Saturday, November 06, 2010

Digital Digest: V- The Complete First Season DVD Review; The Boondocks - The Complete Third Season DVD Review

We're back again (where else would we go?) for another edition of Digital Digest! It has been another one of those incredibly slow news weeks, but no matter how slow, we're always here to bring you what we do have! And this week, we have two blog reviews for you, including V - The Complete First Season and The Boondocks - The Complete Third Season. Let's get going!


DIGITAL NEWS

We were the first to bring you news of Warner Archive's Classic TV Christmas Collection two weeks ago, and now we have more information, including full episode information, for the set! It will be a three-disc collection containing 420 minutes of yultide joy, scheduled to be released on November 16 at a $34.95 MSRP. Of course, it will only be available as a manufacture-on-demand Warner Archive title, which you can purchase by clicking here. The episodes included on the set are as follows:
  • Dr. Kildare - "An Exchange of Gifts"
  • The Courtship of Eddie's Father - "Gifts are for Giving"
  • CHiPs - "Christmas Watch"
  • Eight is Enough - "Yes Nicholas, There is a Santa Claus - Parts 1 & 2"
  • Welcome Back, Kotter - "Sweathog Christmas Special"
  • Alice - "A Semi-Merry Christmas"
  • Mama's Family - "Mama Gets Goosed"
  • Perfect Strangers - "The Gift of the Mypiot"
  • Veronica's Closet - "Veronica's Christmas Song"
  • Suddenly Susan - "The Walk Out"
The good news here is that every single episode on this set is new to DVD, and none of these are from seasons of any of the series already released! You can see a full description of all of the episodes on the collection here.

While we are on the subject of Warner Archive, a while back, they released Night Court - The Complete Fourth Season. And as you may have read in our review, the set had some serious quality control issues. These issues apparently have not gone unnoticed by Warner. In fact, the title has been pulled and is no longer available for sale, although the exact reasons are unknown, and it is assumed that it'll be available for sale again when/if the problems are resolved. You can read details about it here.

Rules of Engagement seemed to be stalled on DVD for a while, but it seems that it is picking up once again now, and now, Rules of Engagement - The Complete Fourth Season is on the way! The two-disc release will be available on January 11 at a $29.95 MSRP. Hopefully, they'll get on track to release all remaining seasons after they air on TV!

That isn't the only series coming to DVD on January 11, though. Also coming out that day is the first season of the TV Land original sitcom, Hot in Cleveland! All ten episodes from the first season of the hit sitcom will be available in a two disc set at a $26.99 MSRP. Not many details are known about this set yet, but we'll let you know when we have them, because we know that many of you are interested!


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (11/9) is not a big day for releases, with the biggest release of the week being The Golden Girls - The Complete Series. However, other than the new packaging (a wicker purse), this set is essentially the same as the previously released season sets, and may not be of particular interest to some fans. Additionally, The Boondocks - The Complete Third Season (which we will be reviewing today) is being released on DVD. The three disc set contains fifteen episodes from the third season of the animated series. and plenty of special features


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

Today we have not one but TWO reviews for you once again! We start off with a DVD review of V - The Complete First Season! They arrive! And you will want to see these "visitors" coming to Earth. Are they really of peace?

DVD Review: V - The Complete First Season
by Pavan

V - The Complete First Season (Warner Home Video, $39.98) brings us all 12 episodes of the remake series on DVD! V was originally a mini-series in 1983 (then later a series in 1984) and is now back as an all-new series in a more post-9/11 time. This version, tells the story of Earth's first alien encounter. The visitors - human-like beings who know our languages and provide other worldly gifts of technology and healing - arrive on massive motherships hovering over 29 major cities worldwide. Some consider them saviors in this post-9/11 world, while others feel differently. A fledgling resistance is on the rise, determined to reveal the shocking truth.
V stars Elizabeth Mitchell as FBI Agent Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack Landry, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Lourdes Benedicto as Valerie Stevens, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

All 12 episodes are needed to be watched in order of course. I really enjoy this show. It is good TV. The first four episodes aired as an event in November 2009 over 4 weeks on Tuesdays at 8pm on ABC. The series premiere was the highest rated new series premiere among adults 18-49 last season with a 5.2 rating (14.3 million viewers overall). The remaining eight episodes returned in the spring, but in a later timeslot of Tuesdays at 10pm on ABC, thus ratings were down but DVR usage of the series was higher due to a later timeslot. Among my favorite of the 12 are "Pilot," where Visitor Leader Anna's image secures peace for all, but to some the visitors are a complete threat to the world, while FBI agent Erica Evans and Father Jack make a startling discovery. In the fall finale, "It's Only the Beginning," Anna wants Lisa to bring Tyler up to the Mothership for an important experiment with Lisa, while a warehouse full of vaccine donated by the Visitors explodes. In the spring return, "Welcome to the War," Erica finds her life in danger when she's attacked at home and a dangerous new member is recruited for the Resistance, as the Visitors shore up their defenses, while Anna wonders why Chad hasn't followed up on his diagnosed aneurysm and Ryan's concern grows over Val's "abnormal" pregnancy. In "John May," Erica, Ryan and Jack go on a harrowing mission to find the legendary John May in order to rescue Georgie, while Anna brings Chad aboard the Mothership for a story on her Live Aboard Program, and Tyler confronts his mom about his mysterious past. In "Fruition," Anna's daughter is the victim of a violent attack, while Erica and the team look for a scientist who may have created a weapon that the Visitors fear and Hobbes makes a deal with Marcus. In the season finale, "Red Sky" Val's water has just broken and is captured by Anna's soldier and taken to the mothership, where she serves as bait to draw Ryan to Anna, while Erica seizes an invitation to dinner with Anna and Lisa as an opportunity to destroy Anna's soldier eggs, and Chad begins to catch on to how he is being used. Recurring are David Richmond-Peck as Georgie Sutton, Christopher Shyer as Marcus, Alan Tudyk as Dale Maddox, and Mark Hildreth as Joshua. Guest stars include Michael Trucco as John May.
The episodes on this set are all unedited, obviously, with the episodes around 43 minutes. The pilot episode runs 47 minutes. Here are the runtimes for this set:

Disc 1
1. "Pilot" - 47:05
2. "There Is No Normal Anymore" - 42:52
3. "A Bright New Day" - 43:13
4. "It's Only the Beginning" - 42:57

Disc 2
5. "Welcome to the War" - 42:43
6. "Pound of Flesh" - 43:09
7. "John May" - 43:08
8. "We Can't Win" - 43:16
9. "Heretic's Fork" - 42:47

Disc 2
10. "Hearts and Minds" - 43:11
11. "Fruition" - 42:57
12. "Red Sky" - 43:08

Let's now move on to the packaging. We have a thin outer box holding a keep case. The cover art for both has the scary red V logo with a shot of the spaceship in the sky and the city skyline. There is a mention of The Complete First Season on the top and the tagline "We Are Of Peace. Always" on the bottom. The back of the outer box has the V logo again in the background, but this time we see actual V's inside. We also have info on the series and set as well, with a special features list. The back of the case has the famous Erica and Anna face shot, with it looking like they are one face. Inside the case we go, we have an episode booklet on the left. The front of that has the V logo again with a different shot of the city skyline. This booklet is very detailed and handy as we have episode details, all broken down disc-by-disc, with the episode number, title, writers/director, original airdate, and synopsis. We also have nice episodic artwork. There is also a page with a cast photo and credits. And the back page has a shot of the spaceship and city skyline again. As far as the discs itself go, the first two discs are inside a plastic holder. The plastic holder holds disc one on the front and disc two on the back and we can flip it like a page in a book. Disc three is on the right panel itself. The disc art is the same for each disc, with a V logo. Disc one has episodes 1-4. Disc two has 5-9. And disc three has episodes 10-12.

The menu screen is very cool. Background music from the show is playing in the background, as we have the V logo once again with a shot of the city skyline from the spaceship. We have options for Play, Episodes, Features, and Languages. Play of course plays them all at once for that disc. When we select Episodes, episode titles are listed and if they have a scissor icon, that means we have deleted scenes available for that episode. Features menu lists all the extras on that disc, even the deleted scenes again. And Languages have the option for either audio in English or Portuguese and subtitles in English, French, Espanol, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese and Thai.

The video is great, as it should be. This is the DVD version, but it still looks great. I am sure the Blu-ray version is even better. My DVD player upconverts to HD, so these episode look great to me. I have watched all 12 episodes on ABC in HD, and it looks just as good here. The audio is very good in Dolby Digital Surround sound. It is loud and clear not low at all. Each episode has 7 or 8 chapter stops.

As for special features, we have a WHOLE lot here. Disc three has the main extras, but each disc has something. We have deleted scenes on six episodes: "Pilot" (2 scenes, 1:35 total), "There Is No Normal Anymore" (6 scenes, 3:57 total), "John May" (2 scenes, 0:57 total), We Can't Win" (5 scenes, 4:43 total), "Hearts and Minds" (3 scenes, 4:37 total), and "Fruition" (3 scenes, 1:25 total).
Disc one has a featurette titled, "The Actor's Journey from Human to V" running 16:53. This features the cast discussing the techniques, challenges, and rewards in bringing this series to a new generation. Interviewed are Morena Baccarin, Christopher Shyer, Laura Vandervoort, Logan Huffman, Morris Chestnut, Joel Gretsch, Scott Rosenbaum (executive producer), Elizabeth Mitchell, Scott Wolf, and Scott Peters (executive producer).
The rest of the special features are on disc three. First, we have audio commentary for the episode "Fruition" from executive producers Steve Pearlman and Scott Rosenbaum. They give a lot of neat tidbits. Then we have a very nice featurette called "Breaking Story: The World of V" that runs 16:35. We see how the producers were able to create a fresh perspective of the mythology of this new series. Interviewed are Scott Rosenbaum, Gregg Hurtwitz (writer), Steve Pearlman, Scott Peters, Stephen Geaghan (production designer), Morris Chestnut, Logan Huffman, Morena Baccarin, Scott Wolf and Elizabeth Mitchell. The third featurette is titled "An Alien in Human Skin: The Makeup FX of V" and it runs 11:51. We see how makeup and special effects play a big part of this show and how they are used. Interviewed are Scott Rosenbaum, Toby Lindala (makeup FX supervisor), Scott Peters, Benson Musnev (makeup FX technican), Glenn Martin (makeup FX technican), and Andrew Orloff (visual FX supervisor). And the final featurette is "VFX: The Visual FX of V" and it runs 15:06. We see here how visual effects are done on the show including a tour of ZOIC Studios, where the effects come from for this show. Interviewed are Stephen Geaghan, Scott Peters, Scott Rosenbaum, Steve Pearlman, Andrew Orloff, Scott Wolf, Laura Vandervoort, Elizabeth Mitchell, Stephen Chin (visual effects producer, ZOIC Studios), Nate Overstrom (Compositor Leader, Zoic Studios), and Sallyanne Massimini (lead CG artist, Zoic Studios).

I highly do recommend this set for any V fan both of the original and of this series. It might be a remake, but it has its own take and stories to fit today's time. The original mini-series premiered 26 years before this series, so it will obviously be different for today's era. I never really saw the original mini-series or series, but this series looks so much better due to the special effects of today's time. It was the most entertaining new drama of last season. This is really a good show and I hope you all buy this DVD (or Blu-ray) in time for the second season premiere on Tuesday, Jan. 4 at a new time of 9pm on ABC. You don't have to be a V to watch and buy this set, so buy it below! We are of peace...always!

(4.5/5 stars)

To purchase the Volume 3 DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
V TV.com Page


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

As promised, we have two reviews for you today, and our second one is of a series of a much different tone than our first one--it is The Boondocks - The Complete Third Season. Will things be different for the Freeman family in this animated series now that they have a black president? Perhaps, so read our review to find out!

DVD Review: The Boondocks - The Complete Third Season
by skees53

The Boondocks - The Complete Third Season (Sony, $49.95) contains 15 more episodes of the Adult Swim series about the African American family that is living in the mostly upper middle class white suburbs--otherwise known as the "boondocks." But the Freemans (Huey, Riley, and Granddad Robert) aren't about to assimilate into this new culture. They're going to be themselves and hope that the neighborhood can get used to them. The three disc set of the hilarious animated series contains all 15 episodes of the third (and perhaps final) season of the series, along with plenty of bonus features.

