Saturday, June 09, 2012
Digital Digest: Release Dates for Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, and More; Pretty Little Liars - The Complete Second Season DVD Review; Ghost Story (a.k.a. Circle of Fear) - The Complete Series DVD Review
We continue with releases from Warner. Their releases begin on August 21 with Mike & Molly - The Complete Second Season. Unfortunately, it appears that this release will only be available on DVD, unlike season 1, which also had a Blu-ray release. On August 28, Warner will have Two and a Half Men - The Complete Ninth Season, which is the first season without Charlie (although you will get to see Kathy Bates playing his ghost in one episode!). This, too, will only be released on DVD, but that is expected, as this series has not been on Blu-ray at all so far. Next, on September 4, Warner will be releasing the premiere season of one of the breakout hits of the past season, with 2 Broke Girls - The Complete First Season (DVD/Blu-ray), which will be available on both DVD and Blu-ray. Finally, everything comes to an end with a "big bang," both figuratively and literally, on September 11, with The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Fifth Season (DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo). The Blu-ray/DVD Combo is new for the series; previously, it has been available on DVD and Blu-ray, but this new Blu-ray/DVD Combo follows in the tradition of much more prominent releases which include the DVD and Blu-ray in the same set. Oh, and as a bonus, there is even an UltraViolet Digital Download in the Combo pack, which will allow you to download the episodes to your favorite devices! Everything is covered all around with this "big bang."
In 2005, Universal released Kojak - Season One, and we heard absolutely nothing about it for another six years, when Shout! took over the rights to release it late last year... and they've been on a steady pace since then! In fact, their pace has been so steady that the series will be complete on DVD on September 11, with the release of Kojak - Season Five! It is really nice to see the series come to completion as fast as it has, particularly considering that Shout! has not only been steadily releasing the seasons, but even managed to release the pilot and every post-series film on DVD in their collection of Kojak - The Complete Movie Collection. Sadly, there is no news on any of the other crime dramas which Shout! has licensed (such as Policewoman or Police Story, which were licensed from Sony), but hopefully we will hear something on those in due time.
A release date has also been set for Shout! Factory's release of the series Get a Life. On September 18, Get a Life - The Complete Series finally makes it to DVD. The set will come at a $59.97 MSRP.
Sony released the ABC series which only lasted one episode (on air) Emily's Reasons Why Not - The Complete Series last month as a MOD title, but there is a bit of question as to whether or not it really is the complete series. The set contains six episodes of the series, with the one that actually aired on ABC, and five additional unaired episodes... but it seems that there were actually six unaired episodes. It has been reported that a seventh episode, "Why Not to Look in Bridal Magazines," did, in fact, air in some countries... but this episode is not included in the set. So, is this set actually missing an episode? Assuming that the episode was in fact produced and did in fact air in other countries (we have no way of verifying that from the US, obviously, where only one episode aired), it is... but hopefully we'll find out something more definitive about this in the near future.
Finally, Hulu has made a new addition to their Hulu+ service this week, which means that you won't be able to access it unless you subscribe to the premium service, but you can now watch the first season of Here's Lucy on the service now if you are a subscriber. It is too bad Hulu no longer offers all programs for free, but at the very least, this is an opportunity to view the first season of the series (and hopefully more are on the way) if you pay the monthly fee.
The second season stars Troian Bellisario as Spencer Hastings, Ashley Benson as Hanna Marin, Lucy Hale as Aria Montgomery, Shay Mitchell as Emily Fields, Sasha Pieterse as Alison DiLaurentis, Holly Marie Combs as Ella Montgomery, Ian Harding as Ezra Fitz, Bianca Lawson as Maya St. Germain, Laura Leighton as Ashley Marin, and Chad Lowe as Byron Montgomery. However, there are many recurring stars such as Keegan Allen as Toby Cavanaugh, Tyler Blackburn as Caleb Rivers, Janel Parrish as Mona Vanderwall, Drew Van Acker as Jason DiLaurentis, Cody Allen Christian as Mike Montgomery, Brant Daugherty as Noel Kahn, Torrey DeVitto as Melissa Hastings, Yani Gellman as Garrett Reynolds, Julian Morris as Wren Kingston, Nia Peeples as Pam Fields, Brendan Robinson as Lucas Gottesman, and Tammin Sursok as Jenna Marshall. Keegan Allen, Tyler Blackburn, Janel Parrish have been promoted to series regulars in season three. The first half of the second season aired in summer 2011, while the second half aired in the winter of 2012, similar to the first season. For this season we got two halves of 12 episodes each, but also a flashback episode for Halloween. The series returned this past Tuesday for its third season and it leaves off where the intense and shocking second season finale left off. Tune in Tuesdays at 8/7c for the third season all-summer long on ABC Family!
Anyway, as for this set, there are many memorable episodes in this shocking and surprising season. In the season premiere, "It's Alive," with all eyes in Rosewood looking at Aria, Emily, Hanna and Spencer, the girls are forced to seek help. In "Blind Dates," Hanna helps Lucas score a date, while Emily deals with the aftermath of her mother spilling to everyone that she has a scholarship offer. In "The Devil You Know," Hanna learns more about Caleb's foster family, while the other Liars deal with the resolution and closure of the news about Ian. In "Picture This," Spencer zeroes in on Jason and is determined to find out what exactly has he been hiding, yet Aria can't help but see the good in him, while Hanna aids Caleb when it comes to making a decision about his family. In "Touched by an 'A'-ngel," Aria is finding it hard to believe Spencer and Emily's revelation about Jason all the while dealing with her feelings for him, as Hanna tries to play nice with her future stepsister, while "A" continues to torment Emily trying to push her to a breakdown. In the mid-season finale, "Over My Dead Body," the liars told someone about "A" and they must now pay the price, as Hannah, Aria and Spencer are sent out to do a hard task in order to keep Dr. Sullivan alive: Aria must get rid of Jackie, Hannah must stop her dad and Isabelle's wedding and Spencer must keep Toby safe and in doing so must break up with him, as Emily is the only one without a heartbreaking task and is a little worried. On the mid-season premiere, "Through Many Dangers, Toils and Snares," while all the Liars seem to be at odds with each other, Toby fights to win Spencer back and becomes suspicious of the antics of the supposed best friends, while the Montgomerys receive some worrisome news. In "A Hot Piece of A," the girls have never been closer to discovering "A"'s identity and ask Caleb to use his hacker abilities to help them, but the plan goes awry when Hanna doesn't see eye to eye with the girls' request and instead plans a surprise party for Caleb at the Hastings' lake house. In "CTRL: A," as Aria discovers what Holden's secret is, Caleb becomes the target of a Rosewood Police Department witch hunt after his laptop is confiscated. In "Breaking the Code," the liars may have a fifth member, as it's revealed that "A" is torturing someone outside of Ali's BFFs, while Wren becomes a much-needed support for Spencer. In "If These Dolls Could Talk," the girls suspect that Melissa might be "A", and they set up an investigation, while Aria finds a boarding school application on her Mom's desk, and Jenna takes the bandages off her eyes. And in the most shocking finale yet (season or midseason), in "unmAsked," Aria, Emily, Spencer, and Hanna get closer to finding out who "A" is and the girls attends Rosewood's Junior League Masquerade Gala, but by the end of the episode, they discover who "A" really is and more shockers.
Episodes are usually around 43-44 minutes and unedited, as they should be. Runtimes are below:
1. "It's Alive" (43:05)
2. "The Goodbye Look" (43:10)
3. "My Name Is Trouble" (44:12)
4. "Blind Dates" (42:42)
5. "The Devil You Know" (42:46)
6. "Never Letting Go" (44:03)
7. "Surface Tensions" (43:36)
8. "Save The Date" (43:51)
9. "Picture This" (43:36)
10. "Touched by an 'A'-ngel" (44:12)
11. "I Must Confess" (44:05)
12. "Over My Dead Body" (44:07)
13. "The First Secret" - Halloween Flashback episode (44:12)
14. "Through Many Dangers, Toils and Snares" (43:58)
15. "A Hot Piece of 'A'" (43:53)
16. "Let The Water Hold Me Down" (44:01)
17. "Blond Leading the Blind" (43:02)
18. "A Kiss Before Lying" (44:12)
19. "The Naked Truth" (44:12)
20. "CTRL: A" (44:12)
21. "Breaking the Code" (43:49)
22. "Father Knows Best" (43:13)
23. "Eye of the Beholder" (44:05)
24. "If These Dolls Could Talk" (44:17)
25. "unmAsked" (44:13)
The set comes in an outer box holding a keep case inside. The artwork is the same on the front side for both with artwork of the four girls in white outfits covered in mud sitting at a table with grapes. Don't get ugly, get even, as the tagline says at the bottom of the cover! The back of both the box and case have info on the series and set and another shot of the girls in outfits they would normally wear. We also have four episodic images and a list of special features. Ashley Benson is quite a catch, isn't she? When we open the case, we have some inserts again on the left side. We have an ad insert promoting all-new episodes on ABC Family this summer and an Ultra Violet code for you to watch episodes by streaming and downloading. The other insert is a nice episode booklet! It is nicely designed again and filled with great episodic photos and a great shot of the girls in '60s type outfits on the front. Wow again at Ashley Benson! We have a disc-by-disc breakdown with episode number, title, writer, director, original airdate and of course a synopsis. There is a little scissor image also if there are any deleted scenes available for that episode. The last page has a nice credit list of all the series regulars.
Anyway back to the case, we have three plastic holders that we can flip like a book in the middle and they each hold two discs, with the first disc on the front and the second disc on the back. So that covers all six discs. The disc artwork is simple. We have a purple/pink style background with some cool designs, the show logo and disc number. Simple, but effective. However, this time there is no artwork at all on the panels itself. Disappointing, as we wanted to see more cool artwork like on the first season packaging. More Ashley Benson, the better!
The menu design is good and uses the same artwork as the cover art but it is more of a wide shot and we see more, similar to the last set. It's a nice blue color scheme. Before the main menu on disc one we have a trailer for the third season on ABC Family. Unfortunately once again there is no music playing in the background on the main menu, which is disappointing as this show has a good theme. The menu options are Play All, Episodes, Deleted Scenes and Languages for discs one-five. Disc six doesn't have deleted scenes but it does have a Special Features option. The artwork for all the submenus is good. Languages features audio in English but you can have subtitles in English, French, Chinese, Espanol, or Thai. Deleted Scenes option doesn't have a submenu, so it just plays them automatically. Episodes option lists the episode numbers, episode titles, and if there is a deleted scene for that episode you can watch it by highlighting the scissor image. I think you're better off watching the deleted scenes through the episodes menu than the deleted scenes option itself so you know which episode the deleted scene was intended for. And Special Features on disc six lists all the non-deleted scenes extras that we have.
Video and audio quality are both outstanding once again. That is no surprise, but we should still be glad that everything is so crisp and clear. HD like quality, even if this isn't a Blu-ray set. So there is nothing much to say here except it is like how you watch it on ABC Family HD, especially if your DVD player upconverts. Each episode has 9 or 10 chapter stops, depending on the episode. We get to see the full closing credits, too, something that we don't see on ABC Family but if you watch the series on their website, you see these closing credits. I love how we get 43 or 44 minutes per episode, as broadcast shows are usually 42 minutes these days. We get more content on ABC Family!
There are special features and nearly all of them are on disc six. The previous five discs have deleted scenes, similar to the first set. These are always nice to see. Disc one has a deleted scene from the episode "It's Alive" (1:30). Disc two has two deleted scenes from the episode "Never Letting Go" ((0:38, 1:00) and a deleted scene from the episode "Touched by an 'A'-ngel" (0:23). On to disc three, we have two deleted scenes from the episode "I Must Confess" (0:52, 0:14) and five deleted scenes from the mid-season finale "Over My Dead Body" (0:38, 0:50, 0:30, 0:32, 0:30). For disc four we have a deleted scene for "A Hot Piece of 'A'" (0:59) and "A Kiss Before Lying" (2:02). As for disc five, we have two deleted scenes for the episode "Breaking the Code" (0:34, 0:22). And finally on disc six, we have three deleted scenes for "If These Dolls Could Talk" (1:05, 1:05, 1:35). It's 9 episodes with deleted scenes and a total of 18 deleted scenes! So, up from the 15 deleted scenes from the first season! The main special features are all on disc six. The first featurette is a fun one titled "Pretty Little Liars: Fashion's Guilty Pleasure" (12:28). We are given details on each of the main four characters' fashion: Aria's edgy Bohemian looks, Hanna's rock 'n' roll glamour, Emily's laid-back sporty style, and Spencer's prepster perfection. Commenting are Mandi Line (costume designer), Oliver Godstick (executive producer), Lucy Hale, I. Marlene King (executive producer), Ashley Benson, Shay Mitchell, and Troian Bellisario. This is cool and informative for a DVD feature. And it's always nice to look at these young stars! Ashley Benson seemed to have a little cold in this interview, as her voice was a little raspy, but it STILL came out sexy! The next featurette is another good one titled "Pretty Little Liars: Men of Mystery" (10:18). On this we get the details on some of the men from the show (Ian Harding, Drew Van Acker, Tyler Blackburn and Keegan Allen) from brooding brows, soulful smiles, and mysterious minds, get ready for the heart-melting guys of Rosewood. Many are interviewed and they are Ian Harding, Lucy Hale, Lucy Hale, Shay Mitchell, I. Marlene King, Oliver Godsick, Sasha Pieterse, Drew Van Acker, Tyler Blackburn, Ashley Benson, Keegan Allen, and Troian Bellisario.
