It's hard to dispute that Donald Trump is a super-savvy businessman, just like it's hard to dispute NBC hit it big with The Apprentice. 16 contestants would vie to become Trump's apprentice over 13 weeks. They would be put through business tasks that started simple, and then the risk would be increased. Throughout the show we would see Trump's empire; from his apartment to his golf course and casino. This man has money, and he knows what to do with it. Every episode ends with the words, "You're Fired" (except one, of course).
Mark Burnett (Survivor) crafted another hit with this series. NBC was smart enough to replay episodes so those of us who missed one could catch up. I didn't watch the first episode, but caught it later after a coworker recommended it to me. Though I enjoyed the show, I felt there were a number of tasks I could have done better. It was painful to watch the men lose their competitions, but the women played the game better. The men exhibited extremely poor negotiating skills during one competition, and completely wasted an extra day they had to plan for the Planet Hollywood competition. I loved watching the earlier episodes to see how the various contestants acted. Omarosa's advice in episode 1 was completely the opposite from her actions in later episodes, and that made me laugh. Oh well, it was an entertaining show, and I can't wait for season 2 to start in a few weeks.
Universal creates another interesting package for one of their releases, but this one has a few problems. When you open the package you hear Donald Trump say, "You're Fired." This gimmick causes problems because the space in the package that houses the voice chip isn't very sturdy, which results in a box that can be squished, like mine was. The discs also slide out from the bottom (or top) of the case which is asking for trouble. I can just picture one of my friends coming over, taking the set off the shelf and having the discs slide out and smash on the floor.
The Apprentice, like many other reality shows, is shot on video. This means the video is free from any dust of debris, but there are some shots that contain a bit of noise. I found the quality of the set quite good, and cleaner than the broadcast version (I watched it on digital cable which I find very compressed). The footage contains some jaggy lines in certain scenes, but it isn't too distracting. I'm not sure why, but Universal has stopped placed chapters after the opening of the episodes. This makes it frustrating because I'm used to skipping over the openings on these DVD sets. The discs contain a "play all" feature so you can play all the episodes on a disc in one sitting.
The theme has been changed. Let's just get that out of the way right now. Either it was too expensive to license, or the rights holders didn't want to license it for the DVD release, but in any case it's not here.
The audio for the show is quite good; the voices can be heard clearly (when people aren't talking over one another), and the musical soundtrack sounds great. I was surprised by the music and how much it added to the show, especially when it could be heard from the rear speakers. This is a nice Dolby Surround track. English, French and Spanish subtitles are included.
The Ultimate Job Interview (7:24)
Mark Burnett and Donald Trump talk about how the show was created, and what made it popular. We also see some of the secrets behind the series, including the building of the set (their living quarters), and the boardroom.
The Candidates (31:11)
Various video bits of the candidates, featuring their casting tapes, pre-show interviews and highlights from the show. Props to Universal for including a "play all" feature here. Bill Rancic (2:00), Kwame Jackson (2:06), Amy Henry (1:51), Nick Warnock (2:12), Troy McClain (1:46), Katrina Campins (1:48), Heidi Bressler (2:08), Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth (2:00), Ereka Vetrini (1:39), Tammy Lee (2:06), Jessie Connors (1:39), Kristi Frank (2:06), Bowie Hogg (1:41), Sam Solovey (2:06), Jason Curis (1:55) and David Gould (2:08).
Extended Audition Tapes (23:06)
These are extended audition tapes - longer than we've seen before. This section also includes a "play all" feature. Amy (1:56), Bill (1:44), Bowie (1:48), David (0:59), Ereka (1:56), Heidi (0:53), Jason (1:56), Jessie (1:07), Katrina (1:21), Kristi (1:10), Kwame (1:57), Nick (1:43), Omarosa (0:55), Sam (1:11), Tammy (0:40) and Troy (1:50). After watching these you have to wonder how bad some of the other tapes were.
The Boss (4:01)
Mark Burnett, cast members and Donald Trump talk about "The Donald," and The Apprentice.
These segments, taken from the episodes, have Mr. Trump sharing his wisdom with us.
The Board of Directors (4:07)
Cast members and Mark Burnett talk about....Mark Burnett! There was some great material in there.
Insights and Advice (3:50)
George Ross and Carolyn Kepcher share their wisdom with us.
From 16 to One (7:00)
Watch as people are fired, one after another.
Truth From a Taxi (15:17)
The contestants share their final words with us. David (0:48), Jason (1:14), Sam (1:14), Bowie (1:06), Kristi (0:48), Jessie (0:26), Tammy (1:47), Ereka (1:19), Omarosa (0:28), Heidi (0:25), Katrina (1:03), Troy (1:20), Nick (0:56) and Amy (2:23).
Deleted Scenes (10:28)
There are 9 deleted scenes for your viewing pleasure.
"Put Your Money Where your Mouth Is" (2:55)
This is the cool song that plays over the menus on the DVDs. I like it!
The Job Offer (3:15)
Kwame and Bill talk about their performance on the show, and the final outcome.
The Future: A Look Ahead (7:22)
A look at the cast of the second season of The Apprentice. Looks like an interesting cast of people.
Advice From Season One Veterans (2:05)
The contestants give advice to the new cast members.
The Contender Promo Spot (3:05)
From Mark Burnett and Sylvester Stallone comes The Contender. I don't care about boxing, but I'll watch this show.
There are DVD-ROM features on this set, but I don't have a compatible computer to check them out.
I loved the show, and this is a pretty good DVD set. The chapter placement bothers me, and the packaging is a good idea, but slightly poor implementation. The bonus features were interesting, but I would have loved a commentary track on at least one episode, and preferably more. I can't wait to see what the contestants go through for season 2, and hopefully the DVD set will be even better than this one.