Saturday, February 11, 2012

Digital Digest: New Amazon Prime Content; Busy May for Shout! Factory; Beavis and Butt-head - Volume Four DVD/Blu-ray Disc Review


Welcome to Digital Digest! This week has been a very busy week for news on the home media front, including several DVD announcements and even more content available from the ever-expanding Amazon Prime service. And of course, like most weeks, we have a DVD (and Blu-ray this time) review, with Beavis and Butt-head - Volume Four (DVD/Blu-ray). Let's get going!

DIGITAL NEWS

Amazon Prime, the subscription service from Amazon.com which allows you to get free two-day shipping on many items and streaming video for many series, has announced yet another deal to their ever-expanding empire this week. This time, the deal is with Viacom. Admittedly, many of the series included are current Nickelodeon cartoons and certain awful MTV series that we only ever mention here mostly as a joke (GTL, anybody?), but the latest deal does include the TV Land series Hot in Cleveland (no other TV Land series are included, though, yet). Still, the more deals that they sign means more content, which means that they'll likely only expand even further. We will of course, keep you updated as they continue to expand. In the meantime, you can read more about the current new additions here.

Speaking of Amazon Prime, though, there are other additions that have been placed on there in recent months which we have failed to mention, simply because either there was no news announcement or we just overlooked it. Specifically, there are many cartoons from Cookie Jar Entertainment now included on the service, including the complete series of Heathcliff and Inspector Gadget. You can also find series from Classic Media including Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids and Rocky and Bullwinkle. If you subscribe to Amazon Prime, we suggest you head on over there now to see the current offerings, as they often change, and as hard as we attempt to report them, it is difficult to track down all of them.

News on the DVD front this week appeared to be light earlier in the week, but Shout! Factory had a glut of news on Friday, with the biggest being their announcement for Route 66 - The Complete Series. The set will be released on May 22, but if you buy it directly from Shout! Factory, you can get it a month earlier, on April 22. Special features for the 24 disc set have not yet been finalized, but the Shout! Factory website indicates that it will include Paley Festival panel footage, rare commercials, and a Great Cars: Corvette bonus DVD. The first three seasons were previously released by Infinity Entertainment, with some vintage commercials as special features, but some of the episodes were syndicated versions. It remains to be seen if Shout! Factory will include only unedited episodes, but given that they are likely aware of the situation, it probably will not be an issue. You can order the set directly from Shout! Factory by clicking here, or you can order from Amazon.com (which will ship the DVD set a month later, but at a slightly lower price) by clicking here.

In the wake of this news, TVShowsOnDVD.com uncovered even more Shout! Factory releases, with something for all of the first four Tuesdays in May. These begin with Kojak - Season Four (May 1), and continue with Fantasy Island - The Complete Second Season (May 8), Hazel - The Complete Third Season (May 15), and S.W.A.T. - The Final Season (May 22). Both Fantasy Island and S.W.A.T. are new releases for Shout! Factory, and the other two releases are follow-ups of previous Shout! Factory releases.

It appears that Lionsgate's releases of series from ABC Studios is going to continue in the next few months, with a few re-releases of sets that were already released by Disney. Of note for sitcom fans, they will be re-releasing both seasons of Samantha Who?, which was previously released by ABC Studios, but is now out of print. Both Samantha Who? - The Complete First Season and Samantha Who? - The Complete Second and Final Season will become available on May 1. You can read more about this and the other series that are on the way here.

Finally, CBS Home Entertainment is moving ahead with the classic Robert Urich series Vega$, with Vega$ - The Third Season, Volume 1. The three disc set will contain the first eleven episodes of the final season of the classic series.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (February 14) has more Urkel coming to DVD, with Warner Home Video's release of Family Matters - The Complete Second Season. Timeless Media Group brings an interesting (and rare) release with the early 90s sci-fi comedy series They Came From Outer Space - The Complete Television Series. We hope to have reviews of both of these sets very soon. In the animated realm, we have Beavis and Butt-head - Volume Four (DVD/Blu-ray), which we have a review of today in Digital Digest. Additionally, Shout! Factory continues Rocko's Modern Life, with Rocko's Modern Life - Season Two.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW


Beavis and Butt-head - Volume Four

Blog DVD/Blu-ray Disc Review: Beavis and Butt-head - Volume Four (MTV Home Entertainment, $22.99 DVD/$26.99 Blu-ray)

America's favorite teenage morons are back! Beavis and Butt-head was Mike Judge's popular MTV cartoon series from the '90s that created much controversy (perhaps the most controversial series that had ever aired on basic cable at that point in time, but has certainly been surpassed since then). After just a few brief years on the air, the series ended and Judge went on to his next series, King of the Hill. But now that that series has come to an end, Judge has gone back to his roots with all new episodes of America's favorite culture critics, and the first batch of these new episodes from 2011 are now making their debut on DVD, and Blu-ray Disc as well. The set also marks the first time that a complete season of the series has ever been released in an unedited form.

