Saturday, November 07, 2009

Blog DVD Review: Route 66 - Season Three, Volume Two

Welcome to our weekly Saturday Blog DVD Review. Today we take a look at Infinity Entertainment's Route 66 - Season Three, Volume Two. Route 66 ran from 1960-1964 and starred Martin Milner, George Maharis (1960-1963) and Glenn Corbett (1963-1964). See skees53's Blog DVD Review of Route 66 - Season Three, Volume Two:

Route 66 - Season Three, Volume Two (Infinity, $29.98) brings the final 15 episodes of season three together in a four disc DVD set. The series stars Martin Milner and George Maharis as Tod Stiles and Buz Murdock, two guys that come from different sides of the railroad track but are united in their desire to travel America. Along the way, they meet many people, some good and others not so good, and find odd jobs along the way to survive. Sometimes they get in trouble and struggle to find their way out in the midst of hostile citizens of the towns to which they travel. In any event, they always find a way out in each and every episode.

In the earlier part of the third season, Buz began to disappear from the series as George Maharis became ill and was unable to work on the series on a regular basis. By this part of the season, the character of Buz is completely written out, but no need to worry, because Tod still has a partner to travel the nation with. Glenn Corbett joins the cast as Lincoln Case, an Army veteran who just left Vietnam (a few years before Vietnam became such a political controversy) after a six years of duty. It doesn't change the show much, though. It is still two guys getting into different adventures every week as they travel down Route 66 (as well as numerous other highways and byways of America).

The set begins with "A Gift From a Warrior," where a German man (James Whitmore) is looking for his American father and also happens to have a gun by his side. Why would he be so violent? Robert Duvall and Lois Nettleton guest star in "Suppose I Said I Was the Queen of Spain," where a woman (Nettleton) is able to take advantage of Tod by romancing him. In "Somehow It Gets to Be Tomorrow," two orphans want help in escaping their foster family, and who else would they turn to besides Tod? In "In The Closing of a Trunk," Tod somehow gets in the middle of a dispute between a woman and her uncle who isn't too happy about the fact that his niece killed her own father (his brother). Glenn Corbett joins the cast as Lincoln Case in "Fifty Miles From Home."
Have Linc and Tod met a real, live mermaid? Perhaps, in "The Cruelest Sea of All." The series becomes involved in the politics of Fidel Castro when Linc and Tod meet up with two Cubans who aren't happy with their brother's ties to him in "Peace, Pity, Pardon." Dick York guest stars in "What a Shining Young Man Was Our Gallant Lieutenant," where Linc meets up with one of his Army officers from Vietnam and finds that a brain injury has left him with the mentality of a young child. Linc drives a getaway car for a robbery (by accident) in "Who Will Cheer My Bonnie Bride." A small Florida town wants to hang Linc after he is accused of killing a dog in "Shadows of an Afternoon." Alan Alda and Tom Bosley guest star in the season finale, "Soda Pop and Paper Flags."

Just like Volume 1 of the third season, the packaging is a double-thick keepcase with a cardboard sleeve. Both the sleeve and the case have the exact same artwork, which just has a Route 66 road sign on the highway. The back of the packaging just has the basic series information. Inside, we have the four discs, all of which have the same Route 66 road sign as on the cover art and the road on them. Discs 1-3 all contain four episodes each, while Disc 4 contains three episodes as well as the special features. Once again, there are no episode titles to be found anywhere in this set. Even a sheet that just lists the disc breakdown would have been nice, but instead, we have nothing! This was not a problem at all with the first two seasons.

The menus on the set are very basic, with the theme song playing and options of Play All, Episodes, and Extras (Disc 4 only) on the main menu. When you select Episodes, you go to a menu that lists all of the episodes as text, and it plays as soon as you choose it. There are no scene selection menus, but chapters are placed within each episode.

Despite how old the series is, the video and audio quality on the set seems to be great. There have been some compression issues on past sets, as well as some pixelation and other issues, but this one seems to be the best so far. The video is clean and crisp, with a little bit of the expected issues with grain and debris. I didn't find any issues with the audio at all except for some crackle. Other than that, the audio is loud and clear and presented in mono. Each episode is closed-captioned. All of the episodes appear to be taken from original source material this time (as opposed to syndicated Colex prints from the '80s that have OCCASIONALLY appeared on previous sets), running at about 50 minutes per episode. It was nice to not see any episodes that appeared to have any issues this time!

