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 (December/January)

American Dad! - Volume 11 Newhart - The Complete Seventh Season I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized) The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two Hooperman - Season One

12/06 - Family Guy - Season Fourteen
12/13 - American Dad! - Volume 11
12/13 - Newhart - The Complete Seventh 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)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, January 24

The Middle - "A Tough Pill to Swallow" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When a devastated Sue discovers that she has been kicked out of college because she forgot to renew her financial aid, Mike tries to come to her rescue and convince a tough college bursar to reinstate her. Meanwhile, having only taken oral liquid medication all of his life, a frustrated Frankie does everything in her power to teach Brick how to swallow a pill when he gets an ear infection; and Hutch becomes angry with Axl after he keeps driving the Winnebago without permission to Orson to visit new girlfriend April – leaving Hutch without any means of transportation to get to class.

American Housewife - "Art Show" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Anna-Kat draws a super plus-sized portrait of Katie for the school art show, Katie sets out to retrieve it by any means necessary. Meanwhile, with Katie away, Doris is left in charge of Oliver and Taylor. She’s determined to whip them into shape with her Tiger Mom skills, but she may have met her match.

Fresh Off the Boat - "Coming From America" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Louis flies the entire family to Taiwan in an effort to make things right with Gene (Ken Jeong). Upon meeting Gene’s beautiful fiancĂ©, Margaret, and seeing the wonderful life he has built for himself, Louis questions whether his life in Orlando is just as great as it could be in Taiwan. Meanwhile, Jessica takes Eddie, Emery and Evan to her favorite childhood locales, including Dihua Street and Shilin Night Market.

The Real O'Neals - "The Real Match" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Jimmy recruits a reluctant Kenny to join his wrestling team for a one-time match, a surprise victory gives him the confidence to join the team full time to become the first, openly gay athlete at St. Barklays. Kenny’s newfound stardom makes Jimmy feel a bit replaced, but when an opponent refuses to wrestle his brother, Jimmy puts his feelings aside and rallies the team around Kenny. Meanwhile, Pat injures his back trying to help Eileen prepare for a weekend getaway, but things only get worse when she tries to be the perfect caregiver to impress VP Murray but fails miserably.

New Girl - "The Hike" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
While on a day hike, Jess and Robby (guest star Nelson Franklin) discover something unexpected about their relationship. Also, Winston throws a surprise welcome home party for Aly (guest star Nasim Pedrad). Meanwhile, Schmidt and Cece fail to impress their new neighbors.

The Mick - "The Master" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
All hell breaks loose, as the kids fight over who will take the master bedroom. Also, Mickey pursues a wealthy businessman who quickly discovers that she is not the prize he thought she was.

Teachers - "Stranger Danger" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
There’s a trespasser at Fillmore and a new security guard is hired. Ms. Snap and Ms. Bennigan hold a “Women Empowering Women” workshop, Mrs. Adler takes stranger danger too far, and Ms. Watson purchases a male safety dummy.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 23)

Tuesday, January 24

  • Retta (Parks and Recreation) - Catch Retta on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. She will also be on the AOL Build Show at 3pm.
  • Claudia O'Doherty (Love) - Claudia is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) - John talks about Patriots Day on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Yvette Nicole Brown (The Odd Couple/Community) - Yvette visits Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Jennifer Esposito (Samantha Who?/Spin City) - Jennifer appears on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. She will also be on the AOL Build Show at 1pm.
  • Justina Machado (One Day at a Time) - Justina talks about the new Netflix series One Day at a Time on the AOL Build Show at 12pm.