The set begins with "Werewolves of Highland," where the boys jump right into the current decade by becoming engulfed in Twilight mania. The boys have a misunderstanding about wedding engagement in "Daughter's Hand." In "Tech Support," the boys get a job (accidentally) that even they are capable of handling. Beavis transforms back into his classic alter-ego from the original series in "Holy Cornholio." In "Drones," the boys cause chaos in the middle east during what seems to be an innocent field trip. The boys decide to make their own documentary about obesity in "Supersize Me." Butt-head realizes that it pays to use the toilet at work in "Bathroom Break."

The entire town of Highland is evacuated due to a train derailment in "Doomsday," but one pair of citizens doesn't get the alert to leave. Beavis and Butt-head turn to religion when they learn it could get them out of learning evolution in "Dumb Design." Beavis has a little accident while trying to photocopy his rear-end in "Copy Machine." Beavis and Butt-head become bounty hunters (with poor results) in "Bounty Hunters." In "Massage," the duo decides that they want their own massage parlor. The boys learn that an abortion clinic isn't quite what they think it is in "Whorehouse." The season ends with "Going Down," where Beavis and Butt-head get trapped in an elevator.

The episode included, with runtimes, are as follows:
1. "Werewolves of Highland/Crying" (21:01)
2. "Daughter's Hand/Tech Support" (20:51)
3. "Holy Cornholio" (21:25)
4. "Drones" (21:02)
5. "Supersize Me/Bathroom Break" (20:43)
6. "The Rat/Spill" (20:39)
7. "Doomsday/Dumb Design" (21:04)
8. "Copy Machine/Holding" (20:53)
9. "Used Car/Bounty Hunters" (21:19)
10. "Time Machine/Massage" (20:32)
11. "School Test/Snitchers" (21:23)
12. "Whorehouse/Going Down" (21:03)

Both the DVD and Blu-ray come in very similar (and basic) packaging, using standard cases for their respective formats. On the cover, there is a picture of Beavis and Butt-head with a red background, and nothing more. The back of the case has a photo of both of them on the sofa and a VERY brief description of the set. Inside the case, you'll find the discs, which have a black outline photo of Beavis and Butt-head. The Blu-ray disc only has one disc, but the DVD has two discs, with episodes 1-6 on Disc 1, and episodes 7-12 on Disc 2. The Blu-ray disc also has an insert with the disclaimer that the episodes are presented in their original 4x3 aspect ratio, which we'll discuss a bit more in a minute.

Despite one set being a DVD and the other being a Blu-ray, the menus on each respective set aren't that much different. The main menu has a split screen, with still photos on one side of the screen, and video on the other side of the screen. The theme song plays in the background. The options on the main menu include Play All, Episodes, Special Features (Blu-ray and Disc 2 of the DVD), and Set Up (Blu-ray only). Selecting Episodes will take you to a submenu on the DVD set where you can view four episodes per screen, with two still photo per full episode (one corresponding to each half of the episode). The Blu-ray set isn't much different, except it places these as a pop-up menu over the main menu. Special Features are presented the same way that the episodes are presented on both the DVD and Blu-ray. Set Up, which is only on the Blu-ray set, allows you to turn on English subtitles. Chapters are placed throughout all of the episodes on both sets.

The video and audio quality on both releases is excellent, and in fact, this is where I want to make a rare and unusual rant about making a series available on both DVD and Blu-ray. The animation on this series is not really what I would consider to be high-definition. In fact, the episodes on both sets are presented in full-screen, as they aired on MTV. In looking at this set, I'm not sure where the need existed for a Blu-ray release of the set. The DVD is perfectly adequate, and the Blu-ray just seems to be completely unnecessary. Blu-ray releases, if the format is to thrive, should be reserved for series where it'll actually make a difference. This release does not give Blu-ray that opportunity. In any event, everything seems to be fine about the video and audio quality, and as mentioned, the episodes are presented in full-screen. The DVD set includes closed-captioning for the episodes, while the Blu-ray includes English subtitles.

