HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Superstore: Season 1
HTS Overall Score:75
NBC used to be the KING of Sitcoms. There were so many great shows to come from the TV channel. “Frasier” (one of my personal favorites, a show I’m actually watching through on the side for the umpteenth time as we speak actually), “Friends”, “30 Rock”, “Cheers”, “Night Court”, the list goes on and on. Sadly the sitcom aspect of their lineup has pretty much fizzled after “30 Rock” and “Parks and Recreation” died off a few years back, with what little lineup they DO have being cancelled after the first season. Then comes along “Superstore”, which takes a whack at the good old workplace comedy genre and it actually survives into the second season! For good reason it seems, as “Superstore: Season 1” is a show that I honestly would have just glossed over completely had I not reviewed it. Blending in a good mix of glossy new politics with some good old fashioned lunacy of working in a big retail store. It’s cute, it’s surprisingly funny, and definitely worthy of being picked up for the second season.
Helmed by the creator of “The Office”, “Superstore” follows the lives and antics of a ragtag group of co-workers in the Cloud 9 Superstore. Basically a Walmart knockoff, the store is home to just about every type of worker there is. We have Amy (America Ferrera), a hard working mother who does her best to get through the day working the monotonous life of a floor manager. Jonah (Ben Feldman), the new hire who’s ever so slightly condescending in an innocent sort of way (who obviously has a crush on Amy), and the copious amounts of people that fall in the in-between. Much like “Seinfeld”, it’s really a show about “nothing”. Or in reality, a show about the daily lives of these people without any major overarching storyline along the way.
What makes “Superstore” so wonderfully fun is just how relatable the characters are on a cynical level. Having worked retail for many years in my younger days I can verify that just about EVERY character on the show is real in some way shape or form. The same goes with some of the more ludicrous situations, even if they seem ludicrous at face value. The white trash co-worker who has the baby daddy that EVERYONE besides her can see is a waste of oxygen. The boss who’s just a little too by the rules and will right you up for anything any everything even if you’re her best friend. The slightly repressed religious do gooder who struggles with the fun that is workplace “equality” and political correctness, and that brown nosing little snot who does everything they can to get you in trouble so that they can score a few points with a boss who honestly doesn’t even care if you lit the store on fire.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=78490[/img]Besides the lunacy of many of the situations, there is a sense of realness and simplicity to the characters. They’re just struggling to find a way to get through the monotony of their daily work grind and that comes out in a variety of ways. Hijinks on the job, office flirting, having fun with taking down a shoplifter (actually one of the more fun parts of loss prevention if you’re having a boring day in retail), and of course the awkwardness of dealing with 15 million different personality and upbringing variations that naturally happens in minimum wage hiring processes. It makes for hysterical (although every once in a while painful) comedy that had me chuckling and laughing out loud just about every episode.
The show is perfectly fine on the outside, and actually a little boring by the look and description of the show, but underneath it is a fairly nuanced show that really shines by interactions between the cast. America Ferrera is perfect as the slightly stick in the mud character of Amy (and seriously doesn’t look a day over 24 when she’s in her 30s right now), and Ben Feldman does wonders as the well-meaning, but slightly awkward Jonah. Honestly, I saw my old days at Walmart and Bookmans (a local retailer in Tucson) in just about every episode and that made the show all the more funny. There are times where the well-worn path is DEFINITELY well-worn, but overall the show is quirky and full of enough humor to keep me coming back for me.
The episode rundown:
Shots and Salsa
Wedding Day Sale
Not Rated by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=78498[/img]NBC always has a very unique “look” to their TV shows. If you’ve watched “Burn Notice”, “Covert Affairs”, “Suits” or any of the rest of their modern shows you know exactly how “Superstore” is going to look. It’s a very glossy and colorful look, with plenty of attention to primary colors and a very clean and digital look. Did I mention glossy? Fine detail is very solid, showing off plenty of intimate details such as Dina’s overabundance of makeup when she wants to look good for Jonah, or the well-stocked store that looks MILES better than any major retailer I’ve ever been in that’s been open for more than a week. Blacks are deep and inky, although sometimes a little TOO deep as I noticed some crush when Jonah goes out to the back of the warehouse and certain black clothing loses detail as it turns into a black hole. There’s some mild softness that comes with a low budget sitcom but nothing that really distracts from an overall clean and well-crafted image.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=78506[/img]The show has an appealing 5.1 Dolby Digital track that is par for the course considering “Superstore” is a sitcom. Dialog is the number one focus of the track, and it is well done too. Vocals are crisp and well formed, never intentionally distorted or being imbalanced with the mild mixing of the surrounds. Those back channels are dedicated mostly to the sounds of customers coming in and out of the store at well, bumping into things and generally acting as background noise for the dialog between the main characters. LFE is restrained and mild, but it does come out to play and act up things go crash and boom (which they invariably do). It’s not a wild action track, but “Superstores’” 5.1 experience is well balanced and does everything asked of it.
• Deleted Scenes
• Gag Reel
“Superstore: Season 1”isn’t a perfect show, but it certainly is a fun little workplace comedy. I really like being surprised by new things when I review and this was the perfect opportunity. A show that I had little to no knowledge of prior to receiving the discs and one that I came out very pleasantly surprised by. I was especially surprised by the fact that as a half hour (with commercials) sitcom was actually only given 13 episodes, even though the shorter season phenomenon has become more and more prevalent recently. While I sometimes feel cheated when a show is short, I actually like it in this case. There is very little filler and the episodes flow smoothly from one episode the next without feeling overly strained or forced. The show itself is a little less than 3 hours so with two full DVD-9’s and a healthy bitrate we have a very pleasing audio and video experience, although sadly only a handful of extras to satiate my need to find out more behind the scenes information. Definitely recommended as a fun watch and I look forward to the upcoming season.
Starring: America Ferrerra, Ben Feldman, Lauren Ash
Created by: Justin Spitzer
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Runtime: 238 minutes
DVD Release Date: August 23rd 2016
Buy Superstore: Season 1 DVD on Amazon
Recommendation: Rental/Check it out
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