Men At Work: The Complete First Season (2012/Sony DVDs)/Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries: Series One (2011/Acorn Blu-ray
Set)/The Mob Doctor: The Complete Series
(2012/Sony DVDs)/Nurse Jackie: Season
Four (2012/Lionsgate Blu-ray Set)/The
Return Of The Beverly Hillbillies (1981/MPI DVD)/VEEP: The Complete First Season (2012/HBO Blu-ray w/DVD Set)
C/B-/C+/B-/C+/C+ & C Sound: C+/B-/C+/B/C+/B- & C+ Extras: C-/C/D/C+/B-/C+ Main Programs: C/B-/C/C+/C+/C+
our latest look at TV on home video you may or may not have heard about
arriving at about the same time…
Men At Work: The Complete First
Season (2012) is
not about the famous 1980s Australian Pop Band, though that would have been
nice, but it is a new comedy series about four men (versus 2.5?) who work at a
men’s magazine in New York City and their exploits. Created by Brecklin Meyer, who you would
recognize as the live action owner of Garfield,
Meyer has worked on the underrated Franklin & Bash (also from Sony and
reviewed elsewhere on this site) and the men are Neal (Adam Busch), Tyler
(Michael Cassidy), Milo (Danny Masterson) and
Gibbs (James Leisure).
well cast, have chemistry and work well together throughout the ten episodes on
the two DVDs here, but the problem with the show is the writing. Maybe they are trying to imitate the dumb
scripts of other shows, but these teleplays leave a good bit to be
desired. I was very disappointed as a
result, especially because they are so close to a show that works. Maybe things will change for the better in
the sophomore season, but these Men just do not work enough to recommend the
include Outtakes and Deleted Scenes.
Australia and set in the 1920s, Miss
Fisher’s Murder Mysteries: Series One (2011) is a surprisingly smart, fun,
clever, classy and even witty show based on the Kerry Greenwood books with
Essie Davis perfectly suited for the role of Phryne Fisher, a woman way ahead
of her time enjoying the new post-WWI developments around her and with her
wealthy lifestyle, has decided to take on the role of private detective. Miriam Margolyes shows up in a few of the 13
hour-long shows as her stuffy Aunt who also is somewhat disapproving.
better than the police procedurals that are beyond played out, this makes for a
great companion to the Diana Rigg Mrs.
Bradley Mysteries (set about a decade later and reviewed elsewhere on this
site) and is the best female-centered detective show since the recent run of
the revived Marple series. Though the mysteries themselves are not
always the most complex, they are well thought out enough and the rest of the
supporting cast is a plus.
the show enough that I will look forward to see where the go with the next
episodes and David could be on her way to becoming a big star. If you like mystery series, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is worth
going out of you r way for and the bets offering on this list.
include 8 minutes of Cast Interviews, a 19 minutes Look Of featurette on the show, 5 minutes Meet The Creators clip and 14 minutes Set Tour clip.
The Mob Doctor: The Complete
Series (2012) is Sony
TV’s attempt to combine Nurse Jackie
and The Sopranos by making the
female lead (the title character of Dr. Grace Devlin played by Jordana Spiro)
work for a head gangster healing and helping out people secretly for him and
getting paid for it, but also doing dirty work inside the hospital to get rid
of patients he wants dead. The idea is
an obvious one and has its potential, but this show only ran 13 episodes because
they could not figure out a way to make it work.
Forsythe, Zeljko Ivanek and Michael Rapaport are among the more familiar faces,
but despite a Chicago setting, it never feels like the gangster genre and with
so much hospital time, figuratively and literally becomes to clinical for its
own good. This will not doubt be a curio
and genre fans might find more to like in it, but it never adds up as much as
it might have and will be on a list of shows that did not work out like the
many inspired in the last cycle of gangster shows around the time of the 1990
influx of gangster feature films like GoodFellas.
speaking of Nurse Jackie, we are now
at Season Four (2012) and even this
show is starting to show signs of strain as all the illegal use of prescription
medicine has sent our title character/heroine (Edie Falco) to a rehab
center. The problem with this
inevitability is that it ends the “how long can she get away with it” factor
for the show and like Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd sleeping together on Moonlighting by the time the show’s
scripts had run out of ideas, it seems as if this show too has peaked despite
some good acting and even writing.
compared to Mob Doctor, it is still
more realistic and to be blunt, the original of the more original of the two
shows. If Mob Doctor had been better, it could have taken advantage of this
opening and been a hit, but Nurse Jackie
was never my favorite show despite some good episodes in each season. To really appreciate what happens here, you
really need to start with the first season and go from there
chronologically. Otherwise, you’ll be as
out of it as she is.
include Cast & Crew audio commentary tracks on episodes, Gag Reel and two
featurettes: On The Floor Of All Saints
and Cruz Control.
becoming the most successful TV show in history to feature a family, a title it
still holds, The Return Of The Beverly
Hillbillies (1981) was able to reunite most of the surviving members of the
show and was part of a little-discussed cycle of hit TV movie reunions that
became unexpected moneymakers for all the networks at the time. Never out of syndication, especially since
the early black and white seasons went public domain, the show was very popular
and as recent DVD sales show, still is.
