Nanny, The: Complete First Season (1993)

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Released 13-Jul-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Fran Drescher (Actor/Prod.) - 'Pilot' & 'Imaginary Friend'
Audio Commentary-Fran Drescher (Actor/Producer) - 'I Don't Remember Mama'
Featurette-Making Of
Trailer-Bewitched TV, Dawson's Creek
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1993
Running Time 562:18
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Randy Bennett
Linda Day
Fran Drescher
Peter Marc Jacobson
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Fran Drescher
Charles Shaughnessy
Lauren Lane
Daniel Davis
Nicholle Tom
Benjamin Salisbury
Madeline Zima
Renée Taylor
Ann Morgan Guilbert
Rachel Chagall
Spalding Gray
Nora Dunn
Sue Goodman
Case ?
RPI $49.95 Music Ann Hampton Callaway
Timothy Thompson


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Spanish
Dutch
Arabic
Greek
Portuguese
Turkish
English Audio Commentary
French Audio Commentary
German Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The early 90s was typified by big hair and loud clothes, and the person with the biggest hair and loudest clothes on television was the Nanny named Fran. Fran Drescher starred in and produced this sit-com that was a vehicle for her unique style. The premise for the show was a kind of mixture of Sound Of Music, Upstairs Downstairs and My Fair Lady.

    Fran Fine (Fran Drescher) is from Flushing, a working class district in Queens, New York. She has been "pre-engaged" to her boyfriend who owns the bridal shop in which she works for a number of years. When he decides to break up with Fran, he also fires her so he can employ his new girlfriend and Fran finds herself selling cosmetics door-to-door in Manhattan. When she arrives at the home of widowed, wealthy British Broadway producer Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy), the butler assumes she has come to apply for the role of Nanny.

    Although she has no experience, she manages to talk her way into the job. The series revolves around this clash of cultures as the very Jewish, working-class Fran and her family become involved with the very British high society world of the Sheffields.

    Naturally, there is the romantic will they or won't they tension between Maxwell and Fran, jealousy in the form of CC Babcock (Lauren Lane), Max's business partner who has designs on marrying him and the usual problems that three children can cause in sit-coms. The best lines are usually reserved for Niles the butler, portrayed brilliantly by Daniel Davis. So well did he play this role that, although born and bred in Arkansas, the network used to get fan mail suggesting that they have Davis teach Charles Shaughnessy to speak with a "proper" English accent, even though Shaughnessy really is British.

    The series ran for seven years and was a huge success for the network. Columbia Tristar has finally released the first series on a three disc DVD set. Has the show stood the test of time? I think so. The themes are timeless and revisiting it again was a pleasure. I had never seen the pilot and discovering exactly how the flashy girl from Flushing became the Nanny named Fran was fun.

Disc 1

Episode 1: Pilot (24:37)
    The typical pilot episode where all the characters are introduced. Fran convinces Maxwell to let her be the nanny for a trial period. When she hears he is planning a party, she naturally assumes the children will attend. Maxwell has other ideas.

Episode 2: Smoke Gets in Your Lies (23:06)
    Brighton is caught smoking at school and Fran wants to tell Mr Sheffield, but is caught in a dilemma when Brighton threatens to tell his father that one of Fran's stories about her youth inspired him to start.

Episode 3: My Fair Nanny (23:41)
    Maggie is having a debutante party and Fran tries to become more refined to fit in with the society guests. Max and Niles coach her in diction and deportment.

Episode 4: The Nuchshlep (23:20)
    Maggie wants to go on her first date and Maxwell will only let her go if Fran goes as chaperone. Problems occur when it appears Maggie's boyfriend gets on better with Fran than with Maggie.

Episode 5: Here Comes The Brood (23:20)
    It's Fran's day off and CC is minding the kids while Fran is bridesmaid at a friend's wedding. When CC tells the kids that Fran only loves them because she is paid to, Gracie is so upset she runs away to be with Fran.

Episode 6: The Butler, The Husband, The Wife and Her Mother (23:21)
    When some old friends drop in on Fran's mother, she leads them to believe Fran is married to Maxwell. They visit Fran and, since Maxwell is away, Niles and Fran pretend that he is Maxwell and Fran is his wife. The situation becomes more farcical when representatives of the Professional Butlers' Association arrive to assess Niles' membership.

Episode 7: Imaginary Friend (23:23)
    Gracie has an imaginary friend and when she believes Fran has accidentally killed the imaginary friend, Gracie is so distraught Maxwell feels she needs therapy.

Episode 8: The Christmas Show (23:40)
    Fran is shocked to discover that Maxwell is working on a Christmas day charity production and will not be spending Christmas with his children. She is even more shocked to discover that, instead of the customary bonus cheque he usually gives to staff which she has already spent in advance, he gives her a present.

Disc 2

Episode 9: Personal Business (23:39)
    When a big name actor will only appear in Maxwell's new play if he can date Fran, Maxwell asks Fran to go out with the actor, but Fran reminds him about his no mixing business with personal life policy.

Episode 10: The Nanny-In-Law (23:09)
    Maxwell's old nanny arrives for a visit and is most disapproving of Fran and her methods with the children.

Episode 11: A Plot For Nanny (23:41)
    Fran's mother buys her a very special birthday present - a cemetery plot. Fran is outraged until she discovers the funeral director is attractive and available.

Episode 12: The Show Must Go On (22:41)
    Fran talks Maxwell into helping produce the pageant at Gracie's school and he turns it into a major production.

Episode 13: Maggie The Model (23:42)
    One of Maxwell's ex-girlfriends, who is a model, visits and leads Maggie to believe she has a future in modelling, but Fran discovers she is just using Maggie.

Episode 14: The Family Plumbing (23:21)
    The Sheffields are having problems with their plumbing and Fran recommends a plumber who is related to her. The plumber brings his grand-daughter with him and Fran is shocked when she finds Brighton kissing her.

Episode 15: Deep Throat (22:59)
    Fran has tonsillitis. Her stay in hospital causes some misunderstandings when she says some things she shouldn't under anaesthetic.

Episode 16: Schlepped Away (22:36)
    The Sheffields and Fran are going to the Caribbean for a holiday, and CC is going to stay with friends. When they get snow-bound on the way to the airport they find their holidays are being spent at Fran's parent's apartment.

Disc 3

Episode 17: Stop The Wedding I Want To Get Off (23:34)
    Maxwell's sister arrives from England with her new fiancé. Fran suspects she is in love with someone else, so sets out to play matchmaker.

Episode 18: Sunday In The Park with Fran (23:35)
    Fran takes Gracie to the park for a picnic. The son of an influential producer picks on Gracie and Fran smacks him. The producer threatens to ruin Maxwell's latest play unless Fran apologises.

Episode 19: The Gym Teacher (23:36)
    Fran goes to Maggie's school to speak with the gym teacher about Gracie's grades and is horrified to find Gracie's gym teacher was also her gym teacher.

Episode 20: Ode To Barbara Joan (23:24)
    CC's estranged father arrives and CC is jealous when he invites Fran to attend a Barbara Streisand concert with him. Fran is torn between front row seats at a Streisand concert and allowing CC and her father to reconcile.

Episode 21: Frannie's Choice (23:33)
    Fran's ex-boyfriend tries to get back together with her and Fran finds she must choose between her old life and her new family with the Sheffields.

Episode 22: I Don't Remember Mama (23:33)
    Mothers' Day is approaching and Maxwell is determined to keep the children's mind off it so they do not get upset over their mother's death. Fran is concerned that they do not speak of their mother, particularly when Gracie is upset that she cannot remember her mother.

Episode 23: The Playwright (23:45)
    Fran meets an old school acquaintance who now drives a cab and learns he still has a crush on her. She agrees to go out with him but when he finds out she is not interested in him, he threatens to kill himself unless she can convince Maxwell to look at a play he has written.

Episode 24: A Star Is Unborn (23:35)
    A colleague of Maxwell's is producing an avante-garde version of Romeo & Juliet and casts Fran in the lead role. Fran is elated with her role and Maxwell is in a moral dilemma when he finds out that she was only cast so the play would fail and the producer could use it as a tax loss.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The video transfer is generally good with very little to comment on. The series was originally videotaped, so sharpness is down somewhat on reference, but it is still reasonably sharp and clear and encoded at a mid-range bitrate that varies from around 4 to 7 Mbps.

    The only artefact I saw was at 6:32 in episode 3 where there is a video tracking error during an establishing shot. That aside, this is a fine transfer (no pun intended) of a TV series.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio on offer is English Dolby Digital 2.0 and is what you would expect of a TV transfer. Most of the audio is centre of the soundstage with some effects and audience laughter spread across the stereo spectrum. Dialogue is always clear, without anything to criticise. Music is limited to the opening theme and a part of the theme played on scene introductions.

    Like the video transfer, audio is not reference quality, but is very good considering the source.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are a few extra included, but they are not must-see viewing.

Menu
    The menu is animated with background music.

Commentaries
    Fran Drescher
provides a commentary for three episodes; Pilot, Imaginary Friend and I Don't Remember Mama. The commentaries are moderately interesting with Fran talking about the development of the characters, the inspiration for the plots and various difficulties they had in filming the episodes.

Featurette - The Making Of The Nanny (20:56)
    Fran Drescher, her then husband and co-producer Peter Marc Jacobson and members of the cast discuss the show from its conception and pitch to the studio, the inspiration for some of the characters, through to experiences in making the show. A fairly standard "Making Of" feature, but some of the insights are interesting.

Trailers
    Two trailers are provided for other Columbia Tristar DVDs; Bewitched (0:53) and Dawson's Creek (1:30).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    As far as I can determine, the Region 1 and Region 4 releases are the same except for some minor variations in subtitles and languages, so this one is another tie.

Summary

    The Nanny was one of the better situation comedies in the early to mid 90s and is still fun to watch. If you have fond memories of the flashy girl from Flushing, you will like this one in your collection. If you haven't heard the nasally twang of the Nanny named Fran, then get hold of this three disc set and sit back for some wholesome fun.

    Video is not exceptional, but of acceptable quality for a 90s TV series.

    Audio is basic, but well presented.

    Extras are mildly interesting.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Glen Randall (If you're really bored, you can read my bio)
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD-1200Y, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TH-42PV500A 42" HD Plasma. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V596
SpeakersRichter Wizard fronts, Richter Lynx centre, Richter Hydra rears, Velodyne CT-100 sub-woofer

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