Saturday, February 23, 2008

Mini-DVD Review: The Smurfs - Season 1, Volume 1 (Feb. 26); Solomon's Weekly Rant

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for mini-DVD reviews and Solomon's Weekly Rant! First up, are the mini-DVD reviews. Today week we take a look at Warner Home Video's The Smurfs: Season 1, Volume 1. The Smurfs of course is the classic Saturday morning animated series about those little blue people. Smurftastic!. See my mini-DVD review of The Smurfs: Season 1, Volume 1:

The Smurfs: Season 1, Volume 1 (Warner, $26.98) brings us the classic Saturday morning animated series that lasted nearly a decade, on DVD for the first time and the episodes are remastered. The long wait is over...The Smurfs are on DVD for the first time ever! They're finally here! Handy, Hefty, Grouchy, Brainy, Lazy, Dreamy, Smurfette, Papa Smurf and more of your favorite little blue people bring you the greatest show on Smurf. It's Season One, Vol. 1 of The Smurfs, the Emmy-winning animated series [Outstanding Children's Entertainment Series 1982-83] that delighted Saturday morning cartoon fans for nearly a decade. Of course, where Smurfs are, you'll also find evil wizard Gargamel and his cat Azrael - plus monsters, dragons and trolls - keeping the Smurfs on their tiny blue toes throughout 19 cartoon escapades. Ready for adventure, laughs and enchantment? Abso-Smurfly!
Let's now move on to the packaging. We have a thin outer box that holds a very thin digipak case. The front cover of both the box and case are the same, we see the land of Smurf in the background in a nice and blue sky with Papa Smurf and Smurfette featured, while the other Smurfs are at work. The cover is red and blue. The title of the show is on the top, with a mention below that that this is Season One, Volume One! To the back of the box we go, we get a nice synopsis of the series, along with a list of the special features in a mushroom. We see one of the Smurfs sleeping below a tree with the evil Gargamel watching. When we open the case, we get more colorful backgrounds. On the left we have a disc-by-disc breakdown of what we can expect episode title wise and extras wise. The left also has a nice blue sky background with Gargamel after two Smurfs in the grass. On the right side, we see both discs...overlapping each other, ugh...I hate that. Both discs are in a white background with four Smurfs characters on each disc. When you remove both discs from the case, you can see a nice background of the land of Smurf, with nearly all of the Smurfs. The back of the case has another nice background with a blue sky and Smurfette being romanced by a Smurf, Romeo & Juliet style.
The menu screens are very nice. We see the land of Smurf in the background with Gargamel approaching. It is very colorful. The catchy theme is playing in the background. Auto trailer for Looney Tunes starts off disc one before the main menu comes. Options for the main menu are: Play, Episodes, Trailers (disc 1 only), Languages , Special Features (disc 2 only). Trailers has five other things to preview from the Warner library. Languages has an option to turn on English subtitles. Episodes have a list of episodes obviously. Now the packaging listed disc two as being double-sided, but it is not. Very strange.
The video and audio is tremendous. The Smurfs never looked better. The packaging states that the episodes are remastered I am very impressed. Warner did a great job on this once again, but not as good as the Charlie Brown remastering, but still good. Originally season one was an hour long show on Saturdays with three mini episodes in the hour, however after about 2-3 episodes they started to repeat one of the mini episodes from the previous week the following week so they can cover the full hour. So it makes no sense on this DVD to have some repeats of a mini episode, so Warner has removed the repeats. The first two episodes on the set are 47:40 and 47:42 and have 3 chapter stops each, for each mini episode. After that, NBC started to repeat a mini episode. The episodes usually lasted approx. 12 min, 12 min, and 24 min or so for the full hour. Episode 3 on this set is 35:42 with 2 chapter stops, which means only 2 mini episodes are here...so no repeat from the previous week. The 4th episode is 23:37 and has one chapter stop, which means just one episode. On to disc two, episode 5 is 34:12 and has no opening or closing theme. The next episode is 24:30 and has no closing. The rest of the episodes run 35:42, 35:40, 25:32, and the bonus episode runs 24:22. I don't know how they could have handled this, but they are splitting season one in half (meaning in two volumes), so they could have just left the repeats in there so we could get the original NBC versions. I know that would be weird to have repeats, but why split them up in two volumes anyway? I would have rather have season 1 in full without the repeats on 4 or 5 discs...that would work the best and it would have fit. The show has like 9 seasons, splitting them up in two volumes per season would be too much.
As for special features, we get the bonus episode (The Smurfs' Springtime Special), as I mentioned earlier. We also get a Smurfs Music Video that runs 1:27. It is not really an extra. Warner could have done so much better than that. Their animation sets usually have great audio commentaries which is missing here.
I highly do recommend this set for any Smurfs fan and classic animation in general. I'm sure many of us grew up with this classic. I know I loved watching this in the 80s...and I still love it. The set is good, but it could have been so much better. The extras are lacking and the episode situation is a mixed bag...I don't know how I would have handled it, but one thing for sure is I would not have split the season in two volumes. Also, I didn't like inside the case it mentioned disc two is double-sided, which it isn't. Other than that, the episodes are great and look great, too. I can't wait until volume two so we can finish off the first season. Then let's hope the sales are very high (I think they already are as this set is very high in the rankings on Amazon) so we can get the remaining seasons each on one volume instead of two. So click below to order this DVD, if you haven't already. You better hurry before that Gargamel sees you and his lazy cat Azrael. Smurf to it!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
(4/5 stars)

