Saturday, November 24, 2012

Digital Digest: New Releases in the New Year from Sony; CHiPs '99 DVD Review

Welcome to Digital Digest! As is typical, this is probably one of our lightest news weeks of the year, but we're here anyway with your news, a few great online deals for Black Friday weekend, and a review of CHiPs '99, the reunion movie based upon the classic series. Let's get going!

According to, Sony will be bringing us two new MOD releases in the new year, supposedly on January 1. Among those releases are the I Dream of Jeannie reunion movie I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years Later and Charlie's Angels - The Complete Fifth Season. Of course, the fifth season of Charlie's Angels was previously released as part of the traditionally manufactured Charlie's Angels - The Complete Series, which was released in September.

Last season, ABC aired (very briefly) the drama Pan Am, which was not nearly as successful as the network had hoped... but now, Sony is breathing new life into the series by releasing Pan Am - The Complete Series on DVD. The set is scheduled to be released on January 29 at a $30.99 MSRP.

Since we've got such a light news week this week, we'd feel irresponsible if we didn't give you a glimpse at some of the nice deals going on at this weekend (note that all of these are subject to end at any minute, so act on them quick!). You can find many complete series sets for around (or even under) $50 right now, including The Andy Griffith Show, Route 66, Hogan's Heroes, MacGyver, Get Smart, Gilligan's Island, and more! I picked up a few of these myself already, and they are a great deal!


Tuesday (November 27) is a light release date, but it does include Hot in Cleveland - Season Three (review) and Perry Mason - Season 8, Volume 1.


CHiPs '99

DVD Review: CHiPs '99 (Warner Archive Collection $21.99)
by Todd

Attention all units: the lights are flashing, the bikes are roaring and after 15 years, there's a lot more freeway to patrol! But there's not so much interstate that California Highway Patrolmen Ponch and Jon can't cover it when they again go wherever the rubber meets the road in CHiPs '99. Larry Wilcox returns as straight-arrow officer Jon Baker and Erik Estrada reprises his role as free-spirited Frank "Ponch" Poncherello in this 15-year reunion that adds a '90s sensibility to the can't-miss elements that made the 1977-83 CHiPs TV series a fan-pleasing success: cool motorcycles, freewheeling fun and widespread disregard for the California traffic code. This time, that disregard turns dangerous. Ponch and Jon confront an automobile hijacking ring that may be the ultimate in road rage!

CHiPs '99 premiered on TNT on October 27, 1998. It was directed by Jon Cassar (24). The teleplay was by Morgan Gendel. The story was by Rick Rosner and Morgan Gendel. It was a Rick Rosner Television Production. Rick Rosner created the original series. Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox also served as executive producers, along with Christopher Morgan and Rick Rosner.

Jon Baker is now a Captain with the CHP. He's married to Sandy (Stacie Randall), who is part of the CHP team as an Officer. Ponch returns after a 15-year retirement. He is a widower with a 9-year-old son named Frank, Jr.. Joe Getraer (Robert Pine) is now the CHP Commissioner. Artie Grossman (Paul Linke) works in investigations as a detective. Bruce Nelson (Bruce Penhall) is promoted to Sergeant. Brodie Greer also returns as Officer Barry "Bear" Baricza. New characters include Paul Korver as Officer Peter Roulette and David Ramsey as Officer Sergeant McFall. Celebrity appearances include Stephen J. Cannell as Bendix, Garry Marshall as a tour bus operator, Judge Judy Sheindlin as herself, and Johnnie Cochran as himself.

Warner Archive Collection's manufactured-on-demand release comes in an eco-friendly Viva case. The cover art features a photo of Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada, which was also used as the film poster. There are two small photos of Jon and Ponch riding their new BMW motorcycles on the back cover. A synopsis of the movie, the production credits and the DVD specs are provided. The DVD-R disc has the same photo of Jon and Ponch that is used as for the cover art.

A generic Warner Bros. menu is used. It has a Warner Bros. water tower in the background. There are only two options on the menu for Play and a Home Video Promo Spot. The promo spot runs 30 seconds and was used when the movie was released on VHS back in 1999. Chapters are placed at the appropriate places. There are no scene selection menus.

The video and audio quality is very good. This is a nice transfer of the movie. It's presented in its original full screen 1.37:1 format. It has a total running time of 94 minutes. The picture is very sharp and the colors are good. They shot it entirely on location in California, so there's a lot of nice scenery. It's noted that this disc is expected to play back in DVD video "play only" devices, and may not play back in other DVD devices including recorders and PC drives. The audio is a Dolby Digital Stereo track. There are no problems with the audio. Steppenwolf's (or possibly a cover) Born to Be Wild and Randy Newman's I Love L.A. are used in the movie. Stacy Widelitz provides a nice music score, including several new variations of the CHiPs theme. There are no subtitles or closed captioning on this release.

TNT had aired reruns of the original series for many years at the time, so they were a natural choice to air the reunion movie. I had only watched it once on the night it originally aired in 1998. It's nice to be able to revisit it again on DVD. The movie is very fun and entertaining. It captures a lot of the spirit of the original series. They did a good job of blending the original characters with the new ones. It was nice to see these characters 15 years later. I only wish they were able to bring back more of the original cast members, such as Lou Wagner, Brianne Leary, Randi Oakes and Michael Dorn.

The storyline of the movie is similar to a typical episode of the original CHiPs series. There were some nice action scenes, stunts, and explosions. I thought maybe the movie could have used even more action, but this was a pretty low budget movie that was made for cable. The movie also has some heartfelt drama and light comedy. The scene where Jon takes his neighbor to small claims court on Judge Judy for his neighbor's dog going on his lawn was funny. Johnnie Cochran has a memorable quote about poo.

It's been over four years since the second season of CHiPs was released on DVD, so this is a welcome release for fans of the series. There's been speculation that music rights are holding up the third season. Let's hope those issues can be resolved. It would be great to have the final four seasons available on DVD through the Warner Archive Collection. Until that happens, pick up this movie to watch Ponch and Jon ride again!

(4/5 stars)

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Related links: Full DVD Reviews Page
CHiPs Wikipedia Page
CHiPs Online


Who to Follow: Seth Meyers (Twitter)
Claim to Fame: Saturday Night Live cast member since 2001; currently serves as writer and host of Weekend Update
Why You Should Follow Him: Anybody who watches SNL these days knows that each and every episode can be a complete "grab bag," with some sketches that are really good and others that really stink. And honestly, that has been the way it has been with the series since it debuted nearly 40 years ago. But one constant source of "good" in each and every episode is the Weekend Update segment, which Meyers began hosting with Amy Poehler in 2006 and became the sole anchor of in 2008. What is great about his Twitter feed, though, is that he manages to put his wit and humor that he puts in Weekend Update each and every week on a continuous feed that fans can follow 24/7.
Pick of the Tweets: "Mr. Bean is a lock to win the gold in mugging." (July 27, 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

Monday, October 24

Kevin Can Wait - "Beat the Parents" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Kevin and Donna are thrilled when their son, Jack, makes friends with a boy from school, Grayden (Graydon Peter Yosowitz), however, when Donna and Kevin don’t hit it off with Grayden’s arrogant father, Vic (Ray Romano), and his pushy wife, Brandi (Lindsay Broad), they set out to sabotage the boys’ new friendship. Matt Romano guest stars as Vic’s second son, Braden.

Man with a Plan - "Pilot" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Golden Globe Award winner Matt LeBlanc stars as Adam, a contractor who starts spending more time with his three kids when his wife, Andi, goes back to work and discovers the truth all parents eventually realize—their little angels are maniacs.

2 Broke Girls - "And the Godmama Drama" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Oleg and Sophie’s plan to have Max and Caroline as Barbara’s godparents is derailed when Oleg’s domineering mother, Olga (Mercedes Ruehl), arrives from the Ukraine for the baby’s baptism and fires Max and Caroline from their godparent duties.

The Odd Couple - "Food Fight" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Oscar learns that his favorite hangout, Langford’s, is in financial trouble, he impulsively asks Felix to help save it, without considering the disastrous consequences. Also, Felix tries to make his mark on the restaurant when the owner, Fred Langford (Fred Willard), puts him in charge for a few days.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 24)

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.
  • Kate Micucci (Raising Hope/The Big Bang Theory) - Kate is a guest on a repeat of @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) - Zooey appears 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.
  • Matt LeBlanc (Man with a Plan/Episodes/Joey/Friends) - Matt appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Nico Tortorella (Younger) - Nico guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.