Saturday, July 21, 2012
Digital Digest: All in the Family Complete Series Details; Dynasty - The Sixth Season, Volumes 1 and 2 DVD Review; Harry O - The Complete First Season DVD Review
Fox wrapped up some loose ends (perhaps not completely, though) with their release slate for continuing sitcoms on DVD this week with their announcement of New Girl - Season One. The release is scheduled for October 2, and will include a nice collection of special features, which you can read more about here.
We've already mentioned the September 4 release of The Office - Season Eight (DVD and DVD/Blu-ray/Ultraviolet Combo), but fans of more "classic" episodes of the series will see a special single-DVD release on October 16 with The Office - Secret Santa Pack. The $14.98 DVD will include four classic Christmas episodes of the series. The episodes to be included are "Christmas Party" (season 2), "A Benihana Christmas" (season 3), "Moroccan Christmas" (season 5), and "Secret Santa" (season 6).
We told you just last week about Shout! Factory's October 30 release of All in the Family - The Complete Series, but now we know a bit more about the special features which will be included. Among those special features, we have a 40-page collectible booklet, a new interview with Norman Lear, two documentaries (Those Were the Days: The Birth of "All in the Family" and The Television Revolution Begins: "All In The Family" Is On The Air), both original pilots of the series, and the pilot episodes of the spinoffs Archie Bunker's Place, Gloria, and 704 Hauser.
Finally, looking for that MOD release of the series Dave's World which was announced a few weeks ago? Well, it is coming very soon... on Tuesday.. with Dave's World - The Third Season! We don't know much about this set yet, but if we find out more about it, we'll let you know.
BLOG FEATURE REVIEW
John Forsythe, Linda Evans, Joan Collins star and we find out what happens after the Moldavian massacre! This is the season where ratings were still strong but were on the decline. Seasons 3-6 all were in the time of the height of the popularity, with the previous season, season five, hitting being the peak. The series lasted 9 seasons on ABC, from 1981-89. We get the the entire sixth season (1985-86) on this two-pack set. I'm just glad we don't have to wait for the conclusion of the sixth season, but they are still splitting the seasons in half. For the last two releases, it's just that they are out on the same day! Anyway, the drama in Denver continues whether it is at the mansion, the LaMirage hotel or even California.
Diahann Carroll and Heather Locklear are also back this season, as they were in season five. The sixth season begins with "The Aftermath," as the fifth season cliffhanger is revealed about the attack at Michael & Amanda's wedding leaves two guests dead, while the rest of the wedding party is held captive in Moldavia. In the two-hour episode "The Titans," Blake prepares for the arrival of the Colbysm, while Krystle is held hostage at Delta Rho by Joel while Rita takes her place at the mansion. In "The Proposal," qfter marrying Adam and gaining financial independence due to an oil well willed to her by the late Walter Lankershim, Claudia decides to move back into the Carrington mansion, while the family discovers that Fallon is not dead, but alive and living in California with Miles Colby. In "The Vigil," Blake is taken to the hospital after his collapse, while panicked and seeking comfort from Joel, Rita rushes to Delta Rho, only to discover Krystle instead of Joel and the two women engage in a vicious physical battle. On the two-part episode, "the Trial," Caress finally discovers that Alexis has purchased the publishing house who was to distribute her book, "Sister Dearest" and it is quickly canceled and Alexis celebrates destroying her sister's vengeful plans, while Ben confronts Blake and demands his share of their father's estate, and a court battle begins. On the season finale, "The Choice," after Alexis manipulates him, Ben agrees to go into business with her, and together, the two finally bankrupt Blake, during Dominique's engagement party, Claudia accidentally sets fire to La Mirage, leaving several lives in danger.
Each episode on this set is just around 46-47 minutes on average, though some lower, which is strange. Nearly every CBS DVD has a disclaimer on the back of the box saying, "Some episodes maybe be edited from their original network versions." So there is a chance something could be edited, but I didn't see anything, but some runtimes in the 44-45 minute range are suspicious. There is one two-hour episode on this set, clocking in over 95 minutes. Runtimes are as follows:
1. "The Aftermath" (45:52)
2. "The Homecoming" (46:32)
3. "The Califnornians" (46:39)
4. "The Man" (46:46)
5. "The Gown" (46:29)
6. "The Titans" (95:31)
7. "The Decision" (45:39)
8. "The Proposal" (46:34)
9. "The Close Call" (47:02)
10. "The Quarrels" (46:48)
11. "The Roadhouse" (46:44)
12. "The Solution" (46:39)
13. "Suspicions" (46:57)
14. "The Alarm" (44:56)
15. "The Vigil" (46:15)
1. "The Accident" (46:50)
2. "Souvenirs" (46:33)
3. "The Divorce" (46:34)
4. "The Dismissal" (45:15)
5. "Ben" (44:45)
6. "Masquerade" (46:42)
7. "The Subpoenas" (46:42)
8. "The Trial, Part 1" (46:39)
9. "The Trial, Part 1" (45:28)
10. "The Vote" (46:30)
11. "The Warning" (46:43)
12. "The Cry" (46:21)
13. "The Rescue" (46:04)
14. "The Triple-Cross" (46:32)
15. "The Choice" (46:10)
Packaging for both volumes once again is a snap case holding the discs inside, similar to previous sets. Again the discs don't overlap each other, which is great. We have two plastic holders on both volumes. Discs one and two are in the first plastic holder, while discs three and four are in the second plastic holder. That little holder is cheap, but I guess it works. The cover art of the first volume has Blake surrounded by the women of the series (Krystal, Alexis and Dominique) with the Dynasty logo below them. Volume two's cover art has Blake and the men in similar style. The color schemes are tan for volume one and gray for volume two. The back of the case's on both volumes has a synopsis of the show, the set, and technical information. We also have three episodic photos and a feature cast photo. Back inside the cases, there is a disc-by-disc breakdown on the left and right panel for every episode on this set. We get episode titles and a synopsis of each episode. Like season five, it seems like they removed the original airdates for some reason...anyway, don't be reading it before watching the episode now! Artwork on the discs is just plain again. It is plain silver for each one. Dynasty logo and whatever disc number it is on the disc, and episode titles are listed. Disc-by-disc breakdown is available above in episode runtimes, but basically we either have 3 or 4 episodes on each disc. There is nothing different about the packaging here, as like in season five except they expanded to 4 discs per volume instead of 3. This section is always consistent, it seems.
And the consistency continues for the menus. CBS DVD is terrible in menus, as you all probably know. Each menu has different artwork but it is so plain again. The episodes are listed right on the main menu once again. Subtitles option is also available below the list of episodes, but it is only English again. Main menu artwork has three shots of the same image. For volume one, disc 1's main menu has three shots of Blake, disc two has three shots of Krystal, disc three has three shots of Alexis and disc four has three shots of Dominique. For volume two, disc 1's main menu has three shots of Claudia, disc two has three shots of Sammy Jo, disc three has three shots of Jeff & Fallon and disc four has three shots of Amanda. It is very similar to the previous sets. No theme music or any music in the background once again. Before the main menu on both disc one's, there is an option for previews...we get previews such as The Good Wife DVD and Melrose Place S3 DVD...AGAIN. But you can skip to the main menu if you wish.
The video is on par with the previous season and it looks good. Just some debris here and there in the opening credits, like flashing black dots, but it is still good quality. It isn't in widescreen, obviously. The audio is decent, a nice sounding mono...that is crisp and clear. No problems here at all. It seems the video and audio get better as the seasons go on, which makes sense. There are 6 chapter stops once again each for every episode, counting the opening and closing credits stops. The two-hour episode has 10 chapter stops and is presented in its original two-hour form. This is all consistent again from previous sets.
We are back to zero special features. On season five, volume two we got one special feature actually. As a recap, the second season had a little family tree thing, which was something at least and the first season was done by 20th Century Fox, and they did a decent job with some featurettes and commentaries, but CBS DVD has done basically nothing...which is typical. But on the second volume of season five we did get something archival! It was a clip from Entertainment Tonight in 1985 as Leeza Gibbons interviews guest star Rock Hudson and we also have Linda Evans talking about Rock. I wish they cleared more archival stuff like this for season six, instead we are getting nothing here. Disappointing.
Season six is a wrap and all in one day, just like the fifth season release, and no waiting for months to continue! I highly do recommend any fan of the show to pick-up these two volumes (in a two-pack set!), because the episodes are so good and addictive and you'll want to see the conclusion of the Moldavian cliffhanger from season five. We have great episodes on this set, and yet another cliffhanger on the sixth season finale. I cannot stop watching whenever I put the DVD in. This is the mother of all primetime soaps (sorry never was big into Dallas, but the new TNT series is great)! If you have the first five seasons, then you have to get this to continue your collection of course because it wouldn't make sense if you didn't continue. If you haven't gotten those yet, what are you waiting for? It won't make sense buying these two volumes for your first buy of this series, as the episodes are heavily serialized and you'll be VERY lost. I hope CBS reconsiders and gives us the ENTIRE seventh season instead in one volume instead of splitting it up into two volumes, but they won't. At least both volumes for seasons five ans six came out on one day. It's just expensive to get two volumes, as the MSPR is $72.99 sold together. That's a lot for 30 episodes and no special features. Still, I urge fans to buy it so we keep getting more sets. CBS DVD is at least consistent with their sets. They are very predictable as the sets are nearly identical to each other (it makes the reviews boring). But like I said last time (and the time before that), complain to CBS DVD for the lack of extras and splitting the seasons in half. Anyway, you're going to get glued in this sixth season and you'll want to see the season premiere to see what happens in "The Aftermath." You don't have to travel to Denver (or California or Moldavia) to buy these two volumes, just click below and Blake will be pleased or he will strangle you (oops not giving anything away for season six)!
