Saturday, January 05, 2013

Digital Digest - Dick Van Dyke Season 1 to Blu-ray; Police Academy: The Animated Series - Volume One DVD Review

Welcome to the very first Digital Digest of 2013! This week, we're back with even more news (and yes, it is sort of a slow week again), as well as a review of Police Academy: The Animated Series - Volume One. Let's get going!


DIGITAL NEWS

In November, Image released The Dick Van Dyke - The Complete Series (Blu-ray), which is one of the nicest sets we've seen in a long time... we encourage you to check out that very lengthy review. If you don't want the entire series in one big chunk, though, it appears that the option to purchase just the first season on Blu-ray will be available April 9 at a $59.98 MSRP.

To end 2012, TVShowsOnDVD.com got two very big scoops last week regarding plans from VEI for the new year. According to their information, we should be seeing complete series of Diagnosis Murder and The Mod Squad from VEI in the new year. While they caution that these releases are still in the very early stages and may not occur at all, it is very exciting news nonetheless.

Last year, Shout! Factory released Route 66 - The Complete Series, but even though this release did complete the series, it still left those without the older releases with the fourth season... until now. On April 2, Shout! will be releasing Route 66 - Season Four as a standalone set. It will come at a $29.93 MSRP.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (January 8) takes us back to a more "regular" DVD release week, with Mill Creek's releases of Hearts Afire - The Complete Series, 3rd Rock from the Sun - Season 5, and 3rd Rock from the Sun - Season 6. Also, Shout! Factory has The Goode Family - The Complete Series. Finally, it is time to do some "winning" with Lionsgate's release of Anger Management - Season One (Blu-ray). We hope to have reviews of all of these as soon as possible.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

Police Academy: The Animated Series - Volume One

DVD Review: Police Academy: The Animated Series - Volume One (Warner Archive, $29.95)
by Pavan

Insert that catchy Police Academy movie theme music! The wacky rookies are back – and this time their antics are animated! Based on the movie franchise of the same name, we also had a late '80s animated comedy! After a bust goes awry in the opening episode, the heinous Capt. Harris gets busted back to the academy. With a serious hate-on for academy alums, Harris drags Mahoney, Jones, Hightower, Hooks, Tackleberry, Callahan, Sweetchuck and Zed back to the academy! In this 30-episode, 3-disc collection, the hit cartoon spin-off of the legendary law-and-disorder comedy franchise, Mahoney and Co. are joined by the stalwart members of the K-9 Corps, dog cops who are a few bones short of being top dogs, while battling super-villains like the Kingpin, Lockjaw, Amazona, Numbskull, Mr. Sleaze and the Claw. The noble-but-not-all-there Commandant is on hand as well, aided by new character The Professor and his crazy gadgets. Tip-top hip-hop act The Fat Boys sings the toe-tapping theme.

This series aired in first-run syndication, usually weekday mornings, from 1988-89. It was voiced by all-new people and are not voiced by any of the stars from the movies. It lasted two seasons with the first season having 26 episodes and the second season having 38 episodes. We are not getting the releases in seasons, instead we are getting them in volumes. This volumes had the first 30 episodes, so 35 episodes will remain after this release and would likely all come out on a volume two release. I'm not sure if we are getting airdate order or production order, but it doesn't really matter. Among the episodes we have are the premiere episode "The Good, The Bad & The Bogus," where Captain Harris bungles an operation to catch the infamous Clown Gang, he is punished by being sent back to the Police Academy to train new recruits. In "Worth Here Weight in Gold," Callahan, Hooks and Zed are forced to pose as women wrestlers to combat alleged gold heist mastermind, strongwoman Phoenix Amazona, though our heroes' efforts may be jeopardized by Sweetchuck's apparent crush on the women's champion. In "Proctor, Call A Doctor!," when Harris is injured and hospitalized, Proctor becomes Acting Captain for a day, and is forced to deal with a hostage crisis, meanwhile the mayor has been kidnapped by Mr Sleaze, who wants his goons released from prison. In "Lights, Action, Coppers!," when assigned to night duty at Galaxy Studios, movie buff House becomes caught up in a phony film director's plot to steal a giant animatronic robot of Awesome Ape, causing chaos throughout the city as the bad guys pull a string of heists using the monster movie star.

In "Mr. Sleaze Versus Lockjaw," Lt. Callahan becomes the object of affection for one Lockjaw, who is also embroiled in a bitter turf war with Mr. Sleaze after muscling in on his territory. In "Karate Cop," Jones finds help from his old karate teacher Master Shiro, after his karate skills seem to be diminished, following a botched encounter with some Japanese bad guys at the local power plant. In the episode "The Hang Ten Gang," while shopping for a new goldfish for Commandant Lassard's birthday, Sweetchuck discovers that Zed has a fear of water. In "Nine Cops and a Baby," Mahoney plays babysitter for the day, when asked to take care of the new neighbor's baby, Nellie. Episode runtimes are below and are around 22 minutes. We will discuss more on this later in the review.

Disc 1:
1. The Good, The Bad & The Bogus (22:11)
2. Puttin' On The Dogs (22:17)
3. Phantom of the Precinct (21:47)
4. Cops & Robots (22:18)
5. Police Academy Blues (21:48)
6. A Blue Knight At The Opera (21:49)
7. Worth Her Weight In Gold (21:46)
8. For Whom The Wedding Bells Toll (21:47)
9. Westward Ho Hooks (21:49)
10. My Mummy Lies Over The Ocean (21:38)


Disc 2:
11. Numbskull's Revenge (21:48)
12. Proctor, Call A Doctor! (22:21)
13. Little Zed & Big Bertha (21:49)
14. Curses On You! (21:46)
15. Lights, Action, Coppers! (21:44)
16. Camp Academy (21:49)
17. The Tell Tale Tooth (21:45)
18. Mr. Sleaze Versus Lockjaw (21:44)
19. Spaced Out Space Cadets (21:46)
20. Sweetchuck's Brother (21:45)


Disc 3:
21. Karate Cop (21:48)
22. The Hang Ten Gang (21:47)
23. Nine Cops And A Baby (21:45)
24. Fish & Microchips (21:46)
25. Precinct of Wax (21:46)
26. Cop Scouts (21:46)
27. Professor Jekyll And Gangster Hyde (22:17)
28. Operation Big House (21:45)
29. Ship Of Jewels (21:45)
30. Zillion Dollar Zed (21:46)

The packaging is pretty standard but works. We have a movie style case with the series logo and a nice blue background with most of our characters including Mahoney, Hightower, Zed, Callahan, Hooks, Lassard, Sweetchuck, Jones and Tackleberry is in the air. The back of the case has a yellow background and has info on the series and set. Along with some images, like Jones showing some of his karate moves and an episodic image of Tackleberry blowing things up. Inside the case there is no artwork on the panels, as it is in plain white. We have three discs with the same artwork. Disc one is on a little plastic holder that you can flip back and forth like a page in a book, with disc two on the back side. Disc three is on the right panel itself. The artwork has the series logo and a close-up of the image from the cover art, but we only have Mahoney, Zed, Hightower and Callahan.

The menu screen is also consistent to the artwork that we have already. We have the blue background image from the cover art on the right side, with series logo on the left and options for Play All and each episode title on the disc listed right on the main menu. We don't have any music playing in the background, unfortunately. This is all very simple and easy to navigate. I like that but would have liked some music to go along with that.

The video quality is pretty good. In general, we have dust and debris here and there, since it is a late '80s series. For a limited time, Warner Archive is putting these episodes on DVD, instead of DVD-R, so hurry and get this before they switch! The audio is very good for a series that was in Mono. It is not bad and is listenable. It's not remastered, but this is the best we have and it beats our taped VHS versions. The episode runtimes vary a bit. If the episodes ran over 22 minutes, that means we have the five second bumpers for "We'll be right back after these messages" and "We now return to the program." A handful of episodes on this set has those but for some reason the rest do not, hence their episode runtimes about 30 seconds shorter since these came up six teams per episode. Each episode has the 30 second instructional message before the closing theme, so that's good. As for the closing theme, it is similar to the movie theme music, so that's good. The opening theme of the series is different from the movie version and is titled "They Wear the Blue" by Scott Thomas Canfield and is performed by The Fat Boys. I'm not sure these episodes are in airdate order because the 30 second instructional messages sometimes has a part 2, 3, etc, and I noticed some later parts that before the earlier parts. Not a big deal at all, but this set is probably in production order, which is fine.

For special features, we do not have anything here. I was not expecting anything either. There is really nothing that could be presented here besides original promos or something.

If you are a fan of the film franchise, then for sure you need to have this set. I remember watching this series weekday mornings at around 7:30am or 8am before school in 1988-89 and I loved it. Some characters that are not as featured in the movies are more featured here, like the huge but loveable House! The set is fine, I think. Decent packaging and menus, good audio/video, no special features, but that is expected. And the most important part is that we actually get the episodes on DVD. They are good and I wish this series would have lasted longer than two seasons. Let's hope Warner Archive releases the second volume with the remaining 35 episodes very soon. I think this is better than the late '90s live-action TV series that aired on TNT. This animated series still has all the original characters, so I liked that. Go buy this set by clicking on the link below before Hightower gets angry and Tackleberry starts blowing things up. All for one and all for fun!

(4/5 stars)

To purchase this DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Warner Archive Shop

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Police Academy: The Animated Series on TV.com



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

Dr. Ken - Season One Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season The Lucy Show - The Complete Series The Mindy Project - Season Four

10/04 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Christmas Special (Colorized)
10/04 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #1 (Colorized)
10/11 - Dr. Ken - Season One
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Series
10/11 - Nurse Jackie - Seasons One and Two
10/11 - Weeds - Seasons One and Two
11/01 - Schitt's Creek - Seasons One and Two
11/08 - Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season
11/08 - Your Family or Mine - Season One
11/15 - Community - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Lucy Show - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Mindy Project - Season Four
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Saturday, December 10

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 12)

Saturday, December 10

  • Dennis Haskins (Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The New Class) - Dennis will be featured on Oprah: Where Are They Now? at 10pm ET/PT on OWN.
Monday, December 12
  • Jennifer Lawrence (The Bill Engvall Show) - Watch Jennifer Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Bryan is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. He also chats about the film Why Him? on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) - John appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) - Chris visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Olivia Munn (Perfect Couples) - Olivia is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS. She joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Matthew Perry (The Odd Couple/Go On/Mr. Sunshine) - Matthew stops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kevin Nealon (Man with a Plan/Weeds/Hiller and Diller/Champs) - Kevin appears on Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Will Smith (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - Will talks about Collateral Beauty on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Henry Winkler (Happy Days/Out of Practice/Arrested Development) - Henry will be on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) - Megan is a guest on the AOL Build Show at 4pm.