Saturday, March 26, 2011

Digital Digest: Vega$ - The Second Season, Volume Two

It's time to enter into your weekly dosage of all things digital for your favorite sitcoms--that's right, it is another Saturday, and another edition of Digital Digest! Sadly, as much as we wish that we could, we can't reverse the trend of slowing news each and every week, but we can bring you what we have (as we always do) and a review of Vega$ - The Second Season, Volume Two. Ready? Let's get going!


In what has been another slow news week, the only totally new DVD sitcom announcement is from Lionsgate, with House of Payne - Volume 8. It is scheduled for a June 14 release at a $29.98 MSRP.

The final season of Father Knows Best is officially on the Shout! Select calendar, and a bit earlier than expected. Father Knows Best - Season Six is set for an April 19 release at a $39.98 MSRP. In addition to all of the episodes of the final season of the classic sitcom, he set will contain two episodes of the series Window on Main Street, but unfortunately, it looks as if the reunion movies that Shout! Factory was said to be looking in to will NOT be part of the set.

There is an interesting release of note that was announced some time ago from MPI featuring Don Knotts. Don Knotts - Tied Up With Laughter is a special comedy collection, he is joined by singer-actress Joey Heatherton, actress Jane Powell, former Dallas Cowboys player Lance Rentzel, comic Jack Burns, Knott‘s Love God movie co-star Maureen Arthur and the legendary Jimmy Durante. It also contains a look at his early work and a featurette entitled "Don Knotts with Lucille Ball." It is scheduled for an April 26 release at a $14.98 MSRP.

Hulu, the website where you can watch many series from the present and past, has announced a deal with Viacom to bring many of their series to the website. It is important to note, however, that the "new Viacom" is not the same as the old Viacom (most of those classic series are now part of CBS Television Distribution), so the only thing of interest to us is the series Hot in Cleveland. The series from the Viacom library are available only to Hulu Plus subscribers, so you have to be a paying subscriber to view these series.


Tuesday (March 29) brings America's original "bad boy" to DVD for the first time with Shout! Factory's release of Dennis the Menace - Season One. The five disc set contains every episode of the first season of the series and a ton of special features. We should have a review of this set soon. You can take a trip to America's Sin City with Dan Tanna in Vega$ - The Second Season, Volume Two. Or if you are a fan of classic Jack Webb series, you can see the end of the classic series Emergency! in Emergency! - The Final Rescues. We have a review of Vega$ in today's Digital Digest.


Aaron Spelling was one of the most well-known producers of all time, particularly in the 70s and 80s, and in 1978, he brought to American airwaves (along with creator Michael Mann, who later went on to be a well-known producer himself with the series Miami Vice) the series Vega$. The series stars Robert Ulrich (previously of Soap fame) as private detective Dan Tanna, who helped solve crime in the Sin City by rolling around the strip in his 1957 Ford Thunderbird. Check out our review of Vega$ - The Second Season, Volume Two.

DVD Review - Vega$ - The Second Season, Volume Two
by skees53

Vega$ - The Second Season, Volume Two (CBS Home Entertainment, $39.98) has Dan Tanna (Robert Ulrich) continuing to keep a watchful eye as a private eye over the city of Las Vegas to nab the bad guys and win over the ladies at the same time. Tanna takes on crime in eleven more installments of the classic series, along with help from his asssistant Bea (Phyllis Davis), legman Bobby "Binzer" Borso (Bart Braverman) and his police confidant Lt. Dave Nelson (Greg Morris), and a long string of guest stars as both the good guys and the bad guys .