To purchase Dynasty - The Sixth Season, Volume 1, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
To purchase Dynasty - The Sixth Season, Volume 2, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
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SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Blog DVD Review: Harry O - The Complete First Season (Warner Archive, $49.95)
The series was really one of the pioneering series of a new era of detective series which would continue with those other series, where the private eye is portrayed as just an average man trying to make a living in society (as opposed to previous private eye series where the lead character was viewed as some infallible superhero). But it wasn't easy to get on the air, or even too easy to survive once it did make it on the air. It took two pilot movies with constant retooling, both of which aired in the 72-73 and 73-74 seasons respectively, to get the series started. This was followed by another retooling less than halfway through the first season, dramatically changing the supporting cast and even the city in which the series was set, and even more changes in the second season... and if that wasn't challenging enough, ABC (under the leadership of Fred Silverman) decided to pull the plug on it at the end of the second season to make room for some more "jiggly" detectives... Charlie's Angels. But now, the first season of the series, along with the first pilot, are available on DVD from Warner Archive.
The series begins with the episode "Gertrude," where a sister of an AWOL sailor hires Harry to find him. Harry is hired to find an Admiral's wife (presumed to be dead) in "The Admiral's Lady." Joan Collins guest stars in "Guardian at the Gates," where Harry protects an architect who witnessed a murder. A man confesses a murder to a priest in "Mortal Sin," but not everything stays in confession when the priest calls on Harry. In "Coinage of the Realm," Harry must find a man to donate a kidney to his daughter... before two killers find the man! A blind teenager is a witness to a murder in "Eyewitness." Harry goes undercover at a mental hospital accused of holding patients as prisoners in "Shadows at Noon," but things don't exactly go as planned when his undercover operation makes him a prisoner. A divorce case turns into murder in "Ballinger's Choice."
A psychic predicts the perfect murders in "Second Sight." In "Material Witness," Harry has to protect a physician who witnessed a crime... she doesn't exactly want Harry around, but she'll soon find out she really needs him. In the two-part episode "Forty Reasons to Kill," an investigation in a small town becomes an arrest for murder... and the suspect is Harry himself! Paul Benedict guest stars in a minor role. Harry is hired by a woman who believes her husband (Robert Reed) is having an affair in "Accounts Balanced." In "The Final Heir," Harry's latest investigation becomes like a murder mystery weekend, except the murders are real. A woman helps her boyfriend steal $25,000 in "For the Love of Money," but he goes missing with the money.
A murder framing goes wrong in "The Confetti People." Diana Hyland guest stars. Jim Backus guest stars in "Sound of Trumpets," where a recently-released from prison jazz musician has to deal with much more serious problems on the outside. A deaf-mute is arrested for arson in "Silent Kill." Farrah Fawcett makes her first appearance in the series in "Double Jeopardy," where a crime boss makes a mistake which could prove to be fatal for an aspiring actor. Kurt Russell guest stars as, oddly enough, the aspiring actor. A college student who wants to be a detective himself becomes a murder suspect in "Lester." Harry pursues the killer of his former police friend in "Elegy for a Cop." The season ends with "Street Games," where Maureen McCormick plays a teenage addict... and her mother is desperate to find her after her boyfriend is murdered by a dealer.
You'll find plenty of other guest stars in the series as well, including Hal Williams (three episodes), Gordon Jump, Florence Stanley, Juliet Mills, Milt Kogen, Lawrence Pressman, Sylvia Field (her last TV appearance ever), Mel Stewart, Nathaniel Taylor, and more.
