Cybill: Volume 1 (1995) - Collector's Edition

Genre(s): Comedy
First Look Pictures || NR - 240 minutes - $24.98 || September 16, 2008
Reviewer: Charlie Roth || Posted On: 2008-09-23


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): Chuck Lorre (created by)
Cast: Cybill Shepherd, Christine Baranski, Alicia Witt, Alan Rosenberg


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 2008 Interview with Cybill Shepherd
  • Cybill's Favorite Episodes


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Full Screen (1.33)
  • English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English (CC)

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.::THE FILM::.

There’s nothing America loves more than a spunky women fighting to make it in today’s world. This has been the premise to many successful TV sitcoms since the early sixties. “The Lucy Show”, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, “Alice”, “Roseanne”, “Grace Under Fire”, “Reba”, the list goes on and on. “Cybill” is CBS’ 1996 Hollywood spin on this classic plot. The show follows aging actress Cybill Sheridan (Cybill Shepherd) as she tries to gain a foothold in show business.

She also has to deal with her two daughters, their two fathers and her best friend. This sounds fairly standard and for the most part, it is. Both the daughters and the fathers are there to play yin-yang roles. Zoey Woodbine (Alicia Witt) is cynical and dark while Rachel Blanders (Dedee Pfeiffer) is straight-laced and neurotic. Ira Woodbine (Alan Rosenberg) is a sensitive writer while Jeff Robbins (Tom Wopat) is a macho, sex-crazed, stuntman. Her best friend, Maryann Thorpe, is there to be drunken comic relief but Christine Baranski runs away with the role. Baranski’s comedic timing and delivery are magnificent. She really helps the character transcend the role of throwaway sidekick.

My biggest problem with this box set is that First Look Studios has chosen to go with a best of set spanning all four seasons instead of standard season set. This is surprising considering that the first season is only 13 episodes and the entire series has been released over in the UK. I’m sure fans are happy to receive any US release but for somebody who’s never seen this show before, there are massive time jumps with the episodes included. Things like major characters and subplots just appear or are only mentioned briefly. The show is still funny but I feel like I would have enjoyed it more if I could have seen the characters grow and mature naturally.

EPISODE BREAKDOWN 1) The Last Temptation Of Cybill (Season 1, Episode 11)
2) Local Hero (Season 2, Episode 9)
3) Educating Zoey (Season 2, Episode 13)
4) Pal Zoey (Season 2, Episode 22)
5) Bringing Home The Bacon (Season 3, Episode 1)
6) Cybill Does Diary (Season 3, Episode 6)
7) Kiss Me You Fool (Season 3, Episode 17)
8) Where's a Harpoon When You Need One? (Season 4, Episode 8)
9) Show Me the Minnie (Season 4, Episode 12)
10) Ka-Boom! (Season 4, Episode 24)



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Cybill’s Favorite Episodes:
1) Going To Hell In A Limo (Part 1) (Season 3, Episode 8)
2) Valentine’s Day (Season 3, Episode 16)
3) The Golden Year (Season 4, Episode 11)

2008 never-before-seen interview with Cybill Shepherd – This is actually two, six minute featurettes entitled The Cast Of Cybill and The Battle To Breakthrough.

- “The Cast of Cybill”, begins with Cybill talking about the show and the casting of the main characters. It’s more like 3 minute of content thanks to various clips of the show mixed with the interview footage.

- “The Battle to Breakthrough” is much more entertaining. It has Cybill talking about how they pushed the boundaries of network TV and covered hard topics such as breast cancer and menopause. A good amount of the clips shown with the interview footage are from episodes not included on the DVD so they are fairly interesting.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

First Look Studios has opted to squeeze ten episodes on one dual layer disc while putting the three bonus episodes and interview on one single layer disc. This decision has introduced a variety of issues due to the level of compression used. The first disc just doesn’t look that good, details are muddled and many episodes are plagued with shimmering. Shimmering mainly affects brightly colored objects. Kiss Me You Fool is the worst offender, if you have this disc, look at the cheese cracker box and Cybill’s yellow suit. Disc two is better but it’s still nothing to call home about.

The audio, on the other hand, is perfectly fine. I couldn’t detect any flaws and it sounds as good as a TV show from the late 90s can sound. The only thing worth mentioning is that the theme song has been replaced with a generic theme that doesn’t really fit the spirit of the show.



.::OVERALL::.

“Cybill” is a fresh spin on a classic TV sitcom plot. I found it very entertaining even though there were some major gaps with subplots and characters due to it being a best of set. Sadly, this DVD is poorly produced. Instead of giving the episodes room to breathe over two dual layer DVDs, First Look Studios opted to put ten episodes on a single disc and the special features on another. This has introduced a variety of compression issues that compromise the visual quality. Unless you are a major fan of this series, you would be better off renting this.