Saturday, February 12, 2011

Digital Digest: Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends -100% Complete Bull DVD Review; The Fugitive - The Fourth and Final Season, Volume Two DVD Review

Welcome to our "big thaw" edition of Digital Digest! We're saying "big thaw" because not only is the snow and ice is starting to melt in many places (but it probably isn't gone for good), but also because our "big freeze" of not being able to bring you much news has come to an end, at least somewhat (though it still isn't a major news week, sadly). Yes, we actually have new news to share this week! And we've got double reviews for you this week, with reviews of Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends - 100% Complete Bull: The Complete Series and The Fugitive - The Fourth and Final Season, Volume Two. Let's get started!

DIGITAL NEWS

We've been covering scheduled releases of current on-going series on TV (it seems they are being announced earlier and earlier all the time), and it should be no surprise that the current season of the NBC series Community is naturally on the way. As far as "when," we'll just say that is just going to be an unannounced pop quiz for the time being (though I'd bet on September), but you can already pre-order Community - The Complete Second Season from amazon.com. It comes at a $39.99 MSRP.

You'll want to circle your calendar for May 3, because it looks like it is going to be a busy day for Lionsgate in the DVD game. Two of the series that they have already been releasing will see new seasons released on that date, including Boy Meets World - The Complete Fifth Season and According to Jim - The Complete Third Season. Both will come at a $29.98 MSRP. But that isn't all Lionsgate has in store for May 3. They also have a series debuting on DVD for the first time... The PJ's! Few details are known at this time, but you can already pre-order The PJ's - Season 1 from amazon.com. It comes at a $19.98 MSRP.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

There is only one sitcom set for release on Tuesday (February 15), and that is Shout! Factory's release of Spin City - Season Four. The final season of the series to star Michael J. Fox comes at a $39.97 MSRP. Unfortunately, we haven't received a review copy of this set, at least not yet. There are two other releases of note on Tuesday, including The Fugitive - The Fourth and Final Season, Volume 2 and The Twilight Zone - Season Three (Blu-ray Disc). We have a review of The Fugitive in today's Digital Digest.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

Who would have thought that a flying squirrel named Rocky and his dim-witted moose friend Bullwinkle could make a splash in popular culture? That's exactly what happened with the 1960s animated series featuring the two characters, which has run under various different names over the past five decades. Originally airing on ABC in 1959 as Rocky and His Friends, and undergoing many different title changes throughout the original run and syndication, the story stays the same: it's a squirrel and a moose doing their part to take down the evil in the world, particularly the evil from Boris and Natasha. It was even made into a feature film in 2000, although it was a total flop at the box office. Come take a trip back to Frostbite Falls by reading our review of Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends - 100% Complete Bull: The Complete Series.

DVD Review: Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends - 100% Complete Bull: The Complete Series
by Greg Brobeck

Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends - 100% Complete Bull: The Complete Series (Classic Media, $99.99) features all 163 episodes of the long fondly remembered adventures of Moose and Squirrel and all of the supporting segments. The show debuted on ABC in 1959 as Rocky and His Friends and eventually moved to NBC as The Bullwinkle Show. The show is well remembered for its cold-war era comedy, with Rocky and Bullwinkle getting in one scrape after another, constantly being pursued by the "no-goodniks" Boris and Natasha.

Some great and hilarious Rocky and Bullwinkle storylines (which were broken up into multiple chapters) include "Jet Fuel Formula" in which our intrepid heroes accidentally discover that Bullwinkle's granny's cake recipe is in fact a powerful jet fuel, leading to several trips to the moon and lots of chasing by bad guys. Another favorite is "Wossamatta U" in which Bullwinkle somehow, hilariously, ends up being a college football star.
Other supporting segments include "Fractured Fairy Tales," wacky versions of classic fairy tales; "Aesop and Son," which are wacky versions of fables; "Peabody's Improbable History" in which a genius dog takes his boy back in time in the WABAC machine to learn mixed up history lessons; "Dudley Do-Right" about a good-intentioned but extremely dumb Canadian Mountie; "Bullwinkle's Corner" in which the dumb moose attempts to recite poetry; and "Mr. Know-it-All" in which Bullwinkle tries (usually unsuccessfully) to impart some sort of wisdom.

