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.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, December 14

Fresh Off the Boat - "Cousin Eddie" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The battle begins between mother and son when Eddie informs Jessica that he wants to spend Christmas with friend Nicole in New York. But Jessica insists that tradition prevails and he needs to spend the holiday with the family, so he does everything within his power to try and get her to crack and allow him to go. Meanwhile, Louis and Evan do their best to try and help an overwhelmed Emery decide on which one of his numerous friends to invite to the family’s Christmas Eve dinner.

Speechless - "J-I-- JINGLE T-H-- THON" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
A Christmas tree fire leads Maya to tell a small lie with big consequences. Meanwhile, Ray struggles to live in Pepper’s shadow as Dylan twists the knife, and JJ encourages Kenneth to stand up to his sisters (guest stars Niecy Nash and Lisa Leslie).

I Love Lucy - "I Love Lucy Christmas Special" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
I LOVE LUCY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL features “The Christmas Episode” and the newly colorized “Pioneer Women.” Both were colorized with a nod to the 1950s period in which they were filmed. The main titles and end credits are seamlessly combined into one set at the beginning and end of the hour, with no interruption between the episodes.

“The Christmas Episode” finds the Ricardos and Mertzes decorating Lucy and Ricky’s Christmas tree and reminiscing about how their lives have changed since the arrival of the Ricardos’ son, Little Ricky (Keith Thibodeaux). Flashbacks recall the night Lucy tells Ricky she is pregnant, the time Lucy shows up unexpectedly as part of a barbershop quartet, and the day Ricky and the Mertzes rehearse taking Lucy to the maternity ward.

“The Christmas Episode” was first broadcast on CBS on Christmas Eve, 1956. The episode was not included in the series’ long history of rebroadcasts, first on CBS Daytime and later in syndication. Long thought to be lost, the program was rediscovered by CBS in 1989.

In “Pioneer Women,” Lucy and Ethel’s hopes of joining the posh Society Matrons’ League leads to a bet with their husbands over which sex – the men or the women – had it harder living in a bygone era. They select the turn of the last century, and as Lucy and Ethel start to bake their own bread and churn their own butter, the men become acquainted with straight-blade shaving and riding home from work on horseback. They all have some “‘splainin’” to do when two ladies from the Society Matrons’ League stop by for an unexpected visit.

“Pioneer Women” was originally broadcast on March 31, 1952, and became an immediate viewer favorite.

The Dick Van Dyke Show - "The Dick Van Dyke Show -- Now in Living Color!" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
The special features the season one episode “Where Did I Come From,” written by Carl Reiner, and the season four episode “Never Bathe on Saturday,” also written by Reiner. The main titles and end credits of the two episodes are seamlessly combined into one set – at the beginning and end of the hour – with no interruption between the episodes.

The Emmy Award-winning series starred Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore as television comedy writer Rob and his wife, Laura Petrie; Larry Matthews as their son, Ritchie; Morey Amsterdam and Rose Marie as Buddy Sorrell and Sally Rogers, co-writers on the fictional “The Alan Brady Show”; Carl Reiner as Alan Brady; Richard Deacon as Mel Cooley; Jerry Paris as Dr. Jerry Helper; and Ann Morgan Guilbert as Millie Krumbermacher Helper.

In “Where Did I Come From,” 6-year-old Ritchie asks his parents the inevitable “where did I come from?” question, and they recall the days before his birth. The episode was first presented on Jan. 3, 1961 during the series’ first season.

In “Never Bathe on Saturday,” the Petries’ romantic second honeymoon becomes a disaster when Laura’s toe gets caught in a bath spout. The episode was first presented on March 31, 1965, during season four.

Last Man Standing - "The Gift of the Mike Guy" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Vanessa helps the family realize the importance of its long-standing holiday family traditions.

The Cool Kids - "Margaret Dates the Zodiac Killer" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Margaret begins dating Karl, a fellow resident who may or may not be the "Zodiac Killer."

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 10)

Friday, December 14

  • Karen Gillan (Selfie) - Watch Karen on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC. She talks about The Party's Just Beginning on the BUILD Series at 2pm.
  • Tony Shalhoub (Wings/We Are Men) - Watch Tony on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle, Laura Linney (The Big C) and Nick Kroll (The League/Cavemen) - Bryan, Laura and Nick make special guest appearances on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Bill Burr (F Is for Family/Townies) - Bill is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Busy Philipps (Vice Principals/Cougar Town) - Busy appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Romany Malco (Weeds/Blunt Talk) - Romany is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Kathryn Hahn (I Love Dick/Happyish/Transparent/Free Agents) - Kathryn talks about the film Private Life on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt/The Office) - Ellie appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Minnie Driver (Speechless/About a Boy) - Minnie is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Leah Remini (Kevin Can Wait/The Exes/Family Tools/The King of Queens/Fired Up) - Leah visits The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Angela Kinsey (The Office/Haters Back Off/Your Family or Mine/The Hotwives of Orlando) - Angela and her husband Joshua Snyder serve up monkey bread and chocolate peppermint cupcakes on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Vanessa Hudgens (Powerless) - Vanessa talks about Second Act on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Chris Elliott (Schitt's Creek/Get a Life) - Chris talks about Clara's Ghost on Couch Surfing at 8am.
  • Tia Mowry (Instant Mom/The Game/Sister, Sister) - Tia talks about Hallmark Channel's A Gingerbread Romance on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Christine Lakin (Hollywood Darlings/Step by Step) - Christine is a guest on Steve, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November)

The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection Alice - The Complete Eighth Season Step by Step - The Complete Third Season

10/02 - The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 6th Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 7th Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 8th Season
10/02 - Ghosted - The Complete First Season
10/02 - The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One / Volume Two
10/02 - Police Squad! - TV and Movie Collection
10/02 - Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection
10/16 - Community - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
10/23 - Alice - The Complete Eighth Season
10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Two
10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Three
10/31 - The Bad News Bears - The Complete Series - All 26 Episodes
11/01 - Episodes - Season 5
11/05 - Robin Williams - Comic Genius (includes Mork & Mindy)
11/06 - American Dad! - Volume 13
11/16 - Man with a Plan - Season One
11/20 - Step by Step - The Complete Third Season
11/27 - What I Like About You - The Complete Third Season
12/04 - Family Guy - Season Sixteen
12/04 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Sixth Season
12/18 - Our Cartoon President - Season One
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest