A sitcom I'm guessing barely anyone remembers too strongly (it's one of those instances where I think the people who do remember it probably remember liking it, but probably don't remember any details about it) with a couple of stars that have went on to bigger and better things, "Ned and Stacey" ran for 2 years and 46 episodes on Fox before calling it quits.
The series stars Thomas Haden Church ("Sideways") as Ned, an ego-driven ad agency exec who has a terrific apartment in New York City. Stacey (Debra Messing of "Will and Grace") is a reporter for the Village Voice who still lives with her folks and is desperate to get out. Although the two couldn't be bigger opposites, they need each other - he has just gotten a promotion based upon the fact that he was getting married and Stacey sees herself living in Ned's second bedroom.
After a rather lackluster pilot episode (where everyone seems to have been told to play all of the jokes REALLY BIG; this is an issue at times in other episodes, but not nearly to the level it's on display in the pilot), the show quickly settles into a pretty good rhythm. Messing and Hayden Church play off each other well and have solid chemistry, while the writing picks up nicely as the season goes on. Nadia Dajani and Greg Germann provide good supporting efforts as another couple that are friends with Ned and Stacey.
The series does seem a little dated in terms of the look (the laugh track seems a tad heavy, and the style of costumes/sets and opening titles stand out in this regard), but in its best moments, the creators mine material out of the core situation pretty well.
1st Season 1995
1. 1- 1 11 Sep 95 Ned and Stacey
- Ned and Stacey meet and quickly agree to a fake marriage for their own personal gains.
2. 1- 2 18 Sep 95 Portrait of a Marriage
- Stacey isn't happy with the story of their marriage that Ned has made up, while he finds that their fake wedding is in better shape than many of the real ones around him.
3. 1- 3 25 Sep 95 Take My Wife, Please
- Stacey misleads a potential boyfriend about her relationship with Ned.
4. 1- 4 2 Oct 95 Cover Story
- Stacey's story about a big mogul threatens Ned's job.
5. 1- 5 9 Oct 95 Model Husband
- A supermodel falls for Eric.
6. 1- 6 16 Oct 95 Saul and Ellen and Ned and Stacey
- Stacey has enough of Ned's catering to her mom and dad.
7. 1- 7 23 Oct 95 Here's to You, Mrs. Binder
- Ned falls in love with an older woman who happens to be Stacey's mom's best friend.
8. 1- 8 30 Oct 95 Halloween Story
- A Halloween mix-up puts Ned and Stacey closer together.
9. 1- 9 13 Nov 95 Reality Check
- Stacey takes a waitress job when the bank comes calling for her debts.
10. 1-10 20 Nov 95 Thanksgiving Day Massacre
- Thanksgiving at the Colberts reveals family disagreements and disappointments.
11. 1-11 4 Dec 95 Sleepless in Manhattan
- Ned gives Stacey assistance in buying a new bed, which she doesn't take well to.
12. 1-12 11 Dec 95 Threesome
- Ned and Stacey can't seem to share time with the same friend.
13. 1-13 18 Dec 95 Accountus Interruptus
- Stacey objects when Ned offers to sleep with a powerful client.
14. 1-14 1 Jan 96 New Year's Eve
- Stacey passes on Ned's party for a date.
15. 1-15 8 Jan 96 Paranoia on the 47th Floor
- Ned thinks a new employee has his sights set on his job.
16. 1-16 15 Jan 96 A Tender Trap
- Ned flirts with a publishing exec in the hopes of landing Stacey a job.
17. 1-17 22 Jan 96 Promotional Rescue
- Amanda asks Ned to put in a good word for Eric.
18. 1-18 12 Feb 96 Friends and Lovers
- Stacey's high school rival tries to seduce Ned.
19. 1-19 19 Feb 96 The Gay Caballeros
- A new client assumes Ned is gay.
20. 1-20 26 Feb 96 Gut Feeling
- Gall bladder issues put Ned in the hospital.
21. 1-21 4 Mar 96 Pals
- A popular young actor tries to hit on Amanda.
22. 1-22 11 Mar 96 It Happened One Night
- Amanda convinces Stacey to move out.
23. 1-23 18 Mar 96 You Bet Your Wife
- Ned loses Stacey in a poker game with an agency rival.
24. 1-24 1 Apr 96 The End? (1)
- Stacey's new romance puts her situation with Ned in jeopardy.
VIDEO: "Ned and Stacey" is presented in 1.33:1 full-frame by Sony Pictures Home Video. Image quality is generally quite good, as the picture seemed mostly crisp and clear, with only occasional, brief moments of slight softness. Aside from some slight shimmer and the rare instance of some very slight pixelation, the image was free of considerable faults/issues. Colors looked bright and well-defined, with no smearing or other concerns.
SOUND: "Ned and Stacey" is presented in stereo. Music, dialogue and (unfortunately) the laugh track all come through crisply and clearly.
EXTRAS: The 20-minute documentary taking a look back is full of Hayden Church, Messing, the show's creators and more talking in newly recorded interviews about how wonderful everyone was. There are some insights thrown out here, but a lot of this piece concentrates pretty heavily on everyone praising each other's work.
Creator Michael Weinhorn fares better in his audio commentary for the pilot, where he discusses casting, creation of the series and working with the network. There are also previews for "Newsradio", "Creature Comforts", "King of Queens" and "Partridge Family".
Final Thoughts: "Ned and Stacey" starts off in creaky fashion with a pilot that doesn't work terribly well. However, after that it gets better throughout the season, both in terms of the writing and the actors settling into their characters. Sony Pictures provides fine audio/video quality for the episodes, as well as a nice helping of supplements. Recommended for fans of the series or fans of the actors.