Saturday, July 23, 2011

Digital Digest: Hey Dude - Season One DVD Review

Welcome to Digital Digest, your cool refuge from the very hot weather many of us have been facing this summer! This week, in addition to our regular news and upcoming week preview, we have reviews of Hey Dude - Season One (note: we planned to have some animated series DVD reviews, but that will be postponed to next week). We've also got a new feature that we are introducing this week that will appear every week at the end of Digital Digest called "Click of the Week," where we introduce you to a different website every week that you may not have (or in some cases, perhaps you have) visited before. So let's get going!


DIGITAL NEWS

CBS material has been on Netflix for some time now, but now that exclusivity with Netflix seems to be over. Now, that doesn't mean that the material will be leaving Netflix, but now, it will also be available to view on amazon.com for their Amazon Prime members! This brings a new level of competition to the online streaming game as amazon.com is trying to step up their game in competing with Netflix. According to the press release:
Amazon Prime customers will be able to instantly watch thousands of episodes from the CBS library at no additional cost to their membership. With the deal, Amazon will add 2,000 episodes to grow the total number of Prime instant videos to more than 8,000 movies and television shows, and offer full seasons for 18 popular television series, including The Tudors, Numb3rs, Medium, the complete Star Trek franchise, Frasier and Cheers. Starting this summer, dozens of CBS shows will also become available to Amazon Instant Video customers.

"Our new deal with CBS makes Amazon Prime even better for customers," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com CEO. "We're excited to add thousands of popular CBS programs to our already great selection, all of which stream at no additional cost to Amazon Prime members."
Mill Creek just recently acquired the rights to release several Carsey-Werner series, but they are really hitting the ground running. Several season 1 and season 2 announcements were made a few weeks ago, but this week, there is even more! On September 27, they will release Roseanne - Tricks and Treats, which will contain every Halloween episode of the classic sitcom (note that there was a previous Halloween release by Anchor Bay, but that one did not include one of the episodes). Additionally, on October 11, they get into the winter holiday season with That 70s Show - Holiday Edition, which contains a 10 episode mix of Christmas, Halloween, and Thanksgiving episodes of that series. Neither of these is available to pre-order yet.

Fox is getting into the animated spirit just in time for Christmas. We already mentioned a few weeks ago that December 6 will tentatively (this isn't confirmed yet) bring The Simpsons - The Fourteenth Season, but just one week later, on December 13, comes Family Guy - Volume 9. But you can't stop shopping for your animated fan just yet! Yet another week later, on December 20, comes Futurama - Volume 6 comes to DVD. As for Futurama, will a Blu-ray Disc release also be in the works? We don't know just yet.

Finally, we have this from TVShowsOnDVD.com about another release of Celebrity Bowling. This time, it is bowling with the Brady Bunch in Celebrity Bowling - The Bradys Go Bowling. The 50 minute disc will be released on October 11 at a $9.98 MSRP.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (July 26) has a trio of "best of" releases from MPI, including Here's Lucy - Best of Collection, The Color Honeymooners - Best of Collection, and The Honeymooners: The Lost Episodes - Best of Collection. Also, Shout! Factory has Dennis the Menace - Season Two on tap.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

It's time to get down to the ranch with one of Nickelodeon's earliest original series, Hey Dude. Premiering in 1989, the comedy series followed a ranch owner, his son, and five teenage summer employees through their summer employment on the ranch. Here is our review of Hey Dude - Season One.

DVD Review: Hey Dude - Season One (Shout! Factory, $19.93)

“It’s a little wild and a little strange, when you make your home out on the range,” states the first few lines of the show’s theme song and when you watch this show, you believe it. Hey Dude aired on Nickelodeon from 1989-1991 (and in reruns for nearly a decade after that.)

The series takes place on the Bar None Dude Ranch (hence the title) in Arizona. In the first episode, it’s explained that New York City nerdy accountant Ben Ernst (David Brisbin) bought the ranch to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, bringing his pre-teen son Buddy (Josh Tygiel) with him, who would have rather stayed in the city. A group of teens from a wide variety of backgrounds is hired to staff the ranch, and it’s here where most of the storylines come from. The first season only featured four teens: Ted (David Lascher,) a troublemaker who’s always trying to find a new scheme; Danny (Joe Torres,) a less uptight Hopi Native American; girl-next-door Melody (Christine Taylor); and rich girl but great horse rider Brad (Kelly Brown.) Also on hand were ranch hand Lucy (Debra Kalman) and Buddy’s dog Cassie.

