Saturday, January 28, 2012

Digital Digest: New Big Bang Blu-rays, Bazinga!; Father Dowling Mysteries - The First Season DVD Review


It is hard to tell if it is fall, winter, or spring with the crazy and changing weather that we are having all over the US, but one thing that we can tell for sure is that it is yet another Saturday. So, welcome to Digital Digest! This week, in addition to our regular features, we have a review of CBS Home Entertainment's release of Father Dowling Mysteries - The First Season. Let's get started.


DIGITAL NEWS

Lately, we've started to see more and more Blu-ray Disc releases of sitcoms, even including That '70s Show - Season One (Blu-ray), which we mentioned last week. Now, Warner Home Video is going back a little bit with The Big Bang Theory, and finally releasing season one and season two on the high-definition format. Of course, the most recent seasons of the series have been released on Blu-ray, but now fans will be able to own every season released to date on Blu-ray. According to TVShowsOnDVD.com, these DVDs should be expected in the first half of the year.

TVShowsOnDVD.com had even more news this week with information about Saved by the Bell. Apparently, there is a release of the complete series in the works. Not a whole lot is known about this release just yet. In fact, it is entirely possible that the release is just the previous releases wrapped together in one package. When we do know more, we'll be sure to update you on it.

Fans of the animated comedy American Dad! will be pleased to know that more episodes of that series will be coming to DVD soon, with American Dad! - Volume Seven. The release is scheduled to hit store shelves on April 17. Unfortunately, there isn't a Blu-ray release scheduled at this time, which actually would have been appropriate for this set since it is the first one that will include all high-definition episodes. Still, the DVDs for this set have been perfectly adequate, and fans shouldn't be disappointed.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (January 31) brings another slow day of DVDs with only two releases, both from Shout! Factory. First is Leave it to Beaver - 20 Timeless Episodes, which contains twenty of the "best" episodes of the classic series. Additionally, Shout! Factory has Hey Dude! - Season 2.

BLOG FEATURE REVIEW


Father Dowling Mysteries - The First Season

Blog DVD Review: Father Dowling Mysteries - The First Season (CBS DVD, $29.99)
by Todd


Catholic priest Father Frank Dowling (Tom Bosley) continually stumbles over murders, abductions and other high crimes in his hometown of Chicago. Assisted by street-smart Sister Stephanie "Steve" Oskowski (Tracy Nelson), wherever the holy duo go, someone usually turns up dead. While the local police are quick to find a likely suspect, the snooping priest just as quickly finds a good reason to take a closer look. Now, for the first time on DVD, you can enjoy this 2-Disc collection of the first season of Father Dowling Mysteries which includes the Original TV Pilot Movie! Father Phil (James Stephens) is going to have to take 10 o'clock Mass, because Father Dowling has got a murder to solve!

Father Dowling Mysteries began with a two-hour TV pilot movie called "Fatal Confession," which originally aired on NBC on November 1, 1987. The show was picked up for the fall 1988-89 season, but it did not begin airing until January 20, 1989 because of a writer's strike. After the first season was broadcast on Friday nights on NBC, it moved to ABC on Thursday nights for the last two seasons. A total of 43 episodes were broadcast plus the pilot movie. Here are the episodes included on this release:

Disc 1:

"Fatal Confession" (Original TV Pilot Movie) (11/30/87) (1:36:00) - The pilot episode finds Father Dowling and Sister Steve investigating the apparent suicde of a former parishoner. In between saying Mass, hearing confessions and managing the softball team, Father Dowling somehow finds time to conduct his own investigation.
Notable Guest Stars: Susan Blakely, Leslie Nielsen, Peter Scolari, Sada Thompson, Stella Stevens

1-2. "The Missing Body Mystery" (01/20/89) (1:33:44) - Father Dowling lands on the wrong side of the FBI after a dying man falls dead at his feet. Father Dowling puts the church in a bad light when he insists on tracking down the killer.
Notable Guest Star: Robert Walden

3. "What Do You Call a Call Girl Mystery" (01/27/89) (47:47) - Father Dowling comes to the aid of a man whose fiancée was murdered just as she was about to confess being a prostitute. A search leads to three powerful clients, none of whom want to be invovled in a scandal.
Notable Guest Stars: David L. Lander, James Noble

Disc 2:

4. "The Man Who Came to Dinner Mystery" (02/10/89) (47:32) - Father Dowling Mysteries becomes a family affair when guest star Harriet Nelson appears alongside granddaughter Tracy Nelson.
Notable Guest Stars: Harriet Nelson, John Slattery

5. "The Mafia Priest Mystery, Part 1" (02/17/89) (47:47) - Father Dowling finds himself caught in a bizarre mystery when he attempts to prove a fellow priest innocent of murder. He and street-smart schemer Sister Steve get more than they bargained for when they discover the young priest's family is indeed connected to organized crime!
Notable Guest Star: Andreas Katsulas

6. "The Mafia Priest Mystery, Part 2" (02/24/89) (47:51) - Undeterred by appearances, FAther Dowling sets out to prove a young priest innocent of murder after he discovers the priest has been framed by a member of his own family. Nothing is ever easy, of course, and when th real assassin is himself killed. Dowling must rely on a family member who is too afraid to tell the truth.
Notable Guest Star: Andreas Katsulas

7. "The Face in the Mirror Mystery" (03/03/89) (47:50) - When the good Father's evil half-brother shows up unexpectedly, Dowling suspects right away that the evil one is up to no good. After thrwarting his brother's attempted diamond heist, Dowling finds himself in hot water when he discovers that the police can't tell the two brothers apart.
Notable Guest Star: Diane Ladd

8. "The Pretty Baby Mystery" (03/10/89) (46:24) - Father Dowling and Sister Steve find themselves in the most unlikely role of parents when an abandoned baby is discovered at the rectory. When they attempt to reunite mother and child they learn that the mother is being chased by violent kidnappers.

The TV Pilot Movie and premiere episode are presented in their original two-hour format. All of the other episodes have runtimes of 46-47 minutes. There's a disclaimer on the back cover that reads: "Some episodes may be edited from their original network versions. Music has been changed for this home entertainment version." This is a standard disclaimer on most CBS DVD releases, so it doesn't necessarily mean any episodes are actually edited. I don't know how much music the show originally used, but hopefully any music substitutions are very minor. The set has a total running time of approximately 7 hours, 54 minutes.

The packaging for this 2-disc set is clear plastic Viva-case. On the cover, we have a photo of Tom Bosley and Tracy Nelson, along with the show title at the top and a church glass background. On the back, there are more episode snapshots of Bosley and Nelson, along with a description of the series and the DVD specs. Tom Bosley is featured on the spine of the case. Inside, you'll find the episode titles, original airdates and short summaries listed by disc. The discs just have gray artwork with the series logo on them. Disc 1 contains three episodes (two of which are two-hour episodes). Disc 2 contains five one-hour episodes.

Moving on to the menus, they are simply designed and easy to navigate. The main menu features Tom Bosley on Disc 1 and Tracy Nelson on Disc 2. A partially shattered glass church background is used. The episode titles are listed vertically in yellow text. The episode you highlight is blue than turns red upon your selection. When you select an episode, it takes you to another sub-menu that features a different photo of Bosley and Nelson on each disc. The subtitles menu features a different photo of Bosley and Nelson on each disc. You can turn on the English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing on this menu. Chapters are placed throughout each episode at all of the appropriate places.

The video and audio quality is very good. I don't have any original episodes on tape to compare, but it looks like the episodes were probably remastered a bit for this release. These episodes were shot over 20 years ago, so they do show some age. They are presented in their original full frame ratio and in their original broadcast order. Father Dowling Mysteries was shot on film. There were many outdoor scenes and different locations used. According to the IMDB, Father Dowling's church is in Denver, CO and the first season was shot there as well before moving to Los Angeles for the final two seasons. I thought the episodes may look a little brighter, but this may have just been the way they were originally shot. The show has kind of a dark and gritty look to it. The audio is a Dolby Digital English Stereo track. I didn't hear any problems with the audio. This show had a very nice melodic theme and score in the episodes. English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing are available on all of the episodes.

Only episode promos are included as a special feature. These are 35-40 second previews that tell you what's happening "next on Father Dowling". The video quality of these promos isn't as good as the episodes, but they are fun to see and they give you a good idea of what each episode is about. They are avaiable for all of the episodes except for "The Mafia Priest Mystery, Part 2." It would have been nice to have some vintage or new interviews with the cast and crew. Sadly, Tom Bosley died in October 2010. This is a show that I know so little about. It would be interesting to hear about the show's production history. The show also featured a number of guest stars. They could have highlighted some of them in a featurette.

Everyone's favorite mystery-solving priest is now on DVD! Despite being a big fan of Happy Days and Tom Bosley, this is a series that I've only seen a handful of episodes over the years. It's always been a series that I've wanted to see in its entirety, but I just never got around to watching it. Only three seasons were made, but the show has popped up in syndication over the years and seems to have a devoted fan base. I've liked what I've seen in the episodes in the past and look forward to catching up with it on DVD.

There was a lot to like about this series. Tom Bosley and Tracy Nelson may have seemed like an unlikely pairing, but they had good chemistry and worked well together. The show also had some great writing, directing and production values. I also loved the show's opening theme credits and music. I'll never forget seeing Tom Bosley wearing his beloved Chicago Cubs jacket. With a relatively small main cast, the show brought in quite a few guest stars on a weekly basis. The TV Pilot Movie and first season included notable guest stars like Susan Blakely, Leslie Nielsen, Peter Scolari, Sada Thompson, Stella Stevens, Robert Walden, David L. Lander, James Noble, Harriet Nelson, John Slattery, Andreas Katsulas and Diane Ladd. Before CSI and all of the violent crime shows of today, there were more family friendly mystery shows like Father Dowling Mysteries, Murder, She Wrote, Diagnosis Murder and Matlock. It was a different era back then. It's easy to understand why these types of shows remain popular today. Everybody likes a good mystery. If the first season sells well, hopefully we'll see the remaining two seasons released soon.

(4/5 stars)

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

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page


CLICK OF THE WEEK

LeaveItToBeaver.org (www.leaveittobeaver.org) - The past few weeks, we've been giving you "broader" pop-culture Click of the Week items, but this week, we're switching gears to a TV series that has had a huge impact on pop-culture, and is also related to one of Tuesday's DVD releases. LeaveItToBeaver.org should not have surprising content based upon the name. In fact, it is just what it sounds like: a Leave it to Beaver website. We bring up this website, though, because it is full of great content. Among the content, you'll find frequently asked questions, video clips relating to the show, audio clips, interviews, some of Beaver's "writings," articles, collectibles, and much more. The only thing truly missing from the site, though, is a thorough episode guide. It was a bit surprising to see all of the great content on the site, but no detailed episode guide. It doesn't appear that the website has been updated much recently, though there isn't a whole lot of new stuff to put up Still, there is plenty of content here for you to check out.

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


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Saturday, May 25

Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Kerry Washington joins “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons,’” the live sitcom special coming from late-night host Jimmy Kimmel and television icon Norman Lear. Washington is set to play Helen Willis in the special, airing live WEDNESDAY, MAY 22 (8:00-9:31 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. This historic event will take viewers down memory lane, recreating an original episode from each of the Emmy® Award-winning series “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons.” This legendary night of television will be hosted by Lear and Kimmel, directed by 10-time Emmy winner James Burrows and produced by Sony Pictures Television.

Previously announced stars include Woody Harrelson (Archie Bunker), Marisa Tomei (Edith Bunker), Jamie Foxx (George Jefferson), Wanda Sykes (Louise Jefferson), Ellie Kemper (Gloria Stivic), Will Ferrell (Tom Willis), Justina Machado (Florence Johnston), Ike Barinholtz (Meathead), Sean Hayes (Mr. Lorenzo), Amber Stevens West (Jenny Willis Jefferson), Jovan Adepo (Lionel Jefferson), Anthony Anderson (Uncle Henry), Stephen Tobolowsky (Mr. Bentley) and Jackée Harry (Diane Stockwell).

All About "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After the star-studded live sitcom special “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons,’” “Nightline” will take a special look at the cultural and historical significance of the two iconic series. Participants in the live sitcom special along with modern-day comedians, television stars and journalists reminisce about each show’s groundbreaking impact and legacy.“Nightline” Presents “All About ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons’” airs WEDNESDAY, MAY 22 (9:31–10:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network.

The prime-time special features interviews with “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons” creator Norman Lear; host and executive producer Jimmy Kimmel and stars Anthony Anderson, Ike Barinholtz, Jackée Harry, Ellie Kemper and Kerry Washington; comedians and actors Raven-Symoné, David Alan Grier, Lil’ Rel and John Amos; original “The Jeffersons” cast member Marla Gibbs; and journalists Deborah Roberts, Chris Connelly, Marc Lamont Hill and Joe Levy.

Game Shakers - "Bug Tussle" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
After Dub goes to Vegas and leaves Trip behind, the Game Shakers take Trip to Dub's awesome apartment to show him a good time.

Game Shakers - "Why Tonya" (Nickelodeon, 8:30PM ET/PT)
The Game Shakers are approached by a fan who demands that they make changes to one of their games.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 20)

Friday, May 24

  • Dana Carvey (One of the Boys) - Watch Dana on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. He talks about The Secret Life of Pets 2 on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • The Cast of The Big Bang Theory - Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch are guests on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Bill Hader (Barry) - Bill appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Kathryn Newton (Gary Unmarried) - Kathryn is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Adam Scott - Adam appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • John Travolta (Welcome Back, Kotter) - John and his daughter Ella Bleu are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Jodie Sweetin (Fuller House/Hollywood Darlings/Full House) - Jodie guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Logan Browning (Dear White People/Meet the Browns) - Logan stops by The Real, so check your local listings. She will also be on the BUILD Series at 5:30pm
  • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Bryan talks about Broadway's Network on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am.
  • Jackée Harry (Tyler Perry's The Paynes/The First Family/Sister, Sister/227) - Jackée talks about Pride and Prejudice: Atlanta on ABC's Strahan & Sara at 1pm and on People Now at 12pm.
  • Justin Long (F Is for Family/Ed) - Justin talks about Life is Short with Justin Long on Couch Surfing at 8am.
  • Beanie Feldstein (What We Do in the Shadows) and Kaitlyn Dever (Last Man Standing) - Beanie and Kaitlyn talk about Booksmart on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Tiffani Thiessen (Alexa & Katie/Good Morning, Miami/Saved by the Bell) - Tiffani is in the kitchen on Pickler & Ben, so check your local listings.


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

Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season Alice - The Complete Ninth Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season Evening Shade - The Complete Collection Perfect Strangers - The Complete Seventh and Eighth Seasons

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)
05/07 - Baskets - The Complete Season Three
05/13 - My Three Sons - The Third Season - Volume One
05/13 - My Three Sons - The Third Season - Volume Two
05/14 - The Donna Reed Show - Seasons 1-5
05/14 - Petticoat Junction - Seasons 1-3
05/28 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Seventh and Eighth Seasons
05/28 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Second Season (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

05/25 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Late Night Tops Ratings for the Season; FXX Announces Archer After Hours
05/24 - Fri-Yay: Live in Front of a Studio Audience Recap; Mario Lopez Produced Sitcom Coming to Netflix
05/23 - Orange Is the New Black Returns for Final Season in July; Lifetime Gets More Book to Screen Movies This Summer
05/22 - Los Espookys Premieres June 14 on HBO; NBC's 5th Annual Red Nose Day Special Brings Out the Stars
05/21 - Nightline Primetime Special Profiles All in the Family & The Jeffersons; Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader Premieres June 10 on Nick
05/20 - Comedy Central Heads to the South Side This July; Catch the Big Bang Finale Again Tonight
05/19 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 20, 2019)
05/18 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Broadcast Network Fall Lineup at a Glance; Rick & Morty Returns in November
05/17 - Fri-Yay: Big Bang Ends With No Hype?; ABC to Air Farrah Fawcett Documentary
05/16 - The CW Upfront 2019-20: Fall 2019 Schedule; Notes from TBS and TNT Upfront
05/15 - CBS Upfront 2019-20: Fall 2019 Schedule; Remembering Doris Day and Tim Conway
05/14 - ABC Upfront 2019-20: Fall 2019 Schedule; Disney Channel Sets Premiere Dates for Raven's Home and Bunk'd
05/13 - Fox Upfront 2019-20: Fall 2019 Schedule; Antenna TV's Father Knows Best Father's Day Marathon
05/12 - NBC Upfront 2019-20: Fall 2019 Schedule; Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 13, 2019)
05/11 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Looking at Sitcom Cancellations Ahead of Upfronts; Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Returning for Interactive Special
05/10 - Fri-Yay: Upfronts 2019: Questions for Sitcoms; getTV Celebrates All in the Family Ahead of ABC Live Special
05/09 - More Pre-Upfront Pick Ups from NBC, ABC and The CW; Fox Schedules BH90210
05/08 - NBC Picks Up 2 Series Before Upfront; FX Gets 2nd Season of What We Do in the Shadows
05/07 - AXS TV's The Very VERY Best of the 70s; Who Do You Think You Are? Returns to NBC with More Celebs
05/06 - Kevin Hart Bounce Series Debuts Tonight; Set Sail with Kimmy Schmidt
05/05 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 6, 2019)
05/04 - Pluto TV Adds Special Versions of Popular Viacom Channels; Perfect Strangers to Finish on DVD
05/03 - Fri-Yay: Ramy Gets 2nd Season on Hulu; ABC Orders black-ish and Spinoff mixed-ish for 2019-20
05/02 - Hulu 2019 Upfront; Suits and Spinoff to Air Back-to-Back
05/01 - Fox Gets Unique Fred Savage Series; BH90210 Gets Shannen Doherty for Revival
04/30 - CBS Announces Big Bang Special on Finale Night; Showtime Gets 2nd Season of Black Monday with Don Cheadle
04/29 - Disney Channel's Just Roll With It Premieres in June; Alyssa Milano Launches Podcast
04/28 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 29, 2019)
04/27 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Santa Clarita Diet and Wrecked Both Cancelled; Remembering Dallas Actor Ken Kercheval
04/26 - Fri-Yay: Status of Sitcoms on Disney+; Gabriel Iglesias Sitcom Launches June 21 on Netflix
04/25 - Lifetime's Book to Screen Titles in June; The CW Renews Four More for 2019-20