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 (April/May/June)

Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season Father Knows Best - Season Five The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Second Season ALF - The Complete DVD Collection The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Series

04/04 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season
04/11 - Father Knows Best - Season Five
04/11 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Third Season
04/11 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/11 - Veep - The Complete Fifth Season
05/02 - Red, White and Blue Collar Sitcoms - Make TV Great Again
05/09 - ALF - The Complete DVD Collection
05/09 - Divorce - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
05/09 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Second Season
05/16 - The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Series
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
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, June 25

Bob's Burgers - "Thelma & Louise Except Thelma Is Linda" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After Louise gets in trouble at school, Linda is forced to meet with Mr. Frond (guest voice David Herman) and potentially could lose her hard-earned position as the Wagstaff bake sale leader. When she finds out that her daughter was actually trying to help another student, Linda is torn between following school policy or her own moral code. Don’t miss a dose of mother-daughter drama.

The Last Man on Earth - "If You're Happy and You Know It" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Carol is bummed about Gail’s absence, so Tandy tries to cheer her up with the honeymoon vacation they never had. Meanwhile, Lewis finds new success with his pursuits in aviation and Melissa is contained.

The Simpsons - "Caper Chase" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Disappointed in Yale, Mr. Burns decides to start his own for-profit university and Homer is hired.

Family Guy - "Gronkowsbees" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Rob Gronkowski, of the New England Patriots, moves into the house behind the Griffins, and the guys enjoy partying with him until his antics become overwhelming. Meanwhile, Stewie begins beekeeping and gives his bees steroids to produce more honey, but instead they become aggressive.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of June 19)

Friday, June 23

  • Kevin Hart (The Big House/Undeclared) - Watch Kevin on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Ali Wentworth (Nightcap) - Ali is a guest on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • John Mulaney (Mulaney) - John appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Whitney Cummings (Whitney) - Whitney is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) - Kumail chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Paul Shaffer (A Year at the Top) - Paul guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Laura Prepon (Are You There, Chelsea?/That '70s Show) - Laura appears on a repeat of LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Michael Strahan (Brothers) - Michael plays Pyramid on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Zoe Perry and Iain Armitage (Young Sheldon) - Zoe and Iain talk about their upcoming CBS sitcom Young Sheldon on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Melora Hardin (The Office/Wedding Band) - Melora talks about Freeform's The Bold Type on the AOL Build Show at 1pm and on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Alfonso Ribeiro (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/In the House/Silver Spoons) - Alfonso guest co-hosts Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt/The Office) - Ellie is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Maggie Lawson (Angel from Hell/Back in the Game/Crumbs/It's All Relative/Inside Schwartz) - Maggie talks about Hallmark Channel's original movie My Favorite Wedding on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Rhys Darby (Wrecked/Flight of the Conchords) - Rhys talks about Wrecked on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Damon Wayans, Jr. (New Girl/Happy Endings) - Damon will be on PIX11 Morning News on WPIX in New York at 8:50am.