Saturday, December 10, 2011

Digital Digest: Webster DVDs on Shout! Select; Clifford the Big Red Dog - Big Big Collection DVD Review


Welcome back to Digital Digest for this blustery (unless you are living in a tropical climate or somewhere in the southern hemisphere, of course) and cool weekend! We're in a pre-Christmas lull on news now (and it is probably just going to get slower as the weeks go by), but we're here today just as we are each and every Saturday with your news and a review of Clifford the Big Red Dog - Big Big Collection. Let's get going!


DIGITAL NEWS

A few months ago, we mentioned that the fourth season of Webster was coming to stores on DVD from Shout! Factory in November, but that never materialized. But fear, no more, because Webster IS coming to DVD soon... just not in stores! On January 17, Shout! Factory will be releasing Webster - Season Four exclusively as a Shout! Select title. Hopefully, we'll have a copy of this title to review in the upcoming weeks.

That '70s Show - Season One (Blu-ray) was set to hit stores on January 10, but now that has been delayed a bit. The reason? According to TVShowsOnDVD.com, new special features are in the works for this set which will be exclusive to the Blu-ray edition. The article also mentions that the set will hopefully be released in March. So while most of us don't really enjoy delays, it sounds like we will enjoy this one!

CBS DVD is starting off 2012 the right way with even more DVD announcements. The first one is Matlock - The Seventh Season, which is, of course, the contemporary classic starring Andy Griffith. The release is scheduled for February 21, but we did notice one unusual thing in the listing. The set is listed as being a three-disc set, which is a bit low considering how many episodes are on the set. Hopefully, this is wrong, but we'll know for sure when we have the review of this set sometime in February, right here on Digital Digest.

The other announcement is a bit more surprising, and brings a very quick completion to a series that was just started on DVD. Mission: Impossible - The '89 TV Season is set for a February 28 release, just mere months after the recent release of Mission: Impossible - The '88 TV Season. With only two seasons of the series, that brings the series to completion. We'll have a review of this set in February as well, again, on Digital Digest.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (December 13) brings just one traditional sitcom to DVD, with the release of the final season of a contemporary hit series, Spin City - The Complete Sixth Season. We have received a review copy of this set, and a review is forthcoming. Image has a re-release of the series Sledge Hammer!, with Sledge Hammer! - The Complete Series. And finally, Fox has another animated sitcom on the way, with Family Guy - Volume 9.


Clifford the Big Red Dog - Big Big Collection

Blog DVD Review - Clifford the Big Red Dog - Big Big Collection (Lionsgate, $29.98)

Everyone's favorite crimson friend and beloved Scholastic character, Clifford the Big Red Dog™, stars in an all-new six-DVD collection as Lionsgate Home Entertainment releases Clifford the Big Red Dog™: Big Big Collection starring the voice of the late great John Ritter as Clifford. Arriving just in time for holiday gift-giving season, the set includes more than 50 splendid stories and nine hours of canine content at an incredible value. In addition, the DVDs contain the kid-friendly direct-play feature, allowing children to insert the DVD and watch without help from an adult. An award-winning and beloved brand, the Scholastic Media produced Clifford television series is consistently a top-rated show on PBS® where the TV series airs daily and receives more than 2,000 plays weekly. With more than 126 million books sold since its launch 49 years ago, Scholastic's Clifford the Big Red Dog is one of the top-rated preschool properties across multiple categories. The brand currently enjoys more than 96% awareness among mothers with kids ages two to five, with over 6.6 million videos and DVDs sold to date.

Now these six discs were each released previously on their own one-disc set, so there isn't actually anything new on this set if you have those DVDs. The six DVDs are: Playtime with Clifford, Happy Birthday Clifford!, Clifford's Schoolhouse, Doghouse Adventures, The New Baby on the Block, and Growing Up With Clifford. So the content from those single disc sets are the same on these discs on this set. We reviewed the last major set for this series back in 2006, that set was five-discs. Earlier this year right here on Digital Digest, we also reviewed a best of set that had six episodes that focused on Clifford and his best buddies.

As for the episodes on this six-disc set, we don't get any first time on DVD episodes since they were released separately already. Each episode is a short episode, since the series had two short episodes per half-hour at around 11-12 minutes. There were other very short shorts like Storytime with Speckle and Clifford's Big Idea. These are in the special features. We will go over what actual episodes are on each disc here:
Disc one - Playtime with Clifford: "Tummy Trouble, "Tie-Dyed Clifford," "Cleo Gets a Cone," "Team Spirit," "Follow the Leader," "Topsy-Turvy Day," "That's Snow Lie," "Led Astray," "Stars in Your Eyes" and "Fair Weather Friend."
Disc two - Happy Birthday Clifford/Puppy Love: "The Best Party Ever," "Clifford's Big Surprise," "Potluck Party Pooper," It's My Party" and "T-Bone, Dog About Town," "Clifford's Big Heart," "Mimi's Back In Town," "The Best Gift."
Disc three - Clifford Tries hist Best/Clifford's Schoolhouse: "Dog Park," "The Big Sleepover," "And Birdy Makes Three," "Clifford's Doggie Reunion" and "Teacher's Pet," "Nobody's Perfect," "Clifford and the Beanstalk," "Get Well."
Disc four - Doghouse Adventures: "Clifford Cleans His Doghouse," "Doggie Garden," "Screaming for Ice Cream," "Jetta's Project," "Then Came Bob," "Clothes Don't Make the Dog," "Limelight Fright," "Clifford's Cookie Craving," "Guess Who's Coming to Birdwell."
Disc five - The New Baby on the Block: "Baby Makes Four," "A Job Well Read," "Who Me, Jealous?," "A Bunny in a Haystack," "Babysitter Blues," "He's Wonderful Mr. Bleakman," "Getting to Know You," and "No Baths For Cleo."
Disc six - Growing Up With Clifford: "Blanket Blues," "Food for Thought," "When I Grow Up," "Fishing Lessons," "Dog for a Day," "Nothing to Fur but Fur Itself," "Another Fine Mess" and "Vaz Goes Down the Tubes.

The packaging is simple and efficient. Lionsgate has given us a keep case with an outer box. Both the outer box and the case have the same artwork. We have Clifford on the cover art with Emily Elizabeth in a blue background. The title of the series and "Big Big Collection" is above that. The back artwork has info on each disc and a list of special features. We also have six episodic stills from the series next to each disc info. When we open the case, there is no artwork on the panels itself--so it is just plain black. The discs are on three black plastic holders that you can flip like a page in a book. Each plastic holder holds two discs, one in the front and one in the back. The discs have the same artwork as they had originally when they were released and all prominently feature Clifford, of course.

The menus are easy to navigate and are also designed well for children. It is as friendly as the previous big collection in 2006. Each disc has a different style, since these sets were released at different times. On each, we have the opening theme song playing in the background. The main menu options on most are Play All, Choose Episode, Audio Features and Big Fun Features. There are just two chapter stops per episode since it is just one mini-episode per episode. Choose Episode option gives us a screenshot and episode title and then we can choose the episode. The Big Fun Features option has a list of the extras like "Speckle Stories" that run 90 seconds each. The Speckle Stories usually run at the end of each episode on PBS, but it is an extra on this set. The Audio Features has it so we can change back and forth between 2.0 English Dolby Digital and 2.0 Spanish Dolby Digital. On some of these menus, we can hear the voice of John Ritter saying to choose the episode or the Big Idea. We also have voices of the other stars on some other discs menu options. It is cool.

The video and audio quality are both great. The video is in 1.33:1 full screen, but it still looks great. The colors are very vivid. It almost looks HD, that's how good the video looks. Some discs look better than others, because these were released at different dates originally. My DVD player upconverts to HD, so it still looks great. The audio is also fine. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, you can choose either English or Spanish. There is nothing to complain about here. No dust and debris in the video or anything. If you had the six sets previously, you know what I mean.

As for the Big Fun Features. Each disc is different. I'll do over it by disc:
Disc one - Storytime with Speckle (1:14 each): "Speckle and the Hiding Place," "Speckle and the Wishing Star," "Speckle and the Balloon Ride" - Real-Life Doggy Friends (2:07)
Disc two - Clifford's Big Ideas (1:00 each) - "Be Kind," "Be A Good Friend," and "Believe In Yourself" - "Real-Life Doggy Friends (3:05) - Cleo's Groovy Grooming Game
Disc three - Storytime with Speckle (1:14 each): "Speckle and the Old Wagon," "Speckle and the Little Big Snack," "Speckle and the Really Good Book," and "Speckle and the Playful Yard" - Sing-Along (the main theme with words and singing or with words and without singing)
Disc four - Where Did Clifford Hide It? Game - Storytime with Speckle (1:14 each): "Speckle and the Magnificent World," "Speckle and the Great Story," and "Speckle and the Indoor Picnic."
Disc five - Storytime with Speckle (1:14 each): "Speckle and the Really Good Book," "Speckle and the Home Grown Garden," and "Speckle and the Memory Makers" - Help Baby Find Mom Game
Disc six - Storytime with Speckle (1:14 each): "Speckle and the Little Big Snack," "Speckle and the Big Job," and "Speckle and the Best Medicine" - Learn How to Draw Clifford and His Pals

This set is pretty well done even though there is no new content on here. Well it is new if you didn't have these six sets before. I never did, so it is new to me. It is as good as the previous big set from 2006, but I liked that one better. If you have not bought that set already, please buy that and then get this set so you get nearly all the Clifford episodes. The last set, the single-disc set, has episodes never before released on DVD, so that is worth buying, too. Let's hope eventually we get ALL of the episodes on DVD because John Ritter gives the voice of Clifford a new meaning and he was so good at it. He was also nominated for many Daytime Emmy's for this role. Without Christmas just around the corner, red (and green) is the way to go! Preferably big and red. Buy this big big set!

(4/5 stars)

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

toonzone (www.toonzone.net) - Every genre should have a really good website dedicated to it, and we like to think that we do sitcoms well. But we mostly focus on sitcoms, and in general animated series, even though we do like them and talk about them at times, are not a large focus of our website at all. But that is perfectly fine, because there is a website out there that focuses on "all animated series, all the time," and one of the greatest treasure troves for fans of animated series is toonzone.

The website is far from new to the web. In fact, it has been around since 1998--over a decade. Much like our website, they have many pages dedicated to great cartoons from every decade, whether it be Scooby Doo, Spiderman, Batman, or others. While some of these are older archived pages that are no longer updated, they still contain plenty of content to keep you occupied for a while. There is also a blog (complete with relevant and updated news), busy message boards, and even a wiki for users to peruse. And from time-to-time, you'll even find interviews with those involved with the series. There is a lot to discover on toonzone, so you should just check it out for yourself.

That's all for this week. Until next time, keep it digital!
Sitcoms Airing Tonight (Thursday, April 17)

The Big Bang Theory - "The Itchy Brain Simulation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Leonard tries to keep Sheldon from overreacting when a past mistake comes to light, but Sheldon punishes Leonard by making him walk a mile in his shoes. Meanwhile, Penny confronts Raj’s ex-girlfriend, Lucy.

The Big Bang Theory - "The Scavenger Vortex" (CBS, 8:30PM T/PT) (Repeat)
When the entire gang competes in a scavenger hunt designed by Raj, it brings out the best – and worst – in everyone.

The Crazy Ones - "The Monster" / "The Lighthouse" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Season Finale)
"The Monster" - Simon and the team try an out-of-the-box idea in order to save a library from being shut down, and Gordon literally becomes the unwilling poster boy for the campaign. Brad Garrett returns as Gordon Lewis, Gayle King guest stars as herself and Melody Thomas Scott guest stars as Flora, the librarian.

"The Lighthouse" - When a corporation wants to buy out Lewis, Roberts+Roberts, Gordon calls in the board to vote, and Simon’s ex-wife and Sydney’s mom has the final say. Brad Garrett returns as Gordon Lewis and Marilu Henner guest stars as Simon’s ex-wife and Sydney’s mother.

Surviving Jack - "Rhythm Is a Dancer" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
It's homecoming night, but Frankie is bummed that his crush, Heather (guest star Lili Reinhart), is promised to another date and Rachel is protesting the school's "No Grinding" policy. Meanwhile, with the kids out of the house, Jack and Joanne (Rachael Harris) are planning a passionate night to themselves.

Community - "Basic Sandwich" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Season Finale)
The group learns the history of Greendale’s first Dean, Russell Borchert (guest star Chris Elliott, “Eagleheart”), a reclusive, wealthy genius who disappeared amid a personal scandal in the 1970s. Once Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) and Hickey (Jonathan Banks) locate the school’s blueprints, Annie (Alison Brie) and Abed (Danny Pudi) lead the search for Borchert’s old computer lab, which was sealed off years ago. Subway returns to Greendale with plans to take over the campus for a Subway University and they enlist Chang (Ken Jeong) to secretly keep tabs on the study group. Meanwhile, Jeff (Joel McHale) and Britta (Gillian Jacobs) make a grown-up decision about their futures.

Parks and Recreation - "One in 8,000" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Leslie (Amy Poehler) and Ben (Adam Scott) run a charity auction to raise funds for the unity concert. April (Aubrey Plaza) steps in to manage Andy’s (Chris Pratt) schedule, while Donna (Retta) asks Ron (Nick Offerman) for help with her ex-boyfriend (Special Guest Star KEEGAN MICHAEL-KEY).

Sirens - "Itsy Bitsy Spider" (USA Network, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Hank fears spiders; Brian encounters his suicidal doppelganger; Johnny gets payback.

Saint George - "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" (FX, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Hit Me with Your Best Shot - George kicks Alma out of his house and discovers he misses fighting with her.

Anger Management - "Charlie Catches Jordan in the Act" (FX, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Charlie goes ballistic when a drunk Jordan makes out with a prisoner.

Instant Mom
- "Buy Any Jeans Necessary" (Nick at Nite, 8:00PM ET/PT)
After Gabby is held for shoplifting for returning a pair of jeans with the sensor still on, Stephanie and Charlie take sides. Meanwhile, James is selling their unopened wedding presents to make extra cash.

See Dad Run - "See Dad Teach Emily to Drive" (Nick at Nite, 8:30PM ET/PT)
David takes Emily out driving, but his "coaching" makes her nervous, and he insists Emily's not ready for the responsibility. Later, Janie discovers Dr. Monkey Chunks was run over in the driveway, and now everyone is a suspect.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 14) (All times Eastern unless noted)

Thursday, April 17

  • Billy Crystal (Soap) - Catch Billy on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Tony Hale (Veep/Arrested Development) - Tony appears on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Brooklyn Decker (Friends with Better Lives) - Brooklyn is part of the guest panel on Chelsea Lately on E! at 11pm.
  • Tracy Morgan (30 Rock/The Tracy Morgan Show) - Tracy visits Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Judy Greer (Mad Love/Arrested Development/Miss Guided) - Judy drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • David Duchovny (Californication) - David talks about the new season of Californication on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Max Greenfield (New Girl) - Max speaks about the new film About Alex on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Chelsea Handler (Are You There, Chelsea?) - Chelsea chats on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Whoopi Goldberg (Whoopi/Bagdad Cafe) - Whoopi talks about her new Lifetime movie A Day Late and a Dollar Short on The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie) - Edie talks about Nurse Jackie on NBC's Today between 7-9am.
  • Heather Graham (Californication) - Heather talks about Californication on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Jeremy Piven (Entourage/Ellen) - Jeremy is a guest on The Queen Latifah Show, so check your local listings.
  • Margo Martindale (The Millers) - Margo will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother/Doogie Howser, M.D.) - Neil discusses his new role on Broadway in Hedwig and the Angry Itch on ABC's Good Morning America between 7-9am.
  • Jason Alexander (Seinfeld/Listen Up) - Jason is a guest on Larry King Now at 2/5pm PT/ET on Ora.tv and Hulu.
  • Valerie Harper (Rhoda/The Mary Tyler Moore Show/Valerie) - Valerie talks about Signed, Sealed, Delivered on Fox & Friends on Fox News Channel. She will be on Fox News Radio at 8:45am. She takes a SiriusXM Radio tour with Perri Peltz Shade 45 with SWAY, Morrning Jolt with Larry Flick, Entertainment Weekly Radio between 9:35-11:20am.
  • Marlo Thomas (That Girl) - Marlo will be on Good Day New York on WNYW-Fox5 in New York at 9:20am.
  • Ana Ortiz (A.U.S.A./Kristin) - Ana chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. She also talks about the new season of Devious Maids (premieres April 20 at 10pm on Lifetime) on Arise TV.