Saturday, November 20, 2010

Digital Digest: Digital Bargains and The Commish - The Complete Series DVD Review

Happy weekend before Thanksgiving! And since Thanksgiving is coming soon, that can only mean that Black Friday will come the next day, and for that reason, we will debut a new section of Digital Digest that won't be a weekly section, but will pop up from time-to-time, that we'll be calling Digital Bargains, where we tell you where can find some of the best deals on DVDs and Blu-rays. There are a lot of nice deals out there, and we encourage you to check them out. And of course, we will have a review for you today, and this week, it is The Commish - The Complete Series. Let's get going!

DIGITAL NEWS

We have typically not been bringing you enough "Digital News" outside of the DVD/Blu-ray realm, but we do have a little bit of news this week about a series that you can now watch online that you previously could not see online! CBS.com now has full episodes of recent episodes of the series The Big Bang Theory that you can watch from your computer. The series previously has not been available for viewing online in the United States (which is unusual for current series), but now, if you miss an episode, you can catch it online! Finally, the series has entered into the Internet era!

Now back to our usual DVD news... and there isn't that much this week, sadly. However, Lionsgate has announced a release date of January 16 for Weeds - Season Six and Nurse Jackie - Season Two. Both of these will be available on both DVD and Blu-ray. The DVD sets of both series have an MSRP of $39.98, and the Blu-ray Discs of both sets have a MSRP of $39.99 (only a penny more?). Both of these sets will be loaded with interviews, commentaries, and various featurettes. You can already pre-order Nurse Jackie on DVD (or Blu-ray Disc) and Weeds on DVD (or Blu-ray Disc) from Amazon.com.

Finally, we have a little bit of news from Mill Creek, with their plans to release the complete series of the Saturday morning series, Hey Vern, It's Ernest! It isn't available for pre-order yet, but we were very surprised to see this announcement.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (November 23) isn't that big of a day for DVD releases, but there are a few releases worth noting, including 7th Heaven - The Eleventh and Final Season and Murder, She Wrote - The Complete Twelfth Season. Your best bet for next week is to pick up some older releases of your favorites... so read ahead for details on great bargains!


DIGITAL BARGAINS

Last week, we mentioned that several TV series sets of CBS Home Entertainment products have been showing up at Big Lots. Well, as it turns out, this is going to be one of their Black Friday deals, with each set retailing at $6 each! You can find season sets of sitcoms such as The Beverly Hillbillies, The Brady Bunch, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy, and more (including series such as CSI and Melrose Place) in this batch of DVDs! The sale doesn't officially start until Black Friday, but many stores have been stocking these already. Additionally, there has been a pallet of Nickelodeon DVDs appearing in stores, and while many of these DVDs don't necessarily peak our interest, this pallet does include DVD sets of the series The Adventures of Pete & Pete (I picked this one up today, and it was a much better series than I remember). So once again, there are bargains to be found at Big Lots! You can always check out our thread on these bargains on our message boards.

Meanwhile, Target (by the way, they have some nice deals on some DVDs from ABC in their ad that ends today) has several DVD sets for $9.99 in their Black Friday ad, including Friends, the first five seasons of The Simpsons, and Weeds, and other titles. These aren't the only titles available, and more will be available in store. For three dollars more, at $12.99, you can pick up The Big Bang Theory, The Office, and seasons 6-12 and 20 of The Simpsons. They've even got Punky Brewster - Season One, Volume One for $1.99 if you are interested in that (although it isn't that great of a DVD).

Walmart is a little less promising with a few $12 titles, including Community and True Blood. But of course, there may be more titles available for that price in store.

Regional retailer Meijer (mostly found in the midwest) is advertising several season sets of series for $8 on Thanksgiving Day (NOT Black Friday), and while we don't know exactly what will be included, their ad shows series such as The Addams Family, The Bob Newhart Show, Get Smart, How I Met Your Mother, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, My Name is Earl, The Office, Weeds, and more.

Another regional retailer, Shopko (found in the northwestern United States) is advertising several DVD sets "buy one, get one free," including modern and classic hits. The ad scan is not very clear, so the details aren't fully known, but it appears to include The Big Bang Theory, Friends, The Nanny, The Office, and more.

