Saturday, January 08, 2011

Digital Digest: Dragnet 1969 - Season Three DVD Review; Mannix - The Fourth Season DVD Review

Welcome to Digital Digest, where you can get your weekly dose of home media news, previews of what is coming up next week on home media, and reviews! This week we have reviews of Dragnet 1969 - Season 3 from Shout! Factory and the recently released Mannix - The Fourth Season from CBS Home Entertainment! Let's get going!


DIGITAL NEWS

We start this week with an update on the upcoming release of Dennis the Menace - Season One. Recent information discovered on Movies Unlimited shows that the set will include interviews (which we already knew about) as well as the crossover episode of the series from The Donna Reed Show. Jeannie Russell (who played Margaret) also hinted in a recent Shokus Radio interview that the set will include some newly recorded segments with herself and Gloria Henry (Alice). We are really looking forward to this set!

Visual Home Entertainment has been releasing some popular American series for Canada in recent years, and most recently, they acquired the series McMillan & Wife, releasing the second season of the series a few months ago. Their website is currently under construction, but it can clearly be seen on the main page of their website box art for a set that has not been announced yet: McMillan & Wife - Season Three. The website TVShowsOnDVD.com confirms this further, giving a $39.95 (CAN) MSRP and a release date of March 8. It isn't available yet on Amazon.com (though it is expected to be), but it is available to pre-order at Amazon.ca.

While we are talking "north of the border," we finally have an answer for a release that has been out for quite some time that we've been very confused about! Married... With Children - The Complete Series has been available to order on amazon.com for quite some time, and it appears that it is currently shipping. But when we asked Sony, the distributor, about this release, they had no clue what we were talking about. We assumed that this set had been delayed and that Amazon.com was showing some sort of error. But, as it turns out, there is an explanation for all of it! This set, as it turns out, is a Canadian release, although it is on Region 1 DVDs (as Canada is in Region 1), and Amazon.com is simply importing this release from Canada. Of course, we always cut to the chase here, so it is worth pointing out that this release can be purchased and shipped to the United States from Amazon.ca for less than half of what it currently costs on the American website, so if you are interested, you may want to check that out.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (January 11) has a decent number of releases, beginning with the TV Land hit series, Hot in Cleveland - Season One. From Sony, we have the current CBS series Rules of Engagement - The Complete Fourth Season on tap. Shout! Factory has plenty of "best of" releases of previously released DVDs, including Adam-12 - Volume 1, Dragnet 1968 - Volume 1, and Spin City - Volume 1 (not to be confused with the similarly titled previous release from DreamWorks), but the highlight from Shout! Factory is the release of All in the Family - The Complete Eighth Season. You can read our review of All in the Family here. We should have reviews of Hot in Cleveland and Rules of Engagement later this weekend (we just received them ourselves).


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

"This is the city. Los Angeles, California." Los Angeles may be a nice city, but it is also a city where crimes occur. And Sergeant Joe Friday (Jack Webb) and his partner Bill Gannon (Harry Morgan) are going to take care of the burglars, runaways, and druggs of the 1960s the best way they know how, in Dragnet 1969 - Season 3.

DVD Review - Dragnet 1969 - Season 3
by skees53

Dragnet 1969 - Season 3 (Shout! Factory, $34.93) brings 27 more stories of crime in the city of angels to DVD in a four disc set. Sergeant Joe Friday and partner Bill Gannon carry a badge and are determined to do the best that they can to stop criminals in the act, all while maintaining top-notch professional ethics. The series was based upon the actual case files of the Los Angeles Police Department, with actors portraying the roles of the victims and the accused. It later paved the way for other hit shows based upon true stories in Los Angeles (and also produced by Jack Webb) including Adam-12 and Emergency!

The third season of the series begins with "Public Affairs - DR-07," where Friday and Gannon appear on a TV debate show to defend the police department against allegations of corruption, brutality, and ignorance within the LAPD. Howard Hesseman guest stars as the officer's opposition, credited using the alias Don Sturdy. Friday and Gannon are working the juvenile division for the night in "Juvenile - DR-05." In "Management Services - DR-11," we get to see the LAPD response to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It seems like it'll be a nice dinner for Friday, Gannon, and Gannon's wife in "Homicide - DR-06," but it all ends up being interrupted by crime as usual. The president is coming to town in "Public Affairs - DR-12," and with this being Los Angeles in the 60s, that proves to be a big security task for the LAPD. Friday and Gannon are in need of assistance in bringing down drug trafficking in "Narcotics - DR-16." In "Community Relations - DR-17," Gannon and Friday discover that prejudice is alive and well among officers of both races in the department, and struggle to figure out how to solve the problem.
A 91 year old man comes to the assistance of Friday and Gannon during a murder investigation in "Homicide - DR-22." Friday uncovers a crooked cop in "Administrative Vice - DR-29." In "Frauds - DR-28," Friday and Gannon are on the trail of an embezzlement ring. Friday and Gannon deal with a very unusual burglary suspect who only steals photos of an old comic-strip hero in "Burglary - DR-31." In "Forgery - DR-33," Friday and Gannon deal with a forgery suspect who has been brainwashed by her hippie friends. A child who is allergic to an anti-rabies serum is bitten by a dog in "Juvenile - DR-32," and the department must track down the dog. $100,000 turns up missing from a department store in "Frauds - DR-36," and Friday and Gannon have the task of finding out how this crime occurred.

Most episodes on the set appear to be unedited, but there is one episode that has a particularly disturbing runtime. The episode "Narcotics - DR-16" clocks in at just over 20 minutes. This really doesn't sound right at all. It is worth noting that this episode has the same runtime on Hulu. It appears that something is indeed missing here. Runtimes as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "Public Affairs - DR-07" (25:34)
2. "Juvenile - DR-06" (25:25)
3. "Community Relations - DR-10" (25:33)
4. "Management Services - DR-11" (25:33)
5. "Police Commission - DR-13" (25:31)
6. "Homicide - DR-06" (25:34)

Disc 2:
7. "Robbery - DR-15" (25:30)
8. "Public Affairs - DR-12" (25:32)
9. "Training - DR-18" (25:34)
10. "Public Affairs - DR-14" (25:32)
11. "Narcotics - DR-16" (20:14)
12. "Internal Affairs - DR-20" (25:29)
13. "Community Relations - DR-17" (25:30)

Disc 3:
14. "Homicide - DR-22" (25:34)
15. "B.O.D. - DR-27" (25:32)
16. "Narcotics - DR-21" (25:33)
17. "Administrative Vice - DR-29" (25:32)
18. "The Joy Riders" (24:31)
19. "Frauds - DR-28" (25:32)
20. "Juvenile - DR-19" (25:31)

Disc 4:
21. "Burglary - DR-31"(25:34)
22. "Vice - DR-30" (25:32)
23. "Forgery - DR-33" (25:31)
24. "Juvenile - DR-32" (25:31)
25. "Juvenile - DR-35" (25:32)
26. "Frauds - DR-36" (25:31)
27. "Intelligence - DR-34" (25:30)

The set comes in the standard slimcases, just as the previous sets did, with all single sided discs (unlike the double sided ones used for Universal's release of Season 1). The cover art has Friday and Gannon standing in front of a file cabinet, and the rear box art has Friday smoking a cigarette with information about the set. Inside, the slimcases show file folders, an old telephone, and an ashtray full of cigarettes on the front of each case, and have information about the episodes, including a synopsis and original airdate for each one, on the back. The disc artwork simply has the series title logo and the disc number on each disc. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-6, Disc 2 contains episodes 7-13, Disc 3 contains episodes 14-20, and Disc 4 contains episodes 21-27.

The menus on the set are very basic, but very nicely done. The main menu has the series logo, along with photos from the series popping up on screen. The closing theme plays in the background. You have the options of Play All, Episodes, and Bonus (Disc 1 only). Once you select Episodes, you get a menu that lists all of the episodes. The menu has, as the "snapshots" for each episode, a brief video segment from the episode (without audio). Chapters are placed throughout each episode.

The video and audio quality of the set is excellent considering that the episodes are over 40 years old. There is a little bit of grain and debris, but it really isn't bad at all. The audio is loud and crisp, and closed-captioning is available on every episode for those who need them.

The set isn't neglected at all in regards to special features. For those who are interested in the "past" of Dragnet, there is an episode of the original 1950s version of the series, entitled "The Big Smoke" (26:28). The video quality isn't great, but it is decent and better than one would expect. It would be nice to see some company release official releases of this version of the series on DVD. There are also some Jack Webb PSAs, the first for "Muscular Dystrophy" (1:04) and the second for "Social Security" (0:47). Finally, there is a 1970 syndication promo for the series (0:53). All of these special features can be found on Disc 1.

This is another great set of this series, and hopefully we'll get the fourth (and final) season of the series on DVD soon! Shout! Factory has done a better job with this series than Universal did with the first season (aside from the likely edited episode), and hopefully, the fourth season will be as nicely done as this set and the second season was. I really can't find anything at all to complain about with this set, which is a good thing. Fans of police dramas are sure to enjoy this, but even if you aren't a fan of such series, this series definitely has "crossover appeal" that any fan of classic TV can find enjoyable. But remember, all suspects are innocent until proven guilty.

(4/5 stars)

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

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Dragnet on TV.com


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

Detective series are, as it is made obvious with our many reviews of them, a big part of classic (and even contemporary) TV. In the late 60s and early 70s, Mike Connors starred as Joe Mannix, a detective on the streets of Southern California. The series was a hit and won many awards, including an Emmy Award for Gail Fisher, who played Mannix's secretary Peggy Fair, who did much more than just sit at a desk answering the phone. Here is our review of Mannix - The Fourth Season.

DVD Review - Mannix - The Fourth Season
by skees53

Mannix - The Fourth Season (CBS Home Entertainment, $49.98) collects all 24 episodes of the fourth (of eight) seasons of the popular detective drama in a six disc set. Mike Connors plays Joe Mannix, a private detective who always manages to get himself into tough situations (and often fights and even getting shot) and make it out on top. The series was created by Bruce Geller (also known for Mission: Impossible) for Desilu Productions (later, by this season, Paramount).

In "A Ticket to the Eclipse," one of Joe's Korean War buddies is out for revenge and has already killed two men... but nobody will take him seriously. Mannix is framed and forced to take a job for a gangster's widow in "One For the Lady." Mannix has to stay alive long enough to find a missing woman in "Figures in a Landscape." A prison guard is held hostage when a death row inmate dies in "The Lost Art of Dying." Peggy falls for an African premier who is the target of an assassination plot in "The World Between." In "Bang, Bang, You're Dead," Mannix investigates a hit-and-run attempt on a little girl that may be more than what it seems. A psychic predicts that Mannix is going to die soon in "Deja Vu," and she may not be too far off target!
An injury causes Mannix to lose his memory from that past 24 hours in "What Happened to Sunday?" at a crucial moment. A private detective may be the target of a murder in "With Intent to Kill." In "A Gathering of Ghosts," what seems to be an innocent college football reunion for Mannix turns out to be so much more. The season ends with "Overkill," where Mannix discovers that the psychotic who may have killed his friend may not have been responsible at all.

Runtimes for the episodes are as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "A Ticket to the Eclipse" (50:19)
2. "One for the Lady" (51:07)
3. "Time Out of Mind" (51:06)
4. "Figures in a Landscape" (51:07)

Disc 2:
5. "The Mouse that Died" (51:05)
6. "The Lost Art of Dying" (51:05)
7. "The Other Game in Town" (50:32)
8. "The World Between" (51:06)

Disc 3:
9. "Sunburst" (50:29)
10. "To Cage a Seagull" (50:29)
11. "Bang, Bang, You're Dead" (50:30)
12. "Deja Vu" (50:31)

Disc 4:
13. "Duet for Three" (50:33)
14. "Round Trip to Nowhere" (51:08)
15. "What Happened to Sunday?" (50:29)
16. "The Judas Touch" (50:29)

Disc 5:
17. "With Intent to Kill" (50:31)
18. "The Crime That Wasn't" (50:31)
19. "A Gathering of Ghosts" (50:31)
20. "A Day Filled With Shadows" (50:29)

Disc 6:
21. "Voice in the Dark" (50:26)
22. "The Color of Murder" (50:30)
23. "Shadow Play" (50:27)
24. "Overkill" (50:31)

Like just about every other CBS Home Entertainment DVD set, the set is packaged in a standard Viva pack, with a picture of Mannix on the cover. The back of the package has a picture of Mannix and Peggy, along with several episode snapshots. Inside the case, there is a listing of all of the episodes, along with original airdates and descriptions. Each disc contains four episodes. The disc artwork has the series logo on the standard gray background, but they got a LITTLE creative this time, by placing some "bullet holes" in the artwork.

The menus are fairly simple, but well-done. The main menu has the theme song playing in the background, along with various snapshots and video clips from the episodes. All of the episodes are listed on the main menu, along with a Play All option. There is also a Set Up option to turn on the English subtitles. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.

The video and audio quality on the set is great, though it is not quite as great as some of the other series from CBS from the same era. Still, that is a pretty high standard, as many of these CBS Home Entertainment series have been well-preserved, and this one has been as well, but it certainly has a bit of an "aged" look to it. The audio, presented in mono, is generally loud and clear without any major issues. Each episode contains English subtitles.

Unfortunately, there are no special features on the set at all. The first season had some interviews and commentaries from Mike Connors, and it would be nice to see more of those on future sets, although I don't really expect any.

This is a great set, even if it is a barebones set. This is actually my first time watching the series, and although I still am "learning" about the series and can't profess to be an expert on it, I have been impressed with what I've seen here. There are plenty of fans of the series out there, and they will not be disappointed with this set. It is, in a sense, standard 60s/70s detective drama fare, but there are many fans of that genre out there. Hopefully, we'll see the remaining four seasons (including the eighth season, which doesn't air in syndication) on DVD in the near future.

(4/5 stars)

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

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Mannix on TV.com


LOOKING AHEAD

We'll be back next week with more news and reviews, with reviews of Stingray - The Complete Series, Matlock - The Sixth Season, and more in the upcoming weeks. We've got a lot ahead! Until next time, keep it digital!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Saturday, February 17

The Middle - "The Setup" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Frankie is tasked with being at her mom Pat’s (Marsha Mason) beck and call when she has to stay for a few days at the Heck house after coming down with an ailment. Meanwhile, just when it looks like Sean is about to ask Sue out on a date, Sue nervously blurts out that maybe they should both try to set each other up on a date with one of their friends; and Axl and Brick ponder what it is exactly that Mike does at the quarry.

The Middle - "Eyes Wide Open" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Axl heads to Chicago to visit Hutch for the weekend but discovers that his friend, who has his own apartment and a job, is now acting more like a responsible adult than the free-spirited college student he once knew. Meanwhile, Sue’s excitement over having the apartment to herself over the weekend turns to horror when she is unable to sleep after watching “Silence of the Lambs”; and Brick enlists Frankie and Mike’s aid to help convince Lilah, a new student who doesn’t know anyone at school yet, that she and Brick would make a cute couple.

black-ish - "Please Don't Feed the Animals" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Bow keeps in touch with Dre’s incarcerated godbrother, Omar, but when they find out he is being released from prison, Omar’s future sparks debate. Meanwhile, Ruby lets it slip to the kids that she’s been to jail and they push her to tell them more secrets from her past.

black-ish - "Charity Case" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Dre is chosen to lead Stevens & Lido’s new charity campaign which helps people give back to their community. When Bow advises Dre that there is more to giving back than cutting checks, he decides to donate some of his clothes to a man in need. Meanwhile, Junior fails his driving test, so Ruby offers to chaperone a trip with him and the twins on an informative outing.

The Thundermans - "Rhythm n' Shoes " (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Determined to meet a famous pop singer visiting Hiddenville High, Phoebe and Max devise elaborate schemes to insert themselves into her performance that quickly lead to disastrous results.

Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn - "The Harper Quad-Jobbers" (Nickelodeon, 8:30PM ET/PT)
The quads try to earn money for a pool so that their house can be the place everyone wants to hang out at during the summer.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 12)

Friday, February 16

  • Sam Rockwell (F Is for Family) - Watch Sam on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Laura Benanti (The Detour/Go On/Starved) - Laura appears on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Tiffani Thiessen (Alexa & Katie/Good Morning, Miami/Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The College Years) - Tiffani chats on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For Your Love) - Holly and her husband Rodney talk about the Hallmark Channel original series Meet the Peetes on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Becki Newton (Divorce/Weird Loners/The Goodwin Games/How I Met Your Mother) - Becki chats about Divorce on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Lori Loughlin (Fuller House/Hudson Street/Full House) - Lori appears on Good Day New York on WNYW-Fox5 in New York sometime between 7-10am.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (November/December/January)

The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Third Season Living Single - The Complete Third Season Alice - The Complete Sixth Season One Day at a Time - The Complete Series Fuller House - The Complete Second Season

11/07 - American Dad! - Volume 12
11/07 - Family Guy - Season Fifteen
11/07 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Third Season
11/14 - D.C. Follies - The Complete Series
11/21 - Living Single - The Complete Third Season
11/24 - Grandfathered - Season 1
12/05 - Alice - The Complete Sixth Season
12/05 - One Day at a Time - The Complete Series
12/05 - The Simpsons - The Eighteenth Season
12/05 - South Park - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5
12/12 - Fuller House - The Complete Second Season
12/19 - South Park - The Complete Sixth Season (Blu-ray) / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11
01/09 - Girlfriends - The Complete Series
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest