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Joan of Arcadia - The First Season



DVD Release Date: May 10, 2005 (CBS DVD, Paramount Home Entertainment)
MSRP: $69.99
Number of Discs: 6
Number of Episodes: 23
Running Time: 17 hours and 8 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: approx. 78 minutes (not counting commentaries)
Languages: English
Subtitles: Closed Captioned.
Special Features:
• 5 Audio Commentaries from the Filmmakers and Cast
• 19 Deleted Scenes
• Featurette: “The Creation of Joan of Arcadia”
• Featurette: “Joan of Arcadia ­ A Look at Season One”
• God Video Gallery


What if God was one of us? God is one of us in the critically acclaimed CBS drama, Joan of Arcadia. Joan of Arcadia, which just recently completed its second season, airs Friday night on CBS. Now you can bring god home to your DVD player in the first season of Joan of Arcadia! Join Joan, her friends, and the rest of Girardi family for godly visits. For those of you who don’t know, Joan is a 16 year old high school girl, with some friends, and a family, but now she gets unexpected visits from god himself. It might sound cheesy, but the writing of this show is remarkable. The show stars Joe Mantegna as Will Girardi - a tough but soft-hearted police detective of Arcadia, Mary Steenburgen as Helen Girardi -­ an art teacher, Amber Tamblyn as Joan Girardi- ­ a typical teenager who now sees god, Jason Ritter as Kevin Girardi - a former high-school sports star who is in a wheelchair as a result of a car accident, and Michael Welch as Luke Girardi -­ Kevin & Joan’s younger high school science-geek brother. Christopher Marquette and Becky Wahlstrom also star as Joan’s friends Adam and Grace.

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

The show is very well written that I think you should watch all 23 episodes in order. Some memorable episodes include: “Pilot” ­ where it all began - a must see; “The Boat” ­ where Helen thinks Joan is eccentric; “Death Be Not Whatever” ­ where Joan baby-sits a sick kid; “Jump” ­ where Joan questions God about the death of the sick kid and Joan and Adam kiss; “Recreation” ­ when the parents are away - the kids will play; “The Gift” ­ where Joan thinks that the gift God is talking about is giving sex to Adam; and the season finale “Silence” ­ where Joan thinks her meetings with God are just illusions.

Some guest stars include Sydney Tamiia Poitier as Kevin’s boss & girlfriend and Shelley Long (“Cheers”) as a teacher. The many faces of god includes: Kris Lemche as “Cute Boy God,” Amber Tamblyn’s dad Russ Tamblyn as “Dog Walker God,” Juliette Goglia as “Little Girl God,” Kathryn Joosten (“Desperate Housewives”) as “Old Lady God,” Susan Sullivan as “Rich Woman God,” and Jeffrey Licon as “Goth Kid God.”


The packaging is goldish and has Joan’s face with the rest of the Girardi family in the background. The back of the box has information on the series, set & special features and lots of photos including one of Joan. There are three slim cases inside of the box which has two discs in each slim case. All the slim cases have a blue color scheme. Each case has a different pose of all four members of the Girardi family. The back of each case lists the episode on each disc, with episode titles w/original air dates, synopsis of the episode, and if any special features.

The discs also have a blue color scheme. Disc one holds episodes 1-4 and has photo of the Girardi family (same photo as the cover of slim case #2). Disc two holds episodes 5-8 and has a photo of Joan. Disc three has episodes 9-12 and has a photo of Will. Disc four has episodes 13-16 and has a photo of Helen. Disc five has episodes 17-20 and has a photo of Kevin. Finally, disc six has episodes 21-23 and the special features with a photo of Luke.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menu screen has some clips playing in the background while the rarely heard closing theme is playing in the background. More on that soon! But I wonder why they didn’t have the opening theme, “One of Us” in the background? There are two options: Episode Selection & Special Features. When you click on episodes you get a list of episodes and you can choose which to play. And if available, audio commentary can be turned on/off by selecting an episode. The special features option mainly has just deleted scenes, but disc six has other features; more on that soon. Good news is that there are chapter skips. About six different stops per episode, so no need to fast forward to find a scene!

