UPHE’s Latest Full-Series Presentation Of ‘Emergency!’ Is A Disappointment

Courtesy: UPHE

It goes without saying that NBC’s classic drama, Emergency! is one of the best and most important series in the history of modern television.  The show was fictional, but thanks to everything that it portrayed over the course of its six seasons on television from 1972-77, the face of field medicine in the real world completely changed.  What’s more, if not for the landmark series, audiences today might not have medical dramas past and present, such as E.R., 9-1-1, and even Chicago Fire.  So in reality, Emergency! remains one of the most important series not only of its kind but in general more than 40 years after it ended.  This past September, Universal re-issued the series in whole on DVD.  The re-issue came more than five years after Universal’s then most recent release of the series.  Sadly, there is little to applaud in this latest presentation, save for the seemingly reduced price, which will be discussed shortly.  The packaging is atrocious in comparison to that of the set’s 2016 release and is its biggest detriment.  This will be discussed a little later.  The production is also problematic and will also be examined later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the set’s presentation.  Even taking everything into consideration, it still falls short of expectations in comparison to its predecessor.

Universal’s recent DVD re-issue of Emergency!: The Complete Series is a somewhat disappointing new offering from the company.  Coming more than five years after the company’s most recent presentation of the series, there is not a whole lot to “write home about.”  One thing that can perhaps be said to the positive about the set is its pricing.  In comparison to the that of the 2016 set’s pricing, it does seem to be less expensive on average at least.  Using listings at Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and Barnes & Noble Booksellers (It was not listed through Books-A-Million and Target at the time of this review’s posting), the new 2021 set’s average price point is $77.48.  That is down, but only slightly, from the average price point of $77.75 for the 2016 set.  So in reality, the difference literally comes down to a matter of cents.  So it is debatable in reality whether the pricing in this case can actually be considered a full positive.  Looking a little bit closer though, the separate listings paint a slightly fuller picture.  The 2021 release is listed at $54.99 at Amazon and Walmart (in-store) versus $84.99 at Best Buy and $102.99 through Barnes & Noble.  By comparison even more, Amazon lists the 2016 release at $67.51 while the most expensive listing through Walmart online from 2016 is $78.99.  Of course it should be noted here that the stated price is through a third party seller.  Best Buy’s listing for the 2016 set is also at $84.99, so that is the same price as that for the 2021 set.  Barnes & Noble lists the 2016 set at $90.99.  So again, the pricing for the 2021 set is actually lower than that of the 2016 set.  The thing of it is though, the pricing is likely lower because less material is used in the set’s packaging, which is its most detrimental aspect here.

The packaging for the 2021 presentation of Emergency!: The Complete Series is atrocious in comparison to that of the 2016 set.  The 2021 set places the series in whole in one large box a la so many of the shows that CBS DVD and Paramount have done.  By comparison, the 2016 release has all six seasons (yes, “The Final Rescues” are in that set, too) in their own standalone cases inside the larger box.  That might have driven up that set’s price, but it was smart packaging.  It made the price worth it.  In the case of the 2021 set, the seasons’ discs are all housed in the one box, stacked on top of one another throughout.  Everyone knows what that leads to: increased offs of discs scratching one another and in turn reducing the discs’ life spans.  Making matters even worse is that the episode guide is printed on the inside of the case’s art.  The manner in which the discs are housed completely covers the episode guides.  Audiences have to actually play out the discs to get episode summaries.  The standalone season sets, by comparison, offer full episode guides, complete with episode summaries inside the cases.  Those guides are far more accessible, too.  To that end, Universal could have at least separated the episode guide into its own standalone booklet in the case of this new 2021 full series set.  So therein is even more detriment to the presentation.  As if that is not enough, the full series presentation with the series’ standalone sets in one box takes up about the same amount of space on DVD/BD racks as the new set, so even to that end, audiences are not losing out anything.  It’s yet more proof of how badly this set fails and certainly not the last, either.

As if all of the concerns raised through the set’s packaging are not enough, the quality of the footage in the episodes makes the presentation even worse.  The discs featured in the set are the same ones used in the standalone season sets.  This means that the grainy look of the footage is just the same here as in the standalone sets.  By comparison, the footage has continued to look so much better in its airings on Me-TV and CoziTV over the years.  This shows that it is possible to have had the footage re-mastered and cleaned up in its quality.  Maybe that can and should be done for a future Blu-ray release for the series.  If it can be cleaned up for television broadcast, there is no reason that it should not have been cleaned up for its DVD presentations.  Keeping that in mind along with the problems posed through the set’s packaging and the only slightly lower price from the set’s previous release, this latest presentation ultimately proves more failure than fun.

Universal’s recent DVD re-issue of Emergency!: The Complete Series is a disappointing new presentation of the landmark series.  If anything, it is a complete dishonor to the show, its cast, and the show’s legacy.  That is proven in part through pricing that is only slightly less expensive than that of the series’ previous full series release.  The set’s packaging is noticeably less smart than that of its predecessor.  Instead of simply presenting the seasons in their standalone sets, as with the set’s previous presentation, the seasons’ discs are stacked on top of one another throughout the set, thus increasing the chance that the discs will damage one another.  This is so much less positive than that of the show’s previous full series presentation.  The grainy quality of the footage in comparison to its quality on television rounds out its problems.  It is sad that in an age when such aged footage can be re-mastered and cleaned up, it still has yet to happen.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the latest full-series presentation of Emergency!  All things considered, they make this latest presentation a notable step down from the series’ 2016 full series release.

More information on this and other titles from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is available at:

Website: https://uphe.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/universalpictures

Twitter: https://twitter.com/UniAllAccess

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

Make A Bet, Enter For A Chance To Win “A Bet’s A Bet” From Phil’s Picks

Courtesy:  Cinedigm

Courtesy: Cinedigm

Independent movie and television studio Cinedigm will release its new rom-com A Bet’s A Bet next Tuesday, January 20th. And one lucky person will win a copy of the movie on DVD for free courtesy of Phil’s Picks this Friday, January 16th. Anyone that wants to enter for a chance at a free copy of the movie just needs to go to the Phil’s Picks Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/philspicks, “Like” it, and then write on the page that they want to be entered for a chance to win the movie.   It’s that easy. A review of the movie is available online now via the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com/2014/12/23/the-opposite-sex-is-an-edgy-entertaining-rom-com/.

A Bet’s A Bet, which also goes by the title The Opposite Sex, is an independent release. But it boasts a superstar cast. Daytime Emmy© Award winner Jennifer Finnigan (The Bold and the Beautiful, Tyrant) co-directed and co-starred with Jonathan Silverman (Weekend at Bernie’s, Weekend at Bernie’s II, Close to Home). Kristin Chenoweth (Rio 2, Stranger Than Fiction, Glee) makes an appearance early on in the movie. Also on board are Josh Hopkins (G.I. Jane, Cougar Town, The Perfect Storm) opposite lead star Geoff Stults (She’s Out Of My League, Wedding Crashers, The Break-Up). Kenan Thompson (Saturday Night Live, Kenan & Kel, All That) appears in a supporting role along with Dana Ashbrook (Twin Peaks, Dawson’s Creek, Crash) and Josh Cooke (I Love You, Man, Hart of Dixie, Manhattan). Debra Jo Rupp (That 70s Show, She’s Out of My League, Big) makes an appearance as Vince’s (Geoff Stults) secretary. And Eric Roberts (The Expendables, The Dark Knight, The Cable Guy), brother of actress Julia Roberts, stars as Vince’s boss Mr. Campbell. Even former N’Sync member Joey Fatone makes a cameo as a delivery man. Actress Mena Suvari (Chicago Fire, American Beauty, Six Feet Under) rounds out the cast as Vince’s love interest. It is her relationship with Vince that serves as the basis for the movie’s script.

The script behind A Bet’s A Bet centers on high-powered divorce attorney Vince (Stults) and his budding relationship with equally strong-willed divorcee Jane (Suvari). Vince is a self-proclaimed bachelor for life who is more focused on sleeping with every woman that he can get. On the other side of things, Jane is going through a nasty divorce. When the pair is introduced through a couple of mutual friends who just happened to be married, a series of hilarious bets plays out. The end result is a budding relationship that neither expected as both Vince and Jane are such headstrong characters. Jane’s own divorce case plays a role in the pair’s growing relationship, too. It offers its own share of laughs as audiences will see in watching the movie.

A Bet’s A Bet (The Opposite Sex) will be available on DVD next Tuesday, January 20th. It will retail for $14.93. It runs ninety-seven minutes counting end credits. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, and giveaways from Phil’s Picks, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, and giveaways in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Opposite Sex Is An Edgy, Entertaining Rom-Com

Courtesy: Cinedigm

Courtesy: Cinedigm

Opposites attract or so people have been raised to understand. That old adage has served as the basis for so many rom-coms throughout the ages. Apparently so do people with the same personality type as is seen in indie studio Cinedigm’s new rom-com The Opposite Sex. Not to be confused with the 1956 June Allyson/Joan Collins rom-com, this movie is a fun, edgy romp that will have audiences laughing nonstop from start to finish. It obviously isn’t the first story of its kind by any means. But the execution of its oft-used boy meets girl-loses her-gets her back in the end formula is relatively creative. It’s interesting to note that while similar setups have been used in previous rom-coms, this one is perhaps the first to actually incorporate a figure whose job it is to break up marriages himself finding love in the most unexpected place. The script behind The Opposite Sex is within itself plenty of reason to check out this new indie rom-com. The work of the star-studded movie’s cast is just as praiseworthy. Geoff Stults conjures Charlie Sheen’s Charlie Harper and even Josh Duhamel as he plays the chauvinistic Vince opposite the equally strong-willed Jane (Mena Suvari). The supporting cast on both sides collectively adds its own touch to the film making for even more laughs. Through it all, the movie’s pacing and its run time come together to round out the reasons for the success of The Opposite Sex. The movie–minus end credits–clocks in right at ninety minutes. throughout the course of that time, the story’s pacing never loses a step. Together with the work of the movie’s cast and the script behind the whole thing, The Opposite Sex proves to be a late addition to this year’s list of the best new indie flicks and the best new movies overall, too.

