Saturday, January 16, 2010

Blog DVD Review: 21 Jump Street - The Complete First Season (1/19)

We won't cover the final day of the TCA winter press tour for cable, since it really is short and nothing notable.

Welcome to our weekly Saturday Blog DVD Review and it's our first one of 2010. Today we take a look at Mill Creek's 21 Jump Street - The Complete First Season. I know this series came out on DVD from Anchor Bay, but now Mill Creek is re-releasing the series. Johnny Depp leads his band of agents in the special Jump Street division by going undercover to infiltrate local schools to put a stop to crime and keep students safe from corrupt influences in this '80s hit! See skees53's Blog DVD Review of 21 Jump Street - The Complete First Season:

21 Jump Street - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek, $14.99) contains all 13 episodes of the freshman season of the series about a special group of undercover agents going undercover as high school freshmen to put a stop to crime in schools. The Jump Street division, a group of youthful looking officers posing as high school students, are lead by Officer Tom Hanson (Johnny Depp in his earliest acting days) deals with some of the most difficult issues facing high school students including alcoholism, hate crimes, drugs, racism, abuse, and sexual promiscuity. The Jump Street division is made up of a very diverse group of officers, including Officer HT Ioki (Dusting Nguyen), Officer Judy Hoffs (Holly Robinson Peete), Officer Doug Penhall (Peter DeLuise), and Captain Adam Fuller (Steven Williams). The series was never shy of the tough issues, handled the controversies in each and every episode. The series was co-created by Patrick Hasburgh and Stephen J. Cannell, and debuted in April 1987 on Fox, being among the first series to air on the network.

In the series pilot, "21 Jump Street Chapel," the Jump Street division must go undercover to find a violent drug dealer while rookie officer Hanson has to prove that he is worthy of his badge to a veteran officer. Bill Jayne guest stars in "America, What a Town," where Hanson has to investigate a car theft ring. Josh Brolin guest stars in "My Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades," where an investigation into a student's death may uncover that the student was also raped. In "Worst Night of Your Life," a girl's school may not be full of little angels when Hoffs has to go undercover to investigate a series of arsons. A teacher's car is pipe-bombed in "Gotta Finish the Riff."
Hanson and Penhall are undercover investigating drug dealers in "Blindsided" when a student asks Hanson to assassinate somebody. A possible loan shark operation is investigated in "Next Generation." In "Low and Away," the Jump Street division is assigned to protect a student in the witness protection program. It's an full blown underage pornography investigation in "16 Blown to 35." Jason Priestley guest stars in the season finale, "Mean Streets and Pastel Houses," where the division must investigate some houses being vandalized.

The packaging for this set very likely ranks as one of the worst designs that I have ever seen. When I first saw the package, I was impressed with the effort to create professional looking artwork (it is nothing special, but it is professional looking), but when I opened up the case (a double-thick keep case), I found two black paper sleeves containing the discs. Yes, two black paper sleeves. The sleeves are secured in the case so that they don't just float around, but it is still one of the worst designs that I have ever seen. If that isn't bad enough, the paper sleeves are very tight, and it is difficult to pull the discs out of them. It appears that several other Mill Creek titles released recently have this same packaging style, which is a shame because some older Mill Creek releases that I own have more standard packaging. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-7, and Disc 2 contains episodes 8-13.

The menus on the set are very basic, but professional looking, with the main menu having the opening theme music playing and the series logo in the background, with options of Play All and Episode Select. When you choose Episode Select, you get a menu that is designed to look like a page from a yearbook with all of the episode titles. The closing theme music plays on this menu. Once you select an episode, it plays immediately without any other menus, although chapters are placed throughout each episode.

The video and audio quality on this set is, to put it lightly, below average. It appears that the episodes were taken from some poor quality videotape transfers, with the biggest issue being pixelation. It isn't quite so bad on a smaller TV, but if you put it on a 50 inch LCD TV, it looks terrible. The audio sounds fine, although it isn't very clear at times and sounds very dull. Unfortunately, the episodes are not closed-captioned, which is a shame because the episodes were closed-captioned on the previous release from Anchor Bay.

The series originally used a lot of music, and it should be no surprise that at a $14.99 MSRP, most of it has been replaced in this set. Some of the runtimes of the episodes themselves are an issue of concern, as they vary widely, anywhere from 44 minutes to 48 minutes. It is very likely that some scenes are missing, but I am unable to confirm that for certain. Runtimes for each episode are as follows:

Disc 1:
1. Jump Street Chapel, Part 1 (45:57)
2. Jump Street Chapel, Part 2 (44:45)
3. America, What a Town (47:55)
4. Don't Pet the Teacher (46:43)
5. My Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades (45:57)
6. The Worst Night of Your Life (45:23)
7. Gotta Finish the Riff (47:01)

Disc 2:
8. Bad Influence (46:32)
9. Blindsided (47:07)
10. Next Generation (47:03)
11. Low and Away (47:11)
12. 18 Blown to 35 (47:05)
13. Mean Streets and Pastel Houses (47:04)

The set contains no special features at all, unlike the previous Anchor Bay release. Still, at $14.99, I didn't really expect to find any, but perhaps some promos from the original airing would have been nice to see, as those are usually easy to get without inconveniencing anybody.

