Saturday, November 26, 2011

Digital Digest: Post-Black Friday Deals; Mission: Impossible - The '88 TV Season DVD Review


Thanksgiving is done, Black Friday is done, and now all we have to wait for is the beginning of winter and Christmas. But wait! Before that, we've got several more weeks of Digital Digest to go, including today's edition! Today, we've got more news, a look at Tuesday's releases, and a review of Mission: Impossible - The '88 TV Season. Plus, we've got a few more Digital Bargains to tell you about this weekend. Let's get started!


DIGITAL NEWS

It seems like we have new online streaming news every week, and this week, Hulu is in the spotlight! They've recently added some series including The Cosby Show, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Normal, Ohio, Grounded for Life, Davis Rules, Damon, Whoopi, and others to their streaming lineup. Unfortunately, in looking at The Cosby Show, it is clear that episodes of at least that show are syndicated versions of the episodes. It is unclear which, if any, other series are in their syndicated form.

MPI appears to be moving ahead on Here's Lucy, with Here's Lucy - Season Five coming February 28 (although there is some indication that this date may be incorrect). Additionally, the third season of My Favorite Martian, which was abandoned by Rhino and picked up by MPI, is reported to be coming in spring 2012, but full details are not known yet.


DIGITAL BARGAINS

We're bringing you another edition of Digital Bargains this week, because the Black Friday deals aren't over yet! We'd definitely refer you to last week's Digital Bargains for details of the ongoing (but not for much longer, most will end TODAY) deals, but we have a few updates and additions for you today.

We begin with Best Buy. As it turns out, there are many great deals there that weren't even reported last week, including some $3.99 season sets! There isn't a whole lot among these, but the highlights are 8 Simple Rules - The Complete Second Season, According to Jim - The Complete Second Season, and According to Jim - The Complete Third Season. At $3.99 per season, there is no reason to pass these up! And the recent Sony complete series sets are dirt cheap too at Best Buy, with Married... With Children - The Complete Series and King of Queens - The Complete Series coming in at $26.99 each! These are all extraordinary deals, with tons more to be found in stores.

Of course, we also mentioned last week that Big Lots advertised some $6 DVDs for Thanksgiving Day, but those are still in stock at many stores. For the most part, it is all a repeat of last year's deals. In fact, I found nothing new at my local store, just new stock of last year's items. But if you missed out last year, you have another opportunity now to pick up some of these series.

Finally, we would like to mention a deal that we missed last week, and it is one worth looking in to. Shout! Factory is offering all of their DVDs direct-to-consumer Shout! Select DVDs at 20% off. It is almost unprecedented for them to offer any discounts on these, so if there are some titles that you wanted from that collection, now is the time to get them! The prices are good through November 28, 2011.

Don't forget, Cyber Monday is coming up, where online retailers will pull out their big deals! Unfortunately, we aren't privy to what these deals will be, and we won't be able to report on them for you here (since Digital Digest won't be back until after they are done), but check out all of the online retailers on Monday, because you may find some great surprises!


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (November 29) has two sitcom releases, with 30 Rock - Season 5 and Hot in Cleveland - Season Two. You can read our reviews here and here. Additionally, we have the DVD debut of Mission: Impossible - The '88 TV Season. We have a review of this set today in Digital Digest.



Mission: Impossible - The '88 TV Season

Blog DVD Review - Mission: Impossible - The '88 TV Season (CBS DVD, $39.98)

In the 1960s, Peter Graves starred as Jim Phelps in the series Mission: Impossible, a classic series that continues to have a legacy to this day. And to complete that legacy, the series, like many other series from the 60s, was brought back for a reprisal in 1988 (thanks to a writer's strike where ABC wanted to create a program that recycled old scripts), with Peter Graves once again playing the role of Jim Phelps. With his protégé being murdered in the line of duty, Phelps is determined to do whatever it takes to find the murderer, even if it means coming out of his retirement. And so he does, along with a new team of IMF agents, to take on a series of new missions that seem impossible. It doesn't take long to find the murderer, but with Phelps now comfortable in his new job, he decides to continue with the IMF.

The series beings with "The Killer," where Jim Phelps is prompted out of retirement after his protégé is murdered. The team tries to turn a high-profile mobster against his boss in "The System." In "Holograms," the team tries to extradite an international drug lord. The team works to free a former IMF agent who was wrongly imprisoned for murder (and scheduled for execution) in "The Condemned." The grandsons of four Nazi officers attempt to create the Fourth Reich in "The Legacy." An international chess tournament is a perfect ruse for IMF agents to get three people in "The Pawn." In "The Haunting," Jim has a hunch as to who is responsible for a string of murders in the US. The IMF has to stop a battle to the death between a prince and his uncle (this almost sounds like The Lion King) in "The Lions."

The IMF is out to stop a Greek tycoon running a black market drug ring in "The Greek." In "The Fortune," the team has to locate stolen money from a dictator who sought asylum in the United States. There are rumors of a former spy starting his own chemical weapon manufacturing process in "Spy." In "The Devils," the IMF investigates a series of murders surrounding the estate of a member of the English House of Lords. An ex-IMF agent is murdering retired colleagues in "Reprisal," and Jim has to race the clock to prove that it isn't him. The team hunts for the creator of a computer virus capable of sinking naval vessels in "Submarine." The season ends with "Bayou," where a New Orleans jazz club owner is accused of owning a white slavery ring.

The episodes appear to be unedited, with runtimes as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "The Killer" (48:40)
2. "The System" (47:47)
3. "Holograms" (47:37)
4. "The Condemned" (48:10)

Disc 2:
5. "The Legacy" (47:44)
6. "The Wall" (48:07)
7. "The Cattle King" (47:53)
8. "The Pawn" (48:38)

Disc 3:
9. "The Haunting" (48:39)
10. "The Lions" (49:12)
11. "The Greek" (49:09)
12. "The Fortune" (49:28)

Disc 4:
13. "The Fixer" (48:46)
14. "Spy" (48:18)
15. "The Devils" (49:18)
16. "Plague" (49:17)

Disc 5:
17. "Reprisal" (49:00)
18. "Submarine" (48:07)
19. "Bayou" (49:25)

The packaging for this set is the pretty standard CBS DVD style packaging, with the standard Viva case. On the cover, we have a large photo of Peter Graves, along with several smaller pictures of the IMF agents. There are more of these photos on the back, along with a brief description of the series. Inside the case, there is a listing of all of the episodes, along with a brief description. There are four discs in the set, with the first four discs containing four episodes each, and the fifth disc containing three episodes. The disc artwork is just a plain gray background with the series logo imprinted on it.

The menus aren't very exciting, but they are perfectly functional. The main menu on each disc has a large photo of a different character for each disc, and a list of the episodes on the disc, along with a Subtitles option. That is all there is on the menu; not even a Play All option. Once you select an episode, it plays immediately. There are chapters placed within each episode.

The video and audio quality of this set looks fine, for the most part, but it definitely suffers from the low-production quality of the series. For those who are unaware, even though this series aired on ABC, it was done with a very low budget, and on top of that, all of the episodes were filmed in Australia. The episodes look a bit aged and unrestored, but they haven't really suffered too much. As for the audio quality, it is a very loud and clear stereo track. In fact, many of the episodes actually even have the original ABC stereo logo on them! Each episode contains English subtitles.

There are no special features to be found on this set. It would have been nice to have heard from some of the production crew, particularly given how this series came about on the heels of a writer's strike and was produced so inexpensively.

I had no idea what to expect prior to seeing this series (this was my first time ever seeing this version of the series), but it is surprisingly a great series. Many similar series that were reprised in the 80s almost seemed a bit contrived and try to recopy the past a bit too much, but this one is surprisingly fresh for a reprisal, and it amazes me that it didn't do a better job of catching on with fans. The series has a very modern (as in 80s modern) feeling to it and virtually all of the episodes in it have great story lines. The series only ended up lasting two seasons, so hopefully we'll get to see the rest of the series in a follow-up release sometime in 2012. All in all, this is a mission that fans should accept!

(4/5 stars)

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CLICK OF THE WEEK

Museum of Broadcast Communications - We've mentioned this site often throughout our website, but the website for the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago is more than just a promotional website for a museum. While you will find valuable information about the museum (which is currently in the process of moving to a new site after being without a home for a while) on this site, it provides a tremendous amount of content that will keep TV fans occupied for quite some time.

Among this content, you'll find their Encyclopedia of Television, which contains over 1000 scholarly (yes, scholarly) essays about TV series past and present. You'll find plenty of unique content here, complete with citations. But one of the best parts is the Museum Archives, where you will find 1000s of hours of classic TV, radio, commercials, and more. There is a lot to explore on the website, and we would encourage you to start on the main page... and you may be there for a while!

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


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, October 19

Superstore - "Workplace Bullying" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Tensions arise among the employees after an attempted robbery, pitting Dina (Lauren Ash) against Jonah (Ben Feldman). Meanwhile, Glenn (Mark McKinney) has a tough time firing the store security guard, and Amy (America Ferrera) discovers that her coworkers have been hanging out without her.

The Good Place - "The Trolley Problem" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Chidi (William Jackson Harper) and Eleanor (Kristen Bell) tackle a famous ethical dilemma, leading to a conflict with Michael (Ted Danson). Meanwhile, Tahani (Jameela Jamil) harbors a secret and confides in Janet (D'Arcy Carden).

Will & Grace - "Grandpa Jack" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Jack (Sean Hayes) is stunned to learn that his estranged son, Elliot (guest star Michael Angarano) has a son of his own, Skip (guest star Jet Jurgensmeyer). Moreover, Skip needs the kind of help only Will (Eric McCormack) and Jack can provide. Grace (Debra Messing) and Karen (Megan Mullally) behave badly with the hot new guy at work.

Great News - "Award Show" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
For the first time in years, "The Breakdown" has been nominated for an American Journalism Award. Katie (Briga Heelan) is looking forward to spending the night as a peer with the very reporters she has admired her whole life. Fearing her mother will ruin it, Katie tries to stop Carol (Andrea Martin) from attending but is unsuccessful when Carol secures a position as a seat-filler. Katie is stuck babysitting her mom all night but gets distracted by Jeremy (guest star Reid Scott), a handsome New York Times reporter who looks down on cable news. Chuck (John Michael Higgins) is excited to reunite with all of his old anchormen friends, especially Len Archer (guest star Christopher McDonald), an idol of Chuck's who is receiving a lifetime achievement award.

Better Things - "Eulogy" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Sam demands satisfaction.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 16)

Thursday, October 19

  • Tracy Morgan (30 Rock/The Tracy Morgan Show) - Catch Tracy on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Paul Shaffer (A Year at the Top) - Paul sits in with Cleto and The Cletones on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) - Jim is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Michael Keaton (Working Stiffs/All's Fair) - Michael appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Amy Landecker (Transparent) - Amy is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Carl Reinder (The Dick Van Dyke Show) - Carl appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Garcelle Beauvais (The Jamie Foxx Show) - Garcelle guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Cedric Yarbrough (Speechless/Reno 911!) - Cedric is a guest on Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Angela Kinsey (Haters Back Off/Your Family or Mine/The Office) - Angela talks about the new season of her Netflix show Haters Back Off on the People Now at 8:30am.
  • Jeff Garlin (The Goldbergs/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Jeff appears on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Henry Winkler (Happy Days/Out of Practice) - Henry is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Hayley Orrantia (The Goldbergs) - Hayley appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Joanna Garcia Swisher (Reba/Better with You) - Joanna teams up with Michael Symon in the kitchen, giving the scoop on her new show and whipping up a tasty dish on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT. She also talks about Kevin (Probably) Saves the World on the AOL Build Show at 11am.
  • Redman (Method & Red) - Redman appears on the AOL Build Show at 3pm.
  • Debra Messing and Eric McCormack (Will & Grace) - Debra and Eric are guests on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July/August)

Father Knows Best - Season Six Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season Alice - The Complete Fifth Season Rhoda - Season Four Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four

06/13 - The Andy Griffith Show - Return to Mayberry
06/13 - That's My Mama - The Complete Series
06/20 - Workaholics - The Final (Seventh) Season
06/20 - Workaholics - The Complete Series
06/27 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Third Season
07/04 - Superstore - Season Two
07/18 - Father Knows Best - Season Six
07/25 - Diff'ernt Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season
07/25 - Girls - The Final (Sixth) Season (Blu-ray)
08/01 - Alice - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
08/01 - Crashing - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
08/15 - Rhoda - Season Four
08/22 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four
08/29 - Will & Grace - Season One (Universal)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest