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Private Practice
The Complete First Season

review by Zach B.

 

 

TV-14 (Dialogue, Sex, Violence)

Running Time: 394 minutes

Starring: Kate Walsh, Tim Daly, Audra McDonald, Paul Adelstein, KaDee Strickland, Chris Lowell, Taye Diggs, Amy Brenneman

 

Studio: Disney

Retail Price: $39.99

Features: Audio Commentaries, Extended Episodes, Kate Walsh: Practice Makes Perfect, Alternative Ensemble, Deleted Scenes, Bloopers

Specs: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Chapters (8 Chapters per episode), Three-Disc Set

Released: September 16th, 2008

 

 

The first season of "Private Practice" is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The transfers seem to have a warm glow to the image, almost like that constant California sun in the series. The transfers are very sharp, and the only flaws are some edge halos, noise and a blemish here and there. Everything else is pretty fantastic: fleshtones really hit the spot, color saturation is bold without smearing, and detail is nice. These are really pleasing transfers, and everyone should who checks out this set should have no qualms.

 

The first season of "Private Practice" also features English Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes. Given how talky this show is, it should be expected that these tracks are on the low-key side. With that noted, the dialogue spoken is very crisp, clear and always easy to hear. The musical selections employed in the show, and the instrumental cues, are enveloping and sound rather engaging through the channels - and at times give things a bit of a boost. There are surround effects, some of which really use the rears and are discrete, but for the most part things are subtle and mainly amount to a little bit of violence and background noises. Subwoofer use doesn't amount to much, but dynamics are pretty tight and fidelity is pretty high. Suitable, overall.

Subtitles in English, Spanish and French are on the discs. English closed captions are available through your television. 

 

In addition to two Extended Episodes, there are Audio Commentaries. The first episode features Creator Shonda Rhimes, Executive Producer Betsy Beers and Kate Walsh, "In Which Same Gets Taken For A Ride" has actors Amy Brennenman and Paul Adelstein and "In Which Dell Finds His Fight" has actors Taye Diggs and Chris Lowell. I listened to bit of each of the commentaries, and I enjoyed what I heard. The trio of girls on the first track do a lot of giggling, but also have some pretty fun comments about working on the series and creative choices. The Adelstein and Brenneman commentary had a few silent moments, but also had a jokey atmosphere to it with a lot of fun comments about the actors and set too. The Diggs and Lowell commentary discuss the plot to the episode a bit, and do stretch things out a little, but also do get out a few insights about behind-the-scenes going ons at the show. (And like Brenneman and Adelstein, they also poke fun at their cast mates.) I think fervent fans of the series will want to listen to all these, and enjoy them the most.

Kate Walsh: Practice Makes Perfect is a near 33 minute look at the actress who plays Addison Montgomery. This is a sweet and in-depth profile, that extends far beyond cast interviews. The piece starts from the very beginning - as in when Walsh was born, and when she wanted to be an actress. Her brother and parents chime in on Walsh's ambition, and stories from her childhood - a play Walsh wrote is even shared. From there, friends, mentors and Walsh's manager discuss Walsh's life on the stage, and her process of getting into character. It all leads to bigger parts such as in the Will Ferrell comedy "Kicking & Screaming" (director Jesse Dylan discusses her), and of course, the breakout role on "Grey's Anatomy"(all the cast there sings her praises) which then led to this spin-off. This piece is peppered with clips and personal photos (plus plenty of asides, like Walsh's marriage), and is pretty classy and well done. It's entertaining and insightful; this is a must view for fans of the actress.

Alternative Ensemble is a 14 minute, 28 second look at the making of the series. The cast speaks of the series, and highly of creator Shonda Rhimes. Executive producer Betsy Beers discusses the appeal of the series, and how she and Rhimes went on about planning it. Director/executive producer Mark Tinker also contributes to the piece. Other than that, the cast discusses the personalities of their characters and some creative freedom they do receive - plus what to expect in the second season. This is a slick, but informative and entertaining look and introduction to the series.

Rounding things out are six Deleted Scenes, plus nearly 3 and a half minutes of Deleted Scenes.

 

Due to the Writers Strike, "Private Practice" didn't get a chance to really form itself in its first season, but should get a fair shake in its second season. This spin-off is a bit different than "Grey's Anatomy," but has an interesting cast of characters and is pretty engaging. The DVD is worth looking into for those missed the first season, or fans who want to re-acquaint themselves with the Oceanside Wellness Group. Excellent episode presentations, plus some fine extras (including a fine profile on Kate Walsh), makes this an easy one to recommend.