The episode runtimes vary quite a bit from episode to episode, but this is likely due to the series constantly evolving throughout the first season (changes were made to the series frequently, including adding episode previews about 1/3 of the way through the season, and of course the retooling which occurred beginning with the episode "For the Love of Money"). All episodes run around 51 or 52 minutes, with exact runtimes as follows:
1. "Gertrude" (51:08)
2. "The Admiral's Lady" (52:06)
3. "Guardian at the Gates" (52:02)
4. "Mortal Sin" (51:49)
5. "Coinage of the Realm" (52:05)
6. "Eyewitness" (52:00)
7. "Shadows at Noon" (51:02)
8. "Ballinger's Choice" (51:40)
9. "Second Sight" (51:35)
10. "Material Witness" (51:05)
11. "Forty Reasons to Kill (Part 1)" (52:08)
12. "Forty Reasons to Kill (Part 2)" (52:00)
13. "Accounts Balanced" (52:03)
14. "The Last Heir" (52:02)
15. "For the Love of Money" (51:46)
16. "The Confetti People" (51:40)
17. "Sounds of Trumpets" (51:43)
18. "Silent Kill" (51:43)
19. "Double Jeopardy" (51:44)
20. "Lester" (51:19)
21. "Elegy for a Cop" (51:42)
22. "Street Games" (51:42)
Like most Warner Archive titles, the set comes in a standard Viva case. The cover art is very nicely done with a blue color scheme featuring Harry inside of a big O on the cover art (like the original opening credits for the series), and on the back of the case, there is another large photo of Harry along with a description of the series and the season. There are also a few episode snapshots on the back of the case. Inside, the six discs all have the same artwork as seen on the cover, and the episode titles are printed on each disc. Each disc contains four episodes, except for Disc 6, which contains two episodes and the pilot movie (not sure why this wasn't included on Disc 1). And, it is definitely worth mentioning that like most recent Warner Archive titles, the DVDs are presented on pressed DVDs and NOT DVD-R discs, although this will likely only apply to the early orders for the set (later copies purchased will likely be DVD-R).
The video and audio quality of the episodes is perfectly fine, but it doesn't look like a whole lot of restoration was done to the episodes. You'll find quite a bit of grain and debris on some episodes, but it doesn't really detract from the episodes too much. Still, I've seen other series from the same era which look better on DVD. The audio is loud and clear, presented in glorious mono. It is worth noting, though, that the pilot movie on this set looks better than the rest of the episodes, so perhaps more effort was put into restoring this. The episodes are neither closed-captioned nor subtitles, unfortunately.
I have never watched this series too much prior to this DVD (aside from the few rare occasions when it did air somewhere, such as on GoodLife several years ago), but having the opportunity to watch the entire first season over the course of a week, as I did, was a nice treat. I knew that this was a good series, but it was actually much better than the bits and pieces that I had seen before this set. I like how it really sets the stage for future private eye series, although in all fairness, Mannix (another great and much more successful series which aired even earlier) did the exact same thing. There are some really good stories in these episodes, and for the most part, they'll keep you entertained from the beginning of the episode to the end of the episode. It is still hard to keep in mind that David Janssen was only in his 40s when this series aired... he certainly looked much older, as if he was in his 50s or even his 60s! Hopefully, Warner Archive will follow this up with the second (and final) season sometime very soon. Fans would certainly appreciate it. It would have been nice if they'd included the second pilot for the series on this set as well, but actually, that was already released on DVD separately a while back from Warner Archive under the title Smile Jenny, You're Dead. I think, though, that fans of Janssen's previous work on The Fugitive, as well as fans of the era of private eye series starting with Mannix and going all the way through the end of series like Magnum, PI will enjoy this series.
New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November)
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
Friday, December 9
Last Man Standing - "Help Wanted" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Since losing her teaching job, Vanessa has been spending her time hovering over the family, and it’s driving everyone nuts. Over at Kristin and Ryan’s house, Ryan and Kyle are wrapped-up in a zombie face-off to determine who knows the most about zombies and how to survive an apocalypse. Unable to land a new gig, Vanessa becomes discouraged, but Mike does everything he can to get her back doing what she loves.
Dr. Ken - "Ken's Apology" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Ken wants to apologize to a patient for missing an important medical detail, Pat advises against it, and the situation gets out of hand. Meanwhile, D.K. shakes things up at Dave’s parent/teacher conference.
Friday, December 9
- Olivia Munn (Perfect Couples) - Watch Olivia on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. She will also be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
- Tom Papa (Come to Papa) - Tom is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Kevin Nealon (Man with a Plan/Weeds/Hiller and Diller/Champs) - Kevin appears on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- Bella Thorne (Shake It Up) - Bella is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
- Sarah Michelle Gellar (The Crazy Ones) - Sarah whips up a delicious treat on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
- Richard Kind (Spin City/Mad About You) - Richard is a guest on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
- Jennifer Aniston (Friends) - Jennifer appears on Chelsea on Netflix.