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Titus - Season 3


TITLE: TITUS - SEASON 3


Info:

DVD Release Date: January 17, 2006 (Anchor Bay Entertainment)
Color
MSRP: $39.98
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 21
Running Time: Approx. 462 Minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English, Closed Captioning
Special Features:

  • 4 Audio Commentaries with Creator/Star Christopher Titus and Creators Brian Hargrove and Jack Kenny
  • Honor Thy Father: An Interview with Stacy Keach
  • His Better Half: An Interview with Cynthia Watros
  • Brotherly Love: An Interview with Zack Ward
  • Season Two Bloopers
  • Season Three Bloopers


    Introduction:

    In this Emmy-nominated third season, Christopher Titus - along with his long-suffering girlfriend Erin (Cynthia Watros), her bitter teen niece Amy (Rachel Roth), his dim kid brother Dave (Zack Ward), his not-gay best friend Tommy (David Shatraw), and his wussy-bashing father Ken (Stacy Keach) - must deal with the arrival of his "perfect" sister (Elizabeth Berkley), the murder trial of his schizophrenic mom (Connie Stevens), an unexpected visit from deranged Granda Titus (Phyllis Diller) and much more.

    These are the final 21 episodes - featuring such guest stars as David Carradine and Frankie Muniz - of the taboo-smashing Fox series that dared to find hilarity in alcoholism, homicide, suicide, homosexuality, heart attacks and mental hospitals to become the most brutally funny dysfunctional family comedy in TV history.


    Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

    Titus ran on FOX from March 2000 to August 2002. A total of 54 episodes were produced over 3 seasons. It debuted with a 20 share - the highest rated comedy on FOX since The Simpsons. The show immediately struck a chord with viewers: in its first five weeks, it beat all network competition in the coveted 18-to-49 demographic range. The third season saw the additions of Evan Ellington as 10-year-old Chris and Rachel Roth as Amy Fitzpatrick. Production Designer Steve Olson, Art Director William V. Ryder, and Set Decorator Richard C. Walker were nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Art Direction for a Multi-Camera Series in 2002.

    The edgy and dark humor continued in a number of memorable episodes. Titus is determined to mend fences after Tommy rejects his father, who's just revealed he's gay in "Tommy's Not Gay." Titus' "perfect" sister Shannon arrives, upstaging Christopher at every opportunity in "Shannon's Song." Tommy and a pregant Shannon have an affar, much to the shock and anger of the Titus family in "Tommy's Crush." Titus and Tommy's friendship is put to the ultimate test when Ken begins dating Tommy's mom in "After Mrs. Shafter." In the aftermath of Juanita's funeral, Titus is concerned her insanity may be genetic and confronts his feelings on board the airplane on the way back in "Insanity Genetic (Part 1)." Titus gets into trouble when he goes after a kid who is harassing Amy in school in "The Protector."

    A new actress played Christopher's mom, Juanita, this season. This time it was Connie Stevens in "The Trial" and "The Visit." Elizabeth Berkley appeared in three episodes as Titus' sister, Shannon: "Shannon's Song," "Tommy's Crush," and "Same Courtesy." David Carradine guest starred as Bob Hawkins in "Houseboat." Phyllis Diller appeared as Grandma Titus in "Grandma Titus." One of the show creators, Jack Kenny, played Principal Wells in "Grandma Titus," "Into Thin Air," and "The Protector." Frankie Muniz guest starred as Nick Galenti in "Too Damn Good." Kathryn Joosten appeared as Betty in "Bachelor Party." Hamilton Camp guest starred as Merrit in "After Mrs. Shafter." Nancy Lenehan played Fay in "After Mrs. Shafter." Rosalind Allen appeared as Stewardess #2 in "Insanity Genetic (Part 1)."


    Packaging:

    This four-disc set contains all 21 episodes from Season 3 (2001-2002). Red and black are the predominant colors of the set once again. The DVD cover art features an in-your-face photo of Christopher Titus, with the Titus logo at the top and a car in the background. There are two slimcases that each hold two discs that slide out from the right of the outer box. The back of the slipcase has a photo of Titus hanging a Titus banner and a smaller photo of Titus, Dave, and Tommy. There is a short summary of the set, and the special features and DVD specs are listed. The spine of the box has a photo of Titus and Cynthia Watros, which looks to be from Season 2 when she had shorter hair. Slimcase #1 has a photo of Titus hanging up a Titus banner with Erin looking on. Slimcase #2 has a photo of Titus hanging upside down from the "Into the Air" episode with Dave looking on. On the back of the slimcases, there are photos of Dave with his hands tied above his head on slimcase #1, and a photo of 17-year-old Titus on slimcase #2. The episode titles are listed by disc, and the audio commentaries and special features are noted. There is a photo of Juanita, Ken, and Titus inside slimcase #1. A photo of many of the stars and guest stars inside the shop is found inside slimcase #2. An 8-page mini-booklet called "Investigation Report on Possible Patriot Act Violations" is included. It features various photos of the cast and lists the age at which they committed these violations. There are also short summaries for all of the episodes on the set listed. The back of the booklet has a montage of seven different photos. All of the discs have the show logo and feature different cast members. Disc 1 pictures Titus and has episodes 34-39. Disc 2 has a photo of Ken and contains episodes 40-45. Disc 3 features the lovely Cynthia Watros and has episodes 46-51. Disc 4 pictures Tommy and Dave and holds episodes 52-54 and the bulk of the special features.


