Saturday, August 13, 2011

Digital Digest: New Sony Releases; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - The Complete Season 9 and Tom and Jerry - Flying Fur Adventures, Vol. 2 DVD Reviews

Welcome back to this week's edition of Digital Digest! As we prepare for the fall TV season and tons of upcoming home media releases, we have some busy weeks coming up here... but unfortunately, it isn't all so busy for news this week. This week, we are back with more animated reviews, with reviews of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - The Complete Season 9 and Tom and Jerry - Fur Flying Adventures, Volume 2.


DIGITAL NEWS

The series Moesha has not yet seen any DVD releases, but that is about to change--sort of. Although it won't be receiving a general release, Moesha - The First Season WILL make it to DVD sometime soon thanks to CBS DVD and CreateSpace, the manufacture-on-demand component of amazon.com. Although this may not be the preferred way of release for most people, it does provide an opportunity to view the series on DVD (for the first time), and hopefully more series that will otherwise never see the light of day will be coming soon as well. Like most CreateSpace products, no exact ship date is given yet--it'll be released when it is ready to go.

We told you last week about The Monkees being re-released on DVD, but didn't know who was releasing it. Well, now we know! The Monkees - Season One and The Monkees - Season Two (collectively comprising the entire series) are still set for release on September 27 from Eagle Rock Entertainment. Other previously unknown details have also been released courtesy of TVShowsOnDVD.com.

Sony is striking again with deep-value priced complete series collections! Coming September 27, at a $64.99 MSRP (although you can pre-order them for much less, as low as $39.99) are Married... With Children - The Complete Series and The King of Queens - The Complete Series! Although we certainly hope that they won't be (but almost fear they will be) packaged in those annoying cheap plastic "black spindles of death," it is still a good price no matter what! We hope to have reviews of these when they are released.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (August 16) is another light day for releases (but beware, the onslaught of releases begins the following week!) with only one sitcom release, Spin City - The Complete Fifth Season. We hope to have a review of this set soon.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

It's time for a little bit more "turtle power" as Lionsgate prepares us for four more "renaissance turtles" with ninja fighting abilities their upcoming release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - The Complete Season 9. The series was a major fan-favorite and a merchandising milk cow in the late 80s and early 90s, and the legacy lives on today. Here is our review of the set.

DVD Review - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - The Complete Season 9
by Pavan

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - The Complete Season 9 (Lionsgate, $14.98) brings all 8 shell-busting episodes from the original series' second to last season, the ninth season, on DVD. Leonardo, Donatello, Michaelangelo, Raphael, Splinter, April are all back to battle a new nemesis--Lord Dregg and Hi-Tech. The turtles even have a new ninja ally named Carter to help them battle Lord Dregg. There is no Shredder and his gang this season, but it's time to shake things up with a new villain!

Starting with season four we started getting season releases. Season 4 set had 39 episodes and season 5 had 18 episodes. Season six had a total of 16 episodes on its set. Season seven had 27 episodes in four collectible "slices." Season eight only had 8 episodes, so we got that on a single disc. Prior to that we were getting volume releases. Here is a recap: Volume 6 had the last 11 episodes from season three, plus the first episode of season four. The third season had a total of 47 episodes, so they decided to split up that season into volumes, so volumes 3, 4, 5, and 6 covered season three. For season 2 there were just 13 episodes, so Lionsgate released that for volume two...so yes, technically the first two volumes were season sets. Season one had only 5 episodes, so that was on Volume 1, with four bonus episodes from the last season (season ten) actually. So do you have all of these? Hope you do dudes!

Here are the episodes with the runtimes on this disc:

1. "The Unknown Ninja" (23:55) - When Lord Dregg, a wanted criminal, successfully escapes his pursuers and arrives in Earth's region of space, he immediately schemes to replenish his power supply with the gold resources found on the planet. The Turtles foil his first attempts, stopping his army of Technogangsters from looting a vault. Meanwhile, the TMNT discover that they have been watched and aided secretly by a mysterious ninja biker, who seeks to learn from them.
2. "Dregg of the Earth" (23:59) - The Turtles and Carter find themselves at odds as their differences in opinion on what qualifies as teamwork threaten to sever their relationship. Lord Dregg makes his presence known on Earth, but dawns the cloak of sincerity, working in service of humanity. Can the TMNT expose him?
3. "The Wrath of Medusa" (23:59) - Lord Dregg summons the criminal bounty hunter Medusa to attack and defeat the Turtles, while his Technogangsters raid the neutrinium mines on Earth without interference. Carter runs into problems with his maverick mutation disease when he accidentally damages a dam, endangering lives.
4. "The New Mutation" (23:59) - Dregg successfully captures the Turtles' uncontrollable mutation problems on camera, and exposes them to the world. When faced with an increase in their powers and their maverick changes, the TMNT square off against Dreggs' Replicon, a being capable of replicating itself with each defeat into multiple forms...
5. "The Showdown" (23:59) - Carter faces an old enemy he helped to expel from their Martial Arts school years ago. However, their grudge takes a backseat when Lord Dregg contacts an alien promoter looking to take the TMNT to his perverse death tournaments. He transports Leonardo, Michelangelo, Carter and his foe, leaving only Donatello and Raphael behind on Earth, to counter Dregg's latest scheme to make use of a new Mutation device.
6. "Split-Second" (24:00) - The Turtles must deal with their increasingly frequent mutations as they battle The Replicon, a battle droid that can regenerate itself upon each defeat. Carter and April take on a slug-like creature known as The Slorr, which is overtaking New York.
7. "Carter the Enforcer" (24:00) - The Turtles battle two mysterious beings attempting to kill Carter. They later learn their names are Landor and Merrik, two time travelers who have come to eliminate Carter before he can betray the Turtles and the Earth to Dregg, who is developing The Star Shield, a weapon capable of enslaving the planet.
8. "Doomquest" (24:00) - The Turtles' mutations continue to cost them dearly when they lose control briefly and tear through Times Square. Dregg finally acquires the vortex crystal, with which he can summon his scattered armada directly to Earth by warping space itself. But one other individual wants the Crystal - his name is Doomquest, an old enemy of Dreggs'. The battle for the vortex crystal leads the Turtles to a startling new discovery, but it also leads to the near destruction of Earth...

The packaging has an outer box that holds a keepcase inside. It is very simple since it is a one-disc set that has just eight episodes. The outer box is a lenticular O-card. It's a hologram type. The cover art has the Turtles in battle mode with Donatello featured and Michaelangelo, Leonardo and Raphael in the background. The color scheme is orange. The show logo is on the top, with "The Complete Season 9" mention in the middle right and the "produced by Fred Wolf Films" all the way on the top. The back of the box has info on the series and set, with a yellow box listing all eight episode titles. Radical! We also have three small episodic photos, along with a nice shot of Michaelangelo. The cover and back of the case are exactly the same as the outer box, so no need to tell you what is on the case. When we open the case, we have the disc on the right panel. There is no artwork or anything on the panels itself, it is just a plain black background. The disc art has Donatello leading the attack (same as the cover art). Bodacious!

The menu screen has been similar to since about season six. First, we get auto-trailers before the main menu appears with trailers for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles S8, Thor, Speed Racer: The Next Generation, Battle for Terra and Alpha & Omega. Then after that is done, we come to the main menu screen. The theme song is playing in the background, and it does loop, and the photo is similar to the box art with each turtle. We also have video clips playing in an orange background. The theme song is the new theme song that started in season eight. Weird that they didn't change the theme in season nine, since the lyrics mention Shredder. The menu options are: Play All Episodes, Episode Selection, Trailers. Episode Selection takes us to a submenu with episode #, title, and a screenshot from the episode. Gnarly!

The video is on par with the other volumes, with dust and debris here and there and on par with previous recent seasons, especially season eight. The audio is also on par with the previous releases, not bad...and listenable. It's not remastered, but this is the best we have and it beats our taped VHS versions. The episodes are around 24 minutes, so everything is unedited. The fill one-minute opening theme is on every episode. We get 5 chapter stops per episode again. Sensei Master Splinter likes!

Seasons four and five had extras, but then season six had absolutely nothing! Then for the 25th anniversary set, we had a lot of extras for season seven. We got nothing for season eight and the same goes true for season nine. Last season was the point in time when the Turtles episodes start getting a bit weird, so I guess we should not expect any more extras even if the next release is the final season. There is no Shredder even on this season, so Lord Dregg is in control!

I still urge fans to buy this set even though there are no special features and even if this season is a bit strange. There are only eight episodes, so you could finish this set in a day and if you have all eight seasons so far, then you need this to continue your collection. Only Season 10 remains to be released and we got four of those eight episodes on the first ever release. Seasons eight through ten had 8 episodes each, so expect another one-disc set for season ten, unless they go all out for the final season. Anyway, the tone of the show became darker in season eight and it continues here with new villain Lord Dregg. Yes, Shredder fans will not be happy, but he returns for a few episodes in season ten with Dregg! So that will be fun. The art style changed significantly in season eight and beyond...but it's still our Turtles and you need to get this set dudes to continue your collection! They're heroes in a half-shell and they're green!

(4/5 stars)

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Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on TV.com


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

One of the classic "cat and mouse" games of TV has been the classic cartoon Tom and Jerry. Of course, the series is older than TV, and shorts were shown in movie theaters, but through reruns on TV over the decades, we've all gotten to know them. There's Tom, the cat, and Jerry, the mouse. They're always out chasing each other with their never-ending rivalry that often ends very violently. Now, there are 14 episodes on DVD in a single disc collection. Here is our review of Tom and Jerry - Fur Flying Adventures, Volume 2.

DVD Review: Tom and Jerry - Fur Flying Adventures, Volume 2
by Greg Brobeck

Tom and Jerry - Fur Flying Adventures, Volume 2 (Warner, $14.98) The Tom and Jerry cartoon series has always been a favorite of kids and adults alike, as clever mouse Jerry outwits dim-witted cat Tom in constant chases. The series began in the 1940s on theater screens, created by the genius duo of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera for theatrical shorts. Their tradition was carried on by other filmmakers including Chuck Jones, and several TV adaptations were produced as well. What we have with this disc, is a sort of grab-bag from all eras. Animation collectors can pass this disc up for sure, as all of these shorts have been released on previous, better sets. The disc is mainly made up of the Chuck Jones-produced shorts of the late 1960s, which have already had a much better, complete series set released on DVD in anamorphic widescreen. Three shorts from the original Hanna-Barbera theatrical series. However, this disc also contains several cartoons from the recent, inferior Tom and Jerry Tales TV series, which don't hold a candle to the old theatrical shorts. However, if you are a parent, looking for an inexpensive disc of Tom and Jerry cartoons your kids will enjoy, this might be a good route to go.

Here is the list of shorts, followed by the year produced if theatrically released, or the TV series they came from. They seem to be unedited, but have other problems that I will get into later:

1. Tops With Pops (1957, 7:35)
2. Monster Con (Tom & Jerry Tales, 7:16)
3. Tom & Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl (1950, 7:22)
4. Of Feline Bondage (1965, 6:20)
5. Saturday Evening Puss (1950, 6:31)
6. The A-Tom-inable Snowman (1966, 6:30)
7. Surf-Bored Cat (1967, 6:28)
8. Snowbody Loves Me (1964, 7:54)
9. Duel Personality (1966, 6:05)
10. Is There a Doctor in the Mouse? (1964, 7:15)
11. Haunted Mouse (1965, 6:54)
12. The Declaration of Independence (Tom & Jerry Tales, 7:02)
13. Kitty Hawked (Tom & Jerry Tales, 7:27)
14. Which Witch! (Tom & Jerry Tales, 7:42)

The single disc comes in a Viva Eco-case, which is purportedly more environmentally friendly because it contains less plastic and can be recycled. The front of the case has the title of the disc along with a shot of Tom and Jerry playing in a swimming pool. The back has a description of the disc, along with the duo playing a different kind of pool as Jerry tries to keep balance on a cue ball that Tom is about to shoot. The disc itself is metallic with the outlines of the characters along with the Tom and Jerry logo. The packaging is attractive and should appeal to kids and families.

The main menu is a little boring but functional. The background image maintains the pool theme as Jerry has made a hammock between an annoyed Tom's ears. Spike is in the background grilling a steak. The theme from the Hanna-Barbera years plays in the background. Your menu choices are "Play" which will play all fourteen shorts in succession, "Episodes" which will let you choose a short, "Trailers" which lets you choose to view a trailer for The Looney Tunes Show or the Peanuts disc Snoopy's Adventures. "Languages" lets you choose from a wide variety of subtitles (English, French, Spanish, or Portuguese) and spoken languages (English, Spanish, or Portuguese). There are no chapter stops within the shorts themselves, but pressing the "next" button during the Play All function skips ahead to the next short.

Audio and video quality are as much of a mixed bag as the shorts themselves. The correct aspect ratio for almost every short on this disc is anamorphic widescreen, yet only some of the shorts are presented that way. The 1957 short "Tops With Pops" is in widescreen, but you are forced to look at black bars at the top and bottom of the screen even if you own a widescreen television The Tom and Jerry Tales shorts should be in widescreen as well but they are not. Some of the Chuck Jones shorts are in their proper widescreen aspect ratio, but some are not. and the two early 1950s shorts are in their proper full-screen. As far as the actual quality, the recent shorts are unsurprisingly clear and crisp, with stereo sound. Some of the 60s-era shorts are in good quality with remastered audio and picture, but others are grainy and blurry, looking like TV prints from the past.

There are no special features and I wouldn't expect any on a budget release aimed at kids and families.

Overall, if you're looking for something cheap to entertain your kids who like the violence and action of the Tom and Jerry cartoons, then this is definitely a possibility. On the other hand, if you are a collector or just a fan of animation in general, there's already a complete set of the Chuck Jones cartoons which is in much better quality and a DVD/Blu-ray collection of the Hanna-Barbera shorts begins later this year. The Tom and Jerry Tales shorts are completely worth passing up. This disc is designed for a specific audience, and I'm sure will satisfy their needs.

(2/5 stars)

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Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Tom and Jerry TV.com Page


CLICK OF THE WEEK

Bundyology (www.bundyology.com) - The website Bundyology may just appear to be another run-of-the-mill ordinary website about Married... with Children at first glance, but before we go any further, anytime that we talk about a website about a specific TV show in Click of the Week, we like to make sure it goes above and beyond the potential that it has. And Bundyology does just that. The website is one of the oldest websites on the web, and it doesn't feature flashy graphics or the most advanced web technology. In fact, most pages are nothing more than just basic HTML coding. And furthermore, the creator of the site is not even a native English speaker--he speaks German. But none of that is important, because if you want to know any of even the most minute details about the series, this website has just about everything that you could possibly be looking for.

The site has a complete episode guide for the series, of course, but that is only the beginning of the treasure-trove of information that you can find on there. You can find out every single song that was played in each episode of the series. If you want to read a script from an episode (sometimes even pre-production versions), you can find many of them within the website. You can find family trees, precise timelines, inconsistencies throughout the series, complete details of edits made to DVD releases, articles and memorabilia from the original airing of the series, and so much more at Bundyology. It is rare to find such a treasure trove of information for a single TV series, but Bundyology definitely fills the bill.

That's all for this week. Until next time, keep it digital!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, April 18

The Big Bang Theory - "The Inspiration Deprivation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The concept of what it would mean for women everywhere if Amy were to win a Nobel Prize causes Amy to have a meltdown. Also, Koothrappali and Wolowitz try to relive the good old days after Wolowitz buys a scooter that looks like the one he had years ago. Oscar-winning actress Regina King returns as Janine.

Life in Pieces - "Jungle Push Resort Anniversary" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When the Short family arrives at their vacation resort in the Yucatan, their accommodations aren’t quite what they expected. Also, Heather is ridiculously overprotective of Sophia during the family activities; Jen and Greg discover that Matt and Colleen have been duping everyone; and John and Joan get separated from their tour group in the jungle. Nat Faxon guest stars as Hayes, an expat proprietor at a Yucatan eco-resort.

Mom - "Lumbar Support and Old Pork" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bonnie has an unexpected reaction when she learns that Adam’s bar is doing well. Also, Christy and Tammy go on a double date.

Life in Pieces - "Demo Nosebreath Surgery Match" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Colleen and Matt try to impress a potential birth mother, they have a hard time competing against another rich, swanky couple. Also, Jen’s pregnancy takes a toll on Greg; Heather lets John take credit for her housekeeping while Joan recovers from knee surgery; and Tim arranges for Tyler to record a demo at a friend’s studio. Joey King guest stars as Morgan, a 17-year-old pregnant teen who is considering placing her baby for adoption with Matt and Colleen.

Superstore - "Easter" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Suspicious that people are making fun of her, Amy (America Ferrera) and Jonah (Ben Feldman) spy on Cloud 9 employees through the security system, while Dina (Lauren Ash) tries to track down an unsanctioned Easter Bunny in the store. Glenn (Mark McKinney) preps for his church’s Passion play.

A.P. Bio - "Personal Everest" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Jack is outraged when his old high school bully is hired as a motivational speaker at Whitlock. Meanwhile, Mary, Stef, and Michelle set their own personal goals of female empowerment, unintentionally causing a rift between Helen and Durbin.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "The Bimbo" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Holt and Jake investigate a case at Kevin’s university. Back at the precinct, Terry and Amy take the squad out for lunch.

Abby's - "Book Club" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When it’s revealed that Fred has a crush on a bar patron, Abby and Beth encourage a reluctant Fred to start dating.

Better Things - "Easter" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Sam helps Max and bakes for Phil.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 15)

Thursday, April 18

  • Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney (Catastrophe) - Catch Sharon and Rob on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC. They will also be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Retta (Parks and Recreation) - Retta visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Lake Bell (Bless This Mess/Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp/How to Make It in America) - Lake appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Bill Hader (Barry) - Bill is a guest on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Anna Faris (Mom) - Anna stops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Michael Strahan (Brothers) - Michael chats with the ladies of The View on a repeat on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Tichina Arnold (The Neighborhood/Survivor's Remorse/Happily Divorced/Everybody Hates Chris/Martin) - Tichina guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Drew Carey (The Drew Carey Show/The Good Life) - Drew drops by The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Beth Behrs (The Neighborhood/2 Broke Girls) - Beth is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • James Brolin (Life in Pieces) - James chats about Life in Pieces on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie/Malibu Country/Murphy Brown) - Lily drops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Keke Palmer (True Jackson, VP/Scream Queens) - Keke guest co-hosts ABC's Strahan & Sara at 1pm.
  • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For Your Love) and Rick Fox (The Game/Mr. Box Office) - Holly and Rick talk about Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Morning Show Mysteries on Access Live, so check your local listings. Holly will also be on E!'s Daily Pop at 12pm.
  • Fiona Gubelmann (Wilfred) - Fiona appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.


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

Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season Alice - The Complete Ninth Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season

02/05 - Family Guy - Part 1 - Volumes 1-5
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 2 - Volumes 6-10
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 3 - Seasons 10-14
02/05 - First Lady of Television - Betty White Collection (40 rare and acclaimed episodes from her early days in television)
02/05 - Mama's Family - Seasons 1-6 - The Complete Series
02/12 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-3 (Blu-ray)
02/12 - Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season
02/26 - What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season
03/05 - Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
03/12 - Alice - The Complete Ninth Season (WBShop.com)
03/26 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
04/02 - Archer: Danger Island - The Complete Season Nine
04/09 - You're the Worst - The Complete Fifth Season
04/12 - Evening Shade - The Complete Collection
04/16 - The Big C - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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