Saturday, August 06, 2011

Digital Digest: Rocko's Modern Life - Season One DVD Review; The Smurfs - A Magical Smurf Adventure DVD Review

We're in the final weeks before the fall TV season begins (and the upcoming onslaught of last season's episodes on DVD), but in the meantime, you can enjoy your home media and check out our news for this week in Digital Digest! We've also got the animated reviews that we've been procrastinating on for a few weeks, with Rocko's Modern Life - Season One and The Smurfs - A Magical Smurf Adventure. Let's get going!


DIGITAL NEWS

It may just be the first story of the week, but get ready for "happy endings." The ABC series, Happy Endings, is coming to DVD soon with Happy Endings - The Complete First Season. Coming September 20 from Sony, the two-disc set will contain all 13 episodes, along with deleted scenes, outtakes, a special “Mike Relm Remix” music video and more.

Nurse Jackie recently wrapped up the third season on Showtime, and now you can pre-order it on DVD and Blu-ray! While it is a little early for all of the details (no date is given yet, no special features, etc.), the sets will be released around $40 for each of the sets.

We've all been taking a wait and see approach with Shout! Factory and Hazel, and recently, a date was given for the second season--but not so fast! It turns out that the date was prematurely announced, and although the set will be coming, there isn't an exact date for the release yet. It appears that other sets announced by Shout! will be coming a little later than anticipated as well. We don't know any of the new dates yet, but once we do know, we'll be sure to tell you!

The mystery of The Bob Newhart Show was made even more mysterious this week with this post from TVShowsOnDVD.com, discussing a pre-order listing for The Bob Newhart Show - The Complete Sixth Season. This comes about a week after a listing for The Bob Newhart Show - The Complete Fifth Season. No dates are given on either of these listings, and no real information is known about the sets, except that pre-orders are indeed being taken. When we know more, we'll tell you!

We told you last week about Honeymooners: The Lost Episodes (1951-1957) - The Complete Restored Series, the 15 disc collection coming on October 4 from MPI, and now, there is even more information about this set. The set will contain approximately 50 hours of lost episodes, including 10 hours of footage not seen since the original airings, all restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive. There will even be a 42 page booklet included with rare photos and history about the series. I have a feeling this may be shaping up to be one of the best releases of the year!

Another piece of good news comes from TVShowsOnDVD.com about The Monkees. Both seasons of the series were released long ago by Rhino (a studio which has seemingly completely exited the TV-on-DVD market), but they are long out of print. You can still get the sets, but expect to pay hundreds of dollars (seriously) to get them... that is, until now! No exact details are given yet (not even a studio), but on September 27, some studio will release each of the two seasons at a price of $69.98 each! While that price tag may seem a bit steep, it is nothing compared to what you'd pay for the out of print releases, and there is definitely a demand for these DVDs.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (August 9) brings only one sitcom release, with Shout! Factory's Webster - Season Three. We hope to have a review of this set soon.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

In the early 1990s, Nickelodeon began producing many of their own cartoons, calling them "Nicktoons." One of the more memorable ones was Rocko's Modern Life, a series about an anthropomorphic wallaby leaving Australia and struggling to make it while living in America. Here is our review of Rocko's Modern Life - Season One.

DVD Review - Rocko's Modern Life - Season One
by skees53

Rocko's Modern Life - Season One (Shout!, $19.99) collects the first 13 episodes of the classic Nickelodeon series about a wallaby just trying to make it in America in a two disc set. Along with his loyal canine, Spunky, and dim-witted best friend and neighbor, Heffer, Rocko tries his hardest to confront the trials and tribulations of, well, modern life. The series has been released before through CreateSpace on Amazon.com, but this is the first time the series has been on an actual pressed DVD.

Like most Nicktoons, each episode has two completely different adventures per episode. The first season begins with "No Pain, No Gain," where Rocko and Heffer join a health club. In "Leap Frogs," Mrs. Bighead tries everything possible to get in bed with Rocko--literally. Heffer moves in with Rocko in "Bedfellows." Will Rocko's property be condemned? It will if Mr. Bighead has his way in "Keeping Up With the Bigheads." Rocko experiences the torment of the DMV in "Skidmarks." In "The Good, the Bad, and the Wallaby," Rocko visits his uncle at a cattle ranch, and Heffer comes along too.

Rocko gets a new vacuum cleaner that causes chaos in the house in "A Sucker for the New Suck-O-Matic." Rocko and Heffer go to a carnival in "Carnival Knowledge," and it isn't exactly the best one around. A snow skiing trip goes all wrong when Rocko and Heffer become stranded with the Bigheads in "Cabin Fever." In "Who's For Dinner?," we get to meet Heffer's parents, who aren't exactly what you'd expect. Rocko goes on a dating game show in "Love Spanked." In "Clean Lovin'," Spunky has a new girlfriend--Rocko's mop!

The episodes on the set are mostly unedited, but not totally unedited. This series was one of the more "controversial" Nicktoons with a lot of sexual innuendo and double entendres, and as a result, Nickelodeon often made edits to episodes after they originally aired. But for the most part, the episodes appear as they generally did on Nickelodeon. Runtimes are as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "No Pain, No Gain/Who Gives a Buck" (23:28)
2. "Leap Frogs/Bedfellows" (22:27)
3. "Jetscream/Dirty Dog" (23:18)
4. "Keeping Up With the Bigheads/Skidmarks" (23:17)
5. "Power Trip/To Heck and Back" (23:49)
6. "The Good, the Bad, and the Wallaby/Trash-O-Madness" (22:16)
7. "SpitBalls/Popcorn Pandemonium" (23:28)

Disc 2:
8. "A Sucker for the Suck-o-Matic/Canned" (24:32)
9. "Carnival Knowledge/Sand in Your Navel" (23:39)
10. "Cabin Fever/Rinse and Spit" (23:58)
11. "Rocko's Happy Sack/Flu-In-U-Enza" (23:21)
12. "Who's For Dinner?/Love Spanked" (24:14)
13. "Clean Lovin'/Unbalanced Load" (22:39)

The set comes in a standard DVD case with a tray in the middle to hold one of the discs. The cover art has Rocko with a few of the other characters around him, and on the back, we get a brief synopsis of the season. Inside the case, you'll find descriptions of all of the episodes on the set. The disc artwork is pretty simple, with just the series logo and a picture of Rocko on Disc 1, and the series logo and a picture of Spunky on Disc 2. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-7, while Disc 2 contains episodes 8-13.

The main menu is very simple, with a photo of Rocko and Heffer and the closing theme music playing in the background. On the main menu, you have options of Play All, then a list of all of the episodes. You also have the option of starting an episode at the second segment of each episode, which is helpful if you just want to see the second segment.

The video and audio quality on the set is about what you would expect. The series definitely looked "state of the art" when it originally aired, but looking back now, it all looks a bit dated. It almost reminds you of watching on the earlier seasons of The Simpsons these days. Still, I don't think fans will be too disappointed with it.

Sadly, there are no special features on the set. It would have been nice to have seen some interviews or something, or better yet, some of the missing footage restored.

I had not watched this series in well over a decade, yet it is still just as great as I remember it being. I'm not sure that a show like this could even make it onto Nickelodeon these days, with all of the double entendres and innuendo that it was full of. The second episode, especially, would be shocking, as the episode is very clearly about one thing: Mrs. Bighead trying to get Rocko to sleep with her. It doesn't even beat around the bush! While I'm a little disappointed that some of the Nickelodeon edits creeped into these episodes, they aren't terribly butchered, and it is really good to see this series again. I think that fans of the series will appreciate this set, and hopefully more are on the way!

(4/5 stars)

To purchase this DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Rocko's Modern Life on TV.com


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW


In the '80s, one of the most popular animated series was The Smurfs. Join them on a DVD magical "smurf" adventure, just in time for the new feature film, that has done big at the box office already! Here is our review of "The Smurfs: A Magical Smurf Adventure."

DVD Review - The Smurfs: A Magical Smurf Adventure
by Pavan

The Smurfs: A Magical Smurf Adventure (Warner, $14.98) brings us ten more episodes from the second season on DVD of the classic Saturday morning animated series that lasted nearly a decade. Handy, Hefty, Grouchy, Brainy, Jokey, Clumsy, Lazy, Dreamy, Smurfette, Papa Smurf and more of your favorite little blue people bring you the greatest show on Smurf are all back in more fun "magical" adventures. For some reason they have gone away from the season sets the past few releases of The Smurfs. The previous three sets were single disc sets of five episodes each from season two. This time they have upped it to two discs with ten episodes. So it is getting better at least! So get your 'smurf on' for The Smurfs!

The first two releases we ever had were a season set of the first season, split into two volumes. Then the next three releases were "volume" releases for season two with five episodes each. For this set we have ten episodes. They are not in any order it seems...just five randomly picked episodes from season two again. The Smurfs was a half-hour series and most of the episodes consisted of two fifteen minute episodes. So, on this set we don't get the full episode, just one of those fifteen minute episodes. There were some half-hours that just had one full half-hour episode and we have some of those on here as well. Each episode on this set has the opening and closing credits even if the other fifteen minute episode is missing from this set. Oh well. Some of the episodes even have a 15-25 second preview of the episode before the opening credits. On this set among the stories see are that Lazy is tricked by the other Smurfs into believing he has slept his life away. A bunch of disgruntled Smurfs try to get even with a human army that has rampaged the village. Johan, Peewit, and the Smurfs search for the magic fountain to energize an enslaved people. Lazy is led to believe that he has only a few days left to live, encouraging him to do some physical feats he hasn't thought of doing before. The Smurfs find a way to douse the flames of a fire-breathing dragon being used by an evil master to capture slaves for his diamond mine.

Here are the episodes and runtimes:

Disc 1
1. Smurf Van Winkle (14:11)
2. Revenge of the Smurfs (14:11)
3. The Magic Fountain (26:04)
4. Smurf Me No Flowers (13:48)
5. The Cursed Country (22:00)

Disc 2
6. The Blue Plague (24:05)
7. The Ring of Castellac (25:43)
8. A Mere Truffle (24:19)
9. Gormandizing Greedy (14:05)
10. Sister Smurf (12:07))

Let's now move on to the packaging. We have a very thin movie-style keep case. The front cover has Papa Smurf and some of the other Smurfs around him as they battle a dragon on the grass. The title of the show is on the top, with a mention below that that this is "A Magical Smurf Adventure." To the back of the case we go, we get a nice synopsis of the series and set, along with a list of episodes and special features. We see five Smurfs, including Smurfette on the green grass at their mushroom houses. When we open the case, on the right side we see the discs. The first disc is in a black little holder that we can flip like a page in a book. The second disc is on the right panel itself. There is no artwork on the panels. Disc artwork is plain gray with green lettering and a Smurf drawn in green.

The menu screens are very nice in white background. On the main menu, we see the Papa Smurf with two little mushrooms. The catchy theme is playing in the background. Auto trailes play before the main menu comes on disc one only with trailers for Scooby Doo and Snoopy. Options for the main menu are: Play, Episodes, Special Features, and Languages. Languages has an option to turn on English subtitles. Episodes have a list of episodes obviously. And Special Features list the two featurettes and trailers for some Leggo thing.

The video and audio is OK...it is not as good as the first season sets to me. They have cheapened these single disc and two-disc sets ever since they went away from the season set. The packaging doesn't state that the episodes are remastered like they were with the first season sets. I am still disappointed, since the first season sets were remastered. One good thing they have added on this set are chapter stops, but only for the episodes that were the full half-hours. We have five or six chapter stops for those episodes. See the runtimes over 22 minutes above to see which episodes have chapter stops. That 22 minute episodes might be edited as the other full episodes are a few minutes longer. But I'm not 100% sure.

As for special features, we get two featurettes. "Smurf Speak" (2:17) is a comical featurette on how the word "smurf" is used so much in the Smurfs vocabulary. Smurf to it. What the smurf. You can use the word in any sentence. We have clips and a nice narration. It is more fun than informative. The second featurette is "Smurftastic Moments" (4:59) and on this we are again given the same narrator as the previous featurette. On this one though they are counting down the top ten "smurftastic moments." How smurfy!

I do recommend this set for any Smurfs fan, but I just wish we get full season sets instead of these. The set is not Smurftastic, as the first season sets but this set is a little better than the previous three "volume" releases. I hope they are just marketing this for non-fans or casual fans and continue with the season sets soon. I doubt it though since season two episodes are only being put into these best-of sets. The special features are better than the past few releases, but still needs more. I wasn't too pleased with the episode situation being split in two volumes for season one, but now I will take that back in a heartbeat. The episodes on this set are of course great but some don't look or sound great. However, some look and sound really good. I hope the full season two is out very soon, even if it is in two releases, as I'll take two volumes anyway over this best-of releases. So get your smurf on and buy this set to see ten smurftastic episodes! It's pure smurftainment!

(3/5 stars)

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
The Smurfs TV.com Page
The Smurfs Official Page


CLICK OF THE WEEK

Archive.org Classic TV Collection - The website Archive.org has given internet users a way of viewing the web the way it used to be over the past few years. You can type in many different web addresses and then click on a date to view the website as it appeared on some given date, in many cases going back over a decade. You can even view web pages that haven't existed in years. But one of the lesser known treasures of this website is the Classic TV Collection, where you can watch full episodes of public domain episodes of classic series.

The Classic TV collection debuted on the website in 2007, and here, you can watch over 2000 (and growing) episodes of classic series that aired in the golden age of television. And since it is a community resource rather than a single website run by one person, the content collection is always growing. You can watch series including (but certainly not limited to) The Andy Griffith Show, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Lucy Show, Make Room for Daddy, Petticoat Junction. And you'll find some other episodes of shows that are even more rare, including Our Miss Brooks, Mama, The Betty Hutton Show, The Trouble with Father, and even the 1970s comedy/western series Dusty's Trail (considered by many to be one of the worst series, ever).

While much of it is your typical public domain fare, this website combines most programs that are available out there into one single website where you need not worry about spyware, advertising (except of course for original commercials which are included in some programs, a treat to be sure!), downloading illegal material, and slow download speeds. You don't even have to stream the program on your computer, as you do with many services. The pages include a link where you can download the programs directly to your hard drive to watch later or even burn onto DVD, if you so desire.

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


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November)

Dr. Ken - Season One Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season The Lucy Show - The Complete Series The Mindy Project - Season Four

10/04 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Christmas Special (Colorized)
10/04 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #1 (Colorized)
10/11 - Dr. Ken - Season One
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Series
10/11 - Nurse Jackie - Seasons One and Two
10/11 - Weeds - Seasons One and Two
11/01 - Schitt's Creek - Seasons One and Two
11/08 - Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season
11/08 - Your Family or Mine - Season One
11/15 - Community - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Lucy Show - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Mindy Project - Season Four
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, December 2

Last Man Standing - "Precious Snowflakes" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Mandy chooses local-celebrity Mike as the speaker for her business school’s graduation. After learning that the school requires his speech to be PC and micro-agression free, Mike decides whether or not to play by the rules. Meanwhile, Eve’s friend Cammy (Sarah Gilman) is home from college, bragging about how fantastic her new life has been, leaving Eve feeling slightly fruitless and discouraged.

Dr. Ken - "D.K's New Girlfriend" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When D.K. overhears Allison complain about him overstaying his welcome, he decides to move in with his girlfriend of three weeks. Meanwhile, Pat wants Dave to pretend he’s his adopted son; and Allison is convinced Molly wants to talk about something when she suggests they do a spa day, but the tables turn when Molly is the one doling out the advice.

I Love Lucy - "I Love Lucy Christmas Special" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The I LOVE LUCY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL features “The Christmas Episode” and the newly colorized “Lucy Gets in Pictures.” Both were colorized with a vintage look, a nod to the 1950s period in which the shows were filmed. The main titles and end credits of the two episodes are seamlessly combined into one set at the beginning and end of the hour, with no interruption between the episodes.

“The Christmas Episode” finds the Ricardos and Mertzes decorating Lucy and Ricky’s Christmas tree and reminiscing about how their lives have changed since the arrival of the Ricardos’ son, Little Ricky (Keith Thibodeaux). Flashbacks recall the night Lucy tells Ricky she is pregnant, the time Lucy shows up unexpectedly as part of a barbershop quartet and the day Ricky and the Mertzes rehearse taking Lucy to the maternity ward.

“The Christmas Episode” was first broadcast on CBS in December 1956. The episode was not included in the series’ long history of rebroadcasts, first on CBS Daytime and later in syndication. Thought to be lost, CBS rediscovered the episode in 1989.

In the newly colorized “Lucy Gets in Pictures,” Lucy’s lifelong dream of appearing in a motion picture seems to have come true when Ricky arranges for her to play a showgirl in a new musical. Unfortunately, the enormous feathered headdress she is expected to wear as she descends a staircase proves to be too cumbersome. After numerous mishaps on the stairs, the musical’s frustrated director (Lou Krugman) decides to make a change.

“Lucy Gets in Pictures” was originally broadcast Feb. 21, 1955, and was an immediate favorite not only of viewers, but of Lucille Ball herself. She restaged the famous headdress scene, again with Krugman, in the 1962 CBS special, “Opening Night,” and in 1965 in a slightly modified form, this time with actor Danny Thomas, in her second CBS series, “The Lucy Show.”

Liv and Maddie: Cali Style - "Cali Christmas-a-Rooney" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Maddie gets upset that she can't be in Wisconsin for Christmas, so Liv helps cheer her up.

Girl Meets World - "Girl Meets a Christmas Maya" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
As Christmas approaches, Riley gets excited to celebrate her favorite holiday, but for Maya, the holidays only bring back unhappy memories from her childhood.

Bunk'd - "How the Griff Stole Christmas" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The holidays arrive at Camp Kikiwaka with everyone in good spirits -- except for Griff.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 28)

Friday, December 2

  • Chelsea Handler (Are You There, Chelsea?) - Watch Chelsea on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) - John appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Andrew Rannells (Girls/The New Normal) - Andrew is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men/The Powers That Be/Bosom Buddies) - Holland chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory) - Melissa appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Busy Philipps (Vice Principals/Cougar Town) - Busy guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat) - Randall stops by LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Scott Patterson (Aliens in America) - Scott is a guest on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Kevin Quinn (Bunk'd) - Kevin appears on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Miss Piggy (The Muppets) - NBC's Today catches up with Miss Piggy in the 10am hour.
  • Gaby Hoffmann (Transparent/Someone Like Me) - Gaby appears on Chelsea on Netflix.