The Opposite Sex is not the first story of its kind. That goes without saying. The standard boy meets girl-loses her-gets her back in the end formula used as the script’s basis has been used for nearly every rom-com that has come before it. Yet the execution of that formula makes this indie rom-com stand solidly on its own two feet. This applies both among the indie film community and that of its much bigger-name counterparts. Co-writers and cast mates Jennifer Finnigan (Tyrant, Better With You, Close To Home) and Josh Silverman (Weekend at Bernie’s, Weekend at Bernie’s II, Close To Home) placed lead character Vince in the position of a successful, high-powered divorce lawyer who ends up finding love through the most unexpected place. His character in particular is relatively original. Though audiences that are familiar with the likes of Hitch, What Women Want, and How To Lose A Guy in Ten Days will see instant similarities between those movies and this work. Just like the aforementioned stories, this work sees the standard male lead with the “bachelor for life” mentality “unexpectedly” falling for a certain woman after his view of the opposite sex changes over the time that he spends with her. In the case of The Opposite Sex Vince finds that certain female love interest thanks to his friend’s wife Stephanie (Jennnifer Finnigan). Stephanie is old friends with Jane (Suvari). Jane and Stephanie’s decades-longfriendship leads to a rather interesting meeting between Jane and Vince, which in itself makes for its own share of laughs. That first unfcomfortable (in many more ways than one) meeting is the first spark that leads to the pair’s slowly evolving romance. Again, the formula is very similar to previous rom-coms. But the ability of FInnigan and Silverman to change things up just a bit is just enough to make the script work in this case.

The formula used for The Opposite Sex’s script is one that is quite well-known to audiences of the rom-com genre. To the credit of both Jennifer Finnigan and Josh Silverman, the pair was adapted the formula in question just enough in the case of this movie to keep the story entertaining from start to finish. The script itself would have been nothing though, without a cast to properly interpret and make it entertaining. Again, lead stars Mena Suvari (Six Feet Under, American Beauty, Chicago Fire) and Geoff Stults (Wedding Crashers, She’s Out Of My League, The Breakup) do just that. And considering the duo’s experience in the world of rom-coms, it should come as no surprise. Suvari will have even the movie’s male audiences laughing as Jane puts Vince in his place time and again without even the slightest hint of remorse. From making a bet on a twenty-dollar pool game to some rather more interesting situations, Jane never once lets herself become the standard pushover female who ends up giving in to the guy. This submission on the part of the female lead happens far too often in other rom-coms. So it’s nice to see that didn’t happen here. It’s yet another way in which this movie stands out from its bigger-name counterparts. The duo’s supporting cast adds even more enjoyment to the movie, too. Audiences will find themselves laughing just as much as Stephanie (Finnigan) and Jane (Suvari) team up to play charades against Vince (Stults) and Kenny (Josh Hopkins). The sight of Kenny trying to act out the act of taxidermy will have audiences laughing tears of joy. It is such a hilarious moment because there is so much truth to something as simple as charades. The actors’ reactions to Kenny’s attempts only adds to the moment’s hilarity. And even when Kenny is by himself, trying to counsel a couple played by Josh Silverman and Nadia Dajani, audiences will laugh just as much. Add in a cameo guest spot by former N’Sync member Joey Fatone, and audiences will see just how important the work of The Opposite Sex’s cast was to the movie’s enjoyment and success. On a side note, Fatone’s blooper with Stults and Hopkins in the movie’s end credits makes for just as many laughs. Getting back to the movie’s main factors, the acting on the part of its cast does plenty to make it enjoyable, as audiences will see when they watch it for themselves. Its run time and pacing play their own pivotal role in the movie’s success, too. They come together to solidify it and show once and for all why it is just as entertaining as any of its bigger-name counterparts.

The scripting and acting that went into The Opposite Sex offers audiences more than its collective share of laughs. Even being an independent release, its script and the work of its cast make it just as entertaining as its more well-known counterparts. While both the script and the acting are key to that level of success, the movie’s pacing and companion run time play just as much of a role in its enjoyment. At no one point does The Opposite Sex ever lose audiences either in terms of its script or its cast’s acting. It never moves too fast or too slow, thus allowing audiences to enjoy every quip and every joke surrounding the never-ending battle of the sexes. It’s all done over the course of about ninety minutes. That perhaps is the most intriguing factor of all in the movie’s success. Not counting its end credits, it comes in right at about ninety minutes. That is roughly par for course in terms of run times for the rom-coms churned out by Hollywood’s Power Five studios. The combination of that standard run time and solid pacing completes The Opposite Sex, proving once more why this movie is just as enjoyable as any more well-known rom-com past or present. It shows once more that indie flicks can and are just as worth the watch as anything that Hollywood’s major studios can churn out and have, too. Keeping that in mind, The Opposite Sex proves that despite a familiar formula, the movie’s script, its cast’s acting and its collective pacing and run time make it one of this year’s best independent movies and one of the best movies of 2014.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.