Saturday, February 02, 2013

Digital Digest: More Alice Soon?; Hart to Hart: TV Movie Collection - Volumes 1 and 2 DVD Review


Welcome to Digital Digest! We're here with yet another light news week, but we do have reviews of Hart to Hart: TV Movie Collection - Volume 1 and Hart to Hart: TV Movie Collection - Volume 2. Let's get started!

DIGITAL NEWS

This week, the website TVShowsOnDVD.com uncovered a series of listing on Amazon.com for what appears to be an upcoming release of Alice - The Complete Third Season. The information on the preorder listings show a release date on February 12, but there isn't actually anything that you can preorder. Of course, this has been a Warner Archive title in the past (and we would expect it to remain that way for all releases), so hopefully we'll have something solid on a release soon. We should add that we have had some indications that would seem to confirm a release, so we'll let you know when we know more!


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (February 5) has just one real release with Lionsgate's release of Cougar Town - The Complete Third Season. Additionally, they have re-releases of the previously released season 1 and season 2 of the series.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW


Blog DVD Review: Hart to Hart: TV Movie Collection (Volume 1 and Volume 2) (Sony MOD, $75.99)
by skees53 

Anybody who knows about detective series from the '80s knows these words: "This is my boss Jonathan Hart, a self-made millionaire. He’s quite a guy. This is Mrs. H, she’s gorgeous. She’s one lady who knows how to take care of herself. By the way my name is Max; I take care of both of them which ain’t easy ‘cause when they met, it was murder." Well, without "beating around the bush," this was exactly how the classic series Hart to Hart began each episode. For five seasons, running on ABC, the series starred Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers as Jonathan and Jennifer Hart, a couple who just so happened to be loaded, solving mysteries along with help from their own "help" Max (Lionel Stander). But after the series ended, it was revived in a series of mystery movies between 1993 and 1996. Some of these aired on broadcast television, while others aired on cable. Now, Sony has released all eight of these movies, available in two separate collections.

Volume 1:

"Hart to Hart Returns" (1:30:29) - In this first (of eight) reunion movies, Jennifer Hart is interested in buying an aircraft company from a friend. Of course, nothing is ever easy for her or Jonathan Hart, and in an effort from others to prevent the takeover, they find themselves in the middle of a murder investigation involving some corrupt defense contractors. Mike Conners and Ken Howard guest star in this installment.

"Home is Where the Hart Is" (1:32:13) - After a friend and mentor of Jennifer's has suddenly dies,  she and Jonathan is headed back to the town where she once lived and worked as a reporter. But upon their arrival, they discover that there are some things that are just not right back in Kingman's, and also they also discover some things that may lead to their demise if not solved immediately. This installment features Maureen O'Sullivan, Howard Keel, and Roddy McDowall.

"Crimes of the Hart" (1:32:30) - Jennifer wrote a play in college, and now, she and Jonathan are headed to New York to see the play produced on Broadway. However, just like anything else in the life of the Harts, something goes wrong upon arrival as a stagehand is murdered, and everybody... including Jonathan... is a suspect. Stars in this installment include Richard Belzer, Audra Lindley, and Lew Ayres.

"Old Friends Never Die" (1:29:43) - Everything that is going on in the life of Jonathan and Jennifer is just like something out of a murder-mystery novel, which leads them to wonder if it really is a murder-mystery novel, or if there is an actual plot for somebody to be killed. In typical Hart to Hart fashion, you can probably guess which one it is... but why? In this installment, you'll see David Leisure, James Avery, Paul Williams, Vicki Lawrence, Fred Willard, and Mike Farrell.

Volume 2:

"Secrets of the Hart" (1:29:27) - In San Francisco, Jennifer and Jonathan are on the verge of meeting Jonathan's long lost relatives and meeting the family he never knew. But a pleasant meeting with his family may not be what is in the cards, especially if the family wants something that may put Jonathan and Jennifer in danger. This is the last film to feature Lionel Stander in the role as Max, and also features stars including Marion Ross, Jason Bateman, Wendy Mallick, and a special appearance by Pat Morita.

"Two Harts in Three-Quarter Time" (1:32:37) - Jonathan and Jennifer grieve the loss of their beloved friend Max (actor Lionel Stander died just before this movie), and head to Montreal for the reading of his will. But in collecting what is left for them in the will, they end up in the middle of a mystery that involves kidnapping and murder... while they're on the hunt for a stolen clock. This installment features Joan Collins as Lady Camille.

"Harts in High Season" (1:32:54) - Jennifer and Jonathan take a trip to the Australian outback to purchase a wildlife reserve from a former love interest of Jennifer's (played by James Brolin). But as it turns out, he hasn't exactly lost interest in Jennifer and will do anything to get back into her life... even if it means setting Jonathan up to fall in a trap that will be hard to get out of.

"Till Death Do Us Hart" (1:32:54) - This final installment of the movies, Jennifer and Jonathan are headed to Germany so that Jennifer can donate bone marrow to a young leukemia patient, and also to celebrate their anniversary. But Jennifer's resemblance to a the fiancée of a bone marrow clinic director who goes missing ends up leading to a lot of trouble for the Harts...

There is nothing particularly interesting about the packaging. Of course, we received the individual movies, not the releases as packaged in on set, but the cover art for these movies includes a publicity photo for each movie, with an episode snapshot on the rear, along with a description of the movie. However, the "bundled" movies may come in different packaging. We don't know for certain. Like most Sony MOD releases, the artwork on the discs is just the movie title on a white background.

There are no menus on these DVDs at all, but chapters are placed throughout each disc.

The video and audio quality on these DVDs is a bit disappointing. Of course, these movies were made 20 years ago on a presumably low budget (after all, some even aired on The Family Channel), so I wasn't really expecting a whole lot, but at times these just looks like something made in the '80s with '90s clothes. The audio, though, seems to be without any major issues. There are no subtitles or closed-captioning.

There are no special features on any of these DVDs.

All in all, I can't say that I'm particularly left "wowed" by these releases. First, the quality of the Sony MOD product still leaves a lot to be desired, but even getting past that, these movies were honestly not as enjoyable as the original series. I've seen a lot of reunion movies over the years that have remained true to the original series, but a lot of these just felt like Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers just trying to have a little bit of fun. And it gets even less enjoyable in the three movies that were made after Lionel Stander died. It also doesn't help that the MSRP for these DVDs is insanely high for what you are getting. Make no mistake though: I would certainly love to see Sony get back on the ball on releasing the season sets of the original series. But in the meantime, if these movies are all we're going to get (and bear in mind some of these were released in 2010), I think even many fans will be disappointed.

(3.5/5 stars)

To purchase Volume 1, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

To purchase Volume 2, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Hart to Hart on TV.com


FOLLOW ME 


Who to Follow: Brian Scully (Twitter), "Currently, Family Guy writer. Formerly, The Simpsons writer. Neither currently nor formerly, an Astronaut."
Claim to Fame: His Twitter tagline says it all, but one must be careful before they associate his name with The Simpsons. The Scully that most people associate with that series is actually his brother Mike Scully, who was show runner and executive producer for The Simpsons (and still works on that series to this day). Brian, on the other hand, has a more "storied" history having written for both Family Guy, The Simpsons, and a host of other sitcoms that have been largely forgetten (including his "roots" of writing for the '80s Out of This World). Now, he is serving as a writer and co-executive producer for Family Guy.
Why You Should Follow Him: Normally, we wouldn't even feature an animated series writer here, but Scully is worth following. First, he does have a rather interesting back story as a writer. Who knew that somebody who worked on Out of This World (and apparently even survived off of a residual check from reruns for a year after it ended) would end up on Family Guy over two decades later?  Besides that, he is rather active on Twitter, and it should come as no surprise that since he is a comedy writer, his Tweets are full of what you'd expect: comedy. Though it should be stated upfront that his Tweets aren't always necessarily politically correct... but consider the series that he writes for.
Pick of the Tweets: "If you got famous from either Reality TV or the Internet, you're not famous to me." (August 4, 2012)

That's all for this week. Until next time, keep it digital!


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July/August)

Father Knows Best - Season Six Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season Alice - The Complete Fifth Season Rhoda - Season Four Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four

06/13 - The Andy Griffith Show - Return to Mayberry
06/13 - That's My Mama - The Complete Series
06/20 - Workaholics - The Final (Seventh) Season
06/20 - Workaholics - The Complete Series
06/27 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Third Season
07/04 - Superstore - Season Two
07/18 - Father Knows Best - Season Six
07/25 - Diff'ernt Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season
07/25 - Girls - The Final (Sixth) Season (Blu-ray)
08/01 - Alice - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
08/01 - Crashing - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
08/15 - Rhoda - Season Four
08/22 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four
08/29 - Will & Grace - Season One (Universal)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, August 17

The Big Bang Theory - "The Allowance Evaporation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Sheldon and Amy have their first fight since moving in together, and Koothrappali is shocked at the realities of financial independence when he stops receiving support from his father.

Kevin Can Wait - "Kenny Can Wait" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Kevin strikes up an unlikely friendship with Harry Connick Jr., but gets caught in a web of lies trying to impress his new friend. Harry Connick Jr. guest stars as himself.

Great News - "Snowmageddon of the Century" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After organizing a poorly attended staff karaoke night, Carol (Andrea Martin) is convinced that everyone at "The Breakdown" needs some office bonding time. When Greg (Adam Campbell) refuses to help, Carol enlists the help of God, causing a huge snowstorm to trap everyone in the building overnight. Chuck (John Michael Higgins) takes an interest in working with Katie (Briga Heelan), which Portia (Nicole Richie) convinces Katie is romantic.

The Guest Book - "Story Four" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Christy heads up to the mountains to try and bond with her new boyfriend Paul and his 8-year-old daughter, but she self-medicates because of her anxiety and ends up revealing some skeletons in her closet.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 14)

Thursday, August 17

  • Jay Ellis (Insecure/The Game) - Catch Jay on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Rami Malek (The War at Home) - Rami appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Kathryn Hahn (I Love Dick/Happyish/Transparent) - Kathryn is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Michael Rapaport (Atypical/The War at Home) - Michael stops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep/The New Adventures of Old Christine/Seinfeld) - Julia visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond) - Ray drops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Fred Savage (The Grinder/Working/The Wonder Years) - Fred appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Sherri Shepherd (Trial & Error/Sherri/Less Than Perfect) - Sherri is a guest on a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Yara Shahidi (black-ish) - Yara shares her thoughts on the Emmy nominations and her new ‘girl power’ campaign on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Marlon Wayans (Marlon/The Wayans Bros.) - Marlon discusses his new Netflix show Naked on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Christopher Meloni (Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later/Surviving Jack/The Fanelli Boys) - Christopher will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation) - Aziz makes his Chew debut and cooks with Mario Batali on a repeat of ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Wendi McClendon-Covey (The Goldbergs/Rules of Engagmenet/Reno 911!) - Wendi teams up with Clinton Kelly for a delicious bite on a repeat of ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Demi Lovato (Sonny with a Chance) - Demi can be heard on The Morning Mash Up on SiriusXM at 9:15am.
  • Drake Bell (Drake & Josh) - Drake performs on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) - Ellie talks about Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Tasha Smith (Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse/The Tom Show/Boston Common) - Tasha talks about TV One's When Love Kills on the AOL Build Show at 3pm.