Saturday, November 29, 2008
Perry Mason: The Third Season, Volume 2 (CBS DVD, $49.99) presents the final 14 episodes of the third season of the classic courtroom drama on a four-disc DVD set. Mason is the attorney that everybody defendant calls upon when they are innocent, but find that proving their innocence will be virtually impossible. But nothing is too difficult for Mason, and he can take on (and win) even the toughest cases, particularly those accused of murder and theft. Can he win them all? When you know the law like Perry Mason does, you most certainly can!
Virtually all of the episodes (all but one) in this set are about murder cases, as this was a common crime that was frequently part of the series. In "The Case of the Prudent Prosecutor," Hamilton Burger's friend is accused of murder, so who will take the case? Mason, of course! In "The Case of the Gallant Grafter," a man is accused of embezzling money from his company, but that isn't his only problem when his accountant turns up dead. A novelist may have been a murderer in "The Case of the Mythical Monkeys," but her assistant is the one that is on trial. A cigarette girl is threatened by gamblers in "The Case of the Singing Skirt," but where will she go when she is accused of murdering the wife of one of the gamblers that she loves? In "The Case of the Madcap Modiste," a dress designer makes a fool of her husband on national TV, but when she is suddenly poisoned, who will defend the fool that is accused of poisoning her? In "The Case of the Ominous Outcast," a man shows up in a small town and looks exactly like a bank robber--and goes down for his appearance Who will defend him?
The packaging is the standard CBS DVD packaging that we have all become accustomed to by now, with a standard DVD case. Inside the case, you'll find the four discs, each of which has no artwork other than the series logo on a gray background. Episode titles, descriptions, and airdates can be found inside the case. The menus on the set are very basic, with the main menu presenting just a list of all of the episodes and a Play All option.
As has been the case with all of these Perry Mason sets, the video and audio quality seem to be impressive, particularly considering the age of the series. There are minor issues here and there, but generally speaking, we have a crystal clear picture and loud and clear audio. It is always great to see that this is done right. Closed-captioning can be found on all of the episodes for those that need it. Also, just as in Season 3, Volume 1, some of the sponsorship logos are left intact on the closing credits, which is very nice to see. These can be found on roughly half of the episodes. There is one MINOR area of concern about this set, though. This set has finally succumbed to having the standard CBS DVD disclaimer about episodes potentially being edited and having changed music. The good news, though, is that I couldn't find any obvious edits or changes, but the bad news is that saying that doesn't necessarily mean much, as I have no clue what every single line of dialog should be or what music should be in each episode. I would imagine that edits, if any, could not be too severe, as these older series very rarely made use of copyrighted materials. On the bright side, each episode comes in at either 51:20 or 52:40 (usually 52:40 for the ones that contain the sponsorship logos in the closing credits).
Unfortunately, special features are once again not to be found on this set. For a series this popular, you would think that they would load the set with special features, but that wasn't meant to be. Of course, fans can always turn to the 50th Anniversary collection for some nice bonus features.
All in all, it can be said that this is a great set of episodes, although if CBS DVD insists on continuing to do half seasons of the series, they really need to beef up on special features! These sets carry a hefty price tag, and at MSRP, it would cost fans at least $900 to own every single release of the series, assuming each one is released as a half season. The worst part is that a lot of this money is probably padding the pockets of the DVD producers, as I would imagine that there aren't quite as many people making money off of this series as there are many other series. Fans of Perry Mason, or even fans of any courtroom drama, are certain to love and appreciate these episodes. They'll definitely want to add this DVD to their collection.
-- Reviewed by skees53
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