Being the type of guy that doesn’t subscribe to cable or satellite, I don’t see a whole lot of the “newer” television shows that are out there. And there are quite a lot out there that I am missing, too. Sometimes, I find it hard to fathom that there used to only be a few national television networks out there — which meant there were only a few series for the public to drool incessantly over. As Cable TV began to enter the fray, however, more channels were introduced and broadcast across the United States. The stations multiplied like rabbits, requiring new TV shows to be made.
Needless to say, there’s been a lot of shit hitting the airwaves since then (hell, there was shit hitting the airwaves before then, too, but that’s irrelevant). And, while I wouldn’t quite classify The New Adventures Of Old Christine under the “shit” category, I can safely label it as “yet another TV series I never knew existed — and could frankly care less about.”
Starring Seinfeld’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures Of Old Christine involves the misadventures of a middle-aged, happily-divorced, single mother. Between her own bad judgment calls in life and the constant comical drama created by her family and friends, Christine just can’t seem to catch a break in life.
Frigid hilarity and the echoes of canned laughter ensue.
Granted, The New Adventures Of Old Christine isn’t completely sans entertainment value at all: the show managed to force out a chuckle or two as I sat there and tried not to fall asleep. As much as I like Julia Louis-Dreyfus, I just don’t think she’s “main character” material (gimme the ol’ SNL days, please) — which is probably why she fared so well on Seinfeld. Another issue I had with the series was the writing. Sure, sitcoms aren’t known for their carefully assembled storylines, but this was on-par with something UPN would’ve broadcast in their infancy.
Actually, when you cast the aforementioned issues I had with the series aside, you still don’t wind up with that impressive a show. Much like Old Christine herself, the entire series seemed to have a great deal of difficulty catching a break, too. For starters, the show began as a mid-season replacement — something that always instills confidence in viewers (“Well, folks, that other show didn’t work…maybe you’ll like this one we just threw together. Enjoy!”). From there on, the show stumbled around for five seasons before CBS finally gave it the axe in mid-2010.
The New Adventures Of Old Christine faced yet another dilemma in its third season: the 2007 writers’ strike, which resulted in a shortened season of 10 episodes. And, if that weren’t bad enough, the DVD release of The New Adventures Of Old Christine: The Complete Third Season was released by Warner Bros. as a “made-to-order” release (translation: this release is manufactured on DVD-Rs), available only through www.wbshop.com.
While I haven’t had any negative experiences (as of this writing) with Warner’s DVD-R releases, there are some people out there who may have some issues. A few DVD players out there might have difficulty playing them (this is not so common anymore, unless you have a really old unit). But the biggest concern if that DVD-Rs aren’t known for being as “top-quality” as a regular DVD. This is owing to the fact that a DVD-R doesn’t (generally) contain as much information as most DVD releases.
These DVD-R releases also come as-is — meaning no restoration or remastering has taken place. But, for being just a DVD-R release, The New Adventures Of Old Christine: The Complete Third Season looks really good. The show is presented in a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen ratio with an accompanying English 2-Channel Stereo audio track. Honestly, this is just about as good as any other modern mass-produced TV series released by the big studio labels, and shouldn’t disappoint anyone when it comes to the A/V departments. The disappointment will kick in, though, for anyone hoping for special features with this release, as there are none whatsoever. There aren’t even any subtitles available here.
On the whole, I didn’t find myself becoming a fan here. It was easy for me to see why the show got canned. What I can’t figure out, however, is why it took five seasons for CBS to pull the plug.