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Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
The Smurfs TV.com Page
The Smurfs Official Page


Solomon's Weekly Rant
Saturday, February 23, 2008
"Malcolm Airs More Than Strokes; Too Early for DTV Switch Notice; Amen Returns to TV One"
By Solomon Davis

I applauded BET this past week for adding Diff'rent Strokes to their program schedule but then I noticed something odd. I noticed that the sitcom Malcolm & Eddie, another show that BET just added, has six airings a day while Diff'rent Strokes only has 2 airings. So why does that show get all this great treatment and it was added at the same time as Diff'rent Strokes? I see no reason why Diff'rent Strokes can't have a repeat airing of the morning episodes which would still be less than six airings a day. I'm very confused as to why BET would treat one of its new acquisitions much better than the other. especially since I think Malcolm & Eddie is nothing but a UPN reject from the 1990's which is definitely not on the entertainment level as Diff'rent Strokes. I am happy they are adding Sanford and Thea to weekends, though!

The last time I checked February 17, 2009 was a year away and from the way the media has been talking about television switching to digital you would think today is January 23, 2009. Why all the hype about DTV now when the switch is 12 months away? It would make more sense to talk about DTV in the Fall 2008 but to see all those commercials about it in early 2008 is just crazy, not to mention the commercials were airing in Fall 2007 as well. Everyone understands that this will be a major move in television but can we just wait until the next TV season to remind everyone that the switch to digital is approaching? The strange thing about all of this is someone who doesn't have cable or a converter box on February 18, 2009 will still be able to get one of those things on February 19, 2009 to watch TV so what is the big deal?

TV One hasn't changed at all since it started and going by their recent TV show change they have no intention on ever changing. Why in the world would they bring back a TV show to their schedule next month that they already had? TV One is actually bringing back Amen next month from hiatus which is no where near a sexy TV show acquisition of what BET just did. TV One fans have seen Amen already and it's time for something new now since this network just completed 4 years as a cable channel. Yeah, The Hughleys are coming in April, but what about bringing on The Jeffersons or something? Thank goodness for the network called BET since that station has the ability now to make TV fans feel thankful for having cable service and not the "ripped off" feeling you get from watching that joke of a station called TV One. This channel is definitely qualified to be on the basic cable package since it doesn't have much to offer TV fans on a year by year basis.

Agree or disagree with Solomon? Discuss it here.

DISCLAIMER: Remember, Solomon is not the voice of SitcomsOnline. He is just stating his opinions and does not reflect what SitcomsOnline says or thinks. It is just his 'View' but it is always quite entertaining.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Monday, July 15

Raven's Home - "Dress to Express" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Levi makes a documentary on how a person's individual style influences the perception of them, Nia, Tess and Booker each learn something new about themselves.

In The Cut - "The Honeymooners" (Bounce TV, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Jay and Cheryl's honeymoon phase is short lived when Cheryl empties out her storage unit into their condominium; Kenny and Smitty become roommates for the weekend.

In The Cut - "Monster in Law" (Bounce TV, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Jay meets Cheryl's mother for the first time; Kenny reunites with an old friend who goes from houseguest to burden.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 15)

Monday, July 15

  • Mike Epps (Survivor's Remorse/Uncle Buck) - Watch Mike on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Joel McHale (Community/The Great Indoors) - Joel stops by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. He also talks about Card Sharks on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am and on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Ricky Gervais (After Life/The Office) - Ricky visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Laura Dern (F Is for Family/Enlightened) - Laura drops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Anna Faris (Mom) - Anna is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Kunal Nayyar (The Big Bang Theory) - Kunal appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Harvey GuillĂ©n (What We Do in the Shadows) - Harvey is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) - Kumail chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Alan Alda (M*A*S*H) - Alan is in the house with rapid fire questions for Rach on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Seth Rogen (Undeclared) - Seth talks about The Lion King on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Vivica A. Fox (Mr. Box Office/Getting Personal/Arsenio/Out All Night) - Vivica talks about Lifetime's The Wrong Boy Next Door on Access Live, so check your local listings.
  • Fred Savage (What Just Happened??! with Fred Savage/Friends from College/The Grinder/Working/The Wonder Years) - Fred talks about What Just Happened??! with Fred Savage on Access Live, so check your local listings.
  • Drake Bell (Drake & Josh) - Drake is a guest on the BUILD Series at 12pm.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (May/June/July)

My Three Sons - The Third Season - Volume One Perfect Strangers - The Complete Seventh and Eighth Seasons The Brady Bunch - 50th Anniversary The Brady-est TV & Movie Collection Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season Two The Good Place - The Complete Third Season

05/07 - Baskets - The Complete Season Three
05/13 - I'm Dying Up Here - Season 2
05/13 - My Three Sons - The Third Season - Volume One
05/13 - My Three Sons - The Third Season - Volume Two
05/14 - The Donna Reed Show - Seasons 1-5
05/14 - Petticoat Junction - Seasons 1-3
05/28 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Seventh and Eighth Seasons (WBShop.com)
05/28 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Second Season (Blu-ray)
06/04 - The Brady Bunch - 50th Anniversary The Brady-est Brady Bunch TV & Movie Collection
06/18 - Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season Two (Blu-ray)
07/09 - Broad City - Season 5
07/09 - Broad City - The Complete Series
07/17 - The Practice (1976) - The Complete Series
07/30 - The Good Place - The Complete Third Season
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