Saturday, July 24, 2010

Digital Digest: Simon & Simon - Season Five 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! Select title (Shout! Factory's website exclusive) Simon & Simon - Season Five. Stay indoors and beat the heat with the aid of today's Digital Digest!

DIGITAL NEWS

We have quite a bit of news this week. We got word this week that Warner Home Video is releasing The New Adventures of Old Christine - The Complete Third Season next Tuesday! Yes, that is late notice but they are releasing it only on their website at WBShop.com. When looking at a request list for reviews earlier this week, we saw it was listed and wondered how it could be out next week when it was never announced. Now we know why, as a few days later the press release came out. Look for our review soon, as soon as we get the set. Shout! Factory has announced that Father Knows Best - Season Five will be released on DVD on Aug. 17 via the Shout! Select program. This is the first time the series is being exclusive to Shout! Select. Read more on the set and see the packaging. Meanwhile, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has officially announced Community - The Complete First Season release coming out on Sept. 21. Don't forget to pre-order!

Warner Home Video has moved the release date for V - The Complete First Season coming out on Blu-ray and DVD. The sets will now come out on October 16 instead of Aug. 24. The reason is because the second season debuts on ABC likely in November out early January. Pre-order the DVD and Blu-ray. Mill Creek Entertainment is planning to release The Commish - The Complete Series in early 2011. Only the first two seasons were released back in 2004 and 2005 from Anchor Bay and season one was released again back in March from Mill Creek. It will be good to finally have every season and episode on DVD soon. The series ran for five seasons, though that final season only had 4 episodes.

And finally Time Life will release The Six Million Dollar Man - The Complete Series in November! All 100 episodes will be released on 15 discs. This is he first time the series is being released on DVD and we are getting them all at once! How cool! Read the press release for complete details!

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 27) will only see a few sitcom releases. MPI Home Video is releasing The Mothers-in-Law - The Complete Series. Read our review to see what to expect! CBS Home Entertainment is releasing Sabrina, the Teenage Witch - The Final Season. Look for our review of this one by the end of the weekend. We apologize for the delay. CBS is also releasing Sgt Bilko - The Phil Silvers Show - Season 1. Review of that will come next week. Also of note, Hunter - The Complete Series is out. A few weeks ago we did a blog review for that, so check it out.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

This week's review is Simon & Simon - Season Five. From San Diego to San Francisco, detective brothers Rick (Gerald McRaney, Jericho) and A.J. Simon (Jameson Parker, JAG) have their hands full as they are hired to unravel a mystery of stolen diamonds, investigate a killer chimpanzee, explore the world of witchcraft and go undercover as convicts to find the only escapee ever to make it out of Alcatraz in Season Five of the popular prime-time drama.

DVD Review: Simon & Simon - Season Five
by Seth Thrasher

Simon & Simon - Season Five (Shout! Select, $49.99) is now on DVD as part of the online-exclusive Shout! Select series of DVD releases – and at $50 is sure to be a tremendous waste of your money. If I'm talking about an outrageous price first thing clearly I mean serious business. I first caught the show while it was airing in reruns on Sleuth several years ago - back when that channel was still airing quality dramas from the Universal library - and was quite impressed. It really WAS an enjoyable show.

For the price that Shout is asking for THIS set, however, you can, as of the time of this review, for example purchase a used copy of the COMPLETE SERIES of Miami Vice on Amazon. While the SRP is comparable to other titles, because this is a Shout Select exclusive title, it can only be purchased from Shout themselves, meaning you're forced to pay full retail, something that in my opinion you'd have to be brazenly stupid to do -- especially since you can stream the whole series at your leisure for the cost of a monthly Netflix subscription.

I do really enjoy the show though, and since I'm supposed to tell you more about the DVD than to just complain about the price for 800 words, let me go ahead and say that what IS presented on the DVD set is approximately two dozen hours of one of the better dramas to come out of the 80. The 80s seemed to be an era in which networks were most willing to green light quality and interesting series, and Simon & Simon is no exception, fully proving its merits amongst the other series of its era (many of those quality series, coincidentally, happen to be owned by Universal, the owners of the Simon & Simon franchise).

In this season, detective brothers Rick and AJ Simon (Gerald McRaney & Jameson Parker) have their hands full as they are hired to unravel a mystery of stolen diamonds, investigate a killer chimpanzee, explore the world of witchcraft, and go undercover as convicts to find the only escapee to make it out of Alcatraz. The season features guest appearances by Gregory Sierra (Barney Miller), Gary Owens (Laugh In), Norman Fell (Three's Company), Gordon Jump (WKRP in Cincinnati), Bebe Neuwirth (Cheers), Alice Ghostley (too many to mention), Tina Louise (Gilligan's Island), and more.

Runtimes:
Love and/or Marriage: 48:11
Burden of the Beast: 48:11
The Third Eye: 48:14
Enchilada Express: 48:10

The Skull of Nostradamus: 48:11
Have You Hugged Your Private Detective Today: 48:10
Reunion at Alcatraz: 48:11
Down Home Country Blues: 48:10

Quant is Out: 48:11
Walk a Mile in my Hat: 48:11
Facets: 48:08
Sunrise at Camp Apollo: 48:12

The Blue Chip Stomp: 48:11
Something for Sarah: 48:10
Mobile Home of the Brave: 48:11
Family Forecast: 48:11

A Significant Obsession: 48:11
For the People: 48:10
Full Moon Blues: 48:11
Eye of the Beholder: 48:12
D-I-V-O-R-C-E: 48:10

Act Five: 47:41
The Last Harangue: 48:11
The Apple Doesn't Fall Far from the Tree: 47:43

Packaging is that cheap plastic case I'm always complaining about around here. Since even Shout, a usually-quality studio, has even resorted to it, it's time to just accept it as the default standard and move on. I don't like it, but hey, who cares. Main package art, disc art, and menu design are all very, VERY...brown. It pervades every aspect of the design for this set. Package art is all brown except for the skyline. Discs are all brown except for the logo.

What about the main menu? It is identical to the package art for the most part. No episode sub-menus, just Play All and the episode titles that take you straight into the program. Current season's version of the main theme plays in the background. Play All functionality IS available from the main menu.

Video and Audio Quality are patently average. There appears to be a decent amount of both grain and noise and other artifacts in the video, as well as noticeable compression blocking. One thing is clear: The video hasn't been mastered, likely in an attempt to keep production costs for this run of discs low. Audio is perfectly average, and really isn't anything to write about positively or negatively. Chapter stops occur on a scene-by-scene basis, leading to a large quantity of chapter stops per episode.

But wait, there's more! In exchange for plunking down one hard earn piece of green paper with Ulysses Grant on it, you DO get something you just can't find on Netflix...the 1995 Simon & Simon TV movie "In Trouble Again." For the purposes of set construction, it's treated just like a regular episode and it runs 1:29:01.

So, should you buy this set? That depends. If you have a valid and current subscription to Netflix, then I absolutely can NOT recommend this set at the present time. Now, who's to say the show will always be available there. If the price on this set ever comes down, or Simon & Simon disappears from Netflix's instant streaming? Maybe then. $50 is patently unreasonable, and given the choice I'd much rather use $50 to fund a trip to, say, a major Central Florida theme part (a real Mickey Mouse organization...). There are much better things to spend $50 than this set, and unless you're a downright superfan of this show with money to blow, I can't recommend the set. The video quality issues on everything but the reunion movie certainly don't help, but this set is just too expensive, period.

(3/5 stars)

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Simon & Simon on TV.com


LOOKING AHEAD

Come on back right here next week for more news and reviews. We will have a DVD review of Heroes - Season 4 up next week, if all goes well. And don't forget to read our full DVD reviews, as we will put up reviews for Gimme A Break! - The Complete Series and My Boys - The Complete Second and Third Seasons hopefully this week, as we still have not gotten those. But we do have Sabrina, the Teenage Witch - The Final Season and that review will go up in the next day. Until next time my fellow sleuths, keep it digital!

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, August 1

Dog with a Blog - "The Mutt and the Mogul" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
A wealthy businessman wants to buy Stan from the family and use him for his animal rescue campaign; Tyler, Avery and Chloe hire actors to play their parents and turn down the offer.

Girls Meets World - "Girl Meets the Truth" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Cory teaches a lesson on truth; in the aftermath, Riley and Maya feel bad about lying to Farkle about his acting; Maya contemplates keeping a locket she found.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 28) (All times ET unless noted)

Friday, August 1

  • Martin Lawrence (Partners/Martin) - Watch Martin on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Jenny Slate (Married/Parks and Recreation) - Jenny visits The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • John Stamos (Full House/Jake in Progress) - John appears on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Jada Pinkett Smith (A Different World) - Tune in to see Jada on a repeat of The Arsenio Hall Show, so check your local listings.
  • Rachelle Lefevre (Life on a Stick/Big Wolf on Campus) - Rachelle is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Wanda Sykes (The New Adventures of Old Christine/Wanda at Large) - Wanda appears on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Wendi McClendon-Covey (The Goldbergs/Rules of Engagement) - Wendi joins the Chew Crew on a repeat of ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • William Shatner ($#*! My Dad Says) - William chats and performs a song on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 3am on BET.
  • Pooch Hall (The Game) - Pooch is a guest on SportsNation at 3pm on ESPN2.
  • Sheryl Lee Ralph (Instant Mom/Moesha/It's a Living) - Sheryl will be on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • The Wayans Brothers - Damon, Shawn, Marlon and Keenen are guests on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.