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DVD Review Enlisted: The Complete First Season DVD Review (1 Viewer)

Matt Hough

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Enlisted: The Complete First Season DVD Review

The Fox television network doesn’t have the greatest track record for giving its shows time to build an audience. For every Bones, Fringe, or Brooklyn Nine-Nine, there are plenty of other shows like Almost Human, New Amsterdam, and, most notably, Firefly which deserved far more attention and tender, loving care from their network which might have resulted in their building into hits of major proportions. Another mistreated Fox show was Enlisted, a misfit service comedy which premiered in the latter half of the 2013-2014 season and seemed to be tossed away by the network. Deserted in a certain death Friday night time slot without benefit of a major lead-in or heavy network promotion, Enlisted languished with episodes shown out of order and time slot changes wreaking havoc with its ratings. No wonder that the network decided over the summer to dump the show rather than find it a spot on the schedule where with its talented cast and with comic plots that were often both funny and endearing, it could have flowered.

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Studio: Fox

Distributed By: N/A

Video Resolution and Encode: 480I/MPEG-2

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Audio: English 5.1 DD

Subtitles: None

Rating: Not Rated

Run Time: 5 Hr. 12 Min.

Package Includes: DVD

Amaray case with a leaf

Disc Type: DVD-R

Region: 1

Release Date: 12/09/2014

MSRP: $29.95




The Production Rating: 3.5/5

The U.S. Army’s Rear Detachment Unit is a domestic squad who tends to various clean-up and maintenance problems for the service while its major forces are occupied elsewhere. Fort McGee in Florida is the home of Enlisted’s Rear D-Unit, led by the firm but flexible hand of Sergeant Major Donald Cody (Keith David). After punching out his colonel in Afghanistan after a mission goes wrong, instantly-demoted Sergeant Pete Hill (Geoff Stults) is transferred to this Florida unit where, surprise, he finds his two misfit brothers also serving: cynical, sour Derek (Chris Lowell) and simpleton baby brother Randy (Parker Young). Due to his previous sterling service accomplishments, Pete is put in charge of one squad while gung-ho Sergeant Jill Perez (Angelique Cabral) heads the other squad in the unit, the two groups often at odds with one another in sometimes friendly and oftentimes not-so-friendly rivalry. Pete wants to make such a positive impression on his superiors by whipping his squad into shape that his previous rank will be restored and he’ll be returned to combat duty, but that’s not going to be easy with the group of lunkheads he’s handed to mold.A kind of cross between the film Stripes and TV’s F Troop, Enlisted is often silly, mindless fun with its merry band of pranksters and losers taking nothing very seriously, but the A and B stories concocted for each episode do have a way of capturing the attention and holding it, due mainly to the canny ensemble playing of the three lead brothers and the clever way the writers often turn their farcical set-ups into human interest stories with gobs of heart. Whether they’re assigned to poop-‘n-scoop duty at a parade or engaged in a war of pranks against the rival squad, the fun is contagious without a single dud episode in this group of thirteen. There are some missteps, of course. The rivalry between Pete and Jill carries on sometimes tediously throughout the season, and while one might expect it’s all leading to a romantic entanglement between the two, that never quite develops (though it’s addressed in “Army Men,” the penultimate episode). And a romance between Derek and the local bartender Erin Stone (Jessy Hodges), a single mom with a young son and a gorgeous ex-husband (Brandon Routh) who pops up in a couple of episodes, comes and goes without developing much in the way of viewer involvement. Perhaps another season would have certainly fleshed out the personal lives of the three brothers, but trying to cram anything personal into the thirteen episodes here just doesn’t work when the major emphasis is in establishing the core members of the unit and their own idiosyncrasies.Having headlined The Fixer, an engaging mystery series on Fox the previous season which likewise didn’t get the run it deserved, Geoff Stults has no problem serving as the lead in this comedy show making a believable super soldier frustrated by his demotion but able to handle the physical and verbal comedy demands of the part. Chris Lowell’s reliable middle brother Derek is likewise firmly played though his cynicism and sarcasm can wear out their welcomes more often than not. It’s Parker Young as youngest brother Randy, however, who walks away with the comedy honors in the show: an innocent nitwit whose blind faith in everyone and gentle kindness remains both endearing and hilarious as he struggles with his hero worship of his brother and his impossible dream of being the soldier his brother is. Keith David also scores major laughs as the commander who’s not short on ego but also has enough common sense to rein it in when necessary. Angelique Cabral’s Jill Perez bounces from adversarial to supportive from episode to episode, clearly a character the writers were still struggling to define. Pete’s misfit squad members played by Mort Burke, Tania Gunadi, Kyle Davis, Michelle Buteau, Mel Rodriguez, and Maronzio Vance were each beginning to establish personas before the season ended and might have developed into even more interesting characters if another season had been ordered. Ross Philips was brought in late in the season for three episodes as a snooty West Point graduate in a stereotypically clueless figurehead character, but the one-joke nature of his role wasn’t really needed here.Here are the thirteen episodes contained on the two DVDs included in this package, the episodes presented in broadcast order rather than in chronological order.1 – Pilot2 – Randy Get Your Gun3 – Pete’s Airstream4 – Homecoming5 – Rear D Day6 – Brothers & Sister7 – Parade Duty8 – Vets9 – Paint Cart 3000 Vs. the Mondo Spider10 – Prank War11 – General Inspection12 – Army Men13 – Alive Day


Video Rating: 4/5 3D Rating: NA

The program’s widescreen television aspect ratio of 1.78:1 is faithfully delivered in these transfers which have been anamorphically enhanced for widescreen televisions. Sharpness varies from episode to episode. The pilot looks the best, and often interior scenes look a bit sharper and more detailed than outdoor scenes. Flesh tones are believable and color saturation overall is more than acceptable. Contrast occasionally seems a bit light for no good reason. The episodes are all divided into 4 chapters.



Audio Rating: 4/5

The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix seems to accurately convey the audio quality of the original broadcasts. Music cues by Tad Kubler, Evan Brau, Erica Weis, and Orr Rebhun get a nice spread through the fronts and rears, and there are occasional split effects in scenes where war games or other camp noises get placed in random soundfields. Dialogue has been expertly recorded and has been placed in the center channel.


Special Features Rating: 0/5

There are no bonus features at all on these made-on-demand DVDs.


Overall Rating: 3.5/5

There’s some cleverness and a great deal of fun to be found in the engaging Enlisted. The Fox comedy deserved better at the hands of its network, but while the producers were not successful in shopping the program to another outlet for another season, at least these thirteen episodes have been made available to enjoy.


Reviewed By: Matt Hough


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Adam Gregorich

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Thanks for the review. I enjoyed this for its limited run, and am pleased to see Fox release it on DVD. Several of the episodes were very funny. My favorites were Paint Cart 3000 Vs the Mondo Spider and Prank War. Parker Young also played a similar character in Suburbia. You mentioned The Fixer, which was another show that died a premature death. :(
 

Matt Hough

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I liked both of those episodes, and I also particularly liked "Vets" where Stacy Keach, Dean Stockwell, and Barry Bostwick were the Korean War equivalents of Stults, Lowell, and Young's characters.
 

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