February 1, 2013

DVD Review - Hearts Afire: The Complete Series

Hearts Afire: The Complete Series
Starring: John Ritter, Markie Post, Billy Bob Thornton
Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment:
Release Date: January 8, 2013
MSRP: $29.98
Number of Discs: 7
Running Time: 1410 minutes
Rated: TV-PG


In the fall of 1992, the late John Ritter (Three's Company) returned to television in the political sitcom Hearts Afire, playing John Hartman, a senator's aid and a recently divorced father of two boys. His life is flipped upside down when a down-on-her-luck journalist Georgie Anne Lahti (played by Night Court's Markie Post) walks into his office looking for a job and ends up staying at his house. Sparks fly between the two and they eventually tie the knot before the end of the first season. The second season changed the series setting from Washington D.C. to John's southern home town, where they buy a local newspaper office.

Billy Bob Thornton costarred for the entire series' run as Billy Bob Davis. Two and a Half Men's Conchata Ferrell joined the cast during the second season as Dr. Madeline Stoessinger; although she did play another character during the first season for two episodes. 

Mill Creek Entertainment has recently released the complete series with special features that includes bloopers and outtakes.

The episodes are:

Disc 1: Season 1 - Bees Can Sting You, Watch Out Part 1 & 2; The Big Date; Three Men and a Bed; John's Stallion; First Time; Significant Others; Everybody Loves My Baby

Disc 2: Season 1 - Conversations With My Shrink; The Fundamental Things Apply; Smithergate; Everyday's A Holiday; While The Thomasons Slept; Trivial Pursuit; Never Play Touch Football With Kennedys; Miss Starr Dates Georgie Anne's Pop

Disc 3: Season 1 - While The Thomasons Slept in the Lincoln Bedroom; Her Year With Fidel; Cold Feet Part 1 & 2; Take My Senate Seat, Please; Flamingo Summer; Class Reunion

Disc 4: Season 2 - Lonely Always Part 1 & 2; Moonlighting; The Great Depression; First Edition; String of Pearls; The Stud Club; Blue Christmas; True Confessions

Disc 5: Season 2 - Accelerated Dating; Sweet Revenge; The Song of Sissy-Whatsis; Fatal Traction; Sleepless In A Small Town; Do The Limbaugh; Love In The Afternoon; The Big Yes

Disc 6: Season 3 - Don't Say Nothing' Bad About My Baby; Virgin Lonnie; It's My Party;The 'Sock-Her' Boys; Birth Of A Donation; Fat Like Me; Born To Dance

Disc 7 : Season 3 - Pros and Condoms; The Perfect Christmas; Help Wanted; Mrs. Hartman, Mrs. Harman; Group Therapy; John and Georgie's Nut-So-Excellent Adventure; The Outsider (Unaired Episode)

I grew up watching reruns of Three's Company and Night Court, but for some odd reason I never watched Hearts Afire during its original run. I jumped at the chance to review Hearts Afire courtesy of Mill Creek Entertainment in exchange for my honest opinion.

The series has some clever dialogue and was way ahead of its time. I like John and Markie's on-screen chemistry and Billy Bob's hilarious one-liners. During the first season,  Senator Strobe Smithers (played by George Gaynes) reminds me of the mayor from Spin City as they are both clueless and their staffs always have to clean up their messes. I'm not for sure why the producers switched the setting from Washington D.C. to a small rural town. The change did give Billy Bob more to do. Conchata Ferrell basically plays the same part she plays on Two and a Half Men, but with a PHD.

I ended up enjoying each episode. So why am I giving the DVD set three stars? Well, the picture quality is not the best, almost resembling an old VHS tape. There are some audio problems in the first few episodes. After watching several episodes, I got interested in the characters and ignored the DVD faults. Overall, I think Hearts Afire is a funny series and is worth taking the time to watch all 54 episodes.

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