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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The Middle - "The Christmas Tree" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Axl comes home from college for Christmas vacation but would rather spend time with his friends over family, he and Frankie must come up with a time management agreement that will satisfy both of them, Meanwhile, Sue's severe allergic reaction to the Christmas tree threatens to ruin her holiday, and after it’s discovered that Brick lied to the school about his Christmas wrapping paper sales, he finds himself running a mini Ponzi scheme in an attempt to pay back the debt.
Back in the Game - "I'll Slide Home for Christmas" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Terry tries to plan a special family Christmas, The Cannon opts to spend the holiday with his old war buddies, causing a major divide in the household. Meanwhile, Danny rallies the Angles to help him give his mom the best Christmas gift ever – The Angles first win. Elliot Gould (“MASH”) guest stars.
Modern Family - "The Old Man & the Tree" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Jay takes Manny out to cut down their own Christmas tree, and Gloria is on edge with mom in town, but changes her tune when she sees her bonding with Claire. Elsewhere, Mitchell is forced to do last minute shopping when they didn’t get Lily the right gift, and Cameron takes Lily to a charity event where they experience the true meaning of Christmas. Emmy Award Winner Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”) directs, and Elizabeth Peña (“La Bamba”) returns as a guest star.
Super Fun Night - "Merry Super Fun Christmas" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Richard reluctantly drives Kimmie, Marika and Helen-Alice to a remote cut-your-own Xmas tree lot upstate, but the trip over the river and through the woods goes terribly wrong when Marika gets them lost and they run out of gas… on Christmas Eve. They think they’re saved when they find a beautiful cabin miraculously stocked with a holiday feast... until the cranky old man who lives there (guest star Paul Dooley) shows up. Meanwhile, Kendall goes it alone with her frosty parents (guest stars Alan Ruck and Mo Gaffney).
Melissa & Joey - "A New Kind of Christmas" (ABC Family, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Mel's sister Meredith gets a furlough from prison and drops by to spend Christmas with Mel and the children.
Baby Daddy - "Emma's First Christmas" (ABC Family, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Ben's quest to procure Emma the hottest toy of the Christmas season creates ill will; Tucker and Riley help Bonnie with holiday decorating.
Kirstie - "Arlo's Birthday" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Maddie is impressed with her son's karaoke abilities, and decides to make him a star.
The Exes - "True Lies" (TV Land, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Eden shares a secret about herself and Phil with Holly, who blabs to Stuart and Haskell, testing boundaries within the group.
Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse - "Sleep Talking" (OWN, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Angela believes Marcus is having an affair after she hears him talking about another woman in his sleep.
Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse - "Stalked" (OWN, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Joseph displays a bit of erratic behavior when he feels Leslie's life is in danger.
Wednesday, December 11
- Ken Jeong (Community) - Watch Ken on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno at 11:35pm on NBC.
- Bradley Whitford (Trophy Wife) - Bradley stops by Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
- Jim Gaffigan (My Boys/Welcome to New York) - Jim visits The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
- Candice Bergen (Murphy Brown) - Candice is a guest on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:37am on NBC.
- Kathy Griffin (Suddenly Susan) and Whitney Cummings (Whitney) - Kathy and Whitney are part of the guest panel on Chelsea Lately on E! at 11pm.
- Tom Hanks (Bosom Buddies) - Tom continues to make the rounds on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
- Kirstie Alley (Kirstie/Veronica's Closet/Cheers) - Kirstie talks about her return to television in Kirstie on The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
- Alyssa Milano (Who's the Boss?/Romantically Challenged) - Tune in to see Alyssa on The Queen Latifah Show, so check your local listings.
- J.B. Smoove (The Millers/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - J.B. is a guest on The Queen Latifah Show, so check your local listings.