Saturday, July 04, 2009

2009 4th of July TV Marathons; Blog DVD Review: Matlock - The Third Season

As America celebrates its 233rd birthday, you can celebrate by watching television marathons of course! If you are not doing anything outdoors, what better way to celebrate? Among the marathons of course is the launch of Sister, Sister on BET, as we previously mentioned. The fun starts at 9am and runs all the way to 4am! TV Land will spend the day with classic marathons of Leave it to Beaver and Andy Griffith Show before its feuds and fireworks event with Roseanne for the night capper from 8pm-6am. TV One celebrates the holiday with Martin until 8pm. The N has over a 70-hour Degrassi marathon then continues today and tomorrow. So far all of these we have already announced in the past in our news reports. Hallmark Channel will celebrate with the Love's movie franchise all day today and tomorrow they will have Little House on the Prairie. On Friday they had M*A*S*H.
Elsewhere, what 4th of July would it be without The Twilight Zone on Sci-Fi? It started yesterday and will air all-day today until 6am Sunday morning! Reality is the way to go otherwise with Deadliest Catch on Discovery Channel and The Revolution on History. Movie lovers might like the James Bond movie marathon on USA Network, and the movies on ABC Family, Lifetime, FX, and TNT.
It's not as many marathons as usual since the holiday is on a Saturday this year it seems.

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog programming:

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for the blog DVD review! Today we take a look at CBS DVD's Matlock: The Third Season. Matlock of course is the very popular courtroom drama starring Andy Griffith that is often mentioned on The Simpsons as Grandpa Simpson's favorite show. See skees53's blog DVD review of Matlock: The Third Season:

Matlock: The Third Season (CBS DVD, $49.99) serves 20 episodes of justice to fans in a five disc DVD set. When you've been charged with a serious crime in Atlanta and you know you are innocent, you need the best. You need somebody that will play rough and dirty with the prosecutor. You need somebody that isn't afraid to go there. You need a man in a gray suit. You need Atlanta's finest, Ben Matlock (Andy Griffith).

The Third Season of Matlock is the season where we are introduced to a new neighbor and friend of Matlock, Les "Ace" Calhoun (Don Knotts). Knotts, of course, worked with Andy Griffith in the 1960s on the classic TV hit The Andy Griffith Show, and this reunion of Griffith and Knotts brings back a lot of the old chemistry that they had working together on that series. Knotts would make many appearances on the series in this recurring role for several seasons, until the series moved to ABC in the early 1990s. As for the rest of the cast, we still have Matlock's partner in his firm, Michelle Thomas (Nancy Stafford) and his private investigator, Tyler Hudson (Kene Holliday), who always seems to have to do the rough and dirty work on behalf of the law firm. Prosecutor Julie March (Julie Sommars) is there as Matlock's opponent, and although she simply can't win against the ruthless defense techniques of Ben Matlock, she isn't nearly as incompetent as the character of Hamilton Burger on the TV series Perry Mason. But Matlock is in it to win it, and you can't go wrong with him on your side.

We are introduced to Les Calhoun in the third season premiere, "The Lemon," when he buys a used car from a shady used car dealer (he buys a DeLorean, the same car used on the Back to the Future movies). But like every DeLorean, he ends up with a lemon and gets angry with the car dealer, and not long thereafter, the car dealer ends up murdered. It's Matlock to the rescue! Matlock must go to New York City to defend a British ambassador accused of murder in the two-part episode "The Ambassador." Matlock (reluctantly) agrees to take the case of a shock jock accused of murdering his competition in "The D.J." Matlock must take on a vigilante police captain in "The Captain." The entire office (sans Matlock) is being held hostage in "The Vendetta," but why are they being held hostage? And why isn't Matlock there to save the day?
Matlock has a client that is accused of a political assassination in Chicago in the two-part episode "The Mayor," but he simply can't find the evidence to acquit him. In "The Black Widow," a man is wrongly accused of murder after his wife fakes her own death, but after he serves his sentence and released she actually is murdered. Can Matlock exonerate him? The first runner-up in a beauty contest will never be called upon to fulfill her duties in "The Starlet" after she is murdered, but did the winner murder her? A psychic predicts a murder in "The Psychic," but was this truly an accurate prediction or did she have worldly knowledge?
Everything is complicated in the two-part episode "The Thief," where a coin shop owner is accused of killing one of his employees, and one of Matlock's suspects kidnaps the daughter of the female detective that he put on the case. A mentally challenged man is accused of murder in "The Thoroughbred," and Matlock has to do his best to defend him based upon his innocence. Matlock is determined to not give up on his client after being hit by a car in "The Model." In "The Cult," a man is accused of killing the cult-leader that brainwashed his son, and Tyler has to join the cult in order to do some undercover work to prove his innocence. The season ends with "The Priest," where a priest is murdered... or is he?

The set does not have any fancy packaging, which should be expected from a CBS DVD set. It is just the standard CBS DVD plastic case, containing five discs. The cover art has a very basic cast photo shot, and inside the case, we have a listing of all of the episodes, along with original airdates and brief descriptions. There are exactly four episodes on each disc. Of course, as this is a CBS DVD product, the menus are the same as every other CBS DVD set as well, with nothing more than a main menu that has a listing of all of the episodes on the disc, as well as a Play All option.

Once again, the episodes appear to be unedited, although it is important to note that the set DOES contain a disclaimer saying that some episodes may be edited from their original network versions. I did not notice anything significant. However, as was the case with the previous season, all of the episode previews have been removed from the episodes. This isn't significant, as these merely preview what is going to be on the upcoming episode, but if the producers saw it appropriate to include them on the TV broadcast, I can't understand why they should remove them on the DVD set. Still, they are not an integral part of the episode. Each episode runs around 48 minutes. Every episode is closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired. There are no special features at all on this set. It would have been nice to have seen something from the original cast, such as a cast reunion.

This set is a very basic set that isn't fancy or flashy, but then again, Matlock is a very basic series that isn't fancy or flashy. This is a great show to watch, even if it is unrealistic to think that there may actually be a defense attorney in the world that is as effective as Ben Matlock. My only hope is that future sets include something--anything really--along the lines of special features! The Second Season did include alternate endings to one episode, but other than that, we have seen nothing on these sets. This is a cult favorite (even if that cult consists of a lot of senior citizens, although the series is popular among younger people as well), and the fans want something extra on these sets! Still, it is nice to see that CBS DVD is releasing (what appears to be) unedited episodes with mostly decent video and audio quality. I will now rest my defense of this sufficient set of this excellent series and hope that you judge this DVD set the same way.

-- Reviewed by skees53
(4/5 stars)

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Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Matlock TV.com Page


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July/August)

Father Knows Best - Season Six Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season Alice - The Complete Fifth Season Rhoda - Season Four Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four

06/13 - The Andy Griffith Show - Return to Mayberry
06/13 - That's My Mama - The Complete Series
06/20 - Workaholics - The Final (Seventh) Season
06/20 - Workaholics - The Complete Series
06/27 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Third Season
07/04 - Superstore - Season Two
07/18 - Father Knows Best - Season Six
07/25 - Diff'ernt Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season
07/25 - Girls - The Final (Sixth) Season (Blu-ray)
08/01 - Alice - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
08/01 - Crashing - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
08/15 - Rhoda - Season Four
08/22 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four
08/29 - Will & Grace - Season One (Universal)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, August 22

The Mick - "The Mess" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Mickey’s attempts at disciplining the kids are ignored, she decides to shed her “cool aunt” persona and lay down the law.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "Monster in the Closet" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Pimento and Rosa decide to pick up where they left off and get married, so the whole squad preps a perfect wedding under Amy’s careful direction. Pimento enlists Jake and Gina to hunt for his grandmother’s ruby earrings for Rosa to wear in the ceremony, but the universe has other plans for them.

Wrecked - "Nerd Speak" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
As the ship sinks, the survivors try to escape.

Still the King - "Vernon's Single" (CMT, 1:00AM ET/PT)
Vernon discovers his manager has given his new single to another recording artist to perform.

Still the King - "Who's Your Daddy?" (CMT, 1:30AM ET/PT)
It's Debbie and Ronnie's big wedding day, but when Debbie's water breaks on the altar, Vernon races against the clock to be there for the birth.

In The Cut - "Party Things" (Bounce TV, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Jay and Smitty see dollar signs when an enthusiastic lawyer convinces them their complaints can result in big cash settlements; Kenny reconnects with Angelique, but it's her new boyfriend, Conrad, that is interested in a relationship with Kenny.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 21)

Tuesday, August 22

  • Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) - Catch Jim on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Michael Showalter (Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later/Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp) - Michael appears on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Maya Rudolph (Up All Night) - Maya is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Topher Grace (That '70s Show) - Topher appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) - Chris is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kevin Hart (The Big House/Undeclared) - Kevin appears on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Jake Smollett (On Our Own) - Jake takes store-bought ramen to the next level on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Spencer Sutherland (Still the King) - Spencer dishes on playing a young Billy Ray Cyrus on Still the King on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Mindy Sterling (Con Man/A.N.T. Farm) - Mindy talks about Syfy's Con Man on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • John Corbett (Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll/United States of Tara/Lucky) - John talks about All Saints on NBC's Today in the 9am hour. He can also be heard on The Morning Mash Up on SiriusXM at 11am.