Saturday, August 11, 2012

Digital Digest: New MOD Offerings from CBS, Sony, and Warner Archive; Perry Mason - Season 7, Volume 1 DVD Review

Welcome to Digital Digest, your weekly source of news and reviews of all things digital in the world of sitcoms! This week, we have a review Perry Mason - Season 7, Volume 1. Let's get going!


DIGITAL NEWS

CBS has recently picked up the once thought to be abandoned series The Streets of San Francisco and releasing it at an amazing pace lately. In fact, we saw season 3 in July and we'll see season 4 later this month... after waiting several years following the release of season 2. Now, it gets even better! The series will be completed on DVD on October 30 with the release of both volumes of the fifth season, in The Streets of San Francisco - Season 5 (Volume 1 and Volume 2). It is always great to see a series completed, but especially in record time like this.

A listing appeared on amazon.com recently which demonstrates that CBS is moving into releasing some of their much older series as MOD products, and it appears that Cannon - Season Three will be the first of these. CBS has been releasing some more recent (as in '90s and later) stuff on MOD, but this marks the first time that a much older series like this has been released as a MOD product. It is worth noting that the first two seasons, when released as a standard release, happened to be among the few CBS releases to make it to stores without having video and audio quality restored to HD quality... so we really expect the same again.

A few weeks ago, word began spreading of the second season of Fantasy Island coming from Sony as a MOD product in September. We were a bit skeptical of this announcement and didn't discuss it here (we assumed it was an error) since Shout! released Fantasy Island - The Complete Second Season (Shout!) in May, but as it turns out, it looks as if Sony will in fact be releasing their own Fantasy Island - The Complete Second Season (Sony). It is a bit strange that Sony is releasing something which they've already licensed out to Shout! (and it isn't as if Shout! has lost the rights to the series, because they are in fact releasing Fantasy Island - The Complete Third Season on October 23), but it appears that is in fact what will happen. The Sony set has different artwork from the Shout! set and contains five discs rather than six discs as the Shout! set had, so it looks like it will be a much different release. That isn't all that is different. The MOD set will come at a MSRP that is about a dollar less than the pressed set that Shout! Factory already put out... but keep in mind, a traditionally released pressed set almost always sells for a price much lower than the MSRP while the MOD prices are set by the distributor and rarely fluctuate... so the Shout! set is a better quality pressed set at a lower price. But if you really want the Sony MOD product... it is out there.

Warner Archive is going deep into their archives once again this Tuesday, as they release the first season of the original Ruby-Spears Heathcliff series. It isn't available to order yet, but the release will bring all 13 episodes of The Heathcliff and Dingbat Show to DVD.

HBO announced this week that Entourage will be coming to DVD in complete series form on November 6 with Entourage - The Complete Series (DVD). But that isn't all... they will also be offering the entire series on Blu-ray with Entourage - The Complete Series (Blu-ray). The DVD will come at a $249.99 MSRP, while the Blu-ray will come in at $299.99.

Finally, there are some new offerings on Hulu in recent weeks, but two of them are only available for Hulu+ subscribers and one is only one episode of a series that everybody wants to see more of. For the paid Hulu+ subscribers, you can now watch every episode of the two ALF cartoons, with ALF: The Animated Series and ALF Tales. There is new free content from Fox, as they've added the series Boston Public to the service... but unfortunately, that comes with a huge caveat. They've put up only one episode of the series (Chapter 4), which guest starred Joanna GarcĂ­a-Swisher. Hopefully, though, if fans show interest in this one episode, we may see more... I know that I would certainly love to see the whole series available!


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (August 14) brings Community - The Complete Third Season to DVD. We received our review copy of this today, and will have a review posted very soon. Fans of the classic Robert Urich series Vega$ get to see the series come to an end with Vega$ - The Third Season, Volume 2 (review). Additionally, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comes to an end with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - The Complete Final Season (Season 10). We'll have a review of this set next weekend. Finally, it isn't exactly a Tuesday release, but Time-Life will begin shipping their megaset, The Carol Burnett Show - The Ultimate Collection on Monday.


BLOG DVD REVIEW



Blog DVD Review: Perry Mason - Season 7, Volume 1 (CBS DVD, $49.99)
by skees53 

Here comes Perry Mason for the defense in Perry Mason - Season 7, Volume 1. The four disc set brings 15 more episodes of murder suspects who have all of the odds stacked up against them with the case put together by the DA. But never under-estimate Mason, because he will win the case... almost always (there is episode in this collection which shows otherwise, though).

The seventh season begins with "The Case of the Nebulous Nephew," where a con man tries to swindle two aging aunts out of a fortune... but things get worse once he changes his plan. Perry is defeated in "The Case of the Deadly Verdict," and the client is sentenced to death... so can he get her off the hook before it is too late? In "The Case of the Shifty Shoebox," a man may have gotten away with the perfect robbery... or so it seems. Perry finds himself embroiled in a case involving fraud, gold, and murder in "The Case of the Drowsy Mosquito." Perry is involved in a murder case involving a dean of students in "The Case of the Decadent Dean." In "The Case of the Reluctant Model," an art student entangled in a case of art robbery is about to find things getting a lot worse. Infidelity leads to murder in "The Case of the Bigamous Spouse." In "The Case of the Floating Stones," a girl's search for her grandfather's missing stash of diamonds turns her into a murder suspect.

In "The Case of the Festive Felon," a matriarch leaves her riches to a private nurse... and the family attorney suddenly winds up dead. A liquor store robbery takes a fatal turn in "The Case of the Devious Delinquent." A real estate swindle turns to murder in "The Case of the Bouncing Boomerang." In "The Case of the Badgered Brother," a family fight between brothers ends with one being stabbed in the back... literally. A woman tries to help her husband who she believes was wrongly convicted of murder after he is out on parole in "The Case of the Wednesday Woman," but things aren't going so well for him when he is accused of a new crime. A man suspects his boss and father-in-law of embezzlement in "The Case of the Accosted Accountant," but when the boss turns up dead, you know who the main suspect will be. In "The Case of the Capering Camera," a fashion model is accused of shooting a photographer who has been blackmailing her sister.

The runtimes for each episode are as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "The Case of the Nebulous Nephew" (50:38)
2. "The Case of the Deadly Verdict" (50:44)
3. "The Case of the Shifty Shoebox" (50:38)
4. "The Case of the Drowsy Mosquito" (50:37)

Disc 2:
5. "The Case of the Decadent Dean" (50:39)
6. "The Case of the Reluctant Model" (50:39)
7. "The Case of the Bigamous Spouse" (50:36)
8. "The Case of the Floating Stones" (50:36)

Disc 3:
9. "The Case of the Festive Felon" (50:38)
10. "The Case of the Devious Delinquent" (50:38)
11. "The Case of the Bouncing Boomerang" (50:35)
12. "The Case of the Badgered Brother" (50:35)

Disc 4:
13. "The Case of the Wednesday Woman" (50:37)
14. "The Case of the Accosted Accountant" (50:38)
15. "The Case of the Capering Camera" (50:25)

The DVD comes packaged just like all of the previous seasons, in a standard Viva case. The cover has a color photo of Perry, along with smaller photos of other cast members above him. On the back, there are a few black and white snapshots, along with a brief description of the series and the episodes on the set. Inside, there are four discs. Discs 1-3 contain four episodes each, while Disc 4 contains three episodes. The disc artwork just has the logo from the cover art on a gray background, with all of the episodes listed on the disc. There are also episode descriptions and original airdates printed inside the case.

The menus on the set are basic and plain, as they typically have been for this series. The main menu just has a still photo of Perry, along with a listing of the episodes, and a Play All and Subtitles option. They're all pretty self-explanatory. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.

There is really nothing to complain about at all with the video and audio quality of the episodes. There IS a bit of grain and debris, but CBS has been cleaning up this series pretty well for DVD. There is occasional crackle in the audio, but it is pretty loud and clear as well. Each episode contains English subtitles.

There are no special features on this set at all. Considering that this is the thirteenth half-season release of the series with no special features, and there are only five more left to bring the series to completion, I think it is safe to say that we probably won't see any on any of the remaining season sets.

I don't really know what else to say about this series at this point. Beginning with the first DVD set released over five years ago, we've consistently had decent quality (but barebones) releases of this series, with no bumps in the road along the way. Ironically, the series was kind of the same way... it always followed a consistent formula and didn't really have any low points at any point in the series, and consistently remained a well-written and produced legal drama. Of course, I guess it may have gotten a bit old knowing that the accused is going to be innocent (and they'll be proven innocent one way or another as long as Perry Mason is on their side), but that is kind of the fun thing about this series. You know how each episode will end, you just have to follow the details to find out why it ends that way. If you've been collecting the series on DVD up to this point, there is no point in stopping here. In fact, it is likely that the remaining five half-seasons will be just as enjoyable as this (even if there are no special features), giving CBS a not guilty verdict on most charges of this being anything but another stellar release of the series... but the jury is deliberating on that whole "lack of special features" charge.

(4/5 stars)

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

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Perry Mason on TV.com


CLICK OF THE WEEK 

Southern Media's News Music Search Archive (www.southernmedia-nmsa.com) - We'll admit, as we wrap up these last few weeks of our Click of the Week feature, this is probably one of the most idiosyncratic websites that we've featured here... but it is an interesting one that many people in the United States can relate to. We all watch our local news and we recognize the music and transitional effects used on the news, but there is really a lot more to these than a lot of us realize. These music packages are composed and purchased by the station, typically from one of a handful of people who make a living off of this type of thing, and often used at TV stations across the nation.

Southern Media's News Music Archive places all of the information about this music, audio files of the music (when you click on the music note next to the theme), and dates that the music was used for TV stations in nearly every market in the US. And they aren't just the most recent ones. You can go back to listen to the music packages used by your local stations in the past, in some case going back several decades. Have you ever wondered which other stations have used the same music packages? You can find that information with just a click as well. It is a bit of an unusual website, but it is nice to know that there is a place to find all of these with a "one stop" approach.

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


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, January 18

Fresh Off the Boat - "Driver's Eddie 2: Orlando Drift" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Eddie finally gets his driver’s license; but instead of freedom, he finds an endless list of errands to run for his mom. Will he be done in time to take his friends to the Insane Clown Posse concert? Louis is excited for a boy’s weekend at Chili Con with Marvin, until Honey tags along; and Jessica faces off with her nemesis, Jamie, at the school fundraiser.

Speechless - "H-- HEY, YOU" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Maya is less than thrilled when Kenneth interferes with her business plans with Melanie. Ray begs JJ to cast him opposite his new crush, Izzy, in his next movie, which has unexpected consequences. Meanwhile, Dylan is impressed with Jimmy’s band.

Last Man Standing - "Dreams vs. Realty" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Mandy comes close to forgetting her fashion designer dreams when she is confronted with rejection and sends herself in a spiral; Vanessa feels regret as she reflects on her own career path; Mike helps the women in his family achieve their dreams.

The Cool Kids - "Thanksgiving at Murray's" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Mike and Ryan are forced to get along together when Boyd proposes a compromise to their plans to take him on separate trips by all three going on a trip together; Mandy and Kyle attempt to solve a mystery like a pair of detectives.

Andi Mack - "I Got Your Number" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Andi gets in over her head when she attends a high school party with Amber, causing Bowie's plans for a romantic outing with Bex to go awry; Cyrus tries to mend a longtime rift between Jonah and T.J.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 14)

Friday, January 18

  • Maura Tierney (NewsRadio) - Watch Maura on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Elizabeth Banks (Scrubs) - Elizabeth visits The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. She talks about The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Andy appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie/Malibu Country) and Jane Fonda (Grace and Frankie) - Lily and Jane are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Pete Holmes (Crashing) - Pete appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Molly Ringwald (Townies/The Facts of Life) - Molly talks about All These Small Moments on People Now at 12pm.
  • Don Cheadle (Black Monday/House of Lies/The Golden Palace) - Don talks about Black Monday on ABC's GMA Day at 1pm.
  • Dave Franco (Scrubs/Do Not Disturb) - Dave talks about If Beale Street Could Talk on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Adam Pally (Champaign ILL/Making History/The Mindy Project/Happy Endings) and Sam Richardson (Champaign ILL/Detroiters/Veep) - Adam and Sam talk about Champaign ILL on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


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

Step by Step - The Complete Third Season Perfect Strangers - The Complete Sixth Season Fuller House - The Complete Third Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fourth Season The Game - The Complete Series

11/01 - Episodes - Season 5
11/05 - Robin Williams - Comic Genius (includes Mork & Mindy)
11/06 - American Dad! - Volume 13
11/16 - Man with a Plan - Season One
11/20 - Step by Step - The Complete Third Season
11/27 - What I Like About You - The Complete Third Season
11/28 - The Great Indoors - Season 1 (The Complete Series)
12/04 - Family Guy - Season Sixteen
12/04 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Sixth Season
12/18 - Our Cartoon President - Season One
01/08 - Family Guy - 20 Greatest Hits
01/22 - Fuller House - The Complete Third Season
01/22 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fourth Season (WBShop.com)
01/29 - Ballers - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
01/29 - Crashing - The Complete Second Season
01/29 - The Game - The Complete Series
01/29 - Kidding - Season One
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest