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Artisan Home Entertainment presents
The Best of Trading Spaces (2003)

"If somebody said that designers are just little men that go around fluffing flowers, I'll break every bone in their body and make a lamp out of them!"
- Frank Bielec

Review By: Kevin Clemons  
Published: April 22, 2003

Stars: Paige Davis, Alex McLeod, Amy Wynn Pastor, Frank Bielec, Genevieve Gorder, Ty Pennington, Dez Ryan, Hilda Santo-Thomas, Roderick Shade, Laurie Smith, Kia Steave- Dickerson, Edward Walker, Doug Wilson Vern Yip
Director: various

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for nothing offensive, well some of the rooms are I suppose
Run Time: 01h:52m:32s
Release Date: March 18, 2003
UPC: 012236139102
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- B+BB B+

DVD Review

Since its origin on British television, Trading Spaces has effortlessly ascended to the highest ranks of popular culture in only a short amount of time. To what does the show owe its unparalleled success? Well, imagine a light and fluffy version of Machiavellian plotting and conspiring in the world of home decorating and you just about have it down.

Trading Spaces, which airs on Saturday nights on TLC, has an incredibly novel premise: Take two pairs of friends, allow each to swap houses for a few days and then let their imaginations run wild with redecorating fantasies—and the help of some skilled designers. Sometimes the concept works and the couples are positively thrilled at the new and improved digs; sometimes the opposite occurs. What makes the concept so special is that it offers a lot more than just the reveal of the room to the shocked homeowners by creating an entertaining mix of humor and insight into the building and planning of the changes.

Thankfully this program has made its way onto our favorite format in The Best of Trading Spaces and for fans of the show, this is as good as it gets. As one might expect from the title, the content on this disc is very much a collection of clips and outtakes culled from the first several seasons of the hit show.

The disc is broken down into several sections, the first of which is comprised of "love it" or "hate it" room reveals. Those who have a darker sensibility, like me, will be instantly drawn towards the latter portion of this feature and, while several infamous moments are included, they seem a bit too tame in their content. Still, the notorious fireplace moment is included for those who missed out on the episode the first time around.

Next up are several bloopers and outtakes that are genuinely funny throughout, with carpenter Ty Pennington getting the lion's share of the focus in this bit. This is a plus as Ty has perhaps the greatest amount of charisma of anyone on the show and his moments with a caulk gun (go ahead and make your own jokes) as well as a floor buffer are hysterical enough to warrant a view. The final bits in the feature section are "meet the crew" and "meet the homeowners" areas, where the viewer can click on any given cast member and see a roughly four-minute "greatest hits" collection for everyone on the show. These are fun for the most part, but several run on a bit too long.

So what does this all add up to? Nothing really, except the best moments from a hugely addictive television show in one nice and tidy package. Trading Spaces is many people's, including my girlfriend, drug of choice. And this disc is as nice a fix as you can get.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The video quality for The Best of Trading Spaces is good, but not great. Colors are nicely rendered with a nice crispness to them and no bleeding evident. I noticed a small amount of edge enhancement but it was never enough to distract from the overall quality of the image. Sharpness and detail are each very well done with only a bit of softness evident in some of the interior sequences.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: A Dolby Surround track is provided here and it is as basic as they come. Dialogue is the star of the mix as most of the action is anchored to the center speaker. The dialogue sounds crisp and clear throughout with no distortion or dropouts evident. The music used in transition scenes does cause the left and right speakers to come alive from time to time.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Cast and Crew Biographies
Packaging: unmarked keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Extended Project Footage
  2. The History of Trading Spaces
  3. Credits
  4. How to geton the show
Extras Review: Given the shows intense following, I expected some extra features to pop up on this disc, but the amount offered is truly a surprise. First is a collection of extended product footage that runs nearly half an hour in length. While the footage does get a bit boring at times, it is fun to see the alternate ideas that the designers had for each room. Next is a look at how one would go about getting on the show. Bummer, since I rent. Finally, a series of credits for the disc as well as a look at the history of Trading Spaces is offered and it is fun to see some clips of the British version of the show.

Extras Grade: B+


Final Comments

A fun look at a national phenomenon, The Best of Trading Spaces is an essential ingredient to any collection. Besides, where else could you see a room with straw glued to the walls?


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