The season begins with the episode "It's a Black President, Huey Freeman," where the Freeman family is being followed by a German documentary maker for their reaction to the election of Barack Obama. A kickball game could settle some debt with China in "The Red Ball." Riley is having a good time with a juvenile felon in "Smokin' With Cigarettes." Remember the novel The Chocolate War? Well, it's the same thing with Riley in "The Fund-Raiser." Granddad may be joining a cult in "Pause," and it is up to Huey to stop it! Huey and Riley take a trip to jail as part of a "Scared Stiff" program in "A Date With the Booty Warrior," but all goes wrong when they visit. Granddad must get a talk show paternity test when a man claims to be his son in "The Story of Lando Freeman." Granddad discovers the wonders of medical marijuana in "Mr. Medicinal." There's something in the chicken in "The Fried Chicken Flu." Are terrorists coming to Woodcrest? Maybe, in "It's Goin' Down." The season includes many guest stars, including Bill Maher, Billy Dee Williams, and Charlie Murphy.

The episodes are unedited and uncensored, so you will see and hear things that you don't see or hear on Adult Swim. Runtimes are as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "It's a Black President, Huey Freeman" (22:31)
2. "Bitches to Rags" (22:41)
3. "The Red Ball" (22:32)
4. "The Story of Jimmy Rebel" (22:36)
5. "Stinkmeaner 3: The Hateocracy" (21:11)

Disc 2:
6. "Smokin' with Cigarettes" (21:48)
7. "The Fund-Raiser" (22:34)
8. "Pause" (22:30)
9. "A Date with the Booty Warrior" (22:36)
10. "The Story of Lando Freeman" (22:34)

Disc 3:
11. "The Lovely Ebony Brown" (22:30)
12. "Mr. Medicinal" (22:11)
13. "The Fried Chicken Flu" (22:37)
14. "The Color Ruckus" (22:36)
15. "It's Goin' Down" (22:38)

Sony has elected to use the same style of packaging that they used for the first two seasons on this set, and that is a good thing. We have three slimcases in this set, with each one containing one disc. The cover art of the outer sleeve is green with a cast snapshot, and the back has some basic information about the season. Inside, the slimcase for Disc 1 has a picture of Huey on the front, Disc 2 has a picture of Granddad, and Disc 3 has a picture of Riley. On the back of each slimcase, there is a listing of all of the episodes with descriptions for each one. Each disc contains five episodes, and the artwork on each disc is another photo of the character on the front of the slimcase.

The menus on the set are basically identical to the previous sets, but that is a very good thing. They are very nicely done animated menus with a lot of video effects, and the theme song playing in the background. The main menu gives options of Play All Episodes, Episode Selections, and Special Features. Once you select an episode or hit Play All, you'll get another menu that asks if you want to watch the episodes with or without them being hosted by Cedric Yarbrough and Gary Anthony Williams (I'll talk more about this in a minute). Chapters are placed throughout each episode.

As was the case with the previous sets, the video and audio quality is virtually flawless. I really couldn't find anything to nitpick on, as the series looked and sounded about as good (if not better) than it does on TV. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, with closed-captioning available. My only minor complaint (and this isn't really an A/V issue) is that this set wasn't released on Blu-ray. This seems to be a series that could really shine in true high-definition.

If you want special features, this set has plenty of them! First of all, each and every episode has the option of being hosted by Cedric Yarbrough and Gary Anthony Williams. Basically, these are approximately two minutes per episode, and are introductions and closings for each and every episode on the set! It is nice that they have done this for every episode, and I always like seeing features like this on DVDs. If you want even more, though, they also provide full episode commentary tracks (and are joined by John Witherspoon for these) on the episodes "It's a Black President, Huey Freeman," "Stinkmeaner 3: The Hateocracy," "Mr. Medicinal," and "The Fried Chicken Flu."

There are a few animatic son the set, for the episodes "Bitches to Rags" (2:00), "Stinkmeaner 3: The Hateocracy" (2:23), "The Fund-Raiser" (1:35), and "The Fried Chicken Flu" (2:04). Additionally, on Disc 3, there is a sketch photo gallery with sketches from the series during production.

Disc 2 has a music video from Thugnificent (3:15) that is mentioned nowhere on the package about Obama becoming president. The title and theme of the song is very obscene, but it is very much in tune with the series. There is also a piece about fan reaction to these obscene song and lyrics, and the fan reaction is, well, also obscene. It is fun to watch, of course.

Finally, Disc 3 has a brief featurette about favorite characters from the series (3:22), where people on the street are asked what their favorite episode of the series are. It is a very basic featurette, but it is always nice to see features like this.

The only thing really missing this time in regards to special features is something from Aaron MacGruder. I'm not sure why he didn't participate at all on this set, and it is a little disappointing.

These are some of the best episodes of the series yet, and I hope that this isn't the end of the series. There was word some time ago that this would be the end of the series, but lately, there has been talk that there will be a fourth season. It is hard to tell with this series, as there is a new batch of episodes every other year or so, and seems to be no set production schedule. Still, this is a great set, and I think that fans of political humor will certainly enjoy this series on DVD. It is much more enjoyable on DVD than it is on TV since it is uncensored, as it was intended by the creator. The series may go over the head a little for those who aren't in tune with current world events, but that doesn't really make it much less enjoyable. This is definitely a set worth owning.

(4.5/5 stars)

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


LOOKING AHEAD

Don't forget to set the clocks back one hour tonight! That gives you one extra hour of life to enjoy... you can spend it watching some DVDs! Of course, that isn't your only option. We'll be back next week with more news, and in the upcoming weeks, you can expect reviews of Perry Mason, The Commish, and even Hoarders! And as we promised, we will have a preview of black Friday DVD/Blu-ray sales in a few weeks, you won't want to miss that! Until next time, keep it digital!


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November)

Dr. Ken - Season One Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season The Lucy Show - The Complete Series The Mindy Project - Season Four

10/04 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Christmas Special (Colorized)
10/04 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #1 (Colorized)
10/11 - Dr. Ken - Season One
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Series
10/11 - Nurse Jackie - Seasons One and Two
10/11 - Weeds - Seasons One and Two
11/01 - Schitt's Creek - Seasons One and Two
11/08 - Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season
11/08 - Your Family or Mine - Season One
11/15 - Community - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Lucy Show - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Mindy Project - Season Four
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Saturday, December 3

Henry Danger - "Dodging Danger" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Henry uses his new super power to compete in a Dodge-A-Leen tournament, Ray, Schwoz, and Charlotte go undercover to teach Henry a lesson.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 5)

Monday, December 5

  • Will Smith (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - Watch Will on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Steve Harvey (The Steve Harvey Show) - Steve visits The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. He will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. He chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Jason Bateman (Arrested Development/The Hogan Family/It's Your Move) - Jason visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am and on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Gael GarcĂ­a Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle) - Gael is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Steve Agee (The Sarah Silverman Program) - Steve appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • The Cast of Fuller House - The cast of Fuller House are guests on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Patricia Heaton (The Middle/Back to You/Everybody Loves Raymond) - Patricia stops by Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Miss Piggy (The Muppets) - Miss Piggy and Harry perform Deck the Halls on Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Meredith Hagner (Search Party/Men at Work) - Meredith is a guest on Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Lauren Graham (The Odd Couple/Conrad Bloom/Townies) - Lauren appears on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley/The Goodwin Games/Carpoolers) - T.J. talks about Office Christmas Party on the AOL Build Show at 3pm. He will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET. He can also be heard on The Morning Mash Up on SiriusXM at 9:50am.
  • Bradley Whitford (Happyish/Trophy Wife) - Bradley is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Josh McDermitt (Retired at 35) - Josh can be heard on The Morning Mash Up on SiriusXM at 10:45am.
  • Erinn Hayes (Kevin Can Wait/Guys with Kids/Worst Week) - Erinn talks about Kevin Can Wait on the AOL Build Show at 4pm.