Modern Family: The Complete First Season (2009) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Comedy
Fox || NR - 570 minutes - $69.99 || September 21, 2010
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2010-09-22


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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

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): Steven Levitan & Christopher Lloyd (created by)
Cast:


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 5 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Quickly becoming one of the hottest TV Shows over the 2009/2010 season (even winning an Emmy), it's very easy to see why everyone loves this show. Great cast. Great cast dynamics. Comedic moments. Intellectual dialog. This how has it all. It's easily going to be one of the hottest sitcoms to ever land on our TV screens (which is great, since I despise "Friends").

For those who have never seen this show and are wondering what all the fuss is about, I'll go ahead and give a synopsis of it.

Phil (Burrell) and Claire (Bowen) are married with three kids. Claire's dad, Jay (O'Neil), who is struggling with a midlife crisis, has married beautiful Latin women Gloria (Vergara) who has a young, old souled son named Manny (Rodriguez). Jay's other son, Mitchell (Ferguson), is not only gay, but in a relationship with diva Cam (Stonestreet) and their adopted Chinese daughter. Phew. It's a large ensemble cast that finds so many ways to bring the funny each and every week.

The formula for each episode largely remains the same throughout the course of the 24 episode Season. Phil is a giant kid at heart and finds ways not only to act like a complete idiot, but also shows how loving and tender he is towards his family. In one episode he trying to be 'hip' and declares that WTF (what the f**k) means 'Why the Face'. The way he says it, with pure confidence that it actually means what he thinks it means, will instantly bring a laugh to anyone who knows the true meaning.

One of the most talked about episodes of the Season is "Game Changer", which Phil wants to get an iPad for his birthday. He not only thinks Steven Jobs aligned the launch of the iPad with his birthday, but when Claire comes home empty handed and tells him the Apple store will get more in stock next week he says "That's the worst thing you can say to an early adopter". This is so true (as I type some of this review on my iPad I got on day one sitting next to my iPhone 4).

In the same episode, we have Cam and Mitchell spying on the neighbors via a baby monitor and Mitchell trying to find ways to protect his family in case of a break-in. It's a classic formula that works out well when the episodes conclusion comes to hand. These two bring the show tons of laughs, especially when we see Cam in his Fizbo outfit. He tends to be the shows true gay character (both our, but Cam tends to be far more flamboyant).

Jumping over to the other side of the family, Jay and Gloria represent the steady home. Jay is rich and Gloria, who many would think is attracted to him only because of his money (later debunked when we see Manny's father); bring the show the much needed soul. Jay truly does love Gloria and Manny, and finds way to show it to them in every episode. Manny is probably one of the best child actors to grace the TV screen in some time that has perfect comedic timing and plays the 'old soul in a young body' party very well. If he's not hustling Jay in chess, he's finding classy ways to ask out a girl.

The show takes the unique approach at being filmed like a documentary ("The Office"). This idea is getting a bit stale, but here it actually seems to work. The characters speak to the camera (interview style) and allow the camera men to follow them everywhere they go. But they don't actually know the cameras are present, so it feels more like "The Wonder Years" with a visual voice over instead of just audio. "The Office" not only knows cameras are present, but often makes remarks or nods to them (often), while on "Modern Family" it happens very rarely (one case is the last few seconds of the iPad episode).

It's easy to see why “Modern Family” won an Emmy, it's going to go down as of the best sitcoms of the decade.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

This release includes a slip cover. All features are presented in HD.

Deleted/Extended Scenes (45 Minutes) - Nearly every episode is represented here and includes a snippet or two of additional dialog or a cut scene. I went through a handful of these (I believe scenes cut from TV Shows were cut for run time and typically don't represent a huge change in the story) and found them to be very funny. The scenes from the Second Disc were by far the best (perhaps because the show found it's groove).

Deleted Family Interviews (10 Minutes) - Like the above, these were cut for time. Anything with Phil was great, but the other stuff was really a take it or leave it type feeling.

Real Modern Family Moments (10 Minutes) - The Creator and various Cast and Crew discuss how their real life 'Modern Family' moments were adapted for the show as either plot lines or small remarks.

Before Modern Family (13 Minutes) - Surprisingly this is a very interesting look at most of the main cast and what they did (or didn't do) before they landed on a hit TV Show. It's pretty obvious some of these people had already hit it big (Ed O'Neil) but for others, they essentially just did bit parts.

Fizbo the Clown (4 Minutes) - One of the funniest episodes of the Season gets a small featurette where Eric Stonestreet describes how he created the lovable (or scary...) clown.

Making of "Family Portrait" (9 Minutes) - The season finale gets it's very own featurette which takes a look behind-the-scenes at how it came together.

Making of "Hawaii" (5 Minutes) - The Two Parter (err, kind of I guess) also gets a short discussion on some of the behind the scenes antics that went on.

...and a Gag Reel (5 Minutes).

Little disappointed there were no Audio Commentaries, but as it stands this feels like a pretty full set. Aside from "The Office" and Kevin Smith films, I don't think I've ever seen so many deleted scenes before. And no episode guide? Gees. That should be an essential for TV on BD.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

“Modern Family: Season One” is Presented in 1.78:1 (MPEG4) on 3, 50GB Discs. All 24 Episodes are present. I found this to be one good looking show when watching it over the course of its 2009/2010 season on TV, and here on Blu-ray it shines just a wee bit brighter. Colors are bright and vivid and there is minimal grain. It's getting harder and harder to grade TV shows on Blu-ray because they are looking pretty damn near perfect.

Fox has included an English 5.1 DTS MA Track (and Subtitles in English SDH and Spanish). Comedies are tough to grade because of the minimal effects they use on the Rear Speakers, but at least the Front (Right, Left and Center) sound really good. I don't think I heard much from the rears while watching the Blu-ray, but it's great to at least have lossless audio. So because of that, I think the audio score is pretty fair.



.::OVERALL::.

It won an Emmy, so you know it has to be at least watchable. And with all the critic praise it got before the show even premiered, I can't wait to see how Season Two goes with not only an Emmy in its pocket, but with ABC (and Fox) having much more confidence in this show. The Blu-ray has great Picture and Audio quality along with a great amount of features so this is an instant buy for anyone that likes to laugh. And you like to laugh, right?