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Wings - The Complete First and Second Seasons



DVD Release Date: May 23, 2006 (Paramount Home Entertainment)
MSRP: $38.99
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 28
Running Time: 642 Minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: n/a
Audio: English; Closed Captioned
Special Features: None


Comedy takes off when pilots - and estranged brothers - Joe (Tim Daly) and Brian Hackett (Steven Weber) reunite to run a commuter airline together. On the small island of Nantucket, the Hacketts run with a first class crew of neighbors and co-workers, including lunch counter manager and childhood friend Helen Chappel (Crystal Bernard). Their rival, Roy Biggins (David Schramm) keeps them on their guard, while sharp-tongued ex-stewardess Fay (Rebecca Schull) keeps them on their toes. Bi-hearted Italian cab driver Antonio (Tony Shalhoub) and eccentric mechanic Lowell (Thomas Haden Church) always keep life around the terminal interesting. This complete 4-disc set comes packed with surprises and proves how Seasons One and Two became such a high-flying success! From friendship and family to romance and rivalry, when it comes to laughs in this hangar, the sky’s the limit!

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Legacy. The series pilot, introduces you to all the key characters, and is in general an all-around funny episode. In the two-part episode Return to Nantucket, Brian tracks down his ex-wife Carol in Boston…he meets her, she comes with him back to Nantucket, where she promptly wreaks havoc…and as Joe once had a thing with Carol himself, it’s doubly ugly. In The Story of Joe, Cliff and Norm from Cheers arrive on the island for a fishing trip, but wind up visiting local bars on Nantucket. Sports and Leisure is an amusing episode, as Roy ruins the gang’s fishing trip, then asks Joe for advice on how to make more friends. High Anxiety sees Joe grounded for high blood pressure, giving Brian sole piloting duties for the airline. This sets up the next episode, Friends or Lovers, in which a still-grounded Joe points out that Helen’s “no dating pilots” rule no longer applies to him…Next episode, There’s Always Room for Cello, features Roy’s 17 year old son, a high school football star. He asks Helen for cello lessons…he tells his dad that he has a crush on Helen, but in actuality, well….in Love is Like Pulling Teeth, Helen gets her wisdom teeth removed, and has Joe take care of her….at the same time that a huge game is airing on TV. Then there’s Murder, She Roast. Brian stays with Fay, temporarily, and he relishes in her home-cooking and hospitality - until he sees a fugitive-at-large show involving the “Culinary Killer”…a woman with a more than passing resemblance to…Fay.

List of Guest Stars:
Megan Mullaly (“Will and Grace”) - There Once was a Girl from Nantucket (as Cindy)
George Wendt (“Cheers”) ­ The Story of Joe (as Norm)
John Ratzenberger (“Cheers”) ­ The Story of Joe (as Cliff)
David Ogden Stiers (“MASH”) ­ A Little Nightmare Music (as Edward Tinsdale)
Maury Povich ­ Murder She Roast (as Himself)


The cover art is nice. They have the Wings logo at the top of the packaging, below it is sky. In front of the sky/clouds is the main core cast (Helen/Joe/Brian), plus Lowell and Antonio. Why Lowell/Antonio but not Fay or Roy? Marketability. People know Tony Shalhoub and Thomas Haden Church more than David Schramm or Rebecca Schull. Below them, at the bottom, is the main Sandpiper Air plane flying straight towards the center, with The Complete First and Second Seasons written inside a set of pilot wings. Back cover features the sky on the top third of the reverse cover. The Wings logo is on the right near the bottom of the sky, directly below the UPC barcode. Brian/Antonio/Joe/Helen are on the left side. Below a repeat of the First and Second seasons logo, which reappears below the Wings logo, is the selling text. At the bottom is a waving banner with three pictures from the episodes: Brian and Joe are talking to each other at the lunch counter with Helen at a stool, Roy standing over Joe and Brian with broken noses, and Joe talking to Fay at the Sandpiper counter.

The covers of the two slimcases are similar in feel to the outer box. Joe, Brian, and Helen grace the cover of case 1. Case 1 holds discs one and two. Lowell and Antonio, plus Roy and Fay are on the cover of case 2, holding the 3rd and 4th discs. The art behind the discs is a generic blue sky with light clouds. The Discs themselves are rather nice. The Wings logo takes up roughly the top half of the disc - in front of a blue sky. A bar with still images from the set runs across the middle (the height of this bar is the same as the hole in the center of the DVD). Below it is the Disc # within the previously used pilot’s wings with text box. Below that is the various disc information found on most DVDs. All this text/the text box wings are in front of a blue/dark blue background. The still images change with the disc, as do which characters are on which disc - the characters being beside - on one side or another -­ the Wings logo. Joe and Helen are on disc 1 (Episodes 1-7). Brian and Roy are on disc 2 (Episodes 8-14). Lowell and Antonio are on disc 3 (episodes 15-21) while the entire cast is on disc 4, which contains episodes 22-28. (For episode numbering purposes, episode numbers are relative to the disc, not relative to their season. Under this method, all of season 1 plus the first episode of season 2 is on disc 1. For the remainder of episodes, using this method, subtract 6 from the episode number).

