Saturday, February 25, 2012

Digital Digest: PaleyFest 2012 Online Streaming; Simon & Simon - Season Six DVD Review; Mission: Impossible - The '89 TV Season DVD Review

Welcome to Digital Digest, your weekly place to be for all things digital! We've got all of your regular news this week, along with all of our other usual features. This week, we have a double feature for our reviews, with our reviews of Simon & Simon - Season Six and Mission: Impossible - The '89 TV Season. Time to start our mission!


The Paley Center for Media is prepared to hold their annual PaleyFest beginning March 2 and running through March 14. But of course, a vast majority of our blog readers won't be able to make it to see the events with panel discussions including the cast from series including Community, Modern Family, The Office, New Girl, Two and a Half Men, and more. So this year, fans from home will be able to stream these panel discussions from home through a partnership with LiveStream. But if you can't watch the events as they unfold live, The Paley Center has established yet another partnership with Hulu, which will allow fans to view clips and panel discussions (not from all of them, however; Two and a Half Men, for example, is not included) beginning March 15. The complete schedule for the PaleyFest panel discussions is as follows (all times are Eastern Standard Time):

Friday, March 2 - American Horror Story (10:00 PM)
Saturday, March 3 - Community (10:00 PM)
Sunday, March 4 - Once Upon a Time (4:00 PM)
Monday, March 5 - New Girl (10:00 PM)
Tuesday, March 6 - The Office (10:00 PM)
Wednesday, March 7 - Sons of Anarchy (4:00 PM)
Thursday, March 8 - Bones (8:00 PM)
Friday, March 9 - Castle (4:00 PM)
Saturday, March 10 - Vampire Diaries (4:00 PM)
Sunday, March 11 - Revenge (10:00 AM)
Monday, March 12 - Two and a Half Men (4:00 PM)
Tuesday, March 13 - Mad Men (8:00 PM)
Wednesday, March 14 - Modern Family (4:00 PM)

You can read more about this event by visiting the PaleyFest website.

Mill Creek is back in action again with more releases (well, technically re-releases) from the the Carsey-Werner library, announcing the third and fourth seasons of a few favorites for a release date of April 3. On that date, look for 3rd Rock from the Sun - The Complete Season Three, 3rd Rock from the Sun - The Complete Season Four, Roseanne - The Complete Third Season, Roseanne - The Complete Fourth Season, That '70s Show - Season Three, and That '70s Show - Season Four. The releases for That '70s Show and Roseanne will come at a $14.98 MSRP, while 3rd Rock for the Sun has a $9.98 MSRP (expect to find much lower prices than these, though, as Mill Creek sets often have a low MSRP and are priced even lower at retailers). Of these series that have been announced, though, there is one missing from the mix that was actually released with the Carsey-Werner series last time around: Grounded for Life. There is no need to worry, though, as additional seasons of that series will likely come at a later date. brought news this week of an upcoming release from Shout! Factory which will collect love themed episodes of TV series, with Love is on the Air. The May 1 release (yes, we're confused too about why they didn't do this in time for Valentine's Day) will include episodes of Leave it to Beaver, That Girl, Dennis the Menace, Father Knows Best, Ozzie & Harriet, The Patty Duke Show, and Hazel, all centered around a theme of "love." The single disc release comes at a low $12.99 MSRP.


Tuesday (February 28) brings a few new releases to DVD, with MPI's release of Here's Lucy - Season Five. Shout! Factory finishes up a series that fans have been wanting to see finished for years with Here Come the Brides - The Complete Second Season. You can read our review of this set here. Finally, CBS Home Entertainment is finishing up the '80s reboot of Mission: Impossible with Mission: Impossible - The '89 TV Season, which we have a review today in Digital Digest.


