Saturday, October 27, 2012
Digital Digest: Alice Season 2 Now on DVD; Simon & Simon - Season Seven DVD Review; The Flintstones - Prime-Time Specials Collection, Volume 1 DVD Review
As many of you already know by now, Warner Archive made a surprise announcement (and release) this week of Alice - The Complete Second Season! The Linda Lavin sitcom is back on DVD with 24 more grit kissing episodes of the hijinks at Mel's Diner. We just received our review copy of this set today, and we'll have our review up within the next few days. But we know that there is one question "burning" on everybody's mind, and that is whether the initial batch is a "burned" DVD-R release or pressed DVDs. Well, we've got your answer: our review copy, as it turns out, is a pressed DVD set once again! We'll have much more on this set in our review once it is posted.
The classic Meredith Baxter and David Birney series Bridget Loves Bernie was slated to be released on DVD a few years ago, but that release never materialist. It seems, though, that Sony finally will be releasing the series on DVD on December 4... but as a MOD title. As a side note, Sony will also be releasing the classic made-for-TV movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble on the same date. While it isn't clear whether this will be a MOD title (it most likely will be), this will be a departure from the numerous public domain offerings of the movie that have been made available over the years.
DVD Review: Simon & Simon - Season Seven (Shout!, $29.99)
The Simon brothers are back to investigate more crimes in Simon & Simon - Season Seven! The classic series follows private investigators Rick (Gerald McRaney) and A.J. (Jameson Parker) Simon as they crack some of the most difficult cases out there. But things are a little different this time. The first change is the "new cop in town," Lieutenant Abigail Marsh (Joan McMurtrey), who takes over at the police department after Downtown Brown (Tim Reid) is transferred. Unlike the previous seasons, which were more lighthearted, the seventh season takes cues from some of the other late '80s crime dramas and has a more serious and personal tone for the Simons, as the brothers take on cases such as investigating the truth about the death of their own father and even the rape and assault of their own mother.
The season begins with "New Cop in Town," where the Simons first meet Lieutenant Marsh... and their first confrontation isn't quite as warm as the treatment they received from Downtown Brown. One of Rick's former girlfriends (played by Gerald McRaney's future wife Delta Burke) hires the Simons in "Desperately Seeking Dacody." A wannabe detective finds herself in trouble in "You, Too, Can Be a Detective." In "Shadows," Rick and A.J. try to help a young girl after she robs A.J. A killer from A.J.'s past wants revenge in "Second Swell." A sleazy divorce case turns into a serious murder case in "Forever Hold Your Piece." The leader of a Vietnamese mob requests... well, actually demands... Rick's assistance in "Tale of the Tiger." Rick and A.J. protect a relief worker from a death squad in Nuevo Salvador.
The Simons are out to catch a thief (played by David L. Lander) before a bounty hunter does it in "Bad Betty." In "Baja, Humbug," Rick and A.J. could be going into the charter boat business. A woman's paranoia is more rooted in truth than anybody suspects in "A Firm Grasp of Reality." In "Ties That Bind," Officer Nixon has the Simons investigate one of their own officers. Marsh deals with the stress of killing a young boy in "Little Boy Dead." In "Sudden Storm," the brothers are outraged when their mother is beaten and raped, but it only gets worse when they get closer to the truth. The season ends with "May the Road Rise Up," where a further investigation of the death of Rick and A.J.'s father reveals some shocking facts.
1. "New Cop in Town" (47:51)
2. "Desperately Seeking Dacody" (47:53)
3. "You, Too, Can Be a Detective" (47:51)
4. "Shadows" (47:53)
5. "Second Swell" (47:22)
6. "Forever Hold Your Piece" (47:52)
7. "Tale of the Tiger" (47:46)
8. "Nuevo Salvador" (47:50)
9. "Bad Betty" (47:05)
10. "Baja, Humbug" (46:53)
11. "A Firm Grasp of Reality" (47:51)
12. "Ties That Bind" (46:34)
13. "Little Boy Dead" (47:52)
14. "Sudden Storm" (47:52)
15. "Something Special" (47:53)
16. "May the Road Rise Up" (47:52)
Like the previous Shout! Select releases of this series, we once again have a standard Viva case with the same photo of the duo that many of the past seasons have featured. The color scheme used this time is a somewhat burnt orange color. There are a few episode snapshots and a discussion of a few episodes on the back of the case. Inside, you'll find the four discs (two less than the previous releases), which have the series logo on a burnt orange background. Episode titles and airdates are listed inside the case.