Hastings is offering DVDs and Blu-ray Discs at three different price points. For $9.99, you can pick up How I Met Your Mother, My Name is Earl, Parks & Recreation, and others. For $14.99, you can pick up The Big Bang Theory and The Office. Finally, $19.99 will get you into Blu-ray Disc territory with series such as Breaking Bad and Chuck. All of these say "many to choose from," so there may be a lot available.

Finally, if you just don't feel like being out there in the crowds, there is always Amazon.com, which has some deals all throughout the week (no prices given yet) on some DVDs, including season sets of Friends and The Simpsons. Since they only do business online, it is hard to get a lot of advanced information about what they'll be doing, but we encourage you to check them out throughout the week (and if possible, buy them through our links and support us!).

So who is the obvious retailer missing here? It is Best Buy! Their ads for Black Friday do not show any TV series being on sale, although more than likely, they will have unadvertised specials on DVDs in their stores.

That's the wrap-up for next week... happy hunting!


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

The series that first introduced TV audiences to Michael Chiklis is finally available in its entirety on DVD. Fans of The Commish have been yearning for the release of seasons 3-5 and that day has finally come with this release which includes all 94 episodes on 17 discs in The Commish - The Complete Series. A desk job? Not the way HE does it. Commissioner Tony Scali is no nonsense commissioner and is very hands on with his work. He is compassionate, good-hearted, a family man and even funny. If you like Chiklis on the current ABC series No Ordinary Family, you'll love him on his '90s ABC series The Commish!

DVD Review: The Commish - The Complete Series
by Pavan

The Commish - The Complete Series (Mill Creek, $69.98) brings all 5 seasons of the 90s ABC cop series to DVD...including the never before released on DVD seasons three to five! This special collection includes all 94 episodes on 17 discs! The series starred Michael Chiklis as Tony Scali, a police commissioner in a small upstate New York town who worked through problems with humor and creativity more often than with violence or force. This series aired on ABC from 1991-1996. Seasons 1-2 were previously released by Anchor Bay but now Mill Creek Entertainment is re-releasing those on this set, but now they are releasing all five seasons. The series starred Michael Chiklis, Theresa Saldana, Kaj-Erik Eriksen, John Cygan, Melinda McGraw, Geoffrey Nauffts, Nicholas Lea, Gina Belafonte, and David Paymer.

The show focused as much on family situations as on police drama. The series often dealt with a wide range of topical social issues such as racism, homophobia, drug addiction, disabilities, child abuse, illegal immigrants, and sexual harassment. Since we get all 94 episodes on this set, it is hard to cover memorable episodes from each season. We didn't review the first two seasons that Anchor Bay released, so we will try to cover a few memorable episodes from each season. The series didn't start with their pilot episode for some reason, instead ABC aired the second episode produced as the premiere. The actual pilot was a two-hour episode and aired as the fifth episode on ABC. We get the original airdate order here on this complete series.

For season one, in "Do You See What I See?," a rapist wearing a Santa mask terrorises the town of Eastbridge, while Tony decides to take the graveyard shift after overhearing one of his officers make a disparaging comment. In the two-hour episode "A Matter of Life or Death," which was produced as the pilot, Tony starts the search for two missing police officers while a new candidate emerges for the job of police commissioner, later the two missing police officers are finally found in the water, but Tony is forced to deal with a hunger strike at the jail as well as his possible appointment as the new police commissioner of New York City. In "The Wicked Flee," a boy who sees his mother's murder becomes emotionally withdrawn, while Tony's son has trouble with his father coaching methods in basketball. For season two, in the two-part episode "Adventures in the Skin Trade," when David's former babysitter and the daughter of a family friend, go missing after appearing in an amateur pornography film, Tony and Paulie go undercover as investors to infiltrate Shangri-La Productions. In "Sleep of the Just," Tony struggles with building a case again Emanuel Bolchek, a rapist who is enjoying every minute of his diplomatic immunity and to make things worse, Tony's been having trouble sleeping with Sarah being up every night, and Rachel is upset that her father still hasn't seen the baby. In the season three premiere, "Suffer the Children," a juvenile center is in trouble when the head of the center is linked by Tony to a young runaway's suicide and the investigation continues when the remains of a young runaway are found in the juvenile center's head cabin. In "Hero," the Scali babysitter accuses an Eastbridge high school quarterback of rape, so Tony must investigate despite the mixed feelings of the community. In "Dead Drunk," when Joe Thompson's wife is killed by a drunk driver leaving him with an eight-year-old daughter, the investigation leads to prominent surgeon Harris Clark, who has a history of drunken driving. In the two-part season four premiere "Against the Wind," after being struck with a ball, Tony is hospitalized and it looks like he is going to be permanently paralyzed. But his family refuses to give up on him, and enlists the help of physiotherapist Dan Boylan to help him walk again. In "Working Girls," while investigating an armed robbery, Tony goes undercover and hires an escort to get some important information and he is shocked to see his friend Ralph's daughter, who is barely 18, show up, preparing to spend the night with him. In "Accused," Tony is accused of sexual harassment by a computer technician. Season five had three two-hour episodes that were aired as TV movies. The last one of these was titled "Redemption," where The Commish is on the trail of an arsonist and notices that all the clues point to the wife's father.

Guest stars over the span of five seasons include Telly Savalas, Ernest Borgnine, Richard Kind, Wilt Chamberlain, Stella Stevens, Giovanni Ribisi, Darren McGavin, Ray Walston, Pat Sajak, Eric McCormack, and hundreds more!

Here are the runtimes of all of the episodes. We are not sure if anything is edited out, but some runtimes do look a little low. Each episode has three chapter stops, unless noted:

Season 1 (1991-1992)
Disc 1
1. "In the Best of Families" (46:16)
2. "Do You See What I See?" (48:08)
3. "The Poisoned Tree" (47:46)
4. "Nothing to Fear But..." (46:14)
5. "A Matter of Life or Death - The Commish Pilot" (88:57, 5 chapters)
Disc 2
6. "Behind the Storm Door" (47:23)
7. "The Hatchet" (47:15)
8. "Two Confessions" (44:55)
9. "The Commissioner's Ball" (47:37)
10. "No Greater Gift" (46:53)
Disc 3
11. "The Fourth Man" (46:51)
12. "Charlie Don't Surf" (46:58)
13. "Skeletons" (46:56)
14. "The Wicked Flee" (47:09)
15. "True Believers" (47:04)
Disc 4
16. "Officer April" (47:34)
17. "Sex, Lies, and Kerosene" (45:11)
18. "Judgement Day" (47:22)
19. "Shoot the Breeze" (46:47)
20. "Video Vigilante" (46:44)
21. "The Puck Stops Here" (47:06)

Season 2 (1992-1993)
Disc 1
1. "Adventures in the Skin Trade, Part 1" (47:48, to be continued tag at the end of episode)
2. "Adventures in the Skin Trade, Part 2" (47:27, part 1 recap is intact)
3. "Guns & Sons" (46:13)
4. "The Rolodex Madam" (47:16)
5. "The Witches of Eastbridge" (47:58)
Disc 2
6. "The Two Faces of Ed" (47:35)
7. "Escape" (46:19)
8. "A Time to Be Born" (46:34)
9. "Witness" (46:51)
10. "Sleep of the Just" (47:00)
Disc 3
11. "The Frame" (47:44)
12. "Stoned" (45:31)
13. "The Heart is a Lonely Sucker" (46:56)
14. "The Sharp Pinch" (45:36)
15. "Dead Cadet's Society" (47:27)
16. "Family Business" (48:15)
Disc 4
17. "Out of Business" (47:02)
18. "The Ides of March" (46:30)
19. "Blue Flu" (46:39)
20. "Eastbridge Boulevard" (46:05)
21. "Sight Unseen" (46:17)
22. "The Anti-Commish" (47:36)

Season 3 (1993-1994)
Disc 1
1. "Suffer the Children, Part 1" (47:56, to be continued tag at the end of episode)
2. "Suffer the Children, Part 2" (47:45, part 1 recap is intact)
3. "Scali, P.I." (47:59)
4. "Burned Out Case" (45:38)
5. "The Set-Up" (45:39)
6. "Rising Sun" (46:45)
Disc 2
7. "Hero" (46:31)
8. "Dying Affection" (46:48)
9. "All That Glitters" (46:15)
10. "Mansion" (46:03)
11. "A Little Heart" (45:50)
12. "Benny" (46:09)
Disc 3
13. "Keeping Secrets" (47:31)
14. "Dog Days" (47:19)
15. "Father Eddie" (47:22)
16. "Bank Job" (46:33)
17. "Romeo & Juliet" (45:51)
Disc 4
18. "Security" (47:33)
19. "Dead Drunk" (47:04)
20. "The Letter of the Law" (47:44)
21. "Sergeant Kelly" (48:37)
22. "The Iceman Cometh" (46:47)

Season 4 (1994-1995)
Disc 1
1. "Against the Wind, Part 1" (47:32, to be continued tag at the end of episode)
2. "Against the Wind, Part 2" (46:59, part 1 recap is intact)
3. "Working Girls" (46:04)
4. "Born in the USA" (45:25)
5. "Who Do You Trust?" (46:54)
6. "Nancy with the Laughing Face" (45:26)
Disc 2
7. "Revenge" (45:11)
8. "Head Case" (44:40)
9. "The Lady Vanishes" (46:55)
10. "Ghost" (48:28)
11. "A Christmas Story" (46:43)
12. "Hidden" (45:25)
Disc 3
13. "The Johnny Club" (46:12)
14. "The Golden Years" (45:53)
15. "Accused" (45:22)
16. "The Trial" (47:40)
17. "Cry Wolf" (46:22)
Disc 4
18. "Brooklyn" (45:20)
19. "Letting Go" (45:17)
20. "The Kid" (45:54)
21. "Off Broadway, Part 1" (46:30, to be continued tag at the end of episode)
22. "Off Broadway, Part 2" (46:07, part 1 recap is intact)

Season 5 (1995-1996)
1. "In the Shadow of the Gallows" (92:15, 6 chapters)
2. "Father Image" (92:15, 6 chapters)
3. "Redemption" (91:32, 6 chapters)

The menus are very basic, but also nicely done, with the theme song playing on the main menu and options of Play All and Episode Select. For seasons one-two, I believe we have the same style as Anchor Bay, with Tony crossing his arms behind his desk. For seasons three-five, the main menu has video clips playing instead, with the menu options below that. When you go to Episode Select, it takes you to a menu that lists all of the episode titles and the theme song continues to play. There are no scene selection menus, but chapters are placed appropriately throughout each episode, as mentioned earlier.

As for the packaging, it still cheap like other Mill Creek sets. We have an outer box that holds a double thick keep-case with 17 black paper sleeves inside holding the discs. This is TERRIBLE and cheap! The cover art has a shot of Tony in a suit with the city in the background. We also get Michael Chiklis' name and the show logo with the Eastbridge Police badge. Seasons 1-5 is printed on the bottom. The back of the case has basic series information along with another shot of Tony. Special features and guest stars are also listed. We also have five episodic photos on the bottom. The disc artwork is the same on each disc with the show logo and Eastbridge Police badge, but each season the wording is in different color. Season one's wording is in red, season two's wording is in blue, season three's wording is in orange, season four's wording is in green, and season five's wording is in grey. Each disc has the episode titles contained on the disc printed on the disc in the season's coloring. But again, there are no other episode lists contained within the set.

The video and audio is good. There is nothing to complain about. It is about as good as it gets for a series that aired from 1991-1996. The opening credits look a bit choppy, though. View the runtimes above and some tidbits on the multiple part episodes. Season five really wasn't a season, as it consisted of three TV movies. Actually one of the TV movies were split up on ABC and aired as a two-part episode on consecutive weeks, but we get it in full movie form here on this DVD. Nothing much else to say here, but the video and audio is as expected for a series from the early '90s.

The only special feature we have here is on season one, disc two that Anchor Bay produced. We get "Interviews with the Cast & Creators." This is very long and detailed and it runs 45:50. Among the people interviewed are Stephen J. Cannell, Michael Chiklis, and Theresa Saldana. They talk in length one at a time.

There are some problems with this set as with previous Mill Creek sets, but we finally have the complete series on DVD, and that is what matters the most. We didn't even have to wait for seasons 3-5 to be individually released. For die-hard fans you should get it because we get every single episode of this series on DVD. It is too bad the packaging is cheap, mainly the plastic sleeves holding the discs. Everything else is actually OK, so I think this is better than Hunter: The Complete Series. I am not sure if any music or episodes are edited, though. There are some low runtimes, but that could be how it aired originally. I have always liked this show, and I am glad Mill Creek continued the series after Anchor Bay dropped it after two seasons. I enjoyed watching the show on Saturday nights on ABC and too bad there are no longer shows like this one (and shows on Saturdays for that matter). Michael Chiklis rocks in this role and is very likable. If you watch his current show No Ordinary Family, but you have never seen this show, you'll want to sample this! So go and buy this set because The Commish gives us no nonsense!

(4/5 stars)

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

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
The Commish TV.com Page


LOOKING AHEAD

We'll be back next week with another edition of Digital Digest. We hope that you enjoyed our new Digital Bargains section, and while we won't be bringing you this section every week, we hope to bring it to you whenever we find good deals out there. Next week, we'll have reviews of The Fugitive - The Fourth and Final Season, Volume One and Hoarders - Season Two, Part One. Until next time, keep it digital!


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

I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized) The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two Hooperman - Season One 227 - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek) Fuller House - The Complete First Season

01/03 - Girls - The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray)
01/10 - Broad City - Season 3
01/17 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized)
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume One
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two
01/24 - Hooperman - Season One / Review
01/24 - Hooperman - Season Two / Review
01/31 - Ballers - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
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
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Monday, February 27

The Big Bang Theory - "The Dependence Transcedence" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Tensions rise when the boys struggle to complete their government project on time and Sheldon tries an energy drink to stay awake. Also, Penny and Amy go to a “party” at Bert (Brian Posehn) the geologist’s house, and Kooothrappali learns Bernadette’s true feelings about her pregnancy when they clean out the future baby room. Dean Norris returns as Air Force Representative Colonel Williams.

Man with a Plan - "Assisted Living" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Adam's parents visit unannounced, they reveal surprising plans for their future living arrangements. Emmy Award winner Swoosie Kurtz and Stacy Keach guest star as Bev and Joe, Adam and Don’s parents.

Superior Donuts - "Takin' It to the Streets" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Franco and Sweatpants discover their new landlord, Fawz, wants to convert their apartment building into luxury condos, they decide to organize a protest. Also, Randy realizes she needs to be nicer to James in order to get a good recommendation for her sergeant’s exam.

2 Broke Girls - "And the Dad Day Afternoon" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
When Han’s new therapist suggests that Max needs to confront her “daddy issues” and fear of intimacy, she reluctantly heads to Rhode Island to track down her birth father with the diner gang in tow. Also, Oleg is up in arms when Sophie wants him to help out around the house.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 27)

Monday, February 27

  • Keri Russell (Running Wilde) - Watch Keri on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Connie Britton (Spin City/The Fighting Fitzgeralds/Lost at Home) - Connie appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Slink Johnson (Black Jesus) - Slick is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation) - Adam drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Josh Henderson (One on One) - Josh appears on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo. He also talks about The Arrangement on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • David Hyde Pierce (Frasier) - David chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Jerry O'Connell (We Are Men/Carpoolers/My Secret Identity) - Jerry is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Leighton Meester (Making History) - Leighton stops by Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For Your Love) - Holly visits Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • John Lithgow (Trial & Error/Twenty Good Years/3rd Rock from the Sun) - John talks about Trial & Error on NBC's Today in the 9am hour and on the AOL Build Show at 1:30pm.
  • Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly) - Billy dishes on how This is Us is following in Mike & Molly’s footsteps – and why both shows are so beloved on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Lisa Kudrow (Friends/The Comeback) and Craig Robinson (The Office) - Lisa and Craig talk about their new film Table 19 on the AOL Build Show at 2:30pm.
  • Sinbad (A Different World/The Sinbad Show) - Sinbad is a guest on Steve Harvey, so check your local listings.
  • Bradley Whitford (Trophy Wife) - Bradley visits The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Craig Robinson (The Office/Mr. Robinson) - Craig appears on The Real, so check your local listings.