Blog DVD Review: Simon & Simon - Season Six (Shout! Factory, $49.99)
by skees53

The Simon brothers, Rick Simon (Gerald McRaney) and A.J. Simon (Jameson Parker) are back again on DVD to investigate 22 more cases in Simon & Simon - Season Six. The series, which aired from 1981-1989 on CBS, follows the two Simon brothers, both of whom have lead completely different lives (up until now, anyway) working together as private detectives, often investigating some of the most serious and heinous crimes. But there are always twists and turns along the way in each and every investigation, and the cases aren't always easy to crack. But with the Simon brothers, they always manage to find a way to do it, somehow.

The sixth season begins with "Competition - Who Needs It?," where there is a new detective agency in town that is determined to run the Simons out of business. A young sailor is framed for drug possession in "A.W.O.L." In "Still Phil After All These Years," Cecilia's high school reunion suddenly turns into another murder investigation for the Simons. Nancy Kulp guest stars. Downtown Brown is a temporary houseguest with the Simons after an injury in "The Cop Who Came to Dinner," but there is a little something that he forgot to tell them about his life being in danger. Lyle Waggoner Deborah Walley guest star in "The Last Big Break," where a surfer who was thought to have died 20 years ago mysteriously shows up--and is a target for murder. The Simon brothers fight to protect a reporter's son (played by the one and only Gary Coleman) in "Like Father, Like Son." Rick and A.J. become rivals in "The Case of Don Diablo," at least until what initially seems like a fun investigation may turn into a life-threatening situation. An investigation leads to the Simons marrying two Greek stewardesses in "Mrs. Simon & Mrs. Simon." In "Tonsilitis," Rick swears that he saw a murder while under anesthesia while getting his tonsils removed, but who is going to believe him?

Alan Hale, Jr. guest stars in "For Old Crime's Sake," where a 50 year old bank robbery could have consequences well into the '80s. The brothers join two rival female detectives for an investigation (against Rick's better judgement) in "Opposites Attack." Downtown Brown plans to propose to reporter Temple Hill (Tim Reid's real-life wife Daphne Maxwell-Reid) in "Judgment Call," but a disagreement could thwart that. A famous TV detective disappears in "Tanner, P.I. for Hire." In "Second-Story Simons," the brothers latest investigation lands them in the middle of an FBI investigation themselves. A man who saved Rick's life in Vietnam is found murdered in "I Thought the War Was Over." Janet Fowler (Jeannie Wilson) returns in "Lost Lady," but can't quit remember anything that has happened in the past four years. The season ends with "Walking Point," where Rick and A.J. find themselves investigating a sleazy lawyer running a center for the disabled. Vanna White makes a cameo appearance in the episode.

The episodes on the set appear to be unedited, and despite some initial challenges that the studio was having with music rights when trying to release this season a year ago, it seems that those challenges have been overcome. Runtimes are as follows :

Disc 1:
1. "Competition - Who Needs It?" (47:39)
2. "A.W.O.L." (47:28)
3. "Still Phil After All These Years" (47:40)
4. "The Cop Who Came to Dinner" (47:39)

Disc 2:
5. "Treasure" (47:42)
6. "The Last Big Break" (47:40)
7. "The Rookie" (47:39)
8. "Like Father, Like Son" (47:40)

Disc 3:
9. "The Case of Don Diablo" (47:36)
10. "Mrs. Simon & Mrs. Simon" (47:39)
11. "Just Because I'm Paranoid..." (47:31)
12. "Tonsilitis" (47:21)

Disc 4:
13. "Deep Water Death" (47:41)
14. "For Old Crime's Sake" (47:39)
15. "Opposites Attack" (47:40)
16. "Judgment Call" (47:40)

Disc 5:
17. "Tanner, P.I. for Hire" (47:40)
18. "Ancient Echoes" (47:44)
19. "Second-Story Simons" (47:39)

Disc 6:
20. "I Thought the War Was Over" (47:38)
21. "Lost Lady" (47:41)
22. "Walking Point" (47:13)

Like the previous release, the set is packaged in a standard Viva case. On the cover, there is a photo of the Simon brothers, along with the title of the set, all with a blue background. On the back, there is a brief description of the season (complete with a very glaring error indicating that the series aired on NBC, when in fact it aired on CBS), along with a few photos from the season. Inside the case, you'll find the six discs, all of which just have the series logo on a blue background. The first four discs contain four episodes each, while the last two contain three episodes each.

The menus on the set are very basic, but at least the theme song from the current season plays this time, as opposed to the theme song from the first season. On the main menu, there is a still photo of the brothers (same one seen on the cover), and the theme song plays in the background. From the main menu, you have options of Play All, and a list of episodes. Once you select an episode, it plays immediately. There are chapters throughout each episode.

The video and audio quality of the episodes is a bit lackluster for the late '80s (I've seen better), but it seems to be about on par with the previous releases of this series, and other dramas from Universal from the same era. It is just interesting how the series looks much older than it actually is, almost like an episode of Starsky & Hutch from a decade earlier. Unfortunately, the episodes are not closed-captioned or subtitled.

Sadly, there are no special features on the set. Of course, we've come to expect and accept that with these Shout! Select titles; after all, it is great that we are even seeing these titles on DVD in the first place.

All in all, this isn't a bad set of episodes, although special features would have been nice. It is great to see that Shout! Factory is continuing the series on DVD this far in to the series, particularly after it was abandoned by Universal after just one season. One thing that I would like to see on one of the future releases is the original pilot film for the series, which has still yet to see the light of day on DVD. With this set, though, the series comes closer to completion with only two seasons, containing a total of 29 combined episodes, left to release. If nothing else, it would be great if Shout! could combine the final two seasons into one release to finish this off. One thing that I never understood about this series is why it hasn't seemed to have the same kind of popularity as other similar series from the same era, particularly Magnum, P.I. The series is really the same style of series, and in my opinion, better than the classic Tom Selleck series. But if you are a fan of that series, you'll probably love the Simon brothers, too.

(4/5 stars)

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Blog DVD Review: Mission: Impossible - The '89 TV Season (CBS, $39.98)
by skees53

Who said that short-lived series aren't memorable? The '80s reboot of the classic series Mission: Impossible is not only back on DVD, but the entire series is completed with CBS Home Entertainment's release of Mission: Impossible - The '89 TV Season, a four disc set containing all sixteen episodes of the final season of one of television's few series that actually managed to come back with new episodes that were actually great to watch. The series is much like the original, and even brings back Peter Graves in the starring role as Jim Phelps, as he organizes a new team to do everything that the old team used to do.

The season begins with the two-part episode "The Golden Serpent," where the latest investigation exposes a good friend of Jim's, Barney Collier (Greg Morris), and leads to a fight to save him while cracking the case at hand. The team is trying to protect a princess from high-priced assassins in "The Princess." In "Command Performance," an investigation leads the team to a priest in prison. The IMF team must fight to prevent an international war at the hands of a religious terrorist in "Countdown." In "War Games," the IMF investigates military training exercises in Eastern Europe which could have serious consequences. Many IMF agents are kidnapped during an investigation in "Target Earth." Adolf Hitler's legacy continues to live on in "The Fuhrer's Children."

In "Banshee," Jim and the team tackle a case of a black-market weapons trader in Ireland. The team works to recover a priceless work of art which could result in (you guessed it) an international incident in "For Art's Sake." In "Deadly Harvest," the team has to stop a plan to hold the world's wheat production hostage. The team investigates a sudden wave of dead bodies in the South Pacific in "Cargo Cult." In "The Assassin," the team investigates the assassination of several influential figures at the hands of a stress clinic, of all things. The team investigates an Old West themed resort that may be a front for illegal arms sales in "Gunslinger." In "Church Bells in America," the team must take down a Colombian drug-lord. The series ends with "The Sands of Seth," where an ancient Egyptian cult is tied to the murders of top Egyptian officials.

