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


Welcome to Digital Digest! This week, in addition to our news and other features, we have reviews of Simon & Simon - Season Seven and The Flintstones - Prime-Time Specials Collection, Volume 1. Let's get going!

DIGITAL NEWS

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.

Get ready for more Urkel on DVD next year as Warner Home Video releases Family Matters - The Complete Third Season! TVShowsOnDVD.com announced this week that the 25 episodes from the third season will hit store shelves on February 12, 2013. Other details are not known yet, but we hope to bring you more information as we learn more information.

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.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (October 30) brings a wrap to three series on DVD. First up, Shout! Factory has All in the Family - The Complete Series, which puts every season of the series together in one set along with some new special features. MPI finishes up My Favorite Martian with My Favorite Martian - Season Three. Finally, CBS finishes up The Streets of San Francisco with The Streets of San Francisco - Season Five (Volume 1 and Volume 2).


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

Simon & Simon - Season 7

DVD Review: Simon & Simon - Season Seven (Shout!, $29.99)
by skees53

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.

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

Disc 1:
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)

Disc 2:
5. "Second Swell" (47:22)
6. "Forever Hold Your Piece" (47:52)
7. "Tale of the Tiger" (47:46)
8. "Nuevo Salvador" (47:50)

Disc 3:
9. "Bad Betty" (47:05)
10. "Baja, Humbug" (46:53)
11. "A Firm Grasp of Reality" (47:51)
12. "Ties That Bind" (46:34)

Disc 4:
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.
The menus are very plain and simple. On the main menu, you get the same photo seen on the cover art, along with a Play All option and a list of episodes. The theme song plays in the background. Once you select an episode, it plays immediately. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.

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.
Unfortunately, there are no special features on this set.

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.

(4/5 stars)

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Shout! Select

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Main Reviews Page
Simon & Simon TV.com Page


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

The Flintstones - Prime-Time Specials Collection, Volume 1

DVD Review: The Flintstones - Prime-Time Specials Collection, Volume 1 (Warner Archive, $14.95)
by Pavan

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!

(4/5 stars)

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Warner Archive

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
The Flintstones TV.com Page


FOLLOW ME

Who to Follow: Hunter Parrish (Twitter), "if i get too mellow i ripen and then rot"
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!)

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


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, December 12

The Middle - "The Christmas Miracle" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
It’s Christmastime, and Frankie and Sue are devastated after Axl informs them that he’s not going to church this year because he’s beginning to question his faith. Meanwhile, Mike goes to war with the Glossner kids after they keep defacing his new, giant inflatable snowman; and Brick goes all out in an attempt to wrap his first present for a planned Christmas Yankee Swap.

Fresh Off the Boat - "Do You Hear What I Hear?" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
As head of the HOA Christmas committee, Jessica threatens to cut the neighborhood caroling this year due to last year’s rocky performance. However, Deirdre says that her friend Holly (Paula Abdul), who teaches “Performance and Movement,” will help get everyone into tip-top, melodic shape. Meanwhile, Marvin becomes suspicious of Honey when she goes to see “Titanic” at the movies without him; Nicole develops her first girl crush and struggles with how to get her attention.

black-ish - "Sugar Daddy" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Dre is diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and after talking to Pops, he’s resolved to curing himself. Things come to a head at the Stevens & Lido holiday party. Meanwhile, Jack is convinced that baby Devante hates him, so he enlists Junior and Diane’s help.

The Mayor - "Grey Christmas" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
After visiting a homeless shelter on Christmas Eve, Courtney realizes things for the needy could be improved and pledges to make it a joyous Christmas that every family deserves. But when he learns he doesn’t have the budget to deliver on his promise, Courtney loses hope and his holiday spirit which leads to a magical “It’s A Wonderful Life” moment that makes him realize he has the gift needed to pull off a Christmas miracle.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "Game Night" / "The Favor" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Rosa asks for Jake's help to deliver important information to her parents, but their plan goes awry when they assume the two are in a relationship; Seamus Murphy comes back to redeem an ethically questionable favor owed by Capt. Holt.

Teachers - "Let It Flow" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Ms. Cannon discovers that one of her students is an artistic prodigy. Mrs. Adler and Ms. Watson take the mini-society competition to a new level.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 11)

Tuesday, December 12

  • Tom Hanks (Bosom Buddies) - Catch Tom on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He also talks about The Post on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am.
  • Jane Krakowski (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt/30 Rock) - Jane appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ari Graynor (I'm Dying Up Here/Bad Teacher) - Ari is a guest on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Niecy Nash (The Soul Man/Getting On/Do Not Disturb/Reno 911!) - Niecy visits The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Bill Pullman (1600 Penn) - Bill stops by Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Miles Brown (black-ish) - Miles appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Ana Gasteyer (People of Earth/Lady Dynamite/Suburgatory) - Ana talks about Fox's A Christmas Story Live! on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Noah Galvin (The Real O'Neals) - Noah talks about Dear Evan Hansen on the BUILD Series at 4pm.


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

The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Third Season Living Single - The Complete Third Season Alice - The Complete Sixth Season One Day at a Time - The Complete Series Fuller House - The Complete Second Season

11/07 - American Dad! - Volume 12
11/07 - Family Guy - Season Fifteen
11/07 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Third Season
11/14 - D.C. Follies - The Complete Series
11/21 - Living Single - The Complete Third Season
11/24 - Grandfathered - Season 1
12/05 - Alice - The Complete Sixth Season
12/05 - One Day at a Time - The Complete Series
12/05 - The Simpsons - The Eighteenth Season
12/05 - South Park - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5
12/12 - Fuller House - The Complete Second Season
12/19 - South Park - The Complete Sixth Season (Blu-ray) / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11
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