HTF REVIEW: Spin City: Michael J. Fox--His All Time Favorites Vol. 1 & 2

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Michael Elliott, Aug 28, 2003.

  1. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

    Jul 11, 2003
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    Real Name:
    Michael Elliott

    Spin City: Michael J. Fox His All-Time Favorites Vol. 1 & 2

    Studio: Dreamworks
    Year: 2003
    Rated: NR
    Film Length: 242 minutes (both volumes)
    Aspect Ratio: Standard 4:3
    Audio: DD 2.0 Surround
    Subtitles: English

    I must admit that I haven’t watched a network television show for over four years now. Ever since I bought a DVD player back in 1999 I’ve pretty much stayed away from everything on television with the exception of Sportcenter or something to that nature. Back when I was watching network television most of the shows were simply boring and not worth wasting thirty-minutes on. Not only was I simply not interested in anything to do with television I really didn’t have the time schedule to keep up with a season.

    When I got the review copy of Spin City I was rather interested since I had heard so many good things about the series. I know many people who are die-hard fans and many others would tell me the show was worth checking out. Thanks to Dreamworks fans and even non-fans are getting a chance to catch this series but sadly season sets aren’t delivered. Instead we are given two “Best Of” sets, which are labeled as Michael J. Fox: His All Time Favorites. Both volumes contain eleven episodes each.

    The basic outline for the series has fast talking Mike Flaherty (Fox) acting as Deputy Mayor for New York City’s Mayor who isn’t the smartest thing alive. Flaherty must save the mayor from the bad guys who want to end his political career but most of the time he is trying to save the Mayor embarrassment brought on by himself.

    Episodes on Volume 1:

    Pilot: 9/17/96 Episode 1, Season 1
    Meet Tommy Dugan: 11/19/96 Episode 9, Season 1
    Dog Day Afternoon: 12/10/96 Episode 11, Season 1
    Family Affair Pt. 1: 11/19/97 Episode 9, Season 2
    Family Affair Pt. 2: 11/26/97 Episode 10, Season 2
    Miracle Near 34th Street: 12/17/97 Episode 12, Season 2
    The Paul Lassiter Story: 1/21/98 Episode 14, Season 2
    The Pope of Gracie Mansion: 4/1/98 Episode 20, Season 2
    Catcher in the Bronx: 9/21/99 Episode 1, Season 4
    A Tale of Two Sisters: 1/12/00 Episode 13, Season 4
    Casino: 2/2/00 Episode 14, Season 4

    Episodes on Vol. 2:

    Kiss Me Stupid: 2/11/97 Episode 16, Season 1
    Radio Daze: 10/29/97 Episode 6, Season 2
    They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?: 12/10/97 Episode 11, Season 2
    Dead Dog Talking: 9/22/98 Episode 1, Season 3
    There’s Something About Heidi: 9/29/98 Episode 2, Season 3
    Gone With the Wind: 10/6/98 Episode 3, Season 3
    An Officer and a Gentleman: 11/3/98 Episode 7, Season 3
    Quest For Fire: 11/10/98 Episode 8, Season 3
    The Marry Caitlin Moore Show: 2/9/00 Episode 15, Season 4
    Goodbye Part 1: 5/24/00 Episode 25, Season 4
    Goodbye Part 2: 5/24/00 Episode 26, Season 4

    As I mentioned earlier I had never seen this show until I popped in the DVD and from my first impressions, it wasn’t too bad. I started with the pilot episode, which like most other pilots, spends the entire time trying to build up the characters so that the viewers will get to know the humor they are going for. The pilot episode for me wasn’t very good but certain strength were certainly there. Some of the rather childish jokes didn’t work for me or perhaps they just went over my head.

    I didn’t care too much for any of the episodes included from season one but season two things really started to pick up. Miracle Near 34th Street is a very funny episode with the Mayor accidentally telling the children of NYC that there isn’t a Santa. Dead Dog Talking, the first episode from season three was another favorite and has Michael become a hero after saving a runaway baby carriage but it turns out someone else, Conan O’Brian to be exact, really saved the day. The end of Volume 2 features the final hour-long episode where Michael J. Fox said goodbye to the series. This here is certainly a very touching episode and ranks highly on this set.

    While Spin City didn’t really knock me out I certainly wouldn’t mind recommending this set to newcomers. The key ingredient to the series is the wonderful cast including Fox, Richard Kind and Barry Bostwick as the dimwitted Mayor. The writer appeared very good throughout the episodes I viewed but there were a few too many childish jokes that simply didn’t work. When the series really worked is when it was going for clever jokes mixed with the stylish cast.

    VIDEO---I was pleasantly surprised with the 4:3 transfer on the series. The colors are always very strong with deep colors a solid blacks. The shows from Season One are the weakest looking but I’m guessing this is due to the budget being lower than on upcoming seasons. Seasons two through three looking wonderfully and would certainly compare favorably to the actually movies released by Dreamworks. A couple of the episodes contain a few small speckles but no other problems are noticeable.

    AUDIO---The sound is Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround and once again I was pleasantly surprised with how good the track was considering this is a television show. The dialogue is upfront and very clear with the audience laughter and other sound effects perfectly mixed in the surrounds. I’m not sure how much was picked up on television but with this DVD you can hear all sorts of additional effects in the background while the action is going on upfront.

    EXTRAS---While we don’t get too many extras I’m sure fans will be very happy with what’s here. The only extra is Michael J. Fox interviews, which occur right before the start of each episode. He talks very fondly about the series to start things off and then with each other episode he discusses why it is one of his favorites. We also get a “Play All” option and English subtitles.

    OVERALL---I know many people, including myself, hate these “Best Of” volumes but Dreamworks has done a wonderful job with the two volumes included here. Not being a fan of the show I really don’t know if the episodes here really are the best out there but from the eight or so I watched, I’d certainly recommend this set to newbies or those fans who don’t mind picking this up until season sets are released.

    Both volumes are sold separately and each are two disc sets.

    Release Date: August 26th, 2003
  2. Steve_Knutzen

    Steve_Knutzen Screenwriter

    Feb 17, 2002
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    It pains me to see one of my favorite shows released in the dreaded 'best-of' format. If it were in season sets, I'd snatch it up in a second. Hopefully Dreamworks will switch gears for future releases.[​IMG]
  3. Chad A Wright

    Chad A Wright Supporting Actor

    Jul 22, 2002
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    I too am sadly passing on this release. This is one of the few television shows of the past 5 years that I really liked. Too bad no season sets yet.
  4. Dane Marvin

    Dane Marvin Screenwriter

    Jul 21, 2003
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    Thanks for the review. There are several season sets of TV shows I have never seen before that I plan on purchasing -- The King of Queens & NewsRadio, for example -- and I won't drop a dime on Spin City unless it's for a complete first season.

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