Saturday, January 16, 2010
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:
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)
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
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Last Man Standing - "Eve's Boyfriend" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Eve has a new boyfriend but refuses to talk about him. After Vanessa pressures her for some good ol’ girl talk, Eve concedes and opens up, much to Vanessa’s joy. But when Mandy and Kristin catch wind that Eve’s boyfriend is taking part in the same overnight Junior ROTC camping trip as Eve, their past mistakes prompt them to be concerned.
The Neighbors - "Balle Balle!" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Marty and Debbie are worried when Larry Bird tells them his Indian co-worker at the coffee shop has invited him to a traditional Indian wedding. Despite their pleas, Larry decides to attend without their approval and he and Jackie get carried away when trying to come up with a wedding gift. After Larry does research on Indian weddings, he concludes all weddings take place in “Bollywood” and decides to give his friend a full scale Bollywood number.
Enlisted - "Parade Duty" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
After Cody assigns the platoon "Parade Duty" Pete tries to inspire his team, but finds he is being sabotaged by his own brother. After things go terribly wrong, all three brothers learn a bit more about what it means to be a soldier in Rear D.
Raising Hope - "Baby Phat" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Burt and Virginia are in desperate need of a vacation and, at Barney's suggestion, head to a resort for a little R&R. But the "resort" turns out to be a different kind of place than they were hoping for. Meanwhile, Jimmy and Sabrina decide they want to have a baby.
Jessie - "Snack Attack" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Jessie notices a famous casting director in the park and tries to impress him by volunteering to help his daughter befriend the Ross kids.
Dog with a Blog - "I Want My Nikki Back, Nikki Back, Nikki Back" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Tyler decides to try and get Nikki back as his girlfriend but Avery is hesitant to help him for fear of being caught between her friend and brother.
Love That Girl - "Assets and Liabilities" (TV One, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Delroy finds a way out of paying his taxes; Imunique and Jasmine are both into the same guy.
Friday, March 7
- Ellen DeGeneres (Ellen) - Watch Ellen on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
- Kenan Thompson (Kenan & Kel) - Kenan appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
- Patrick Duffy (Step by Step) - Patrick discusses the new season of Dallas on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings. He will also be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
- Jason Bateman (Arrested Development/The Hogan Family/It's Your Move) - Jason is a guest on Pop Sugar on TV Guide Network at 6pm and on the next day on their website at noon.
- Scott Foley (The Goodwin Games/A.U.S.A.) - Scott joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
- Judy Gold (All-American Girl) - Judy weighs in on hot topics on The Couch on WLNY 10/55 in New York between 7-9am.
- Chelsea Handler (Are You There, Chelsea?) - Chelsea answers calls from the Foodie Phone Booth on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
- Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Stephanie discusses Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
- Lena Dunham (Girls) - Lena will be on NBC's Today between 7-9am.
- Patrick Warburton (Rules of Engagement/Seinfeld) - Patrick appears on NBC's Today between 7-9am.
- Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry is a guest on Larry King Now at 2/5pm PT/ET on Ora.tv and Hulu.
- Christine Lakin (Step by Step) - Christine is a guest on Big Morning Buzz Live with Nick Lachey on VH1 at 10am.
- Henry Winkler (Happy Days/Out of Practice) - Henry visits The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.