Saturday, February 18, 2012

Digital Digest: Matlock - The Seventh Season DVD Review; Rocko's Modern Life - Season Two DVD Review

Welcome to Digital Digest! We're back once again on this three day weekend (for some of us) with all of your regular news, a look at next week's releases, our Click of the Week, and as a bonus, we've got not one, but two reviews for you this weekend, with our reviews of Matlock - The Seventh Season and Rocko's Modern Life - Season Two. Let's get going!


DIGITAL NEWS

Fans of the '80s series Cagney & Lacey have been dying to see more since MGM's 2007 release of Cagney & Lacey - Season One (The True Beginning), which was actually the second season of the series, but that wait is about to end. TVShowsOnDVD.com has been reporting, and keeping us updated over the past few months, on VEI's plans to release a DVD set of the entire series, including the real first season and pilot movie, hopefully sometime this year. No exact date has been given yet, and details are still very sketchy at this time, so you can't pre-order the series just yet. But if you're just dying to see some Cagney & Lacey now, don't forget that you can catch every episode of the series (including the elusive first season) for free on Hulu. We certainly hope that more classic series will be coming along as well from VEI; there are a few classic Universal drama series which we won't mention (for now) in the rumor mill, and if these series end up becoming official announcements, we'll let you know!

Image is continuing their releases of The Dick Van Dyke Show with another best-of release, and this time it is 20 of Carl Reiner's favorites. The Dick Van Dyke Show - Carl Reiner's Favorites is set for release of May 1 at a $24.98 MSRP. Of course, if you would rather just own the entire series, which is one of the best complete series releases out there, you could just skip this upcoming release and pick up The Dick Van Dyke Show - The Complete Series.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (February 21) is another busy day for releases. Shout! Factory has two releases, with their release of Hazel - The Complete Second Season and their Shout! Select release of Simon & Simon - Season Six. You can see our review of Hazel here, and we'll have a review of Simon & Simon soon in Digital Digest. Lionsgate brings new releases of popular Showtime series to DVD and Blu-ray Disc, with Weeds - Season Seven (DVD/Blu-ray) and Nurse Jackie - Season Three (DVD/Blu-ray). Reviews of both of these sets will be forthcoming before Tuesday's release. Fans of Andy Griffith's classic legal drama can enjoy the latest release of Matlock - The Seventh Season, which we have a review of in today's Digital Digest. Finally, Mill Creek brings a little bit of animated fun to DVD with their release of Heathcliff - Season One, Volume One, which brings all of the first 32 episodes of that series to DVD for the first time. We hope to have a review of this set soon.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW


Blog DVD Review: Matlock - The Seventh Season (CBS Home Entertainment, $49.99)

Matlock is back with Matlock - The Seventh Season, a set containing all fourteen episodes of the 1992-1993 season (the first to air on ABC) in a five disc set. The classic legal drama continues with the classic format of Ben Matlock (Andy Griffith) finding the truth and proving his client innocent, despite all odds. This season, his colleague Conrad McMasters (Clarence Gilyard) is back, but he is joined by his daughter and new partner, Leanne (Brynn Thayer) and recent law school graduate Cliff Lewis (Daniel Roebuck).

The season begins with the double-length episode "The Vacation," where a father/daughter road trip makes Matlock the target of a vendetta. In the double-length episode "The Legacy," Matlock's latest investigation leads to a long and complex history of adultery, cover-ups, and family secrets. Matlock defends a widow accused of an accused murderer in "The Ghost." Matlock's special lecture in a law school class about the perfect murder may have had disastrous results in "The Class." In "The Singer," a producer is accused of killing his country singer client. A $250,000 lottery winner returns to town in "The Mark," but he is quickly swindled out of his fortune and you know that always means trouble. Matlock gets to experience law a different way when he has jury duty in "The Juror."

In "The Fortune," Matlock must come to the defense of an eccentric millionaire's nephew when his uncle is murdered. Leanne's ex-husband is accused of murder in "The Debt," but Matlock refuses to defend him--so it is up to his ex-wife to take on the task. Matlock is in trouble after witnessing a convenience store robbery in "The Revenge." In "The Obsession," Matlock can't stop obsessing about his latest case, when while he is in the hospital. Matlock and Leanne are on opposing sides when representing a husband and wife getting a divorce in "The Divorce." Matlock investigates the murder of a former football player and his wife in "The Final Affair." The season ends with "The Competition," where a talented young piano player allegedly commits suicide, except her father doesn't believe it... and neither does Matlock.

As far as I can tell, the episodes are unedited, though I can't be certain. The runtimes as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "The Vacation" (1:33:33)
2. "The Legacy" (1:31:09)

Disc 2:
3. "The Ghost" (46:57)
4. "The Class" (46:59)
5. "The Singer" (46:32)
6. "The Mark" (45:58)

Disc 3:
7. "The Juror" (45:54)
8. "The Fortune" (1:33:02)
9. "The Debt" (46:28)

Disc 4:
10. "The Revenge" (46:58)
11. "The Obsession" (47:30)
12. "The Divorce" (46:50)

Disc 5:
13. "The Final Affair" (1:32:00)
14. "The Competition" (46:56)

Nothing has really changed too much about the packaging on this set from the previous releases, with the release once again using the typical Viva case. The cover art this time has a photo of Matlock and Leanne, his new partner for this season (they always seem to change). On the back, there is a brief description of the season along with another cast photo. Inside the case, you'll find the five discs, which have no artwork aside from the series logo on a gray background. Disc 1 contains two episodes, Disc 2 contains four episodes, Disc 3 contains three episodes, Disc 4 contains three episodes, and Disc 5 contains two episodes. You'll also find a listing of all of the episodes, along with original airdates and brief descriptions, inside the case.

The menus on the set are similar to the previous releases, but there is a slight difference. The main menu has a cast snapshot, and gives you options of Play All, a list of the episodes, and a Subtitles option. When you select an episode, however, it doesn't play immediately. Instead, you go to a menu which gives you the option of playing the episode or watching the episode teaser as originally aired on ABC. This menu has a photo snapshot from the episode as well. Other than that, everything else is the same. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.

The video and audio quality of the episodes on this set appear to be a slight step up from the previous releases, which is likely a result of the network change for this season as well as the simple fact that the episodes are newer than the episodes that the previous releases included. It isn't perfect, but it is about how you would expect it to look for a series from the 92-93 season. The episodes are presented in their original full screen format, with English stereo sound. Each episode on the set contains English subtitles.

The episodes on the set look and sound great, without any major problems of concern. The picture is a little soft throughout the set, but it isn't a big deal. The audio is presented in English Surround Sound, with English subtitles available on the episodes.

As a departure from the previous releases, we actually do have one special feature, even though it isn't a huge one... but still one that I've been wanting to see on these releases. For every episode on this set, the original "Next on Matlock" episodic previews are included. These are approximately 35 seconds long per episode. However, they are not attached to the episode as they originally aired. Still, it is great that they included those this time.

I'm not really sure what is left to be said about this series that hasn't been said before. We have another great release of episodes, but still barebones... although the episodic teasers this time were nice. The great thing about this series is how it managed to stay rather consistent throughout the seasons, despite constant cast changes. Many of the episodes on this set were just as great as the previous seasons in my opinion, although some may disagree.

This is basically another standard barebones set (we've become used to that with this series), but I think it is good enough for most fans. This is one of those series that really did stay consistent throughout the entire run, and this season is no better or no worse than any other season, just solid and consistent entertainment. The series found a formula that worked and never had much trouble deviating from that formula, and even with a cast of supporting characters that at times seemed like a revolving door, it maintained consistency. Something has to be said for a series that can pull that off. Perhaps that is why the series, unlike any other legal drama from the same era, continues to air every single day all across the country. Now we just need to wait for the final two seasons to come along. Hopefully we'll get our desired verdict on that soon!

(4/5 stars)

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


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW


Blog DVD Review: Rocko's Modern Life - Season Two (Shout!, $19.99)

Rocko, Spunky, and Heffer make their triumphant return for 13 more episodes of the "modern cartoon classic" Nickelodeon cartoon Rocko's Modern Life on DVD! Shout! Factory brings us the entire second season of the series to DVD in a two disc set, this time with a few bonus features to go along with it. In this latest release, you can, naturally, follow Rocko and his friends as they go through even more misadventures and the trials and tribulations of his "modern life."

Like many Nicktoons, most of the episodes on this set are presented in two separate segments with completely different adventures, although there are a few exceptions in this set. The first episode in the set, "I Have No Son!," is in fact, on of those exceptions. In this episode, Rocko has to deal with Mr. Bighead's disgust over his son being a cartoonist and not following in his father's footsteps. In "Pipe Dreams," Rocko has to deal with plumbing problems, thanks to Heffer. Mrs. Bighead takes over for her husband at work after he has a nervous breakdown in "She's the Toad." Rocko and Heffer take a road trip full of misadventure in "Road Rash." In "Boob Tubed," Heffer sits too close to the television, which ends with his brain being sucked out of his head. Mr. Bighead's rumors about the Elves ruins Rocko's Christmas party in the full-length episode "Rocko's Modern Christmas." Rocko has to deal with immigration and the possibility of being deported back to Australia in "Kiss Me, I'm Foreign."

Grandpa Wolfe goes on a cruise in the full-length episod "Cruisin'." In "Uniform Behavior," Heffer gets a new job as a security guard. Rocko deals with a bad hair day on a day when he is supposed to pose for a newspaper photograph in "Hair Licked." Rocko organizes a yard sale to pay the pizza guy in "Junk Junkies." In "Frog's Best Friend," Mrs. Bighead adopts the neighborhood's stray dog. Rocko gets some comfort about his short height in "Short Story." The season ends with "Eye Capades," where Rocko's new glasses break just before a big jackhammer competition.

For the most part, the episodes on this set appear to be unedited. Unlike the release of the first season, I didn't notice anything missing from the episodes. Of course, the original theme song from the second season, as performed by The B-52's Fred Schneider's sprechgesang vocal techniques and Kate Pierson's equally amazing voice (I can't think of them without thinking of their well-known song "Love Shack") is intact. Runtimes are as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "I Have No Son!" (23:59)
2. "Pipe Dreams/Tickled Pinky" (24:41)
3. "The Lounge Singer/She's the Toad" (24:08)
4. "Down the Hatch/Road Rash" (24:20)
5. "Boob Tubed/Commuted Sentence" (24:29)
6. "Rocko's Modern Christmas" (23:09)
7. "Hut Sut Raw/Kiss Me, I'm Foreign" (24:27)

Disc 2:
8. "Cruisin'" (22:26)
9. "Born to Spawn/Uniform Behavior" (23:58)
10. "Hair Licked/Gutter Balls" (24:50)
11. "Junk Junkies/Day of the Flecko" (24:07)
12. "Snowballs/Frog's Best Friend" (24:36)
13. "Short Story/Eye Capades" (24:03)

The packaging for the set is similar to the previous release, using a standard DVD case with a tray in the middle to hold one of the discs. The cover art work this time is much better than the artwork for the first season, with custom DVD packaging artwork done by series creator Joe Murray. Inside the case, there is a listing of episodes, along with brief descriptions of all of the episodes. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-7, and Disc 2 contains episodes 8-13 along with the special features.

Just like the packaging, the menus on this set are basically identical to the previous release. The main menu features more artwork (which appears to be more new custom artwork by Murray) along with a listing of all of the episodes on the disc, as well as a Play All option. Disc 2 also has a Bonus Features option. The theme song plays in the background on the menu screens. Each episode has both segments listed, so if you want to start an episode from the second segment, you can do that from the menu. Chapters are placed within the episodes as well.

The video and audio quality on the set varies from episode to episode. By no means do these episodes look "excellent," but I think that the quality is definitely sufficient. The biggest problem with the video is that the colors often look a bit dull and dark, but it isn't a major problem. All of the episodes are presented with closed-captioning for those who require it.

The set does bring a few special features this time, unlike in the previous set. There aren't a whole lot of special features, but what we do have is nice. First, we have "Trash-O-Madness" (8:19), which was the original version of the pilot for the series. As far as I know, this has never been broadcast on television. The animation in this short is much more crude than the rest of the series, and will almost remind you of watching one of the first season episodes of The Simpsons. The other special feature is "Behind the Characters with Joe Murray," a series of features for each character where series creator goes in depth on sketching the characters. We have these for Rocko (3:38), Heffer (4:08), Filburt (2:47), and the Bigheads (5:38). These are very nice to see, although I would have liked to have seen more discussion from Murray about the series. Still, it is very nice to see that he is enthusiastic about the release of the series, and anxious to be part of the DVD releases.

I am pleased with this release of the series, and it is so much fun watching the series again after all of these years. It sometimes seems to be one of the "ignored" Nicktoons compared to other ones from the era, but in my opinion, it was one of (if not THE) best of the Nicktoons. It is just one of those series that can truly appeal to anybody of any age. There are only two more seasons of the series remaining, and I sincerely hope that releases of those sets will be in the works from Shout! Factory sometime soon. In the meantime, these first two sets, even with the edited episodes that the first episode suffered from in a few cases, are worth owning.

(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


CLICK OF THE WEEK

Locate TV (www.locatetv.com) - There are a lot of great websites out there where you can find TV listings. If you are interested in buying DVDs of a certain series, there are other great websites out there for that. Or, suppose you just want to catch up on episodes that you missed of your favorite series. There are some great websites for that as well. But if you are like most people, and want to experience a little bit of all of this, Locate TV is one of the best one-stop websites to do it all.

The website places all of the information that you need for series on one website. When you search for a series, and find the one that you are looking for, you are presented with a TV schedule for the next fourteen days showing you which episodes are coming up in your area, and when and where you can catch them. But you don't have to comb through the next fourteen days to find out when or even if your favorite episode from a certain season is airing. You can also go to the episode guide, which is presented by season, to find your favorite episode and to be notified when an airing of the episode is coming up, even if that airing is far away. If you want to see the series online, you can find links to various services, both free ones and pay ones, to watch them online. Or, if you are like us and enjoy owning a physical copy of the episodes, you can find links to buy DVDs, and even compare prices at different websites. And to top it all off, these features (which, did we mention, are free?) are only a small part of the website. There are a lot more features, including blogs, commentary, and a traditional TV listing on the website. To experience it all, we suggest that you head over to the website today.

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

Saturday, December 3

Henry Danger - "Dodging Danger" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Henry uses his new super power to compete in a Dodge-A-Leen tournament, Ray, Schwoz, and Charlotte go undercover to teach Henry a lesson.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 5)

Monday, December 5

  • Will Smith (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - Watch Will on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Steve Harvey (The Steve Harvey Show) - Steve visits The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. He will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. He chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Jason Bateman (Arrested Development/The Hogan Family/It's Your Move) - Jason visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am and on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Gael GarcĂ­a Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle) - Gael is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Steve Agee (The Sarah Silverman Program) - Steve appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • The Cast of Fuller House - The cast of Fuller House are guests on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Patricia Heaton (The Middle/Back to You/Everybody Loves Raymond) - Patricia stops by Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Miss Piggy (The Muppets) - Miss Piggy and Harry perform Deck the Halls on Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Meredith Hagner (Search Party/Men at Work) - Meredith is a guest on Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Lauren Graham (The Odd Couple/Conrad Bloom/Townies) - Lauren appears on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley/The Goodwin Games/Carpoolers) - T.J. talks about Office Christmas Party on the AOL Build Show at 3pm. He will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET. He can also be heard on The Morning Mash Up on SiriusXM at 9:50am.
  • Bradley Whitford (Happyish/Trophy Wife) - Bradley is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Josh McDermitt (Retired at 35) - Josh can be heard on The Morning Mash Up on SiriusXM at 10:45am.
  • Erinn Hayes (Kevin Can Wait/Guys with Kids/Worst Week) - Erinn talks about Kevin Can Wait on the AOL Build Show at 4pm.