I can't really say that I'm all too impressed with the video and audio quality, but it is sufficient. You'll notice quite a few defects on the episodes, particularly at the beginning of the episodes, in regards to grain and debris. The audio levels on the set are generally fine, without many problems. Like most Shout! Select releases, the episodes are NOT closed-captioned.
I first discovered this series on DVD, and for the most part, that is the only place I've watched it (aside from a few times when RTV aired it a few years ago). I really do have to say, though, that I feel that the series really was starting to "die" by this season, and of course it was only a year later that the series was canceled for good. The stories just aren't as good, and while Lieutenant Marsh is a likable character, she certainly is no Downtown Brown. It is really obvious that the writers were trying to go down uncharted territory in this season as well... the episode about Cecilia Simon being raped was one of the most shocking episodes of the series. How often do we see regular characters with seemingly no flaws and with no reason for anybody to dislike them have this happen on a TV series? It was almost as if the writers were wanting to create some incredibly gritty crime drama along the lines of the (at the time) new series like Miami Vice and Hunter. I do have to say that I did enjoy the writing and acting on some of the more dramatic episodes in this season, but it simply doesn't feel right for the characters. As for the DVD set itself, Shout! did a fine job, and despite the weakening of the series by this point, I do hope that we get to the final 13 episodes of the series very soon just for the sake of completion.
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BLOG FEATURE REVIEW
DVD Review: The Flintstones - Prime-Time Specials Collection, Volume 1 (Warner Archive, $14.95)
Two Flintstones primetime specials is now on DVD from Warner Archive Collection! Following a spate of Saturday morning spin-offs, America's favorite Stone Age family returned to network primetime with a full slate of hysterical pre-historical specials – no quitting time for Fred! In The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone (1979), the Flintstones and the Rubbles travel to fear-fraught Rockysylvania thanks to a big game show win. Fred and Barney soon stumble upon – and awaken – the legendary Frankenstone Monster, who promptly revives his vampiric master, Rockula. When Rockula falls head over batwings for Wilma, will Fred end up having an undead-old time? Flintstones Little Big League (1978) sees Fred and Barney facing off as opposing Little League coaches while Bamm-Bamm and Pebbles duel across the diamond. Swept up by competitiveness and paternal pride, their friendship ends up in the dug-out doghouse. Meanwhile, a cop, a judge and Mr. Slate are all putting pressure on Fred to win at all costs – what’s a cavedad to do?
The primetime specials started in 1977 with A Flintstone Christmas. Last year, Warner Archive Collection gave us that special and also the 1993 A Flintstone Family Christmas special. Now, we are getting the rest of the primetime specials in different volumes! This is Volume 1 and has the next two primetime specials from 1978 and 1979. The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone (1979) runs 48:39 and has 7 chapter stops. Flintstones Little Big League (1978) runs 48:20 and has 7 chapter stops. Both are unedited!
The packaging for this set is pretty standard. On the cover, we have an image from the 1979 special The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone with Fred and Barney looking scared to see them. On the bottom there is a mention of the two titles on this Classic Collection set. On the back, there is a nice photo of Fred, Barney, Wilma, & Betty trying to escape from Rockula and Frankenstone, along with a description of the two specials. We also have two episodic images from Flintstones Little Big League (1978) special. Inside the case, it is pretty bland. There is no artwork on the panels. There is one disc and it is on the right panel. The disc artwork is the same artwork as the cover art with the franchise logo imprinted on it. All similar to the Christmas collection that was released last year.
The main menu isn't very exciting, but it is perfectly functional. The main menu has the same artwork as the cover art, with no music playing in the background. The theme song would have been nice? The special titles are listed right on the main menu and you select from there. There are no options for anything else, so it is simple. As mentioned, we have seven chapter stops on both specials and they have the correct placements. All this is similar to the Christmas collection, too.
The video and audio quality of this set looks fine, for the most part. Both specials were from the same era, so they both look the same. There are white dots here and there, but it is still good. Not bad for 1978 and 1979. There are no real major problems both specials, so don't worry about it. As for the audio quality, it is clear and crisp. Unfortunately there are no subtitles or closed-captioning. The specials originally aired on NBC, as did all the primetime specials from 1977-1981. Nothing much else to say, it is simple and it works.
There are no special features obviously on this set since it is just two specials, like their Christmas collection set was. Perhaps maybe some promos or other archival items for these two would have been nice to have, but I didn't expect it.
Halloween is near and we are in World Series time, so these two specials are coming out at a perfect time It is good we are finally getting the primetime specials on DVD. The remaining NBC primetime specials are on a Volume 2 release, which we hope to review soon. In that we have: The Flintstones' New Neighbors (1980), Fred's Final Fling (1980), Wind-Up Wilma (1981), and Jogging Fever (1981). That covers all the 1977-1981 specials on NBC! Nice! Warner Archive is also releasing the 1993 ABC TV-movies The Flintstones - I Yabba Dabba Do! and The Flintstones - Hollyrock-A-Bye Baby. Now all the specials are nearly released! Only The Flintstones' 25th Anniversary Celebration, The Flintstone Kids' "Just Say No" Special, and Hanna-Barbera's 50th: A Yabba Dabba Doo Celebration remain. Back to this set, other than my minor nitpicks, this set works. It is simple and is just two specials, so not much was expected. For die-hard fans, you would be pleased, I think. And for casual fans or first-time watchers, you'll like what you see on these two specials. So please click the link below and buy it from the Warner Archive Collection! Get scared and play ball! Yabba dabba doo!
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Claim to Fame: Played Silas Botwin, son of drug dealing soccer mom Nancy Botwin on the Showtime series Weeds.
Why You Should Follow Him: You'll notice that we've had two child stars on here over the past two weeks, with one who has retired from acting and another who was really just getting her start as an actress when she was a child. But both of those stopped being "child actors" over a decade ago. Parrish is a child star who grew up into a full-fledged adult in the years that he was on Weeds, literally starting out the series playing a kid in high school all the way into playing a husband and father in his 30s (if the time fast forwards on the series are to be believed) by the end of the series. He seems to be a very down to earth person, and while it isn't completely clear where he goes from here, he has been making efforts to be a musician and done some stage acting in recent years. He has released a few songs (he even sang the theme song for one of the final episodes of Weeds), and has recently done shows with Ryan Cabrera. I have listened to some of his music, and he certainly does seem to have the talent to succeed... we certainly wish him the best in whatever he does next!
Pick of the Tweets: "Whoever sang the weeds theme in our episode tonight sucks...who has seen it?" (September 2, 2012) (side note: that "whoever" was Parrish, and it didn't suck!)
New on DVD/Blu-ray (September)
09/06 - Coach - Season One (Mill Creek) / Season Two / Seasons One and Two
09/06 - South Park - The Complete Ninteenth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season
09/20 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season
09/20 - Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season
09/20 - Modern Family - The Complete Season 7
09/20 - Veep - Season 5
09/27 - The Wonder Years - Season Six
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest
Sitcoms Airing Tonight
Friday, October 21
Last Man Standing - "Trick or Treat" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
It’s Halloween and the Baxter family is excited for their annual party, except for Mike who’s reluctantly tasked with choosing the theme. In hopes of turning everyone against the holiday, Mike decides that maybe if the whole family has to dress up like each other they’ll end up making fun of one another. Eve dresses up like Mandy and Mandy dresses down like Eve, Kristin and Ryan swap roles, and Mike shows up to the party as… Donald Trump!? The impersonating turns into bickering but in the end, the Baxters come together to support Vanessa as she learns that she’s being laid off.
Dr. Ken - "D.K.'s Korean Ghost Story" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
On Halloween, Allison is disappointed the holiday doesn’t seem to scare Dave anymore, meaning her little boy is growing up, perhaps too fast. But that might change after D.K. tells a scary Korean gwishin (ghost) story. The Park family, as well as the gang at Welltopia, bring the story to life playing the various gwishins.
Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse - "Jack" (OWN, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Marcus deals with the loss of one of his former teammates.
Friday, October 21
- Matthew Perry (The Odd Couple/Go On/Mr. Sunshine) - Watch Matthew on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
- Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld) - Jerry appears on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
- Matt LeBlanc (Man with a Plan/Episodes/Joey/Friends) - Matt is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Elijah Wood (Wilfred) - Elijah talks about Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings. He will also be on the AOL Build Show at 1:15pm.
- Lindsay Sloane (The Odd Couple/The Stones/Mr. Rhodes) - Lindsay visits Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
- Tom Hanks (Bosom Buddies) and Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Tom and Ron will be on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
- Christian Slater (Breaking In) - Christian talks about King Cobra on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
- Anna Camp (The Mindy Project) - Anna talks about Netflix's Good Girls Revolt on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. She will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
- Jennifer Grey (Red Oaks/It's Like, You Know...) - Jennifer joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
- Thomas Lennon (The Odd Couple/Sean Saves the World/Reno 911!) and Jason Biggs (Mad Love/Drexell's Class) - Thomas and Jason are guests on Chelsea on Netflix.
- Marisa Tomei (A Different World) - Marisa appears on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
- Paul Reiser (Red Oaks/Mad About You/The Paul Reiser Show) - Paul is a guest on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.