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Will & Grace - Season Six


TITLE: WILL & GRACE - SEASON SIX


Info:

DVD Release Date: May 1, 2007 (Lionsgate)
Widescreen/Color/2003-04
MSRP: $44.98
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: 500 minutes
Running Time of Special Features: 40 minutes 26 seconds
Audio: English, Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0
No Subtitles; Closed Captioned
Special Features:
Season Six Outtake Reel
Themed Featurettes


Introduction:

The sixth season of Will & Grace is now on DVD! The sixth season took place during the 2003-04 TV season. In previous DVD releases, it’s come out that Lionsgate -- the studio releasing the show -- has been using syndicated versions for some episodes. Did they this time? Read the rest of the review, and judge for yourself.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

The sixth season of Will & Grace, to me, was good, but definitely not great. Two of the better episodes of the season, in my opinion, are the first two. In “Dames at Sea,” the season premiere, we open with Jack and Will in bed together, nude, at sea. Neither can remember what happened the night before either, creating a hilarious situation. Grace, meanwhile, discovers a love letter from a co-worker in Leo’s bag, causing her to doubt him. Karen easily has it the worst of the gang ­ adrift. In “Last Ex to Brooklyn,” Leo invites his ex-girlfriend to a dinner part. Leo’s ex, however amazingly enough, is the only girl Will ever slept with. Several episodes later is the episode “Fanilow.” Will opts out of a Christmas party to get tickets for a special Barry Manilow concert -- only to really need to use the restroom. Will gets Grace to hold his place, but his actions in the bathroom line may keep him from meeting Barry. Grace discovers her mother’s canceled on their annual Hanukkah shopping spree -- to have dinner with Jack. Karen happens to be in the Manilow line herself, having some fun as well.

I’ll be honest, this is easily the season I’ve seen the least of. I didn’t get to start time shifting episodes (gotta love DVR technology) until the 7th season and for most of this season I was usually watching something else. So naturally, my opinion of it’s bound to be influenced by the fact that I wasn’t there for most of it. Of course that illustrates a problem I feel with this season, in that it didn’t hold my attention as well as other seasons.

Pay attention folks, W&G always has the longest guest lists of any show I review, so I’m going to try to hit them all as fast as I can. Appearing in 5 episodes this season (1-3, 5, 23/24 -- which aired as one episode, but is on the DVD as two) is Harry Connick Jr. as Leo. Mira Sorvino guests in “Last Ex to Brooklyn.” James Earl Jones guests as himself in “Me & Mr. Jones.” John Cleese, of Monty Python fame, appears in a couple of episodes “Heart Like a Wheelchair,” “The Accidental Tsuris,” “Flip Flop,” and “I Do, Oh, No, You Di-int.” Dylan McDermott guests in “Heart Like a Wheelchair” as well. Jack Black guests in “Nice in White Satin.” Candice Bergen, one of my personal favorites, guests as herself in “Strangers with Candice.” Debbie Reynolds reprises her role of Grace’s mother Bobbi in “Fanilow,” which obviously features an appearance by Barry Manilow. Also in that episode is Sara Gilbert. The Accidental Tsuris features guest spots by Geena Davis and Minnie Driver. Hal Linden guests in “A Gay/December Romance.” Dave Foley guests in “Ice Cream Balls,” “Looking for Mr. Good Enough,” “Flip Flop” (1 & 2), and “Courting Disaster.” Tracey Ullman, whose Fox show launched The Simpsons, guest stars in the episode “Looking for Mr. Good Enough.” Also in the episode is Stacy Galina, who was on the last couple seasons of Knots Landing, and Suzanne Pleshette from The Bob Newhart Show. Minnie Driver returns for “Flip Flop.” Chloe Sevigny guests in East Side Story. Bebe Neutwirth guests as herself in “No Sex ‘n’ The City.” Jennifer Lopez appears in “I Do, Oh, No, You Di-int,” as does Tim Curry.

If I missed a celebrity or guest, I’m sorry -- I tried to include as many as possible, but these lists for W&G get exhausting, and occasionally someone might be overlooked.


Packaging:

No surprises here--digipak inside an outer box. The outer box, purple, has a generic photo of the main 4 posing and smiling together. Back picture has the 4 sitting in or otherwise existing in a circle. Will & Grace title goes down the spine, with the season number appearing as both a numeral and text above it. The digipak has the same cover art on both the front and back -- this time they have photos of all 4 inside little circles on the spine, with the name season number listing as before. Opening the Digipak 1 level produces episode info for Disc 1 and part of Disc 2, plus a few photos. Opening the panels again reveals discs 2-4, and on the far left the episode info for the rest of disc 2 and part of disc 3. Opening this panel one more time reveals disc 1 as well as the info for the rest of disc 3, and all of disc 4, on the left-most panel. Each disc is in front of a plain background. The art on each disc -- remember the circles on the rear art? Each circle is carried over to a disc. Disc 1 has Will, Disc 2 has Grace, Disc 3 is Karen, and Disc 4 is Jack. The discs are done in a black & white style with just a bit of purple shading done. Each disc contains 6 episodes (it splits the finale into 2 parts) -- with 1-6 being on Disc 1, 7-12 on Disc 2, and so forth.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus, while still animated, are more static than in the past. The various elements of the menu -- a bar at the top, the cast photo (same as the front cover), the circles, the background -- all in the same purple color scheme as the rest of the set -- animate in…and stay there. It’s a bit of a shift from some of the more animated menus of the past, but it doesn’t bother me as much. Clips from the show play in a circle in the top right. The long version of the main theme (and by long I mean 27 seconds) plays in the background. Choosing Play All...well, you know what that does by now. Episode selection and Special Features take you to their respective menus. The menu animates out for the latter two, but not for play all. The episode selections menu features 3 still images of each episode inside a circle, with the episode name and number below it. To get to the other 3 episodes on the disc you select a small right arrow to the right of the main menu option.


Video and Audio Quality:

The video quality has a couple of minor issues, but nothing major. The colors are a bit over-saturated, and the video seems slightly compressed. The audio is fine -- vocals are nice and clear, there are no defects or other glitches in the audio. The audio itself is yet another Dolby Digital 2.0 track. Chapter stops are at commercial breaks.

One issue with Will & Grace is that it was pretty much the last scripted show already on prime time television to go HD -- it didn’t go HD until the 7th season, 2004-05. As such, the video is going to look worse than most other network shows from the era, just due to the fact the show was still producing episodes in the old format.

This lack of HD also produces a secondary issue -- it makes it harder to discern whether Lionsgate used the network or syndicated prints. It’s been stated they’ve been used on past sets, but I admit I haven’t noticed the difference, not having copies of either to compare against. That’s also an issue here -- I don’t know whether these are network, syndicated, or a mix of both. However, I’ve provided the run-times for your convenience, maybe you can tell me.

Dames at Sea: 21:19
Last Ex to Brooklyn: 21:25
Home Court Disadvantage: 21:25
Me & Mr. Jones: 21:24
A-Story, Bee-Story: 21:25
Heart Like a WheelChair: 21:25
Nice in White Satin: 20:53
Swimming from Cambodia: 21:25
Strangers with Candice: 21:22
Fanilow: 20:53
The Accidental Tsuris: 21:23
A Gay/December Romance: 21:22
Ice Cream Balls: 20:57
Looking for Mr. Good Enough: 20:11
Flip Flop 1: 20:56
Flip Flop 2: 20:50
East Side Story: 21:21
Courting Disaster: 20:47
No Sex 'n' the City: 20:57
Fred Astaire & Ginger Chicken: 20:56
I Never Cheered for My Father: 20:56
Speechless: 20:55
I Do, oh, No, you Di-in't - Part 1: 20:29
I Do, oh, No, you Di-in't - Part 2: 20:45

A couple of things...the season finale initially aired as 1 show, concerning me greatly that at least those two are syndicated prints. Looking for Mr. Good Enough is 20:11, which seems short, even for a newer show. I also find it curious that initially the episodes start at 21:20-21:25, but suddenly drop to under 21 minutes for most of the second half, and a couple of episodes beforehand. Did NBC chop off 30 seconds of program length, or was it removed for syndication?

I can’t answer these questions, but use your own judgment.


Special Features:

Themed Featurettes: The most ambiguous special feature title there is. Barney Miller had featurettes, and they were still images. This show has them, and they’re clips set to a certain theme.

There are 15 different ones:
My Breast Friend
9 to 5ish
Fashion Quips
A Rose by Any Other Name
The Little Voice in My Head
With a Song in Our Hearts
For Love or Money
Rank & File
Food For Thought
Out & About
Meet the Parents
Let’s Get Physical
Pop Goes the Culture
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex
The Sounds of Comedy

Each runs approximately 2 minutes and change, for a total runtime of 32:33.

Season Six Outtake Reel (7:53): A Collection of bloopers from this season.

Total Runtime of Special Features: 40:26


Final Comments:

The only thing I could say that would affect sales of this set is the one thing I can’t say -- as I just simply don’t know if these are the original or syndicated prints. That said studios aren’t going to magically start re-releasing broadcast versions of these shows just because a few thousand people want them to -- so if you want to own this show on DVD, this is the version you get, for better or worse. It’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth it or not.

Next season becomes interesting -- W&G made the transition to HD. I really -- REALLY -- wish they’d get people in to do commentary tracks, but at this point it looks like that’s not happening. I am glad to see that the releases are being sped up -- this set was released 9 months after the previous one (most previous were 12 months later). It’d be nice to see the next set around December.

I can’t recommend for or against on this one. The episodes are good but not great, and I can’t really tell which version of prints they used for the DVDs.


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

Video Quality: 3.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
Special Features: 1.5/5
Final Score: 4/5

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 04/30/07

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000NA78SE/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

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

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=199693


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