Saturday, January 19, 2013

Digital Digest: New DVD Re-releases from Mill Creek, TMG; Simon & Simon - The Final (Eighth) Season DVD Review


Welcome to Digital Digest! We're here for your weekly dose news and the rest of our regular features, along with a review of Simon & Simon - The Final (Eighth) Season. Let's get going!

DIGITAL NEWS

The past week has been a week of re-release announcements, with the first such announcement coming from Mill Creek. As the studio has been re-releasing series from the Carsey-Werner library over the past year or so, new re-releases were announced this week for Roseanne - The Complete Seventh Season, Roseanne - The Complete Eighth Season, That '70s Show - Season Seven, and That '70s Show - Season Eight. For those keeping track, that puts re-releases of Roseanne only one season away from completion, and brings re-releases of That '70s Show all the way to completion.

Meanwhile, Shout! Factory has some re-releases of their own, with some new "best of" releases that will be coming from their new subsidiary, Timeless Media Group. On April 9, look for some value-priced (around $12) releases of Leave it to Beaver, Adam-12, and Route 66. Like many TMG releases, these will come in the embossed tins that the studio so frequently uses.

Warner Home Video hasn't brought us a whole lot of older series lately (usually those are handled through Warner Archive these days), but this week, they announced releases of some animated series. First up is the series Taz-Mania, with a May 14 release of Taz-Mania - Season 1, Part 1. And, according to TVShowsOnDVD, two weeks before that, the studio will release Tom and Jerry Kids - The Complete Season 1. It is a bit surprising to see all of this animation released, but we're sure fans are satisfied to see it!

Finally, we told you just last week about an agreement between Netflix and Warner Bros., but this week, we got some more details. Among other series included in the deal are several series from Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, and also the current TNT version of the series Dallas.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (January 22) is another light day for releases, with no sitcom releases. However, Warner Home Video does have one show for fans of classic TV fans, with their release of Scarecrow and Mrs. King - The Complete Fourth Season.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW



Blog DVD Review: Simon & Simon - The Final (Eighth) Season (Shout!, $24.99)
by skees53 

The Simon brothers are back for the very last time in Simon & Simon in Shout! Factory's release of Simon & Simon - The Final Season! The classic detective series starring Gerald McRaney and Jameson Parker as two brother running a detective agency returns with 13 more episodes where crime fighting involves going undercover at a beauty pageant, investigating a modern day Robin Hood, taking the stand at a murder trial, protecting a wealthy Japanese businessman, and more.

The season begins with "Beauty and the Deceased," where Rick and A.J. go undercover at a beauty contest. The business becomes a bit to big for Rick and A.J. to handle in "Simon & Simon and Associates." The Simons protect a Japanese businessman in "Zen and the Art of Split-Finger Fastball." In "The Merry Adventures of Robert Hood," credit cards are being stolen, but not necessarily for bad things. A talk show host hires Rick and A.J. to find out who is sending him threatening letters in "Ain't Gonna Get it From Me, Jack." Abby is attracted to a client of the Simons in "Love Song of Abigail Marsh."

In "Simon & Simon, Jr.," Rick is shocked after finding out he may have a teenage son that he wasn't aware of, but now he may have to protect his life as well. A.J. writes a play that helps to solve a mystery in "Cloak of Danger." A wedding anniversary party turns into a funeral for one of A.J.'s friends in "The Richer They Are, The Harder They Fall." Rick and A.J. are headed to Los Angeles to hunt after a lost manuscript in "Play it Again, Simon." Rick and A.J. face a tough series of attacks from an attorney (and friend of Cecilia's) in court in "First, Let's Kill All the Lawyers." A woman hires the Simons to investigate a politician in "Photo Finished," but things become more complicated when the client ends up dying. The series ends with "Simon Says Goodbye," where Abby's friend hires Rick and A.J. to find an old flame.

The episodes mostly appear to be unedited, but the episode "Ain't Gonna Get it From Me, Jack" seems to have a suspiciously low run time, about three minutes shorter than the rest. However, it doesn't seem like a syndication print, because it has the original episode preview at the beginning, and also, Shout! has indicated in the past when a syndicated version of an episode was used. For now, we'll put this in the "not sure" column. Runtimes are as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "Beauty and Deceased" (46:50)
2. "Simon & Simon and Associates" (46:48)
3. "Zen and the Art of Split Finger Fastball" (46:02)
4. "The Merry Adventures of Robert Hood" (46:51)

Disc 2:
5. "Ain't Gonna Get It From Me, Jack" (43:56)
6. "Love Song of Abigail Marsh" (46:51)
7. "Simon & Simon, Jr." (46:52)
8. "Cloak of Danger" (46:52)

Disc 3:
9. "The Richer They Are, The Harder They Fall" (46:51)
10. "Play it Again, Simon" (46:53)
11. "First, Let's Kill All the Lawyers" (46:53)
12. "Photo Finished" (46:13)
13. "Simon Says Goodbye" (46:25)

The packaging art on this set is basically identical to previous releases. In fact, it still has the same photo on the cover that has been used since the release of the fourth season! The only difference is that the bottom row of photos at least has pictures from the eighth season, and a yellow color scheme is used this time. On the back, there is a brief description of the season, along with individual photos of Rick and A.J. Inside, you'll find the three discs, along with a listing of episodes and airdates. Each disc has the series logo imprinted on a yellow background.

I've never been to impressed by the menus on these Shout! Select releases of this series, and this one continues those rather bland menus. Honestly, they don't even look very professional, with a photo of Rick and A.J. (same as the cover art) and a listing of all of the episodes on the main menu. There is also a Play All option. The theme song loops continuously in the background. Each episode does have chapters placed appropriately throughout.

The video and audio quality on these releases is very interesting. Most series improve as new releases come out, but this series somehow seems to get worse, at least on the video front. The picture seems to be a bit faded and blurry at times, but it isn't a very serious issue... it is just strange how the later seasons look worse than the earlier ones. The audio is fine, but there are no closed-captions or subtitles.

The set is devoid of any special features, as has (mostly) been the case in previous releases.

It is great to actually see this series come to completion! It has had a bit of a rocky history, after having one season released by Universal, then moved over to Shout! Factory, where it was moved to a Shout! Select offering beginning with the fifth season. One had to wonder if we'd get all the way to the eighth season, but lo and behold, we did! It is a bit disappointing that we didn't really get much in the way of special features along the way, but the important thing is that we have the series on DVD, with most episodes unedited (there were some issues in one of the earlier releases, and we aren't quite sure about the shorter episode in this season). If you are a fan of the detective series of the '80s, you are sure to want to own this set, along with all of the other seasons of this excellent series.

(4/5 stars)

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Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Simon & Simon on TV.com


FOLLOW ME 


Who to Follow: Valerie Harper (Twitter), "The Official twitter page of actress Valerie Harper. Thank you all for your follows! Love, Valerie"
Claim to Fame: "My name is Rhoda Morgenstern..." were the words that she mentioned at the beginning of each episode of the classic series Rhoda, but before she got her own spinoff, she was known for the same role on the series The Mary Tyler Moore Show. In the '80s, she had another hit sitcom with Valerie, but as we all know, that didn't end quite so well. Most recently, she had a guest appearance (and animated reunion with Rhoda costar Julie Kavner) on The Simpsons.
Why You Should Follow Her: Why shouldn't you follow her? She played Rhoda, which makes her one of the few actresses from the '70s who can be found on Twitter. Harper has recently been making the rounds to promote her book, I, Rhoda, and in the midst of all of this, she has been gaining more public attention and perhaps more fans... and we think those fans will want to follow her on Twitter, where she enjoys Tweeting about her appearances, her career (past and present), and isn't at all adverse to responding to questions and comments from the fans, the very people who helped her make it big.
Pick of the Tweets: "Thought I'd share this photo of Mary and I at Betty White's 90th Birthday celebration! http://fb.me/1HM8VTe4J" (February 27, 2012)


New on DVD/Blu-ray (January)

The Cosby Show - Seasons 5 & 6 (Mill Creek) Married with Children - Seasons 7 and 8 (Mill Creek) The Facts of Life - The Complete Series Welcome Back, Kotter - The Complete Second Season

01/06 - The Cosby Show - Season 5 (Mill Creek)
01/06 - The Cosby Show - Season 6 (Mill Creek)
01/06 - The Cosby Show - Seasons 5 & 6 (Mill Creek)
01/06 - Girls - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
01/06 - Married with Children - Season Seven (Mill Creek)
01/06 - Married with Children - Season Eight (Mill Creek)
01/06 - Married with Children - Seasons Seven and Eight (Mill Creek)
01/13 - The Big House - The Complete Series
01/13 - Episodes - The Third Season
01/13 - The Facts of Life - The Complete Series (Shout! Factory
01/20 - Welcome Back, Kotter - The Complete Second Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, January 30

Last Man Standing - "Eve's Breakup" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Although Eve insists she’s OK after her first high school break-up, everyone has an opinion as to how she should deal with her feelings. To take her mind off it, Mike has her tag along to watch sports on Ed’s new 120-inch TV. Also, while shopping for Kristin’s wedding dress, she and Mandy fight over how Kristin broke up with Kyle.

Cristela - "Hypertension" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Daniela is worried that Cristela is neglecting her health due to her beyond-busy schedule. Daniela suggests that maybe if Cristela lost a few pounds, she could find herself a husband and ultimately mirror the life Daniela lives now. Cristela retorts by saying she doesn’t want Daniela’s life or her looks, she’s happy with who she is and being career focused. The tables are turned when Daniela coaxes Cristela down to a free clinic to test their blood pressure and it’s revealed Daniela is the one who should be concerned. Meanwhile at the office, Josh tries to impress Trent by volunteering to learn CPR and Maddie decides to teach him a lesson he won’t forget.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 26) (All times ET unless noted)

Friday, January 30

  • Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation) - Watch Aziz on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting (The Big Bang Theory/8 Simple Rules) - Catch Kaley on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Adam Pally (The Mindy Project/Happy Endings) - Adam guest co-hosts The Late Late Show at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation/House of Lies) - Ben appears on The Late Late Show at 12:37am on CBS. He will also be on HuffPost Live at 4pm.
  • Eric Andre (2 Broke Girls/Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23) - Eric visits The Late Late Show at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Don Cheadle (The Golden Palace) - Don is a guest on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Lauren Graham (The Odd Couple/Conrad Bloom/Townies) - Lauren is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Rainn Wilson (The Office) - Rainn appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Tony Danza (Taxi/Who's the Boss?) - Tony talks about his return to Broadway, rumors of a Taxi reunion and which team he's rooting for in the Super Bowl on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • Sarah Hyland (Modern Family) - Sarah visits The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Jim O'Heir (Parks and Recreation) - Jim talks about the final season of Parks and Recreation on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Emeril Lagasse (Emeril) - Emeril gives great party recipes on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.