TITLE: WINGS - THE SEVENTH SEASON
DVD Release Date: September 9, 2008 (CBS DVD)
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 26
Running Time: 9 Hours 42 Minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: N/A
Audio: English Dolby Digital Stereo
Special Features: None
The outrageous sitcom Wings is back for Season Seven, with brothers Joe (Tim Daly) and Brian Hackett(Steven Weber) of Sandpiper Air, and their friends and co-workers of Tom Nevers Field. This season, Joe and Helen (Crystal Bernard) enjoy wedded bliss, but not for long, as Brian and Casey (Amy Yasbeck) burn down Helen’s house and the two couples have to live together. Plus, Roy (David Schramm) meets his son’s new boyfriend. Fay (Rebecca Schull) announces she’s getting hitched, and cab driver Antonio (Tony Shalhoub) looks for love in all the wrong places when he unknowingly dates a hooker! This 4-disc set includes all 26 Season Seven episodes on DVD for the first time ever. The little airport with the big laughs, Wings is back!
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
I’d never been sold on the end of the run, but this set changed my mind. A lot of these episodes are great. There ARE some weak spots, but a lot of the episodes I found enjoyable. The season begins with a fairly good two-parter, Burnin’ Down the House. Joe and Helen return from their honeymoon...to discover that Brian and Casey have burned down Helen’s house! The 2nd part features a special guest appearance by the ghost of Joe and Brian’s father -- Don Murray (Knots Landing). In the episode “The Person Formerly Known as Lowell”, Thomas Haden Church -- who had officially left the series at this point -- returns in order to write off the Lowell character. Long story short: Mob hit, witness protection. In “Hooker, Line, and Sinker”, Joe and Brian set Antonio up with a girl...who happens to be a hooker! In the great Christmas episode, Gilbert Gottfried is once again Lewis -- who is invited to Helen’s Christmas party by Casey. Joe wants to head off to ski before getting snowed in, Antonio gets bitten by gift-giving, and more. In “The Team Player” -- Antonio’s actions cause the Bruins to lose. Jay Leno guests as himself. Near the end of the season is a great trio of episodes -- The Lady Vanishes (Antonio desperately searches for a mystery woman), Life Could Be a Dream (time capsule episode), and The Lyin’ King (Brian wants to take Joe to a strip club -- they wind up bringing along someone from the retirement home.) Finally, the season ends much the way it started -- only backwards, in the final episode “Grouses, Houses, and Spouses.”
As with the sixth season release, the packaging is a clear hard plastic case, with the disc holders in the center. Possibly due to the fragility of the old setup, all of the discs in the set are now placed on book-style plastic holders in the center of the case -- neither of the interior panels of the case hold discs this time around, a fact I’m thankful for. Each disc has its own panel. Discs are the usual silver CBS/Paramount standard, with the logo on top and episodes on bottom. With twenty-six episodes in the set, episodes are broken down thusly: seven episodes apiece on discs one and two, six episodes apiece on discs three and four. For those of you like myself who have math troubles, that works out to: Disc 1 contains 1-7, Disc 2 holds 8-14, Disc 3 holds 15-20, and Disc 4 has 21-26. If you’re eyeballing a specific episodes-by-disc listing, check the runtimes section. Cover art is a similar style to previous releases, only without Lowell (Thomas Haden Church) on the cover. Each DVD release’s artwork is themed with a different color. Season seven is no exception -- this set is green.
Menu Design and Navigation:
I guess I’ve just become so spoiled by animated and/or video-filled menus from other studios that I just have problems accepting static menus. Relative to the artwork theme, the menus are fairly well-designed. I just wish there was more here. On the flip-side, CBS Paramount seems to be better about actually getting product on the shelves in the first place, so I’m just simply thankful for that. Menu features a similar theme as the packaging art, with a different cast member occupying the left side of the artwork, and an episode list on the right side. Play all appears at the bottom. Menus are easy-to-read and well-designed but nothing that will make you go “wow.” No complaints though aside from the lack of advanced options.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video has shown some gradual improvement. Colors are fairly balanced -- slightly faded compared to normal but fairly average for the age of the episodes and the video IS consistent with the episodes I’ve seen in reruns on Nick at Nite, TV Land, and USA. There ARE some minor grain issues in a couple of places, but it’s mostly in the exterior footage, largely shot in previous seasons. Audio sounds great -- it’s a stereo track that makes sufficient use of both channels. Chapter stops are placed at the end of each act, and there IS a Play All option. The disclaimer about potential episode edits once again appears (it appeared on the last set as well but I didn’t spot it in the initial review) -- are there any significant edits? A few minor ones? No perceivable ones at all? Check the runtimes below for a pattern:
Burnin’ Down the House (Part 1): 22:37
Burnin’ Down the House (Part 2): 22:36
Death Becomes Him: 22:36
The Person Formerly Known as Lowell: 22:26
Hooker, Line, and Sinker: 22:36
She’s Gotta Have It: 22:31
So Long, Frank Lloyd Wrong: 22:36
When a Man Loves a Donut: 22:37
The Big Sleep: 22:36
‘Twas the Heist Before Christmas: 22:36
Honey, We Broke the Kid: 22:31
B.S., I Love You: 21:36*
Sons and Lovers: 22:36
Bye George: 22:36
The Team Player: 22:22
Love at First Flight: 22:36
Lynch Party: 21:36*
One Flew Over the Cooper’s Nest: 22:36
Driving Mr. Decarlo: 22:36
A Tale of Two Sister Cities: 22:36
What About Larry?: 22:36
The Lady Vanishes: 22:37
Life Could be a Dream: 21:46*
The Lyin’ King: 21:46*
Love Overboard: 22:37
Grouses, Houses, and Bickering Spouses: 22:18
*Judging by their runtimes, “B.S., I Love You,” “Lynch Party,” “Life Could be a Dream,” and “The Lyin’ King” appear edited to the tune of a full minute. These four are most likely syndicated prints. All I can really say here is...ugh.
This section is blank because, as always, there are no special features. Even if it’s just episodic promos or a blooper reel or one single commentary track or featurette -- SOMETHING here would be great.
It’s a great season -- too bad there are clearly issues going on with the set. I love Wings, I want to put the DVD sets in a favorite light, but it’s always something. If it’s not video quality being abysmal, it’s fragile packaging. If it’s not fragile packaging, it is syndication edits. I really appreciate that CBS/Paramount is good about releasing their catalog -- the problem is in the end product. At 4 out of 26, it’s not a substantial replacement. But it is a replacement.
If you can look past that, it’s a decent set, and the previous issues were resolved. Most of the episodes are quite good, and true fans and casual fans alike will enjoy this show. Just watch out for the occasional edit. I’m not going to issue a recommendation simply because everyone has their own feelings towards what degree of editing is acceptable. The number of episodes affected is roughly 15% of the total episode count for the season. If that’s unjustifiable in your book, fine. If you can live with that, then by all means, pick up the set. You’ll enjoy it -- though for a few minutes less than you would if there were no edits.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Menu Design: 3.5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Final Score: 3/5*
Note: *Final Score lost half a point due to sufficient evidence of edits on episodes totaling less than 20%
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 08/25/08
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