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 (January/February)
01/03 - Girls - The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray)
01/10 - Broad City - Season 3
01/17 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized)
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume One
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two
01/24 - Hooperman - Season One / Review
01/24 - Hooperman - Season Two / Review
01/31 - Ballers - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
02/07 - Sabrina, the Teenage Witch - Sabrina Down Under
02/07 - So Little Time - Volume 1 - School's Cool - Boy Crazy
02/07 - So Little Time - Volume 2 - About a Family - Hangin' Out
02/07 - 227 - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek)
02/07 - Vice Principals - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
02/14 - Beavis and Butt-Head - The Complete Collection
02/14 - Grace and Frankie - Season Two
02/28 - Fuller House - The Complete First Season
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Monday, February 27
The Big Bang Theory - "The Dependence Transcedence" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
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2 Broke Girls - "And the Dad Day Afternoon" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
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Monday, February 27
- Keri Russell (Running Wilde) - Watch Keri on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
- Connie Britton (Spin City/The Fighting Fitzgeralds/Lost at Home) - Connie appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Slink Johnson (Black Jesus) - Slick is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
- Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation) - Adam drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Josh Henderson (One on One) - Josh appears on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo. He also talks about The Arrangement on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
- David Hyde Pierce (Frasier) - David chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
- Jerry O'Connell (We Are Men/Carpoolers/My Secret Identity) - Jerry is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- Leighton Meester (Making History) - Leighton stops by Harry, so check your local listings.
- Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For Your Love) - Holly visits Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
- John Lithgow (Trial & Error/Twenty Good Years/3rd Rock from the Sun) - John talks about Trial & Error on NBC's Today in the 9am hour and on the AOL Build Show at 1:30pm.
- Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly) - Billy dishes on how This is Us is following in Mike & Molly’s footsteps – and why both shows are so beloved on People Now at 8:30am.
- Lisa Kudrow (Friends/The Comeback) and Craig Robinson (The Office) - Lisa and Craig talk about their new film Table 19 on the AOL Build Show at 2:30pm.
- Sinbad (A Different World/The Sinbad Show) - Sinbad is a guest on Steve Harvey, so check your local listings.
- Bradley Whitford (Trophy Wife) - Bradley visits The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
- Craig Robinson (The Office/Mr. Robinson) - Craig appears on The Real, so check your local listings.