Saturday, October 02, 2010

Digital Digest: He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown DVD Review

We're finally in full swing mode for the fall, and we have a steady stream of news for you this week after those slow summer months, as well as a review of He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown. But before we get to our regularly scheduled edition of Digital Digest, we are sad to report, as you may have heard by now, that prolific writer and producer Stephen J. Cannell passed away on Thursday night due to complications from melanoma. Cannell was known for his role as producer and writer of many of the greatest crime dramas, particularly in the 1980s, with hits such as 21 Jump Street, The A-Team, The Commish, The Greatest American Hero, Hardcastle and McCormick, Hunter, Riptide, The Rockford Files, Silk Stalkings, Wiseguy, and many others. We'll have a full tribute to Cannell on the blog on Monday, but until then, we'd like to encourage you to visit Hulu to watch some of his series. There are many episodes that you can watch there for free, and you could spend several weekends watching them all. Here are some of his series that you can watch on Hulu:
All of these series (though not necessarily every episode) are available on DVD as well for those interested. Additionally, in Canada, VEI has released complete series sets of three of Cannell's series that aren't available in the United States: Hardcastle and McCormick, Riptide, and Stingray. All of these can be easily purchased in the United States, and will play on any standard DVD player in the United States.

DIGITAL NEWS

The big surprise of the week came with this scoop from TVShowsOnDVD.com reporting the arrival of the sitcom Webster on DVD, sometime next year from Shout! Factory. Many fans thought this series would never arrive on DVD, but now it appears that it will. What is even more surprising is that, as far as we know (and we may be incorrect about this, as distribution rights for any given series are not as clear cut as they may seem), this series is distributed by CBS Television Distribution, and this would mark the first time that they have licensed any of their series to another distributor for home media. This could be the beginning of great things. But as far as Webster, we have no details of precisely when it'll arrive on DVD or how it'll be marketed. So, is this be that "secret complete series" that we reported on last week? According to Brian Ward, it isn't! So we now just patiently wait for another big announcement...

CBS Home Entertainment, though, hasn't exactly given up on releasing things. It was just last week that we reported that The Lucy Show - The Official Third Season would be available on November 30, but now, CBS Home Entertainment is reporting through their Facebook page that they are looking at releasing the fourth season on March 15, 2011! That will leave only two more seasons to go, and gives us hope that the series will be completed after all.

That isn't all for CBS Home Entertainment, though! With the current reboot of the series Hawaii Five-O currently on air, the classic series continues to march on through DVD, with season 10 scheduled for March, and plans to have the entire series out on DVD by mid 2011! It is always nice to hear a plan for completion. Fans of the series Vega$ will be happy to know that Vega$ - The Second Season, Volume 1 is one the way for December 7. Finally, they have also revealed that Mannix - The Fourth Season will also be coming on January 4, 2011. Plenty of good news all around!

We've known for a little while now that Night Court - The Complete Fourth Season was coming sometime soon through the Warner Bros. Archive as a manufacture-on-demand (DVD-R format) title at WBShop.com, but as of this past Tuesday, the title has officially been shipping to customers wishing to purchase it! It comes with a $34.95 price tag, with various discounts available for savvy web shoppers (you are on your own to find the discounts, because they change almost daily). We haven't received a copy of this title yet, but we'll definitely have a review of it available for you when we do get one.

Fourteen is the apparently the lucky number at Warner, with the fourteenth season of two long running dramas having been announced recently. First, the fourteenth season of the long-running NBC medical drama ER has been announced for January 11, 2011. But just one we get another fourteenth (and final) season of one of television's greatest primetime soap operas, with Dallas - The Complete Final Season! This only leaves the reunion movies for Dallas to be released. Let's hope that Warner also finishes Knots Landing and Falcon Crest as well, and while we are at it, let's hope CBS Home Entertainment gets moving ahead on Dynasty! These primetime soap operas are never ending stories that aren't complete if we don't have the complete series.

Modern Family is one of the biggest hits on TV right now, so it should be no surprise that the second season is going to make it on DVD sooner or later. What should be a surprise, however, is the fact that Modern Family - The Complete Second Season can already be pre-ordered online, despite the season just starting last week! No details are known just yet, but the pre-orders seem to get earlier and earlier all the time!

Finally, with all of the good news that we've been reporting, there is a slight bit of bad news to report. The Andy Griffith Show - The 50th Anniversary: The Best of Mayberry has been delayed to a date that is not known at this time. We still have no clue what is going to be on this release, so it is no surprise that it has been delayed. Hopefully there will be some nice special features available on it when it finally is released.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Two CBS hits from the 70s are out on Tuesday (October 5), including All in the Family - The Complete Seventh Season from Shout! Factory and The Mary Tyler Moore Show - The Complete Seventh Season from Fox. Neither set contains any special features, but the release of The Mary Tyler Moore Show finally brings us to the end of that series on DVD, which is always nice to see. Now we'll have to see when/if the complete series (announced, then "temporarily" scrapped nearly two years ago) will make it to DVD.

Ally McBeal has already been completed on DVD with Ally McBeal - The Complete Series, but for those collecting the individual seasons, the final three seasons hit store shelves on Tuesday, with Ally McBeal - The Complete Third Season, Ally McBeal - The Complete Fourth Season, and Ally McBeal - The Complete Fifth Season. None of these have any special features, so if you are interested in those, you'll have to go with the complete series release.

As has been the case most of the time in recent weeks, we'll have reviews on these as soon as we can get them. We apologize for the backlog that we have been having on reviews lately, but we assure you that it isn't our fault, and we are doing everything that we can to get these reviews done as quickly as possible. Look for reviews of All in the Family, The Cleveland Show, Designing Women, Father Knows Best, Leave it to Beaver, Night Court, The Real McCoys, Rhoda, The Simpsons, and more on our reviews page in the next week.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

Today we celebrate 60 years of Peanuts! What better way to celebrate this to give you a DVD review of a new Peanuts DVD that just came out! He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown is the fifth prime-time animated TV special based upon the popular comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz, and now we have it on DVD!

DVD Review: He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown
by Pavan

He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown (Warner, $19.98) brings us the fifth special (from 1968) on DVD digitally remastered. However, the first DVD release of this special came on July 7, 2009, in remastered form as part of the DVD box set Peanuts 1960's Collection, but this is the first time it is being released on its own DVD. We also get a bonus special, Life Is a Circus, Charlie Brown. That is the 20th special and it aired in 1980. Please note that, Life Is a Circus is being released for the first time ever on DVD here in the U.S.

In He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown, the gang is fed up with Charlie Brown's dog, mischief-maker Snoopy, so Charlie Brown sends the beagle away to a puppy boot camp! Equipped with a tiny suitcase and his own doggy dish, Snoopy heads to the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm but never makes it past his first stop at Peppermint Patty's! Will Snoopy stay there forever? Can Charlie Brown put an end to the canine chaos and bring Snoopy back to the little red doghouse? It's all about friendship and loyalty on this classic special! In Life Is a Circus, Charlie Brown, Snoopy runs away to join the circus and learns the harsh reality of show business after falling for Fifi, a pretty big top poodle! What will happen next? Will Charlie Brown find him and bring him back?
Let's take a look at the runtimes for each special:

1. He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown (25:03, 5 chapters)
2. Life Is a Circus, Charlie Brown (24:14, 5 chapters)

Let's now move on to the packaging. We have a very thin keep case, that is movie style. The cover art is purple in color and has a artwork of Peppermint Patty, Charlie Brown and of course Snoopy. The title of the set is in the middle, with a mention that this is a remastered deluxe edition on the top with a Snoopy Peanuts logo! The bottom says, we have a bonus Peanuts TV special. To the back we go, we get a nice shot of Charlie Brown with Snoopy with his doggy dish in his mouth and the wording "A Beagle Is a Boy's Best Friend. Sometimes." is on top. The back also has details on the two specials and a list of bonus features. When we open the case, there is no artwork inside, so it is just plain black. The disc is on the right panel with artwork of Charlie Brown and Snoopy. Once again the background color is purple.

The menu screen has options of Features, Special Features, and Languages. We get that purple background again along with the same artwork as the cover art, with the theme song playing in the background. For Languages, we can have either have English, Espanol, Portuguese or Japanese. For subtitles we have those four again and also French! The Features section have the two specials listed by title, we can also select Play All to play them consecutively. Finally, Special Features lists the featurette and trailers for You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown and LEGO Harry Potter.

The video and audio is tremendous once again. It looks HD even if this isn't Blu-ray. These specials are all so good ever since they started the Remastered Collection sets. They have never looked better or sounded better ever. I am very impressed yet again; what more can I continue to say about these digitally remastered sets? Warner continues to do a great job on this remastering of all these classic specials. And the main thing is that all of the specials are unedited! These sets are must buys for the video quality alone, as it is a major improvement over the VHS versions or anything you taped from TV in the last two decades.

As for special features, we get a nice featurette nice again! Each set seems to have a cool featurette. It is titled "Snoopy's Home Ice: The Story of the Redwood Empire Ice Arena" and runs 22:00. The ice arena is a popular Northern California indoor ice rink located in Santa Rosa, California. It was owned by Charles M. Schulz when it opened on April 28, 1969. The Arena offers public skating, private ice time, figure skating, junior hockey, and adult hockey. It is also host to the annual Snoopy's Senior World Hockey Tournament, in which 64 teams from all over the world come to Santa Rosa for a week-long hockey tournament in the summer. The arena has about 500 permanent seats for hockey games, but this can be expanded to 3,000 seats for concerts and other events. Interviewed and featured are Lee Mendelson (executive producer), Kevin McCool (operations manager, Redwood Empire Ice Arena), Craig Schulz (Charles' son), Skippy Baxter (professional skater/director, Redwood Empire Ice Arena), Jean Schulz (Charles' wife), Lisa Illsley-Navarro (skating professor), and Jim Doe (general manager, Redwood Empire Ice Arena.

I once again highly do recommend this set for any Charlie Brown-Peanuts fan and classic animation in general. Continue your collection, because we get another special that we never had on DVD before and all are remastered again. This is worth it! Let's hope we get the '80s Peanuts collection next, so we make sure we have every single special. There are about 14 of those so it might need 2 volumes. Warner continues to do a wonderful job with the remastering and the behind the scenes extras for each set. Let's hope they continue to release more Peanuts specials and eventually we get them all remastered in our personal libraries! So don't let Snoopy run away on both of these specials because he is really a cool beagle! Happy 60th, Peanuts!

-- Reviewed by Pavan
(4/5 stars)

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

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Charlie Brown TV.com Page


LOOKING AHEAD

As always, we'll return next week with more news and reviews. We are working on some more interesting feature stories to bring you in the upcoming weeks, so you won't want to miss those. Until then, we encourage you to watch some of those Stephen J. Cannell series that we mentioned earlier in today's Digital Digest, as it the best way to, well, keep it digital.
Sitcoms Airing Tonight (Thursday, April 24)

The Big Bang Theory - "The Anything Can Happen Recurrence" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Sheldon tries to be spontaneous, it leads to unexpected friction between Penny, Amy and Bernadette. Meanwhile, Raj seeks Howard’s help in preparing for a date with Emily.

The Millers - "Tomlandia" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Nathan pitches a children’s show to his boss, Ed Dolan, based on Tom’s imaginary comic book, Tom has an adverse reaction to the tweaks made to his cherished world. Jeffrey Tambor returns as Ed Dolan, Nathan’s boss.

Two and a Half Men - "Lotta Delis in Little Armenia" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Alan stumbles upon an opportunity to make money. Meanwhile, Walden has to address his co-dependency issues.

Bad Teacher - "Pilot" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Former trophy wife Meredith Davis seeks a return to a life of leisure and luxury by posing as a teacher at an upscale elementary school to meet the students’ rich, single fathers and land one to marry. However, her plan hits a major snag and she faces exposure when her unconventional – and mostly unsuitable – teaching methods raise the suspicions of a fellow faculty member. Read our review.

Surviving Jack - "Something to Talk About" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
During an evening of inopportune timing, Frankie introduces his new girlfriend, Heather (guest star Lili Reinhart), to Joanne, who has just gotten her tubes tied and is still on pain medication. Instead of taking care of Joanne post-surgery, Jack has his hands full policing Frankie and Rachel. Meanwhile, George and Mikey try to retrieve a porn video they disguised in a "Casablanca" VHS case that has been placed into the wrong hands at the Dunlevy house.

Parks and Recreation - "Moving Up" (NBC, 8:00-9:00PM ET/PT)
Leslie (Amy Poehler), Ben (Adam Scott), and Andy (Chris Pratt) head to San Francisco for a National Parks Conference. Tom (Aziz Ansari) opens his restaurant, Ron (Nick Offerman) has another run-in with his ex-wife Tammy 2 (Special Guest Megan Mullally), Andy lives a rock and roll fantasy, and Leslie makes a huge decision about her future.

Saint George - "Hot Blooded" (FX, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Alma sets George up on a date with a Latina doctor, and George discovers the woman is crazy.

Anger Management - "Charlie Spends the Night with Lacey" (FX, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Charlie spends the night with Lacey to keep her from killing her ex-boyfriend.

Sirens - "There's No "I" in Ice Cream" (USA Network, 10:00PM ET/PT)
The crew remembers a day that followed the full spectrum of excitement; Johnny tries to find out who ate the last doughnut.

Instant Mom
- "Distant Mom" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The kids return from a vacation to Mozambique with their mom, Kim, only to learn the trip was actually a job interview at the embassy. They soon find out they are moving to Africa and away from Stephanie and Charlie. Guest Star: Holly Robinson Peete.

See Dad Run - "See Dad Run Into Marcus' Nephew" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Emily takes Amy's car to a party with Marcus' nephew after she was forbidden from driving at night, and must race back to beat David home. Joe wants more responsibility so asks to babysit Janie. Guest Star: Larramie "Doc" Shaw.

The Rickey Smiley Show - "Roll Pounce" (TV One, 10:00PM ET/PT)
The annual skate off has a surprise entry.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 21) (All times Eastern unless noted)

Thursday, April 24

  • Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother/Doogie Howser, M.D.) - Catch Neil on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Sarah Hyland (Modern Family) - Sarah appears on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Julie Bowen (Modern Family) - Jim is a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • James Van Der Beek (Friends with Lives/Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23) - James stops by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. He will also be on Big Morning Buzz Live on VH1 at 10am.
  • Zoe Lister-Jones (Friends with Better Lives/Whitney) - Zoe visits The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Tom Lennon (Sean Saves the World/Reno 911!) - Tom is a guest on @midnight at midnight on Comedy Central.
  • Mary McCormack (Welcome to the Family) - Mary guest co-hosts Chelsea Lately on E! at 11pm.
  • Mario Lopez (Saved by the Bell) - Mario appears on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Brandy Norwood (The Game/Moesha) - Tune in to see Brandy on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • The Cast of Bad Teacher - Sara Gilbert, Ari Graynor, David Alan Grier and Ryan Hansen are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Candace Cameron-Bure (Full House) - Candace guest co-hosts The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Molly Ephraim (Last Man Standing) - Molly shares behind-the-scenes stories from her show on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Max Greenfield (New Girl/Modern Men) - Max shares his passion for teaching kids the love of reading and the value of giving back on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • William Shatner ($#*! My Dad Says) - William chats and performs on The Queen Latifah Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Timothy Simons (Veep) - Timothy will be on HuffPost Live.
  • Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory/Blossom) - Mayim is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Christine Lakin Step by Step) - Christine will be on Big Morning Buzz Live on VH1 at 10am all this week.
  • B.J. Novak (The Office) - B.J. is a guest on NBC's Today between 7-9am.
  • Jamie Foxx (The Jamie Foxx Show and Sally Field (Gidget/The Flying Nun) - Jamie, Sally and the rest of the cast The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be on ABC's Good Morning America between 7-9am.