The episodes appear to be unedited, with runtimes as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "The Golden Serpent (Part 1)" (48:44)
2. "The Golden Serpent (Part 2)" (48:27)
3. "The Princess" (47:25)
4. "Command Performance" (48:15)

Disc 2:
5. "Countdown" (48:16)
6. "War Games" (48:16)
7. "Target Earth" (48:18)
8. "The Fuhrer's Children" (48:29)

Disc 3:
9. "Banshee" (48:19)
10. "For Art's Sake" (47:54)
11. "Deadly Harvest" (48:15)
12. "Cargo Cult" (48:18)

Disc 4:
13. "The Assassin" (48:30)
14. "Gunslinger" (48:17)
15. "Church Bells in Bogata" (48:26)
16. "The Sands of Seth" (48:27)

The packaging for the set is very similar to the previous release, with a photo of the entire team on the front (Phelps with the largest photo, of course), and for some reason, very similar artwork on the back, along with a brief description of the season. Inside the case, you'll find the four discs, all of which just have the standard gray artwork with the series logo imprinted on them. There is a listing of all episodes, along with descriptions, inside the case.

The menus on the set are very basic, with a different photo of each cast member (same as the ones as seen on the cover) on each disc, and a listing of all of the episodes. At the bottom of the main menu, there is a Subtitles option. They didn't include a Play All option for this set. Once you select an episode from the main menu, the episode plays right away, unless it is one of the episodes which contains an episode promo. In this case, you'll be presented with a menu that gives you options of Play Episode and Play Episodic Promo. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.

The video and audio quality of the episodes isn't particularly great, but it'll be sufficient for most fans. Of course, the series was a low budget series that was taped in Australia in the first place, so that shouldn't be too surprising to fans. There really aren't any video or audio quality issues to nitpick on specifically; it is just that the episodes just don't look like great transfers, and most likely, this was the best that the studio could do given the way that the series was produced. The episodes are presented in stereo, with English subtitles for all episodes.

There are a few special features on this set, but they are not huge ones. Basically, we have 30 second episode promos for a handful of episodes--only four of them, actually. They are included for "The Golden Serpent," "The Princess," "War Games," and "Banshee." It would have been nicer to have seen these for all episodes, as I'm sure that they likely could have in fact included them for all of the episodes. Disc 4 has an additional holiday promo (0:35), which is a special promo from around Christmas 1989 with the cast wishing fans a merry Christmas. It isn't particularly exciting, but it is nice to have anyway.

It is great to see that this series not only made it to DVD, but managed to be completed on DVD in just a few short months. Many people probably don't even remember this version of the series, but of course, the original series is a classic that probably everybody remembers, and I think that this is one of the few rare '80s reprisals of a series which is worthy of being associated with the original series. So if you are a fan of the classic, you are sure to love this series. But even if you just enjoy series of this style in general, you are sure to enjoy this series as well.

(4/5 stars)

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Mission: Impossible (1988) on

CLICK OF THE WEEK's Crossover and Spin Offs Master Page - Some of the most popular TV series throughout history have had spinoffs. Some have even been spinoffs of other popular TV series (and let us not forget Good Times, Laverne & Shirley, and Mork & Mindy, popular series that were spinoffs of spinoffs). But these popular spinoffs (and spinoffs of spinoffs, or perhaps we could coin a new term, grandspinoffs, here) only begin to scratch the surface. There are also crossovers and other instances of characters going from one series to another. So is there a site to organize all of this? There is, in fact, and that would be's Crossover and Spin Off Master Page.

The website lists all of the obvious crossovers, of course. I mean, we all know that The Jeffersons was a spinoff of All in the Family. But the content on the site goes much deeper than that, giving us all of the details on spinoffs such as those, as well as some of the more unknown spinoffs and crossovers. For example, do you remember when Granny from The Beverly Hillbillies visited Mister Ed? What about when Michelle Tanner from Full House visited Hangin' with Mr. Cooper? A crossover between Alice and The Dukes of Hazzard? You'll find information of it all here, along with complete (and often witty and snarky) commentary. The website is one of the "early contenders" in the online world and has been around for over a decade, but not only is it very complete, it is in fact still updated regularly, making this a Click of the Week that you'll be visiting for more than just this week.

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

New on DVD/Blu-ray (September)

The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season Modern Family - The Complete Season 7

09/06 - Coach - Season One (Mill Creek) / Season Two / Seasons One and Two
09/06 - South Park - The Complete Ninteenth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season
09/20 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season
09/20 - Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season
09/20 - Modern Family - The Complete Season 7
09/20 - Veep - Season 5
09/27 - The Wonder Years - Season Six
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, October 25

The Middle - "Halloween VIII: The Heckoning" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
As Halloween approaches, Frankie is taken aback when she discovers that, if the circumstances ever arose where she and Mike got divorced, the kids would all choose to live with Mike. Meanwhile, Sue tries everything in her power to get her room back from Brick, and having to be so nice around girlfriend April all of the time leads Axl to lash out at his family.

American Housewife - "Westport Zombies" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Katie, jealous of Taylor’s friendship with neighbor Viv (Leslie Bibb), reluctantly competes in the Westport Halloween “Zombie Run” after she finds out they’ll both be running. Meanwhile, Greg and Anna-Kat get a little too much in character for the “zombie” part of the run’s obstacle course.

Fresh Off the Boat - "Louisween" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
It’s Louis’ favorite holiday, and he makes every attempt to scare Jessica into the Halloween spirit, but she is buried in her word processor, drafting her first horror novel. Meanwhile, Emery and Evan debate costume choices, and Eddie and his crew are excited to party with high schoolers at Nicole’s house.

The Real O'Neals - "The Real Halloween" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Halloween arrives, or what Kenny refers to as “the gay Super Bowl,” he plans to go to Boystown to watch the festive costume parade. In an effort to prevent Kenny from attending, Eileen agrees to let him throw his own Halloween party at home. Eileen’s tolerance is ultimately tested when Kenny recruits Stuart and his gay friends to join the big party, and he makes a BIG costume change. Meanwhile, Jimmy and Shannon plan to pull off an epic Halloween prank.

Atlanta - "Junteenth" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Why my Auntie trying to make me go to one of these bougie Junteenth parties again? I don't like them sadity people and I'm gonna miss my shows. Le sigh.

Family Time - "Head of House" (Bounce TV, 9:00PM ET/PT)
When the Stallworths have an unexpected visitor, they learn of a vicious crime that took place in their home years ago.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 24)

Tuesday, October 25

  • Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Catch Will on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He also chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Matt LeBlanc (Man with a Plan/Episodes/Friends) - Matt is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother) - Cobie appears on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Skylar Astin (Ground Floor) - Skylar is a guest on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Mary Lynn Rajskub (How to Be a Gentleman/Veronica's Closet/The Larry Sanders Show) and David Koechner (Another Period/Hank/The Office) - Mary and David are guests on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - John appears on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Jamie Lee Curtis (Scream Queens/Anything But Love) - Jamie Lee is a guest on Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Erinn Hayes (Kevin Can Wait/Guys with Kids/Worst Week) - Erinn plays a celeb guessing game with Rach, who’s serving up no-fail make-your-own takeout, on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Mary Steenburgen (The Last Man on Earth/Ink) - Mary joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Ana Gasteyer (People of Earth/Lady Dynamite/Suburgatory) - Ana will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET. She will also be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Cheryl Hines (Son of Zorn/Suburgatory/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Cheryl is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) - Abbi will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. She will also be on the AOL Build Show 4pm.
  • Don Rickles (C.P.O. Sharkey/Daddy Dearest) - Don is a guest on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Nico Tortorella (Younger) - Nico appears on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.