Saturday, September 01, 2012

Digital Digest: The Donna Reed Show Season 5 DVD News; The Streets of San Francisco - Season 4 (Volume 1 and Volume 2) DVD Review; Kojak - Season Five DVD Review


Welcome to Digital Digest! This week, the news is painfully slow... but we've got a double review weekend with our reviews of The Streets of San Francisco - Season 4 (Volume 1 and Volume 2) as well as Kojak - Season Five. And if you've been following our blog for the past few weeks, you'll know that we have a new blog feature which we're going to unveil this week... keep reading and you'll find our new feature, Follow Me, at the end of today's blog!


DIGITAL NEWS

We've stumbled upon a very slow news week this week, but there has been one major highlight for fans one of the "original" classic sitcoms. This week, Mary Owen announced on the We Love The Donna Reed Show Facebook page that the fifth season of The Donna Reed Show is scheduled to be released on December 4. Of course, Owen is certainly "in the know" on these issues... after all, she is the daughter of Donna Reed and she is also the one who licensed the DVD rights to MPI! Still, we must stress that while we have no doubt that this set will likely be released soon, MPI has been known to slightly delay some DVD releases, and the December 4 date may not be set in stone yet. But we'll let you know more when we know more!

New content has been added to Amazon Prime, and this time, it includes recent episodes of popular NBC series! This week, it was announced that Parks and Recreation, Parenthood, and Friday Night Lights, and more would be added to the service... and they're already available! If you subscribe to the service, which costs about $80 a year (or half that amount if you have a college/university e-mail address), you can watch unlimited streaming episodes of these series.

Fans of the classic sitcom Family Ties are waiting to get the final two seasons on DVD, and although we'd like to say that we have good news to report on this, we don't... but you can buy digital copies of the episodes on iTunes! This actually appeared on the service a few weeks ago, but you can finish out your collection with episodes to keep through iTunes. Of course, if you want a streaming option, the episodes are also still available on Netflix.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (September 4) brings a flood of DVDs to the market, including a bit of the old and new. We'll start with the new. One of my favorite series (and to be honest, it took me a long time to warm up to it) returns to DVD and Blu-ray, with The Office - Season Eight (DVD, DVD/Blu-ray/Ultraviolet). Another NBC favorite heads to DVD with Parks and Recreation - Season Four. The CBS series 2 Broke Girls debuts on DVD with 2 Broke Girls - The Complete First Season (DVD, Blu-ray). HBO has How to Make it in America - The Complete Second Season (DVD, Blu-ray). We wrap up the new with ABC's release of Grey's Anatomy - The Complete Eighth Season.

Now onto the old! Most of it comes from Mill Creek and their releases from the Carsey-Werner library. These releases include Roseanne - The Complete Fifth Season, Roseanne - The Complete Sixth SeasonThat '70s Show - The Complete Fifth SeasonThat '70s Show - The Complete Sixth Season, and Grounded for Life - The Complete Series

We will have reviews for most (if not all) of these sets in the next few days.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

 


Blog DVD Review: The Streets of San Francisco - Season 4, Volume 1 and Volume 2 (CBS, $39.98 each)
by skees53

Lt. Mike Stone (Karl Malden) and Inspector Steve Keller (Michael Douglas) are back together again one final time in The Streets of San Francisco - Season 4, Volumes 1 and 2! While the fourth season isn't the final season of the series, it is the last season to feature Stone and Keller as the team working together to solve crimes in San Francisco, as the fifth (and final) season saw Douglas leaving the series to go on to bigger things in his own career. But before we get to that season, we still have this season of the classic team of Stone and Keller as the men solving crimes on the streets of San Francisco on these two volumes of the fourth season!

As we've done with many other recent DVD season sets split into volumes (with both released on the same day), we're combining both volumes into one review. The sets are pretty similar, and we'll be careful to make any distinctions between each volume.

