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Lions Gate presents
Moonlighting: Seasons One and Two (1985)

"That's your trouble, David. You think hot sex cures everything."
- Maddie Hayes (Cybill Shepherd)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: June 02, 2005

Stars: Cybill Shepherd, Bruce Willis
Other Stars: Allyce Beasley, Robert Ellenstein, Jim Mackrell, James Karen, Rebecca Stanley, Dennis Lipscomb
Director: Robert Butler

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 20h:00m:00s
Release Date: May 31, 2005
UPC: 031398174738
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C+ B+BB- B

DVD Review

For those of us under a certain age, it's easy to forget that there was a pre-Die Hard Bruce Willis. That film made him a Hollywood superstar, but without the previous success of Moonlighting, Willis might never have been considered for the role, let alone become the household name that he is now. His natural charm was perfectly suited for the character of David Addison, an arrogant, hardly likeable but somehow charming man who does all he can to make women hate him. However, it's this same charisma that captivated an audience that tuned in every week to see if David and his partner, Maddie Hayes, would take their relationship to the next level despite their constant clashing.

It all begins when the rich Ms. Hayes returns from a cruise to learn that her business manager has embezzled all of her money and sold her liquid assets. She's only been left with a few small businesses that are practically worthless. When she goes to one of them to inform the manager that the company he oversees is being liquidated, she meets David Addison. Maddie is instantly taken aback by David's smarmy, often sexist attitude when he won't accept her intent to close his detective agency, so employing the attitude of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em," Maddie begins working at the agency, and an unforgettable relationship begins.

The joy of Moonlighting is evident at about the midway point of the pilot episode. When a man steps out of an elevator, hands Maddie a watch and drops dead, she is officially David's partner, and we are officially involved in this partnership. From here on out we'll see these two complete opposites fight, fall in love, solve various mysteries, fight, and fall in love again. One of the ABC network's biggest hits (until this year's Desperate Housewives and Lost, that is), Moonlighting's "will David and Maddie end up together" storyline was the water cooler talk of the 1980s, and rightfully so.

A huge key to a darkly comedic show like this is whether or not the main characters are likeable without being sappy. Willis and Shepherd create the perfect balance in this department, allowing their characters to always exude professionalism when a job needs to be done, and delivering valid arguments during the various scuffles they go through together. Shepherd has never been better than her work in Moonlighting, but Willis has gone on to much bigger and better things since the show went off the air. From his marriage to Demi Moore to his unforgettable turns in Pulp Fiction, The Sixth Sense, and dozens of action films, Willis is now one of the most recognizable names in Hollywood. Shepherd dabbled with success in earlier in films like The Last Picture Show and her sit-com Cybill, but she will be forever remembered for Moonlighting as half of one of enterainment's ultimate love/hate relationships.

Season One is a mere five episodes, including the pilot, but it's amazing how easily the tone is set for the rest of the series in such a short time. The pilot itself is one of the better premiere episodes in TV history, and the subsequent episodes don't miss a beat. Things really get going in Season Two, with the David/Maddie relationship becoming a pop culture fixture, and the show's writers taking a few more chances, with musical numbers and film noir references to keep things fresh and unique.

There are 23 episodes plus the pilot, spread out over six discs, and the episodes are as follows:

Pilot: After losing most of her money to a shady business manager, Maddie Hayes wants to sell the few remaining businesses she still owns. She meets her detective agency's manager, David Addison, an arrogant smart alec who is sure to give her some major problems.

Gunfight at the So-So Corral: David and Maddie struggle to tell their client that their son is a killer for hire.

Read the Mind, See the Murder: Maddie thinks a client's design secrets are being stolen by a psychic.

The Next Murder You Hear: Maddie is upset with a radio host who is murdered while he was on the air.

Next Stop Murder: David and Maddie are stuck on a train with mystery fans while they are trying to bring Agnes, their receptionist, on time to solve a pretend murder that is being staged by a famous author.

The Murder's in the Mail: David and Maddie come across a corpse while they do some work for a collection agency. When they go to report the body, it vanishes.

Brother, Can You Spare a Blonde?: When David's older brother pays him a surprise visit, his intentions to woo Maddie soon become evident.

The Lady in the Iron Mask: David and Maddie encounter an odd veiled woman who wants to find the man who disfigured her face on her wedding day.

Money Talks—Maddie Walks: When Maddie's friend nearly commits suicide, she finds out where her crooked business manager has gone, and ventures after him.

The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice: This unique episode features David and Maddie each dreaming solutions to a 1946 murder case that was never solved.

My Fair David: A bet has been made between David and Maddie to see if he can act like a mature professional for an entire week.

Knowing Her: Maddie is afraid that David's old girlfriend is taking advantage of him while dealing with a troubled marriage.

Somewhere Under the Rainbow: David and Maddie can't decide whether or not to help a woman who thinks she's a leprechaun.

Portrait of Maddie: An artist she doesn't know has done a portrait of Maddie, who is obsessed by the picture after she finds out the artist killed himself when he finished it.

Atlas Belched: David finds a phone index for a young executive and Maddie decides whether to sell the agency to a competitor or not.

'Twas the Episode Before Christmas: Ms. Dipesto finds a baby left by a woman named Mary, and David and Maddie are fighting over using their phones for Santa.

The Bride of Tupperman: David and Maddie fight for the chance to find a specific mate for their client.

North by North Dipesto: Sick of her mundane life, Ms. Dipesto is excited to get a piece of paper from a mysterious man.

In God We Strongly Suggest: An escape artist's widow asks David and Maddie to protect her from her husband, whom she believes will return to harm her.

Every Daughter's Father Is a Virgin: Maddie is worried about the way her parents are behaving, so David decides to see if her father is having an affair.

Witness for the Execution: A sick old man asks David and Maddie to watch his murder.

Sleep Talkin' Guy: A prostitute provides David with information on a client who talks in his sleep.

Funeral for a Door Nail: A man who has just lost his wife hires a hit man to end his misery. When he thinks he sees his wife alive, he goes to David and Maddie to call off the hit.

Camille: David's newest employee is a con woman who gained notoriety when she stopped an assassination plot against a US senator.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Surprisingly crisp and detailed images are featured in these full-frame presentations, with vivid, yet muted colors as well. The near complete lack of compression problems was surprising too, with barely any grain or dirt on display either. Sure, these don't look as good as newer TV shows on DVD, but these transfers are a generally pleasurable experience.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The mono audio is perfectly suited for this type of show, regardless of its age. The witty, rapid-fire dialogue is the key to the series, and it is delivered in a very smooth, crisp manner.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 23 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English
6 TV Spots/Teasers
1 Documentaries
2 Featurette(s)
4 Feature/Episode commentaries by 1. Writer/creator Glenn Gordon Caron, director Robert Butler, editor Artie Mandelberg, producer Jay Daniel2. Director Peter Werner, co-writer Debra Frank, creator Glenn Gordon Caron3. Director Will Mackenzie, Bruce Willis4. Director Peter We
Packaging: Box Set
Picture Disc
6 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: A decent collection of extras has been assembled for this first boxed set of Moonlighting, including audio commentaries for a few of the episodes. These tracks can be found on four of the episodes throughout the set, with the various participants discussing their perspective on the show and its success. The best of the tracks is for the pilot episode, during which creator Glenn Gordon Caron and company talk about how the show came about and the chemistry between Wills and Shepherd.

Some documentaries are on board as well, including Not Just a Day Job: The Story of Moonlighting Part 1. This piece runs slightly over 14 minutes, and touches on the show's humble beginnings with discussions by Bruce Willis, Cybill Shepherd, and other cast and crew members.

Inside the Blue Moon Detective Agency: The Story of Moonlighting Part 2 is just over 15 minutes long and focuses on the second season. More interviews are included, along with the great story of how Orson Welles recorded an introduction to the show right before he died.

The Moonlighting Phenomenon is an 11-minute production that touches upon the show's rabid fan base, both during the show's airing and even now, many years after it left the airwaves.

There's also a Moonlighting Pilot Promo, which is a series of TV commercials for the show's premiere episode.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

Fans have been waiting a long time for this, and Lion's Gate Home Entertainment has finally granted their wish with the release of Moonlighting: Seasons One and Two on DVD. The audio and video are well handled, especially for a show that's nearly 20 years old, and there are some nice extras that could be a sign of good things to come for future seasonal sets.

 


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