TITLE: STOCKARD CHANNING IN JUST FRIENDS - THE STOCKARD CHANNING SHOW - 2 DISC SET
DVD Release Date: November 21, 2006 (VEI)
Color/1979 and 1980
MSRP: $19.95 CDN
Number of Discs: 2
Number of Episodes: 23
Running Time: Approx. 9 Hours
Subtitles: None - unknown if it has closed captioning
Special Features: None
Following the success and critical acclaim from roles in the Joan Rivers' camp
classic, 'The Girl Most Likely To...', 'The Fortune', alongside Warren Beatty
and Jack Nicolson, Neil Simon's 'The Cheap Detective', and as tough-girl Rizzo in the musical
classic 'Grease', the CBS television network offered Stockard Channing her own sitcom
series - Stockard Channing in Just Friends (1979) and The Stockard Channing Show (1980).
In both these series Stockard plays an adventurous bright woman, estranged from her
husband and determined to make it on her own. By removing herself from the shackles
of married life in Boston and creating anew in Los Angeles, Stockard is
a million other women who have done the same thing--for better or worse. Striking
out on your own is at best a shaky road, and in Stockard's interpretation
of Susan - from her wacky jobs at a health club and as a television investigative
reporter to her face-to-face confrontation with her Ivy League hubby - "it's pure
sophisticated comedy with a streak of reality so broad you could drive a tractor-trailer
These beloved shows offer Stockard Channing's fan base an early glimpse into
the talents of a young actress who has since gone on to star in numerous dramatic
and comedic roles on the big screen as well as on television. Presented together,
for the first time on home video, in this unique two disc collection are the
cult TV series that nostalgic fans have been longing for!
Episodes Included / Notable Guest Stars:
Stockard Channing in Just Friends premiered on CBS on March 4, 1979. The series
starred Stockard Channing as Susan Hughes, Lou Criscuolo as Milt D'Angelo,
Gerrit Graham as Leonard Scribner, Mimi Kennedy as Victoria, Syndney Goldsmith
as Coral, Joan Tolentino as Mrs. Fischer, Linda Rose as Miss Yarnell,
and Rhonda Foxx as Mrs. Blanchard. It originally followed Alice on Sunday nights at 9:30PM and
initially received a 38 share. It was later moved to Saturday nights from June-August 1979.
Here are the 10 episodes included: Pilot; Last of the Red Hots Tubs; Health May
Be Hazardous; Lost Weekend; Invasion of the Body Grabber; The Boy in the Band;
Same Time, Next Night; The Ziegenfuss Force; A Little Fright Music; The Hollywood Syndrome
Notable guest stars included George Gaynes in "Health May Be Hazardous,"
Rene Auberjonois in "Lost Weekend," Liz Torres in "Same Time, Next Night,"
Harry Shearer in "The Ziegenfuss Force," Hamilton Camp in "A Little Fright Music"
and John Byner in "The Hollywood Syndrome."
The Stockard Channing Show premiered on CBS on March 24, 1980.
Returning from the previous attempt were Stockard Channing as Susan Goodenow and
Sydney Goldsmith as Earline Cunningham. Other cast members included Ron Silver
as Brad Gabriel, Max Showalter as Gus Clyde and Jack Somack as Mr. Kramer.
The series started on Monday nights at 8:30PM (opposite Little House on the Prairie)
and was later moved in June to Saturday nights at 8:30PM.
Here are the 13 episodes included: Funny Thing Happened; Catch a Falling Star;
Advise and Consume; No. 3 with Sprouts to Go; You Can't Quit Me, I'm Fired;
Life Begins at 30; The Threat; Exclusive: Love Finds Brad Gabriel; Susan's
Big Band; Puppy Love; Texas Bob and The Consumer Ranch Gang; Print, Pass, and Kick;
Ask Gratin Gus
Notable guest stars included Sam Anderson as Arnold in "Catch a Falling Star,"
Wendie Jo Sperber as Wendy Simon in "No. 3 with Sprouts to Go," Helen Martin
as "the Maid" in "Exclusive: Love Finds Brad Gabriel," Nedra Volz in "Susan's Big Band"
and Phil Leeds as Ozzie Dumbarton in "Texas Bob and The Consumer Ranch Gang."
This 2-disc set contains 10 episodes of "Stockard Channing in Just Friends"
and 13 episodes of "The Stockard Channing Show." The packaging is a 3 panel thin
cardboard case. Stockard Channing is featured on the cover of the case. There
are several other blue-tinted photos of Stockard in the background and "The Stockard Channing Show"
logo at the top. On the back of the box, there is a synopsis of the set, 6 photos
of Stockard and other cast members and some quotes about the shows
from "The Hollywood Reporter" and "The Los Angeles Times." When you lift up the
top panel, there are panels that have the episode listings for "Stockard Channing in
Just Friends" on the left side and for "The Stockard Channing Show" on the right
side. There are 5 photos of Stockard and other cast members for each sitcom.
They incorrectly list 11 episodes for "Stockard Channing in Just Friends." The
11th episode that they list ("Funny Thing Happened") was actually the first
episode of "The Stockard Channing Show." The 2 discs are held in the second
and third panels. Since information on these shows is so scare online, it would have
been nice if they included some kind of episode guide with summaries and original
airdates. The discs have the respective show logo on each of them and have a blue
'70s flower type background.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus are very plain looking and easy to navigate. The main menus on each
disc featured blue-tinted photos at the top and bottom of the screen. The
show logo is in the center of the screen in gold. There are options for
"Play All" and "Select Episode." They have the same type of light blue flower
background that is used for the rest of the packaging. Your highlighted option
is in gold text, and the other option is in purple. When you choose "Select Episode,"
it takes you to another sub-menu. There is a still image for each episode.