I enjoyed watching the episodes on this set, but make no mistake, this set is by no means an award-winning set. To be fair, I don't blame Mill Creek Entertainment for the flaws in the set (aside from the poor packaging), in fact, I think that Mill Creek did fans of the series who want to see it on DVD a service by licensing it and releasing it. I have a feeling that other studios passed on this series due to the quality issues, and Mill Creek saw it as an opportunity to release it themselves. Mill Creek has always been a company that releases low-budget sets at a low price, but at the same time, they've always had the ability to make the best of each and every set that they release.
Fans of the series will be disappointed by this set, but unless Stephen J. Cannell Productions gets their act together and releases masters to some company that are not like this, this is the best we will ever be able to see. The problems do not fully take away from the enjoyment of the series, but it is a slight hinderance, and sadly, I doubt that any future releases will be any better. But at the very least, this set is a way to enjoy a great series that doesn't currently air on TV and isn't available in a better form on DVD.

-- Reviewed by skees53
(2/5 stars)

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21 Jump Street TV.com Page


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, September 18

Fresh Off the Boat - "A Man to Share the Night With" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Michelle Kwan comes in second place at the Olympics, Jessica tries to keep it from Emery and Evan, only to get caught up in an elaborate conspiracy theory that leads them seeking answers from Nancy Kerrigan. Meanwhile, Louis changes Eddie’s bedtime to spend more quality time together watching Letterman, but feels slighted when Eddie spends his newfound free time elsewhere.

Speechless - "A-C-- ACTION" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
JJ’s thrilled when he is chosen by his classmates to film his horror movie project, but soon the pressure of directing gets to him. Meanwhile, Dylan’s class project reveals a family secret; and Jimmy’s suggestions for the neighbor’s house construction project backfires for the DiMeos.

black-ish - "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Dre and Bow confront gender biases of their own after finding out that both Junior and Zoey have become sexually active. Meanwhile, Ruby is hurt when she finds out that Jack and Diane have been hanging out with a friend’s grandmother after school.

Splitting Up Together - "Heat Wave" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Lena and Martin choose to share the house for the summer while the children are away at camp despite Lena’s reservations, but both soon realize it might not be the worst idea. Meanwhile, they collectively agree to throw their annual backyard piƱa colada party where they will celebrate their independence from their children. Elsewhere, a friendly face returns back home and Martin can’t help but see it as a sign.

Wrecked - "Ballers" (TBS, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Attempting to hide from the others during The Hunt, Pack and Jess run into a new threat on the island.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of September 17)

Tuesday, September 18

  • Queen Latifah (Living Single) - Catch Queen Latifah on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. She also talks about Star on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Sally Field (Gidget/The Flying Nun) - Sally chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Jeremy Sisto (Suburgatory) - Jeremy visits LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Alicia Silverstone (American Woman) - Alicia stops by The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Jeff Foxworthy (The Jeff Foxworthy Show) - Jeff is a guest on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Meagan Good (Cousin Skeeter/Raising Dad) - Meagan talks about her movie A Boy. A Girl. A Dream. on Chatter at 8pm.
  • Brie Larson (United States of Tara) - Brie talks about Captain Marvel on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Sanaa Lathan (Family Guy/The Cleveland Show/LateLine) - Sanaa talks about Nappily Ever After on GMA Day on ABC at 1pm.
  • Roseanne Barr (Roseanne) - Dr. Oz speaks exclusively with the woman whose tweet ignited a media firestorm. They ask the tough questions on everyone’s minds: What was she thinking when she hit “send”? Then, a panel of influencers and experts weigh in on Roseanne Barr’s answers. Is she a racist? Check your local listings for The Dr. Oz Show.
  • William Shatner ($h*! My Dad Says) - William appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Rosanna Arquette (Sideswiped) - Rosanna talks about her comedy series Sideswiped on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Nick Jonas (Jonas) - Nick will be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Bill Pullman (1600 Penn) - Bill about The Sinner on the BUILD Series at 2pm.
  • Kate Flannery (The Office) and Jane Lynch (Angel from Hell) - Kate and Jane talk about Two Lost Souls on the BUILD Series at 3pm.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (August/September)

The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Eleventh Season The Middle - The Complete Ninth Season Modern Family - The Complete Ninth Season Step by Step - The Complete Second Season Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fifth Season

08/07 - Happy Endings - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
08/15 - A.P. Bio - Season One
08/28 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Five
08/28 - Man Seeking Woman - The Complete Third Season
09/04 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - The Complete Season 12
09/04 - Mom - The Complete Fifth Season
09/04 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Fifth Season
09/04 - Superstore - Season Three
09/04 - Young Sheldon - The Complete First Season
09/11 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Eleventh Season (Blu-ray)
09/11 - The Middle - The Complete Ninth Season
09/11 - Modern Family - The Complete Ninth Season
09/11 - People of Earth - The Complete Second Season
09/18 - Community - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
09/18 - Step by Step - The Complete Second Season
09/18 - You're the Worst - The Complete Fourth Season
09/25 - Blondie - The Complete 1957 Television Series
09/25 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fifth Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest