"Qui Transtulit Sustinet" as the motto goes back in my native state.....
'JAG' will probably be the high-water mark example for this kind of venture - one year on NBC, about nine more on CBS, and with a successful spin-off to boot ('NCIS'). Representing sitcoms, 'Grounded For Life' did quite well - two years on FOX, and three more on The WB.
I really enjoyed 'Grounded For Life' for a variety of reasons. It had a very engaging cast with Donal Logue and Megyn Price in the leads. And the young actors playing their three kids were believable not ony as their genetic offspring, but in that they weren't just wisecracking punch-line spouters suffering from Bonaduce Syndrome.
The roles of the grandfather and Donal Logue's slacker brother were also perfectly cast for just about the same reasons. And if a show has to be set in New York City, then situating their lives in Staten Island made for a great change of pace from 'Friends' territory down in the Village.
Best of all was the narrative device for 'Grounded For Life'. In just about every episode, the plotline was already long underway before the audience viewing at home got the chance to visit; and several flashback scenes would be used to bring us all up to speed on why that week's particular situation was unfolding.
And in the best "Rashomon" style, sometimes we got alternative flashbacks to contradict the viewpoints of the different characters involved. It was a narrative ploy that made 'Grounded For Life' distinct from most single-set sitcoms.
Aside from an "appearance" by the Ramones (only on the barest of technicalities) in the first episode, and an hilarious episode as they braved the danger-filled journey back home from Yankees Stadium a la the movie 'The Wanderers', I never did find anything with which I could really hook 'Grounded For Life' into the TV Universe. But now I get a second chance!
Here's the info on the upcoming release of the first season of 'Grounded For Life' on a DVD box set:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 13, 2005
YOU'RE GROUNDED ON FEBRUARY 7, 2006!
ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT AND
GROUNDED FOR LIFE - SEASON ONE
ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT AND
GROUNDED FOR LIFE - SEASON ONE
All 20 Uncut Episodes Available On DVD
For The First Time Ever
Troy MI – On February 7, IDT Entertainment's Anchor Bay Entertainment and Carsey-Werner will release Grounded For Life - Season One , a skewed look at the traditional family sitcom, where the parents are as clueless as the kids.
This is a comedy where the parents aren't Ozzie and Harriet and the children don't behave like the Brady Bunch! All 20 episodes will be included in a four-disc DVD collection with a suggested retail price of $39.98. Pre-order date is January 10, 2006 .
From the same company that brought you such award winning hits as 3rd Rock, Roseanne, The Cosby Show and That '70s Show, Grounded For Life ran from 2001-2005 (two seasons on Fox and three more on The WB). The program has a loyal fan base of young viewers who love the hip humor and cast that includes Donal Logue (The Tao of Steve), Megyn Price (Mystery, Alaska), Kevin Corrigan (Living in Oblivion), Lynsey Bartilson, Jake Burbage, Griffin Frazen and Richard Riehle (Office Space).
Sean (Logue) and Claudia Finnerty (Price) are in their early thirties and trying to raise a family of three in pleasant suburbia, while still holding on to their own youthful and wild ways. The Finnerty clan finds little help in the struggle for the good life from Sean's curmudgeonly father, Walter, (Riehle) and lazy brother, Eddie (Corrigan), both of whom create chaos at every turn. Grounded For Life – Season One uniquely explores the complications and comedy encountered when Generation-X tries to grow-up.
Season One Bonus Features:
Meet The Finnertys: Interview with Donal Logue.
Claudia - Not the Sitcom Mom: Interview with Megyn Price.
Life with Lily : Interview with Lynsey Bartilson.
Bloopers: An outrageous collection of outtakes.
Audio Commentaries: The cast and show creators (Mike Schiff and Bill Martin) discuss the evolution of the series.
Carsey Werner ( www.carseywerner.com ) has been known globally for over twenty years as one of the leading independent television studios. With the current hit “That ‘70's Show”, classics such as “Roseanne”, “3 rd Rock From The Sun”, and “The Cosby Show,” and a library of enviable hits that include, “A Different World,” “Grace Under Fire,” “Cybil” and “Cosby,” Carsey Werner programs can be seen and heard in over 175 countries and in 50 different languages.
Anchor Bay Entertainment is a recognized name in home entertainment. The company offers an expansive selection of award-winning, notable theatrical films including “Time Bandits” and “Halloween,” classic television programming such as “Roseanne,” “3 rd Rock from the Sun,” “Three's Company,” “Highlander” and much of the Stephen J. Cannell library, traditional children's fare featuring the ever-popular Thomas & Friends collection and Mister Rogers Neighborhood, the impressive Manga anime line and chart-topping fitness titles including the "Crunch" and "For Dummies" series. Anchor Bay Entertainment is aggressively developing a wide range of original programs and concepts in addition to licensing existing brands and films.
Anchor Bay Entertainment is a subsidiary of IDT Entertainment. IDT Entertainment is a vertically integrated entertainment company that develops, produces, and distributes proprietary and licensed entertainment content.
Grounded For Life: Season One
Street Date: February 7, 2006
Pre-Book: January 10, 2006
Catalog #: DV13767
UPC: 0 1313 13767 – 9 1
Rating: Not Rated
Time Length: 460 Minutes
SRP : $39.98
So check it out. I think 'Grounded For Life' holds up as one of the best sitcoms from the dawn of the New Millennium.
[Saying that it was one of the best in the last five years just didn't have the same oomph!]