Saturday, February 26, 2011

Digital Digest: Jabberjaw - The Complete Series DVD Review

Welcome to Digital Digest, your weekly dose of all things related to home media! Charlie Sheen calls this weekly feature "drivel... pukefest that everyone worships" (OK, not really), but this week isn't the most exciting week of news... but we're here anyway! This week, in addition to our regular news, we've got a review of Jabberjaw - The Complete Series. Let's get going!


DIGITAL NEWS

News in the world of DVDs has been slow this week, but we do have an announcement for American Dad - Volume 6. Scheduled to be released on April 19, the three disc set will contain 18 episodes at a $39.98 MSRP, along with plenty of commentaries.

We now step into the non-physical realm of home media and into Amazon.com. Amazon Prime has been available for some time now, but there is now a new feature included with this that is certain to please movie (and especially) TV fans everywhere: the ability to watch programs on-demand for free with your paid annual subscription. According to the press release,
Movies and TV shows included with an Amazon Prime membership can be watched instantly on Macs, PCs and nearly 200 models of Internet-connected TVs, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes that are compatible with Amazon Instant Video. The selection of videos available for instant streaming currently includes movies, such as "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" trilogy, "Amadeus," "Syriana," and "Chariots of Fire," noted documentaries such as "Food Inc.," "March of the Penguins" and "Ken Burns' National Parks," plus TV shows, such as "Doctor Who," "Farscape," "Fawlty Towers" and children's shows, such as "Arthur," "Caillou," "Super Why!" and "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."
It seems to be a bit lacking on the sitcom front of now, but if you have Netflix, there is even better news! With just a basic $7.99 streaming-only subscription, you can get tons of movies and TV series, but a new deal with CBS Corporation means that you'll be able to watch many of your favorite TV series from the CBS library, including many sitcoms. According to the press release:
Content covered under the new deal includes the long-running drama, "Medium" and the summer season favorite, "Flashpoint." Also covered under the agreement are episodes from some of television's most iconic franchises. Full seasons of sitcom greats "Frasier," "Family Ties" and "Cheers" will be streaming instantly from Netflix. Episodes from the original "Hawaii Five-0" are included in the package, as are episodes from all generations of the definitive sci-fi series, "Star Trek," and the cult favorite, "Twin Peaks." Installments of '60s classics, "The Twilight Zone" and "The Andy Griffith Show," will be available as well.
Full seasons of the series sounds very promising, hopefully these will extend beyond just what is available to own on DVD already.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (March 1) is a very disappointing day for releases, with the only release of note being Leave it to Beaver - Season Six. We will have a review of this set posted soon on our Main DVD Reviews Page.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

There are many obscure Hanna-Barbera series out there, and Warner Archive has been bringing us many of these as manufacture-on-demand titles over the past few months. We brought you a review of Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch - The Complete Series last week, and this week, we have a review of another series, Jabberjaw, a series about a 15-foot tall talking shark from the future who plays in a rock-and-roll band and also manages to find time on the side to solve crimes with his teenage rock group. It's a series that only Saturday morning TV in the 1970s could have brought you, and now all 18 episodes are available on DVD in Jabberjaw - The Complete Series.

DVD Review: Jabberjaw - The Complete Series
by Greg Brobeck

Jabberjaw - The Complete Series (Warner Archive, $29.95) Wowee-wow-wow-wow! Warner Archive has released all 16 episodes of Jabberjaw in a four-disc set. Jabberjaw is one of many Scooby-Doo clones that came along in the 1970s, each featuring a group of "meddling teenagers" and some sort of talking animal or other inanimate object. This time, the teenagers are a rock group called "The Neptunes" who live underwater with their talking 15-foot white shark named Jabberjaw (whose voice and mannerisms resemble Curly of The Three Stooges) in the year 2076. The Neptunes must thwart evil villains while traveling their undersea civilization performing concerts. Somehow or another, Jabberjaw always manages to save the day. Each show also features one or two songs sung by the Neptune.
If you ask me, the show is a bit too silly. The plots tend to go a little on the ridiculous side, and Jabberjaw himself can be a bit annoying at times. Also annoying is the 1970s cartoon laugh track which seems to play at inappropriate times.

Jabberjaw lasted only one short season on ABC from 1976 to 1977, but did air in Sunday morning reruns for another season. Among the notable episodes in this set: in the premiere, "Dr. Lo Has Got to Go," the gang must keep the evil Dr. Lo from unleashing his Gorgon onto the city of Aquahama. In "There's No Place Like Outer Space," the gang must stop an alien invasion. And in "The Bermuda Triangle Tangle," the gang is taken captive after traveling through the Bermuda Triangle.