The only special features on the set are a bunch of commercials, specifically commercials from the series sponsors, bumpers from the series, and promos from the series. They can all be found on Disc 4. We have 12 minutes worth of these, which includes spots from Philips Milk of Magnesia, Bayer Aspirin, and Chevrolet. Which is really amazing is that all of these look and sound great, and have clearly been remastered for the DVD set. Still, it would have been even nicer to have all of these original commercials inserted back into the episodes, as is the case on one of the previous "best of" collections of the series on DVD. But I suppose that just having them is nice enough. As was noted in the Season Three, Volume 1 review, there are no guest star biographies on this set as there were on the first two seasons. Those were nice to have, and I wish that the DVD producers would have continued these for the final two seasons.

I always find myself enjoying this show every time I get a new release of it, and can't wait to go through the episodes. But, this is a volume release, and it is important to note that early next year, Infinity intends to release a set with both volumes of season 3 as one big set, so unless you already have volume 1, it is somewhat hard to justify owning THIS set. That doesn't mean that it is a bad set. In fact, it is a pretty good set, but the full season model works better in collections than the half seasons. If you REALLY can't wait to own the whole third season, Best Buy (as well as a few online retailers) already have that set available. I think that the important thing for Infinity to do for the remaining season (it is hard to believe there is only one season left) is to stay focused on video and audio quality, because they really did pretty good with that on this set, but a few nice special features would be good too. Until then, you'll probably want to wait to get your kicks on Route 66 until you are able to get the entire third season.

Reviewed by skees53
(4/5 stars)

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Related links: Full DVD Reviews Page
Route 66 Page

New on DVD/Blu-ray (September)

The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season Modern Family - The Complete Season 7

09/06 - Coach - Season One (Mill Creek) / Season Two / Seasons One and Two
09/06 - South Park - The Complete Ninteenth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season
09/20 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season
09/20 - Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season
09/20 - Modern Family - The Complete Season 7
09/20 - Veep - Season 5
09/27 - The Wonder Years - Season Six
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, October 27

The Big Bang Theory - "The Fetal Kick Catalyst" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Penny is surprised to learn she has fans of her performance in “Serial Ape-ist” when she attends Van Nuys Comic Con with Leonard. Also, Amy hosts a Sheldon-style brunch at Penny’s apartment, and Wolowitz makes an impulsive purchase when he starts stressing out about the baby on the way.

The Great Indoors - "Pilot" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Joel McHale stars as Jack, a renowned adventure reporter for an outdoor magazine who must adapt to the times when he becomes the new desk-bound boss to a group of millennials in the digital department of the publication.

Mom - "High-Tops and Brown Jacket" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bonnie and Adam’s relationship is tested when he moves in with her and Christy for a few weeks. Also, Christy learns the hard way that it may be a mistake to try and meet men with Jill.

Life in Pieces - "Annulled Roommate Pill Shower" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Heather and Tim enlist Clementine’s unusual parents, Mary-Lynn (Megan Mullally) and Spencer (Nick Offerman), to help convince Clementine and Tyler to annul their unexpected marriage. Also, Tommy moves in with Colleen, to the chagrin of her roommate, Dougie (Fortune Feimster); John and Joan run into “complications” after John takes the wrong dose of his daily pill; and Jen and Greg keep a secret from the family.

Superstore - "Halloween Theft" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Dina (Lauren Ash) throws a wrench in everyone's Halloween plans when something goes missing from the store and declares that no employee can leave until someone confesses to stealing. Amy (America Ferrera) is determined to find out who is responsible because she doesn't want to miss trick-or-treating with her daughter and Mateo (Nico Santos) prepares for his secret date with Jeff (recurring guest star Michael Bunin). Meanwhile, Jonah (Ben Feldman) and Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom) struggle to bond until they discover they have more in common than they thought. Garrett (Colton Dunn) has a difficult time defending himself during the store-wide investigation.

The Good Place - "Most Improved Player" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Michael (Ted Danson) has a private meeting with Eleanor (Kristen Bell). Meanwhile, Chidi (William Jackson Harper), who has been harboring a secret, contemplates what to do.

Better Things - "Scary Fun" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Sam makes a point.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 24)

Thursday, October 27

  • Martin Short (Mulaney/The Martin Short Show) - Catch Martin on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds) - Mary-Louise visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • January Jones (The Last Man on Earth) - January appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Lauren Lapkus (Clipped/Are You There, Chelsea?) - Lauren is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) - Abbi visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron appears on Chelsea on Netflix. He also talks about Inferno on NBC's Today in the 10am hour and on the AOL Build Show at 2:30pm.
  • Nathan Lane (Modern Family/Charlie Lawrence/Encore! Encore!), John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) and John Slattery (Maggie) - They talk about Broadway's The Front Page on The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Joel McHale (The Great Indoors/Community) - Joel guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) - Miley is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Eva Longoria (Telenovela) - Eva appears on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Angelique Cabral (Life in Pieces/Enlisted) - Angelique talks about Life in Pieces on the AOL Build Show at 11am.