Saturday, July 31, 2010

Digital Digest: Dragnet 1968 - Season 2 DVD Review

Welcome to another edition of Digital Digest! Our normal Digital Digest blogger (skees53) as you know is off for the summer and is missed. As always, we have the latest news, upcoming releases for Tuesday, and our DVD review this week is of a Shout! Factory's Dragnet 1968 - Season 2. Stay out of trouble with the law and read today's Digital Digest!

DIGITAL NEWS

We have quite a bit of news this week for sitcoms. Shout! Factory will release The Facts of Life - The Complete Fifth Season on DVD on Nov. 2 at a $29.93 MSRP. View the packaging, but no info yet if there are bonus features. Shout! Factory will also release Mad About You - The Complete Fifth Season on DVD on Nov. 2 at a $39.97 MSRP. View the packaging, and as with Facts of Life, we are not sure if there will be bonus features. And sticking to Shout! Factory news, they will release The Larry Sanders Show - Season Two on DVD at long last on Nov. 2 with the previously announced The Larry Sanders Shows - The Complete Series for DVD. View the packaging art for the season two release. All of these are being licensed to Shout! from Sony Pictures.

Universal Home Video has officially announced 30 Rock - Season 4 on DVD for Sept. 21. View the press release for packaging, bonus features and more! And Lionsgate tweeted the other day from its Twitter account that Boy Meets World - Season 4 will be out within the next 6-8 months, and TVShowsonDVD.com says that is the first quarter of 2011! So stay tuned!

Warner Home Video has officially announced V - The Complete First Season coming out on Blu-ray and DVD coming now on Nov. 2. (instead of Oct. 16, as we said last week). Pre-order the DVD and Blu-ray.

For more information on titles that we won't cover with full or blog DVD reviews, you can head on over to the news section of TVShowsOnDVD.com for all of the latest details.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (August 3) will not have any sitcom releases. Universal Home Video is releasing Heroes - Season 4. Our blog review will come in the next few weeks. Time Life Media is releasing The Real Ghostbusters - Volume 3. And Universal Home Video is releasing Saturday Night Live - Best Of Will Ferrell: Volume 3. A few weeks ago we did a blog review for that, so check it out.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

This week's review is Dragnet 1968 - Season 2. In 1967, Dragnet returned to TV as Dragnet 1967 after NBC previewed the made-for-TV movie Dragnet 1966. This series ran for four years and produced 98 original episodes. Officer Bill Gannon was Friday's partner for the four year run. The show's title changed each year from Dragnet 1967 to Dragnet 1970 when the series ended. It's been five years since the last DVD and that was from Universal Home Video, now Shout! Factory has picked up the series so we will get the rest of the series on DVD most likely. View our full review of Dragnet 1967 - Season 1 DVD from 2005.

DVD Review: Dragnet 1968 - Season 2
by Seth Thrasher

Dragnet 1968 - Season 2 (Shout!, $44.98) is now on DVD , and let me be the first to tell you how excited I am that Shout! Factory is resuming the release of this classic series. Universal released the first season five years ago, but Shout! Factory is now continuing releases as part of their licensing deal with the aforementioned Universal. So what is the result for you? All 28 episodes of this classic police drama's second season can now be yours on DVD. While I've complained about the price point on many recent Shout! sets, the fact is that when you factor in discounts available at many leading retailers , the price for this set you're likely to actually pay is actually fairly reasonable.

Dragnet's 2nd season, on the air from September 1967 through March 1968, was known on-air that year as Dragnet 1968. The changing year at the end of the title was always one of the most immediately distinct things about the series. Another thing is how, even though the show is always intended to be a straightforward crime drama, a lot of humor can be found, particularly in the interplay between Friday (Jack Webb) and Gannon (Harry Morgan). While several episodes this season are carried on the strength of their dramatic appeal, at other times it's the show interjecting humor that really makes an episode work.

One prime example of the show's example to apply humor to a realistic crime scenario is the season's 11th episode with a purse snatching dog "The Big Dog." The season, for what it's worth, starts off with a bang, as teenager throws acid on the back of another student, then later the same teenager, now running away, crashes a party...with a grenade ("The Big Bang"). The quality and drama continue right into the season's 2nd episode, when Joe is forced to open fire on a robber. The robber is later found dead, with no evidence suggesting that the robber had fired at Joe aside from Joe's own recollection – landing Joe in a great deal of trouble. One of my absolute favorite episodes of the series is this season's fifth episode, "The Big Neighbor." Like many of the best episodes, it interjects humor and creates a great story. Bill invites Joe over for dinner and football, only to be constantly interrupted by Bill's neighbors with their petty complaints. Some of the best episodes of the series, in my opinion, involve Bill and Joe on off-duty hours still finding themselves surrounded by madness. Due to the often-serious plots, known actors –at least for this season – typically weren't used as guests; there are no appearances of then-unknown future stars either.

Runtimes:

Disc 1:
The Grenade: 25:07
The Shooting Board: 25:05

Disc 2:
The Badge Racket: 25:05
The Bank Jobs: 25:06
The Big Neighbor: 25:11
The Big Frustration: 25:03
The Senior Citizen: 25:05

Disc 3:
The Big High: 25:05
The Big Ad: 25:05
The Missing Realtor: 25:04
The Big Dog: 25:06
The Pyramid Swindle: 25:05

Disc 4:
The Phony Police Racket: 25:06
The Trial Board: 25:06
The Christmas Story: 24:38
The Big Shipment: 25:06
The Search: 25:07

Disc 5:
The Prophet: 25:04
The Big Amateur: 25:05
The Starlet: 25:08
The Big Clan: 25:04
The Little Victim: 25:05
The Squeeze: 25:01

Disc 6:
The Suicide Attempt: 25:05
The Big Departure: 25:04
The Investigation: 25:07
The Gambler: 25:08
The Big Problem: 25:09

Packaging is straightforward, and, I'm pleased to say it doesn't involve those cheap bulky white plastic cases. The usual sets of slimcases (three, in fact) are used, contained within an outer box. It's simple, it's manageable, and it doesn't break in shipment. That's all you can really ask for in package construction. The packaging is designed relatively similarly to the first, Universal-released, set – a revised, block-letter Dragnet 1968 logo appears at the top with Joe's badge. Joe and Bill appear below it, looking quite unamused. Joe is wielding a flashlight, but because of the angle he's holding it looks like there's a random white-yellow circle in the bottom-left corner. Discs are blue, and feature the large logo, and the disc number in one of the largest fonts I've ever seen used for a disc number.

Main menu is wonderful. The badge animates in, after which the logo and menu options appear, all the while the main theme is playing in the background. Choosing "episodes" results in another animated transition. Episode menu features a small square with clips playing of each episode, arranged in a grid. Episode is selected with a green-orange frame that stands out well against the red background. The *closing theme* plays in the background of the episode menu – you don't see music for episode menus very often, so I just wanted to commend Shout! there. The menus on discs 1 and 6 for bonus features are done in the same style as the episode menu.

Let's talk about the video quality. There's film. There's noise. Colors occasionally look slightly more faded than they would on a modern series. The show is over 40 years old and is from the earliest era of color broadcasting. The video is as good as it's going to look for a show from this era. Flaws are a combination of outright age and the stock that the show was recorded to--nothing much to be done in that regard. Audio is quite decent – but there's really only so much you can do with audio from 1968. It serves its purpose quite well, but won't blow you away as a marvel of audio engineering. Chapter stops occur at the end of each act.

There ARE bonus features – three in fact. The first is found on disc 1, and is the pilot for 1960's Dragnet, the pilot movie to the series Dragnet 1966. The pilot was filmed in 1966, obviously, but not broadcast until three years later. There IS a problem with the set: The "This is the city" opening prologue is missing – leading to the set going straight into the introduction of Friday. This mistake was caught after the discs had already gone to print. If you want a corrected copy with the opening prologue restored, contact info@shoutfactory.com for replacement details. The version on the disc runs 1 hour 35 minutes.

On the final disc, disc six, are two features – a feature on Jack Webb featuring several interviews (runs 26:07)...as well as a trailer for Dragnet 1969 (1 minute). This trailer is absolutely ancient (and the video does reflect that) and is a minute-long ad for Dragnet 1969 on NBC. If you want to see what the video would look like WITHOUT restoration, watch this.
The set also comes with a booklet detailing a few bits about production, and also devoting a large section to talking about Jack Webb. The booklet also contains an episode guide for the season and several color photos.

If you haven't already bought this set, buy it now. It's an absolutely GREAT series featuring a wonderful mix of great writing, great acting, actually believable plots...plus some great location shots of late-60s Los Angeles. The features included are quite good, and add extra value to the unusually reasonable price tag. I can't think of any reasons why not to own this one – it's great television, and really, what more can you ask for.

(4.5/5 stars)

To purchase this DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Dragnet on TV.com


LOOKING AHEAD

Come on back right here next week for more news and reviews. Next week we will have a blog DVD review of Adam 12- Season 5 from Shout! Factory. In the coming weeks we will have a blog DVD review of Heroes - Season 4 so stay tuned. And don't forget to read our full DVD reviews, as we will put up reviews for Gimme A Break! - The Complete Series, The Phil Silvers Show - Season 1 and The New Adventures of Old Christine - Season Three by tomorrow. Until next time gumshoes, keep it digital!


New on DVD/Blu-ray (March)

Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series Bewitched - Seasons 5 & 6 (Mill Creek) Maude - The Complete Series WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete First Season (Shout! Factory) The Donna Reed Show - Season 2 (MPI Home Video)

03/03 - CHiPs - The Complete Third Season
03/10 - Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series
03/10 - Hey Dude - The Complete Series (Walmart Exclusive)
03/10 - Petticoat Junction - Family Favorite Episodes
03/17 - Bewitched - Season 5 (Mill Creek)
03/17 - Bewitched - Season 6 (Mill Creek)
03/17 - Bewitched - Seasons 5 & 6 (Mill Creek)
03/17 - Maude - The Complete Series (Shout! Factory)
03/17 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete First Season (Shout! Factory)
03/17 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Second Season (Shout! Factory)
03/24 - The Donna Reed Show - Season 2 (MPI Home Video)
03/31 - Silicon Valley - Season 1 (Blu-ray)
03/31 - Veep - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, March 31

Fresh Off the Boat - "Blind Spot" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Jessica's college boyfriend, Oscar Chow (guest star Rex Lee), comes to visit. She’s a bit miffed that Louis isn’t a little more jealous….but she’s got a blind spot and is completely oblivious to the fact that Oscar is gay. Meanwhile, Eddie goes to great lengths to get out of the school science fair.

New Girl - "The Right Thing" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Jess crashes a funeral, hoping to delete a “sext” she recently sent to the deceased. Then, Schmidt’s mom, Louise (Nora Dunn), arrives in town for a visit to demand he write thank-you notes for his bar mitzvah gifts, and Winston is desperate to be off-duty friends with his police partner, Aly (guest star Nasim Pedrad).

Weird Loners - "Weird Pilot" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Find out what happens when a high-strung romantic, a serial womanizer, a free-spirited heartbreaker and a sheltered man-child are unexpectedly thrust into a Queens, NY, townhouse.

Undataeable - "An Imaginary Torch Walks Into a Bar" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
ustin's (Brent Morin) world is rocked when Nicki (guest star Briga Heelan) returns to Detroit and announces that she's engaged. To prove that he is cool with her moving on, Justin offers up the bar for her engagement party and Danny (Chris D'Elia) helps him make an important realization. Meanwhile, Burski (Rick Glassman) his miguided pursuit of Leslie (Bianca Kajlich), but Candace (Bridgit Mendler) helps the gang see his romantic side.

One Big Happy - "Crushing It" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
On a group trip to the gym, Lizzy (Elisha Cuthbert) spies her secret crush, Kate (guest star Erinn Hayes) and with the help of Luke (Nick Zano ), and Prudence(Kelly Brook), she initiates a conversation that leads to some plans for group bowling. Later, Luke and Prudence help get Lizzy an appointment with the best OB-GYN in the city and Lizzy is ecstatic - until they arrive to a big surprise. Meanwhile, Prudence realizes that Lizzy's pregnancy is making her feel left out and Leisha (Rebecca Corry) helps her explain her feelings to Luke.

Cougar Town - "Mary Jane's Last Dance" TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Grayson is determined to prevent Jules from running her birthday, but it will it be possible when everyone has major changes in their lives?

Sirens - "Six Feet Over/Under" (USA Network, 10:00PM ET/PT)
When Johnny's father goes into a coma, his mother places bets on the time of his death; the guys suffer an ear worm.

Younger - "Pilot" / "Liza Sows Her Oates" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
"Pilot" - 40-year-old Liza (Sutton Foster) passes herself off as 26 to land a job in the field of her dreams. Now she just has to make sure no one discovers her secret. Also stars Hilary Duff, Debi Mazar, Nico Tortorella and Miriam Shor.
"Liza Sows Her Oates" - As she settles into her new 26 year-old life, Liza is tasked with marketing an older writer to a younger audience. Although she has a perfect date with Josh, she tries to convince herself to aim for someone more age-appropriate.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 30) (All times ET unless noted)

Tuesday, March 31

  • Josh Gad (The Comedians/1600 Penn/Back to You) - Catch Josh on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS. He also talks about The Comedians on NBC's Today in the 9am hour. He can be heard on The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick on Sirius OutQ channel 106 sometime between 7-11am.
  • Thomas Lennon (The Odd Couple/Sean Saves the World/Reno 911!) and Matthew Perry (The Odd Couple/Go On/Mr. Sunshine/Friends) - Thomas and Matthew are guests on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) - Aubrey appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Rick Glassman, Bianca Kajlich and Ron Funches (Undateable) - Rick, Bianca and Ron are guests on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Chris D'Elia (Undateable/Whitney) - Chris visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He will also be on the AOL Build Show.
  • Mario Cantone (Sex and the City) - Mario joins Meredith to chat about the hottest celebrity beauty treatments and if they could be right for you on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • Hilary Duff (Younger/Lizzie McGuire) - Hilary joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Kristin Chenoweth (Kristin) - Kristn discusses On the 20th Century on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Elisha Cuthbert (One Big Happy/Happy Endings) and Nick Zano (One Big Happy/What I Like About You) - Elisha and Nick talk about One Big Happy on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. Nick can be heard on Wake Up with Taylor on Sirius Stars channel 109 sometime between 6-9am. He will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Peter Facinelli (Nurse Jackie) - Peter talks about American Odyssey on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Debi Mazar (Younger/Entourage/Working) - Debi can be heard on The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick on Sirius OutQ channel 106 sometime between 7-11am.
  • Sutton Foster and Nico Tortorella (Younger) - Sutton and Nico talk about TV Land's Younger on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Mo'Nique (The Parkers) - Mo'Nique is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Raven-SymonĂ© (That's So Raven/Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/The Cosby Show) - Raven-SymonĂ© guest co-hosts The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Caroline Rhea (Sabrina, the Teenage Witch) - Caroline guest co-hosts The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Kal Penn (We Are Men/How I Met Your Mother) - Kal appears on VH1's Big Morning Buzz Live at 9am.