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!


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

American Dad! - Volume 11 Newhart - The Complete Seventh Season I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized) The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two Hooperman - Season One

12/06 - Family Guy - Season Fourteen
12/13 - American Dad! - Volume 11
12/13 - Newhart - The Complete Seventh Season
01/03 - Girls - The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray)
01/10 - Broad City - Season 3
01/17 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized)
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume One
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two
01/24 - Hooperman - Season One / Review
01/24 - Hooperman - Season Two / Review
01/31 - Ballers - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, January 24

The Middle - "A Tough Pill to Swallow" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When a devastated Sue discovers that she has been kicked out of college because she forgot to renew her financial aid, Mike tries to come to her rescue and convince a tough college bursar to reinstate her. Meanwhile, having only taken oral liquid medication all of his life, a frustrated Frankie does everything in her power to teach Brick how to swallow a pill when he gets an ear infection; and Hutch becomes angry with Axl after he keeps driving the Winnebago without permission to Orson to visit new girlfriend April – leaving Hutch without any means of transportation to get to class.

American Housewife - "Art Show" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Anna-Kat draws a super plus-sized portrait of Katie for the school art show, Katie sets out to retrieve it by any means necessary. Meanwhile, with Katie away, Doris is left in charge of Oliver and Taylor. She’s determined to whip them into shape with her Tiger Mom skills, but she may have met her match.

Fresh Off the Boat - "Coming From America" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Louis flies the entire family to Taiwan in an effort to make things right with Gene (Ken Jeong). Upon meeting Gene’s beautiful fiancĂ©, Margaret, and seeing the wonderful life he has built for himself, Louis questions whether his life in Orlando is just as great as it could be in Taiwan. Meanwhile, Jessica takes Eddie, Emery and Evan to her favorite childhood locales, including Dihua Street and Shilin Night Market.

The Real O'Neals - "The Real Match" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Jimmy recruits a reluctant Kenny to join his wrestling team for a one-time match, a surprise victory gives him the confidence to join the team full time to become the first, openly gay athlete at St. Barklays. Kenny’s newfound stardom makes Jimmy feel a bit replaced, but when an opponent refuses to wrestle his brother, Jimmy puts his feelings aside and rallies the team around Kenny. Meanwhile, Pat injures his back trying to help Eileen prepare for a weekend getaway, but things only get worse when she tries to be the perfect caregiver to impress VP Murray but fails miserably.

New Girl - "The Hike" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
While on a day hike, Jess and Robby (guest star Nelson Franklin) discover something unexpected about their relationship. Also, Winston throws a surprise welcome home party for Aly (guest star Nasim Pedrad). Meanwhile, Schmidt and Cece fail to impress their new neighbors.

The Mick - "The Master" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
All hell breaks loose, as the kids fight over who will take the master bedroom. Also, Mickey pursues a wealthy businessman who quickly discovers that she is not the prize he thought she was.

Teachers - "Stranger Danger" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
There’s a trespasser at Fillmore and a new security guard is hired. Ms. Snap and Ms. Bennigan hold a “Women Empowering Women” workshop, Mrs. Adler takes stranger danger too far, and Ms. Watson purchases a male safety dummy.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 23)

Tuesday, January 24

  • Retta (Parks and Recreation) - Catch Retta on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. She will also be on the AOL Build Show at 3pm.
  • Claudia O'Doherty (Love) - Claudia is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) - John talks about Patriots Day on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Yvette Nicole Brown (The Odd Couple/Community) - Yvette visits Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Jennifer Esposito (Samantha Who?/Spin City) - Jennifer appears on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. She will also be on the AOL Build Show at 1pm.
  • Justina Machado (One Day at a Time) - Justina talks about the new Netflix series One Day at a Time on the AOL Build Show at 12pm.