TITLE: WINGS - THE FINAL (EIGHTH) SEASON
DVD Release Date: April 14, 2009 (CBS DVD)
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 23
Running Time: 8 hours 59 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: N/A
Audio: English Dolby Digital Stereo
Special Features: None
It’s the final boarding call for Wings as the hilarious sitcom returns for its eighth and final season. While Joe and Helen finally get to move into their dream home, they still have to share a roof with Brian and Casey, as the former couple burned the latter’s house down, in a flip of last season’s premiere, at season’s end. Fay nears retirement, while Roy has to convince his mother he has an actual girlfriend and not just another of the inflatable variety; he also continues his occasional attempts to get Sandpiper Air out of business, nearly accomplishing his goal in the finale. The season also features an extremely interesting midseason arc that would make life on Nantucket extremely interesting for the cast. More below. This three disc set, yours to finally own on April 14th, wraps up Wings on DVD and completes the series of one of the funniest workhorse comedies of the 90s.
When the show debuted in 1990, NBC was in the midst of their late 1980s/early 1990s heyday. Cheers, The Cosby Show, Golden Girls, LA Law...so many great shows on the schedule. By 1996, all the above had been cancelled, but the network had entered a new -- but different -- heyday. Now the show was in the era of Seinfeld and Friends and ER and Frasier. The show was one of the series to straddle two eras, and over its eight years the show provided a lot of laughs -- and towards the end a few groans -- but was an enjoyable ride overall.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
The season opens with a continuation of last season, where Joe and Helen have returned the favor of house burning. The burning causes an insurance investigator to come and cast doubt that the same circumstances could have caused this twice in a year....until she and Antonio have their own adventure with similar results. In “Just Call Me Angel,” Joe and the pilots on a plane coming back from Vegas all get food poisoning, leaving Brian to land the plane alone. He becomes famous for 15 minutes, but ultimately winds up begging for his old job.
Prior to this is the three parter “Wingless.” A financial crisis forces Joe to bring out an outside investor, who promptly buys the company. Over 3 episodes the ownership struggle plays out, with Helen ultimately learning that the company was supposed to fail as a tax write-off. Eventually things return to normal, and an eventful but mediocre arc is resolved.
In the hour-long final episode, Brian and Joe once again go on a hunt for a surprise from their father, while Helen tries to get back into playing the cello. The gang finally discovers $250,000 in a storage locker, while Helen is invited to study cello in Vienna. Joe prepares to sell Sandpiper to Roy, but ultimately Brian postpones his and Casey’s move to the Caribbean in order to run Sandpiper for a year while Joe and Helen are in Vienna. The end.
Comedian Chris Elliott appears in “...Like a Neighbor Scorned.” Jenny McCarthy appears in “Maybe It’s You.” Abe Vigoda appears in “All About Christmas Eve.” NFL QB Steve Young appears in “Just Call Me Angel.” Finally, Rose Marie, best known from the Dick van Dyke Show, appears in “Heartache Tonight.”
we’ve gotten so familiar with for this studio’s DVD sets! Yay!
I’ve managed to move to the point where I can look past nearly any issue, but having cases arriving at your doorstep that are ALREADY broken (usually the thin plastic connectors holding the flipping pane in the center) is never a fun experience and drives me up the wall. This set is the first of that variety I’ve gotten in several months that wasn’t broken. I don’t know if it’s a design flaw or what, but whoever is the manufacturer of the cases needs to take a long and hard look at their product’s design.
The package art itself uses a color scheme eerily evocative of a...peach. Alternating likes of yellow and a muted pink run across the art, in front of a white background, with the show logo at top and the show’s primary cast for the final season posed on the bottom. The same graphic of the Sandpiper Air plane with the season name is at the bottom, with this being referred to as the Final Season rather than the Eighth Season. Given that that number/word is one of my more frequently misspelled words, not having to retype it here is a timesaver just in terms of minutes lost fooling with the spell checker. Disc art is silver -- naturally -- with the show’s logo being the actual reflective disc surface and not the matte silver finish on most of the surface of the disc. The episodes on each disc are listed at the bottom in a similar style, which I personally don’t find very useful largely due to my tendency to “marathon” my viewing of series. Discs 1 and 2 each contain 8 episodes apiece (which, apart from being 2nd grade math to figure out which episode is where, is also spelled out later in this review), while the final disc has the last seven episodes of the series, including the full-length, non-split, series finale.
Menu Design and Navigation:
Well... the disc has menus. I suppose that’s a positive. The menus are remarkably generic -- a blue and white style meant to look like something having to do with aviation...the episode titles are listed in a brown Courier-style font off to the right, with the photo of different cast members per disc to the left. The menus are awfully generic and plain and seem to have been the last thing on the graphics department’s to-do list for the day. I’m sure the graphics people are all nice folks, but this is the kind of menu design you’d see on the menus of a high school A/V department, not one of the largest studios in the world. There is a play all option at menu’s bottom. It gets the job done, but that’s about it. CBS: If you’re interested in hiring a graphic designer for your menus, by all means give me a ring.
Video and Audio Quality:
Wings’ audio and video improve as the ‘90s wear on -- shows from this late in the run are remarkably well-preserved, and while there are minor bits of debris or color issues, there’s nothing distracting or remotely as bad as some of the early set’s issues. Audio is a Dolby Digital Stereo Track -- and while it’s not impressive it’s not false advertising...just don’t expect your speakers to be set aflame by wonderful aural masterpieces...Wings was never among the top tier of TV, so who’d expect it’s DVD production values to be top tier? There are chapter stops at the end of each act, dividing the episodes into three primary segments and the closing titles.
Porno for Pyros: 22:37
...Like a Neighbor Scorned: 22:37
Maybe It’s You: 22:22
Single and Hating It: 22:21
Too Beautiful for You: 22:39
The Gift of Life: 21:46*
Olive or Twist: 22:38
Wingless (Part 1): 22:37
Wingless (Part 2): 22:08
Wingless (Part 3): 22:11
All About Christmas Eve: 22:37
Let’s Talk about Sex: 22:38
Just Call Me Angel: 22:38
Fay There, Georgy Girl: 22:37
Escape from New York: 22:36
House of Blues: 22:27
Ms. Write: 22:36
Heartache Tonight: 22:37
Oedipus Wrecks: 22:37
Raging Bull*&@!: 21:41
Final Approach: 45:25
The runtimes for episodes this season were 22:30, +/- 10 seconds. From this, you can clearly glean at least two edits for sure...probably at least two or three others.
We once again have no special features. It would have been nice to go out with some extras, but CBS DVD is too cheap here. Wings is not flying its wings into the sunset here.
While CBS DVD/Paramount have taken a LOT of flack over the last few years for edits and cuts, at least they're willing to put the product out there. As a fan, I can honestly say I feel that 95% of the product is better than none at all, and if you're getting torn up about the 5% at the sake of the wonderful 95%, then perhaps it's time to reassess whether you want the show to enjoy the great comedy and memories forever - or at least as long as you own a DVD-compatible player - or whether it's just for the sake of hoarding. It took me a long, long time to get this point, but I've finally reach the point where I can truly enjoy the product as presented, and not miss the forest for the trees.
I love this show, and if you’re reading this odds are you do too. And if you’re one of the people willing to look past the edits and have supported this show on DVD then I want to thank you for buying enough units to allow CBS to put all the seasons on DVD. Sure, the set has its flaws, but its overall great stuff, and I’ll be able to enjoy these episodes for years and years. It’s been a great ride, and with all eight seasons of Wings on DVD we hopefully can all enjoy many episodes of one of the great shows of the ‘90s.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Menu Design: 2.5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Final Score: 3/5
(-.5 for edits)
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 04/02/09
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