Blu-Ray Review: Brilliant ‘Modern Family’ Stands Out in HD

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CHICAGO – “Modern Family” is the funniest comedy on television. The winner of the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series (over highly-acclaimed programs including “Glee,” “30 Rock,” “The Office,” and more) and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Eric Stonestreet) is now available on Blu-ray and DVD and not only is it a program that everyone should see at least once but, like the greatest sitcoms, it holds up remarkably well to repeat viewing. Blu-Ray Rating: 5.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 5.0/5.0

I can’t say enough about “Modern Family.” As much as I love “30 Rock,” “The Office,” “Glee,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Community,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” and “The Big Bang Theory” (it’s an amazing time for TV comedy), “Modern Family” is the hands-down winner. It’s arguably the best-written and performed comedy since “Arrested Development” and there’s simply no reason not to watch this clever, inventive, and amazingly-consistent series.

Modern Family: The Complete First Season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 21st, 2010
Modern Family: The Complete First Season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 21st, 2010
Photo credit: Fox Home Video

Perhaps the most notable story of this year’s Emmys was that five out of the six adult leads on “Modern Family” were nominated for individual awards. And the amazing thing is that a few of the children were probably considered as well. This is the best overall comedy ensemble on television.

Modern Family: The Complete First Season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 21st, 2010
Modern Family: The Complete First Season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 21st, 2010
Photo credit: Fox Home Video

When I reviewed the series premiere, I wrote, “With a dozen speaking roles, “Modern Family” can sometimes feel a bit too cluttered for a 22-minute show, but it’s hard to get too down on a sitcom for being too ambitious and once the show stops defining its characters and lets them grow, this could be one of the best comedies on the air.

Little did I know how quickly that would happen. The mega-talented ensemble gelled almost immediately and the show became great by the end of 2009 and only got better in 2010.

If you’re completely unfamiliar, “Modern Family” follows three related arcs of unique family life. Jay (Ed O’Neill) deals with the pitfalls of having a gorgeous young wife (Sofia Vergara) and a scene-stealing stepson named Manny (Rico Rodriguez). Jay has two children named Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Claire (Julie Bowen). Mitchell is married to Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) and Claire manages her goofy husband Phil (Ty Burrell) and three children (Nolan Gould, Sarah Hyland, Ariel Winter).

If you’re counting, that’s 10 regular speaking roles. Most programs can’t support four well-drawn characters but the writers of “Modern Family” and the amazing ensemble brought all ten to life in their first season. I’ve always thought that a sitcom can be appraised on the quality of its weakest ensemble member. There’s not a single weak link in this historic cast.

The Blu-ray release of “Modern Family” lives up to the quality of the show. The HD picture is perfect; easily as good as in the show’s original broadcast. And the special features, while not being too extensive, are fun and insightful. I particularly enjoyed a series of interviews with the cast about what they were doing before the show. Sofia Vergara almost became the hottest dental hygienist on Earth and it’s fascinating to hear the ensemble discuss how close they were to giving up before this program changed their lives forever. Deleted scenes, extended interviews, screen tests, and other featurettes balance out one of the best TV on BD sets of the year. Don’t miss it.

Special Features:
o The Making Of Modern Family: “Modern Family”
o Deleted Family Interviews
o Real Modern Family Moments
o Fizbo The Clown
o Before Modern Family
o Deleted, Extended & Alternate Scenes
o Modern Family “Hawaii” Gag Reel

‘Modern Family: The Complete First Season,’ stars Ed O’Neill, Sofia Vergara, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Rico Rodriguez, Nolan Gould, Sarah Hyland, and Ariel Winter. It was created by Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 21st, 2010. It is not rated and runs 513 minutes. content director Brian Tallerico

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