A gold border is around the episode you highlight to play. There are
chapter stops within the episodes but no separate scene selection menus.
Video and Audio Quality:
This set was delayed several times from the original June release date, due to the fact
that VEI was searching for better masters. The one bonus episode of "Stockard
Channing in Just Friends" that was included on the "Gimme A Break - The Complete First
Season" release really didn't look that great. VEI notes on the packaging and
when you first play a disc before the menu appears that "These DVDs contain
technical anomalies inherited in historical footage."
While all the episodes are certainly watchable, you can expect to see
some occasional digital tape artifacts, fuzzy and compressed pictures, some brief
interference lines and other tape glitches. I would imagine these episodes look
much better than if you had originally taped them in 1979-1980 yourself. It appears
that they were just transferred over from a tape source and not digitally remastered.
There are simply too many episodes on crammed on each disc, however. These
episodes likely would have looked a bit better and less compressed if they had
used 3 discs (or 2 double-sided discs) and put only 7-8 episodes on each.
All the episodes appear to be unedited, running around 23-25 minutes in length. I'm
not sure if they are in the original broadcast or production order.
Although they don't label this as the "complete" series of each sitcom, it seems like
these are all the episodes that were produced. For the closing
logo enthusiasts, look for the Little Bear Productions logo. This was the production
company created by Stockard and her then husband. These were the only two series
created by their production company. Several of the "The Stockard Channing Show"
episodes also have a Columbia Tri-Star closing logo on them.
The audio is a Dolby Digital mono track, which is typical of the sitcoms of the
era. The volume was a little low and there is some hiss, so you'll probably will have to turn
it up a little more than normal. There is nothing on the packaging to indicate
that these episodes have any subtitles or closed captioning. It is interesting
to note that both series used a similar theme. "Stockard Channing in Just Friends"
used an instrumental theme for about the first 6 episodes and then used a
vocal theme. "The Stockard Channing Theme" used a vocal theme which sounded
slightly different than the first series. Both series used the same instrumental
Here is the episode breakdown by disc and the running times:
Disc 1 - Stockard Channing in Just Friends
1. Pilot (25:07)
2. Last of the Red Hot Tubs (24:56)
3. Health May Be Hazardous (24:47)
4. Lost Weekend (24:56)
5. Invasion of the Body Grabber (24:41)
6. The Boy in the Band (24:57)
7. Same Time, Next Night (25:00)
8. The Zeigenfuss Force (24:57)
9. A Little Fright Music (24:57)
10. The Hollywood Syndrome (23:50)
11. Funny Thing Happened (23:50) *
* This episode is actually the first episode of The Stockard Channing Show.
Disc 2 - The Stockard Channing Show
1. Catch a Falling Star (23:52)
2. Advise and Consume (23:51)
3. No. 3 with Sprouts to Go (23:51)
4. You Can't Quit Me, I'm Fired (23:58)
5. Life Begins at 30 (23:58)
6. The Threat (23:52)
7. Exclusive: Love Finds Brad Gabriel (23:52)
8. Susan's Big Band (23:46)
9. Puppy Love (23:30)
10. Texas Bob and The Consumer Ranch Gang (23:35)
11. Punt, Pass, and Kick (23:35)
12. Ask Gratin Gus (23:59)
No special features are included. It would have been nice to see an interview
with Stockard Channing, since she apparently owns both of the series. They could have had
included some cast details or other productions notes. Although it couldn't
really be called a special feature, I would have liked to see some kind of
Both of these series were very similar. Stockard played a character named
Susan in both of them. Her marriages in both had recently ended, and she
was starting a new job in Los Angeles. They used the same apartment set
with different furniture. Sydney Goldsmith played her friend
and co-worker in both of them. Both series used a similar sounding opening
and the same ending theme. They both had the same creators and production people.
After watching a few episodes of each, I think "The Stockard Channing Show" had
the better premise of the two, and Stockard and Ron Silver had some good chemistry.
Unfortunately, neither of them caught on and both were quickly canceled.
Stockard has just not had a lot of success with her CBS sitcoms. "Out of
Practice" was clearly the best sitcom she has appeared in (she was nominated for
an Emmy), but that was also sadly canceled after only one season.
Overall, VEI has done a pretty good job with this set. I would have never
expected to see these two short-lived sitcoms released on DVD. While the episodes
may not have tremendous video quality, these are likely the best masters they
could find and they are all certainly watchable. I'd certainly recommend
this set to any Stockard fans to see some of her early work, especially at
such a low price. It was
also fun to see some recognizable sitcom faces like George Gaynes, Rene Auberjonois,
Hamilton Camp, Sam Anderson, Wendie Jo Sperber, Helen Martin and Nedra Volz.
Speaking of some short-lived shows I'd like to see on DVD, I have some suggestions for VEI for
some potential releases that major studios may overlook: Blansky's Beauties;
Who's Watching the Kids?; Hello, Larry; Double Trouble; Goodnight, Beantown; It's Your Move;
My Sister Sam; Square Pegs; and Day By Day.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 3.5/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 3.5/5
-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 12/18/06
Note: This set is being released only in Canada, but you can order it online if you are in
the US just like the regular amazon.com - the discs will play in your Region 1 DVD player.
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