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!


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 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 for all of the latest details.


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.


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.


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 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) 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 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)

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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 (November)

The Dick Van Dyke Show - The Complete Remastered Series (DVD) Maude - The Complete Third Season WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Final (Fourth) Season McHale's Navy - The Complete Series Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) - The Fourth Season

11/03 - Californication - The Complete Series
11/03 - Getting On - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
11/03 - Hank (1965-66) - The Complete Series
11/03 - I Love Lucy - The Complete Series
11/03 - Men at Work - The Complete Second Season
11/03 - That '70s Show - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
11/03 - 'Til Death - The Complete Third Season
11/10 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - The Complete Remastered Series (DVD)
11/10 - Maude - The Complete Third Season
11/10 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Final (Fourth) Season
11/17 - The Comedians - The Complete Series
11/17 - Cristela - The Complete First Season
11/17 - McHale's Navy - The Complete Series
11/17 - Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) - The Fourth Season
11/17 - Weird Loners - The Complete Series
11/24 - George Lopez - The Complete Sixth Seaon
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, December 1

The Muppets - "Going, Going, Gonzo" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
after a show-stopping duet with Miss Piggy on “Up Late with Miss Piggy,” Joseph Gordon-Levitt joins Scooter, Pepe and the gang for poker night; The Great Gonzo gears up to perform his dream stunt; and Dave Grohl challenges Animal to a drum-off.

Fresh Off the Boat - "We Done Son" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Jessica and Honey’s friendship hits a rough patch after an argument about the investment property. Louis’s old friend Barry (J.B. Smoove) overstays his welcome. And Eddie starts a part-time job working for DMX.

Grandfathered - "Jimmy & Sons" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Jimmy hires Gerald as the new host at his restaurant and gives him a crash course in hospitality. Meanwhile, Vanessa teaches Sara how to take sexy photos for Bruce (guest star Andy Daly), and Annelise encourages Ravi to crack down on the comedy in the kitchen.

The Grinder - "Grinder Rests in Peace" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
“The Grinder: New Orleans” -- a spinoff of the original hit series, asks Dean to film a scene giving closure to his beloved character, Mitch Grinder. Not surprisingly, Dean struggles with being replaced by his TV brother, Rake (guest star Timothy Olyphant). Meanwhile Stewart, who has also been feeling replaced by his brother in Ethan's eyes, jumps at the opportunity to get Dean back into acting and out of his hair.

Family Time - "Bright Lights, Dusty House" (Bounce TV, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Tony's mother comes over to help out now that Lisa has started a full time job; Donnie convinces tony to shoot an ad for his business.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 30)

Tuesday, December 1

  • Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy/American Dad!) - Catch Seth on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Paul Reiser (Mad About You/The Paul Reiser Show) - Paul appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Krysten Ritter (Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23) - Krysten is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ted Danson (Cheers/Becker) - Ted appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Oliver Hudson (Rules of Engagement) - Oliver visits Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Michaela Watkins (Trophy Wife) - Michaela is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Kunal Nayyar (The Big Bang Theory) - Kunal stops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Wanda Sykes (The New Adventures of Old Christine/Wanda at Large) - Wanda appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Bob Saget (Fuller House/How I Met Your Mother/Full House) - Bob is a guest on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • Wendy Raquel Robinson (The Game/The Steve Harvey Show) - Wendy guest co-hosts The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry join Chrissy Teigen in the kitchen to make breakfast toast cups and crème brûlée on FABLife, so check your local listings.
  • Kristin Chenoweth (Kristin) - Kristin joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project/The Office) - Mindy is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Candace Cameron Bure (Fuller House/Full House) - Candace appears on People Now.