DVD Review HTF Review: The Apprentice - The Complete First Season

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Jason Perez, Aug 29, 2004.

  1. Jason Perez

    Jason Perez Second Unit

    Jul 6, 2003
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    The Apprentice: The Complete First Season

    Studio: Universal
    Year: 2004
    Rated: Not Rated
    Running Time: 12 Hours
    Aspect Ratio: Fullscreen (1.33:1)
    Captions: English
    Subtitles: French, and Spanish
    Audio: English – Dolby Surround

    Release Date:
    August 24th, 2004

    Created by the king of reality TV, Mark Burnett (of Survivor fame), the Emmy®-nominated The Apprentice throws 16 would-be entrepreneurs into the mix with billionaire real-estate mogul Donald Trump, who will put them all through the ringer until only one remains on the show. This person’s reward will be “the dream job of a lifetime”, working for a year in “The Donald’s” corporation, which will give them an amazing education in big-dollar business...and a not-too-shabby $250,000 salary!

    Essentially, The Apprentice is based on the same survival-of-the-fittest premise that has made Burnett’s Survivor so wildly popular. In this case, however, remote wilderness and exotic islands have been exchanged for a precarious environment of another kind, namely the corporate boardroom, where the contestants must vie for supremacy over the 15 episodes from the first season.

    In the premiere episode, which sets the stage for how the other 14 will play out, the 16 candidates vying for a job with the master of self-promotion are ushered into a boardroom and divided into two competing teams - men vs. women. They are then informed that they should expect “13 weeks of hell”, although they are really going to be enjoying posh accommodations at the famous Trump Tower, where even a claustrophobic apartment can cost over $10,000 per month.

    On the first day of the competition, the candidates take to the streets of New York for their first challenge: to bring in more revenue from a lemonade stand than their competitors can. Subsequent to this challenge, the victorious team is rewarded, while the team that raised less cash than their competitors is summoned back to the boardroom (the place you generally do not want to be on The Apprentice), where one member of the team will hear Trump’s now-famous catch phrase, “You’re Fired!”

    The rest of the episodes play out in a similar fashion, with the contestants engaging in a wide variety of challenges – from managing a Jessica Simpson concert to renovating and renting out an apartment in Brooklyn in a mere three days. But more interesting to me than the challenges was how the tension and conflict between the remaining competitors kept growing as each episode passed, and the remaining candidates got a step closer to making it onto Trump’s payroll. Now I must admit that the shallowness of most of these 16 people turned me off to them, but I did really liked the show’s dynamic and interesting premise, so I became hooked after the first few episodes anyway. I thought turning the show into battle of the sexes during the early episodes was a nice twist as well.

    Even though the candidates take up the most screen time, make no mistake: the real star of the show is Donald Trump, who takes the contestants to task on the concepts of finance, sales, real estate transactions, marketing, and so forth. All throughout the season, he makes the quick and instinctive decisions that have made him a lot of money, and does not allow the candidates any room to wiggle out of tough situations or give him BS answers when he challenges them. On another note, Trump also seemed quite fair – you either measure up to the challenges or you are fired, no matter how beautiful you are or how much potential you may have.

    My opinion (and stellar ratings) aside, I do not think The Apprentice is not for everyone, especially those with little tolerance for most of what constitutes “reality” TV. That being said, like most of Mark Burnett’s work, this show is fast-paced and fun, and although most people won’t admit it, they love to watch people in the middle of a conflict. And if you are planning to check out the two seasons of The Apprentice that are still on tap, this set offers a good chance to catch up on the first season!

    The 15 episodes from The Apprentice’s inaugural season are offered by Universal in the very same “full frame” (1.33:1) format that they were broadcast in. This being a Mark Burnett production, undoubtedly with a big budget to work with, I was not at all surprised to see that the image quality is very good. This is particularly true of the episodes’ colors, which are rendered in a bold, vibrant manner that makes the locations from throughout New York City really “pop”. Black level is equally solid, leading to a pleasing sense of image depth and shadow delineation.

    The process of compressing the episodes for DVD appears to have been handled delicately as well, so detail frequently extends well into the background of a given scene. The only “problem” I noticed was a touch of edge enhancement, which appeared to have been lightly applied during a few scenes, although ringing never becomes pronounced enough to become a distraction.

    Overall, fans will have precious little to complain about, for this is a very fine visual presentation of Mark Burnett’s latest “reality” offering.

    For the Apprentice, a Dolby Surround track (English only) is what you get, and it sounds mighty nice! The only thing that might jump out at you is the show’s cheesy theme song, which fills in the listening space quite surprisingly. Other than that, though, the show consists chiefly of dialogue. This being the case, it does not offer a particularly enveloping sonic experience, but you can’t fault Universal for that.

    The most important thing, with respect to this set, is that dialogue and other audio information from these episodes is presented in a very clear, and precise fashion. To sum it up, the audio quality for this set is about what one would expect from a current release of a television program, and there are no major problems present that will take your attention off these episodes. In my mind, this is as it should be…


    NOTE: The bonus features reside on Disc Five!

    The Future: A Look Ahead (Season 2 Reveal)
    This extra, which runs for just over 7 minutes, offers a brief look at the upcoming second season of The Apprentice. Basically, the new candidates for a job with the Trump Corporation describe themselves in one word, opine on what will happen in season two, give their thoughts on what transpired during season one, and in some cases, compare themselves to persons who appeared on the first season of the show.

    It also features comments from some of Season One’s candidates, who offer advice to those who will be vying for a job as Donald Trump’s apprentice during the second season.

    The Job Description: Creating the Apprentice
    Over the course of 7 ½ minutes, billionaire Donald Trump and reality-TV wunderkind Mark Burnett discuss the development of the initial idea for the show, the process of casting it with 16 hopeful entrepreneurs, and the unique challenges posed by shooting in New York. There is also a brief glimpse of the set being built inside of Trump Tower, as well as footage from screen tests and videotapes submitted by the candidates.

    Meet the Job Candidates
    “Meet the Job Candidates” is a collection of short profiles on each candidate, via highlights of their appearance on The Apprentice and excerpts from casting footage/home video clips. Basically, over a couple of minutes, each of the following people’s personalities are revealed in slightly greater detail:

    --- Heidi Bressler
    --- Katrina Campins
    --- Jesse Conners
    --- Jason Curis
    --- Kristi Frank
    --- Amy Henry
    --- Bowie Hogg
    --- Kwame Jackson
    --- Tammy Lee
    --- Troy McLain
    --- Bill Rancic
    --- Sam Solovey
    --- Omarosa Stellworth
    --- Ereka Vetrini
    --- Nick Warnock

    Extended Audition Tapes
    Fans of the candidates can watch even more excerpts from their audition tapes, which offer a look at their personal lives, and reveal how they sold themselves. Each of the “tapes” lasts for a couple of minutes.

    Donald Trump on The Apprentice
    This extra features a new interview with “The Donald”, who talks about his attachment to the project, his initial expectations for it, and the production design. There are also some brief candidate impressions about Trump, and a few comments by Mark Burnett, who describes the process of pitching the show to Mr. Trump.

    Through this extra, which runs for nearly 4 minutes, the master of self-promotion offers some tips on succeeding in both business and life. Some of his pearls of wisdom include his insight into the phrases: “A deal is a deal”, “Negotiation is key”, and “God is in the details”.

    Mark Burnett on The Apprentice
    This featurette covers Mr. Burnett’s pitching of the concept for The Apprentice to both Donald Trump and NBC, Burnett’s day-to-day involvement in the production, the candidate selection process, and the challenges of shooting around Donald Trump’s extremely busy schedule.

    Career Advice From George and Carolyn
    By viewing this extra, job seekers will get some valuable career advice from George Ross and Carolyn Kepcher, who reveal some resume “dos-and-don’ts”, how resumes are read by prospective employers, and what not to do during a job interview.

    Natural Selection
    “Natural Selection” is a 7-minute recap of the entire first season, via brief video clips, of the tasks the job seekers engaged in, some of the cast’s screw-ups, “The Donald” reprimanding those who got fired, and contestant excuses for their dismissal. Obviously, if you haven’t watched the show, you will want to wait to see this, as it pretty much gives away who was fired by Trump throughout the season.

    Truth From A Taxi
    One of the more interesting extras in the set, this featurette allows viewers to see “exit interviews” from departing candidates, who talk about the potential reasons they were ousted and what they learned about themselves from the experience.

    Deleted Scenes
    There are a total of 10 ½ minutes worth of deleted scenes, but honestly most of this footage does not really do not add much to the Apprentice experience. Among other things, we get to see the candidates cleaning an apartment to prepare it for rental, some footage of the gamesmanship/relationship between Amy and Nick, more of the rickshaw challenge, and the ladies celebrating an early victory at the “Lotus” club.

    “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is” Music Video
    This somewhat silly music video features video clips from the show and the repetition of some “Donaldisms”.

    The Job Offer: Bill and Kwame

    The final two candidates recall their experiences on The Apprentice, what is next for both of them, and some of the risks they took to remain on the show until the very end.

    Advice From Season One Veterans
    This short extra ( 2 minutes) consists of brief comments by some of season one’s contestants, who talk about the importance of “being yourself”, and offer opinions about how much more difficult the second season will be for contestants.

    Promotional Materials
    There is a trailer for the upcoming boxing-themed reality show, The Contender, where 16 would be fighters will vie for a $1 million prize. The fighters will receive training from former middleweight champion Sugar Ray Leonard, and the show’s host is none other than Rocky Balboa himself, Sylvester Stallone!


    (on a five-point scale)
    Episodes: [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Video: [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Audio: [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Extras: [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Overall: [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    If you enjoy reality TV, it is likely that you already know a little about Mark Burnett, the creator of Survivor. And while his new baby, The Apprentice, shares some of the same concepts and qualities with his original entry into the reality genre, it has enough interesting twists to make it worth watching for its own sake!

    Whether you missed out on this show, or are a fan looking to add this title to your library, Universal has done right by you with this DVD box set, which features good image/sound quality and a wealth of extras! Personally, I don’t think that The Apprentice would offer enough replay value for me to purchase it, but I realize not everyone will feel that way, so I will close by saying that if that is not an issue for you, and you have an interest in this series, than I recommend picking this set up!

    Stay tuned…
  2. AnthonyC

    AnthonyC Cinematographer

    Mar 29, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Question: Is the recap episode from this series included?
  3. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Producer

    Mar 18, 2003
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    It has been discussed in this thread, but the theme music has changed from "For the Love of Money" to another song called "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is".
  4. StacyV

    StacyV Second Unit

    Oct 13, 2003
    Likes Received:

    Episode 11: A Look Back (if you're talking about the "highlights so far" episode, not a post season recap)
  5. AnthonyC

    AnthonyC Cinematographer

    Mar 29, 2004
    Likes Received:
    That's the one I was talking about. The recap from SAS isn't on there so I was curious.
  6. Chris:L

    Chris:L Supporting Actor

    Jan 31, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Question: Why is this show on DVD?
  7. AnthonyC

    AnthonyC Cinematographer

    Mar 29, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Because people like it. [​IMG]

    And as much as I wanted to resist watching it, I think I might be in for TA2. [​IMG] If I like it, I may get the first season on DVD.
  8. Chris:L

    Chris:L Supporting Actor

    Jan 31, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Chris, stop it. Resist a response.
  9. RossHy

    RossHy Agent

    Feb 13, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Are there any bonus features that aren't on disc 5?
  10. Gord Lacey

    Gord Lacey Cinematographer

    Jan 3, 2001
    Likes Received:
    No Ross, they're all on disc 5 form what I remember (haha...1.5 weeks and about 10 DVD sets ago).

    I enjoyed the show, and I'll be looking forward to the second season.


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