Saturday, November 18, 2006

Mini-DVD Reviews: Perry Mason: Season 1 Volume 2 (Nov. 21); CSI: The Complete 6th Season (Nov. 14)

Welcome to another edition of Saturday mini-DVD reviews! Today we take a look at CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment's Perry Mason: Season 1, Volume 2 and CSI: The Complete 6th Season.
See skees53's mini-DVD review of Perry Mason: Season 1, Volume 2.

Perry Mason - Season 1, Volume 2

Perry Mason: Season 1, Volume 2 (CBS DVD, $49.99) contains all 20 episodes from the second half of the first season of the classic courtroom drama. Raymond Burr stars as the all-star attorney Perry Mason that'll help the underdog client prove their innocence no matter what odds are stacked against them. This 5-disc set contains the 20 episodes from the second half of the first season beginning with the February 1, 1958 episode, "The Case of the Lonely Heiress," and going until the final episode of the first season, "The Case of the Rolling Bones."
In the second half of the first season, Perry has the daunting tasks of defending a woman when a con artist that caused her sister to commit suicide is suddenly poisoned ("The Case of the Lonely Heiress"), working with an important witness that has multiple personalities ("The Case of the Deadly Double"), working with a witness that claims to be able to identify somebody by the shoes they are wearing ("The Case of the Daring Decoy"), and many more cases where the person that should have done it, well, didn't do it! These particular episodes, despite its age of the series, has guest stars that many classic television fans will recognize, including Denver Pyle, Yvonne Craig, John Hoyt, Nancy Kulp, and more. Sadly, despite the fact that Perry Mason has an unusually large fan-base for a show as old as it is, the set is totally void of any special features, but the excellent presentation of the episodes along with the excellent video and audio quality requires that I give this set a verdict of not-guilty (or if it makes more sense this way, it is just a pretty good set!).
-- Reviewed by skees53
(4/5 stars)

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Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Perry Mason TV.com Page



CSI: Crime Scene Investiation - The Complete Sixth Season

CSI.: Crime Scene Investigation - The Complete Sixth Season (Paramount Home Video/CBS DVD, $89.99)

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is a fast-paced drama about a passionate team of forensic investigators trained to solve crimes the old-fashioned way – by examining the evidence. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is on the case 24-7, scouring the scene, collecting the irrefutable evidence and finding the missing pieces that will solve the mystery.

My Review: CSI remains my favorite series in the CSI franchise. It just is consistently good every week, and they keep it fresh with interesting storylines.
While some of the original characters like Grissom have had less of a role in recent seasons, the entire cast is outstanding. I'm not sure if the show has reached its peak. Grey's Anatomy has presented a strong challenge, but CSI has continued to put up impressive numbers.

This 7-disc set contains all 24 episodes of the sixth (2005-06) season. The episodes are presented in Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1) with Dolby Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround or Spanish 2.0 Surround audio. It has a running time of 17 hours, 21 minutes. C.S.I's packaging has remained pretty consistent throughout all the seasons. The faces of the 5 main cast members are featured on the cover. The inside case is in a book format that you can flip through to get to the discs. Each disc features a different half-photo of one of the cast members and the CSI logo. The menus are very stylish and easy to navigate. They have a montage of video clips, with some intrumental music playing in the background. Options are available for Episode Selection, Set Up, Previews (only on Disc 1), and Special Features. On the Set Up menu, you can choose either Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround or Spanish 2.0 Surround. Closed captioning is availble for all of the episodes. As you would expect from such a recent show, the video and audio quality is outstanding.

Like the other CSI releases, this set includes an impressive amount and variety of special features. There are 7 audio commentaries available for 6 of the episodes by the crew and one of the cast members. They are insightful and interesting and add a lot of trivia facts. I would have liked to hear more commentaries from the cast. Six exclusive featurettes are found on Disc 7.

"Shooting Stars" - Audio Commentary by Writer/Director Danny Cannon
"Gum Drops" - Audio Commentary by Writer Sarah Goldfinger and Director Richard J. Lewis
"A Bullet Runs Through It, Part 1" - Audio Commentary by Showrunner/Co-Writer Carol Mendelsohn and Technical Advisor/Writer Rich Catalani
"A Bullet Runs Through It, Part 1" - Audio Commentary by Danny Cannon
"A Bullet Runs Through It, Part 2" - Audio Commentary by Carol Mendelsohn and Director/Producer Kenneth Fink
"Killer" - Audio Commentary by Executive Producer Naren Shankar, Writer Dustin Lee Abraham and Kenneth Fink
"Poppin' Tags" - Audio Commentary by Dustin Lee Abraham and Actor George Eads

The Scene of Sound (26:42) - Follow the process of creating final sound for Episode 607 "A Bullet Runs Through It, Part 1." This was a fascinating featurette that has
a lot of behind the scenes type footage. They show how they do the mics, the spotting session, music score, foley artists, ADR stage/looping and the final mix. There's a lot of work for them to do in a short period of time.

Gadgets & Gizmos - This featurette is hosted by Technical Advisor Rich Catalani and divided into six sections: Borescope with Fiberoptic Camera (:53), Forensic Buddy (1:15), Scanning Electron Microscope (:47), Nicolet Almega (Laser Ablator) (:53), Camlite (1:15), Micro FTIR (1:29). It was cool to see how all these gadgets are used to create the various shots.

Coroner Reports - David Berman and Robert David Hall are interviewed. This featurette is divided into four sections: Respecting the Dead (1:06), Stomach Contents (:51), Special Handlings (1:21), Surprise Findings (:39). I would have liked to see this as a longer segment. It is hard to overlook these guys contributions to the show. They always add some humor.

Apparent Cause of Death (6:52) - Special Effects Make-Up artist Matthew W. Mungle takes us through the process of turning a perfectly healthy actor into a corpis, complete with an exposed chest cavity and a sawed-off skull cap. I know that the
make-up and effects aren't real, but they could sure fool me many times.

Season Six Trajectory (19:18) - CSI's Cast & Crew discuss where CSI is going in Season Six. They talk about the characters, their backgrounds, and the themes of this season. There seemed to be less details on the characters this season than in the past, but when they do it seems to make more of an impact. Melinda Clarke (Lady Heather) returned this season, and she is interviewed as well. This featurette gives a pretty good summary of the season, but where was the mention of the relationship between Grissom and Sara?

The New Title Sequence - CSI's Producers and Visual Effects Artists discuss the process of creating a new opening sequence. They used basically the same opening credits for the first 5 seasons (with only a few new shots tossed in each year). This season they completely re-did it. There are still a lot of the classic scenes used like the exploding apple and Grissom using the sledgehammer on the head.

Final Comments: There are so many crime shows on TV today, but CSI remains the best. I think one of the keys to the success of the show is that they've been able to keep all of the original six cast members. The cast has great chemistry, and they have a great production crew to put it all together. There are no shortage of special features on this set that will give you some interesting details on how much work goes into making an episode. You will definitely want to pick up this set to add to your collection.

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller
(5/5 stars)

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation CBS.com Official Site
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation TV.com Page


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, February 22

Fresh Off the Boat - "Be a Man" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Jessica drives Principal Hunter crazy at Evan’s school when she declares that she’s “shadow principal” and follows him around for a day to learn about his job. When she finds out perfect son Evan has been caught acting out, she immediately blames Eddie’s bad influence, but there’s more to it than that. Louis, having watched one too many episodes of “The Sopranos” with Honey, is convinced that Marvin and Grandma are gossiping about him behind his back after Marvin offers to trap the rat that has invaded Grandma’s apartment.

Speechless - "G-A-- GAME N-I-- NIGHT" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Maya insists that it’s time to meet Izzy, a reluctant JJ arranges a game night for his family and new girlfriend. Ray tries to help on the big night, but his attention to detail puts a major crimp in JJ’s evening. Meanwhile, Dylan and Kenneth let their appetites get the better of them.

Last Man Standing - "Arrest Her Development" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Vanessa "helps" Mandy and Kyle look for an apartment; Mike is thrilled by Ryan's decisions.

The Cool Kids - "Sid's First Relationship" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
The gang comes together around Sid in order to help him overcome the commitment issues he struggles with his new beau, John; Margaret decides to become an airport volunteer in the hopes of conquering her strong fear of flying.

Andi Mack - "The Ex Factor" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Andi, Buffy and Cyrus worry about Jonah's unusual behavior; Miranda tries to cause problems for Bowie and Bex.

Sydney to the Max - "Adventures in Babe-Sitting" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Sydney and Olive struggle with their baby-sitting business when the child they are hired to watch happens to be the brother of one of the most popular kids in their class.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 18

Friday, February 22

  • Don Cheadle (Black Monday/House of Lies/The Golden Palace) - Watch Don on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Will appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Thomas Lennon (The Odd Couple/Sean Saves the World) - Thomas is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Rita Moreno (One Day at a Time/Happily Divorced/9 to 5) - Rita stops by LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Wanda Sykes (The New Adventures of Old Christine/Wanda at Large) - Wanda visits The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Finesse Mitchell (A.N.T. Farm) - Finesse is a panelist on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Lori Loughlin (Fuller House/Hudson Street/Full House) - Lori talks about When Calls the Heart on People Now at 12pm.
  • Jay Baruchel (Man Seeking Woman/Undeclared) - Jay is a guest on Couch Surfing at 8am.
  • Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community) - Ken talks about You Complete Me, Ho on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For your Love) - Holly appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Autumn Reeser (Complete Savages) - Autumn drops by Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (January/February)

Fuller House - The Complete Third Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fourth Season The Game - The Complete Series Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season

01/08 - Family Guy - 20 Greatest Hits
01/22 - Fuller House - The Complete Third Season
01/22 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fourth Season (WBShop.com)
01/29 - Ballers - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
01/29 - Crashing - The Complete Second Season
01/29 - The Game - The Complete Series
01/29 - Kidding - Season One
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 1 - Volumes 1-5
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 2 - Volumes 6-10
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 3 - Seasons 10-14
02/05 - First Lady of Television - Betty White Collection (40 rare and acclaimed episodes from her early days in television)
02/05 - Mama's Family - Seasons 1-6 - The Complete Series
02/12 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-3 (Blu-ray)
02/12 - Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season
02/26 - What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest