HTF Mini-Review: Wings: The Complete First and Second Seasons

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by PatWahlquist, May 26, 2006.

  1. PatWahlquist

    PatWahlquist Supporting Actor

    Jun 13, 2002
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    Wings: The Complete First & Second Seasons

    Studio: Paramount Home Video
    Year: 2006 (Original episodes aired 1990-1991)
    Rated: Not Rated.
    Aspect Ratio: 4X3
    Audio:English Dolby Digital stereo
    Subtitles: None
    Time: 642 minutes.
    Disc Format: 4 DVD-9’s
    Case Style: 2 dual slim-line cases in a cardboard slipcase.

    “Wings” is the story of two brothers, Joe and Brian Hackett (Tim Daly and Steven Weber) who are suddenly reunited following their father’s death. Brian comes home after having lost yet another job and tries to get his brother to hire him on. We also learn Brian ran off with Joe’s girl at some past point. After a wild goose chase for their father’s inheritance, the brothers decide to work on their relationship while flying charter planes. Crystal Bernard plays Helen, the boys childhood friend and on and off romantic interest for both of them. The cast also includes David Schramm as rival airline owner Roy Biggins and Rebecca Schull as former flight attendant Fay. My favorite character on the show has always been Lowell, played by Thomas Hayden Church. In re-watching several of these episodes now, I wonder how much of an inspiration Church’s performance as Lowell inspired Neil Flynn, the Janitor on “Scrubs. The Janitor, however, has a huge mean streak in him that is clearly absent from Lowell. “Monk”’s Tony Shaloub also shows up briefly on this set as cab driver Antonio.

    Lasting for eight seasons (amazingly) on NBC, “Wings” finally makes it’s debut on DVD with a four disc set covering the first and second seasons. “Wings” was one of NBC’s consistent family favorites that appealed to everyone and offended no one. It is safe and wholesome, for the most part, and it provides at least a couple laughs with each episode. While it lacks the creativity of “Cheers” (even though it’s from the same producers), it infuses the stories with snarky one liners and a couple off beat characters. “Cheers” benefited from an exceptional cast and that helped to raise what could be mediocre episodes to a much higher level. “Wings” has always seemed to be the boring step child of the over achieving “Cheers”.

    I watched several of the episodes in their entirety, and I watched segments of the rest for video and audio quality. The episodes are presented in airdate order. The episodes included in this set are:

    Disc 1 Episodes : “Legacy”, “Around the World in Eighty Years”, “Return to Nantucket Part I & II”, “There Once Was a Girl From Nantucket”, “All for One and Two for Helen”, “The Puppetmaster”.

    Disc 2 Episodes: “The Story of Joe”, “A Little Nightmare Music”, “Sports and Leisure”, “A Stand Up Kind Of Guy”, “It’s Not the Thought, It’s the Gift”, “Hell Hath No Fury Like a Policewoman Scorned”, “High Anxiety”.

    Disc 3 Episodes: "Friends or Lovers”, “There’s Always Room for Cello”, “A Terminal Christmas”, “Airport 90”, “Love is Like Pulling Teeth”, “The Tennis Bum”, “My Brother’s Back and There’s Going To Be Trouble”.

    Disc 4 Episodes: "Plane Nine From Nantucket”, “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places”, “Love Means Never Having to Say Geronimo”, “All in the Family”, “Mother Wore Stripes”, “Murder, She Roast”, “Duet for Cello and Plane”.

    The episodes are presented in their original 4x3 format. Unfortunately, these transfers look about as good as current over the air digital cable transmissions. Comparing the DVD’s of “Wings” to a local broadcast of “Seinfeld” (which was airing about the same time in the early 90’s) the DVD’s showed only minor improvement, specifically, the colors were brighter. Still, the overall color pallet of the DVD’s tend to run very warm as the whites display a pinkish hue. There was some dirt on the transfers, and there is very noticeable edge enhancement. Detail is wrecked by what appears to be digital video noise reduction as there is a lot of video noise and compression artifacts. There are numerous spots where there is line twitter and motion artifacts. Surprisingly, the blacks are very deep and show some shadow delineation.

    All of the episodes are in Dolby Digital Stereo, but it is used to minimal effect. The audio is very clear and the voices are accurate. Since the show was filmed in a studio, you can pick up the spaciousness of that environment. Bass effects are minimal and only during the musical intros or outros.

    Bonus Features:
    None, which is a bummer. I would have liked at least a five-minute retrospective. Oh, well.

    This fairly funny series could use a boost with a much better video transfer as well as some extras. When it comes to the extras, I would expect there was some sort of interest by the cast or producers and I wonder what happened along the way. Maybe Paramount will spend more time with video transfers and bonus material in future season’s sets.

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