    Menu Design and Navigation:

    The menus have a similar look as the Seasons 1/2 release. The first disc opens with a Christopher Titus introduction in the black and white neutral space talking to the camera about the end of the show and this DVD set. The main menu starts with a dangling light bulb moving across the screen. The theme music is played in the background. The Titus logo is prominently featured. There are options for "Episodes," "Commentary," and "Play All." When you select "Episodes," it takes you to a sub-menu where the episodes are listed vertically in one column. After selecting an episode, it takes you to another menu which has a still image, and it lists a summary of the episode. There are chapter stops within the episodes, but they could have been a bit better placed as there are only about three per episode. The fourth disc contains all of the non-commentary special features.


    Video and Audio Quality:

    Season 1 was shot on film. Seasons 2 and 3 were shot high-definition. Titus has the distinction of being the first four camera sitcom shot in high-defintion. The colors and contrast are very sharp. The colors look very vivid and bright. They always seemed to use great lighting. These episodes are not presented in widescreen. I'm not sure if Fox ever broadcast them that way. All episodes appear to be unedited, running around 22 minutes in length. The episodes are presented in their original broadcast order. FOX broadcast five un-aired episodes in July-August 2002. For the closing logo enthusiasts, there is the Kenny & Hargrove logo followed by one for DeRango Entertainment and finally the 20th Century Fox logo.

    The audio is a standard Dolby 2.0 Stero track. The audio is at a good volume, and the dialogue is easy to understand. Some might say they overdid it on the laugh track, but it should be noted that they never sweetened it. This was the audience's real reaction to the laugh-out loud moments. Closed captioning is available on all of the episodes. The special features are not rated and do not contain closed captioning.

    Here is a list of the episodes by disc with their running times:

    Disc 1
    ---------
    34. Racing in the Streets (21:49)
    35. Amy's Birthday (22:08)
    36. Tommy's Not Gay (22:09)
    37. Shannon's Song (22:08)
    38. Grad School (22:09)
    39. Houseboat (21:37)

    Disc 2
    -----------
    40. The Trial (22:06)
    41. Grandma Titus (22:28)
    42. Errrr (22:07)
    43. Tommy's Crush (22:10)
    44. Into Thin Air (22:01)
    45. Too Damn Good (22:07)

    Disc 3
    -----------
    46. Bachelor Party (22:07)
    47. Hot Streak (21:52)
    48. The Session (22:09)
    49. Same Courtesy (22:09)
    50. After Mrs. Shafter (22:08)
    51. The Visit (22:08)

    Disc 4
    -----------
    52. Insanity Genetic (Part 1) (22:09)
    53. Insanity Genetic (Part 2) (22:09)
    54. The Protector (23:13)


    Special Features:

    Seasons 1 & 2 had a decent number of special features, but the extras on this Season 3 release are a bit better. More of the cast is involved this time as Stacy Keach, Cynthia Watros, and Zack Ward are interviewed. There are four audio commentaries by Creator/Star Christopher Titus and Creators Brian Hargrove and Jack Kenny. They do commentary for Tommy's Not Gay, Grandma Titus, Insanity Genetic (Part 1), and Insanity Genetic (Part 2). They talk about various subjects including: how they used one set per episode and how they shot it like a play, guest star Phyllis Diller, Jack Kenny's appearance as the principal, and how they did the sets for the airplane and shot the scenes in the five cubicles. I enjoyed the commentaries on the first release, and they are once again very lively and informative. They talk a lot about the production of the episodes as well as the cast members. A few expletives are tossed in to spice things up. It would have been nice to hear a commentary or two from Stacy Keach, Cynthia Watros, and Zack Ward. Their interviews are the next best thing though.

    Here is a list of the other special features found on the fourth disc:

    Honor Thy Father: An Interview with Stacy Keach (15:16) - He talks about how Ken Titus was a politically incorrect character. He also talks about Christopher Titus, the real Ken Titus, Cynthia Watros, and Zack Ward. Various clips from the episodes and behind-the-scenes shots are shown.

    His Better Half: An Interview with Cynthia Watros (11:32) - She talks about how she was the first person they saw for Erin and how she got the part. She comments a bit about her chracter and talks a little about the other cast members. She misses the cast, and she seems genuinely proud of the show. I must say she looks even more beautiful now than she did on the show, which is hard to believe. Currently, she plays one of the "tailies" on ABC's "Lost."

    Brotherly Love: An Interview with Zack Ward (16:10) - He talks about how he grew up in Toronto and got his start in acting and his role in "A Christmas Story." He also talks about how he auditioned for the role, some memorable episodes, Stacy Keach, Cynthia Watros, and how Titus taught him the craft of comedy.

    Season Two Bloopers (14:59) - I'm not sure why these weren't included on the first release, but I'm glad to have them on here. They are pretty hilarious to watch. The quality on some of them is only average, as they could be from a VHS source. Look for Jay Leno in a few scenes.

    Season Three Bloopers (13:30) - More bloopers from season three. The cast really seemed to get along like a real family. A few of the clips look to be from the actual episodes and are shown as a montage with accompanying music.

    Previews (2:45) - Trailers for a few other Anchor Bay DVD releases: Profit and Doogie Howser, M.D.


    Final Comments:

    All 54 episodes of Titus are now available on DVD. I'm a bit surprised this show has never been in syndication, even if it was shown only weekly. Titus probably could have gone on for a few more seasons, but it seems like Fox may have thought it was pushing the envelope too much. It was still getting decent ratings, and it was beating two other sitcoms on Fox which were picked up when it was canceled. I almost think it was best the show went out the way it did. They might have had to make changes, which would have made the show less funny. Kudos to Anchor Bay for a job well-done with these releases and for making them available in a short period of time. The special features added a lot of enjoyment and interesting background information on the show for me as a first-time viewer in watching the episodes. We will likely never see a sitcom quite like Titus ever again. It definitely has left its mark and had many laugh-out loud moments.


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

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

    -- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 01/15/06

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

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000BO0KNM/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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