Saturday, July 03, 2010

Digital Digest: Matlock - The Fifth Season DVD Review (7/20)

Welcome to another edition of Digital Digest! Our normal Digital Digest blogger (skees53) will be gone and missed for the next few months, if you didn't know yet. As always, we have the latest news, upcoming releases for Tuesday, and our DVD review this week is of CBS DVD's Matlock - The Fifth Season. It's a light news week it seems I guess because of the 4th of July weekend, so glad you can make it.


DIGITAL NEWS

Looks like the summer doldrums have come because it was an uber slow week in terms of digital news. Maybe the 4th of July holiday has something to with that? Warner Home Video has sent out the press release and cover art for The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Third Season streeting Sept. 14. Pre-order it on both DVD ($44.98 MSRP)and Blu-ray ($54.97 MSRP). Meanwhile, Warner Home Video has also sent out a press release and an updated cover art for The Middle - Season 1 streeting on Aug. 31. Pre-order today!

The only other story of note was a TVShowsonDVD.com story on where's Season 4 of Boy Meets World. Lionsgate is re-releasing the first three seasons that Buena Vista released, but still nothing on season four. It's such a slow week, that is all we have. No exclusives or anything. Hopefully it picks up next week. We'll be here still when it does, but to make up for that we have a cool review of Matlock today!

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 (July 6) will only have two sitcoms in store. Shout! Factory will release Rhoda - Season 3. Look for our review by the end of this weekend. Also out on Tuesday is CBS DVD's The Game with The Third Season. We will also have a review of that up by the end of the weekend. And also of note Dragnet - Season 2 is coming from Shout! Factory. If all goes planned, that will be our blog review next week.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

It's time for a DVD review of Grandpa Simpson's favorite show! Yes, Matlock: The Fifth Season! The format of the show was similar to that of Perry Mason, with Matlock identifying the murderer and then confronting him or her in a dramatic courtroom scene near the end. One difference, however, was that whereas Mason usually exculpated his clients at a pretrial hearing, Matlock usually secured an acquittal at trial, from the jury. See our review of this DVD release below!

DVD Review: Matlock - The Fifth Season
by Seth

Matlock: The Fifth Season (CBS, $49.99) is back on the docket for another 21 great episodes of the great courtroom and crime drama Matlock. While the show is often stereotyped in popular culture as being a show designed mainly to appeal to the elderly, it does have quite a strong draw among the less aged. In some ways, particularly when Don Knotts shows up for one of his periodic episodes, it feels almost like a continuation of his Andy Taylor role two decades earlier. Sure he's called Ben Matlock, but deep down inside he's still playing some version of the same character, and that's appealing. The show also stars Nancy Stafford, Clarence Gilyard, and Julie Sommars.

Two episodes in the fifth season take place in an unusual setting - Los Angeles. Early in the season – the season's double-length second episode – Ben travels out west to the City of Angels to try a case. Proving that no good deed goes unpunished, Ben first gets charged with Contempt of Court, then later is accused of murder after the judge who charged him turns up dead. Michelle and Conrad then fly out to Los Angles to help out. The episode originally aired and promoted on NBC as A Matlock Movie Mystery (hence, the double-length running time) before going under its normal title of "Nowhere to Turn."

Ben apparently didn't let a negative experience dissuade him from returning to the city in the season's finale. In the final episode for the show's next to last season on NBC, Ben is tricked by Julie into flying out west...where he then gets to meet a one-time movie queen, a favorite of Ben's, who is now a cosmetics mogul...that's on trial for killing her blackmailing ex-lover. Speaking of celebrity, if you watch the episode "The Madam," you get to see half the principal cast for the later series Walker, Texas Ranger. Clarence Gilyard, who of course was a regular on Matlock at the time, would later go on to play Travette, while the episode features an appearance by actor Noble Willingham, who would go on to play CD on the series. Also appearing this season in a recurring role is Andy's old sidekick from The Andy Griffith Show, Mr. Don Knotts! Don was always great no matter the show, but there's something about the pairing of Andy and Don that's just television gold. Other guest appearances this season include Amy Yasbeck (Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Wings), Mike Farrell (M*A*S*H), and Diana Muldaur (L.A. Law, Star Trek: The Next Generation).

With regards to edits: "The Secret, Part 2" runs THIRTY SEVEN MINUTES. That's 37, with a 3. There's NO way on the face of this earth that's in the same zip code as a proper runtime. Seriously, that's TEN minutes shorter than ANY other episode. Especially given that the show did air as two parts originally, *something* has been lopped off drastically. TEN minutes. And you can't just attribute it to being a part 2. "The Trail, Part 2" later in the set runs 46:34. While I'm sure NBC would have appreciated the extra advert slots, it's just ridiculous to think it's intact. CBS DVD's having put its "Some episodes may be edited" disclaimer here is like putting a disclaimer on a porcupine warning that it may be sharp and pointy.

Disc 1:
The Mother: 47:03
Nowhere to Turn: 1:35:55
The Madam: 46:35

Disc 2:
The Personal Trainer: 46:35
The Narc: 46:35
The Secret Part, 1: 46:34

Disc 3:
The Secret, Part 2: 37:25
The Brothers: 47:03
The Cover Girl: 47:03

Disc 4:
The Biker: 47:04
The Broker: 47:01
The Fighter: 47:03
The Critic: 47:02

Disc 5:
The Parents: 47:04
The Man of the Year: 47:03
The Arsonist: 47:04
The Formula: 47:03

Disc 6:
The Trial, Part 1: 46:33
The Trial, Part 2: 46:34
The Accident: 47:03
The Celebrity: 47:04

It's a CBS DVD release, so don't expect too much time spent on the packaging or design sections. Listen, I know that these clear hard plastic packages have become the standard for TV DVD. Yes, I know that the packaging is being used not only by CBS, but by Fox, ABC/Buena Vista, and at least one or two other studios are releasing their stuff almost entirely in this format now. I don't care. My experiences with this packaging are forever colored by my early experiences with it. When every DVD set you receive for over a year in the package type is broken on receipt, you tend to have a low opinion. Does the package do a great job of storing six DVDs in a remarkably slim container? Absolutely. Am I worried that one small bit of plastic breaking could lead to half a dozen discs floating around the box? You bet. Box art itself is well-designed, with all the colors, and logos, and cast photos being complimentary to one another. I'm never a fan of a cast photo that's been Photoshopped together from individual photos, as is the case here, but it's really not that big of a deal.

Getting to what's ON the DVD? First of all, I really do have to hand it to the graphic design team, the two menus that DO exist on the set (Main Menu and a "Set Up" menu that toggles subtitles) are extremely well designed...though some sort of background music might be nice.

The video looks to be a tad cleaned up compared to its WGN America airings, but you aren't going to be blown away by eye-popping visuals. Audio too is rather sedate. Does the stereo track do a serviceable job? Yes. Is it going to knock your socks off? No. Chapter stops occur at the end of each act.

No special features to redeem the set. When you take into account the fact that one episode appears to be short by ten minutes, there are serious, serious flaws in the set. 37-and-change minutes is just NOT right. I don't care if it is the second part or night, NO TV show in 1991 ran that short. Heck, the only show in 2010 that runs that short is The Price is Right, which clocks in at 38 minutes or so per episode. There are only two series I've ever seen that featured a worse edit. WKRP in Cincinnati was edited abysmally top to bottom, and in addition there was a DVD set of Tracey Takes On (I believe it was the third and fourth seasons) which featured episodes sometimes cut by up to half. Those two? Definitely worse. But few DVD sets can claim to have an episode with a full 25% missing, and this set can claim just that. If you care about edited episodes, you've probably already canceled your order and I'm sorry to hear that. The show is immensely enjoyable, but a 25% edit to an episode is just a tough pill to swallow. If you love the show, by all means buy it, but I can't in good conscience recommend a set with one episode cut so substantially. Especially since no episode like this was edited on the first four sets.

(3/5 stars)

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

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


LOOKING AHEAD

Come on back right here next week for more news and reviews. You'll have to come on back next week to see what the review here will be (maybe Dragnet?)! And don't forget to read our full DVD reviews, as we will put up reviews for The Game and Rhoda there. Until next time, keep it digital America! Happy 4th!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, October 23

The Conners - "Tangled Up in Blue'" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Darlene is in for one surprise after another when David introduces his girlfriend, Blue (Juliette Lewis), at a parent-teacher conference and mentions that Mark and Harris will be spending the weekend with them. Dan hires Becky to help out at work, but they both come to learn that she might need more help than she can offer.

The Kids Are Alright - "Timmy's Poem" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
To Peggy’s dismay, Timmy decides to enter a poetry contest to win the money he needs to repair his ventriloquist dummy. Stumped, he decides to plagiarize a poem and soon realizes he’s not the only one who passed it off as his own. Meanwhile, Mike and Lawrence continue to butt heads when Lawrence complains that there are no fresh vegetables in the family’s diet.

black-ish - "Don't You Be My Neighbor" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
The neighbors decide to rent their house out for homestays and it’s causing problems for the Johnsons. Dre develops a newfound joy of calling the cops over petty neighborhood issues but begins to question the example he is setting for Jack. Meanwhile, Diane develops her first crush and Bow wants to help but lets Zoey take the lead.

Splitting Up Together - "Asking for a Friend" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Afraid that the answer could ruin his chances with Lena, Martin finds every way he can to avoid asking Lisa Apple if she is pregnant, while the potential pregnancy makes Lena more and more distant. At the same time, Lena worries Mason is changing himself to please his new girlfriend and finds parallels to her own relationship with Martin. Elsewhere, Maya tells Frank a pretend story about her “friend” who is dating someone new and pregnant to gauge what his honest reaction will be.

The Guest Book - "Finding Reality" (TBS, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Vivian and Eddie leave Mt. Trace to make a fresh start in a small beachside town, where they meet Nikki and Tommy, the engaged couple running Emmy Lou's Grill and vacation home Barefeet Retreat, and Bodhi, the local handyman.

The Guest Book - "Under Cover" (TBS, 10:27PM ET/PT)
Rob and Shelley rent Barefeet Retreat to lure in their next mark, a woman named Angel who is abusing every substance that can be abused; Vivian develops a crush on Bodhi; Nikki goes into labor.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 22)

Tuesday, October 23

  • Oliver Hudson (Splitting Up Together/Rules of Engagement/My Guide to Becoming a Rock Star) - Catch Oliver on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Wanda Sykes (The New Adventures of Old Christine/Wanda at Large) - Wanda visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • David Cross (Arrested Development/Running Wilde) - David stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Tyler Alvarez (Every Witch Way) - Tyler appears on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Scott Bakula (Murphy Brown/Eisenhower and Lutz/Gung Ho) - Scott will be on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Juliette Lewis (Camping/A Family for Joe/I Married Dora) - Juliette is a guest on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo. She also talks about Camping on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Brenda Song (Dads/The Suite Life on Deck/The Suite Life of Zack & Cody/100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd) - Brenda guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Marla Gibbs (The Jeffersons/Checking In/227) - Marla appears on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Mike Epps (Uncle Buck/Survivor's Remorse) - Mike is a guest on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Cedric Yarbrough (Speechless/Reno 911!) - Cedric will be on ABC's GMA Day at 1pm.
  • Alfonso Ribeiro (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/In the House/Silver Spoons) - Alfonso appears on Chatter on PeopleTV at 8pm.
  • Cedric Yarbrough (Speechless/Reno 911!) - Cedric talks about Speechless on the BUILD Series at 2pm.
  • Nik Dodani (Murphy Brown/Atypical) - Nik talks about Murphy Brown on the BUILD Series at 4pm.
  • Brandon Micheal Hall (The Mayor/Search Party) - Brandon talks about God Friended Me on the BUILD Series at 5pm.
  • Malcolm-Jamal Warner (The Cosby Show/Here and Now/Malcolm and Eddie/Listen Up!/Reed Between the Lines) - Malcolm-Jamal talks about The Resident on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Mary McCormack (The Kids Are Alright/Welcome to the Family) - Mary talks about The Kids Are Alright on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.


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

The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Eleventh Season The Middle - The Complete Ninth Season Modern Family - The Complete Ninth Season Step by Step - The Complete Second Season Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fifth Season

09/04 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - The Complete Season 12
09/04 - Mom - The Complete Fifth Season
09/04 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Fifth Season
09/04 - Superstore - Season Three
09/04 - Young Sheldon - The Complete First Season
09/11 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Eleventh Season (Blu-ray)
09/11 - The Middle - The Complete Ninth Season
09/11 - Modern Family - The Complete Ninth Season
09/11 - People of Earth - The Complete Second Season
09/18 - Community - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
09/18 - Step by Step - The Complete Second Season
09/18 - You're the Worst - The Complete Fourth Season
09/25 - Blondie - The Complete 1957 Television Series
09/25 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fifth Season
10/02 - The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season
10/02 - The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One / Volume Two
10/02 - Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection
10/16 - Police Squad! - TV and Movie Collection
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