Saturday, January 24, 2009
Matlock: The Second Season (CBS DVD, $49.99) brings to order 23 new cases in which Ben Matlock has to defend those accused of murder when the evidence points right at them. Approximately 20 years after Andy Griffith had made a name for himself with the popular TV sitcom The Andy Griffith Show, he made a comeback in the "prime years" of his life as attorney Ben Matlock, on this series. The series began in 1986 on NBC and ran until the mid-90s when it ended on ABC, and has been a fixture in every home (including retirement homes) ever since. Matlock may seem very homely and down-to-earth with his "southern charm," but don't let his demeanor fool you. He is actually a very aggressive attorney that will take the tough tasks (for only $100,000) and prove that his client is not guilty. He is much like a more aggressive version of Perry Mason.
The second season begins with the two-hour episode "The Billionaire," where Matlock proves his international fame by going to London to help defend an American businessman accused of murder. In "The Husband," Matlock has to defend a woman accused of killing her husband, but he quickly finds out that the man had several wives. Robert Downey, Sr. and Dick Butkus guest star in "The Annihilator." It is an episode of NBC stars when Betty White (Golden Girls), Jason Bateman (Hogan Family), Rhea Pearlman (Cheers), ALF, and others make cameo appearances on the episode "The Network." Santa Claus (or at least a guy dressed like him) is accused of murder in "The Gift," so can Matlock save the day? Sheldon Leonard makes a cameo in the episode "The Gambler."
It is a tale of sordid sex stories when an aerobics instructor is killed in "The Body." Matlock has to represent a classmate from Harvard that is accused of murder in "The Reunion." A man is accused of killing his employer--an umpire--in the episode "The Umpire." Richard Kline (Three's Company) guest stars. Matlock is forced to become a peacemaker to protect his client from incriminating himself in the two-part episode "The Investigation." An advice columnist is murdered (with an award that she won) in "The Lovelorn." Matlock's nephew is accused of murder in "The Genius." The season ends with "The Heiress," where a fast-talking New York attorney comes in to help Matlock when a girl is accused of murdering her wealthy aunt.
The packaging for the set is pretty straightforward and simple, like many other CBS DVD products. Basically, we just have the standard DVD case with six discs inside. Each disc contains four episodes, except for the first disc, which contains three episodes (the first of which is a two hour season premiere). What is surprising (and I'm not complaining about this) is the fact that CBS DVD actually put all of the episodes from this season in one set, rather than their typical practice of splitting dramas into two volumes. As this is a CBS DVD product, there is no disc artwork. The menus on the set are similarly unimpressive, with nothing more than a listing of each episode contained on each disc and a Play All option.
The episodes on this set all do appear to be unedited, but there is one minor issue that will certainly annoy many fans. When these episodes originally aired, each episode had an opening teaser that previewed the upcoming episode. These opening teasers actually air in syndication, as well. However, the DVD set does not contain these teasers. I didn't find it to be a big deal personally, since they only contain a series of short clips that are within the episode anyway, but it is important to know that they are not included. Each episode on this set runs around 47 minutes. The video and audio quality of each of the episodes on the set is not going to wow anybody, but it is definitely more than adequate. Each episode on the set is closed-captioned, which will definitely come in handy for the older fans of the series.
The set does contain one minor (but very important) special feature. For the episode "The Hucksters," there were some alternate endings aside from the one that aired originally. On this set, you can watch all three of these alternate endings. In fact, you can even set the episode to play all the way through with whichever special ending you may wish to choose. It would have been nice for the set to have had some interviews or promotional footage, but I feel like the inclusion of the alternate endings as a special feature was a very good idea, especially since that is one of those special features that couldn't simply be "made up" on a later set.
Matlock is such a fascinating series, and this DVD set demonstrates why the series has never been off the air in the United States since it premiered over 20 years ago. Not many TV series can honestly say that. The series has managed to become engrained in pop culture in many ways, and has quite a following, particularly among the elderly (anybody remember when Mayor Quimby told the senior citizens at the retirement home on The Simpsons that he would be building the Matlock Expressway?). Personally, I think that the series really hit its stride once Don Knotts began to make appearances as Les Calhoun, which occurred in the third season of the series, but there certainly are some great episodes in this season. It isn't just for the old folks, for sure. So if you are in the mood for an aggressive attorney with a bit of folksy southern charm, Matlock is the man for you!
-- Reviewed by skees53
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New on DVD/Blu-ray (September)
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09/13 - Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season
09/20 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season
09/20 - Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season
09/20 - Modern Family - The Complete Season 7
09/20 - Veep - Season 5
09/27 - The Wonder Years - Season Six
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Sitcoms Airing Tonight
Tuesday, October 25
The Middle - "Halloween VIII: The Heckoning" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
As Halloween approaches, Frankie is taken aback when she discovers that, if the circumstances ever arose where she and Mike got divorced, the kids would all choose to live with Mike. Meanwhile, Sue tries everything in her power to get her room back from Brick, and having to be so nice around girlfriend April all of the time leads Axl to lash out at his family.
American Housewife - "Westport Zombies" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Katie, jealous of Taylor’s friendship with neighbor Viv (Leslie Bibb), reluctantly competes in the Westport Halloween “Zombie Run” after she finds out they’ll both be running. Meanwhile, Greg and Anna-Kat get a little too much in character for the “zombie” part of the run’s obstacle course.
Fresh Off the Boat - "Louisween" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
It’s Louis’ favorite holiday, and he makes every attempt to scare Jessica into the Halloween spirit, but she is buried in her word processor, drafting her first horror novel. Meanwhile, Emery and Evan debate costume choices, and Eddie and his crew are excited to party with high schoolers at Nicole’s house.
The Real O'Neals - "The Real Halloween" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Halloween arrives, or what Kenny refers to as “the gay Super Bowl,” he plans to go to Boystown to watch the festive costume parade. In an effort to prevent Kenny from attending, Eileen agrees to let him throw his own Halloween party at home. Eileen’s tolerance is ultimately tested when Kenny recruits Stuart and his gay friends to join the big party, and he makes a BIG costume change. Meanwhile, Jimmy and Shannon plan to pull off an epic Halloween prank.
Atlanta - "Junteenth" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Why my Auntie trying to make me go to one of these bougie Junteenth parties again? I don't like them sadity people and I'm gonna miss my shows. Le sigh.
Family Time - "Head of House" (Bounce TV, 9:00PM ET/PT)
When the Stallworths have an unexpected visitor, they learn of a vicious crime that took place in their home years ago.
Tuesday, October 25
- Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Catch Will on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He also chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
- Matt LeBlanc (Man with a Plan/Episodes/Friends) - Matt is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother) - Cobie appears on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
- Skylar Astin (Ground Floor) - Skylar is a guest on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
- Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Mary Lynn Rajskub (How to Be a Gentleman/Veronica's Closet/The Larry Sanders Show) and David Koechner (Another Period/Hank/The Office) - Mary and David are guests on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
- John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - John appears on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- Jamie Lee Curtis (Scream Queens/Anything But Love) - Jamie Lee is a guest on Harry, so check your local listings.
- Erinn Hayes (Kevin Can Wait/Guys with Kids/Worst Week) - Erinn plays a celeb guessing game with Rach, who’s serving up no-fail make-your-own takeout, on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
- Mary Steenburgen (The Last Man on Earth/Ink) - Mary joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
- Ana Gasteyer (People of Earth/Lady Dynamite/Suburgatory) - Ana will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET. She will also be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
- Cheryl Hines (Son of Zorn/Suburgatory/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Cheryl is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
- Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) - Abbi will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. She will also be on the AOL Build Show 4pm.
- Don Rickles (C.P.O. Sharkey/Daddy Dearest) - Don is a guest on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
- Nico Tortorella (Younger) - Nico appears on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.