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Coach - The First Season (Limited Edition)



DVD Release Date: June 13, 2006 (Universal Home Video)
Color / 1989
MSRP: $34.98
Number of Discs: 2
Number of Episodes: 13
Running time: 5 Hours 12 Minutes
Running time of Special Features: 53 Minutes 14 Seconds
Audio Tracks: Dolby Digital English 2.0 Mono
Video: 1:33:1 Full Frame.
Subtitles: English
Special Features: Special Limited-Edition “Playbook” Packaging; Season Two Episode: Homewreckers; The Great ‘80s TV Flashback


Emmy winner Craig T. Nelson stars in Coach, the hilarious sitcom that’s a touchdown with fans! In season one, Coach Hayden Fox (Nelson) teaches the moves to his football team, the Minnesota State University Screaming Eagles, while learning a thing or two about offense and defense from his close-knit family and friends. Co-starring Emmy nominees Jerry Van Dyke and Shelley Fabares, this ready-to-rumble show is FINALLY on DVD.

In addition to the three mentioned above, Season 1 of Coach also stars Clare Carey as Hayden’s daughter, Kelly; and Bill Fagerbakke as Dauber.

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

With only 13 episodes to work with, this section will be a little shorter this time. I’ve always thought that the first season of coach…eh…isn’t necessarily my favorite. The subsequent seasons were always just funnier to me. That said, there ARE a few episodes that definitely ask to be mentioned. I always mention the first episode of a show’s run in a season 1 review in this section, and this is no different, and yet it is. The thing is that the first episode that aired is the second episode on this disc, because the second episode that aired is actually the first episode actually made, the pilot. The set refers to it AS “The Pilot” even though the episode is actually called “Love Me Tender”. In the pilot, Kelly returns to go to college at Minnesota State, reawakening Hayden’s paternal instincts, getting in the way of his relationship with Christine. In the second episode, the first episode to actually air, Kelly tells Hayden she has a date with a faculty member at MSU, and everything begins to snowball from there. In the third episode, Christine and Kelly finally meet. The fourth episode introduces Stuart (Kris Kamm). In episode six, Gambling for Meat, Hayden’s team suffers (yet another) loss, but even worse, Luther BETS…AGAINST THE TEAM….AND WINS. To avoid NCAA sanctions, Hayden has to suspend Luther…which is only the beginning of trouble. In Parents’ Weekend, Hayden’s homely ex-wife Beth returns for Parent’s Weekend. Hayden hadn’t mentioned Christine to Beth yet, because he didn’t want to upset her. But when a newly slim and attractive Beth shows up, Christine is the one who starts to get nervous.

In terms of guest stars, Alan Rosenberg guest stars in Kelly and the Professor. Don’t really have anything other than that.


Limited Edition:

The main thing everyone’s probably reading this review for. The first thing you’ll notice when you see the packaging is that due to the way the front slopes inward, and the awkward shape resulting, this box will be difficult to place with the rest of your TV DVD series. Surely there had to be a way to augment the way the “playbook” packaging was presented to still allow it to be easily placed (it’s still possible, mind you, it’s just more awkward now) with other DVDs. That said, the playbook packaging is really nice ­-- it’s too bad Universal couldn’t have offered a special limited packaging for, say, Quantum Leap. Touching on the outer holder the playbook comes in for a moment, the front is largely open space to allow as much of the playbook as possible to show through. At the bottom right of this outer container is a bar running across the bottom (that holds the playbook in place if you put it back in) that has a yellow line and an orange line running across it, with the word “Starring” on the orange line. Below it, on the blue (the color of the rest of the outer packaging) is Craig T. Nelson’s name. The two side panels both have the Coach logo and text for The First Season and Limited Edition. On the back are Hayden, Luther, and Dauber lined up in a pre-snap football position in front of a blue/white gradient background. At the top are, in rather large letters, “TOUCH” and “DOWN” on separate lines. Bonus features and release information are at the bottom.