The set is from Warner Archive and is, therefore, a manufacture-on-demand set on DVD-R's. There's a small chance the discs won't play on certain DVD players or drives, but I had no problem with any of the discs. The 16 episodes seem to be uncut, but run a little fast and may be sourced from overseas prints sped up to the PAL standard. I don't think anything is edited from the shows, but I could be wrong. Runtimes from all the episodes are below:

Disc 1:
1. Dr. Lo Has Got to Go (21:40)
2. There's No Place Like Outer Space (20:54)
3. Atlantis Get Lost (20:49)
4. Run, Jabber, Run (20:48)

Disc 2:
5. The Sourpuss Octopus (20:51)
6. Hang On to Your Hat, Jabber (20:49)
7. The Great White Shark Switch (20:53)
8. Claim-Jumped Jabber (20:45)

Disc 3:
9. Ali Jabber and the Secret Thieves (20:48)
10. Help, Help, It's the Phantom of the Kelp (20:44)
11. The Helpin' the Sculpin (20:45)
12. The Bermuda Triangle Tangle (20:44)

Disc 4:
13. Malice in Aqualand (20:48)
14. The Fast Paced Chase Race (20:47)
15. The Pirhana Plot (20:51)
16. There's No Heel like El Eel (20:48)

The discs are stored in a clear multi-disc Amaray case, with moving pages holding the discs. These are the cases that are of a thinner and cheaper plastic, but my set seems to be holding up. The front cover features a shot of all the characters and the Jabberjaw logo, along with "Hanna Barbera Classic Collection." Disc artwork features a shot of Jabberjaw and a listing of which episodes can be found on the disc.

We're treated to another actual menu screen as opposed to a generic one like have been on some previous Warner Archive sets. The menu is the title card from the Jabberjaw opening credits, and you can choose Play All, or an episode number. Episode titles are not provided on the menu, though they are listed on the discs themselves, it's kind of inconvenient to either have to look at the disc and know which number you want to watch beforehand, or to have to remove the disc to figure out which show you want to watch. There are no closed captions or subtitles. Chapter marks are placed at the 10 and 20 minute marks within the episodes. I don't find this very useful, and think the chapter marks would have been better placed at commercial breaks.

Video and audio quality are mostly good. As this is a MOD set, no remastering work was done. As many of the episodes are sped up overseas prints, the video at times is very bad. Audio mixing doesn't seem like it's always quite right. Music sometimes seems louder than dialogue or the lyrics being sung.
Again, no special features. None of the Hanna-Barbera sets released through the Warner Archive have had any, so this should come as no surprise.

Overall, Jabberjaw is an OK show, but definitely one of its time. I'm not a huge fan of Scooby-Doo clones, and this one really tends to go on the ridiculous side, but if you like this sort of show, or if you're a huge Hanna-Barbera fan, I can definitely recommend this set. If not, then you might be better off skipping it. The set does have its problems, not the least of which being the episode length issues. Jabber up!

(4/5 stars)

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

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Main DVD Reviews Page
Jabberjaw TV.com page


LOOKING AHEAD

Hopefully better weeks are ahead, but we've been saying that for a while and the studios have been disappointing us! Frankly, the news has been slow because of "the turds who are currently in place... can you imagine going back into the sludge-pit with those knuckleheads at this point? It would go bad quickly." (OK, I promise, no more Charlie Sheen next week). We will go a little north of the border with a review of an upcoming release of The Red Green Show soon, and hopefully have more feature stories for you. Until then, keep it digital!


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July/August)

Father Knows Best - Season Six Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season Alice - The Complete Fifth Season Rhoda - Season Four Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four

06/13 - The Andy Griffith Show - Return to Mayberry
06/13 - That's My Mama - The Complete Series
06/20 - Workaholics - The Final (Seventh) Season
06/20 - Workaholics - The Complete Series
06/27 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Third Season
07/04 - Superstore - Season Two
07/18 - Father Knows Best - Season Six
07/25 - Diff'ernt Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season
07/25 - Girls - The Final (Sixth) Season (Blu-ray)
08/01 - Alice - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
08/01 - Crashing - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
08/15 - Rhoda - Season Four
08/22 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four
08/29 - Will & Grace - Season One (Universal)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, August 24

The Big Bang Theory - "The Separation Agitation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Howard and Bernadette have a hard time leaving Halley in day care when Bernadette returns to work. Also, Bert (Brian Posehn) introduces the gang to his new girlfriend, Rebecca (April Bowlby).

Kevin Can Wait - "Quiet Diet" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Donna says she’ll send Kevin to the Mets Fantasy Camp if he lowers his cholesterol, Chale secretly coaches Kevin through a juice cleanse.

Great News - "The Red Door" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Carol (Andrea Martin) is excited when Chuck (John Michael Higgins) asks her to wait for the cable guy at his townhouse, until Chuck gives an ominous warning that tests her curiosity. Meanwhile, Portia's (Nicole Richie) phone gets hacked and Katie (Briga Heelan) struggles not to read her private emails.

The Guest Book - "Story Six" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Federal agent Trina books the mountain cabin to protect valuable witness Blake, but Blake has his own ideas on how to escape the people who are after him.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 21)

Thursday, August 24

  • Jim Gaffigan (The Jim Gaffigan Show/My Boys/Welcome to New York) - Catch Jim on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Laura Linney (The Big C) - Laura appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Lamorne Morris (New Girl) - Lamorne is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Jane Lynch (Angel from Hell) - Jane stops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Timothy Simons (Veep) - Timothy visits Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Will Arnett (Arrested Development/The Millers/Up All Night/Running Wilde) - Will drops by LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Kristen Bell (The Good Place) - Kristen appears on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) - Tig is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kevin James (Kevin Can Wait/The King of Queens) - Kevin appears on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Miriam Shorr and Peter Hermann (Younger) - Miriam and Peter are guests on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • John Corbett (Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll/United States of Tara/Lucky) - John talks about All Saints on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.