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)

To purchase this DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

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 (February)

The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Series The Brady Kids - The Complete Animated Series Girls - The Complete Fourth Season Sabrina, the Teenage Witch - The Complete Series Togetherness - The Complete First Season

02/16 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Series
02/16 - The Brady Kids - The Complete Animated Series
02/16 - Girls - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
02/16 - Sabrina, the Teenage Witch - The Complete Series
02/16 - Togetherness - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, February 7

The Simpsons - "Treehouse of Horror XXVI" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
In an encore of the annual fright fest Halloween episode, Sideshow Bob finally kills Bart, only to reanimate him; Homer wakes up with short-term memory loss; and Lisa, Bart, and Milhouse get super powers from radiation.

Bob's Burgers - "Sliding Bobs" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Bob notices that he has started to lose his hair. In a wave of nostalgia, Linda reminisces about Bob’s mustache and how it made her fall for him years ago. Meanwhile, the kids tell their own versions of the story of how their parents met.

The Simpsons - "Halloween of Horror" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Lisa becomes scared at the Krustyland Halloween Horror Night, Homer is forced to take down his Everscream Terrors decorations. Halloween pop-up employees seek vengeance on Homer for causing them to lose their jobs, and rob his house while Homer and Lisa hide out in the attic. Homer and Lisa light up their stored holiday decorations to attract attention and stand up to the intruders.

Cooper Barrett's Guide to Surviving Life - "How to Survive Your Loveable Jackass" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After sales for their hangover cure are slower than expected, the guys decide to take part in a drug trial for quick cash, but their plans are unexpectedly derailed by Paul Abdul (guest-starring as herself). Meanwhile, Kelly faces an awkward situation after spending time with Leslie and Josh.

Family Guy - "Pilling Them Softly" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Stewie is diagnosed with ADD and prescribed Adderall, which Brian takes to write a 2000-page proposal to pitch to author George R.R. Martin at a book convention. Meanwhile, Quagmire and Peter compete, Iron Chef-style, to determine which of them gets to keep his new cooking show.

Bordertown - "Borderwall" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Bud fights to get a border wall constructed using confiscated drug money, only to have the wall destroy the economy, leaving him jobless. He then begins smuggling immigrants under the wall to make ends meet.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 8)

Sunday, February 7

  • Tina Fey (30 Rock) - Catch Tina on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert after the Super Bowl on CBS.
  • Adam DeVine (Modern Family/Workaholics) - Adam is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden on CBS.
Monday, February 8
  • Brie Larson (United States of Tara/Raising Dad) - Watch Brie on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Rebel Wilson (Super Fun Night) - Rebel visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Fred Savage (The Grinder/Working/The Wonder Years) - Fred appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Gillian Jacobs (Community) - Gillian is a guest on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm. She also talks about Love on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Keke Palmer (Scream Queens/True Jackson, VP) - Keke appears on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore at 11:30pm on Comedy Central.
  • David Koechner (F Is for Family/Hank/The Office) - David will be on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Kevin Nealon (Weeds/Hiller and Diller/Champs) - Kevin appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Jim Jefferies (Legit) - Jim is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond) - Ray stops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Julie Bowen (Modern Family) - Julie visits The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Ben Feldman (Superstore/A to Z/Living with Fran) - Ben discusses Superstore on The Meredith Vieira Show (check your local listings) and on People Now.
  • Rachael Harris (Surviving Jack/My Boys/Notes from the Underbelly) - Rachael talks about Deadpool on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Sherri Shepherd (Less Than Perfect/Sherri) - Sherri takes viewers behind the scenes of the Super Bowl on The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Rhea Seehorn (Whitney/I'm with You) - Rhea talks about Better Call Saul on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Britt Lower (Man Seeking Woman) - Britt is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.