I think Warner Bros. did an excellent job on this set once again. We get an extra disc, more episodes, more deleted scenes, and more informative and longer featurettes! It's just about perfect, but with just some little nitpicks here and there, such as no artwork on the panels this time inside the case and still no music on the menus. The important part is we have the episodes in great quality and we can relive these great episodes at any time and go back and find out clues from previous episodes! By the time you finish these 25 episodes, you'll know who A is...or will there be more than just an A? You'll have to watch and see! Season three has begun on ABC Family, Tuesdays at 8, so hurry and get this DVD so you can watch the third season every week all-summer! Don't let "A" stop you by buying this DVD!
It was a great series, full of great stories and great guest stars, but the ratings simply weren't that good for NBC. In an effort to save the series, Castle made some changes to the series after the fourteenth episode, by retitling the series to Circle of Fear and dropping the hosting segments by Winston Essex. These changes were said to be what the studio wanted, but it wasn't enough, and nine episodes later, Ghost Story (or technically, Circle of Fear as it was known by now) was cancelled.
Since the series was cancelled in 1973, it has lived a little bit in syndication, primarily in the '80s when Columbia Pictures distributed just about every single Screen Gems program which ever existed through LBS Communications, but other than that, the series has largely sat in the vaults of Sony, until now, as Sony brings us this MOD offering of every episode of the series, beautifully remastered.
The series begins with the pilot episode, where a young family purchases a house located on the site where a young woman was unjustly hanged decades earlier. Jason Robards plays a forest ranger who can see into the future through his television in "The Dead We Leave Behind," but the program about his wife's accidental death may not be the program he wished to see. In "Bad Connection," a young woman (Karen Black) is getting warnings from her husband over the telephone... but did we mention he is dead? Carolyn Jones plays a woman who is trapped in a vacation home with its own personality in "The Summer House." In "Alter-Ego," a bored boy stuck in a wheelchair creates a double to keep him occupied, but that double creates much more trouble than expected.
Jodie Foster plays a deaf-mute girl who is used as a pawn by her grandfather to gain revenge against his family in "House of Evil." A college professor (Hal Linden) has a deep dark secret in "Elegy for a Vampire," and his students may just be the victims. In "Touch of Madness," a daughter learns that an inherited house from her mother who died in a mental institution may not be the best gift. Angie Dickinson plays a woman who is troubled by a dog who turns vicious after its master dies in "Creatures of the Canyon." The first version of the series ends with "Time of Terror," where a woman wakes up in a hotel room alone with no sign of her husband.
The second version of the series, Circle of Fear, begins with "Death's Head," where Janet Leigh plays the wife of a lawyer who is more interested in her husband's partner... but this is a horror series, so there is definitely a lot more to it than one may suspect. Martin Sheen plays a construction worker who finds a toy wooden horse which becomes something a little different in "Dark Vengeance." Susan Dey and Leif Garrett both guest star in "Doorway to Death," where a family moves in to a new apartment in San Francisco where there is, oddly enough, a cabin in the woods upstairs with an ax murderer. John Astin and Patty Duke play a couple in "The Graveyard Shift," where their unborn child appears to be threatened by ghosts (oddly enough, this episode aired three months before their child Mackenzie Astin was born... hmm...). It is great to be in organ donor, but in "Spare Parts," a man who believes his wife murdered him keeps those thoughts in his donated organs... and the recipients want revenge! The series ends with "The Phantom of Herald Square," where a woman is charmed by a man (David Soul), but also finds herself terrorized by an older man... and they may be more connected than she thinks.
The episodes on the set are reportedly unedited, and as can be seen from the runtimes, that is likely the case for most of them. There is, however, one notable issue on the pilot episode, "Ghost Story." The episode is just completely missing the closing credits. The reasoning behind this is unknown (UPDATE: A reader, Lee, has informed me that this episode originally aired on NBC as half of a "movie" with a completely unrelated second half, and that the closing credits were most likely not included because they included references to both parts), but it is worth noting that the pilot episode was not exactly the first episode of the only season of the series, but in fact, it aired separately in March 1972. The series did not begin airing regularly until September 1972. So, this may have something to do with why there aren't any closing credits. Also, every episode has the original Screen Gems logo at the end... except for the pilot, which, for some odd reason, as the Screen Gems logo at the BEGINNING of the episode. Runtimes for all episodes are as follows:
1. "Ghost Story" (47:46)
2. "The Dead We Leave Behind" (51:14)
3. "The Concrete Captain" (51:25)
4. "At the Cradle Foot" (51:15)
5. "Bad Connection" (51:11)
6. "The Summer House" (51:11)
7. "Alter Ego" (50:54)
8. "Half a Death" (51:13)
9. "House of Evil" (51:11)
10. "Cry of the Cat" (51:13)
11. "Elegy for a Vampire" (50:15)
12. "Touch of Madness" (51:11)
13. "Creatures of the Canyon" (51:19)
14. "Time of Terror" (50:39)
15. "Death's Head" (50:12)
16. "Dark Vengeance" (50:12)
17. "Earth, Air, Fire, and Water" (50:13)
18. "Doorway to Death" (49:11)
19. "Legion of Demons" (50:13)
20. "Graveyard Shift" (50:11)
21. "Spare Parts" (49:44)
22. "The Ghost of Potter's Field" (50:12)
23. "The Phantom of Herald Square" (50:11)
The DVD comes packaged in a black Viva case, with an artist rendering of Sebastian Cabot as a ghost flying through the air on the cover. It is actually very nice artwork, which I'm sure was probably done during the original run of the series. There is a brief series description on the back, along with a listing of guest stars and a few episode snapshots. Inside the case, you'll find the six discs, which have only a black series logo on a white background. Each disc contains four episodes (except for Disc 6, which contains three).
The set contains no special features, which is what we have come to expect for these MOD titles... particularly ones from Sony.
The website is not the easiest website to navigate. In fact, when I first discovered it, I only found it while searching for information on a TV series on Google and finding one of their pages in the process. But the easiest way to find your way on this site is to use the search box provided on the top of the main page to type in which series you want to look up. As our example, we use a classic sitcom favorite which has been in the news for more than one reason this week (and neither reason has been positive news), Happy Days. You can find several tropes on this page, such as The Danza, where a character uses the same name as their real name (named after Tony Danza, who always played Tony). For Happy Days, we have Marion playing Marion and Al playing Al. There are other familiar tropes, such as Locked in a Freezer, Dawson Casting, and of course, one of the most famous one which is actually named after the series, Chuck Cunningham Syndrome. You can find plenty of tropes like these for many series on this wonderful, insightful, and often even funny website, our Click of the Week.
New on DVD/Blu-ray (March/April)
03/03 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Now... In Living Color! (Blu-ray)
03/07 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Second Season
03/07 - Mama's Family - Mama's Favorites
03/07 - That '70s Show - The Complete Series - Flashback Edition (Blu-ray)
03/07 - What I Like About You - The Complete Second Season
03/07 - You Me Her - Season One
03/14 - Newhart - The Final (Eighth) Season
03/14 - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Season Two
03/21 - Master of None - Season One
04/04 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season
04/11 - Father Knows Best - Season Five
04/11 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Third Season
04/11 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/11 - Veep - The Complete Fifth Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest
Sitcoms Airing Tonight
Saturday, April 29
Henry Danger - "Stuck in Two Holes" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Whaaaat?!? Captain Man and Kid Danger are each stuck in a hole?!? Charlotte and Jasper better go help, 'cuz Schwoz is takin' a bean bath!
Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn - "I Want My Mae B. Back" (Nickelodeon, 8:30PM ET/PT)
After Mae starts to spend more time with her new boyfriend, Dawn begins to get jealous so enlists Nicky, Ricky, and Dicky to help separate them so that she can have her friend back.
Sunday, April 30
- NeNe Leakes (The New Normal) - Catch NeNe on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
- Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) - Watch Chris on 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 LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- America Ferrera (Superstore) - America drops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
- Ike Barinholtz (The Mindy Project) - Ike appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
- Joel McHale (The Great Indoors/Community) - Joel is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- Jake Johnson (New Girl) - Jake visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- Hank Azaria (Brockmire/The Simpsons/Free Agents) - Hank stops by Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
- Al Madrigal (About a Boy/Welcome to the Captain/Gary Unmarried) - Al appears on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
- Kevin Nealon (Man with a Plan/Weeds/Hiller and Diller/Champs) - Kevin is a guest on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Ashton Kutcher (The Ranch/Two and a Half Men/That '70s Show) - Ashton appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
- Allison Janney (Mom/Mr. Sunshine) - Allison teams up with Mario Batali to make a cheesy, decadent Gnocchi Al Telefono and dishes about her new Broadway show on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
- Charlie Hunnam (Undeclared) - Charlie will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. He will also be on the AOL Build Show at 11:15am.
- Nick Robinson (Melissa & Joey) - Nick talks about his new film Everything, Everything on the AOL Build Show at 1pm.