Monday, February 15, 2010

Blog DVD Review: Dynasty - The Fourth Season, Volume Two; Smurfs Marathon on Boomerang Today

Welcome to a special President's Day edition of Blog DVD Reviews. Today we take a look at CBS DVD's Dynasty - The Fourth Season, Volume Two. Dynasty is of course the primetime soap that was a bit hit for many years and it was so addictive! The tale of the Carrington family is so rich and interesting. See my blog DVD review of Dynasty - The Fourth Season, Volume One:

Dynasty - The Fourth Season, Volume Two (CBS DVD, $35.98) brings us the final 13 episodes of the fourth season of the mega-hit ABC '80s series Dynasty on a 3-disc set! John Forsythe, Linda Evans and Joan Collins continue to heat up the show as we continue the fourth season and get to the "nightmare" finale! This is the season where it reached its highest state thus far...it was #3 in the ratings for the entire fourth season. Seasons 3-6 all were in the time of the height of the popularity, with season five hitting number one. The series lasted 9 seasons on ABC, from 1981-89. We get the second half of the fourth season (1983-84) on this volume two set of the fourth season. Again, I don't understand why they are splitting the seasons in half. The show only had 27 episodes for season four...it's not like it was over 30 or 35. Anyway, the drama in Denver continues whether it is at the mansion or the LaMirage hotel.

Diahann Carroll joins the cast in the final two episodes of the season as the very mysterious Dominique Deveraux. Just who is she? We'll have to wait for more in season five to find out, but we get a little taste of her in the final two episodes here. Heather Locklear also returns in this second half of season four as Sammy Jo Carrington. She returns to Denver from New York to get custody of Danny in the final two episodes of the season. Michael Nader plays Farnsworth 'Dex' Dexter, Alexis' new suitor in this season. The final 13 episodes of the season begins with "Seizure," as Kirby is in poor health (that's all I will give away). We also get the three-part episode "The Voice," where so much happens that I won't give it away. And the final two episodes of the season are a must watch with Carroll joining the cast in "New Lady in Town," and the season finale "The Nightmare." Pamela Sue Martin (who plays Fallon Carrington-Colby) leaves the series after this episode. Just what will happen to Fallon as a result? We will have to wait and see in season five!

Packaging once again is a snap case holding three discs inside, similar to previous sets. Again the discs don't overlap each other, which is great. Discs one and two are in the white plastic little holder, while disc three is on the right panel of the case. That little holder is cheap, but I guess it works. The cover art of the case has a nice shot of Krystle, Blake and Alexis on the top, with the Dynasty logo below them along with the supporting cast which includes Fallon (Pamela Sue Martin). We have a nice purple style color scheme again for this volume, just like the first volume of season four. The back of the case has synopsis of the show, the set, and technical information. A nice shot of the cast and some episodic photos are also present. Back inside, there is a disc-by-disc breakdown on the left and right panel for every episode on this set. We get episode title, original airdate, and a long synopsis of each episode. Don't be reading it before watching the episode now! Artwork on the discs is just plain again. It is plain silver for each one. Dynasty logo and whatever disc number it is on the disc, and episode titles are listed. Disc one holds five episodes, while discs two & three hold four episodes each -- for a total of 13. There is nothing different about the packaging here. It is always consistent.

And the consistency continues for the menus. CBS DVD is terrible in menus, as you all know. Each menu has different artwork but it is so plain again. The episodes are listed right on the main menu once again. Set Up option is also available below the list of episodes. In Set Up, we can have English or Espanol languages and subtitles. Main menu artwork has three shots of the same image. Disc 1's main menu has three shots of Blake, disc two has three shots of Krystle, and disc three has three shots of Alexis. It is very similar to the first volume of season four. No theme music or any music in the background once again. Before the main menu on disc one, there is an option for previews...we get previews such as 90210 S1 DVD, CBS Home Entertainment series and Melrose Place S3 DVD. But you can skip to the main menu if you wish.
Each episode on this set is just around 47 minutes on average, with most of the episodes around 46:55. Nearly every CBS DVD has a disclaimer on the back of the box saying, "Some episodes maybe be edited from their original network versions." So there is a chance something could be edited, but I didn't see anything, as the runtimes were fairly consistent, lowest was 46:37 and highest was 46:58. There are 6 chapter stops each for every episode, counting the opening and closing credits stops. The video is on par with the previous season and it looks good. Just some debris here and there on the opening credits, like flashing black dots, but it is still good quality. The audio is decent, a nice sounding mono...that is crisp and clear. No problems here at all. In the episode where Sammy Jo returns from New York, she has a boom-box and it is playing an instrumental version of Michael Jackson's Thriller...nice to see that was kept intact!

We get no special features at all, just like the two season three volumes and the first volume of season four. The second season had a little family tree thing, which was something at least. We get nothing here. The first season was done by 20th Century Fox, and they did a decent job with some featurettes and commentaries, but CBS DVD is doing nothing...which is typical. How about promos like they do with The Love Boat (which is also Aaron Spelling)? I'm sure Heather Locklear (or the rest of the cast) would love to do interviews or commentaries for this set. If anything, give us archival stuff at least!

Season four is a wrap! Despite the splitting of the season again and no extras, I still highly do recommend any fan of the show to pick-up this set, because the episodes are so good and addictive. I cannot stop watching whenever I put the DVD in. This is the mother of all primetime soaps (sorry never was big into Dallas)! If you have the first three seasons (and volume one of season four), then you have to get this to continue your collection of course. If you haven't gotten those yet, what are you waiting for? It won't make sense buying this set for your first buy of this series, as the episodes are heavily serialized and you'll be so lost. One thing CBS DVD does well is that they work pretty fast with most of their releases, so you better hurry before the first half of season five comes out. I hope CBS reconsiders and gives us the ENTIRE fifth season instead of splitting it up into two volumes, but they won't. I've made it obvious already I don't like the splitting up the seasons into volumes, but CBS DVD seems to do that with a lot of their hour shows like The Love Boat, Perry Mason and so on. It is too bad, because it should only really be done if it is like over 35 episodes. I think they are just trying to get more money, come on $35.98 for 13 episodes and NO extras? Still, I urge fans to buy it so we keep getting more sets. CBS DVD is at least consistent with their sets. They are very predictable as the sets are nearly identical to each other (it makes the reviews boring). But like I said last time (and the time before that), complain to CBS DVD for the lack of extras and splitting the seasons in half. I'd buy all 27 season four episodes for say, $59.99. By splitting them, they are just tricking us in paying like $70 MSRP for a season. Then with two volumes for one season, we are wasting shelf space on our shelves. Sorry to keep complaining about it, but there isn't really anything new to say here as these sets are so boring. New episodes are about the only new thing here and I'm going to give away storylines to you all, especially if you are watching the show for the first time on these DVDs. But new episodes is what counts the most, right? Anyway, you're going to get it all in the fourth season finale as you might be as stunned as Alexis is. That's all I'll give away from the finale!

-- Reviewed by Pavan
(4/5 stars)

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



In 1981, a decidedly new cartoon debuted on NBC's Saturday morning lineup. Based on a 1957 Belgian comic strip, The Smurfs made television history following its premiere by becoming the highest-rated Saturday morning show in eight years, and the NBC's highest-rated animated series since 1970. Nearly 30 years later, the commercial-free Boomerang Network will celebrate this ground-breaking series with a 12-hour marathon on TODAY (Monday, Feb. 15), beginning at 8 a.m. (ET).
Kids enjoying a day off from school today will enjoy a special 12-hour presentation of one of the 1980's most popular cartoons ever to appear on broadcast television.
Highlights of the 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. marathon include the following episodes:
* "Sir Hefty" - 8 a.m. (ET) - A giant fire-breathing dragon roams the forest, torching the trees as it passes. Hefty must fight the fires and defend Smurf Village. He leads the dragon away and is knighted "Sir Hefty Knight of the Smurf Table" by Papa Smurf.
* "Three Smurfketeers" - 1 p.m. (ET) - The Smurfs put on a play where Hefty, Jokey, and Greedy play the three musketeers, helping Clumsy Smurfingham win Smurfette Smurfington's hand in marriage.
* "The Haunted Castle" - 3:30 p.m. (ET) - Johan and Peewit, a young squire and his sidekick, join the Smurfs to help a ghost of a haunted castle find his rightful heir.
* "The Littlest Giant" - 6 p.m. (ET) - Papa Smurf helps a young runaway giant reunite with his own family.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (March/April)

The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Second Season What I Like About You - The Complete Second Season Newhart - The Final (Eighth) Season Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season Father Knows Best - Season Five

03/03 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Now... In Living Color! (Blu-ray)
03/07 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Second Season
03/07 - Mama's Family - Mama's Favorites
03/07 - That '70s Show - The Complete Series - Flashback Edition (Blu-ray)
03/07 - What I Like About You - The Complete Second Season
03/07 - You Me Her - Season One
03/14 - Newhart - The Final (Eighth) Season
03/14 - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Season Two
03/21 - Master of None - Season One
04/04 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season
04/11 - Father Knows Best - Season Five
04/11 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Third Season
04/11 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/11 - Veep - The Complete Fifth Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, April 28

Stuck in the Middle - "Stuck with a Boy Genius" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Harley, Rachel, Georgie and Ethan attend their school spring formal dance, while Lewie and Beast camp out at home in the backyard.

Andi Mack - "It's Not About You" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Andi's frustration boils over when she discovers that Buffy has secretly been confiding in Bex instead of her; Cyrus double-dates with Jonah Beck, Amber and her friend Iris.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 24)

Friday, April 28

  • Gabourey Sidibe (The Big C) - Watch Gabourey on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Martin Short (Mulaney/The Martin Short Show) - Martin stops by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Britt Robertson (Girlboss) - Britt is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Tom Hanks (Bosom Buddies) - Tom appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Anna Baryshnikov (Superior Donuts) - Anna is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Whitney Cummings (Whitney) - Whitney appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) - Alec is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • John Leguizamo (The Brothers Garcia) - John guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Laura Dern (Enlightened), Joely Fisher (Ellen/'Til Death), Clea Lewis (Ellen/Flying Blind) and David Anthony Higgins (Ellen/Malcolm in the Middle/Big Time Rush) - The Ellen DeGeneres Show celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Ellen coming out episode, so check your local listings.
  • Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) - Alec talks about Donald Trump, too much alcohol and the thing that saved his life on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jenna Elfman (Imaginary Mary/1600 Penn/Courting Alex/Accidentally on Purpose/Dharma & Greg) - Jenna will be on NBC's Today in the 9am hour. She also dishes about Imaginary Mary on The Wendy Williams Show at 2am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Kathryn Hahn (Happyish/Transparent/Free Agents) - Kathryn is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.