Saturday, February 27, 2010
Blog DVD Review: Matlock - The Fourth Season (3/2); Special Preview: Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 1, 2010)
Matlock - The Fourth Season (CBS DVD, $49.99) brings order to the courtroom with 23 more episodes of the man in the gray suit that proves that the elderly really can fight to defend criminal defendants accused of the most heinous crimes. Andy Griffith is, of course, Ben Matlock, who appears to be a kind older gentleman, but is in fact a powerful defense attorney who can defend virtually anybody. Michelle Thomas (Nancy Stafford) is his partner in his law firm, and joining Ben for this season is his newest private investigator, Conrad McMasters (Clarence Gilyard, Jr.). The Fourth Season contains all 23 unedited episodes of the 1989-1990 season on six discs.
In the two hour season premiere, "The Hunting Party," Ben has to travel to Roanoke Island to defend a man guilty of murdering a wealthy duck hunter, but while there, he meets Conrad, who would become his private investigator. In "The Good Boy," a woman is accused of murdering her husband, but could the real murderer be the stepson whom he threatened to send to military school? Murder is no laughing matter when a circus clown is dead (and his partner is accused of the murder) in "The Clown." A prison guard is suspected of killing a snitch in the two-part episode "The Prisoner," and Ben and Conrad do some undercover work to get to the bottom of it. One of Ben's clients decides to escape from his own murder trial in "The Fugitive."
Ben thinks one of his friends may be behind a 35 year old murder in "The Buddies." Murder doesn't take a holiday, as is proven in "The Scrooge." An obnoxious talk show host is murdered in "The Talk Show." Ben has been kidnapped in "The Kidnapper." In "The Informer," one of Ben's own colleagues is accused of murdering a client. Ben and Conrad step up to help the district attorney, Julie, in "The D.A." Who would kill the cookie lady? Find out in the appropriately titled episode, "The Cookie Monster."
There isn't much to say about the packaging for this set, as it is just a standard CBS DVD release with a standard DVD case. The cover art has Ben, Julie, and Michelle on it (why did they exclude Conrad?) and the back of the case has all of the season information as well as snapshots of all four main cast members. Inside, there are descriptions for each of the episodes, along with original airdates. Each disc is gray, with no artwork, and each disc contains four episodes, except for Disc 1, which contains the two-hour season premiere and two regular episodes.
The menus on the set are pretty standard as well, with nothing particularly special about them. They each have snapshots from the episodes on the discs and different pictures of Ben and Julie, with one of them containing the exact same photo on the cover art (except flipped). The main menu has no audio, and has basic options of Play All, then a listing of all of the episodes. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.
The video quality is mostly fine, but it does leave something to be desired. The episodes look like they could have been cleaned up a little bit better than they were. The audio, presented in stereo, is pretty loud and clear. The episodes are all closed-captioned. The set has the standard CBS DVD disclaimers about edited episodes, but there really doesn't appear to be an issue, aside from the missing opening teasers for each episode. The only slight area of concern that I have is the final episode of the season, "The Cookie Monster," which runs at just under 46 minutes, but I don't know for certain that anything is missing there. Runtimes for each episode are as follows:
1. The Hunting Party (1:33:25)
2. The Good Boy (47:55)
3. The Best Seller (47:56)
4. The Ex (47:56)
5. The Clown (47:58)
6. The Star (47:28)
7. The Con Man (47:54)
8. The Prisoner, Part 1 (47:55)
9. The Prisoner, Part 2 (46:24)
10. The Fugitive (47:55)
11. The Witness (47:54)
12. The Buddies (47:55)
13. The Scrooge (47:55)
14. The Student (46:56)
15. The Talk Show (46:55)
16. The Victim (46:54)
17. The Kidnapper (46:58)
18. The Pro (46:57)
19. The Informer, Part 1 (46:56)
20. The Informer, Part 2 (46:26)
21. The D.A. (46:57)
22. The Blackmailer (46:53)
23. The Cookie Monster (45:56)
Once again, there is a void of special features. It would be nice to see Andy Griffith himself participating on these sets somehow, even if it is just a brief interview.
