Saturday, October 15, 2011
Digital Digest: V - The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Disc Review; CSI: NY - The Seventh Season DVD Review
V - The Complete Second Season (Warner Home Video, $49.99 Blu-ray/$39.98 DVD) brings us all 10 episodes of the exciting and fun second season of this sci-fi thriller on Blu-ray disc and DVD! They seem almost godlike among us. They are the alien Visitors who, led by mysterious queen Anna, base their operations out of 29 motherships hovering over 29 global sites. But why 29? The answer lies in the Vs' secret plan – just one of the extraordinary revelations in Season 2 of V. As that astonishing plan draws closer to fulfillment, a resourceful underground unit of resistance fighters called the Fifth Column redoubles its efforts to undermine it. And throughout are the amazing visuals that are hallmarks of the series: looming spaceships, advanced medical technologies and the fear-inducing morphing of Vs into their reptilian forms. Our world...their rules?
V stars Elizabeth Mitchell as FBI Agent Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack Landry, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, Charles Mesure as Kyle Hobbes, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.
All 10 season two episodes are needed to be watched in order of course. I just love this show and am saddened it will not return for a third season. It is just good TV. This season the ten episodes aired in a block rather than a split season. The series moved to the 9pm anchor position from Jan. 4 to March 15, as in the first season the series aired at 8pm its first block and returned in the spring to 10pm. Ratings were down for season two but DVR usage of the series was still solid and I thought that merited another short season or perhaps a mini-series event. Among my favorite of the 10 are the season premiere "Red Rain," with Red Sky and now Red Rain unleashed on the planet, the world is on the brink of war and there is chaos all around. In "Concordia," Anna reveals plans for her latest gift to humanity, 'Concordia,' citadel-like structures that will be built by humanity but will include a wealth of Visitor technology that humans will be trained to use. In "Siege," Ryan is captured by Cohn and his men after he is sent by Anna to infiltrate the Fifth Column and kill Cohn with a shocking ending to the episode. In "Uneasy Lies the Head," Erica, now in command of the Fifth Column worldwide, spearheads a hazardous attack against Anna by planting virus "bombs" into certain candidates of the Visitor's live-aboard program. And on the thrilling season finale, "Mother's Day," Erica and the Fifth Column pretend to kidnap Lisa, and Anna is told to give herself up for Lisa's freedom in an action-packed episode.
Recurring are Christopher Shyer as Marcus, Roark Critchlow as Paul Kendrick, Rekha Sharma as Agent Sarita Malik, Scott Hylands as Father Travis, Nicholas Lea as Joe Evans, Mark Hildreth as Joshua, Oded Fehr as Eli Cohn, Jay Karnes as Chris Bolling, Martin Cummins as Thomas, Ona Grauer as Kerry Eltoff, Bret Harrison as Sidney Miller, and Jane Badler as Diana. Guest stars include Marc Singer as Lars Tremont.
The episodes on this set are all unedited, obviously, with the episodes around 43 minutes. The pilot episode runs 47 minutes. Here are the runtimes for this set:
1. "Red Rain" - 43:07
2. "Serpent's Tooth" - 42:46
3. "Laid Bare" - 43:05
4. "Unholy Alliance" - 43:09
5. "Concordia" - 40:13
6. "Siege" - 43:09
7. "Birth Pangs" - 43:08
8. "Uneasy Lies the Head" - 43:16
9. "Devil in a Blue Dress" - 42:47
10. "Mother's Day" - 43:11
Let's now move on to the packaging. For season one we reviewed the DVD, but this season we have the Blu-ray set! We have a thin outer box holding a case, this is similar to the DVD for season one. The cover art for both has the scary red V logo with full body shots of Erica and Anna and the dark city skyline. There is a mention of The Complete Season Season on the top and the tagline "They Said They Came In Peace. They Lied." on the bottom. The back of the outer box has shots of the entire cast of eight regulars. We also have info on the series and set as well, with a special features list. The back of the case has the famous Erica and Anna face shot, with it looking like they are one face with the V spaceship looming. Inside the Blu-ray case we go, we have an episode booklet on the left. The front of that has the V logo again with a different shot of the city skyline and also Anna & Erica. This booklet is very detailed and handy as we have episode details, all broken down disc-by-disc, with the episode number, title, writers/director, original airdate, and synopsis. We also have nice episodic artwork. There is also two pages with a cast photo and credits. And a page has a shot of the spaceship and Erica & Anna again. As far as the discs itself go, the two discs are on the left and right panels itself. The disc art is the same for each disc, with a V logo scooted to the right. Disc one has episodes 1-5 and disc two has 5-10. There is no artwork on the panels, as we get the Blu-ray blue.
The menu screen is very cool. Blu-ray menus are so much different I think and it is better than regular DVDs. Background music from the show is playing in the background, as we have the V logo once again and the same artwork as the cover art. We have options for Play, Episodes, Features, Languages and BD Live. Play of course plays them all at once for that disc. When we select Episodes, on Blu-ray there are no sub-menus, so a pop-up box pops up and you choose the episode with the titles listed and if they have a scissor icon, that means we have deleted scenes available for that episode. Actually each episode have deleted scenes, so that is very cool. Features options pops-up all the extras on that disc, even the deleted scenes again. And Languages pop-up have the option for Spoken Languages and Subtitles, with audio in English, French and Castellano and subtitles in English, French, Castellano, Nederlands, Espanol, Dansk, Suomi, Nork, and Svensta.
The video is great, as it should be in full HD! This is the Blu-ray version so it is flawless. Everyone should own a Blu-ray player as the video quality is just superb and you feel like you are right inside the show. I have watched all 10 episodes on ABC in HD and it looks even better in Blu-ray! The audio is very good in DTS-HD Master Audio. That is the best you can get so you know it will be clear and crisp. Each episode has 7 or 8 chapter stops.
As for special features, we have a WHOLE lot here. Both discs have special features. We have deleted scenes on every episode. For disc one: "Red Rain" (3 scenes, 3:46 total), "Serpent's Tooth" (2 scenes, 1:14 total), "Laid Bare" (3 scenes, 3:37 total), "Unholy Alliance" (1 scenes, 1:42 total), and "Concordia" (2 scenes, 1:30 total). For disc two: "Siege" (1 scene, 0:12 total), "Birth Pangs" (4 scenes, 3:04 total), "Uneasy Lies the Head" (2 scenes, 1:54 total), "Devil in a Blue Dress" (2 scenes, 1:06 total), and "Mother's Day" (7 scenes, 8:50 total). That is a lot of deleted scenes and it is great to see so many for the finals! As for featurettes, disc one has "A Visual Masterpiece For the Small Screen" (21:13). This features the very cool visual effects on the series and the show has more effects than any other show on TV right now. Interviewed are Andrew Orloff (VFX Supervisor), Steve Pearlman (executive producer), James David Haffin (composing supervisor) and Nathan Matsuda (2D Supervisor). We also are given a tour of the studio so you meet more people on the way. This is very good and interesting to see and it is cool to have a follow-up feature as they covered this for season one, too.
The next featurette is on disc two. But first I have to say that we do not have any audio commentaries this time, which is a bummer. Anyway, we have a very nice featurette called "The Arc of Story: Mining the Human Emotion" (25:13). We hear about season two and how they were firing on all cylinders. We get cool storyline tidbits as well. So get your soul ready for this one! Interviewed are Scott Rosenbaum (executive producer/writer), Cameron Litvack (co-producer/writer), Gregg Hurtwitz (consulting producer), Steve Pearlman (executive producer), Scott Wolf, Morris Chestnut, Morena Baccarin, Laura Vandervoort and Elizabeth Mitchell.
I highly do recommend this Blu-ray set for any V fan of both the original series and this series. This is really a good show and I hope you all buy this Blu-ray disc (or DVD). There aren't as many special features as season one, but what we have here is still great. The quality of Blu-ray sets is just superb. I'm heartbroken that we won't have another season and I hope in the future ABC and Warner Bros. develop a mini-series to continue where we left off. That would work and fans would be pleased to see it. The second season stepped up its game and the series was firing on all cylinders with action-packed episodes from start to finish. Elizabeth Mitchell and Morena Baccarin played their characters perfectly. The humans think their building their future, but they are actually digging their own graves as Anna says, but the only way you'll be digging your own grave is if you don't buy this set! It is a must see TV show and should be in all homes! We don't lie like to Vs, so please add this to your collections!
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V TV.com Page
DVD Review: CSI: NY - The Seventh Season (CBS DVD/Paramount Home Video, $62.99)
by Todd Fuller
In this game-changing seventh season of CSI: NY, the city that never sleeps has a string of wake-up calls. From the gangs of Spanish Harlem to a woman who is literally scared to death, Detective Mac Taylor (Oscar nominee and Emmy winner Gary Sinise) leads his team on the never-ending hunt for the truth. Emmy Award winner Sela Ward joins the cast as a former FBI-Agent-turned-CSI, and is immediately initiated into the CSI world with a dead body found in the NYPD Crime Lab. Along with team members Danny (Carmine Giovinazzo), Sheldon (Hill Harper), Lindsay (Anna Belknap) and Flack (Eddie Cahill), Season 7 gives you an ever grittier look into the scene of the crime.
This 6-disc set contains all 22 deadly episodes from the seventh (2010-11) season of the gritty crime drama. The episodes are presented in anamorphic widescreen enhanced for 16:9 TVs with English 5.1 Surround and Spanish Stereo audio available. It has a total running time of approximately 16 hours. The attractive packaging has a photo of the always gorgeous Sela Ward and Gary Sinise. There is an embossed CSI: NY logo in the bottom center of the box. As with Season 6, they use a cardboard box that holds a clear plastic (Viva) snapcase. There's a photo of Ward, Giovinazzo, Cahill, Belknap, Harper and Sinise at a crime scene on the back of the box. A short synopsis of the set, a listing of the special features and the DVD specs are provided. There is a clear plastic snapcase that slides out from the right of the outer cardboard box. The snapcase has the same cover art, photo and information as the cardboard box. Opening up the snapcase, there is a content locator which lists the episodes and the special features by disc on the inside cover. A blue-tinted drawing/photo of the New York City skyline is at the bottom. Discs 1 and 6 are held in embedded holders in the front and back of the case, while Discs 2-5 are held in back-to-back plastic tryays. The discs have just a plain silver background with the CSI: NY logo on them. Episode titles are listed on the discs.
The menus are stylish and easy to navigate. There are no previews on this release, so it jumps right to the main menus. The main menu opens with a shot of a top of a building and the Statue of Liberty that leads to a montage of video clips from the show. An instrumental cue plays in the background before the sequence loops after about 40 seconds. Options for Episode Selection, Set Up and Special Features are available at the bottom of the screen. Episode titles are listed vertically in blue/teal boxes on the Episode Selection menu. The Set Up menu has a shot of a taxi cab on a New York City street. You can choose English 5.1 or Español audio. English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing are available. Some options and special featuers are not rated any may not be subtitled. As you would expect from such a recent show, the video and audio quality is outstanding. CSI: NY has the darkest and grittiest look of the CSI franchise shows. All of the original music appears to be intact. Episodes are presented in their original broadcast order and numbered by the production number. The broadcast and production order was the same this season. Running times are between 42-44 minutes in length. Hopefully we'll see some seasons released on Blu-Ray in the U.S. at some point.
Here is the episode breakdown by disc, including the runtimes:
Episode 701 "The 34th Floor" (44:10)
Episode 702 "Unfriendly Chat" (42:07)
Episode 703 "Damned If You Do" (44:33)
Episode 704 "Sangre Por Sangre" (44:19)
Episode 705 "Out of the Sky" (44:33)
Episode 706 "Do Not Pass Go" (44:30)
Episode 707 "Hide Sight" (43:09)
Episode 708 "Scared Stiff" (44:36)
Episode 709 "Justified" (44:11)
Episode 710 "Shop Till You Drop" (42:06)
Episode 711 "To What End?" (44:28)
Episode 712 "Holding Cell" (44:12)
Episode 713 "Party Down" (42:49)
Episode 714 "Smooth Criminal" (42:59)
Episode 715 "Vigilante" (43:32)
Episode 716 "The Untouchable" (43:00)
Episode 717 "Do or Die" (44:15)
Episode 718 "Identity Crisis" (44:32)
Episode 719 "Food For Thought" (42:38)
Episode 720 "Nothing For Something" (42:44)
Episode 721 "Life Sentence" (42:57)
Episode 722 "Exit Strategy" (44:28)
A nice amount and mixture of special features are spread out over the 6 discs. They include four featurettes, four deleted scenes, a gag reel, and video blogs for most of the episodes. Unlike the other recent CSI franchise releases, there are no audio commentaries on this set.
Under the Microscope Blog for "The 34th Floor" (2:47) - Adam Scott Weissman (Writer's P.A.) and Matt Levine (Executive Assistant) do an exclusive weekly video blog on the set of CSI: NY. These were originally produced for the CBS.com site. They give a brief tour of the trace lab, the ballistics room, EDNA and Detective Mac Taylor's office.
Deleted Scene for "The 34th Floor" (1:09) - A scene of Jo hailing a cab.
Under the Microscope Blog for "Unfriendly Chat" (1:34) - A behind-the-scenes look at a rooftop scene with A.J. Buckley.
Under the Microscope Blog for "Damned If You Do" (1:40) - They give a look at some make-up being applied by SPFX Make-up Brian Kinney to some actors.
Seventh Deadly Season (22:23) - This featurette provides a general overview of the seventh season. They talk about the newness of the season, the new night and time, and new cast member Sela Ward. The storylines and highlights of the various characters are discussed. The cast talk about their favorite episodes. Interviews include Co-Executive Producer Trey Callaway, Co-Executive Producer Vikki Williams, Gary Sinise, Sela Ward, A.J. Buckley, Producer John Dover, Carmine Giovinazzo, Anna Belknap, Hill Harper, Eddie Cahill and Robert Joy.
New in Town: Jo Danville (11:50) - This featurette talks about the introduction of the Jo Danville character, her background and the humor that she brought to the show. Interviews include Co-Executive Producer Trey Callaway, Sela Ward, Producer John Dove, Anna Belknap, A.J. Buckley, Hill Harper, Eddie Cahill, Robert Joy, Gary Sinise, Carmine Giovinazzo and Co-Executive Producer Vikki Williams.
Under the Microscope Blog for "Sangre Por Sangre" (2:18) - Guest Star Edward James Olmos is interviewed.
Under the Microscope Blog for "Out of the Sky" (3:07) - This video blog takes a closer look at the visual effects. Visual Effects Supervisor Brad Powell, Visual Effects Coordinator Jeff Crocker and Effects Artist Chris Hagerthy are interviewed.
Under the Microsope Blog for "Do Not Pass Go" (2:04) - A disclaimer is played at the beginning about disturbing images. SPFX Technician Brad Palmer SPFX Technician Erin Draney are interviewed talk about the process of getting the decomposed bodies ready.
Under the Microscope Blog for "Justified" (2:11) - Writer/Producer John Dove, a retired NYPD Detective Liutenant, is interviewed.
Deleted Scene for "Justified" (2:27) - A scene of Flack and Messer at Mitch Barry's apartment.
An Extended Visit: John Larroquette Comes to CSI: NY (8:11) - This featurette focuses on the character of Chief Ted Carver played by John Larroquette. He appears in a three episode arc. Interviews include Co-Executive Producer Trey Callaway, Supervising Producer Kim Clements, John Larroquette, Producer John Dove and Gary Sinise.
Under the Microscope: Gary's Band (2:00) - Gary Sinise is interviewed about his band: Gary Sinise & The Lt. Dan Band.
Under the Microscope: Celebrating the Show's 150th Episode (2:30) - Showrunner/Executive Producer Pam Veasey and Co-Executive Producer Zach Reiter are interviewed.
Under the Microscope Blog for "To What End?" (1:23) - SPFX Makeup Artist Brian Kinney and Hair Department Head Bruce Samia talk about getting the clowns ready.
Under the Microscope Blog for "Party Down" (2:23) - Underwater Director of Photography/Underwater Camera Operator Christopher Lee Warden and Actor Carter Macintyre (plays Chris Boyle), Marla Sokoloff (Abigail West), VFX Specialist/Water Tank Owner Gene Warren Jr. are interviewed about filming the scenes at a water tank.
Under the Microscope Blog for "Smooth Criminal" (2:23) - Costume Designer Libby Palmer talks about the wardrobe for Ne-Yo in this episode.
Under the Microscope Blog for "Vigilante" (2:50) - Anna Belknap is interviewed about the episode.
Under the Microscope Blog for "The Untouchable" (2:15) - Production Designer Vaughan Edwards talks about the elaborate set used in this episode.
Deleted Scenes for "The Untouchable" (1:53) - Jo and Linday are at the lab in the first scene. Mac, Jo, Flack and Lindsay talk about a suspect in the second scene.
Under the Microscope Blog for "Do or Die" (2:43) - Writer Matthew Levine talks about the process of writing this episode.
Under the Microscope Blog for "Identity Crisis" (5:39) - Co-Executive Producer Trey Callaway answers some fan questions.
Under the Microscope Blog for "Food For Thought" (4:05) - 1st Assistant Director Bruce Humphrey and SPFX Coordinator Dave Kelsey are interviewed about blowing up the food truck in this episode.
Under the Microscope Blog for "Nothing for Something" (4:08) - Eddie Cahill talks about his Flack character.
Under the Microscope Blog for "Life Sentence" (3:48) - Supervising Producer Christopher Silber and Co-Producer Adam Targum talk about the pre-production process of working on a script.
Under the Microscope Blog for "Exit Strategy" (2:32) - This is a compilation of the highlights of this season's video blogs.
Wild Ride: On the Set with Peter Fonda (7:33) - This featurette focuses on guest star Peter Fonda, who plays a grizzled ex-cop named William Hunt in the final two episodes of the season. Interviews include Producer John Dove, Co-Executive Producer Trey Callaway, Peter Fonda, Gary Sinise and Hill Harper.
Gag Reel (2:38) - A montage of bloopers from this season, including a few bleeped out words.
This was a season of change for CSI: NY. They were moved a new day and time of Fridays at 9pm. Melina Kanakaredes left the show after six seasons and was replaced by Sela Ward. Sela Ward's character brought a new dimension and more humor to the show. I think a new character always helps re-energize the writers and cast. They celebrated their 150th episode this season. Memorable episodes included "Unfriendly Chat," "Damned If You Do," "Identity Crisis," "Life Sentence," and "Exit Strategy." Peter Fonda was a great guest star in the final two episodes of the season.
The special features on this set are entertaining and informative. It's great to see all of the main cast members participate in them. This is a rare set in the CSI franchise that doesn't have any audio commentaries, but they made up for it with the additional featurettes. I think the Under the Microscope behind-the-scenes video blogs were particularly interesting. They are bite-sized featurettes and interviews that last only a few minutes, but they get the job done. It's nice that they've continued to post them on the CBS.com Official Site for the current season.
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CSI: NY CBS.com Official Site
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Bewitched and Elizabeth Montgomery Website (www.bewitched.net) - For the next few weeks, we're going to get into the Halloween spirit by showcasing a few websites that are themed to Halloween, and we're going to start with one of my personal favorites this week. The Bewitched and Elizabeth Montgomery Website proudly proclaims itself as the "ORIGINAL, BIGGEST, BEST and MOST COMPLETE Bewitched and Elizabeth Montgomery web site on the net," and that is no exaggeration. The website first appeared online about 15 years ago, and is still going strong to this day.
That's all for this week. Until next time, keep it digital!
New on DVD/Blu-ray (December/January)
12/06 - Family Guy - Season Fourteen
12/13 - American Dad! - Volume 11
12/13 - Newhart - The Complete Seventh Season
01/03 - Girls - The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray)
01/10 - Broad City - Season 3
01/17 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized)
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume One
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two
01/24 - Hooperman - Season One
01/24 - Hooperman - Season Two
01/31 - Ballers - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest
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Friday, January 20
Last Man Standing - "A House Divided" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Mike and Vanessa ask newlyweds Mandy and Kyle to tone down their constant displays of affection, Mandy agrees but only if her parents become more discreet in the way they express their feelings to each other. Meanwhile, Kristen gets Eve a gig playing at the Grill, but Ed wants to fire her after a lackluster performance.
Dr. Ken - "A Day in the Life" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Amy (guest star Yvette Nicole Brown), the producer of a documentary health series, follows Ken around to record a typical day at an HMO, giving Ken his big moment in the limelight. But much to Ken’s chagrin, a series of the less than thrilling day-to-day parts of the job at Welltopia leads Ken to doubt his own career choice.
Friday, January 20
- Anthony Anderson (black-ish/Guys with Kids/All About the Andersons) - Catch Anthony on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
- JoAnna Garcia Swisher (Reba/Better with You) - JoAnna visits The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
- Jim Gaffigan (The Jim Gaffigan Show/My Boys/Welcome to New York) - Jim stops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Cristela Alonzo (Cristela) - Cristela drops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
- John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - John is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community) - Ken is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He also appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
- Nicole Byer (Loosely, Exactly Nicole) - Nicole appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
- Joe Jonas (Jonas L.A.) - Joe guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- Bernadette Peters (Mozart in the Jungle/All's Fair) - Bernadette is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- Queen Latifah (Living Single) - Queen Latifah is a guest on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
- Andrew Dice Clay (Bless This House/Hitz) - Andrew stops by Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
- Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory/Roseanne - Johnny discusses his role in the new film, Rings, and dishes on this season of The Big Bang Theory on the AOL Build Show at 1pm.