There are a few meager special features on the set, though they honestly weren't that great, with the exception of the first one. That one is "2011 San Diego Comic-Con Panel" (19:15), which, if you've seen these on the many releases of other series (primarily Fox series), you'll know that these are excellent to watch. They give a nice behind-the-scenes insight with those involved with the series. Beavis & Butt-Head interruptions was just plain painful to watch. These are just promotional pieces featuring the boys talking on the phone to cast members of (I hate saying the name of this show) Jersey Shore. The runtimes for these are 1:05, 0:55, 0:51, and 1:59. My advice? Don't even watch them. Finally, there is a "Silence Your Cell Phone" clip (0:17), reminding people to turn off their cell phones at the movies. I'm guessing that this must run before some movies in some theaters, but personally I've never seen it.

For fans of the series, old and new, this set is definitely worth owning. I'm certainly glad that the series is back on the air, and in my opinion, it is actually still a decent show to watch, although it is unfortunate that they do less music critiquing now. It is also great to see that this series is available as a complete and unedited season for the first time ever. It is too bad, though, that we will likely never see this treatment for the earlier episodes of the series, and are stuck with only having 2/3 of the cartoons and nearly none of the music videos. I feel that the DVD set of this release is perhaps better than the Blu-ray, because this series doesn't have anything to offer with Blu-ray. But then again, the Blu-ray isn't that much more expensive for this set. In any event, the Great Cornholio commands you to pick this DVD (or Blu-ray, if you insist) up today!

(4/5 stars)

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

To purchase the Blu-ray release, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page


CLICK OF THE WEEK

I Love TV Intros (www.ilovetvintros.com) - Love is in the air with Valentine's Day coming up in just a few days, and we really planned to bring you a great Honeymooners website as the Click of the Week... but that was thwarted because it turns out that the original pick has malware all over the website (likely unbeknownst to the webmaster). But since we don't have that pick, we've got a great follow-up to the WaveThemes.org, the site that we brought you last week. Suppose, for a moment, that you want more than just a WAV file of a theme song from a series, and instead, want full video openings instead. Well, you COULD do a frantic YouTube search, or you could check out I Love TV Intros.

I Love TV Intros is a very simple website with one mission: to bring you video clips of various TV series from all eras, with a no-frills design. You can go through the website using the alphabetic listing or view series listed by era, and get a list of many different TV series, with video clips of the opening credits playing as soon as you click on the series title. It really is as simple as that. It isn't a bloated website with advertisements everywhere, or a website that will cause your computer to constantly crash (at least it didn't for me). While there are many different series represented here, it is, of course, far from inclusive of a lot of series. And one big drawback is the lack of multiple versions of theme songs for many series. But still, you will find just about every popular TV series here, many less popular series, and some you've never even heard of, and it is all represented in a nice and organized fashion.

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


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November/December)

2 Broke Girls - The Complete Third Season Two and a Half Men - The Complete Eleventh Season WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Series Hot in Cleveland - Season Five Sgt. Bilko - The Phil Silvers Show - The Complete Series
Family Ties - The Complete Series Happy Days - The Sixth Season The Jeffersons - The Complete Series Mister Ed - The Complete Series Mork & Mindy - The Complete Series

10/07 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Classic Christmas Episodes
10/07 - The Flying Nun - The Complete First and Second Seasons (Mill Creek)
10/07 - The Middle - The Complete Fifth Season (Warner Archive)
10/07 - The Office - The Complete Series
10/07 - The Wonders Years - Season One
10/10 - The Wonder Years - The Complete Series - Read Our Review / The Signature Edition / Seasons 1-3
10/14 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Third Season
10/14 - Two and a Half Men - The Complete Eleventh Season
10/21 - Married with Children - Seasons 5 and 6 (Mill Crek)
10/21 - The Soul Man - The Complete Second Season
10/21 - Square Pegs - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
10/28 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Series / Read Our Review
11/04 - The Exes - Seasons 1 & 2
11/04 - Hot in Cleveland - Season Five
11/04 - Napoleon Dynamite - The Complete Animated Series
11/04 - Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) - The Complete Series / Read Our Review
11/06 - Kenan & Kel - The Best of Seasons 3 & 4
11/11 - Dads - The Complete Series
11/11 - Dharma & Greg - The Complete Season 2
11/11 - Family Ties - The Complete Series
11/11 - My Favorite Martian - Best of Collection
11/11 - Taxi - The Complete Series
11/11 - Wings - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
11/18 - King of the Hill - The Complete Seventh Season / The Complete Eighth Season
11/25 - Better Off Ted - The Complete Second Season
12/02 - Broad City - Season 1
12/02 - Happy Days - The Sixth Season
12/02 - The Simpsons - The Seventeenth Season (Blu-ray)
12/09 - Barney Miller - The Complete Sixth Season
12/09 - Family Guy - Volume 13
12/09 - The Jeffersons - The Complete Series
12/09 - Mister Ed - The Complete Series
12/09 - Mork & Mindy - The Fourth Season / The Complete Series
12/16 - The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis - The Final (Fourth) Season
12/23 - My Favorite Martian - Season Two - Collector's Edition
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Wednesday, December 17

The Middle - "The Christmas Tree" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Axl comes home from college for Christmas vacation but would rather spend time with his friends over family, he and Frankie must come up with a time management agreement that will satisfy both of them, Meanwhile, Sue's severe allergic reaction to the Christmas tree threatens to ruin her holiday, and after it’s discovered that Brick lied to the school about his Christmas wrapping paper sales, he finds himself running a mini Ponzi scheme in an attempt to pay back the debt.

The Goldbergs - "A Wrestler Named Goldberg" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Murray and Pops convince Barry to come up with an elaborate lie about him joining the wrestling team so an overprotective Beverly is duped. When the truth comes out and backfires, Beverly takes matters into her own hands. Meanwhile, Adam convinces Erica to take him to the local premiere of “Return of the Jedi” but she flakes to hang out with her friends. When Erica sees his disappointment, she makes good on her original promise with a plan.

Modern Family - "The Old Man & the Tree" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Jay takes Manny out to cut down their own Christmas tree, and Gloria is on edge with mom in town, but changes her tune when she sees her bonding with Claire. Elsewhere, Mitchell is forced to do last minute shopping when they didn’t get Lily the right gift, and Cameron takes Lily to a charity event where they experience the true meaning of Christmas.

black-ish - "The Nod" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Dre sets out to expand Andre Jr’s social circle to include more black kids after he discovers Andre Jr. is clueless about “the nod.” Meanwhile, hoping to inspire little Diane to become a doctor, Rainbow takes her to work at the hospital... on what turns out to be the worst day ever.

black-ish - "The Gift of Hunger" (ABC, 10:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After the kids turn their collective noses up at Dre’s favorite cheap restaurant in his old ‘hood, he decides it’s time to give them a reality check. He insists all of them get jobs. But when Andre Jr. and Zoey start working at his office, he can’t help but interfere, and Jack and Diane’s efforts to make some spare cash leave the neighbors thinking the family has fallen on hard times, much to Bow’s embarrassment.

black-ish - "The Talk" (ABC, 10:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Dre, disappointed that Bow has already given Andre Jr. “the talk” because she thinks he’s too big of a prude to do it, decides to rectify matters by giving his son HIS version of “the talk.” But Dre soon finds himself wishing he’d left well enough alone when Andre Jr. starts to drive him crazy with non-stop questions about sex.

Hot in Cleveland - "Cold in Cleveland: The Christmas Episode" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Betty White, Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves and Wendie Malick star in this original comedy about three best friends from LA whose lives are changed forever when their Paris-bound plane makes an emergency landing in Cleveland.

The Exes - "Catch It 'Cause You Can" (TV Land, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Haskell plans to attend a big event honoring him for his past bowling glory, but is quarantined with Phil and Stuart. Holly secretly rewrites Eden's college paper and almost destroys her dream.

Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse - "I Want Half" (OWN, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Richard is convinced that Keisha managed to set him up after he finds out he missed a court date that he didn't know he had.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 15) (All times ET unless noted)

Wednesday, December 17

  • Betty White (Hot in Cleveland/The Golden Girls/The Mary Tyler Moore Show) - Watch Betty on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Thomas Lennon (The Odd Couple/Sean Saves the World/Reno 911!) - Thomas appears on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Krysten Ritter (Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23) - Krysten visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. She also talks about Big Eyes on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Leah Remini (The Exes/Family Tools/The King of Queens) - Leah is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Rob Lowe (Parks and Recreation) - Rob talks about being an empty nester, why he's always shirtless and how exactly those hilarious cable commercials came about on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kevin Pollak (Mom/Work with Me) - Kevin appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Brooke Shields (Suddenly Susan) - Brooke will be on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and in the 9am hour.
  • Brie Larson (United States of Tara/Raising Dad) - Brie talks about The Gambler on NBC's Today in the 9am hour. She will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family/The Class) - Jesse is a guest on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 2am on BET.
  • Kevin Daniels (Sirens) - Kevin discusses the newest season of USA Network's Sirens on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.