Saturday, October 13, 2012

Digital Digest: The Courtship of Eddie's Father Now Available on DVD; Perry Mason - Season 7, Volume 2 DVD Review

Welcome to Digital Digest! This week, we've got (after our regular news, of course) a review of Perry Mason - Season 7, Volume 2. Let's get going!


It has been a slow news week, but Warner Archive has put a little zest in that with a few new releases that were made available on Tuesday. First up comes The Courtship of Eddie's Father - The Complete Second Season. The three disc set includes all 24 episodes of the second season of the classic series starring Bill Bixby as a widower raising a young son.

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.


Tuesday (October 16) is a day of "completeness," as many complete series releases hit store shelves. These begin with Cagney & Lacey - The Complete Series. There seems to be a bit of confusion regarding the release of this set, however, as and both show it shipping in November, but press materials (as of the past few days) have all indicated a release on Tuesday. In any event, a better bet may be to order it directly from the official website, where you can get the deluxe version of the set (which includes all of the "lost" episodes). The website indicates you'll be able to order from there this weekend. A more affirmative complete series release on Tuesday is Universal's release of Columbo - The Complete Series. And Acorn Media has the "supersized" The Red Green Show - The Complete Series DVD set, a 50 disc set containing every episode of the series.

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.


Perry Mason - Season 7, Volume 2

DVD Review: Perry Mason - Season 7, Volume 2 (CBS, $55.98)
by skees53

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."

Perry's involvement in a search for a missing son given up for adoption becomes much more complicated in "The Case of the Simple Simon." In "The Case of the Illicit Illusion," Perry defends a woman accused of killing her husband's business associate. A man is pretty sure that he has found his presumed dead wife outside of a hotel in "The Case of the Antic Angel," but when she denies it and later turns up dead, who do you think will be blamed? Perry's latest case involves a fake kidnapping, a real blackmail scheme, and of course murder in "The Case of the Careless Kidnapper." A college dropout is accused of killing his ex-boss in "The Case of the Drifting Dropout." In "The Case of the Tandem Target," a man faces two attempts on his life, and he survives one... but in the other, his stepdaughter's boyfriend is now the accused. The season ends with "The Case of the Ugly Duckling," where a heiress must marry within a year to inherit her family toy store, and her controlling uncle demands that she marry somebody immediately. Unsurprisingly, somebody turns up dead here, and somebody is accused of that murder.

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

Disc 1:
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)

Disc 2:
5. "The Case of the Frightened Fisherman" (50:31)
6. "The Case of the Arrogant Arsonist" (50:42)
7. "The Case of the Garrulous Go-Between" (50:28)
8. "The Case of the Woeful Widower" (50:33)

Disc 3:
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)

Disc 4:
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.

(4/5 stars)

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support

Related links: Main Reviews Page
Perry Mason Page


Who to Follow: Andrea Barber (Twitter), "Mother. Wife. Runner. Ex-Gibbler."
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)

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

New on DVD/Blu-ray (September)

The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season Modern Family - The Complete Season 7

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

Saturday, October 22

Superstore - "Guns, Pills and Birds" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Amy (America Ferrera) assigns an uncomfortable Jonah (Ben Feldman) to the gun section of Cloud 9, Jonah abuses his right-to-refuse sale to anyone that causes concern, causing an open-carry protest to gather in the store. On principle, Glenn (Mark McKinney) attempts to purchase all of the store's morning-after pills, but finds himself in a moral dilemma when he can't afford them. Dina (Lauren Ash), Garrett (Colton Dunn) and Mateo (Nico Santos) hunt down a crow that has flown into the store.

The Thundermans - "Happy Heroween" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
It's a major Halloween storm outside, but inside Colosso keeps the family spooked by telling three scary stories that are sure to terrify even the bravest of superheroes.

School of Rock - "Welcome to My Nightmare" (Nickelodeon, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Mr. Finn's class decides to celebrate Halloween in school after Principal Mullins, who hates the holiday, goes home sick. When she returns sooner than expected, they have to scramble to keep her from finding out the truth.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 24)

Saturday, October 22

  • Jim J. Bullock (Too Close for Comfort) - Jim talks about touring the U.S. in Kinky Boots on Oprah: Where Are They Now? at 10pm ET/PT on OWN.
Sunday, October 23
  • Patti LaBelle (Out All Night) - Catch Patti on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
Monday, October 24
  • Ricky Gervais (The Office) - Watch Ricky 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. He also talks about Inferno on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Elijah Wood (Wilfred) - Elijah is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ana Gasteyer (People of Earth/Lady Dynamite/Suburgatory) - Ana visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) - Nick stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) - Zooey is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Michael Chiklis (Daddio) - Michael drops by Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Jameela Jamil (The Good Place) - Jameela appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Aya Cash (You're the Worst) - Aya talks about You're the Worst on the AOL Build ShoW at 2pm. She will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Will is a guest on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Mary Steenburgen (The Last Man on Earth/Ink) - Mary talks about The Last Man on Earth on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. She will also be on the AOL Build Show at 12:30pm.
  • Anna Camp (The Mindy Project) - Anna talks about Good Girls Revolt on People Now at 8:30am.
  • James Brolin (Life in Pieces) - James is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.