Saturday, October 13, 2012
Digital Digest: The Courtship of Eddie's Father Now Available on DVD; Perry Mason - Season 7, Volume 2 DVD Review
Warner Archive is also busy with releases of The Flintstones, as they began selling The Flintstones - Prime-Time Specials Collection, Volume 1, The Flintstones - Prime-Time Specials Collection, Volume 2, The Flintstones - I Yabba Dabba Do, and The Flintstones - Hollyrock-a-Bye Baby. All of that should "yabba dabba do" a lot for fans of the modern stone age family!
Hulu and Viacom announced an expansion in their partnership this week. Unfortunately, this won't have much of an effect for the free Hulu customers, but for those subscribing to Hulu Plus, the new agreement will bring new content from Viacom cable networks to the streaming service after they originally air. For now, this deal focuses on Nickelodeon, which has essentially nothing for us to really cover here, but it will also include other networks, particularly TV Land, as it expands over the next few months. Most likely, this means that we'll see some of the TV Land original sitcoms appear on the service. When we know more, we'll let you know what we find out.
Of course, if you only want to spend a few bucks, there are some smaller sets on Tuesday as well. Fans of The Office can enjoy some Christmas parties with The Office - Secret Santa Pack, a single disc release containing four episodes of the series. Mill Creek takes That '70s Show into high definition with That '70s Show - Season Two (Blu-ray). And finally, Shout! Factory moves a season ahead with a classic '80s detective drama with their Shout! Select release of Simon & Simon - Season Seven.
DVD Review: Perry Mason - Season 7, Volume 2 (CBS, $55.98)
More order comes to the court as the seventh season of the classic crime drama Perry Mason makes it onto DVD! The series stars Raymond Burr in his most memorable television role ever, as the defense attorney who can take virtually any case where the evidence almost completely suggests that the accused actually is guilty. But Mason? That never deterred him, and he would always (well, most of the time, anyway) win despite the odds
The set begins with "The Case of the Ice-Cold Hands," where Perry's seemingly ordinary day of holding horse race tickets turns into a murder in the winner's circle. An author creates an over-controlling stepmother in her latest novel in "The Case of the Bountiful Beauty," but what will happen when her boyfriend's similar step-mother turns up dead? A woman is accused of killing her husband in "The Case of the Nervous Neighbor," but an occurrence of amnesia may complicate her case. An ex-boyfriend is accused of murder after a woman's husband is murdered in "The Case of the Fifty Millionth Frenchman." In "The Case of the Frightened Fisherman," a dispute between a chemist and his boss gets even more complicated when the chemist's wife sides with his boss, and, oh yeah, turns up dead. A reporter accuses a fire chief of arson in "The Case of the Arrogant Arsonist." In "The Case of the Garrulous Go-Between," a woman's visit to a fortune teller tells her more than she'd like to know. A housekeeper is convinced that her boss is trying to kill his wife in "The Case of the Woeful Widower."
The episodes appear to be unedited, with runtimes as follows:
1. "The Case of the Ice-Cold Hands" (50:45)
2. "The Case of the Bountiful Beauty" (50:26)
3. "The Case of the Nervous Neighbor" (50:31)
4. "The Case of the Fifty Millionth Frenchman" (50:40)
5. "The Case of the Frightened Fisherman" (50:31)
7. "The Case of the Garrulous Go-Between" (50:28)
8. "The Case of the Woeful Widower" (50:33)
9. "The Case of the Simple Simon" (50:38)
10. "The Case of the Illicit Illusion" (50:29)
11. "The Case of the Antic Angel" (50:35)
12. "The Case of the Careless Kidnapper" (50:40)
13. "The Case of the Drifting Dropout" (50:46)
14. "The Case of the Tandem Target" (50:41)
15. "The Case of the Ugly Duckling" (50:50)
There hasn't been much change in the packaging since about the third season, so obviously, this one is just like the rest. On the cover, there is another large color photo of Perry, along with several photos of other cast members on top. On the back, there are some black and white cast photos, along with a description of the season. Inside the case (a standard Viva case, unsurprisingly), you'll find the four discs, which really don't have any artwork, and just have the series title on a gray background. Episode titles are printed on the disc, but there are also descriptions and airdates inside the case.
