Saturday, April 09, 2011

Digital Digest: Dragnet 1970 - Season 4 DVD Review

The birds can sing as we are in the full swing of spring, but here, we sing all year long in Digital Digest, our weekly feature about all things sitcom related in the home media realm! This week, in addition to our regular news (which, lamentably, is about as slow as it has been regularly lately), we have a review of Dragnet 1970 - Season 4. Let's get going!


DIGITAL NEWS

We know that you're excited about Car 54, Where Are You? - The Complete First Season making it's DVD debut on Tuesday (check out our review here), and you probably aren't thinking "season two, where are you?" just yet... but you should! Because even though no firm date is set for the second season, it IS on the horizon for sometime in 2012. We'll let you know when we have more information, of course.

Our only other news this week is a bit of "housekeeping" news with an announcement (somewhat) of a current season of a current season coming to DVD. This time it is ABC's The Middle, with The Middle - The Complete Second Season. No date is given yet (August or September is a VERY safe bet), but it will come at a $44.98 MSRP.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (April 12) has one sitcom release with the debut of the classic TV series Car 54, Where Are You? - The Complete First Season, finally available on DVD for the first time ever! You can check out our review of this excellent set here. There are also a few classic drama releases on Tuesday, including Dallas - Movie Collection, which contains every single one of the televised movies based upon the series of Dallas. You can read our review of this set here. Finally, "it's Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday" with Joe Friday in Dragnet 1970 - Season 4, the final season of the most popular version of the franchise about Los Angeles police detectives. We have a review of this set today in Digital Digest.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

Joe Friday (Jack Webb) and Bill Gannon (Harry Morgan) are back together one last time for the final season of the late 60s/early 70s incarnation of the series Dragnet. Working together, the crime fighting duo sees it all (and it is all based upon true stories) in the city of Los Angeles, in the era of "sex, drugs, and rock and roll," and do their part to fight back. Check out our review of Dragnet 1970 - Season 4.

DVD Review - Dragnet 1970 - Season 4
by skees53

Dragnet 1970 - Season 4 (Shout! Factory, $34.93) is the end of an era for Jack Webb's iconic series about the police detectives who work hard to keep crime off of the streets of Los Angeles. The final 26 installments of the series, in this four disc set, find Sergeant Friday and Officer Gannon dealing with cases from homicide to forgery to bigamy to drug pushers and even to dognappers. The streets of Los Angeles aren't the safest place in the world, but Friday and Gannon are going to do their best to make those streets just a little bit safer.

The season begins with "Personnel - The Shooting," where the wives of two officers have to comfort each other during an injury in the line of duty. Friday and Gannon come across $25,000 in stolen loot in "S.I.U. - The Ring." Friday and Gannon are working in Central Receiving Hospital in "D.H.Q. - Medical," where they have to deal with some difficult cases. In "Juvenile - The Little Pusher," a junior high school drug bust turns out to be much more than it seems. Friday and Gannon are on the trail of a missing juvenile in "D.H.Q. - Missing Persons." Technicalities may turn a guilty man free in "Burglary - Courtroom."
Friday and Gannon may have to save a 19 year old former addict who may have gone back to old habits in "Narco - Missing Hype." A murder mystery has to be solved in "Homicide - Who Killed Who." In "A.I.D. - The Weekend," a weekend of rest and recreation for the two officers turns out to be anything but that. A dangerous personality changing pill is what the guys are after in "Narco - Pill Maker." What better way to make money than to steal dogs and collect reward money from their owners? That is what one crook does in "Auto Theft - Dognappers." Friday and Gannon have to identify a dead body using very few clues in "Missing Persons - The Body." Friday is in night school in "D.H.Q. - Night School," but making an arrest after class may jeopardize his entire education. The series ends with "D.H.Q. - The Victims," where Friday and Gannon investigate two homicides, an armed robbery, and a purse snatching.

The episode runtimes are fairly consistent this time, with no problems to note at all. Runtimes are as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "Personnel - The Shooting" (25:04)
2. "Homicide - The Student" (25:04)
3. "S.I.U. - The Ring" (25:04)
4. "D.H.Q. - Medical" (25:04)
5. "Burglary - Mister" (25:03)
6. "Juvenile - The Little Pusher" (25:02)

Disc 2:
7. "Homicide - Cigarette Butt" (25:05)
8. "D.H.Q. - Missing Persons" (25:05)
9. "Burglary - Courtroom" (25:02)
10. "Internal Affairs - Parolee" (25:06)
11. "Burglary - Juvenile Genius" (25:02)
12. "Bunco - $9,000" (25:05)

Disc 3:
13. "Narco - Missing Hype" (25:05)
14. "Burglary - Helpful Woman" (25:05)
15. "Homicide - Who Killed Who" (25:05)
16. "Burglary - The Son" (25:04)
17. "A.I.D. - The Weekend" (25:04)
18. "Narco - Pill Maker" (25:03)
19. "Auto Theft - Dognappers" (25:05)

Disc 4:
20. "Missing Persons - The Body" (25:05)
21. "Forgery - The Ranger" (25:03)
22. "D.H.Q. - Night School" (25:05)
23. "I.A.D. - The Receipt" (25:05)
24. "Robbery - The Harassing Wife" (25:03)
25. "Burglary - Baseball" (25:05)
26. "D.H.Q. - The Victims" (25:05)

The set is packaged a bit different this time than the previous sets, as it has gone to the standard Viva cases like many other DVD sets have (as opposed to the previous slimcases). On the cover, we have a simple shot of Friday and Gannon (smiling, believe it or not) and the back has another shot of Friday along with the basic information about the set. Inside the case, we have the four discs (the only artwork is the series logo on a blue background) and a listing of all of the episodes (along with descriptions and airdates) inside the case. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-6, Disc 2 contains episodes 7-12, Disc 3 contains episodes 13-19, and Disc 4 contains episodes 20-26.

