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Ugly Betty on DVD: Season 1Season 2

"Ugly Betty" The Complete First Season - The Bettyfied Edition DVD Review

Buy Ugly Betty: The Complete First Season - The Bettyfied Edition from Amazon.com Ugly Betty: Season One (2006-07)
Show & DVD Details

Creator: Silvio Horta

Repeat Directors: James Hayman, Tricia Brock, Jeffrey Melman, Lev L. Spiro

Regular Cast: America Ferrera (Betty Suarez), Eric Mabius (Daniel Meade), Vanessa Williams (Wilhelmina Slater), Alan Dale (Bradford Meade), Tony Plana (Ignacio Suarez), Ana Ortiz (Hilda Suarez), Ashley Jensen (Christina McKinney), Becki Newton (Amanda Tanen), Mark Indelicato (Justin Suarez), Michael Urie (Marc St. James), Kevin Sussman (Walter)

Recurring Characters: Rebecca Romijn (Alexis Meade), Christopher Gorham (Henry Grubstick), Judith Light (Claire Meade), Salma Hayek (Sofia Reyes), Kevin Alejandro (Santos)

Notable Guest Stars: Rhys Coiro (Vincent Bianchi), Brett Cullen (Ted LeBeau), Martha Stewart (Herself), Octavia Spencer (Constance Grady), Lucy Liu (Grace Chin), Jerry O'Connell (Joel), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Dr. Farkas), Patti LuPone (Mrs. Weiner), Leslie Jordan (Quincy Combs), Mykel Shannon Jenkins (Tavares), Rita Moreno (Aunt Mirta), Justina Machado (Clara), Kristin Chenoweth (Diane)

Running Time: 992 Minutes (23 episodes) / Rating: TV-14
1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned / DVD Release Date: August 21, 2007
Season 1 Airdates: September 28, 2006 – May 17, 2007
Six single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9s); Suggested Retail Price: $59.99
Eight-sided fold-out Digipak with Cardboard Slipcover

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Alexis (Rebecca Romijn) makes her grand debut to the world and manages to catch Daniel’s eye. Once he finds out about her... past, he’ll certainly need psychiatric therapy. Watch out, Nikki Blonsky, Justin Suarez’s interpretation of Tracy Turnblad can give you a run for your money.

Disc 4

13. In or Out (Originally aired January 18, 2007) (42:38)
Daniel becomes a vegetable after his breakup with Sofia. Betty tries to get him back on his feet by setting him up with a supermodel.
Wilhelmina takes advantage of the situation and plans on taking Daniel's place as editor-in-chief, making a list of who will remain under her thumb and who will be let go. Daniel's brother Alex, thought to be dead, turns up quite differently.

14. I'm Coming Out (Originally aired February 1, 2007) (43:00)
Things get hectic as New York's Fashion Week starts. Hilda, in need of money, works with Betty in organizing the fashion show. The two don't see eye to eye, though. Christina looks forward to getting her original designs out in the show, and Wilhelmina offers her more so long as she delivers a mysterious package to the police.

15. Brothers (Originally aired February 8, 2007) (42:29)
All of Mode is in chaos thanks to the arrest of Bradford and the coming out of Alexis. Betty devotes much of her time with Daniel's mother Claire to make sure she doesn't do anything drastic during this turmoil. Walter is offered a job in Maryland, and sensing the distance between him and Betty, breaks up with her. His timing is unfortunate, for Henry tells Betty that he plans on getting back together with his ex-girlfriend. Claire tries to get Daniel and Alexis to sort out their differences.

16. Derailed (Originally aired February 15, 2007) (43:02)
Daniel meets with Grace Chin (guest star Lucy Liu), a lawyer he once stood up in college, to defend Bradford in court. Betty meets an out-of-town girl named Charlie and the two get along well...until Betty finds out she's Henry's former ex-girlfriend. Santos, in an effort to bond with Justin, goes with him and Hilda to see Hairspray, but they get stuck on the subway.

Ignacio makes Constance’s dream come true... at least for the sake of a Kodak moment. If Tavares didn’t turn Amanda on, his designs certainly did.

Disc 5

17. Icing on the Cake (Originally aired March 15, 2007) (43:04)
Just as Daniel and Alexis start to patch up old wounds, Wilhelmina tears them apart by revealing Daniel's hiring of Grace to defend Bradford. Henry invites Betty to Charlie's birthday party, and in a desperate attempt not to go alone, she asks her orthodontist (guest star Jesse Tyler Ferguson) to go with her. Amanda inspires a bizarre designer into creating a rubber dress, which she struggles doing simple tasks in.

18. Don't Ask, Don't Tell (Originally aired March 22, 2006) (43:01)
When Marc's mother (guest star Patti LuPone) arrives to see him, he asks Betty to pose as his girlfriend to hide his sexuality. Claire, now the owner of Mode with Bradford in jail, names Daniel and Alexis co-editors-in-chief to bring them together.

