Blu-ray review: Modern Family Season 1

STUDIO: 20th Century Fox | CREATORS: Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd | CAST: Ed O’Neill, Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet
RELEASE DATE: 9/21/10 | PRICE: DVD $49.98, Blu-ray $59.99
BONUSES: deleted/extended scenes, featurettes, gag reel
SPECS: NR | 644 min. | Television comedy | 1.33:1 fullscreen | DTS-HD 5.1 channel | English, Spanish, French and Portuguese subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Just a couple of weeks after winning the 2010 Emmy Award for Best Comedy Series, Modern Family: The Complete First Season arrived on Blu-ray strutting its full comedic feathers.

The TV show about the Pritchett-Dunphy clan is, as the series’ title suggests, a mirror reflection of the non-nuclear but loving family. There’s the gay brother (Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Untraceable) and his partner (Eric Stonestreet, American Crude), who adopt a baby girl from Vietnam; the family patriarch (Ed O’Neill, TV’s Married With Children) whose second marriage is to a Latina spitfire (Sofía Vergara, Meet the Browns), who’s the same age as his daughter Claire (Julie Bowen, TV’s Boston Legal), who’s married to Phil (Ty Burrell, The Incredible Hulk).

Finally, there are the teen and pre-teen Dunphy kids, who are eternally mortified by their parents. It’s a terrific ensemble, highlighted by the gay couple Cam and Mitchell, who simultaneously play up their gay stereotypes while bringing warmth and real humanity to their characters.

Like The Office, the characters of Modern Family give interviews to an omniscient camera operator, offering some predictably funny moments. And the operator’s camera is pretty lively too, which only adds to the zany goings-on. Veering between situational comedy and slapstick, and leavened with sharp, insightful writing (with ideas frequently mined from the creative team’s own families, we’re told), Modern Family holds promise for a long run and many future trophies.

The Blu-ray set’s picture quality is terrific. Colors are vibrant, and small details in the set design are easily discerned.

The season’s 24 episodes are spread across three discs, and each platter includes an average of three deleted/extended scenes. Disc three serves up several more extras, including behind-the-scenes looks at two episodes, a handful of short featurettes and a gag reel.

Be warned: The Blu-ray disc architecture is clunky, which might cause compatibility problems for older Blu-ray players, and you’ll find yourself sitting through anti-piracy warnings before every episode.


Buy or Rent Modern Family: The Complete First Season
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About Gary

Gary Frisch has been contributing laserdisc, DVD and Blu-ray reviews to Video Business magazine, Home Theater Magazine, Home Theater Buyer’s Guide, Stereophile Guide to Home Theater and the DVD Guide for more than 14 years. He still has a collection of more than 40 laserdiscs, along with a working auto-reverse LD player, but thinks Blu-ray is da bomb and anxiously awaits the original Star Wars trilogy so he can buy it for the fifth time.