This set certainly isn’t going to impress anybody, but it is definitely adequate and the episodes on the set are always fun to watch. Matlock is a series that everybody can enjoy, and it did make a mark in pop culture when it originally aired. Hopefully, the remaining seasons will all be released in a timely manner, and it would be nice if they could improve the video quality JUST a little bit and throw in some special features. This set may not have a rock solid defense, but I think it is clear that this set is not guilty, and Matlock himself would prove it to you.
-- Reviewed by skees53
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Today, in addition to the blog review, we are doing a special preview of a new blog feature here at SitcomsOnline called "Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows." We always have had this request because I'm sure some of you may miss a blog story or something (hopefully not!), but now every Friday we will bring you the listings of Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows for the coming week. The stars are both current and past sitcom stars (but we won't cover movie stars like Tom Hanks or John Travolta, since they won't be talking about their past sitcoms likely), so this is for all sitcom fans of all eras!
We are launching it today on a Saturday, but its normal day and time will be on Fridays right after our normal news. So without further adieu, here is our first blog story on this new feature!
For the week of March 1-5, we have many current sitcom stars and past sitcom stars on TV talk shows! So get your DVR's (or whatever you use) ready! Ready? Here is all what you need to know for this week!
- First up, on Monday, March 1, Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) will be on the Tavis Smiley Show to talk about his hit CBS sitcom. Check your local PBS listings for the time in your area for this talk show. Also from The Big Bang Theory, Simon Helberg (Howard) will appear on CBS's The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:35am ET/PT. 30 Rock's Judah Friedlander will be on NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:35am ET/PT. Former sitcom star (and Baywatch babe) Nicole Eggert (Charles in Charge) will be on TBS's Lopez Tonight at 11pm ET, but she will be primarily talking about her stint on Celebrity Fit Club. Also, David Spade (Rules of Engagement) will be on syndicated talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show to talk about the return of his sitcom. Check local listings for time and channel in your area. And finally Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld) will be on Oprah to talk about his upcoming series he is producing, but I'm covering him because he is likely to bring up Seinfeld because he is returning to NBC. Check your local listings and time for Oprah. Oh just one more thing for Monday, Jimmy Kimmel Live will have an interview with one of the Dancing with the Stars contestants on his show. Will it be a sitcom star? We will have to watch and see, as the new batch of contestants will be announced on Monday night in primetime. The show airs on ABC at 12:05am ET.
- Moving on to Tuesday, March 2. Once again I would normally not cover George Clooney, but this is a 20/20 Before They Were Stars special in time for the Oscars and Clooney will be interviewed about his past, which includes a stint on the '80s sitcom The Facts of Life. Lisa Whelchel (Blair from Facts of Life) is also interviewed! The special airs on ABC on Tuesday, March 2 at 10pm ET/PT. And as we mentioned already there is a Partridge Family reunion on Tuesday on NBC's Today show with Suzanne Crough, Danny Bonaduce, David Cassidy, and Brian Forster. We are not sure of the exact time, but are told it would be either in the 8am ET or 9am ET hour. Bryan Greenberg from the new HBO sitcom How To Make It In America will be on The Bonnie Hunt Show. Check your local listings for time and channel. And if you get Retirement Living TV (RLTV), Robert Guillaume (SOAP, Benson) stops by The Florence Henderson Show at 2pm ET.
