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)

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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.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (February/March)

227 - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek) Fuller House - The Complete First Season The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Second Season What I Like About You - The Complete Second Season Newhart - The Final (Eighth) Season

02/07 - Sabrina, the Teenage Witch - Sabrina Down Under
02/07 - So Little Time - Volume 1 - School's Cool - Boy Crazy
02/07 - So Little Time - Volume 2 - About a Family - Hangin' Out
02/07 - 227 - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek)
02/07 - Vice Principals - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
02/14 - Beavis and Butt-Head - The Complete Collection
02/14 - Grace and Frankie - Season Two
02/28 - Fuller House - The Complete First Season
03/03 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Now... In Living Color! (Blu-ray)
03/07 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Second Season
03/07 - Mama's Family - Mama's Favorites
03/07 - That '70s Show - The Complete Series - Flashback Edition (Blu-ray)
03/07 - What I Like About You - The Complete Second Season
03/07 - You Me Her - Season One
03/14 - Newhart - The Final (Eighth) Season
03/14 - Unbrekable Kimmy Schmidt - Season Two
03/21 - Master of None - Season One
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Wednesday, March 29

The Goldbergs - "A Night to Remember" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
It’s prom night, and all three Goldberg kids have big plans, which go awry.  Barry plans big romantic gestures for Lainey while Erica and Geoff try to go to prom together, but it doesn’t go as planned. Meanwhile, Adam is thrilled when a nerdy but cute junior asks him out, but he is horrified when Beverly gets involved.

Imaginary Mary - "Pilot" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
A fiercely independent career woman, Alice has her life turned upside-down when she meets Ben, a divorced father with three children, and soon falls head-over-heals for him. This triggers more upheaval when the imaginary friend she created as a child, Mary, suddenly reappears as she is nervous to meet Ben’s kids for the first time.

Modern Family - "Five Minutes" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
So much can happen to the Pritchett-Dunphy-Tucker clan in five minutes! Mitch and Cam have five minutes to catch a new flight while fighting the effects of sleeping pills they took prematurely. Then at Rainer’s birthday dinner, Haley and Rainer are forced to reevaluate their entire relationship in the five minutes before the birthday cake arrives. Meanwhile, Phil and Claire pay a surprise visit to Alex and are given a five-minute surprise introduction to her new boyfriend. Finally, with only five minutes to catch a movie, Manny has to find the perfect parking space and endure Jay and Gloria’s backseat argument.

black-ish - "Richard Youngsta" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Dre is excited about doing a campaign with a popular rap star but becomes conflicted when Bow and Ruby provide feedback suggesting it plays on stereotypes. Meanwhile, Bow is determined to get the family to stop eating so much take-out food, but realizes the family may be too accustomed to eating whatever they want.

Nobodies - "Mr. First Lady" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
After years toiling away writing on a kids cartoon, “The Fartlemans”, Groundlings Alums Larry, Rachel and Hugh finally get their big break: A chance to pitch their film script “Mr. First Lady” at Paramount.

Lopez - "Leaving Las Vegas" (TV Land, 10:30PM ET/PT)
George quits his Las Vegas residency, causing big problems. Manolo gets out of jail and introduces his roommate, Hector, to everyone.

Schitt's Creek - "Friends & Family" (Pop, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Johnny and Moira look for a location for the family portrait; David hosts a soft launch for the new store.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 27)

Wednesday, March 29

  • Andrew Rannells (Girls/The New Normal) - Watch Andrew on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Emma Roberts (Scream Queens/Unfabulous) - Emma is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community) - Ken appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He will also be on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Lisa Kudrow (Friends/The Comeback) - Lisa visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Paul F. Tompkins (DAG) - Paul is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Milana Vayntrub (Other Space) - Milana appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry stops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Andy Daly (Review/Eastbound & Down) - Andy appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Christian Slater (Breaking In) - Christian guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Brooklyn Decker (Grace and Frankie/Friends with Better Lives) - Brooklyn is a guest on Harry, so check your local listings.
  • NeNe Leakes (The New Normal) - NeNe guest co-hosts a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Jenna Elfman (Imaginary Mary/1600 Penn/Accidentally on Purpose/Courting Alex/Dharma & Greg) - Jenna will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Craig Ferguson (The Drew Carey Show) - Craig is a guest on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • George Lopez (Lopez/George Lopez) - George discusses the second season of Lopez on the AOL Build Show at 5:30pm.