I grew up watching reruns on Nickelodeon and even though some of the jokes went over my head, I still got caught up in the hilarity and the adventure. And now that I'm older, more of the jokes make sense, and it's like watching them for the first time all over again. This set includes the entire series including the never before released fifth season (which will be released individually on March 29).
Every short from every program segment is included in this set. The first four seasons' discs are identical to the ones that were released individually (including those by now defunct company Sony Wonder.) With the exception of the Rocky and Bullwinkle segments themselves, they are not, however in original broadcast order. The "Fractured Fairy Tales" and "Dudley Do-Right" shorts for example are in completely random order from that they were originally broadcast. Every short is present however, some twice as some were rerun during their original broadcasts.

It's great that this entire series is finally available for purchase in any format. A few alterations have been made because of music and/or licensing issues. The main title for each episode has been changed to read Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends instead of Rocky and His Friends or The Bullwinkle Show and second season music is used for the segment openings in each episode. In the liner notes for one of the individual sets it's claimed that this was at the request of the late creator Jay Ward, but it many suspect music licensing issues instead.
Because of the large number of discs and episodes in this set, the disc-by-disc breakdown here is a bit different. Because of the large number of segments, I'm only listing which Rocky and Bullwinkle stories are on each discs, along with the location of bonus features. Each episode runs about 23 minutes.

Season 1 Disc 1:
"Jet Fuel Formula" Parts 1-14

Season 1 Disc 2:
"Jet Fuel Formula" Parts 15-28

Season 1 Disc 3:
"Jet Fuel Formula" Parts 29-40
"Box Top Robbery" Parts 1-2

Season 1 Disc 4:
"Box Top Robbery" Parts 3-12
Bonus Features:
"Dear Bullwinkle" puppet segments (7:12)
Classic TV Promo Spots (1:52)
Rocky & Bullwinkle Savings Stamp Club (5:39)
Sneak Peak - Season 2 (7:24)
Boris Badenov Master of Disguise (1:06)

Season 2 Disc 1A:
"Upsidasium" Parts 1-12

Season 2 Disc 1B:
"Upsidasium" Parts 13-26

Season 2 Disc 2A:
"Upsidasium" Parts 27-36
"Metal Munching Moon Mice" Parts 1-2

Season 2 Disc 2B:
"Metal Munching Moon Mice" Parts 3-16

Season 2 Disc 3A:
"Greenpernt Oogle" Parts 1-12
"Rue Brittania" Parts 1-2

Season 2 Disc 3B:
"Rue Brittania" Parts 3-8
"Buried Treasure" Parts 1-8

Season 2 Disc 4A:
"Buried Treasure" Parts 9-14
"Last Angry Moose" Parts 1-4
"Whaling Whale" Parts 1-4

Season 2 Disc 4B:
"Whaling Whale" Parts 5-14
Bonus Features:
Classic TV Commercials (2:17)
June Foray Interview (9:29)
Sneak Peak - Season 3 (3:54)
Moosecalls: The Best of Bullwinkle Sings (2:36)

Season 3 Disc 1:
"Missouri Mish Mash" Parts 1-18

Season 3 Disc 2:
"Missouri Mish Mash" Parts 19-26
"Lazy Jay Ranch" Parts 1-10

Season 3 Disc 3:
"Lazy Jay Ranch" Parts 11-18
"The Three Moosketeers" Parts 1-8
"Topsy Turvy World" Parts 1-2

Season 3 Disc 4:
"Topsy Turvy World" Parts 3-14
Bonus Features:
Bullwinkle Puppet Intros (6:34)
The Best of Bullwinkle Follies (2:06)
Sneak Peak - Season 4 (3:54)

Season 4 Disc 1:
"Painting Theft" Parts 1-6
"Guns of Abalone" Parts 1-4
"Treasure of Monte Zoom" Parts 1-8

Season 4 Disc 2:
"Goof Gas Attack" Parts 1-8
"Banana Formula" Parts 1-12

Season 5 Disc 1:
"Bumbling Brothers Circus" Parts 1-10
"Mucho Loma" Parts 1-6
"Pottsylvania Creeper" Parts 1-2

Season 5 Disc 2:
"Pottsylvania Creeper" Parts 3-6
"Moosylvania" Parts 1-4
"Ruby Yacht" Parts 1-6
"Bull's Testimonial Dinner" Parts 1-4

Season 5 Disc 3:
"Bull's Testimonial Dinner" Parts 3-6
"The Weather Lady" Parts 1-6
"Louse on 92nd Street" Parts 1-6
"Wossamatta U" Parts 1-4

Season 5 Disc 4:
"Wossamatta U" Parts 5-12
"Moosylvania Saved" Parts 1-4
Bonus Features:
Goof Gas Attack Outtake (8:07)

The packaging is nice, but without extreme care, can cause some damage to discs. The set comes in a cardboard box with Rocky and Bullwinkle's pictures on the outside with the words "100% Complete Bull" but as you look around to the side and back of the box, you see that the word continues with the letters "winkle." Another great tongue-in-cheek joke. The box opens to reveal first a bonus gift: a replica of a an "Exceptional Adequacy Award" ribbon that was sent to actual Bullwinkle fan club members during the original run of the show.
Next is the "Frostbite Falls Field Guide," a 70-page book detailing the history of the show, with tons of photos and replicas of fan club memorabilia. It also includes a breakdown of what is on what disc. The discs themselves come in a stylish book design. The pages turn to reveal disc contents. The discs themselves pull out of the sides of the pages and are quite a tight fit. This is the one complaint I have with this set. If great care is not taken pulling out and replacing the discs, they can easily become scratched. As with the individual season releases, seasons 1, and 3-5 are on single sided discs, and season 2 is on double sided discs.

Disc menus vary from season to season, but are very similar. The main menu features animated antics from one or more of the characters with Play All, Select Show, and Audio Setup options. Choosing Select Show then takes you to a list of the episodes on the set (just a list of numbers). Upon choosing one of those, you're taken to a chapter menu where you can choose to either watch the entire show or just one of the individual segments. Chapter marks are placed in between each segment.

The video and audio have been painstakingly restored and look amazing. Colors are vibrant and the audio is crisp and clear. Each episode, however, is briefly bugged for a couple seconds with an "R&B" logo in the corner. This is a bit annoying for fans, but as many of these shows have lapsed into the public domain, I suppose the makers of this set are trying to protect these restored versions. Audio is available in English or Spanish mono for each episode. There are unfortunately no subtitles or closed captions.

The set features a wealth of special features. Season one has a handful of Bullwinkle puppet segments from original broadcasts, some original commercials featuring the cast, a special "Savings Stamp Club" short, and a sneak peak at the next season. Season two includes more original commercials, an interview with June Foray- the voice of Rocky, and "Moosecalls: the Best of Bullwinkle Sings." Season three's bonus features include more Bullwinkle puppet introductions, a best-of clip feature, and a peek at the next season. The season four discs do not include any features. And finally, the season 5 bonus feature, which is new to this set, is a lengthy outtake reel from the episode "Goof Gas Attack." This is hilarious to listen to and provides a great peek into the behind the scenes work that went into producing this great series.

This is an amazing set for fans of Rocky and Bullwinkle. If you didn't buy any of the individual seasons as they were being released, I can wholeheartedly recommend buying this set. The only complaint I have is the tight-fitting nature of the discs, but with extra care, you can keep them from being scratched. However, I cannot recommend buying this set if you have been buying the individual seasons. There is not enough new content to warrant a double dip and the fifth season is going to be released individually.

(4.5/5 stars)

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

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show TV.com page


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

The Fugitive - The Fourth and Final Season, Volume Two
by skees53

Richard Kimble (David Janssen) is still on the run from the law after being able to escape death row from his wrongful conviction of killing his wife, but he can't just run forever. He is still going to help people out and take odd jobs along the way, but it is time for Kimble to finally receive appropriate justice for his wrongful conviction and to start living a normal life that isn't on the run. Could the end of the fourth and final season be that time? Let's hope that happens in The Fugitive - The Fourth and Final Season, Volume Two.


The Fugitive - The Fourth and Final Season, Volume Two (CBS Home Entertainment, $39.98) brings us the end Richard Kimble's (David Janssen) running and quest to prove that he is not guilty of killing his wife. The first 15 episodes of the season were previously released in November, and the 15 episodes that are presented on this set are where we finally get to see his four year journey come to an end--hopefully in a way that is favorable to him.

If you don't know the story of the series, starting here may be confusing, so this is a good time to get you caught up (although it is strongly advised that you watch at least the first season of the series to get here, because it'll make little sense otherwise). Richard Kimble, a former physician, was accused of killing his wife some years ago, and in the pilot episode of the series, he was riding on a train to make his way from his housing location in prison to go to his own execution. But luck would strike in the most disastrous way when the train derailed and he was able to escape just minutes before he was to be put to death. Now, with his newly found freedom, he has the ability to race against time to prove that he did not kill his own wife. But it is no easy task, because he has to stay on the run and help others along the way (and providing that help puts him in danger as well).