Episodes involve Mr. Ernst’s sometimes vain attempts to become accustomed to ranch living, Ted’s wild schemes (some of which involve trying to win over Brad,) and the various problems that go along with a dude ranch: wild horses, annoying guests, and getting in trouble with management.

The show was mainly geared towards teenagers, and while I wasn’t quite in that age range when the show originally aired, I still enjoyed it and thought it was funny. The laughs mostly tend to hold up here. Some of the jokes do tend to be a bit on the corny side, but in my opinion, that only makes the show that much more endearing.

The episodes run around 24 minutes each and thus, appear to be uncut.

Disc 1:
1. Day One at the Bar None (24:01)
2. Battle of the Sexes (24:01)
3. Goldilocks (24:02)
4. Ted’s Saddle (24:01)
5. The Competition (24:02)
6. Rehearsal for Romance (24:01)
7. Perfect Father (24:01)

Disc 2:
8. The Good, the Bad, and the Obnoxious (24:02)
9. Rainmen (24:01)
10. Ted & Brad Get Handcuffed (24:01)
11. Suspicion (24:01)
12. Employee of the Week (24:03)
13. Pain in the Neck (24:00)

This two-disc set comes in a clear Amaray case with a page to hold the second disc. The outer artwork, while attractive at first glance isn’t without problems. All of the artwork has a western dude ranch motif, which looks good. The front of the case has the show’s logo, the words “Season 1” and a cast photo from the first season. The photo, however, appears to be at a very low resolution. It’s a little pixilated, and not very clear. Looks like it may have come from an internet fan site or something. The rear cover features some more (clearer) photos of the cast and a description of the series. The interior of the box maintains the western motif, and each side of the case lists the episodes and gives a short description. The discs themselves have the show’s logo and a photo of the cast.

The main menu is quite attractive and features the same photo as the front cover (although clearer) and gives the options of Play All or Episodes (and on disc two, Bonus Feature). The show’s logo animates onto the screen in the same way it does during the opening theme, and the show’s closing theme song plays. Another piece of background music plays as you select one of the menu options. Chapter marks are placed at appropriate spots throughout the shows. There are however, no closed captions or subtitles.

Audio and video quality are very good considering the age and source of this series. This was a videotaped show from the late 80s/early 90s, and was really Nickelodeon’s first venture into episodic television. The videotape masters, while not always the sharpest, are as clear as one could really expect them to be. Audio is clear and in stereo. Mainly the music benefits from the stereo sound, but there are some other effects, including making actors’ voices sound like they are coming from off-screen.

There is only one special feature on this set, but it is a nice one. “Interview With Christine Taylor” runs 17:05. In the interview, Christine reveals a lot of interesting facts from behind the scenes, including how she got the role of “Melody,” how the cast interacted (varying from being friends, to having crushes on each other, to getting mad and not speaking to each other) and the effect that the show has had on the rest of her career and the rest of the world. Christine has had a wide and varied career, including playing Marcia Brady in both of the Brady Bunch movies, and tons of other roles on television and in movies, and is now married to megastar Ben Stiller. She says she owes it all to her first big break, “Hey Dude.” She also shares an interesting story about how a girl who looked about her age came up to her saying “You were Melody on Hey Dude! I watched that show since I was five years old!” and someone else tells her that girl was Paris Hilton.

While I thoroughly enjoyed that interview, there are other bonus features that could have been included, and hopefully are on future sets. Anything from Nickelodeon promos, to blooper reels (which Christine mentioned in her interview) would have been good to include. At least there are four seasons to go.

In general, I think this is a very good set and Shout Factory did a good job putting it together. The show brings back a lot of memories for me, having watched it on Nickelodeon in the early 90s (back-to-back with Salute Your Shorts, another show I hope comes to DVD eventually). The show wasn’t ground breaking comedy, and it wasn’t great television, but it was a neat little show that appealed to the Nickelodeon crowd at the time, and it’s great that so many of these retro Nick shows are finally getting proper treatment on DVD. I hope to see future seasons of this show released soon.

(4/5 stars)

To purchase this DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Hey Dude
TV.com page


CLICK OF THE WEEK

Bone the Fish (http://www.bonethefish.com) - Remember the website Jump the Shark? It was an excellent website where you could look up practically any TV series that has ever existed, and leave comments as to when the series "jumped the shark." The phrase refers specifically to the moment that the series went from being a great series to an awful series, and usually the moments included major plot changes, deaths, births, and the ever-present category of Ted McGinley. Many of the comments and reasons were often very humorous and fun to read. Then, sadly, a few years ago TV Guide purchased the website and destroyed everything on it, leaving behind their "new" Jump the Shark which consisted of some really lame articles about TV series "jumping the shark" written by their staff writers very infrequently. In a sense, the website itself "jumped the shark."

But enough about Jump the Shark. It is ancient history. But it was certainly missed by many, and the creators of Bone the Fish came together to bring a new website that revives the spirit of the old website that has long by now "jumped the shark." On Bone the Fish, you can log in to vote on when a series "boned the fish" and leave comments on that as well. You can also read comments submitted by other users. It doesn't have as much content as Jump the Shark did (mostly because it is a newer website in an internet age dominated by social networks like Facebook and Twitter, whereas the original Jump the Shark was birthed in a different era), but it is the best continuation of what was. So, check out this website, and until next time, keep it digital!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, May 22

Roseanne - "Knee Deep" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Roseanne’s knee gets worse so Dan is forced to a make an important work decision; but when a major storm hits Lanford, their fortunes change for the better. Later, Darlene realizes she has to go back to her first passion … writing.

The Middle - "A Heck of a Ride: Part One" / "A Heck of a Ride: Part Two" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
After nine hilarious and heartfelt seasons, a Heck leaves the nest as the family takes a road trip to Denver, where Axl will start his new job – and new life away from home.

Splitting Up Together - "Heat Wave" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Lena and Martin choose to share the house for the summer while the children are away at camp despite Lena’s reservations, but both soon realize it might not be the worst idea. Meanwhile, they collectively agree to throw their annual backyard piƱa colada party where they will celebrate their independence from their children. Elsewhere, a friendly face returns back home and Martin can’t help but see it as a sign.

The Last O.G. - "That Backslide" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Left reeling from the error of his ways, Tray goes into a tailspin and turns to Bobby for support.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 21)

Tuesday, May 22

  • Chris Hardwick (Guys Like Us) - Catch Chris on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) - Thomas appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Cristin Milioti (A to Z/How I Met Your Mother) - Cristin is a guest on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Cedric the Entertainer (The Last O.G./The Soul Man/The Steve Harvey Show) - Cedric visits Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Patricia Heaton (The Middle/Back to You/Everybody Loves Raymond) - Patricia talks about the series finale of The Middle on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings. Mychael Symon cooks with Patricia on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • David Spade (The Mayor/Rules of Engagement/8 Simple Rules/Just Shoot Me!) - David appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Geena Davis (The Geena Davis Show/Buffal Bill) - Geena is a guest on Access Live, so check your local listings.
  • Nolan Gould (Modern Family) - Nolan talks about Modern Family on Chatter on PeopleTV at 8pm.
  • Dan Fogler (Man Up!) - Dan talks about his new book Brooklyn Gladiator on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Will Arnett (Arrested Development/The Millers/Up All Night) and Tony Hale (Arrested Development/Veep) - Will and Tony talk about Arrested Development on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • William Shatner ($h*! My Dad Says) - William is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Gillian Jacobs (Love/Community) - Gillian talks about her new film Ibiza on the BUILD Series at 5pm.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (March/April/May)

Atlanta - The Complete First Season Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Ninth Season One Day at a Time - Season Two Perfect Strangers  - The Complete Third Season Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Final (Eighth) Season

03/06 - Atlanta - The Complete First Season
03/06 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Ninth Season
03/13 - The New Adventures of Old Christine - The Complete First Season
03/27 - One Day at a Time - Season Two
04/03 - Ballers - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/03 - 90's Sitcom (Just Shoot Me!/The Larry Sanders Show/Wings) Starter Set - Season 1 & 2 Bundle
04/10 - Vice Principals - The Compelte Series
04/17 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Third Season
05/08 - Dear White People - Season 1
05/08 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Final (Eighth) Season
05/29 - I'm Dying Up Here - Season 1
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest