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!

DIGITAL NEWS

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.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

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 amazon.com and amazon.ca 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.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

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 SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Main Reviews Page
Perry Mason TV.com Page


FOLLOW ME

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!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Monday, October 15

The Neighborhood - "Welcome to the Spare Key" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Dave gives Calvin a spare key to the Johnsons’ house in case of an emergency and is pleasantly surprised when the gesture is reciprocated – or so he thinks.

Happy Together - "Let's Work It Out" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Cooper has to get in shape for an underwear ad, Jake and Claire are inspired to ditch their junk food and join his ultra-healthy lifestyle. With the help of Cooper and his trainer, Antoine (Anders Holm), Jake and Claire go on the most intense diet and exercise program of their lives.

Andi Mack - "Howling at the Moon Festival" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Friends and family gather to celebrate the Harvest Moon Festival, but Jonah's mishap may spoil the evening; Celia attempts to one-up her sister, Mei, by announcing a special event; Andi and Jonah have a heart-to-heart talk about their relationship.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 15)

Monday, October 15

  • Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly/Samantha Who?) - Watch Melissa on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. She also talks about Can You Ever Forgive Me? on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Judy Greer (Kidding/Married/Mad Love/Miss Guided) - Judy visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Jane Levy (Suburgatory) - Jane is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Heather Dubrow (Stark Raving Mad) - Heather stops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Anthony Atamanuik (The President Show) - Anthony appears on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Ike Barinholtz (The Mindy Project) - Ike drops by LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Kunal Nayyar (The Big Bang Theory) - Kunal is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt/The Office) - Ellie appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Busy Philipps (Vice Principals/Cougar Town) - Busy visits Access Live, so check your local listings. She will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) - Alec gives Rach the hilarious scoop on Justin Bieber and his niece, Hailey Baldwin – and revealing if he and his wife, Hilaria, want to have baby #5 together on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Alyssa Milano (Who's the Boss?/Romantically Challenged) - Alyssa discusses the #MeToo movement one year later on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. She will also be on ABC's GMA Day at 1pm.
  • Nico Tortorella (Younger) - Nico appears on People Now at 12pm.
  • Peyton List (Bunk'd/Jessie) and Ajiona Alexus (The Rickey Smiley Show) - Peyton and Ajiona are guests on Chatter on PeopleTV at 8pm.
  • Tyle Labine (Deadbeat/Animal Practice/Sons of Tucson) - Tyler will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Tiffany Haddish (The Last O.G./The Carmichael Show) - Tiffany appears on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Nathan Fillion (Two Guys and a Girl) - Nathan talks about The Rookie on the BUILD Series at 2pm.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (September/October)

The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Eleventh Season The Middle - The Complete Ninth Season Modern Family - The Complete Ninth Season Step by Step - The Complete Second Season Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fifth Season

09/04 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - The Complete Season 12
09/04 - Mom - The Complete Fifth Season
09/04 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Fifth Season
09/04 - Superstore - Season Three
09/04 - Young Sheldon - The Complete First Season
09/11 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Eleventh Season (Blu-ray)
09/11 - The Middle - The Complete Ninth Season
09/11 - Modern Family - The Complete Ninth Season
09/11 - People of Earth - The Complete Second Season
09/18 - Community - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
09/18 - Step by Step - The Complete Second Season
09/18 - You're the Worst - The Complete Fourth Season
09/25 - Blondie - The Complete 1957 Television Series
09/25 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fifth Season
10/02 - The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season
10/02 - The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One / Volume Two
10/02 - Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection
10/16 - Police Squad! - TV and Movie Collection
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest