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)


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Monday, April 22

The Neighborhood - "Welcome to the Conversation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Dave is thrilled when Calvin invites him golfing, confident that it represents progress in their relationship, but Calvin may have another motive. Also, Gemma and Tina team up to pull off an unforgettable surprise for Malcolm, Marty and Grover.

Man with a Plan - "Cabin Fever" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Adam accidentally invites Andi on the annual guys’ trip, he tries to un-invite her, which only makes matters worse.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 22)

Monday, April 22

  • Nathan Lane (Charlie Lawrence/Encore! Encore!) - Watch Nathan The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Ricky Gervais (After Life/The Office) - Ricky appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Courteney Cox (Cougar Town/Friends/Family Ties) - Courteney is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Nick Kroll (Big Mouth/The League/Cavemen) - Nick appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Natalie Morales (Abby's) - Natalie is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Dax Shepard (Bless This Mess) - Dax visits The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Navia Robinson (Raven's Home) - Navia stops by The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Scott Foley (The Goodwin Games/A.U.S.A./Scrubs) - Scott talks about Whiskey Cavalier on E!'s Daily Pop at 12pm.
  • Valerie Bertinelli (Hot in Cleveland/CafĂ© Americain/One Day at a Time) - Valerie will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Bill Hader (Barry) - Bill is a guest on Access Live, so check your local listings.
  • Jane Lynch (Angel from Hell) - Jane talks about NBC's Red Nose Day on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and in the 10am hour.
  • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For Your Love) - Holly appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (February/March/April)

Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season Alice - The Complete Ninth Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season

02/05 - Family Guy - Part 1 - Volumes 1-5
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 2 - Volumes 6-10
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 3 - Seasons 10-14
02/05 - First Lady of Television - Betty White Collection (40 rare and acclaimed episodes from her early days in television)
02/05 - Mama's Family - Seasons 1-6 - The Complete Series
02/12 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-3 (Blu-ray)
02/12 - Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season
02/26 - What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season
03/05 - Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
03/12 - Alice - The Complete Ninth Season (WBShop.com)
03/26 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
04/02 - Archer: Danger Island - The Complete Season Nine
04/09 - You're the Worst - The Complete Fifth Season
04/12 - Evening Shade - The Complete Collection
04/16 - The Big C - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
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