19. Punch Out (Originally aired April 19, 2007) (41:56)
A writer with access to Fey Sommers' diaries starts stalking the Meade family to put the pieces together. Alexis and Wilhelmina try to get back the diaries, but for their own respective motives. As Daniel slips back into his old womanizing habits and away from work, Betty tries to bring him back up. Constance grows alarmingly more possessive of Ignacio, and it's discovered that she's no longer an immigration worker.

20. Petra-Gate (Originally aired April 26, 2007) (43:05)
Betty distances herself from Daniel, Henry, and Christina due to the rockiness in all three relationships. Alexis goes on her first date as a woman, and Daniel's date backfires when the date in question uses blackmail to get on the cover of the next issue. Amanda can't help but be attracted to a seemingly gay designer (guest star Mykel Shannon Jenkins). Santos asks for Ignacio's blessing in order to propose to Hilda.

Lady Betty and Sir Henry (Christopher Gorham) share an intimate moment deep within Betty’s mind. While in Mexico, Ignacio (Tony Plana) encourages Betty to go after Henry.

Disc 6

21. Secretaries Day (Originally aired May 3, 2007) (42:17)
Betty plans an outing for Mode's assistants at a medieval-themed restaurant. Amanda is terrified that an advertisement she once filmed for the restaurant will come back to haunt her. Betty tries to help Daniel get over his sexual addiction,
and Henry defends her honor at the restaurant (to Charlie's chagrin). Meanwhile, the Suarez family's financial problems continue to rise.

22. A Tree Grows in Guadalajara (Originally aired May 10, 2007) (42:53)
The Suarez family heads to Mexico to help sort out Ignacio's immigration problem. While there, Betty is determined to find out more about her mother, and collects information from her Aunt Mirtha (guest star Rita Moreno) and cousin Clara (guest star Justina Machago). Daniel replaces his sexual addiction with a new one, and Wilhelmina seduces Bradford, giving him a makeover.

23. East Side Story (Originally aired May 17, 2007) (42:28)
Betty and Henry grow closer, but things take a turn when Henry finds out Charlie's pregnant. After finding out from orthodontist Diane (guest star Kristin Chenoweth) some information about Charlie, Betty goes to stop Henry. Wilhelmina and Bradford move on to the next step in their relationship, and Daniel overdoses on drugs. Amanda and Christina find themselves locked in Wilhelmina's secret back room and discover a shocking secret about Amanda's family. A tragic death occurs, and it's mirrored by Justin's performance as Tony in West Side Story.

Marc calls Amanda and Betty as Wilhelmina’s interrogation draws closer and closer to them. If Betty concentrates hard enough, she can see Scott Calvin fly around inside the snowglobe.

VIDEO and AUDIO

"Ugly Betty" comes in the same 1.78:1 widescreen ratio found in its high-definition broadcasts. As to be expected from such a recent series, the image is pristine. The picture is always sharp and clearly defined, and no flaws (print or digital) show up here. The best thing about the episode transfers is the color palette. "Ugly Betty" features virtually every hue under the sun, and they all come across as vivid and practically jumping off the screen. There are no complaints to be found here.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack likewise is solid throughout. This isn't the sort of show that produces demo quality audio, and that's perfectly fine. It actually does make solid use of what it has, namely in directional dialogue. Both this and the musical score come across cleanly, and even in quieter scenes, one can hear the ambience sounds of the office or the New York City streets.

Apple iTunes

BONUS FEATURES

Like most post-2000 shows, "Ugly Betty" arrives with a smattering of extras.

First up are four audio commentaries. Series creator Silvio Horta, executive producer Teri Weinberg, and director Richard Shepherd offer their thoughts on the pilot episode, discussing various tidbits such as the casting process, what was shot on location, and the look of the show. Though they occasionally fall into self-praise, all three speakers are pretty engaging and provide nice anecdotes.

Actors Michael Urie and Becki Newton comment on the episode "Fey's Sleigh Ride." To the disappointment of some listeners, hardly any behind-the-scenes info is shared, but that's a non-issue due to the fact that these two are absolutely hysterical together. These castmates have obviously bonded as closely as their characters have, giving this commentary the air of eavesdropping on two friends watching TV together. They poke fun at various things on screen as well as about each other, and do drop in a few stories. While not particularly light-shedding, the track is certainly worth a listen for sheer entertainment value.

Executive Producer Ben Silverman discusses the origins of "Ugly Betty." Betty and Daniel walking along the Brooklyn Bridge... but without the bridge in the green screen featurette "Green is the New Black." We get a look at costume sketches for Wilhelmina's ever-changing wardrobe in "A la Mode."

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the next commentary, which features actors Eric Mabius and Salma Hayek on "Sofia's Choice." In stark contrast to Urie and Newton, Mabius and Hayek seem uncomfortable around each other or at least with the commentary format. Most of the track is comprised of dead silence. When one of them speaks, it's usually a simple "I like that" or "That's funny." Chalk this as one commentary worth skipping.

The final track fares slightly better. Urie returns for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", this time joined by Vanessa Williams. There's quite a bit of dead air,
but the pair still offers a few quips in talking about Patti LuPone's guest appearance. Still, only the curious will find this track worth the listen.

The rest of the bonus material can be found on Disc Six, starting with the featurette "Becoming Ugly: A New Face for Television" (12:13). Cast and crew members offer insight into what they think of the show, and various topics such as the show's telenovela origins come up. It packs in a reasonable amount of information in a short amount of time, and every major cast member shows up to offer at least a comment or two. This is a solid overview of the show.

The next featurette is entitled "Green Is the New Black" (5:44). This offers a fascinating look at the green screen effects used for nearly every scene of the show that takes place outdoors. The main focus of the featurette is the scene with Betty and Daniel walking along the Brooklyn Bridge, though other bits from the show are dissected, as well.

The last behind-the-scenes featurette is "A la Mode: The Style of Ugly Betty" (6:54). The show's memorable costume and production designs are analyzed here. Various crew members explain the ideas behind their color and shape choices, from the garish eyesores of Betty to the sleek and neutral ensembles of Wilhelmina. Concept sketches are presented throughout the featurette and compared with the finished result.

In this deleted scene, Marc nervously expresses his love of his job in hopes that Wilhelmina (Vanessa Williams) and her silent accomplice won’t murder him before the holidays. An entertainment host recaps the tumultuous story of Bradford and Claire Meade in this deleted scene. Kristin Chenoweth attempts in vain to keep a straight face as America Ferrera loses all composure.

Perhaps the most enticing aspect of the supplements is the selection of deleted scenes (20:49). There are twenty-seven in total, but a more accurate name for this would be deleted/extended scenes, as about two-thirds of what's offered here are longer versions of existing scenes. While there's nothing revelatory here, all of the scenes are actually still quite good, and none of them would've harmed the episodes in question (minus a very long news segment that only appears for a few seconds in the finished episode). It's obvious they were cut for time rather than for quality, and it's too bad viewers aren't given the option to see them placed back in the actual episodes. In an annoying move, the DVD gives no indication of what episode each scene is from. Fans will have no trouble figuring out where they belong, but providing some context would've helped matters.

The final bonus feature on this set is a collection of "Ugly Bloopers" (3:43). While this reel is mainly made up of actors giggling, it's still fairly amusing to watch. One particularly fun piece has one actress missing her cue because she doesn't even realize the camera's rolling.

The first disc of the set opens with a promo for other Touchstone TV DVDs. While more previews are included in the "Sneak Peeks" section of Disc Six, they don't play automatically at the start of any disc. The included trailers showcase Enchanted, "Brothers and Sisters:" The Complete First Season, "Grey's Anatomy:" The Complete Third Season, "Lost:" The Complete Third Season, "What About Brian:" The Complete First and Second Seasons, "Desperate Housewives:" The Complete Third Season, Meet the Robinsons, a promo for "Ugly Betty's" second season (no actual footage is included, though), and another for SoapNet.

The animated main menu of Disc One shows Betty and her signature pendant. Disc Four’s main menu has Betty laughing with (or at) Clark – er, Henry.

MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

"Ugly Betty's" colorful menus represent the show well. Each menu is the same color as the disc it's on and features various stills from that disc's respective episodes. The stills rapidly slide in and out of narrow frames in rhythm to the upbeat music. Like most of the disc contents, they're anamorphically enhanced. The only content in this set not anamorphic (outside of the Sneak Peeks) are the deleted scenes and bloopers. Each episode is divided into eight chapter stops, with chapters given to the prologues and ending credits of each.

All six discs come housed in Digipak packaging, with two discs sharing each panel. A different character (or group of characters) is featured on each disc. The entire set is housed in a cardboard slipcover depicting Betty's face, with embossed glasses and holographic braces. Also included is an eight-page booklet containing episode synopses and stills, all cleverly designed like an issue of Mode magazine.

Betty presents a magazine cover during a business meeting, but all eyes are on her distinctive Queens makeover. Christina (Ashley Jensen) is shocked that someone like Henry has a woman after him other than Betty.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

”Ugly Betty"'s first season turns out to be a winner. It contains a consistency and confidence that most shows don't really develop until their second seasons, sharp and funny scripts, memorable characters, and a visual flair that sets it apart. The DVD presentation is as close to perfection as can be found on standard definition. While plagued with two dull commentaries, the extras overall provide a decent and entertaining look at what goes into making this show. "Ugly Betty:" The Complete First Season earns a recommendation to those looking for a show that's neither as shallow as most sitcoms nor as brooding as most dramas. Established fans of the show have no reason not to pick up this well-made set.

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Reviewed August 22, 2007.