Ryan had passed away, so she was written out of the new script and creator Paul
Henning put this telefilm together and though not great, has its moments and is
worth a look. Returning were Buddy Ebsen
as “the little millionaire” Jed Clampett, but he moved back to the swamp and
gave his fortune split between his daughter Elly May) Donna Douglas was back)
and Jethro Bodine (Ray Young stepping in for Max Baer Jr., who passed on the
telefilm). Nancy Culp was also back as
Jane Hathaway, but with a new rich and wacky boss played by Hogan’s Heroes star Werner Klemperer in
a really good performance.
big gag casting was Imogene Coca as “Granny’s Maw”, meaning her character was
at least 100 years old, but Coca made it work and we get some good jokes and
good moments. It does not always work,
partly due to a writer’s strike stopping the fine-tuning, but it is the only
reunion they did (an idea to have Jed kidnapped and the family hired Barnaby
Jones (also to be played by Ebsen) did not happen) so it is a curio worth a
showing up are Linda Henning (not repeating her Petticoat Junction role), King
Donovan, Lurene Tuttle, Buddy Van Horn and a very young Heather Locklear in one
of her first appearances anywhere. And
yes, it is as watchable as the theatrical film with Lili Tomlin.
include a terrific hour-long documentary entitled Paul Henning & The
Hillbillies that is impressive and I wish were longer, optional intro
to the telefilm by Linda Kaye Henning, Rare Elly’s
Critters Promotional Trailer and two compilations that all fans will enjoy:
extensive Promo Spots for the Original Show and Vintage Cast TV Commercials,
including more than a few clips each not issued on the CBS vintage episode
we have VEEP: The Complete First Season
(2012) with Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the first female Vice President, as we
follow her new life, challenges, trials, tribulations and manipulations to stay
on top. Filled with bitter humor and
shot with one shaky camera almost all the time, it could have been called The Political Office and has a tendency
to become repetitious and neurotic.
While the acting is good and Dreyfus gives a performance different from
her previous work, the show eventually kills suspension of disbelief because it
becomes so dialogue-driven that you realize no group of people talks like this
all the time in real life.
course, this is one of the ongoing jokes throughout the eight episodes here,
but it did not always work for me and the writing also plays more like everyone
trying to one-up each other in a way that is more the writers than the
characters. Of course, it is a hit for
the network and a critical success, but how long they can sustain this is
anyone’s guess. As one who keeps track
of politics, I found some of this to work on that level, but with real life
politics being so played out and tired, this series can only do so much. See it for yourself and see if it works for
includes UltraViolet and standard Digital Copy for PC, PC portable and
iTunes-friendly devices, while the Blu-rays add audio commentary tracks on all
episodes, a Behind The Scenes featurette on the show, full clips of four
“political ads” done by the characters, Deleted Scenes & Outtakes.
1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on VEEP and Jackie should
be the clear visual winners here, but both are styled down and VEEP specially is softer and has more
motion blur, more so than the 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on Fisher that is not bad despite being
stylized a bit and not offering as much potential performance. The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image VEEP DVDs and same playback for the
image on Men are far softer than I
could have expected. The anamorphically
enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Mob is
soft too, but not nearly as bad. The
1.33 X 1 image on Beverly holds its own as the oldest entry
here, originally shot on 35mm color film and the fact that it is the equal of
all the DVDs here is sad.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix on Jackie is the most sonically competent release here, yet the
dialogue is more in the front channel than it ought to be. Still, it is well recorded and one of the few
TV Blu-rays with 7.1 to date. The DTS-HD
MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on VEEP
is towards the front speakers because this is dialogue-based and should be
great, but it weak, with the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 versions on DVD even
worse, so the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix on Fisher has Pro Logic-type surrounds and
actually outperforms that show and ties Jackie
as the best playback sound here.
Dolby Digital 5.1 on Men and Mob are not equal as Men is particularly weak and way too
much towards the front speakers, while Mob
at least has some structure. The lossy
Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Hillbillies
has some compression and might be down a generation, but is good for its age,
though I bet this could sound a bit better like the better vintage episode on
the CBS sets.
- Nicholas Sheffo