Saturday, July 07, 2012
Digital Digest: More Alice from Warner Archive; The Streets of San Francisco - Season 3, Volumes 1 and 2 DVD Review
"We can officially confirm that due to unprecedented consumer response to ALICE Season 1, clearances have been expedited and work has begun to bring you ALICE Season 2 later this year. We also will be serving up WITHOUT A TRACE Season 4 in short order. :)"So it's official! Alice has done well on DVD, and we'll be seeing more! And there is even good news for fans of Without a Trace in there as well! We'll let you know more as we find out more.
We've told you about The Real McCoys - The Complete Series coming to DVD, and we gave you the release date provided by the pre-order listing on amazon.com of September 18. However, in the press release we obtained for the release, it appears that the set may actually be released a little earlier than that. The official press release gives a release date of August 28. Of course, we'll let you know when it actually is released.
The Dick Van Dyke Show - The Complete Series is one of the greatest sitcom release on DVD ever, but according to TVShowsOnDVD.com, we're about to get something even better! Image will be releasing the entire series again, but this time on Blu-ray! The October 30 release will contain every episode of the series in the high-def home media format. We'll let you know more as we find out more!
As mentioned, the season is split into two volumes which must be purchased individually, just like the first two seasons were when they were released on DVD, but both volumes were released on the same day. Since the sets are very similar, we've combined both volumes into one review.
Volume 1 begins with "One Last Shot," where an alcoholic cop gets his partner killed in the line of duty and tries to cover it up. A mobster seeks vengeance for his son's murder in "The Most Deadly Species." A government trained assassin is out to kill a Chinese diplomat in "Target: Red," unless Stone and Keller can stop him. John Davidson and Herb Edelman guest stars in "Mask of Death," a female impersonator (Davidson) has an alter ego which is more deadly than his stunning dresses. An AWOL Marine is murdered in "I Ain't Marchin' Anymore," leaving Keller to go undercover and join a commune of Vietnam draft dodgers to find answers to his murder… but he faces grave danger if the others discover he is a cop. A woman reports being strangled in "One Chance to Live," but Keller knows there is more than what she is saying to the story.
In "Jacob's Boy," Stone and Keller face a dilemma when the suspect in a murder case may be innocent this time, but may not have been in a cold case. Keller is taken hostage by domestic terrorists in "Flags of Terror." Eddie Barth (Myron Fowler from Simon & Simon) and Clint Howard (brother of Ron Howard) guest stars in "Cry Help!," where Howard plays a teen accused of murdering his best friend's stepfather. Mike Evans and Berlinda Tolbert both guest star (before they played a married couple on The Jeffersons just a few months later) in "For Good or Evil," where a witnessing a gang murder may lead to dire consequences. Keller is forced to go undercover as an Air Force Colonel to investigate another Colonel in "Bird of Prey." Volume 1 ends with "license to Kill," where Stone's ex-partner is in town, with a deadly vendetta on his mind.
Volume 2 begins with "The Twenty-Five Caliber Plague," where Stone and Keller follow a bloody trail left behind from a .25-caliber gun over the weekend. In "Mister Nobody," Stone and Keller have a confession for a murder, but they aren't buying it. A cop becomes a vigilante in an attempt to destroy a drug lord in his old neighborhood in "False Witness." In "Letters from the Grave," the remains of an inmate who was thought to have escaped from Alcatraz are found in the walls during some repairs 20 years later, and Stone and Keller are on the case. Stone has been demoted to a beat cop in "Endgame," but has he really been demoted or is this just another undercover operation? In "Ten Dollar Murder," a cop's son has been robbing taxis all over town, but things are about to get a lot worse for him.
A psychiatrist is trying to exploit his client, a convicted sex-offender, in "The Programming of Charlie Blake," and it isn't making Stone and Keller's role in a murder investigation any easier. A 12-year old girl wants to prove that her stepfather killed her mother in "River of Fear." Belinda Montgomery guest stars in "Asylum," where Keller goes undercover at a mental hospital in order to stop a serial killer's deadly spree. Stone and Keller have to search every room in a high-rise hotel to find a boxer who threw a mob hitman out of the window in "Labyrinth." The season (and volume 2) ends with "Solitaire," where Keller is shot on the job (don't worry, he'll be OK) and Stone is partnered with a shady officer who may have actually been involved in Keller's injury.
The episodes appear to be unedited, with each episode running around 51 minutes. In fact, CBS seems to have not even disturbed the music on the episodes in this set, as the episode "Mask of Death" originally had some music in it (performed by John Davidson) and it is all intact. Runtimes are as follows:
1. "One Last Shot" (51:24)
2. "The Most Deadly Species" (51:29)
3. "Target: Red" (51:28)
4. "Mask of Death" (51:28)
5. "I Ain't Marchin' Anymore" (51:24)
6. "One Chance to Live" (51:30)
7. "Jacob's Boy" (51:29)
8. "Flags of Terror" (51:31)
9. "Cry Help!" (50:28)
10. "For Good or Evil" (51:28)
11. "Bird of Prey" (51:05)
12. "License to Kill" (51:06)
1. "The Twenty-Five Caliber Plague" (50:47)
2. "Mister Nobody" (50:40)
3. "False Witness" (51:07)
4. "Letters from the Grave" (51:07)
5. "Endgame" (51:08)
6. "Ten Dollar Murder" (50:47)
7. "The Programming of Charlie Blake" (50:49)
8. "River of Fear" (51:30)
9. "Asylum" (50:47)
10. "Labyrinth" (50:28)
11. "Solitaire" (51:26)
The first two seasons were released in slimcases, but of course, as is the cast with just about all CBS releases, that has changed by now (after all, those were released four years ago). Now, we have each volume in a standard Viva case. On the cover of each set, there is a photo of Stone and Keller with a shot of the San Francisco bridge below them (with a green shade on Volume 1 and a gray shade on Volume 2). The back of each set describes the series, along with a few episodes on each set. There are also a few episode snapshots on the back. Inside the case, there is a listing of all of the episodes, along with original airdates and a brief description. Each set contains three discs, which just have the series logo and a listing of the episodes on the disc printed on each disc. Every disc on Volume 1 contains four episodes, and on Volume 2, the first two discs contain four episodes each, while the third disc contains just three episodes.
The main menu on each disc has photos of Stone and Keller, with video clips from the episodes playing between them. The theme song plays in the background, and options on the main menu include Play All, Episodes, and Subtitles. Once you select an option, you get an animated transition to the next menu featuring the audio at the end of the theme song. The episodes menu lists all of the episodes on the disc, with a snapshot from one of the featured episodes in the background. Once you select an episode, it plays immediately. Chapters are placed at all commercial breaks within the episode.
Like many other series which CBS has been releasing on DVD, this series has been remastered in HD. It really shows on here, and the episodes on this set look excellent. The episodes have one of the cleanest and most crisp pictures I've seen on almost any series, and if it wasn't for the outdated '70s fashions and scenery, this series would look like it was just recently filmed. This is best demonstrated in scenes with neutral backgrounds where just Michael Douglas is in the shot, as his "fashion sense" during the original run of the series actually doesn't look too outdated. There is some grain and debris on the episodes, but you'd have to watch very closely to even notice it. The audio, presented in mono, is plenty loud and clear. And there are subtitles for all of the episodes.
There are no special features on either release. It is understandable, though, because the series was really just about Karl Malden and Michael Douglas. Karl Malden is, of course, deceased, and as for Michael Douglas, he has obviously gone on to much bigger things. Still, maybe some old promos for the series would have been nice. They would have been something, at least.
All in all, these are two nice releases of the classic series on DVD, and it is nice to see that CBS has finally picked up the series on DVD once again after nearly a four year gap since the last release. I almost feared that the series was abandoned, but alas, it hasn't been. It gets even better, as CBS has already scheduled season 4 for release in just a little over a month! That'll leave only the fifth season (where Michael Douglas actually left the series) to be released. As for the series itself, it is a great series that is surprisingly well written, and unlike some crime dramas of the era, it really did manage to keep up with the changing times. The "I Ain't Marchin' Anymore" episode on Volume 1 best demonstrates that, where Keller shows some compassion for the Vietnam draft dodgers and is focused only on the fact that one was murdered, and that murder was wrong; it didn't at all focus on whether or not what the draft dodgers did was right or wrong, a change from some of the older series (like Dragnet) which would portray them in a very negative light just because they were draft dodgers. In fact, if anything, it almost seemed like Keller viewed himself as sort of a draft dodger, since he avoided going to Vietnam by going to college. It is also very interesting to see Michael Douglas in his early days of his career here. Who would have imagined that this was only the beginning of a career which would make this one of his less memorable contributions to entertainment? And that is saying a lot, considering that his portrayal of Steve Keller in this series is excellent. If you're a fan of classic detective dramas, particularly ones which became a bit more "enlightened" in the '70s such as Kojak, this is certainly one you won't want to miss out on.
To purchase The Streets of San Francisco - Season Three, Volume 1, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
To purchase The Streets of San Francisco - Season Three, Volume 2, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
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