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!


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.


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.


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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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

Wednesday, March 21

The Goldbergs - "The Scrunchie Rule" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Beverly gets a glimpse into a soon-to-be empty nest, she replaces her kids with the Mellor brothers, nursing Coach Mellor back to health after falling off the rope climb. Meanwhile, Erica and her college roommate get on each other’s nerves in their dorm room, especially when Valley Erica puts a scrunchie on the door and kicks Erica out.

Speechless - "N-O-- NOMINEE" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
JJ travels to a film festival where he’s been nominated for an award but is upset when he learns the real reason he’s being honored. Jimmy stays home and struggles to protect Dylan from the truth about an impending eviction. And Ray takes an unlikely and painful route to basketball stardom in hopes of winning back Taylor.

Modern Family - "Wine Weekend" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
The family goes on a wine tasting trip and stays in Haley’s new boss’ country house where the only rule is: Don’t touch the tiara! Meanwhile, Gloria and Mitch are invited to a party at Oprah’s house but can’t bring anyone else.

American Housewife - "It's Hard to Say Goodbye" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Katie and Greg struggle to help the kids accept loss as a family friend suddenly passes away and as their pet pig, Hans Gruber, must be returned to his natural habitat.

Schitt's Creek - "The Gesture" (Pop, 8:00PM ET/PT)
David looks for a way to reconcile with Patrick after spending time away from him; Moira pitches the idea of a singles week event.

grown-ish - "Crew Love" (Freeform, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The crew prepares for Freshman Formal; Jazz revels in a new relationship.

Alone Together - "Property Management" (Freeform, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Benji and Esther get swept up in the allure of retirement life.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 19)

Wednesday, March 21

  • Charlie Day (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia/Luis) - Watch Charlie on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Henry Winkler (Happy Days/Monty/Out of Practice/Arrested Development) - Henry appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Sabrina Carpenter (Girl Meets World) - Sabrina is a musical guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Keri Russell (Running Wilde) - Keri visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet) - Drew appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Kim Matula (LA to Vegas) - Kim stops by Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Krysten Ritter (Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23) - Krysten appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Jay Pharoah (White Famous) - Jay drops by LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings. He will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Bella Thorne (Shake It Up) - Bella is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Mila Kunis (That '70s Show/Family Guy) - Mila appears The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jenna Fischer (Splitting Up Together/The Office) and Oliver Hudson (Splitting Up Together/Rules of Engagement) - Jenna and Oliver are guests on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jussie Smollett (On Our Own) - Jussie visits The Wendy Williams Show and Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Jason Jones and Natalie Zea (The Detour) - Jason and Natalie are guests on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Eric Christian Olsen (The Loop) - Eric appears on Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Louie Anderson (Baskets/The Louie Show/Life with Louie) - Louie opens up about his alcoholic father's rough childhood – and why he doesn't hold anything against him today on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Jason George (Eve) - Jason talks about Station 19 on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am and the BUILD Series at 1pm.
  • Kyle MacLachlan (Sex and the City) - Kyle talks about Portlandia on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Dove Cameron (Liv and Maddie) - Dove talks about Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on the BUILD Series at 12pm.
  • Liv Hewson (Santa Clarita Diet) - Liv talks about Santa Clarita Diet on the BUILD Series at 4pm.