Saturday, March 17, 2007
JAG - The Complete Third Season (CBS, $64.99) brings us third season of this long-running Donald Bellisario classic! This is the show’s 2nd season on CBS--and the first I watched in original broadcast, so I am obviously going to remember it quite fondly. That said there are some episodes from this season I REALLY like. The season starts strong with “Ghost Ship,” in which Harm finds evidence that his father -- MIA from Vietnam -- may be alive and under KGB control in Russia. Harm and Mac investigate the murder of a Navy pilot whose body was found in a decommissioned aircraft carrier. They discover a motive, which involves a lit of MIAs and POWs supposedly still alive and under KGB control – including Harm’s dad. In “The Stalker,” Mac’s ex-boyfriend is gunned down, and Mac has to stay one-step ahead of someone who is determined to get her too. Then there’s “Death Watch.” This episode recycles footage, in flashback form, of the episode “Skeleton Crew,” which never aired in original broadcast due to NBC’s cancellation of the series. The plot was changed, but much of the footage is from the first season episode. Ending season 3 is To Russia with Love, in which Harm & Mac go to Russia to discover the fate of Harm’s father once and for all.
While the shows themselves are good, Paramount still needs to work on the aesthetic side of their releases. I know JAG probably is not a priority release for them, but for a $65 MSRP I expect...something. Menus are still relatively simple, a disappointment. Video quality and audio quality are good. Sound mixes well. Vocals are crisp and clear, music mixes in nicely. Video does look about ten years old, but I have seen similarly aged video on DVD look worse, so props to Paramount for that.
One negative is the text on the back of JAG -- and pretty much every other Paramount release in the last several months, kindly telling us that music may differ from the televised version. Unfortunately, USA Network is currently in season 8 of the show’s run, and won’t be back to season 3 for some time, thus preventing me from checking to see what has been replaced. With most releases, I can look past music replacements, but if I’m paying MSRP for this DVD release -- and let’s be clear, some will -- SIXTY FIVE DOLLARS -- I want original music or a price drop. That sticker is INSANE for that price. SNL Season 1 by NBC Universal stickers for $69.95, but it has EVERY song. Worse still, unlike previous releases, this is a “Plain Jane” release -- no features *I* could find.
I pretty much worship every bit of television Donald Bellisario has put before us in the last 30 years -- JAG is probably third after Quantum Leap and NCIS to me. I WANT this set to do well, obviously - but $65 is INSANE for what you get. Paramount, either put more effort into the set, or drop the sticker. That said, for how much the sticker may be you can order the set at Amazon.com for a bit over $40 -- a 33% saving -- via the link below. Order that way, I recommend. I, however, under NO circumstances recommend this set at MSRP. Purchase this set ONLY at a retailer selling below MSRP.
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher
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Sitcoms Airing Tonight
Wednesday, July 23
The Middle - "Change in the Air" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
The first day of school is upon the Heck family, and Sue finds herself feeling a sense of freedom she’s never felt before with Axl not around to make her campus life miserable. But Brick, who is beginning middle school and afraid of getting a swirlie, avoids the bathroom at all costs. Meanwhile, Frankie becomes jealous of Mike when she discovers that Axl calls and returns his texts but won’t do the same for her; and Sue’s feelings for Darrin surface once again when Mike calls him over to help fix the air conditioner.
The Goldbergs - "Kara-Te" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Barry decides to sign up for the school’s holiday talent show but is bummed when the school doesn’t approve karate as a talent. Beverly is livid and brow beats the teacher in charge to change his mind. After the family watches Barry’s routine, everyone wonders whether he will be able to pull off the performance… or crack under pressure. Meanwhile, Erica gets coerced from Pops to also perform in the talent show, but will she?
Modern Family - "iSpy" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Claire and Phil decide to spy on Luke and Manny as they’re hanging out with one of their more questionable friends. Meanwhile, Gloria is furious with Jay because she thinks he had a dream about another woman, but Jay misinterprets her anger for another offense he committed. And, Cam secretly uses Mitch as a scapegoat to get out of attending a party, while Haley tries to keep her photography exhibit a secret from her family.
The Middle - "The Potato" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After Frankie and Mike are forced to return the church van when it’s discovered that their car has been repaired, Sue – who has been driving the other car – begins to freak out because she’ll have to start taking the bus again. But when her parents tell her that she could get her own car if she got a job, Sue ends up working as a potato girl at a local mall eatery. Meanwhile, Frankie and Mike are called into Brick’s principal’s (Rachel Dratch) office and are informed that he has not attended any of his classes – and much to the family’s dismay, Axl begins to spend his nights back home when he becomes fed up with having to deal with his horrible college roommate.
Young & Hungry - "Pilot" (ABC Family, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Sofia encourages Gabi to start dating again; Josh discovers surprising news about Cam.
Mystery Girls - "Death Becomes Her" (ABC Family, 8:30PM ET/PT)
The girls go under cover at Holly's old high school in order to prevent a senior prank.
Hot in Cleveland - "Straight Outta Cleveland" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Victoria gets a visit from the son she always forgets (Chris Colfer) and Joy and Mitch (Tim Daly) debate their compatibility.
Jennifer Falls - "Three Dates With My Mother" (TV Land, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Jennifer starts seeing a psychiatrist to help her deal with her mother, but even he might not be enough to break through to Maggie.
Wilfred - "Patterns" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Ryan gets sucked into the "End Game."
Love Thy Neighbor - "Lucky Socks" (OWN, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Danny, Floyd, Sam and Drew have been temporarily evicted; Danny asks Hattie if they can crash with her.
Wednesday, July 23
- Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family) - Watch Eric on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS. He chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. He will be on SI Now at 1pm. He stops by PIX11 Morning News on WPIX in New York at 8:35am.
- Josh Charles (Sports Night) - Josh appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
- Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) - Kumail is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
- Hank Azaria (The Simpsons/Free Agents/Herman's Head) - Hank talks about the Showtime series Ray Donovan on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
- Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show/Cosby) - Phylicia appears on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 3am on BET.