DVD Review: ABC TV Releases Including ‘Cougar Town,’ ‘Brothers and Sisters,’ More

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CHICAGO – Disney and ABC Studios are releasing waves of DVDs in the coming weeks that are designed to allow you to catch up before new episodes of your favorite shows premiere or, as is the case with two of the first titles, remember the days when they were still on the air. The most recent seasons of “Brothers & Sisters” and “Off the Map” hit stores this week, August 23rd, 2011, followed by “Cougar Town” and “Desperate Housewives” next week, August 30th, 2011.

HollywoodChicago.com DVD Rating: 3.0/5.0
DVD Rating: 3.0/5.0

Of the first four ABC releases, there’s a clear favorite in the HollywoodChicago.com offices, one of the most underrated comedies on TV — “Cougar Town.” The second season of the Courteney Cox comedy was the one that critics and fans of the show thought would solidify the program with a larger fan base but it didn’t quite take. The program earned enough of a following to justify a much-deserved third season (which, sadly, won’t air until mid-season in early 2012) but it hasn’t quite translated to ratings or pop culture prominence like one might have expected. Still, those who love “Cougar Town” do so wholeheartedly, as proven by the recent Supporting Actress award win at the Critics’ Choice Awards for the great Busy Phillips. Assuming that “Cougar Town” continues to fall short of finding the audience it deserves, this is the kind of show that people will claim they always loved years from now. Pick up season one and mark your calendar for “Cougar Town: The Complete Second Season,” hitting in a DVD-only set next week (the lack of a Blu-ray option is tragic for a show that looks excellent in HD on ABC).

Cougar Town: The Complete Second Season will be released on DVD on August 30th, 2011
Cougar Town: The Complete Second Season will be released on DVD on August 30th, 2011
Photo credit: ABC Studios/Disney Home Video

As for the other three releases, “Brothers and Sisters: The Complete Fifth and Final Season” is a nice capper to an always-underrated show. Sure, the writing on “Brothers and Sisters” was always a bit overheated and even more so as the program aged but this was one of the most top-notch ensembles on TV. There’s something comforting about having at least one quality family drama on the air every season. With the rise of “Parenthood” to fill that slot, it kind of felt like “Brothers and Sisters” was on the way out, which was reflected by the diminishing ratings. After presenting the cast with an option for a sixth season that would have included a reduced episode total, the show was merely canceled instead. As the box says “Relive the Heartfelt Drama.” The series had its ups and downs but we received calls for it regularly during “Bubble Watch 2011” on WGN-AM for a reason. It had loyal fans who will be happy with the now-available final DVD set.

The final two entries in the first wave of ABC releases are the seventh season of “Desperate Housewives” and the one-and-only season of “Off the Map.” The former is a program that I lost interest in years ago as it seemed clear that it was never going to live up to its satirical potential and be content with merely spinning its melodramatic wheels instead. As for “Off the Map,” it was a mess from episode one — a casualty of a year in which ABC really couldn’t figure out how to program drama. Fans will surely be satisfied with three-disc set but if you avoided “Grey’s Anatomy in the Wild” when it was on TV, there’s no reason to check it out now on DVD. In order of preference…

“Cougar Town: The Complete Second Season”

Synopsis:
TV’s funniest mom (and the cul-de-sac crew) return for more laughs in their not-so-quiet Florida neighborhood. Courteney Cox leads an all-star cast in the hilarious second season of ABC’s hot hit comedy, Cougar Town. It’s a new year of uproarious challenges as Travis prepares to leave for college, Jules’ and Grayson’s relationship reaches another level and Bobby tries to stand on his own. Meanwhile, Andy and Ellie find clever new ways to keep their marriage lively, and Laurie ramps up her search for love — in her own unique way. Relive all 22 episodes and every laugh-out-loud moment of ABC’s Cougar Town: The Complete Second Season, with never-before-seen bonus features, in this sensational 3-disc box set.

Special Features:
o (still called) Cougar Town: Season 2
o Andy’s Dreams
o Deleted Scenes
o Outtakes

Brothers and Sisters: The Complete Fifth and Final Season was released on DVD on August 23rd, 2011
Brothers and Sisters: The Complete Fifth and Final Season was released on DVD on August 23rd, 2011
Photo credit: ABC Studios/Disney Home Video

“Brothers and Sisters: The Complete Fifth and Final Season”

Synopsis:
Spend some time with the Walkers, a family much like your own, as they support each other through the joys and heartaches of life in The Complete Fifth Season of ABC’s stirring drama, Brothers And Sisters. Featuring a sensational ensemble cast, including Sally Field, Calista Flockhart, Patricia Wettig, and Rachel Griffiths, Brothers And Sisters is outstanding television at its warm and witty best. It’s a season of new beginnings. The family is reunited for Justin’s homecoming party, love is in the air as Nora and Kitty get back in the dating game, and Sarah’s and Kevin’s relationships are put to the test. Relive the excitement and the emotion of every captivating moment of Season Five in this 6-DVD set, complete with never-before-seen bonus features available only on DVD. It’s a must-have for every Brothers And Sisters fan!

Special Features:
o Deleted Scenes
o Bloopers and Outtakes
o Gilles Marini: Uncovered
o Writing For The Walkers
o Audio Commentaries

“Desperate Housewives: The Complete Seventh Season”

Synopsis:
The action gets even wilder in the sizzling seventh season of ABC’s acclaimed dramatic comedy, Desperate Housewives. Experience all the humor, mystery and juicy thrills in this spectacular 5-disc collection. It’s high noon on Wisteria Lane as a brand-new rival (Vanessa Williams) stirs up even more excitement, deceit and romance in the neighborhood. Lynette gets jealous when Renee starts spending time with Tom, and Bree finds herself falling for Keith (Brian Austin Green). Meanwhile, Gabrielle makes a shocking personal discovery, Susan copes with a life-threatening event and a mysterious shooting has everyone on edge. Through all of the drama, the world’s most famous housewives are bound together by the friendship they share and the secrets they keep. Relive every red-hot episode, and dive deeper into television’s most addicting primetime series with never-before-seen bonus features. It’s the perfect gift for every Desperate Housewives fan!

Off the Map: The Complete Series was released on DVD on August 23rd, 2011
Off the Map: The Complete Series was released on DVD on August 23rd, 2011
Photo credit: ABC Studios/Disney Home Video

Special Features:
o Desperate For Trivia
o Growing Up on Wisteria Lane
o 12 Deleted Scenes Straight From the Cutting Room Floor
o Bloopers, Outtakes, and Gags

“Off the Map: The Complete Series”

Synopsis:
From the Golden Globe-winning creators of Grey’s Anatomy comes a riveting new drama about a team of idealistic young doctors committed to saving lives and pushing the boundaries of medicine with nothing but brains, instinct and the untapped healing powers of the uncharted jungle. Experience all the excitement of Off The Map: The Complete First Season.

It may be lush and tropical, but it’s a far cry from paradise…Welcome to “La Ciudad des las Estrellas”, a tiny village in the South American rainforest with just one understaffed, under-stocked medical clinic. Against this low-tech, high-stress backdrop, seven maverick physicians struggle to make a difference while they also grapple with the personal demons that brought them here.

Join a stellar ensemble cast as they portray a flawed but fearless band of doctors who will go to the ends of the earth to change the world for the better — one patient at a time. Relive every moment of this uplifting series, and enjoy never-before-seen bonus features including outtakes and deleted scenes. If you crave adventure, suspense, romance and exotic surroundings, go Off The Map!

Special Features:
o On Set at Off The Map
o Jungle Medicine
o Deleted Scenes
o Outtakes

“Brothers and Sisters” and “Off the Map” were released on August 23rd, 2011. “Cougar Town” and “Desperate Housewives” will be released on August 30th, 2011.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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