This set begins with "The Other Side of the Coin," where Kimball becomes involved when the sheriff's son plans to rob the grocery store where Kimball is working. A detective discovers who Kimble really is (while looking for somebody else) in "The One That Got Away." Kimble becomes part of a blackmail scheme when a building contractor is held responsible for the deaths of three children in "Concrete Evidence." In "The Breaking of the Habit," Kimble could be on the verge of finding the one-armed man with the help of Sister Veronica, that is until a delinquent student disrupts the plan. The one-armed man is talking in his sleep in "The Ivy Maze," and what he says may just lead to the beginning of the end for Kimble's run from the law. In "Goodbye My Love," Kimble may just be framed for yet another murder he didn't commit. Kimble and a racist murder manage to escape while being transported to a court arraignment in "Passage to Helena."
In "Death of a Very Small Killer," Kimble's recovery from pneumonia may turn into yet another blackmail scheme from the doctor. Kimble becomes involved with a radio dispatcher who happens to be a convicted embezzlement on a work-release program in "The Walls of Night." Kimble manages to run from the law yet again and into the mountains in "The Shattered Silence." Finally, the running is about to come to an end--except Kimble only has 24 hours now to clear his name--in the two part final episode, "The Judgment."

There is no shortage of guest stars in this set, which include Joseph Campanella, Beau Bridges, Anne Francis, Charles Bronson, Harold Gould, Eileen Heckart, Jack Lord, and Lloyd Haynes, among many others.

The episodes appear to be unedited, with runtimes as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "The Other Side of the Coin" (51:35)
2. "The One That Got Away" (51:36)
3. "Concrete Evidence" (51:36)
4. "The Breaking of the Habit" (51:34)

Disc 2:
5. "There Goes the Ball Game" (51:34)
6. "The Ivy Maze" (51:36)
7. "Goodbye My Love" (51:33)
8. "Passage to Heaven" (51:38)

Disc 3:
9. "The Savage Street" (51:36)
10. "Death of a Very Small Killer" (51:37)
11. "Dossier on a Diplomat" (51:35)
12. "The Walls of Night" (50:34)

Disc 4:
13. "The Shattered Silence" (51:35)
14. "The Judgment (Part 1)" (51:35)
15. "The Judgment (Part 2)" (51:24)

One thing that should be noted about the final episode is that it contains the voice tag that says "Tuesday, September 5th: the day the running stopped" as opposed to the original "Tuesday, August 29th: the day the running stopped" at the end. There is some dispute as to which is the "correct" version, as the episode aired a week later on some ABC affiliates (hence the voice tag was changed). Still, this is a very minor detail.

The set comes packaged in a Viva pack with just a single picture of Dr. Kimble on the cover. There are some episode snapshots on the back of the package, along with information about the season. The set contains four discs (standard no-artwork CBS Home Entertainment style), and there are four episodes on each disc, except for Disc 4, which only contains three episodes. There are airdates and descriptions for each episode inside the case.

The menus are very basic, with just a list of episodes (along with a Play All option and a Set Up option to run English subtitles) on each disc and a different snapshot of Kimble on each disc. Once you select an episode, it plays immediately, although there are plenty of chapters placed throughout the episode.

Like most CBS Home Entertainment products, the video and audio quality is excellent. As mentioned in the previous review of this series, the change to color for this season does allow a few minor imperfections to stand out a bit more, but it really isn't bad at all. The Dolby Digital mono audio is perfectly loud and clear. And there are English subtitles on each episode.

Disc 4 contains a single special feature, "Composer Dominic Frontiere: The Color of Music" (11:38), which is more or less just a continuation of the "Composer Dominic Frontiere: A Season of Change" featurette found on Volume 1. Frontiere again talks about the series, this time focusing a bit more on the musical background of the series. It is disappointing that there couldn't be more as far as special features, but it is good to see this, at least.

I've grown from somebody who thought this series was awful to somebody who has come to love this series in a very short time, and it really is one of those things that will reel you in and keep you in once you get started. But if you don't know the backstory (particularly the first season), the series will be a bit confusing. So you wouldn't want to start watching the series here, although this season is ESSENTIAL for anybody watching the series as it is the climactic end to the whole story. Fans of the series will definitely appreciate this set (it is perhaps the best one of the series), and fans of other similar shows are sure to enjoy this series. It is nice that it has come to an end on DVD and fans can finally see the entire story from beginning to end.

(4/5 stars)

To purchase this DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
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Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
The Fugitive on TV.com


LOOKING AHEAD

Hopefully, this week is just the beginning of weeks of news... we hate this slow down as much as you do! But we'll be here each and every week to bring you any news that we have, no matter what. We're finally going to get into some more feature stories by the end of the month, so be sure to come back for that. Until then, 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

Friday, December 2

Last Man Standing - "Precious Snowflakes" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Mandy chooses local-celebrity Mike as the speaker for her business school’s graduation. After learning that the school requires his speech to be PC and micro-agression free, Mike decides whether or not to play by the rules. Meanwhile, Eve’s friend Cammy (Sarah Gilman) is home from college, bragging about how fantastic her new life has been, leaving Eve feeling slightly fruitless and discouraged.

Dr. Ken - "D.K's New Girlfriend" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When D.K. overhears Allison complain about him overstaying his welcome, he decides to move in with his girlfriend of three weeks. Meanwhile, Pat wants Dave to pretend he’s his adopted son; and Allison is convinced Molly wants to talk about something when she suggests they do a spa day, but the tables turn when Molly is the one doling out the advice.

I Love Lucy - "I Love Lucy Christmas Special" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The I LOVE LUCY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL features “The Christmas Episode” and the newly colorized “Lucy Gets in Pictures.” Both were colorized with a vintage look, a nod to the 1950s period in which the shows were filmed. The main titles and end credits of the two episodes are seamlessly combined into one set at the beginning and end of the hour, with no interruption between the episodes.

“The Christmas Episode” finds the Ricardos and Mertzes decorating Lucy and Ricky’s Christmas tree and reminiscing about how their lives have changed since the arrival of the Ricardos’ son, Little Ricky (Keith Thibodeaux). Flashbacks recall the night Lucy tells Ricky she is pregnant, the time Lucy shows up unexpectedly as part of a barbershop quartet and the day Ricky and the Mertzes rehearse taking Lucy to the maternity ward.

“The Christmas Episode” was first broadcast on CBS in December 1956. The episode was not included in the series’ long history of rebroadcasts, first on CBS Daytime and later in syndication. Thought to be lost, CBS rediscovered the episode in 1989.

In the newly colorized “Lucy Gets in Pictures,” Lucy’s lifelong dream of appearing in a motion picture seems to have come true when Ricky arranges for her to play a showgirl in a new musical. Unfortunately, the enormous feathered headdress she is expected to wear as she descends a staircase proves to be too cumbersome. After numerous mishaps on the stairs, the musical’s frustrated director (Lou Krugman) decides to make a change.

“Lucy Gets in Pictures” was originally broadcast Feb. 21, 1955, and was an immediate favorite not only of viewers, but of Lucille Ball herself. She restaged the famous headdress scene, again with Krugman, in the 1962 CBS special, “Opening Night,” and in 1965 in a slightly modified form, this time with actor Danny Thomas, in her second CBS series, “The Lucy Show.”

Liv and Maddie: Cali Style - "Cali Christmas-a-Rooney" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Maddie gets upset that she can't be in Wisconsin for Christmas, so Liv helps cheer her up.

Girl Meets World - "Girl Meets a Christmas Maya" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
As Christmas approaches, Riley gets excited to celebrate her favorite holiday, but for Maya, the holidays only bring back unhappy memories from her childhood.

Bunk'd - "How the Griff Stole Christmas" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The holidays arrive at Camp Kikiwaka with everyone in good spirits -- except for Griff.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 28)

Friday, December 2

  • Chelsea Handler (Are You There, Chelsea?) - Watch Chelsea on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) - John appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Andrew Rannells (Girls/The New Normal) - Andrew is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men/The Powers That Be/Bosom Buddies) - Holland chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory) - Melissa appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Busy Philipps (Vice Principals/Cougar Town) - Busy guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat) - Randall stops by LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Scott Patterson (Aliens in America) - Scott is a guest on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Kevin Quinn (Bunk'd) - Kevin appears on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Miss Piggy (The Muppets) - NBC's Today catches up with Miss Piggy in the 10am hour.
  • Gaby Hoffmann (Transparent/Someone Like Me) - Gaby appears on Chelsea on Netflix.