Saturday, February 04, 2012

Digital Digest: MPI to Finish Lucille Ball Specials; CSI: Grave Danger Blu-ray/DVD Review


Saturday has arrived once again, and you know what that means: it is time for another Digital Digest. This week, we've got all of your regular features, as well as a review of a Blu-ray release of a popular CBS crime drama, with the Blu-ray/DVD combo release of the Quintin Tarantino episode of CSI, with CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Grave Danger.


DIGITAL NEWS

It seems like it was just last week--and that is because it was just last week--that the Tyler Perry sitcom Meet the Browns - Season Four was released. So naturally, it is already time to announce the next set, and it has indeed been announced with Meet the Browns - Season Five. The set is scheduled to be released on April 27.

Lucille Ball fans will be pleased to know that MPI is set to release their final release of The Lucille Ball Specials on March 20, when they release The Lucille Ball Specials - Lucy Moves to NBC. The single disc release contains Lucille Ball's last TV special, which featured guest stars such as Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, Jack Klugman, and even Gary Coleman, and as a bonus feature, you'll find a lost sitcom pilot that Lucille Ball directed for NBC in the early 80s, Bungle Abbey. We should have a review of this DVD some time next month.

Next month, the classic series 21 Jump Street gets a feature film adaptation in theaters with the Columbia Pictures/MGM 21 Jump Street film starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. Mill Creek Entertainment, though, the studio which released the classic series on DVD, is getting in on the action as well. On March 6, look for the value priced 21 Jump Street - 21 Classic Episodes to hit store shelves. It isn't available to order yet, but if you are really interested in the series, you may just want to skip this set and go for the 2010 release of 21 Jump Street - The Complete Series, which can be obtained for around $20 (or less).

If you own an Xbox 360 and you use the popular Sony website Crackle, your experience is about to become even easier than ever before. There is now "an app for that" (to steal a term from Apple) to use Crackle on the Xbox 360, but it is made even better by the fact that it is able to respond to verbal voice commands using Xbox Kinnect. You can read more about it here.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (February 7) brings no new sitcom releases, but there are still some nice releases on the plate. First, Shout! Factory has Police Woman - The Complete Second Season, as well as Rocko's Modern Life - Season Two. We hope to have a review of Rocko soon. Also, CBS Home Entertainment has the DVD debut of Father Dowling Mysteries, with Father Dowling Mysteries - The First Season. You can see our review of this set from last week's Digital Digest.

BLOG FEATURE REVIEW


CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Grave Danger

Blog DVD Review: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Grave Danger (CBS DVD, $24.99)
by Todd


Director Quentin Tarantino brings his edgy, pulse-pounding style of filmmaking to CSI: Crime Scene Investigation in this gripping, feature-length offering from the acclaimed, top-rated crime-drama series. A reunited CSI team must race desperately against the clock when one of their own is abducted and subsequently buried alive - a diabolical plot that grows more intense and claustrophobic with each new shocking twist and heart-stopping turn. Guest stars John Saxon, Andrew Prine and Lois Chiles and cameo appearances by Tony Curtis and Frank Gorshin add to the suspense and excitement of this unforgettable CSI thriller.

"Grave Danger" is the two-hour fifth season finale that aired on CBS on May 19, 2005. The thrilling story begins when CSI team member Nick Stokes is suddenly abducted and buried alive. As his team receives random demands, they are directed to a website where they are forced to helplessly watch as Stokes desperately struggles to free himself from his underground coffin. The CSI team reunites with a single mission in mind: to save one of its own. The episode has a teleplay by Naren Shankar, Anthony E. Zuiker and Carol Mendelsohn and a story by Quentin Tarantino. All of the main cast members of the fifth season are featured in the episode: William Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, Gary Dourdan, George Eads, Jorja Fox, Eric Szmanda and Robert David Hall. Guest stars include John Saxon as Walter Gordon, Andrew Prine as Judge Bill "Cisco" Stokes (Nick's father), Lois Chiles as Jillian Stokes (Nick's mother), and Tony Curtis and Frank Gorshin as themselves in cameo appearances. This was Frank Gorshin's final television appearance. He died two days before this episode aired.

The standalone Blu-ray/DVD combo release comes in a standard Blu-ray case. It features a shot of George Eads in the underground coffin on the cover. William Petersen is featured on the back of the case. A short synopsis of the release and a listing of the Blu-ray/DVD specs are provided. Inside the case, Anthony Zuiker, creator of CSI provides a few words on the episode and Quentin Tarantino. The DVD has the CSI logo and a light gray background. The Blu-ray release features the CSI logo and a light blue background.

The menus are similar to what you see on the full season releases. They open with a montage of video clips of from the episode. The show's theme song, Who Are You by The Who, is played in the background. It loops after about 35 seconds. There are options to play the episode, set up and the special feature on both discs. The DVD has the options on the right side of the screen, while they are on the left on the Blu-ray. When you select Set Up or Special Feature on the DVD, it takes you to a sub-menu. There are on-screen menus for Set Up and Special Feature on the Blu-ray. You can choose English 5.1 Surround or Español from the Audio Options. English for the deaf and hard of hearing and Español subtitles are available.

Moving on to the video and audio, the episode looks and sounds outstanding. This is my first time seeing a CSI episode on Blu-ray. I'm very impressed with the quality. It's just a visually stunning episode with the way it was filmed. The Blu-ray is presented in 1080p high definition. The DVD is in its original widescreen 16:9 format. The episode appears to be unedited, with a running time of 1:25:14. Both the Blu-ray and DVD feature English 5.1 or Spanish Stereo tracks. This episode used quite a few songs. All of them appear to be here. There are some memorable ones like Bob Neuwirth's Lucky Too and Outside Chance by The Turtles. Chapters are placed at the appropriate places.

Unfortunately, there is only a single special feature found on both the Blu-ray and DVD discs. CSI: Tarantino Style is the same 17-minute featurette that was previously included on the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - The Complete Fifth Season DVD release. It's presented in full frame video and features lots of on-set footage. Interviews include Carol Mendelsohn, William Petersen, Quentin Tarantino, Anthony E. Zuiker, George Eads, Richard Berg, Marg Helgenberger, Robert David Hall, Gary Dourdan, John Saxon and Mark Byers. They talk about how they got Quentin Tarantino involved with the episode and how it was to shoot it. The cast shares their experiences working with him. This is a decent featurette, but it easily could have been more detailed and twice as long.

Grave Danger is one of my favorite episodes of the CSI series. I only saw it once before on the night it originally aired, but it remains just as thrilling and gripping watching it now. It's just an outstanding and well crafted episode that plays like a movie. It features excellent directing, writing, acting, music and production values. Quentin Taranino received an Emmy nomination for his work on the episode. It was one of the highest rated episodes of the series with over 30 million viewers.

This is a pretty lackluster release for such an entertaining episode. It was previously released as a standalone DVD and on The Complete Fifth Season. We get the same special feature on the new Blu-ray/DVD combo that was on the other set. More special features like audio commentaries or deleted scenes would have been welcome and added value to this release. I'm surprised that they didn't include a commentary on the original fifth season release, but I think it would have been easy to record one now. This set just seems overpriced for what you are getting on it. You can buy the complete fifth season on DVD for only a few dollars more. A "best of" Blu-ray release of 8-10 episodes would be much more popular and have better value. Only the first and ninth seasons have been released on Blu-ray in the U.S., so it would be great to see more seasons released in the future, especially the early years when the show was at its best.

(2/5 stars)

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CLICK OF THE WEEK

Wave Theme Songs (www.wavethemes.org) - It isn't really necessary to say a whole lot about this website, because it isn't a site that brings a full range of everything TV related. In fact, it only focuses on one thing: theme songs. But that focus on theme songs is what makes this website so great. The website is one of, if not THE, most complete databases of theme songs that you'll find on the internet. In fact, there are literally THOUSANDS (no joke) of theme songs that can be downloaded from this website, in a compressed form, and then opened and played in WAV format. The site doesn't get updated quite as often as it did in its heyday (the last listed update was in summer 2011), but it is not abandoned by any means. So if you are every trying to find an audio file of almost any theme song, this is definitely the place to go, and that is why it is our Click of the Week.

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


New on DVD/Blu-ray (March)

Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series Bewitched - Seasons 5 & 6 (Mill Creek) Maude - The Complete Series WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete First Season (Shout! Factory) The Donna Reed Show - Season 2 (MPI Home Video)

03/03 - CHiPs - The Complete Third Season
03/10 - Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series
03/10 - Hey Dude - The Complete Series (Walmart Exclusive)
03/10 - Petticoat Junction - Family Favorite Episodes
03/17 - Bewitched - Season 5 (Mill Creek)
03/17 - Bewitched - Season 6 (Mill Creek)
03/17 - Bewitched - Seasons 5 & 6 (Mill Creek)
03/17 - Maude - The Complete Series (Shout! Factory)
03/17 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete First Season (Shout! Factory)
03/17 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Second Season (Shout! Factory)
03/24 - The Donna Reed Show - Season 2 (MPI Home Video)
03/31 - Silicon Valley - Season 1 (Blu-ray)
03/31 - Veep - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, March 31

Fresh Off the Boat - "Blind Spot" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Jessica's college boyfriend, Oscar Chow (guest star Rex Lee), comes to visit. She’s a bit miffed that Louis isn’t a little more jealous….but she’s got a blind spot and is completely oblivious to the fact that Oscar is gay. Meanwhile, Eddie goes to great lengths to get out of the school science fair.

New Girl - "The Right Thing" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Jess crashes a funeral, hoping to delete a “sext” she recently sent to the deceased. Then, Schmidt’s mom, Louise (Nora Dunn), arrives in town for a visit to demand he write thank-you notes for his bar mitzvah gifts, and Winston is desperate to be off-duty friends with his police partner, Aly (guest star Nasim Pedrad).

Weird Loners - "Weird Pilot" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Find out what happens when a high-strung romantic, a serial womanizer, a free-spirited heartbreaker and a sheltered man-child are unexpectedly thrust into a Queens, NY, townhouse.

Undataeable - "An Imaginary Torch Walks Into a Bar" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
ustin's (Brent Morin) world is rocked when Nicki (guest star Briga Heelan) returns to Detroit and announces that she's engaged. To prove that he is cool with her moving on, Justin offers up the bar for her engagement party and Danny (Chris D'Elia) helps him make an important realization. Meanwhile, Burski (Rick Glassman) his miguided pursuit of Leslie (Bianca Kajlich), but Candace (Bridgit Mendler) helps the gang see his romantic side.

One Big Happy - "Crushing It" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
On a group trip to the gym, Lizzy (Elisha Cuthbert) spies her secret crush, Kate (guest star Erinn Hayes) and with the help of Luke (Nick Zano ), and Prudence(Kelly Brook), she initiates a conversation that leads to some plans for group bowling. Later, Luke and Prudence help get Lizzy an appointment with the best OB-GYN in the city and Lizzy is ecstatic - until they arrive to a big surprise. Meanwhile, Prudence realizes that Lizzy's pregnancy is making her feel left out and Leisha (Rebecca Corry) helps her explain her feelings to Luke.

Cougar Town - "Mary Jane's Last Dance" TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Grayson is determined to prevent Jules from running her birthday, but it will it be possible when everyone has major changes in their lives?

Sirens - "Six Feet Over/Under" (USA Network, 10:00PM ET/PT)
When Johnny's father goes into a coma, his mother places bets on the time of his death; the guys suffer an ear worm.

Younger - "Pilot" / "Liza Sows Her Oates" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
"Pilot" - 40-year-old Liza (Sutton Foster) passes herself off as 26 to land a job in the field of her dreams. Now she just has to make sure no one discovers her secret. Also stars Hilary Duff, Debi Mazar, Nico Tortorella and Miriam Shor.
"Liza Sows Her Oates" - As she settles into her new 26 year-old life, Liza is tasked with marketing an older writer to a younger audience. Although she has a perfect date with Josh, she tries to convince herself to aim for someone more age-appropriate.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 30) (All times ET unless noted)

Tuesday, March 31

  • Josh Gad (The Comedians/1600 Penn/Back to You) - Catch Josh on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS. He also talks about The Comedians on NBC's Today in the 9am hour. He can be heard on The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick on Sirius OutQ channel 106 sometime between 7-11am.
  • Thomas Lennon (The Odd Couple/Sean Saves the World/Reno 911!) and Matthew Perry (The Odd Couple/Go On/Mr. Sunshine/Friends) - Thomas and Matthew are guests on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) - Aubrey appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Rick Glassman, Bianca Kajlich and Ron Funches (Undateable) - Rick, Bianca and Ron are guests on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Chris D'Elia (Undateable/Whitney) - Chris visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He will also be on the AOL Build Show.
  • Mario Cantone (Sex and the City) - Mario joins Meredith to chat about the hottest celebrity beauty treatments and if they could be right for you on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • Hilary Duff (Younger/Lizzie McGuire) - Hilary joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Kristin Chenoweth (Kristin) - Kristn discusses On the 20th Century on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Elisha Cuthbert (One Big Happy/Happy Endings) and Nick Zano (One Big Happy/What I Like About You) - Elisha and Nick talk about One Big Happy on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. Nick can be heard on Wake Up with Taylor on Sirius Stars channel 109 sometime between 6-9am. He will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Peter Facinelli (Nurse Jackie) - Peter talks about American Odyssey on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Debi Mazar (Younger/Entourage/Working) - Debi can be heard on The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick on Sirius OutQ channel 106 sometime between 7-11am.
  • Sutton Foster and Nico Tortorella (Younger) - Sutton and Nico talk about TV Land's Younger on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Mo'Nique (The Parkers) - Mo'Nique is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Raven-Symoné (That's So Raven/Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/The Cosby Show) - Raven-Symoné guest co-hosts The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Caroline Rhea (Sabrina, the Teenage Witch) - Caroline guest co-hosts The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Kal Penn (We Are Men/How I Met Your Mother) - Kal appears on VH1's Big Morning Buzz Live at 9am.