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!


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July/August)

Father Knows Best - Season Six Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season Alice - The Complete Fifth Season Rhoda - Season Four Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four

06/13 - The Andy Griffith Show - Return to Mayberry
06/13 - That's My Mama - The Complete Series
06/20 - Workaholics - The Final (Seventh) Season
06/20 - Workaholics - The Complete Series
06/27 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Third Season
07/04 - Superstore - Season Two
07/18 - Father Knows Best - Season Six
07/25 - Diff'ernt Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season
07/25 - Girls - The Final (Sixth) Season (Blu-ray)
08/01 - Alice - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
08/01 - Crashing - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
08/15 - Rhoda - Season Four
08/22 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four
08/29 - Will & Grace - Season One (Universal)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, August 17

The Big Bang Theory - "The Allowance Evaporation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Sheldon and Amy have their first fight since moving in together, and Koothrappali is shocked at the realities of financial independence when he stops receiving support from his father.

Kevin Can Wait - "Kenny Can Wait" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Kevin strikes up an unlikely friendship with Harry Connick Jr., but gets caught in a web of lies trying to impress his new friend. Harry Connick Jr. guest stars as himself.

Great News - "Snowmageddon of the Century" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After organizing a poorly attended staff karaoke night, Carol (Andrea Martin) is convinced that everyone at "The Breakdown" needs some office bonding time. When Greg (Adam Campbell) refuses to help, Carol enlists the help of God, causing a huge snowstorm to trap everyone in the building overnight. Chuck (John Michael Higgins) takes an interest in working with Katie (Briga Heelan), which Portia (Nicole Richie) convinces Katie is romantic.

The Guest Book - "Story Four" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Christy heads up to the mountains to try and bond with her new boyfriend Paul and his 8-year-old daughter, but she self-medicates because of her anxiety and ends up revealing some skeletons in her closet.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 14)

Thursday, August 17

  • Jay Ellis (Insecure/The Game) - Catch Jay on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Rami Malek (The War at Home) - Rami appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Kathryn Hahn (I Love Dick/Happyish/Transparent) - Kathryn is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Michael Rapaport (Atypical/The War at Home) - Michael stops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep/The New Adventures of Old Christine/Seinfeld) - Julia visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond) - Ray drops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Fred Savage (The Grinder/Working/The Wonder Years) - Fred appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Sherri Shepherd (Trial & Error/Sherri/Less Than Perfect) - Sherri is a guest on a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Yara Shahidi (black-ish) - Yara shares her thoughts on the Emmy nominations and her new ‘girl power’ campaign on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Marlon Wayans (Marlon/The Wayans Bros.) - Marlon discusses his new Netflix show Naked on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Christopher Meloni (Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later/Surviving Jack/The Fanelli Boys) - Christopher will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation) - Aziz makes his Chew debut and cooks with Mario Batali on a repeat of ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Wendi McClendon-Covey (The Goldbergs/Rules of Engagmenet/Reno 911!) - Wendi teams up with Clinton Kelly for a delicious bite on a repeat of ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Demi Lovato (Sonny with a Chance) - Demi can be heard on The Morning Mash Up on SiriusXM at 9:15am.
  • Drake Bell (Drake & Josh) - Drake performs on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) - Ellie talks about Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Tasha Smith (Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse/The Tom Show/Boston Common) - Tasha talks about TV One's When Love Kills on the AOL Build Show at 3pm.