Saturday, February 02, 2013
UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW
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.
"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.
"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.
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.
To purchase Volume 1, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
To purchase Volume 2, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Hart to Hart on TV.com
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 (September)
09/06 - Coach - Season One (Mill Creek) / Season Two / Seasons One and Two
09/06 - South Park - The Complete Ninteenth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season
09/20 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season
09/20 - Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season
09/20 - Modern Family - The Complete Season 7
09/20 - Veep - Season 5
09/27 - The Wonder Years - Season Six
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest
Sitcoms Airing Tonight
Thursday, October 20
Superstore - "Dog Adoption Day" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
After new parents Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom) and Bo (recurring guest star Johnny Pemberton) get into a fight, Amy (America Ferrera) and Glenn (Mark McKinney) take vastly different approaches in giving them advice. Meanwhile, Mateo (Nico Santos) and Jonah (Ben Feldman) get assigned to handle dog adoptions in the store and work feverishly to get all of the dogs adopted once they find out what will happen to the dogs if they don't. Dina (Lauren Ash) refuses to adjust Garrett's (Colton Dunn) timecard based on "store rules," leaving Garrett happy to taunt Dina in revenge.
The Good Place - "The Eternal Shriek" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Eleanor (Kristen Bell) and Chidi (William Jackson Harper) set off on a quest with Janet (D'Arcy Carden) as their guide. Meanwhile, Tahani (Jameela Jamil) attempts to show Michael (Ted Danson) how much he is appreciated.
Better Things - "Duke's Chorus" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Sam and the family go-to-meeting.
Thursday, October 20
- Elijah Wood (Wilfred) - Catch Elijah on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Lena Dunham (Girls) - Lena is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
- Nick Kroll (The League/Cavemen) - Nick appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
- John Mulaney (Mulaney) - John is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
- Mila Kunis (That '70s Show/Family Guy) - Mila appears on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Matt LeBlanc (Man with a Plan/Episodes/Joey/Friends) - Matt chats about Man with a Plan on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am and on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat) - Randall is a guest on Harry, so check your local listings.
- Derek Theler (Baby Daddy) - Derek appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
- Patrice Lovely (Love Thy Neighbor) - Patrice visits Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
- Zach Galifianakis (Baskets) - Zach and the cast of Keeping Up with the Joneses will be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
- Wanda Sykes (The New Adventures of Old Christine/Wanda at Large) - Wanda will be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. She also joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
- Victoria Justice (Victorious/Zoey 101) - Victoria talks about The Rocky Horror Picture Show on People Now at 8:30am.
- Anna Camp (The Mindy Project) - Anna talks about Netflix's Good Girls Revolt on the AOL Build Show at 11am.
- Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother) - Cobie is a guest on Harry on Netflix.