Saturday, June 13, 2009
The verdict is in for Perry Mason: Season 4, Volume 1 (CBS DVD, $49.99), and the verdict is: a great DVD set! Perry Mason, of course, is the classic 1950s/1960s TV series that starred Raymond Burr as a defense attorney that would take virtually any case that you would look at and say "nobody could win that case," yet he got a victory in all but one episode. The series was one of the first prominent law dramas to ever air on TV (and the oldest one that we even recognize these days) and aired for nine seasons on CBS. This DVD set presents the first 16 episodes of the 1960-1961 season in a four disc set.
Robert Redford guest stars in "The Case of the Treacherous Toupee," where a hairpiece may help clear a suspected murderer. A woman and her new lover (her husband's nephew) get involved in an extortion scheme gone wrong in "The Case of the Ill-Fated Faker." In "The Case of The Lavender Lipstick," Perry must defend a woman that is accused of killing her boss--and she was to be the heir of his fortune. A clown discovers that his wife is a bigamist in "The Case of the Clumsy Clown," and soon after, she turns up dead. Who else can prove him not guilty?
A girl's family is lost in "The Case of the Nine Dolls," but her family being lost may be the least of her worries. In "The Case of the Loquacious Liar," a man is threatened by his stepfather, but his stepfather is the one that turns up dead. John Hoyt guest stars in "The Case of the Resolute Reformer," where a land purchase deal ends in murder. In "The Case of the Fickle Fortune," a man hires Perry after it is discovered that another man that stole a large amount of money from him has been murdered.
The packaging on the case is the typical cheap CBS DVD movie style case that we all have a love-hate relationship with. They are nice, thin, and seem to "standardize" our collections, but they also scream "cheap" at the same time. As far as disc artwork, there really isn't any aside from the standard gray CBS DVD background with the show logo on each disc. Each disc contains exactly four episodes.
The menus on the set are very, well, basic. The main menu on each disc has a picture of Perry with a listing of episodes next to him, as well as a Play All option. You can't get simpler than that. Chapters are placed in all of the appropriate places.
As the case has been with previous sets, the video and audio quality on this set is excellent. The picture is crystal clear with very little grain (you can't even notice what is there unless you are paying VERY close attention) and the video is presented in pristine black and white. The audio is perfectly fine too, being presented in glorious mono (hey, it was the early 60s) with closed-captioning available for those that require it. The episodes appear to be unedited, as each one runs at almost exactly 52 minutes. That is further backed up by the fact that the set surprisingly does not have the standard CBS DVD disclaimer about episodes being edited. How often does a CBS DVD not have that?
Sadly, despite the fact that these sets always have great video and audio quality, and are always unedited, this set once again lacks in special features. CBS DVD did release a special anniversary set about a year ago that had some very nice special features, but it would be nice to have those on the season sets too. There has to be some old footage with Raymond Burr that they could include somewhere!
CBS DVD is keeping these sets very basic, but I'm still impressed with the quality of the episodes, and the fact that (as far as I can tell) they have yet to put out any truly inferior sets. The only thing that is frustrating about these sets is the half season model. With this model, it'll take 11 more releases to get the entire series out on DVD! But it has been popular with fans everywhere, and I'm sure that fans will support any number of releases. But there is no need to take CBS DVD to trial over this, because this is a set that fans of one of America's greatest defense attorneys (let us not forget about our good friend Matlock, of course) are sure to appreciate.
-- Reviewed by skees53
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Sitcoms Airing Tonight
Tuesday, March 28
The Middle - "Look Who's Not Talking" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Although excited about finding a new discount store that sells oddly shaped fruits and vegetables, Frankie is devastated when Axl refuses to talk to her or even answer her texts after inadvertently admitting how she feels about April in front of him. Meanwhile, Brick develops a new quirky tick in the form of a repetitive phrase and lands in detention, and Brad surprises Sue by coming out for a weekend visit at her college.
American Housewife - "Surprise" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Oliver tells his parents that he’s so embarrassed by their modest house that he’d rather not have a birthday party at all. Katie decides to teach him a lesson by ambushing him with a surprise party at home with all his wealthy friends.
American Housewife - "The Man Date" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Greg is delighted to finally have made a friend in Westport, fellow history buff Stan (guest star Timothy Omundson), but Katie isn’t as happy, especially since Stan is married to her nemesis, Chloe Brown Mueller (Jessica St. Clair).
Fresh Off the Boat - "The Taming of the Dads" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
To celebrate their one-year anniversary, Eddie reluctantly agrees to take Alison to the see a modern remake of Romeo and Juliet. But when Louis and Alison’s dad bond over their love of Shakespeare and crash their date, Alison wonders if she and Eddie’s relationship has lost its spark. Meanwhile, Jessica gets called for jury duty and campaigns to be the “Jury Boss,” and Emery and Evan struggle with the responsibilities of raising a Tamagotchi digital pet.
New Girl - "San Diego" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
As Jess continues to stay with her dad (guest star Rob Reiner) in Portland, they unexpectedly help one another with their love lives. Meanwhile, Nick turns to a reluctant Aly for help with his relationship with Reagan, and Schmidt contemplates using his first name.
The Mick - "The Bully" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
The tables are turned when a cyber bully targets Sofia, leading Mickey to come up with a plan for revenge. Meanwhile, Jimmy teaches Chip and Ben how to be self-sufficient, resulting in a painful disaster.
Trial & Error - "Right-Hand Man" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
A new piece of evidence emerges that leads Josh (Nicholas D'Agosto) an unlikely, and dangerous, new suspect: Larry's (John Lithgow) brother-in-law, Jeremiah Jefferson Davis. Meanwhile, the case takes another turn when the search for the murder weapon leads Dwayne (Steven Boyer) to find a dismembered human arm.
Trial & Error - "Secrets & Lies" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
As Josh (Nicholas D'Agosto) focuses on his new suspect, Larry (John Lithgow) insists on taking a lie-detector test to help prove his innocence, but the results drop a bombshell on the case and the family. Dwayne (Steven Boyer) briefly becomes a hometown celebrity as the man who found an arm in the lake, and the team gets a surprising new benefactor.
The Detour - "The Heat" (TBS, 10:00PM ET/PT)
The Parkers settle into a seemingly normal New York City routine but are being surveilled by federal agents who see more than they had suspected they would see.
Mann & Wife - "Take Me to the Mann" (Bounce TV, 9:00PM ET/PT)
The new Lieutenant arrives at the precinct, and everyone soon learns that she and Hobbs have a romantic past; A cable installer confuses Toni for singer Tamela Mann.
Mann & Wife - "Pressured by the Mann" (Bounce TV, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Toni faces a moral dilemma when the administrators at her school decide to change the students' standardized test results; Hobbs' mother brings her new fiance for a visit.
Tuesday, March 28
- Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) - Catch Alec on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
- Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother) - Jason is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
- Hank Azaria (The Simpsons/Free Agents/Herman's Head) - Hank visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Kate Walsh (Bad Judge/The Drew Carey Show) - Kate appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Kristen Bell (The Good Place) - Kristen stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- Cheryl Hines (Son of Zorn/Suburgatory/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Cheryl is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- Adam Pally (Making History/The Mindy Project/Happy Endings) - Adam drops by Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
- Judy Greer (Married/Mad Love/Miss Guided) - Judy appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Kevin James (Kevin Can Wait/The King of Queens) - Kevin is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- Chelsea Handler (Are You There, Chelsea?) - Chelsea drops by LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat) - Randall appears on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- Busy Philipps (Cougar Town) - Busy guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- Keke Palmer (Scream Queens/True Jackson, VP) - Keke reveals what it’s really like being a child star, plus, the truth behind her struggles with anxiety and depression on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.
- Todd Grinnell (One Day at a Time/Four Kings) - Todd appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
- Richard Dreyfuss (Your Family or Mine) - Richard talks about Shots Fired on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
- George Lopez (Lopez/George Lopez) - George chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
- Melissa Peterman (Baby Daddy/Reba) - Melissa share her recipe for Mexican pizza on People Now at 8:30am.
- Jenna Elfman (Imaginary Mary/1600 Penn/Accidentally on Purpose/Courting Alex/Dharma & Greg) and Rachel Dratch (Imaginary Mary) - Jenna and Rachel talk about Imaginary Mary on the AOL Build Show at 12:30pm.
- Sutton Foster (Younger) - Sutton talks about Younger on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show at 2am on BET or on your local stations.