Saturday, January 19, 2013
Digital Digest: New DVD Re-releases from Mill Creek, TMG; Simon & Simon - The Final (Eighth) Season DVD Review
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.
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."
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:
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)
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)
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.
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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 (May 23)
The Big Bang Theory - "The Santa Simulation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Sheldon revisits some Christmas memories during a game of Dungeons and Dragons, while Penny, Bernadette and Amy try to find a girl for Koothrappali when he joins the girls for ladies' night.
Two and a Half Men - "I Scream When I Pee" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Alan’s smokin’ hot, famous ex-wife, Kandi, wants him back. Meanwhile, Berta isn’t interested in celebrating her birthday, so Walden helps make it special. April Bowlby (“Drop Dead Diva”) returns as Alan’s second ex-wife, Kandi.
Save Me - "The Book of Beth" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Series Premiere)
“Save Me” premieres with Emmy nominee Anne Heche (“Hung”) starring as Beth Harper, an absentee wife and mother who suffers a dramatic near-death experience and is revived only to discover that she now receives messages from God. As she warms up to her powers and begins dispensing advice that is astonishingly accurate, her husband Tom (Michael Landes, “Final Destination 2”) is skeptical and their teenage daughter Emily (Madison Davenport, “Shameless”) is horrified. Complicating matters even more, Tom’s mistress Carly (Alexandra Breckenridge, “American Horror Story”) shows up to confront Beth about the affair and quickly gets a shocking surprise. Read our review.
Save Me - "Take it Back" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Beth (Anne Heche) begins a new life on the straight and narrow and wants to make amends with old friends she has offended. Her efforts to return a long-ago stolen espresso machine to next door neighbor Maggie (Joy Osmanski) are rebuffed. Meanwhile, Tom (Michael Landes) learns to adjust to his wife’s newfound ability to communicate with God and they both try to re-establish some sense of normality with their old friends and their daughter Emily (Madison Davenport).
The Office - "Couples Discount" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
The Office pairs off into pretend couples to take advantage of a Valentine’s Day discount at a local mini-mall. Erin (Ellie Kemper) assures Pete (Jake Lacy) she will break up with Andy (Ed Helms) when he returns, but he has good reason to doubt her. Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) share a meal with Brian, the documentary's sound man.
Parks and Recreation - "Ms. Knope Goes to Washington" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Leslie (Amy Poehler) and Andy (Chris Pratt) visit Ben (Adam Scott) and April (Aubrey Plaza) at their new jobs in Washington D.C., and Leslie feels overwhelmed by the city -- especially after meeting two of her idols (Senators Barbara Boxer and Olympia Snowe). Meanwhile, Ron (Nick Offerman) throws a “thank you” barbeque for the entire Parks and Recreation staff.
Men at Work - "The Gibbs-Orcism" (TBS, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Tyler's new girlfriend is all too familiar to Milo and Gibbs, so they do their best to hide the truth from him. Neal and Amy do their best to avoid the "anniversary curse," but they can't seem to escape their fate.
Anger Management - "Charlie, Kate and Jen Get Romantic" (FX, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Martin tries to undermine Charlie and Kate's relationship by telling Kate that Charlie and Jennifer are getting back together.
Big Time Rush - "Big Time Bonus" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Gustavo gives the guys a bonus for their hard work, but they quickly begin to make bad decisions with their money. Carlos hires a personal assistant, James buys a snake he can't live without, Kendall accidentally buys a truck full of oranges and Logan can't resist the power of tipping and getting favors done in return.
Wendell & Vinnie - "The Dutch & Us" (Nickelodeon, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Wendell befriends a lonely student from Holland, Jann. But when Jann abandons Wendell for a cooler crowd, Vinnie decides to help Wendell win him back by putting them in a situation where they're forced to spend time together.