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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Back to You - Season 1
Back to You - Season 1
Fox // Unrated // October 14, 2008
List Price: $39.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted October 23, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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The First and Only Season

Back To You is a FOX television situational comedy (sitcom) that aired from September 2007 to May 2008. The series is about a washed up news anchor returning to his former glory after a major career blunder. It was produced by Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan, and directed by James Burrow. Headlining the cast were Frasier's Kelsey Grammar and Everybody Loves Raymond's Patricia Heaton. The network cancelled Back To You before airing its entire season (seventeen episodes; three unaired episodes) -- despite giving it serious consideration for renewal. (This DVD set includes the three unaired episodes.) Overall, it is a generic sitcom with some fun moments, but definitely not enough oomph to keep it on top.

Kelsey Grammar stars as Chuck Darling. Chuck is the news. He started his news casting career WURG New 9 in Pittsburgh. He made it to the big times and eventually became a hot shot national news anchors. Unfortunately, he ended his career after making a rude outburst about his ditzy co-anchor, which was spread all over the Internet. With his career in the tubes, he returns (after ten years) to his former glory. He rejoins his first co-anchor Kelly Carr (Patricia Heaton). They have awkward chemistry, as Kelly has kept a secret from him, their daughter Gracie.

The other characters include Ryan Church (Josh Gad), the young news director who gets little respect and has even less confidence, Gary Crezyzewski (Ty Burrell), the field reporter who aspires to be a news anchor and is a bit of a joke around the office, Montana Diaz Herrera (Ayda Field), the slutty weatherwoman who is not very bright, and Marsh McGinley (Fred Willard), the sports anchor and Chuck's good friend. These characters are very generic and do not offer much for solid, hearty laughs. The majority of the fun comes from Grammar and Heaton, although Willard has a few good moments.

The first and only season of Back To You focuses on Chuck's return to WURG. At the same time, he understands how his return affects the people around him. Specifically, he learns about something that happened ten years ago. Just as Chuck was leaving Pittsburgh, he and Kelly had a drunken affair. The result was Gracie. However, Kelly never told Chuck. After he learns about it, he contemplates being in Gracie's life. The issue gets complicated for them, as Kelly is reluctant to let anyone know about it -- even Gracie. Beyond, nothing really substantive occurs.

As for the quality, Back To You has its ups and downs. Unfortunately, it is more of the latter. The series is not very humorous. The problem lies in the cast. While Grammar and Heaton are topnotch, their supporting cast is far too generic. Typically, the comedy feels forced. In addition, the roles never really stand out. Another problem lies in the storylines. The series does not have much going for it. Nothing really happens (funny or dramatic) beyond the Chuck-Kelly-Gracie development. It resulted in a lack of interest. The good news is that there are some fun moments between Grammar and Heaton -- but not enough.

Overall, I was pretty disappointed with Back To You. When I first heard about the show, I was very excited. I loved Frasier and Everybody Loves Raymond. Naturally, the thought of Grammar and Heaton together sounded like a good idea. However, after seeing the show air, I quickly lost interest. Having given the series another go for this review, I was equally as impressed. Back To You is a generic sitcom that tries to hard to be funny.

Episode Guide

1. Pilot: After an ill-fated career move, TV news anchor Chuck Darling returns to his roots at Pittsburg station WURG and is reunited with his co-anchor, Kelly Carr, who is hiding a startling secret.
2. Fish Story: Chuck wants to prove to Kelly that he's responsible enough to be a part of their daughter's life, but he has enough trouble just keeping a goldfish alive.
3. The First Supper: Chuck and Gracie hit it off when he joins Kelly and her for an unexpected inner. Back at the station, Marsh offers to help Gary with a promo reel and Montana is distraught over some bad news that she learns the hard way--on the air!
4. A Gentleman Always Leads: Hoping to impress some former colleagues, Chuck manipulates Kelly so that he can cover the lead story. Meanwhile, Montana's new intern is just a bit too old school.
5. A Night of Possibilities: The co-anchors both have something to prove when Chuck accepts a dinner invitation from Ryan and Kelly gears up for a night on the town with Montana.
6. Gracie's Bully: As the news team prepares to host Gracie's class field trip to WURG, Chuck and Kelly disagree about how Gracie should deal with a school bully.
7. Something's Up There: Gracie's birthday party doesn't seem to be turning out as Kelly had planned, but the crew comes to the rescue when the party is crashed by an uninvited guest.
8. Cradle to Grave: While Chuck babysits the precocious Gracie, Kelly gets the last word in at the funeral of a former colleague.
9. Business Or Pleasure?: Chuck decides to butt in when a rival news anchor asks Kelly out on a date. Meanwhile, Gary feels somewhat less than warm and fuzzy about covering an animal costume convention.
10. Wall Of Fame: When Marsh throws Chuck a surprise birthday party, Kelly tries to hide an incriminating photo from her past, but Gary and Ryan see something far more disturbing.
11. Hug and Tell: Kelly and Chuck go into therapy to deal with the problem of telling Gracie that Chuck is her father. Back in the newsroom, Gary is feeling neglected, but maybe all he needs is a hug.
12. Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Chuck and Kelly's decision to tell Gracie the truth about her parentage takes them back to New Year's Eve, 1997--the night that Gracie was conceived.
13. The New Boss: Chuck and Kelly confront the new station manager about some unpopular changes leaving Ryan with an unenviable task. Meanwhile,
14. Chuck and Kelly, Don't It Again: A poorly timed and campaign for the station complicates Chuck and Kelly's plan to publicly disclose their parenthood. Marsh has a gift for Gary, but he immediately regrets his own generosity.
15. UNAIRED -- Date Night: Chuck's assertion that Kelly's latest fling is merely a younger version of himself leads to a showdown in a restaurant. Meanwhile, Ryan hopes to find himself a girlfriend--via webcam.
16. UNAIRED -- The House of Tomorrow: With an eye toward the future, Chuck re-evaluates his lifestyle, leaving Kelly unsure what to think.
17. UNAIRED -- Hostage Watch: After Chuck finds himself in the middle of a hostage situation, he re-evaluates his life and career now that he knows he's Gracie's father.

The DVD

Video:
The video in this release is given in an anamorphic 1.85:1 ratio widescreen color format. The picture quality is quite good. It suffers from a slight grain, but detail remains to be sharp and clear. However, there are moments when the picture suffers noticeable compression artifacts. Overall, the picture is relatively clean and should look good on big screen televisions.

Audio:
The audio in this release is given in English 5.1 Dolby digital surround sound. Overall, the sound quality is very good, providing an audible and clean audio track. The majority of activity is in the forward channels. There are subtitles in English, French, and Spanish and support for closed captioning.

Extras:

  • Behind the Scenes with Back To You (26:39): is a featurette with cast and crew (Christopher Lloyd, Steven Levitan, Kelsey Grammar, Patricia Heaton, Fred Willard, Dan O'Shannon, and others) talking about the series. There is behind the scenes footage, interviews, round table readings, etc.
  • This Just In (9:11): is a short featurette with Steven Levitan (a few people like Josh Gad and Dan O'Shannon make brief appearances) talking about the Back To You concept, premise, characters, etc.
  • Gag Reel (6:21): is a standard montage of goofs caught on tape.

Final Thoughts:
Back To You is a generic sitcom about a shamed national news anchorman who returns to his former glory. The series tries very hard to be funny, but fails with its subpar cast (despite having Kelsey Grammar and Patricia Heaton). The writing is also pretty lackluster with very little happening to keep your interest. Overall, Back To You is a decent comedy that will be worth a few laughs. However, if you miss it, you will not be missing much.

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