- For Wednesday, March 3, we have to break some sad news as NBC has canceled the Brady Bunch reunion that was set for this date on the Today show. All of the Brady kids were set to appear, but it is likely that Eve Plumb and/or Maureen McCormick both backed out because of their little feud. Originally McCormick was not set to appear, but was penciled in late this past week (and probably pissing Plumb off?) when Florence Henderson couldn't make it because she had to go to Michigan to film a movie. Just speculating the reason. Jerry Seinfeld will once again be promoting his upcoming series for NBC, this time on The Late Show with David Letterman, but I wouldn't doubt a Seinfeld mention. Letterman airs on CBS at 11:35pm ET/PT. Former child sitcom star-turned big star Regina King (227) will be on NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:35am ET/PT to promote her TNT series. Cougar Town star Courtney Cox will appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, check your local listings for time and channel. Cox's former Friends co-star Lisa Kudrow will be on ABC's The View on this day as well at 11:00am ET/10:00am PT to promote her new series that she is producing. And finally TV/sitcom legend Tim Conway stops by The Florence Henderson Show at 2pm ET on Retirement Living Television.
- On Thursday, March 4, all eyes are set on the 227 reunion on NBC's Today show. Scheduled to appear are Marla Gibbs, Hal Williams, Jackee Harry, Curtis Baldwin and even Regina King (she has become a major star on film and television)! As of now, we only have word that the reunion will take place sometime in the 8am ET or 9am ET hour. Jerry Seinfeld will also appear on the Today show to promote his new series he is producing. Former sitcom child star Valerie Bertinelli (One Day at a Time) will be a guest co-host on ABC's The View on this day, so she will be on the entire show! 11am ET/10am PT on ABC. Also, RLTV will be airing a repeat of The Florence Henderson Show at 10pm ET & 1am ET featuring best-of interviews with TV/sitcom legends including Bob Newhart and Carol Burnett!
- On Friday, March 5, Lisa Kudrow appears on NBC's Today show to promote her new series she is producing for NBC that launches later that night.
Liked it? This was just a test run and we will slowly improve it based on your comments and such. But for now something like this will appear on the blog every Friday right after our regular news! Hope you find this useful! Leave us comments on our message board or Tweet/Facebook us!
Last Man Standing - "Elfie" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
In the spirit of Christmas, the sometimes self-absorbed Mandy plays Santa by anonymously arranging a holiday surprise for Blanca, the Baxters’ housekeeper. Also, when Vanessa gives Boyd a “magical” Elf doll, Ryan wants to tell Boyd it is just a doll, but Mike wants to prove to Ryan that a little Christmas spirit is not a bad thing.
The Neighbors - "A Christmas Story" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Debbie oversteps and accidentally ruins Larry’s surprise Christmas gift for Dick, Larry responds the only way he knows how: going way over the top for gifts to Debbie’s kids. Meanwhile, thinking gifts are the emblem of how you truly feel about someone, Reggie and Amber both struggle with getting each other the perfect gift.
Raising Hope - "The Chance Who Stole Christmas" / "Bee Story" (Fox, 9:00-10:00PM ET/PT)
Burt wants to be elected the interim Mayor of Natesville so that Virginia will have the honor of plugging in the town Christmas tree. But being mayor turns Burt into a Grinch. Then, Burt and Virginia go undercover to expose a corporate scandal that is killing all the bees in Natesville.
The Rickey Smiley Show - "Captive Christmas" (TV One, 9:00PM ET/PT)
The family gets trapped at the church by a snowstorm.
Friday, December 13
- John Witherspoon (The Wayans Brothers/The Tracy Morgan Show) - Watch John on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
- William Shatner ($h*! My Dad Says) - William appears on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
- Ken Jeong (Community) - Ken is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
- Constance Marie (George Lopez) - Constance talks about her role on the ABC Family hit Switched at Birth on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
- Niecy Nash (The Soul Man/Reno 911!) - Niecy visits The Queen Latifah Show, so check your local listings.
- Reed Alexander (iCarly) - Reed will be on The Couch on WLNY 10/55 in New York between 7-9am.
- Dan Lauria (Sullivan & Son/The Wonder Years) - Dan is a guest on New York Live on WNBC at 12:30pm ET.