Saturday, March 28, 2009
The Smurfs: True Blue Friends (Warner, $14.98) brings us five episodes from the second season of the classic Saturday morning animated series that lasted nearly a decade on DVD. Handy, Hefty, Grouchy, Brainy, Jokey, Clumsy, Lazy, Dreamy, Smurfette, Papa Smurf and more of your favorite little blue people bring you the greatest show on Smurf are all back in more fun adventures. For some reason they are going away from the season sets that of The Smurfs, to a single disc set of five episodes. The Smurfs, home of the powder-blue pixies who have a way with words and have way-out adventures as they come face to face with Gargamel, a marsh monster, and an evil potion maker!
The previous two sets was a season set of the first season, split into two volumes. But for some reason now they are going with just a one-disc set with five episodes from season two. It doesn't make sense to me, since the second season has even more episodes than the first season! Anyway, the episodes we get on this set are "S-Shivering S-Smurfs," "Turncoat Smurf," "The Smurf Who Couldn't Say No," "The Haunted Castle," and "The Black Hellebore." They are not even in any order it seems...just five randomly picked episodes from season two. Come on Warner!
Let's now move on to the packaging. We have a very thin keep case. The front cover sees a big mushroom with Papa Smurf and some of the other Smurfs around it. The title of the show is on the top, with a mention below that that this "True Blue Friends." To the back of the case we go, we get a nice synopsis of the series, along with details on the "5 Cartoons" and "Enchanting Extra." We see three Smurfs, including Smurfette in the green grass as the evil Gargamel is watching. When we open the case, on the right side we see the disc. The disc is in a red background with four Smurf characters. Compared to the first season sets, this is very cheap.
The menu screens are very nice. We see the land of Smurf in the background with Azrael the cat watching. It is very colorful. The catchy theme is playing in the background. Auto trailer for not pirating DVDs starts off the disc before the main menu comes, along with trailers for Snoopy's Reunion and Scooby Doo. Options for the main menu are: Play, Episodes, Special Features, and Languages. A flower is out selector. Languages has an option to turn on English or French subtitles. Episodes have a list of episodes obviously. And Special Features list the one featurette and Trailers for other Warner Home Video sets like the Charlie Brown Holiday Collection.
The video and audio is OK...it is not as good as the first season sets to me. They have cheapened this set. The packaging doesn't state that the episodes are remastered like they were with the first season sets. I am very disappointed, since the first season sets were remastered. One good thing they have added on this set are chapter stops. At least they added that. The first two episodes on this set are mini episodes (as some Smurfs half-hours had two stories per episode) that run 13:48 with 3 chapter stops. The last three on this set are full episodes that run 24:04, 25:39, and 25:33 with 5 chapter stops. You know on the first season, volume two review, I said season two should be on one set...but they have made it worse now. They should go back to the splitting of the season into two volumes. That is certainly better than this!
As for special features, we get the "Meet the Smurfs!" Basically this is a character profile of a Smurf. We get three of them. Papa Smurf (1:27), Grouchy (1:00) and Tracker (1:17). You select each character to view their profile. Next to Papa Smurf, there is a green bag. Looks like that is an Easter egg, because if you select that, you get "Smurfy Storyboards: Gormandizing Greedy." It runs 2:19. And of course we get Trailers for other Warner Home Video DVDs.
I am not sure if I do recommend this set for any Smurfs fan. The set is not Smurftastic, as the first season sets. I hope they are just marketing this for non-fans or casual fans and continue with the season sets soon. Because this is not good to give a popular show that has many episodes and ran 9 long seasons a one-disc set. The special features are not as good either. I wasn't too pleased with the episode situation being split in two volumes, but now I will take that back in a heartbeat. The episodes on this set are of course great but don't look great, especially "The Smurf Who Couldn't Say No," that looks terrible in video. I hope the full season two is out very soon and we get it all in one shot rather than two volumes...but I'll take two volumes anyway over this one-disc crap. They better Smurf to it and get the job done. Anyway, any die-hard would click below to order this DVD, if you haven't already. So Smurf to it!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
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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.