Dick Sargent and Mary Ann Mobley guest star in "Lost Monday," where Binzer's trip to a hypnotist may turn him into a murderer, and it is up to Tanna to stop him before that happens. One of Dan's friends is in Vega$ with his new bride to perform at the Desert Inn in "Comeback," but the happy marriage ends when she dies very early in to the marriage. Bea takes a vacation and comes back engaged in "All Kinds of Love," but there is something unsettling about the man she is about to married in the eyes of Tanna. In "The Magic Sister Slayings," Dan has information about a man trying to get a gambling license that the man would kill--literally--to suppress the information. Cheating in Vegas turns to murder in "Lido Girls." In "Consortium," dead bodies are planted in Tanna's home and car after the girls attend a party that Tanna also attends.
Captain & Tennille guest star in "The Hunter Hunted," where Lt. Nelson begins receiving threats towards his family and asks Dan to stay out of the way--but will he? An illusionist performing at the Desert Inn is sent death threats in "The Man Who Was Watching," but when Tanna gets involved, he may be part of those threats too. A cop from San Francisco comes to visit Dan in the double-length feature "The Golden Gate Cop Killer," but when he turns up dead, Dan is determined to head to San Francisco for revenge. A robbery at the Desert Inn turns into a hostage situation in "Siege of the Desert Inn," and Bea is among those hostages. The season ends with "Vendetta," where Dan has to investigate a murder in his own family before another one occurs.

It appears that all of the episodes are unedited, all containing very consistent runtimes. The set does have the typical CBS Home Entertainment disclaimer on it about how episodes may be edited from their original network versions, but there are no music disclaimers or anything like that. My feeling is that this set is completely safe from edits, although it has been so long since I've seen it that I can't say for sure. Runtimes are as follow:

Disc 1:
1. "Lost Monday" (49:18)
2. "Comeback" (49:20)
3. "All Kinds of Love" (49:15)
4. "The Magic Sister Slayings" (49:19)

Disc 2:
5. "Lido Girls" (49:19)
6. "Consortium" (49:19)
7. "The Hunter Hunted" (49:20)
8. "The Man Who Was Twice" (49:18)

Disc 3:
9. "The Golden Gate Cop Killer" (1:38:33)
10. "Siege of the Desert Inn" (49:20)
11. "Vendetta" (49:27)

The packaging used for the set is the standard CBS Home Entertainment Viva case, which has about become the standard in DVDs lately. The cover art has a large photo of Tanna with the other cast members in the background (smaller pictures of them), and the back of the case has several episode snapshots, along with information about the series. Inside, there are the three discs, which contain no artwork other than the series logo on a gray background. Discs 1 and 2 contain four episodes each, while Disc 3 contains three episodes (one being a double-feature). Episode descriptions and airdates are printed inside of the case, but I do have one major gripe. The episodes for Disc 2 are listed in the center of the case, and are impossible to read unless you remove the middle tray that holds two of the discs. I'm not sure why they put episode descriptions in the middle of the case. But on the positive side, the descriptions for each episode are very thorough.

There really isn't much to say at all about the menus. Each disc has two of the cast members as the menu artwork, and you have a listing of all of the episodes, along with Play All Episode Promos and Subtitles on the main menu. Once you select an episode, you can watch it with or without the episode promos. Surprisingly, there is no Play All option to be found on the menus ("Play All Episode Promos" just gives you the promos). Chapters are placed throughout each episode.

The video and audio quality on the set is actually pretty decent, and looks about like other Aaron Spelling series from the era that have been released by CBS Home Entertainment. The episodes definitely look old, but are cleaned up rather well. Even the episode promos, which are of slightly lower quality than the episodes, honestly don't look all that bad. The audio is presented in mono with English subtitles available, but comes through very loud and clear.

The only special feature on the set is previews for each episode from the original airing of the series ("Next on Vega$"). These run about 30 seconds each. It would have been nice to have seen some interviews or commentaries on these episodes.

These are some excellent episodes, and it has been so long since I have seen this series that it has all seemed new to me. As far as I know, the series hasn't aired anywhere in the United States in over a decade, and has somehow become a "lost" series among the Aaron Spelling series out there, perhaps because it really does scream 70s and because it only lasted three seasons. If you are a fan of similar Aaron Spelling series from the same era, or just a fan of crime dramas in general, you'll love this set, and the only way to see it is to obtain these DVDs, because it doesn't seem like any TV channel will be airing it anytime soon. So take a gamble and head on down to Vega$!

(4/5 stars)

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That's it for this week's Digital Digest. The upcoming weeks aren't as bad as they have been when it comes to releases, but let's hope that we can hear more news about more releases! We're craving to see the end (or in some cases, the beginning) of many classic series that we all know and love. Until next time, keep it digital!

New on DVD/Blu-ray (September)

The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season Modern Family - The Complete Season 7

09/06 - Coach - Season One (Mill Creek) / Season Two / Seasons One and Two
09/06 - South Park - The Complete Ninteenth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season
09/20 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season
09/20 - Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season
09/20 - Modern Family - The Complete Season 7
09/20 - Veep - Season 5
09/27 - The Wonder Years - Season Six
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, October 23

The Simpsons - "Treehouse of Horror XXVI" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
In an encore of last season’s Halloween episode, Sideshow Bob finally kills Bart, only to reanimate him; Homer wakes up with short-term memory loss; and Lisa, Bart, and Milhouse get super powers from radiation.

Bob's Burgers - "Teen-a-Witch" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT)
With Halloween quickly approaching, Tina reveals her brilliant idea that will finally win her first place in the annual costume contest. When Tammy steals her idea, Tina is forced to seek the help of Mr. Ambrose, who leads her to alternate and other-worldly methods of winning. Meanwhile, Bob is on a mission to figure out who is stealing his perfectly crafted pumpkins.

The Simpsons - "Trust But Clarify" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Lisa and Bart investigate Krusty’s suspicious new “Krustaceans” candy. Meanwhile, Homer wants a promotion at the nuclear plant and asks Marge to help him dress the part, and news anchor Kent Brockman struggles to find his feet in the changing media world.

Son of Zorn - "A Taste of Zephyria" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
After learning how Zephyria is depicted in the media, Zorn attempts to teach Alan about his culture. Meanwhile, Edie wages war with her new neighbors over their talking garden gnome.

Family Guy - "Inside Family Guy" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
FAMILY GUY takes viewers behind the scenes of a regular “FAMILY GUY” production week, with James Woods as the guide. See the ins-and-outs of what goes into the making of a “FAMILY GUY” episode and watch the drama unfold as Peter is replaced and ends up in the office of Fox Television Group Chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman to pitch his very own new series.

The Last Man on Earth - "Five Hoda Kotbs" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
A post-apocalyptic road trip has everyone at war with each other and Gail is really pushed to her breaking point.

Bizaardvark - "Spoiler Alert: Belissa Returns" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Paige and Frankie hit a writing slump and other bad things start happening to them, Paige begins to think they are cursed; Amelia and Dirk are at odds when the lifestyle Diva declutters the Dare Lair.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 24)

Sunday, October 23

  • Patti LaBelle (Out All Night) - Catch Patti on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
Monday, October 24
  • Ricky Gervais (The Office) - Watch Ricky on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Tom Hanks (Bosom Buddies) - Tom appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He also talks about Inferno on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Elijah Wood (Wilfred) - Elijah is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ana Gasteyer (People of Earth/Lady Dynamite/Suburgatory) - Ana visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) - Nick stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) - Zooey is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Michael Chiklis (Daddio) - Michael drops by Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Jameela Jamil (The Good Place) - Jameela appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Aya Cash (You're the Worst) - Aya talks about You're the Worst on the AOL Build ShoW at 2pm. She will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Will is a guest on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Mary Steenburgen (The Last Man on Earth/Ink) - Mary talks about The Last Man on Earth on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. She will also be on the AOL Build Show at 12:30pm.
  • Anna Camp (The Mindy Project) - Anna talks about Good Girls Revolt on People Now at 8:30am.
  • James Brolin (Life in Pieces) - James is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.