Menu Design and Navigation:

Easiest section I’ve ever written, and this is where it gets negative. There is only one menu per disc, total. The main menu, which doubles as episode selection. There are no special features, so no features menu is needed. Previews are a selectable option on the main menu, and they play automatically. On all four discs’ menu, the Wings logo is in the top left. A sky background covers the top third of the menu, while bars in various shades of blue cover the remaining 2/3. The Seasons One & Two pilots’ wings graphic is below the Wings logo. Underneath the wings is a still photo from the show that varies per disc. Lowell is on Disc 1. Brian and Joe are inside the circle on disc 2. Helen appears below the 1/2 wings on Disc 3 and the main cover art appears in a circle below the Season wings on Disc 4. The Sandpiper plane appears at the bottom center. Written to the right are the menu options - Play All, the various Episode titles, and Previews (disc 1 only). See the screenshot below. The options are written in the font Harlow Solid Italic.

Wings - The Complete First and Second Seasons DVD Menu

Video and Audio Quality:

And it only gets more negative from here. I REALLY want to give Wings a positive review, but it’s my job to report problems and give you an honest and faithful review, and at least on the video site, Wings definitely has those kinds of problems. The video is just...bad. I honestly do not know where to start…For reference, these discs were played on no fewer than four setups: a PC running at 1024x768 resolution on an LCD screen, as well as SDTV’s at 25”, 19”, and 13”. The video problems are magnified when viewing on a PC, so let’s discuss what I can notice on the TVs first. The compression is horrible -­ artifacting is VERY present and visible, EVEN ON THE THIRTEEN INCH TV. The bigger you go, the worse it is -­ I’d almost describe it as experience-hindering on larger screens and on PCs. On midsize TVs and smaller, it’s still noticeable, but it’s not as severe. The colors also seem off. Certain colors at certain times seem washed out and faded, while at other times they seem overly bright. There is also minor occasional grain. If you’re watching on a computer, well, you have my pity. Particularly on LCD screens. Everything I described above, magnify that by a factor of three and you have its appearance on PC. The video also somehow looks blurrier on PC with LCD. Audio is actually quite good. It’s a normal Dolby Digital 2.0 track, and it sounds…nice. The vocals are nice and clear, the music is at proper balance. No hiss. The audio is good. And dang is it great to hear that awesome opening theme…not to mention hearing the closing theme intact! Chapter stops at fade-to-blacks. Good as can be expected.

Legacy: 23:00
Around the World in Eighty Years: 22:59
Return to Nantucket Part I: 22:59
Return to Nantucket Part II: 22:59
There Once Was a Girl from Nantucket: 22:59
All for One and Two for Helen: 22:59
The Puppetmaster: 22:58
The Story of Joe: 23:00
A Little Nightmare Music: 23:00
Sports and Leisure: 22:59
A Stand Up Kind of Guy: 23:03
It’s Not the Thought, It’s the Gift: 23:00
Hell Hath No Fury like a Policewoman Scorned: 23:00
High Anxiety: 22:59
Friends or Lovers: 23:00
There’s Always Room for Cello: 22:56
A Terminal Christmas: 22:56
Airport 90: 23:01
Love is Like Pulling Teeth: 22:59
The Tennis Bum: 22:54
My Brother’s Back ­ and there’s Going to be Trouble: 22:54
Plane Nine from Nantucket: 23:00
Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: 22:59
Love Means Never Having to Say Geronimo: 22:59
All in the Family: 23:00
Mother Wore Stripes: 23:00
Murder, She Roast: 22:59
Duet for Cello and Plane: 22:58

Special Features:

None. Nada. Zero. Hopefully future sets have something.

Final Comments:

Wow. This set, given the months advance notice -­ on top of the few years that fans thought the show should have already been out, and we get bare-bones, fair-quality-video release. Wings is absolutely one of my favorite shows ever, and the episodes themselves are still quite enjoyable, it’s just that the video is mediocre-at-best, and there are no special features AT ALL - no bloopers, deleted scenes, episode promos, cast interviews, commentary, anything!. Surely Paramount could have come up with something. This is disappointing. For Wings Season 3 - and as much as I’ve complained, PLEASE LET THERE BE A WINGS SEASON THREE, improve the video quality, and please try to come up with some features, even if it’s just a couple commentary tracks from a writer, or SOMETHING.

I’m still going to say SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED; because this show still outshines every technical and features-related issue I could think of. The show is just THAT funny. I would actually go out on a limb and say the casual viewer WILL enjoy this more than the hardcore Wings-nut like me. Casual viewers, you’re getting a treat in some fine quality comedic entertainment. Hardcore fans like myself -­ we’ve seen the episodes, and they’re still VERY funny…we were just hoping for something NEW…a few interviews, some commentary, some bloopers and deleted scenes. But, no…The final score is a 3.5, based largely on the following. The video is watchable but has noticeable problems, particularly in terms of colors and compression. The audio is above average for a 2.0 track, pulling the score up. The lack of subtitles or alternate languages keeps it where it is. The lack of features is sad, and the menus just felt poor. The episodes, however, are funny enough in my genuine opinion to pull up the final score.

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

Video Quality: 2.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 2.5/5
Final Score: 3.5/5

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 05/14/06

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