The menus are along the same lines as the previous sets, with the main menu displaying the series logo on the main menu with the closing theme playing in the background. The options are the same as the previous sets, with options of Play All, Episodes, and Bonus (on Disc 1 only). Selecting Episodes will give you a menu that shows brief video segments of each episode on the disc. There are chapters placed throughout each episode.

I didn't really notice any problems on the set as far as video and audio is concerned, although there was some of the usual grain and debris. Still, the series doesn't look all that bad considering how old it is. Unfortunately, the episodes are neither closed-captioned nor are they subtitled.

The set contains only one bonus feature, which can be found on Disc 1. "Jack Webb and Harry Morgan on The Jack Benny Second Farewell Special" (5:34) is a brief skit from the second farewell special for Jack Benny where Webb and Morgan reprise their roles as Friday and Gannon to investigate Benny for a purse snatching. It isn't a very long feature, but it is nice to have, at least.

I never thought that this series would be finished on DVD after being stalled for so many years, but now, in less than one year, we've gotten all three of the remaining seasons of the series. It is disappointing that special features have not been too impressive on these sets, but what has been available has been a nice touch to each of the sets. It would be nice to see some of the other incarnations of the series (particularly the version from the 50s) released on DVD now, but aside from the few public domain sets that are out there now, I wouldn't count on those being released anytime soon. Fans of crime dramas are sure to enjoy this, but there is definitely some crossover appeal for this series as well. The series appears to have been removed from online streaming from Netflix, so this is now the best way to view the series. But remember, even though these are true stories, all suspects are innocent until proven guilty.

(4/5 stars)

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Amazon.com

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Dragnet on TV.com



LOOKING AHEAD

It's a wrap for this week in Digital Digest! We've got some Hanna-Barbera animated DVD reviews in the upcoming weeks and more. We hope that you'll be back with us next week and every week thereafter. Until then, keep it digital!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, January 20

The Simpsons - "My Way or the Highway to Heaven" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
God and St. Peter contemplate what merits a soul getting into heaven, while citizens of Springfield remember their divine encounters.

Bob's Burgers - "Nightmare on Ocean Avenue Street" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
The kids set out for their regular Halloween shenanigans, but when everyone's candy bags start mysteriously disappearing, it's up to Tina, Louise and Gene to find the culprit.

The Simpsons - "Treehouse of Horror XXIX" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Homer wins an oyster-eating contest against the mythical Cthulhu; Springfield is overrun by plant body-snatchers; Lisa finally snaps; Mr. Burns opens a retirement home with some Jurassic upgrades.

Bob's Burgers - "Live and Let Fly" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
The kids seek revenge on their school guidance counselor; they get entangled in sibling rivalry between two pilots; Linda and Bob put their game faces on when Teddy invites them to a paper airplane contest.

Family Guy - "Send in Stewie, Please" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Stewie gets sent to see his school's child psychologist for a surprising session, he reveals major secrets about himself.

The Cool Kids - "Hank the Cradle Robber" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Hank starts dating a much younger woman, the gang suspects she may be taking advantage of him.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 14)

Friday, January 18

  • Maura Tierney (NewsRadio) - Watch Maura on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Elizabeth Banks (Scrubs) - Elizabeth visits The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. She talks about The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Andy appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie/Malibu Country) and Jane Fonda (Grace and Frankie) - Lily and Jane are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Pete Holmes (Crashing) - Pete appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Molly Ringwald (Townies/The Facts of Life) - Molly talks about All These Small Moments on People Now at 12pm.
  • Don Cheadle (Black Monday/House of Lies/The Golden Palace) - Don talks about Black Monday on ABC's GMA Day at 1pm.
  • Dave Franco (Scrubs/Do Not Disturb) - Dave talks about If Beale Street Could Talk on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Adam Pally (Champaign ILL/Making History/The Mindy Project/Happy Endings) and Sam Richardson (Champaign ILL/Detroiters/Veep) - Adam and Sam talk about Champaign ILL on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (November/December/January)

Step by Step - The Complete Third Season Perfect Strangers - The Complete Sixth Season Fuller House - The Complete Third Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fourth Season The Game - The Complete Series

11/01 - Episodes - Season 5
11/05 - Robin Williams - Comic Genius (includes Mork & Mindy)
11/06 - American Dad! - Volume 13
11/16 - Man with a Plan - Season One
11/20 - Step by Step - The Complete Third Season
11/27 - What I Like About You - The Complete Third Season
11/28 - The Great Indoors - Season 1 (The Complete Series)
12/04 - Family Guy - Season Sixteen
12/04 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Sixth Season
12/18 - Our Cartoon President - Season One
01/08 - Family Guy - 20 Greatest Hits
01/22 - Fuller House - The Complete Third Season
01/22 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fourth Season (WBShop.com)
01/29 - Ballers - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
01/29 - Crashing - The Complete Second Season
01/29 - The Game - The Complete Series
01/29 - Kidding - Season One
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest