on November 23, 2010
If you're reading through reviews on the Amazon product page, you are probably familiar with the riotously funny sitcom Modern Family. The show has been discussed and lauded by more eloquent souls than I, but I would like to comment on the quality of the Blu-Ray, for those interested.
Modern Family was filmed using very high quality cameras in the 16:9 aspect ratio which lends intself perfectly to a Blu-Ray transfer. For a television show, the quality is simply stunning (for comparison's sake, it blows The Office: Season 5 out of the water). Colors are very realistic and buck the trend of over-saturation while still offering plenty of "pop." With few exceptions, detail is crisp and contrast is again excellent. Audio quality and clarity is equally as impressive, although being an ensemble comedy, don't expect much from the rear channels.
The extra features consist of roughly 20-30 minutes (per disc, three discs total) of additional family interviews not aired in the episodes as well as some deleted scenes. I would have liked one or more "making of" type interviews with the cast and crew, but the included extras will suffice. Unfortunately, the quality of the deleted scenes varies wildly between each cut. The video disparity is understandable and does not bother me, but the audio volume changes quite dramatically between one scene and the next, which is a bit annoying.
Despite any negative comments, what's most important about Blu-Ray is being able to enjoy great films and shows (like this one) in the highest quality possible and believe me when I say you will absolutely floored by the pristine picture offered by this transfer. If you enjoy Modern Family, Season 1 on Blu-Ray is a must-have.
First things first, I think this is the funniest sitcom since Arrested Development, but it also dares to be heartwarming by the end of each episode. Thanks to the laser-piercing sharpness of the writing, it continually gets away with such a potentially fatal combination and has become that all-too-rare show that I schedule my otherwise hectic life around - even if the individual episodes are available on the ABC Web site hours after they air. Created by Christopher Lloyd (Frasier) and Steven Levitan (The Larry Sanders Show), the show offered two-dozen episodes during its premiere season, all of which are included along with several worthy extras in this four-disc set.
The premise is simple and the format quite familiar. It centers on the families of Jay Pritchett, his daughter Claire, and his son Mitchell, all of whom live close to each other in Los Angeles. The format is a sitcom under the guise of a mockumentary (much like Christopher Guest's best films, Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show), which allows all the characters to express their honest opinions about each other, primarily exposing their personal idiosyncrasies and irritants. It's a tried-and-true approach, and in the expert hands of the writers involved, it works beautifully. Jay is the aging patriarch happily married to a much-younger Columbian spitfire of a wife, Gloria. He struggles to keep up with her energy and high-voltage temperament, while helping to raise her cherubic, pre-adolescent son, Manny, acting well beyond his tender years.
Meanwhile, Jay's high-strung daughter Claire is married with three kids of her own. Her realtor husband Phil is your typical one-step-behind dad who thinks he is much cooler than he is, while Claire's control-freak tendencies are a reflex to not only his affable, conflict-avoiding nature but to her hopeless inability to push her children (especially eldest daughter Haley) away from the apparent hellion she was as a teenager. But I have to admit my favorite dynamic on the show is between Jay's lawyer son Mitchell and his flamboyant life partner Cameron, a former music teacher. Instead of focusing entirely on their same-sex relationship, the creators wisely chose to focus on them as new, overcompensating parents to their adopted Vietnamese baby, Lily. It's really easy to endear yourself to this extended family who manage to generate genuine likability through their somewhat dysfunctional nature.
The fact that Claire and Phil represent the only traditional family structure of the three makes an emotionally resonant comment on the acceptance of diversity in contemporary relationships that cross cultures, generations, same-sex barriers and overseas adoptions. What's more, the point is not hammered in any moralistic manner but through shrewd characterizations, relatable personal crises, and genuinely funny, laugh-out-loud outcomes. The show is also blessed with an excellent regular cast that starts with Ed O'Neill who manages to bring curmudgeonly warmth to his Al Bundy-like bluster as Jay. At first, Sofia Vergara's Gloria bordered a bit too much on stereotype, but as her own foibles were exposed, e.g., her self-denial over her bad driving and her hypersensitivity to any misconstrued comment about her heritage, she became far more relatable. Julie Bowen could have been the show's inevitable wet-rag, but she makes Claire's often unpopular stances as the sensible mom hilarious case studies in the slow burn, the dead-eyed stare and the double-take.
As Mitchell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson superbly contrasts Mitchell's elitist attitude and discomfort with public displays of affection with a deeper need to squash his "mama's boy" reputation. Even with such keen competition, there are two standouts in this crack ensemble. In Steve Carell-like fashion, Ty Burrell makes Phil a hilarious doofus of a dad in classic TV style, while Eric Stonestreet's Cameron is one of comedy's ingeniously lovable creations, an emotionally naked, over-the-top character who stays true to his corn-belt sensibilities. All the kid actors are great without being grating, and guest stars have turned in some stellar work. Most notable have been Shelley Long as Jay's new-age ex-wife unforgivable for "The Incident"; Fred Wiilard as Phil's evasive, joke-alike dad in "Travels with Scout"; and Elizabeth Banks as Cameron and Mitchell's perpetually drunk gal-pal Sal in "Great Expectations".
Funny deleted and extended scenes and family interviews are included with most of the episodes on all four discs, but the fourth disc has the lion's share of extras including a gag reel. Also included is a ten-minute featurette, "Real Modern Family Moments", which amusingly shows that a lot of the situations depicted on the show are based on what really happened in the lives of the production team. There is also the looking-back "Before Modern Family", which showcases the principal actors before their casting on the show, and separately, there is a piece on Stonestreet's previous incarnation as "Fizbo the Clown". There is not one but two behind-the-scenes featurettes, "Making Modern Family: Family Portrait", which looks at the making of the first season finale, and "Modern Family Hawaii", which looks at the Hawaiian vacation episode. It's all well worth the purchase.
on November 4, 2009
Truly one of the funniest shows on TV right now. This "mockumentary" comedy series was created by Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan, people behind Frasier and Just Shoot me and is just as funny as these two. Multinational, multisexual and exceedingly complicated (extended) family and their hilarious antics filmed by the Dutch TV crew.
Jay Pritchett (Ed O'Neill - he is back!!!) is the track-suit wearing oldest member of the family who is married to a Columbian goddess Gloria (Sofía Vergara), who brings her son Manny into the family.
Jay's Daughter Claire (Julie Bowen) a neurotic mother is married to Phil (Ty Burrell), a very awkward, know-it-all dad (he is not) and their 3 kids.
Jay's gay son Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and his partner Cameron (Eric Stonestreet), who just adopted a Vietnamese baby.
Show consists of great characters, excellent cast and expertly written scripts. This show is funniest on any network. Start with the pilot, you will love it.
on December 20, 2014
I'm not really much of a sitcom guy. Besides the animated "Family Guy", the only other sitcom I've ever been able to stomach on a weekly basis has been "The Office" (which I absolutely loved). One night while watching television, however, I stumbled across a few episodes of "Modern Family". I laughed out loud on a number of different occasions each episode, and thus decided to give the entire first season a try. It did not let me down!
The basis of Modern Family is simple: the show focuses on three families that are all related to each other:
-Gay partners Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) & Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) and their adopted baby Lily.
-Goofy Phil (Ty Burrell), his wife Claire (Julie Bowen), and their children Haley (Sarah Hyland), the cute ditzy one, Alex (Ariel Winter), the conservative smart one, and Luke (Nolan Gould), the clueless one.
-Family patriarch Jay (Ed O'Neill), his trophy wife Gloria (Sofia Vergara), and their son Manny (Rico Rodriguez).
What makes the show so great is that the deep ensemble cast plays so well off of each other. There is also "something going on" with the large crew, and the fact that there is blood relation between the families adds an extra layer of emotional depth. Of course, living up to its sitcom name, "Modern Family" is also just doggone funny! There is something unique and humorous about every single character.
Perhaps most importantly, everyone can find something to relate to in the show. That is what made "The Office" so great, and that kind of story/joke telling bleeds over into this show as well. This is just a take on family life instead of being at the office.
Simply put, I am glad that I gave "Modern Family" a try. I already have ordered Season Two and am looking forward to laughing at the continuing adventures of the three families.
on February 2, 2012
Watch just one episode of MODERN FAMILY and you will be hooked on the outrageously funny adventures of the Pritchett family. Here is a show with charm and humor. No show since SEINFELD has made me laugh so hard and so joyously.
Ed O'Neill is back on TV as Jay Pritchett, the patriarch of this unusual clan. Sixty-something Jay is married to a much younger and totally gorgeous and saucy Colombian woman named Gloria. Along with Gloria comes her son Manny from a previous marriage. Manny is one of the many stand-outs in this show. Overweight and often awkward, Manny is amazingly self-confident thanks to his "don't mess with my son" mother.
Jay's son Mitchell and his partner Cam have adopted a Vietnamese baby to complete their family. Mitchell and especially Cam can be over the top in campy gay stereotypic fashion. Don't miss the episode of a terrified Mitchell trying rid the house of a pigeon that has accidentally and harmlessly flown into their house.
Mitchell's sister Claire is equally as high strung and leaning to drama as he is. She's married to the goofy but loveable Phil. Their three children round out the show as three very different characters.
The writing is so crisp and so funny in MODERN FAMILY. The one-liners are hilarious and the show crosses the bounds of political correctness in a way that we know not to take certain comments too seriously. Gloria is a fiery latina with a fiery temper along with a passionate zest for life. It's easy to believe that she actually loves Jay and they do have a happy marriage. Her Spanish accent is forced to almost the point of ridiculousness. Think of Charo for those of a certain age. I don't know if Sofia Vergara has an accent in real life but definitely she's playing up Gloria's way of speaking. Sofia Vergara must be one of the most beautiful woman around and she sure is a treat to watch.
There is an extra treat in MODERN FAMILY. Don't miss Minnie Driver, Shelly Long, Benjamin Bratt, Elizabeth Banks and Edward Norton in various guest roles. One thing that makes this show so special is that despite all their disagreements and annoyances with each other, in the end this family loves and respects each other. It's over the top at times, not politically correct but MODERN FAMILY is totally delightful.
on June 7, 2014
I avoided this TV show as I didn't think it would be interesting and I don't want to get hooked into too much TV watching - but my kids insisted I watch an episode, and my fears were quickly realized - I was hooked and happy to be! I laughed out loud so many times! The plot lines for each episode are absurdly believable and hilarious, the actors are amazing and the dialogue witty and sharp and so funny. I love this show and will watch every episode -maybe twice!
on January 23, 2010
I never have before bought or even wanted to buy a DVD series of a television show, but this show is so funny and each week, I can't wait to see what's in store for the next upcoming episode. Season 1 is not even through it's airing at this time, but each weekly episode is strong and not one has never left me not laughing into hysterics. What a great cast! I'm so glad ABC signed on for a 2nd season. I've been saving each show on my TiVo (and how long can that last before you need to free up space)and later just love to playback an episode to watch...I'm always guaranteed a good laugh, no matter how many times watched. When this becomes a DVD set, I'm going to be one of the first in line to purchase it! I can't wait for its release!
on August 14, 2014
Modern Family has something for everyone! Great acting, clever, orginal scripts, and warmth and humor combine to make this a great series that can (and should) be watched over and over again. As you will see in this Season 1 DVD, the show hits the ground running and has only gotten better as it goes along.
It is great to see the interactions between the characters...parents-children, husbands-wives, in-laws, brothers and sisters, and so on. We get to know them, along with their hopes and dreams, wants and needs, and yes, flaws or quirks, which only serve to endear them to us even more. While we may not understand exactly what attracted the young, fiery Gloria to Jay, or how Cam from Missouri happened to stumble into the Pritchett clan, just be glad they did!
Just to select a favorite episode or two...The Incident (which could more accurately be titled The Calamity) and Up all Night both keep the laughs coming. Airport 2010 makes you wonder if the family will ever get on board the plane, but even if they are not having fun during the seemingly-endless wait, the viewers certainly are! Finally, listen carefully during Coal Digger....is that REALLY what Claire was saying?
Oh, that was four episodes, wasn't it? Well, as each viewer will see, it is very difficult to narrow down! The DVD also includes deleted and alternate scenes, gag reels, and interviews.
We all need a laugh every now and then, and Modern Family provides them in abundance! If you watch Season 1, you will then be hooked on Seasons 2, 3, 4, and all that follow! Enjoy!
on September 27, 2015
Now that we're on Season 7 of Modern Family, it's so much fun to go back and watch where it all started. This show was a gem from episode 1, and I will be sad when it completes it's run and we don't get to see the adventures of the Dumphys and Pritchetts each week. This show is fun, family oriented, and I'd say the jokes are appropriate for 12 and up. Well written, solid acting, very enjoyable.
on January 19, 2014
I have to admit, I'm a sitcome snob. I generally don't "get into" new shows, and praise the worth of old, undervalued sitcoms (Undeclared, Arrested Development, etc...). I was late on the Modern Family train ... and now that my wife has gotten me into it, I'm hooked!
This is one of the funniest sitcomes out there on today's tv ... in a market saturated with reality shows. By taking on the "mockumentary"-style (i.e., the office), the show is able to poke fun at all those horrible reality shows that have taken over cable and regular tv. Each character is really felt out and expanded upon, a rarity in first seasons. No one character is left behind, and even the funniest characters (Phil, Cam, etc...) are only enhanced and made funnier by their interactions with the other characters, particularly their partners. The benefit of getting this on blu-ray is that if you've come onto the train late, all the inside jokes that you don't get now, you'll get to see the story behind them and enjoy them later (very Arrested Development-esque in this way)!
Some of the plot lines are repetative, like many sitcoms. Gloria and Jay get into it over Manny, Jay realizes he was a jerk, appologizes, and everybody is happy. Phil and Claire get into over Phil's lack of parenting, his style works out in the end, and everybody is happy. There are some exceptions to the rule: the espisodes Fizbo stands out in my eyes. Evenso, the characters and jokes are so original, that you'll find yourself laughing, even though you can generally guess the outcome to most episodes.
Not much to say here; the blu-ray comes with some great behind-the-scenes features, although big fans will be thirsty for more.
In conclusion, Modern Family episodes are plastered all over tv (USA, local channels in my market), that catching a few episodes before you buy will be pretty easy. If you find yourself liking one or two, you owe it to yourself to pick it up from the beginning. I did, and now that I'm watching episodes I have previously seen, I enjoy them that much more, now that I get all of the inside jokes and references to past episodes. Stand-alone, each episode is pretty great ... but with the background story you'll get from watching these from the very beginning ... it will elevate the jokes, humor, and little life lessons plastered throughout the seasons that much better.