Video and Audio Quality:

The video and audio are obviously good. In fact the set is in widescreen! This is much better than watching it on CBS, unless you have an HDTV. I really enjoyed the widescreen. It made it feel like I was watching a better quality version of the show. The sound is in dolby surround stereo. No flaws or low sound--just perfect. Each episode runs about 44 or 45 minutes in length, just like it does on CBS. Something I’ve noticed is that each episode has the episode title in the beginning. Either I forgot about that last season on CBS or they added that for this set only. I know I don’t remember CBS doing that for this season (season two). Also, the opening credits ("One of Us") is only on the first episode of EACH disc. The other episodes have the cast names rolling over the first scene. I guess that isn't bad. The closing theme song is finally heard, as on CBS they play promos of the next show during the credits.

Special Features:

The special features are very good, too. There are lots of audio commentaries and deleted scenes. I’ll break it down by disc. Disc one has five deleted scenes, one for the “Pilot” running 1:30; three for “Fire & The Wood” running 1:27, 32 seconds, and 52 seconds; and one for “The Boat” at 2:13. Audio commentary is also available for the “Pilot” from the creator Barbara Hall and executive producer James Hayman. It is very interesting and Hayman is pretty funny. They talk about Jack Bender directing the opening scene and other facts before the show was presented to CBS, such as the opening theme.

Disc two has three deleted scenes. One for “Just Say No” running 2:09 and two for “The Devil Made Me Do It” running 1:16 & 2:14. Disc three has four more deleted scenes. Two for “St. Joan” running 1:54 & 1:04. One each for “The Uncertainty Principle” & “Jump” running 1:33 and 0:33. Disc three also has audio commentary for the episode “Jump” with Barbara Hall, James Hayman and the writer for this episode, Hart Hanson.

Disc four has two deleted scenes. One each for “State of Grace” & “Double Dutch” running 1:23 and 2:27. There is also audio commentary for “Recreation” with the Girardi family! Yes, that means Amber Tamblyn, Mary Steenburgen, Jason Ritter, Michael Welch and Joe Mantegna. This is the most fun of the audio commentaries. Jason Ritter reminds me of his dad, John Ritter, by his jokes and niceness. The cast seem to talk a lot about the hair changes, which is hysterical. All in all, a must listen!

Disc five has three more deleted scenes, for the episode “No Dad Guy” running 1:16, 0:32 & 1:50. Disc six has the most special features. Two deleted scenes are included, one from “Vanity, Thy Name Is Human” running 1:24 and “Silence” running 0:30. Audio commentary is included for “The Gift” with writer/producer Stephen Nathan, and the writing team of Tom Garrigus, David Grae and Joy Gregory. “The Gift” is certainly a well written episode. There are two featurettes also. One is titled “The Creation of Joan of Arcadia” which runs 9 minutes, has interviews with Barbara Hall and James Hayman. Various clips are also shown. Everyone should watch, you’ll learn something by watching. The next featurette is “Joan of Arcadia: A Look at Season One.” It runs 18:10 and has interviews with Hall, Hayman and the Girardi family—Amber, Mary, Joe, Jason, and Michael. Various clips and images are also shown on this one. There is also a “God Gallery” on this disc. Six clips from the most famous gods, like the Cute Boy God and Old Lady God. They run 2:36, 2:12, 2:44, 2:48, 2:39, and 1:41. They should have just have had images of EVERY single god from this season rather than clips of six of the gods. Oh well, not a major issue.

Final Comments:

The set is well done and CBS/Paramount should be proud. I loved the widescreen video and the stereo sound. That just makes the set so cool. The special features were done very well and I especially loved the commentary with the cast. That was so fun and easy to listen to. Season two, as of now, has been penciled in for a September 27 DVD Release date. Let’s just hope the third season on CBS will be airing around that time, too. Have those fingers crossed and maybe God will come down and talk to us!

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Video Quality: 4.9/5
Audio Quality: 4.8/5
Special Features: 4.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
Overall: 4.8/5

-- Reviewed by pavanbadal on 05/04/05

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