly tight shot (and no, unlike a lot of Sony sets it’s not Photoshopped), so you only see Brad from the neck up, while Joely appears over top of hm. Show logo is slanted diagonally in the top right corner. Back cover is yellow, and has the main cast all sitting at a dinner table eating -- the newlyweds enjoying a fine dinner, while Eddie and Joy are feasting on the Colonel. (Nice bucket of fried chicken sitting on the dining table, with the newlyweds eating their fine dining behind them). Below that is a row of still images.
Each of the two slimcases features a different image in front. Slimcase 1 features Garrett sitting on the bed, bored, flipping channels, while Fisher is eating ice cream. Case 2 features them holding a water hose in front of the bushes, while the newlyweds are all loving and embracing behind them. The interior art in each slimcase varies. Each disc’s art features a cut out section of that art, with the disc containing a different character. Disc 1 features Brad Garrett and contains episodes 1-8. Disc 2 features Joely Fisher and contains episodes 9-15. Disc 3 features the newlyweds again, and houses discs 16-22.
Menu Design and Navigation:
When the main menu firsts loads, you’ll be impressed that Sony actually bothered with an opening animation. I was shocked as well. After that, however, it’s just another plain-Jane Sony menu, with no in-menu animations, no theme in background, nothing. Once the introductory animation finishes, you’re left at a main menu with three cast photos left tilted, with the show logo tilted at the same angle above the center image. The disc options appear below the stills, reflecting off a “glass” below them. Episode selection features still images scattered about the page with episode titles below them. Selecting them takes you to the episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
Video quality is extremely good. Color balance is right, there’s no real compression issues, no artifacting, nothing. There’s obviously no deterioration in the video as this is a *new* show. Audio is a Dolby Digital 5. 1 track. I understand if the show was in 5.1 to begin with, that it should be on the release, but honestly, for most of the show a 5.1 track isn’t needed. Yes, it has its benefits, but a 5.1 track’s mostly unnecessary, at least to me. Runtimes are between 21 and 22 minutes for the most part. Chapter stops are at the end of each act -- where commercial breaks would normally be inserted.
“Behind the Scenes of ‘Til Death” (13:13): Features interviews with the cast and backstage footage.
“Brad Garrett on the set of ‘Til Death” (6:04): Now this is truly something. It’s just 6 minutes of footage of Brad talking and constantly cracking jokes. Brad was funny on Everybody Loves Raymond, but he shines here.
“The Wedding” (2:44): A funny 3 minute piece -- a mock wedding was staged. Brad Garrett’s really at his best here.
“Blooper Reel” (10:54): 11 minutes worth of the show’s screw-ups this season, and nearly all involve Brad.
Running Time of Special Features: 32 Minutes, 5 Seconds
‘Til Death is a funny show -- in my opinion nearly entirely due to the presence of Brad Garrett -- but you opinion may vary. At least give the show a shot. You can buy the set -- using the convenient Amazon link below -- and give the show a shot. You can also purchase individual episodes in the iTunes music store. Give the show a chance; I really think you’ll like it.
Sony did a fairly good job with this set -- there’s *something* unique in the menus, there are special features, there’s 5.1 Audio... I’m pleasantly surprised. That’s not to say they couldn’t do more, however. Commentaries, more behind the scenes features, episode promos, cast appearances on the talk show circuit…something. And now that you’ve learned how to include a pre-menu animation, it’s time to move on to in-menu animations. Or at least the theme or some sort of incidental music in the background.
If you’re a fan of the show, pick the set up. If you’re not a fan, download an episode or two on iTunes -- and then buy the set. And don’t forget to watch season 2 of ‘Til Death -- right after the new sitcom “Back to You” -- Wednesday this fall on Fox.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 2/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
Final Score: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 08/13/07
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