Now for the playbook itself. The front and back are both designed to look like a football ­ the front and back even have football-like laces, and the brown covering to the playbook is close enough to being football-like. In the middle of the front of the playbook, pressed in, is the Minnesota State University Screaming Eagles logo. At the very top is the Coach logo, again with Limited Edition and The First Season texts. When you open the playbook, you’ll notice play diagrams written on the black surface on either side. Each of the two discs is held in a little sleeve, similar to what you’d find in a consumer multiple DVD/CD holder. Each sleeve is then attached to rings that can be opened and closed (just like a binder) allowing for removal of the disc sleeves. Flipping the two disc sleeves up reveal the actual “Play Book,” essentially a mini-notepad. The front is blue and has the same Screaming Eagles logo as the front. Opening it up reveals information for the first disc of the set (episode info, etc.) Flipping up to the second page reveals the second disc’s information. The remainder of pages in the play book notebook are…blank. Honestly, I was kind of hoping for show info, or little play diagrams, or something to justify this. Some little extra tidbit or morsel to make it that much nicer, but, that’s not to be. The play book is attached by having the back run into and behind the plastic covering of the inside-back of the playbook. Disc 1 and Disc 2 are nearly identical. They’re both predominantly white, with the Coach/The First Season stuff on top. There are then, in this order, dark blue/orange/yellow (wide)/orange (narrow) circles around the white. Just below the disc’s hole is the Disc One or Disc Two information, in an alternately styled version of the Coach logo font.

Regular Edition:

We are waiting for our copy of the regular edition. We will update the review as soon as possible.

Coach - The First Season DVD Menu

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are rather simple. The 1:00 version of the main theme plays in the background. Craig T. Nelson is on the right of the main menu. The Coach logo is on top. The rest of the disc text is in a block font similar to the coach logo, but not quite. Play All, Episode Index, Languages, Bonus Materials, and Sneak Peeks. The menu system is the exact same on Disc 2 except that Sneak Peeks is not listed. On Bonus Materials when on Disc 1, you’ll get a message the features are available on Disc 2 only. On the bonus materials menu is the same shot of the Hayden, Luther, and Dauber from the back cover. Languages simply allows you to turn English subtitles on or off, nothing more. Behind the languages menu is a play (different than either of the two in the playbook packaging), with Resume Episode and Menu options. Play All is obvious, so I won’t get into that. Episode index has a still image from the episode, inside a blue frame, with the episode title below it (in the same font as the menu options). The border of the active selection turns red. The first four episodes on each set are on the first page, while the last 3 (D1)/2 (D2) are on the second.

Video and Audio Quality:

Let’s start with the audio. It’s a Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono track. Yup, Mono. I’ve seen shows from 15 years before this was made given stereo tracks on release, and Coach gets a mono. Wow. I’m not asking for something along the lines of 5.1, but the show could’ve definitely benefited from a Stereo track. For a mono track, it’s not that bad. But it’s a mono. Video is ok. It looks like video from the late 80s. Could have probably stood to have been cleaned up a bit more, but it’s not bad. Colors are a bit bright, and the artifacts are noticeable. There’s also some grain. The video also looks somewhat blurry on a lot of episodes. Chapter stops are after the opening credits, midway through the episode, and before the ending credits.

Pilot: 23:56
Kelly and the Professor: 24:27
Kelly, Meet Christine: 23:53
I’m in Love with a Boy Named Stuart: 23:53
The Loss Weekend: 23:59
Gambling for Meat: 23:18
19 Candles: 23:24
Parents’ Weekend: 24:06
I’m Sorry I Told You My Wife was Dead: 23:52
Define Romance: 23:51
Whose Team is it, Anyway? 24:00
Hoot Hoot, Hike: 23:32
Dauber’s Blow-Out: 24:02

Coach - The First Season DVD Menu

Special Features:

The Great 80s TV Flashback: This is essentially an elaborate, well-produced promotional piece for the various Universal TV DVD properties that we’ve seen on most other Universal TV DVD releases in recent months. Runs 29:01

Bonus Season 2 Episode: Homewreckers. I admit, this is one of my favorite episodes. While Hayden and Luther are at Christine’s apartment while she’s away for the weekend, they nearly destroy the place. 24:13

Total Runtime of Special Features: 53:14

Final Comments:

I love this show. I really, really love this show. When I originally signed up to do this job at Sitcoms Online almost two years ago, this was one of THE shows I wanted to review. And now, two years later, having reviewed it, I can say that it was a bit uninspiring on the technical side, but the packaging for the limited edition is extremely nice, and the episodes are definitely worth it, even considering that the first season is weaker. Admittedly, the shape of the packaging will make it tougher to store with the rest of your collection, as I’ve mentioned, but it’s still quality work. For future releases, I’d like to see Universal clean up the video a bit extra ­ it wasn’t that great in some places ­ and possibly try to include more features. Perhaps some bloopers, or deleted scenes, or something. Or at least a season three bonus episode. And getting the next set in STEREO might be nice. For the technical flaws that do exist though, I still definitely have to say RECOMMENDED.

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

Video Quality: 3.5/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 3.5/5
Special Features: 2/5
Final Score: 3.5/5

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 06/07/06

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