The menus on this set are pretty basic, but they get the job done without any real problems. The main menu has a still photo of Perry on it, and all of the episodes are listed. There is also a Play All and Subtitles option. Everything does exactly what it sounds like it should do. There are no special effects, no animated transitions, no music... just plain and functional menus (though on the positive side, this does mean that the menus are very quick). Each episode has eight well-placed chapters placed throughout the episode.
The video and audio quality of the episodes is top-notch for a series this old. I think that this series could truly shine on Blu-ray, but with nine seasons already being divided up into two sets per season, I'm not sure that a Blu-ray release would be feasible. There are a few defects such as grain and debris, but it probably won't bother most people. The audio is a (predictably) mono track, but it sounds wonderful for what it is, with little crackle in it. Each episode has English subtitles.
Special features? Not a single one. The previous 13 season releases didn't have any, so it isn't surprising that the fourteenth release doesn't either.
It really is amazing how such a predictable show can still be fun to watch on DVD. There really wasn't any other series as successful as this one in all of TV history which was as predictable and formulaic as this one, yet is still enjoyable. Even though you always know how every episode is going to end, the fun is in watching how the details will bring that win to Mason's client, which are often unusual in each and every episode. I just wish that the DVDs were less predictable on special features. With four more releases of this series to go (and one is coming up in just a few short months), I'm expecting more of the same, but at least every episode (in my opinion, at least) was consistently good from beginning to end. So our evidence demonstrates, beyond a reasonable doubt, that we've got another solid set of episodes with great video and audio quality... just nothing too special beyond the great episodes.
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Claim to Fame: Kimmy Gibbler on Full House, perhaps the most obnoxious neighbor in all of television history.
Why You Should Follow Her: We tend to see a lot of well-known celebrities on Twitter who are out there to promote their current careers, and we like that... we really do. But Andrea Barber "retired" from acting very early on... before she was even able to celebrate cast parties with alcohol (although many Full House fans will remember that "very special episode" where Kimmy got drunk at the fraternity party!). Instead of taking the gamble of having adult success in the entertainment industry, Barber decided to create a new path for success in life outside of the entertainment world. But the best part? She is not at all reclusive about her past, and is proud of the work that she did as America's most obnoxious neighbor, and loves to keep in touch with her fans in ways that she could not have possibly done in the late '80s. And with nearly 50,000 followers on Twitter, it is very obvious that she doesn't have a shortage of fans at all. Just be warned, though, that you'll have to deal with a lot of New Kids on the Block Tweets, which brings us to...
Pick of the Tweets: "Back to reality blows. You mean I have to talk about things unrelated to NKOTB??" (August 22, 2012)
New on DVD/Blu-ray (March/April)
03/03 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Now... In Living Color! (Blu-ray)
03/07 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Second Season
03/07 - Mama's Family - Mama's Favorites
03/07 - That '70s Show - The Complete Series - Flashback Edition (Blu-ray)
03/07 - What I Like About You - The Complete Second Season
03/07 - You Me Her - Season One
03/14 - Newhart - The Final (Eighth) Season
03/14 - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Season Two
03/21 - Master of None - Season One
04/04 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season
04/11 - Father Knows Best - Season Five
04/11 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Third Season
04/11 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/11 - Veep - The Complete Fifth Season
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Friday, April 28
- Gabourey Sidibe (The Big C) - Watch Gabourey on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
- Martin Short (Mulaney/The Martin Short Show) - Martin stops by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
- Britt Robertson (Girlboss) - Britt is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
- Tom Hanks (Bosom Buddies) - Tom appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Anna Baryshnikov (Superior Donuts) - Anna is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Whitney Cummings (Whitney) - Whitney appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
- Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) - Alec is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- John Leguizamo (The Brothers Garcia) - John guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- Laura Dern (Enlightened), Joely Fisher (Ellen/'Til Death), Clea Lewis (Ellen/Flying Blind) and David Anthony Higgins (Ellen/Malcolm in the Middle/Big Time Rush) - The Ellen DeGeneres Show celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Ellen coming out episode, so check your local listings.
- Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) - Alec talks about Donald Trump, too much alcohol and the thing that saved his life on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.
- Jenna Elfman (Imaginary Mary/1600 Penn/Courting Alex/Accidentally on Purpose/Dharma & Greg) - Jenna will be on NBC's Today in the 9am hour. She also dishes about Imaginary Mary on The Wendy Williams Show at 2am on BET or on your local stations.
- Kathryn Hahn (Happyish/Transparent/Free Agents) - Kathryn is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.