Volume 1 begins with "Poisoned Snow," where a narcotics officer has had too much and puts some cocaine out on the street laced with cyanide. Mark Hamill guest stars. A sniper targets a high-rise building and agrees to stop, for a price, in "The Glass Dart Board." In "No Place to Hide," drug smugglers in a maximum security prison are working to get the wives of the inmates to do their dirty work... or else. In "Men Will Die," the head of a rape survivor organization is out for revenge, and it could be deadly. Vera Miles guest stars. Robert Hegyes and Maurice Evans guest star in "School of Fear," where a former teacher (Evans) realizes he has had enough of delinquent students after an ex-colleague is murdered by one, and decides to take delinquent students hostage in his a school of his own. Meredith Baxter and Gerald McRaney guest star in "Deadly Silence," where Stone's life is at risk after he kills a robber.

In "Murder by Proxy," Stone and Keller investigate what a shady land developer may have to do with a neighborhood besieged by robbery and murder. John Ritter and Sorrell Booke guest star. A jewelry store owner is killed by a group of sailors in "Trail of Terror." A jewel heist that resulted in the death of a cop is complicated when a pathological liar who claims to have witnessed the crime in "Web of Lies."  Stone and Killer believe that a radio show host (Larry Hagman) killed is pregnant girlfriend in "Dead Air." A missing crate of guns intensifies an investigation of a deadly gang rivalry in "Merchants of Death." In "The Cat's Paw," Stone's latest case mixes too much business with pleasure.

Volume 2 begins with "Spooks for Sale," where Stone and Keller are put in the middle of a burglary case involving high-tech espionage and rival businessmen. Tom Selleck guest stars. Stone and Keller investigate the murder of a teacher in "Most Likely to Succeed." In "Police Buff," a wannabe cop with a police scanner becomes a vigilante... with deadly results. Robert Reed guest stars in "The Honorable Profession," where a doctor treats a mortally wounded cop... except he is an imposture and Stone's only witness. A bishop is shot in "Requiem for Murder," but the case is complicated when he protects the shooter. A cop goes undercover as a bookie after his gambler brother is killed by a hitman in "Underground."

In "Judgement Day," a string of murdered judges leads to the son of a disbarred lawyer. Stone's investigation of retired circus brothers turns him into a clown in "Clown of Death." In "Superstar," a tough New York City cop comes to San Francisco to pursue his partner's killer. An undocumented immigrant is suspected of killing an immigration officer in "Alien Country." The season ends with "Runaway," where a hunt for a criminal is impeded by the fugitive's teen daughter, who is also searching for her long-lost father.

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

Volume 1

Disc 1:
1. "Poisoned Snow" (50:03)
2. "The Glass Dart Board" (50:05)
3. "No Place to Hide" (50:05)
4. "Men Will Die" (50:02)

Disc 2:
5. "School of Fear" (50:04)
6. "Deadly Silence" (50:36)
7. "Murder by Proxy" (50:35)
8. "Trail of Terror" (50:37)

Disc 3:
9. "Web of Lies" (50:34)
10. "Dead Air" (50:31)
11. "Merchants of Death" (50:03)
12. "The Cat's Paw" (50:36)

Volume 2

Disc 1:
1. "Spooks for Sale" (50:35)
2. "Most Likely to Succeed" (50:35)
3. "Police Buff" (50:35)
4. "Honorable Profession" (50:23)

Disc 2:
5. "Requiem for Murder" (50:32)
6. "Underground" (50:34)
7. "Judgment Day" (50:33)
8. "Clown of Death" (50:35)

Disc 3:
9. "Superstar" (50:37)
10. "Alien Country" (50:35)
11. "Runaway" (50:34)

We've got a Viva case for the sets once again (which I'm sure will continue for the final season when that one is released in a few weeks), with each set featuring a different photo of Stone and Keller on the cover. Volume 1 uses a red color scheme for the background behind the series title, while Volume 2 uses a blue color scheme. The back of each case describes the episodes on each volume, and gives a few episode snapshots. Inside each case, you'll find the three discs, which have no artwork other than the series logo on a gray background. Episode titles, descriptions, and airdates are printed inside the case, as is typical for CBS releases.

The menus on the set are like the previous releases. The main menu on both volumes has Stone and Keller on them, with videos playing in the background along with the theme song. Options from the main menu include Play All, Episodes, and Subtitles. Once you select Episodes, you get an animated transition to the list of episodes, which has an episode snapshot in the background. Chapters are placed throughout each episode at all of the appropriate places.

Once again, I feel that CBS has hit audio and video perfection (or close to it) with these episodes. While the episodes aren't perfect (what is?), they do look really good and I don't think that there is really anything to complain about. Of course, the entire series has been remastered in HD, and these episodes really show that. The mono audio is very loud and clear, without any real issues. And each episode contains English subtitles.

We don't have any special features yet again for the series.

Once again, we have two more decent releases of a season of the series, but of course, we're still without special features. But it is great to see that they have truly cleaned up these episodes to as close to perfection as is likely even possible. We're only a few weeks away from the fifth (and final) season of the series, so it won't be long until we'll have the entire series on DVD. The fifth season has already been remastered into HD, so I don't believe that there will be any problem with quality on that set either. That there were some reunion movies for this series well after the final season, so hopefully we'll see those somewhere along the way as well. If you're a fan of '70s police dramas, you're certain to enjoy this set.

(4/5 stars)

To purchase The Streets of San Francisco - Season Four (both volumes), click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

To purchase The Streets of San Francisco - Season Four, Volume 1, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

To purchase The Streets of San Francisco - Season Four, Volume 2, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

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BLOG FEATURE REVIEW


Blog DVD Review: Kojak - Season Five (Shout! Factory, $44.99)
by skees53

Kojak is back one last time, for Kojak - Season Five! The final season of the classic detective drama starring Telly Savalas as he tries to solve all of the major crimes and murders on the streets of New York City. Created by Abby Mann, the series ran from 1973-1978 on CBS and created a legacy that lasted with TV movies going into the '80s and '90s.

The season begins with "The Queen of Hearts is Wild," where a witness in the murder of a police officer could help Kojak a lot... if her boyfriend didn't hate him. A psychotic killer thinks he is getting messages to kill from a talk show host in "A Strange Kind of Love." In "Laid Off," a laid-off police officer takes a bribe to support his sick wife. It's all out gang war in "Cry for the Kids." In "Once More From Birdland," a singer is determined to prove that father who has been in prison for 14 years is innocent. Kojak is out to find a missing $6 million. A model receives anonymous messages warning of a murder in "Letters of Death." In "Tears for All Who Loved Her," Crocker gets involved in romance while investigating a murder.

In the two-part episode "The Summer of '69," Kojak goes back in time eight years to when he killed a suspect in a murder case... but now he realizes that he may have killed the wrong guy. Kojak poses as a murdered private detective to find out why the man was killed in "Case Without a File." A detective is up against his wife's divorce lawyer after an arsonist destroys his boat in "I Could Kill My Wife's Lawyer." Kojak considers leaving the police department to become a private investigator for a law firm in "Justice For All." A surgeon may be performing unnecessary surgeries to pay off gambling debts in "Mouse." In "Chain of Custody," Kojak's reaction to an incompetent prosecutor gets him suspended from the force. Kojak tries to protect Captain McNeil's widowed sister-in-law from big-time gamblers in "The Captain's Brother's Wife."

Kojak helps a jealous police officer search for a professional hit man in "No License to Kill." In "The Halls of Terror," Kojak goes undercover in a hospital in an attempt to solve a string of murders. A retired police officer is injured after attempting to prevent the theft of a race horse in "May the Horse Be With You." In "Photo Must Credit Joe Paxton," a photographer becomes the prime suspect in a phony kidnapping and jewel theft. Crocker is taken hostage while transporting a prisoner back to New York in "60 Miles to Hell." The season ends with "In Full Command," where a disgruntled inspector (played by Danny Thomas) is willing to do anything to boost his career... no matter how awful.

The episodes appear to be unedited, although one does run about a minute shorter than the rest. I'm not sure if there is anything actually missing, though. Runtimes as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "The Queen of Hearts is Wild" (49:19)
2. "A Strange Kind of Love" (49:28)
3. "Laid Off" (49:14)
4. "Cry for the Kids" (49:26)

Disc 2:
5. "Once More From Birdland" (49:23)
6. "Caper on a Quiet Street" (49:27)
7. "Letters of Death" (49:25)
8. "Tears for All Who Loved Her" (49:24)

Disc 3:
9. "The Summer of '69 (Part 1)" (49:26)
10. "The Summer of '69 (Part 2)" (47:53)
11. "Case Without a File" (49:27)
12. "I Could Kill My Wife's Lawyer" (49:22)

Disc 4:
13. "Justice for All" (49:27)
14. "Mouse" (49:26)
15. "Chain of Custody" (49:27)
16. "The Captain's Brother's Wife" (49:26)

Disc 5:
17. "No License to Kill" (49:25)
18. "The Halls of Terror" (49:28)
19. "May the Horse Be With You" (49:23)

Disc 6:
20. "Photo Must Credit Joe Paxton" (49:28)
21. "60 Miles to Hell" (49:27)
22. "In Full Command" (49:27)

Once again, the set is packaged in a standard Viva-case. The cover art shows Kojak in front of the New York City skyline, while the back has several cast photos and gives a brief description of the season. Inside the case, you'll find the six discs, which just have the series logo and a grayscale photo of the Brooklyn Bridge on them. The episode titles, descriptions, and airdates are printed inside the case.

The menus for this set have evolved a bit with the new opening credits used for this season. The menu starts like the opening credits of the series with the flashing letters of the series title and the opening theme song playing in the background. The main menu gives options of Play All, along with a list of the episodes, with a head shot of Kojak to the right of the episodes. Chapters are placed at all of the commercial breaks.

There really aren't any concerns with the video and audio quality, but it isn't perfect. It looks about like any filmed series from the '70s would look on DVD without a whole lot of remastering. There is a little bit of grain and debris, but it isn't out of control. The mono audio is fine for the most part. Unfortunately, there are no subtitles or closed-captions.

There are no special features again this time. It would have been nice to have seen more of the "family interviews" to discuss the end of the series.

It is hard to believe, but we've reached completion for this series... and we've really gotten everything imaginable. Every single episode of the series has been released, every single movie (including the pilot and ABC Mystery Movies) has been released, and they've been mostly (all?) unedited as far as I can tell. Combined with the nice interviews included on some of the earlier releases, fans of Kojak should be pleased with what we've managed to get with these DVDs... especially since the series seemed to have been abandoned after the release of the first season in 2005, only to be revived less than a year ago to bring us the four remaining series and all of the movies. Fans of the series won't want to miss out on this set to complete their collection.

(4/5 stars)

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

Related links:


FOLLOW ME

Before we jump in full-force to this new section of Digital Digest, we thought that we should briefly introduce what we'll be doing here every week. In recent years, we've seen a lot of our favorite sitcom stars and other people (and even things) connected to sitcoms become more social with their fans through Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks out there. In our new feature, we will highlight Twitter accounts or Facebook pages that we think are worth following, with each one being presented in a different way. We're kicking off this feature with a theme for the month of September, where we'll feature stars of some of the new fall series. Now, enough with the intro... let's jump into this full-fledged!

Who to Follow: Matthew Perry (Twitter), star of NBC's Go On (premieres September 11)
Claim to Fame: Chandler Bing in the NBC series Friends, and starred on series which were much less successful such as Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and Mr. Sunshine
Tweets/Status Topics: Like many currently active celebrities, he likes to talk about the current happenings in his career and the daily life along the way. Lately he has been mostly discussing Go On, leading into the debut in just a few weeks. He does Tweet personal things about his life and family not related to his career, though, and also tends to get really active with his Tweets around Stanley Cup time.
Pick of the Tweets: "Sitting down to watch my first episode of Downton Abbey. Will everyone kindly get off my back about it now please?!?" (May 1, 2012)

That's all for this week. Until next time, keep it digital!
Sitcoms Airing Tonight (Sunday, April 20)

Bob's Burgers - "Ambergris" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT)
Gene, Louise, and Tina discover a seaweed-covered object at the beach that turns out to be a large hunk of Ambergris - an extremely valuable, but illegal, by-product of whale poop that is used in high-end perfumes. But Louise tries to cheat Gene and Tina out of the profit she hopes to make by selling the treasure on the black market. Meanwhile, Bob and Linda deal with their psychologically unstable landlord who is building them a new bathroom.

American Dad - "Poltergasm" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Francine's "Poltergasm" starts to haunt the Smith household when she is unsatisfied by Stan in the sack, and Roger must conjure a medium named Zelda Rubinstein to help eliminate the ghost. Meanwhile, Hayley introduces her new boy-toy, Mauricio (guest voice Diego Luna), to the family.

The Simpsons - "Married to the Blob" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Comic Book Guy realizes his comics are nothing if he can't share them with anyone. Then he meets Kumiko, a Japanese woman writing an autobiographical manga, and he seeks out Homer's advice on how to date her, ending happily for everyone.

Family Guy - "Life of Brian" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Stewie and Brian travel back to 17th century Jamestown, via Stewie's time machine, they encounter too many close calls with altering the course of mankind. Stewie decides to destroy his time machine, but immediately regrets his decision when an unthinkable event happens and he is unable to go back in time.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 21) (All times Eastern unless noted)

Monday, April 21

  • Courteney Cox (Cougar Town/Friends) - Watch Courteney The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Jimmie "J.J." Walker (Good Times) - Jimmie appears on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Billy Bob Thornton (Hears Afire) - Billy Bob is a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • George Lopez (Saint George/George Lopez) - George stops by The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ari Graynor (Bad Teacher) - Ari visits The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Marlon Wayans (The Wayans Bros.) - Marlon is a guest on @midnight at midnight on Comedy Central.
  • Bob Saget (How I Met Your Mother/Full House) - Bob is part of the guest panel on Chelsea Lately on E! at 11pm.
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt (3rd Rock from the Sun) - Joseph appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Gillian Jacobs (Community) - Tune in to see Gillian on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Paul Scheer (The League) - Paul is a guest on a repeat of The Pete Holmes Show at midnight on TBS.
  • Christopher Meloni (Surviving Jack/The Fanelli Boys) - Christopher drops by The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Brooklyn Decker, Majandra Delfino and Zoe Lister-Jones (Friends with Better Lives) - The women of Friends with Better Lives are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT. Zoe will also be on Pop Sugar Now on TV Guide Network at 6pm and on the next day on their website at noon.
  • Drew Carey (The Drew Carey Show/The Good Life) - Drew visits The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Andre Braugher (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Andre will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Kirstie Alley (Kirstie/Veronica's Closet/Cheers) - Kirstie throws down a figure-friendly chicken dinner on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Ted Lange (The Love Boat) - Ted is a guest on a repeat of The Better Show, so check your local listings.
  • Brittany Daniel (The Game/That '80s Show) - Brittany shares her story of triumph over non-Hodgkins lymphoma on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Beau Bridges (The Millers) - Beau appears on The Queen Latifah Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Toni Collette (United States of Tara) - Toni will be on HuffPost Live.
  • Thomas Haden Church (Wings) - Thomas is a guest on HuffPost Live.
  • Sofia Vergara (Modern Family/Hot Properties/The Knights of Prosperity) - Sofia visits ABC's Good Morning America between 7-9am.
  • James Van Der Beek (Friends with Better Lives/Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23) - James will be on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For Your Love) - Holly hosts the Plugged In panel on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Christine Lakin Step by Step) - Christine will be on Big Morning Buzz Live on VH1 at 10am all this week.