Saturday, February 23, 2013

Digital Digest: More Laverne & Shirley on DVD; Rocko's Modern Life - The Complete Series DVD Review; Matlock - The Eighth Season DVD Review


Welcome to Digital Digest! This week, we've got reviews of Rocko's Modern Life - The Complete Series and Matlock - The Eighth Season. Let's get started!

DIGITAL NEWS

Laverne and Shirley are "gonna do it" once again on DVD this May! On May 21, CBS will release Laverne & Shirley - The Sixth Season on DVD at a $39.98 MSRP. With this release, the seventh and eighth seasons will still remain to be released, so hopefully we'll see those soon. There is still no word on the remaining seasons of Happy Days or Mork & Mindy (which only has one season to go, yet the most recent release was released over five years ago), but hopefully CBS will get back to those soon.

A few weeks ago, TVShowsOnDVD.com mentioned a listing for Alice - The Complete Third Season appearing on amazon.com, with a release date of February 12. That release didn't happen, but it appears that it will be coming, at least eventually. We have confidence that we'll see this from Warner Archive, and we'll let you know when that happens.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (February 26) brings releases of Rocko's Modern Life - The Complete Series and The Client List - The Complete First Season. We have a review of Rocko's Modern Life in this week's Digital Digest, and we'll have The Client List next week.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW


Blog DVD Review: Rocko's Modern Life - The Complete Series (Shout! Factory, $29.99)
by skees53

America's favorite animated wallaby is back on DVD once again... this time, with every episode in one set... in Rocko's Modern Life - The Complete Series! The eight disc set from Shout! Factory compiles all 52 episodes from the entire four season run of the series that ran on Nickelodeon from 1993 until 1996. While it was not one of the biggest Nicktoons ever, it did manage to become a worldwide cult favorite, and was loved by fans of all ages. Now, after releasing the first three seasons, Shout! has decided to place all four seasons in one value-priced collection.

Since this set contains 52 episodes, most containing two segments each, we'll skip on going into a lot of detail on the episodes of the first three seasons. We've already reviewed all of these seasons, and you can check out our reviews of season 1, season 2, and season 3 for details. Since we haven't reviewed season 4 (it has not been yet released individually), we will go into details on those episodes.

Season 4 begins with "With Friends Like These," where Rocko is forced to choose between friends. In "From Here to Maternity," somebody is expecting a bundle of joy. Rocko's former bully stops by in "Wimp on the Barby." Heffer decides to move out in "Mama's Boy." In "Magic Meatball," Ed Bighead begins to make big decisions using a magic 8-Ball. Filbert is suspected of being an alien in "The High Five of Doom." In "Heff in a Handbasket," Heffer sells his soul... just so that he can be on a game show. Rocko gets arrested after ding-dong-ditch gone wrong in "Dumbells." Heffer's mother asks Rocko to teach her how to drive in "Driving Mrs. Wolfe." The series ends with "Floundering Fathers," where the group looks back at the founding fathers of O-Town.

The episodes are essentially as unedited as we'll ever get. There have been reports of some censorship issues on the previous releases, but the material here seems to be all that Nickelodeon will allow to be released (and honestly, I don't find the edits to really be that significant). Runtimes are as follows:

Season 1/Disc 1:
1. "No Pain, No Gain/Who Gives a Buck" (23:28)
2. "Leap Frogs/Bedfellows" (22:27)
3. "Jetscream/Dirty Dog" (23:18)
4. "Keeping Up With the Bigheads/Skidmarks" (23:17)
5. "Power Trip/To Heck and Back" (23:49)
6. "The Good, the Bad, and the Wallaby/Trash-O-Madness" (22:16)
7. "SpitBalls/Popcorn Pandemonium" (23:28)

Season 1/Disc 2:
8. "A Sucker for the Suck-o-Matic/Canned" (24:32)
9. "Carnival Knowledge/Sand in Your Navel" (23:39)
10. "Cabin Fever/Rinse and Spit" (23:58)
11. "Rocko's Happy Sack/Flu-In-U-Enza" (23:21)
12. "Who's For Dinner?/Love Spanked" (24:14)
13. "Clean Lovin'/Unbalanced Load" (22:39)

Season 2/Disc 1:
1. "I Have No Son!" (23:59)
2. "Pipe Dreams/Tickled Pinky" (24:41)
3. "The Lounge Singer/She's the Toad" (24:08)
4. "Down the Hatch/Road Rash" (24:20)
5. "Boob Tubed/Commuted Sentence" (24:29)
6. "Rocko's Modern Christmas" (23:09)
7. "Hut Sut Raw/Kiss Me, I'm Foreign" (24:27)

Season 2/Disc 2:
8. "Cruisin'" (22:26)
9. "Born to Spawn/Uniform Behavior" (23:58)
10. "Hair Licked/Gutter Balls" (24:50)
11. "Junk Junkies/Day of the Flecko" (24:07)
12. "Snowballs/Frog's Best Friend" (24:36)
13. "Short Story/Eye Capades" (24:03)

Season 3/Disc 1:
1. "Bye, Bye, Birdie/Belch of Destiny" (24:51)
2. "The Emperor's New Joe/Schnit-Heads" (25:25)
3. "Sugar Frosted Frights/Ed is Dead: A Thriller!" (24:29)
4. "Fish-n-Chumps/Camera Shy" (25:23)
5. "Nothing to Sneeze At/Old Fogey Froggy" (25:46)
6. "Manic Mechanic/Rocko's Happy Vermin" (25:06)
7. "I See London, I See France/The Fat Lands" (25:44)

Season 3/Disc 2:
8. "Fortune Cookie/Dear John" (25:14)
9. "Speaking Terms/Tooth & Nail" (23:50)
10. "Wacky Delly" (25:05)
11. "The Big Question/The Big Answer" (24:58)
12. "An Elk for Heffer/Scrubbin' Down Under" (24:38)
13. "Zanzibar/Fatal Contraption" (25:05)

Season 4/Disc 1:
1. "With Friends Like These/Sailing the Seven Zzz's" (25:03)
2. "Pranksters/From Here to Maternity" (24:24)
3. "Ed Good, Rocko Bad/Teed Off" (24:28)
4. "Wimp on the Barby/Yarn Benders" (24:29)
5. "Mama's Boy/Feisty Geist" (24:38)
6. "S.W.A.K./Magic Meatball" (24:30)
7. "Closet Clown/Seat to Stardom" (24:16)

Season 4/Disc 2:
8. "The High Five of Doom/Fly Burgers" (25:09)
9. "Heff in a Handbasket/Wallaby on Wheels" (24:15)
10. "Dumbells/Rug Birds" (23:56)
11. "Hypno-Puppy Luv/Driving Mrs. Wolfe" (24:26)
12. "Put to Pasture/Future Schlock" (24:03)
13. "Turkey Time/Floundering Fathers" (24:24)

The packaging for this set is along the lines of the previous season releases, except (of course) in a much thicker package. Essentially, the set packages all of the discs in a DVD case that is twice as thick as a normal case, with four two-sided trays inside. The cover has a photo of Rocko, Filburt, Heffer, and Spunky (new artwork done by creator Joe Murray), with the same photo on the back, along with a series description. Inside, you'll find the eight discs, all of which have the same artwork that was used on the season sets. Unfortunately, this release does not include any episode listings at all.

The menus for this set are identical to all of the previous releases. On the main menu, there is a listing of all of the episodes (you can start with either segment of each episode), along with a Play All option. Any special features are also listed on this main menu as well. The closing theme music plays in the background on the menus. Chapters are placed within each episode.
The video and audio quality on the set is nothing particularly impressive, but it looks fine for an animated series created 20 years ago. You'll find a few defects here and there, but it is nothing that takes away from the enjoyment of the episodes. The audio is decent as well, and is very loud and clear. All of the episodes contain closed-captioning.

The set includes all of the special features included on the previous releases, along with one new one. On Season 4/Disc 2, you'll find "Wacky Delly Live 2012" (51:51), which is a 2012 table read of that particular episode in front of a live audience... but really it is much more than that, as there is an interesting Q&A with the cast at the end. This really remind me a lot of those excellent Comic-Con special features found on some of the Family Guy DVD sets. The other special features are the same as what was included on the individual season sets. Season 1, of course, had no special features. Season 2 has "Behind the Characters" shorts (16:11) and the original pilot version of "Trash-O-Madness" (8:09). Finally, Season 3 has "Selected Scenes Commentary by Joe Murray" (30:23).

This is a decent set, but I'm just wondering why Shout! chose to release the series in this manner. It would have been better if they'd just started by releasing this complete series set at the beginning, or released season four before this set. But this method... one that consumers tend to not really like... means that a lot of fans who have bought the first three seasons either have to buy all of them again to get the fourth season, or wait until the separate release comes along. If you haven't bought any of the previous releases, then this set is certainly a good deal and worth picking up. But if you do have those releases, it may be worth just waiting for the season 4 release to come along, as this set doesn't really offer anything new aside from season 4 episodes. In any event, I'm glad to see this series complete on DVD, and encourage everybody who loved the series to own it one way or the other. It really does maintain the charm that it had when it originally aired, and fans young and old are sure to love it.

(4/5 stars)

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

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Rocko's Modern Life on TV.com


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW



Blog DVD Review: Matlock - The Eighth Season (CBS, $49.99)
by skees53

Ben Matlock (Andy Griffith) has returned for the defense (and also to help the prosecutor figure out who REALLY did it) in Matlock - The Eighth Season. The next-to-last season of the series, and also the second season to air on ABC (after it moved from NBC in 1992) brings back Matlock, his "partner of the season" (and also daughter) Leanne (Brynne Thayer), and his investigator... another role that had frequent cast changes... Cliff (Daniel Roebuck). This six disc set collects 20 more episodes of the series, where Matlock finds himself entangled with killer comedians, lowly kidnappers, crooked D.A.'s, and more.

The season begins with "The Play," where Matlock plays a detective in a community play... but when a murder occurs, he may not just play a detective anymore. Matlock ends up entangled in a double murder in North Carolina in "The Fatal Seduction." Matlock visits the wife of his first client from 1962... a black cook accused of killing a white sheriff... in "The Diner." Matlock witnesses an argument from his hotel window that turns into something much bigger in "The View." One comedian is accused of killing another in "The Last Laugh," and it is no laughing matter. In "The Capital Offense," Matlock has reached the end of the road on saving a seemingly innocent man from death row. Matlock's client resembles a dead man in "The Haunted." In "The Conspiracy," Matlock defends an attorney charged with killing a fellow lawyer. Matlock takes a trip back to 1932 (and into a murder case) in "Matlock's Bad, Bad, Bad Dream"

Leanne finds herself falling for a client in "The Defendant." In "The Kidnapping," Billy gets kidnapped, and Matlock has only a little time to save his friend's life. Leanne falls victim to a criminal who steals her journal in "The Temptation." A choir member is accused of murder in "The Crook." In "The Murder Game," a murder mystery becomes a bit too real for everybody. Matlock goes up against a powerful D.A. with a deep and dark secret in "Brennen." A P.I.'s daughter takes photos that implicate the wrong man in the murder of a Hollywood mistress in "The P.I." In "The Godfather," Matlock's goddaughter is getting married... but not before the wedding turns into a murder to be solved. A young attorney who idolizes Matlock is forced to turn to Matlock after a shady private investigator is killed in "The Idol."

As far as I know, everything is intact on this set. Runtimes are as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "The Play" (46:15)
2. "The Fatal Seduction (Part 1)" (47:46)
3. "The Fatal Seduction (Part 2)" (46:29)
4. "The Diner" (47:14)

Disc 2:
5. "The View" (46:55)
6. "The Last Laugh" (47:45)
7. "The Capital Offense" (47:44)

Disc 3:
8. "The Haunted" (1:32:51)
9. "The Conspiracy" (47:44)
10. "Matlock's Bad, Bad, Bad Dream" (47:42)

Disc 4:
11. "The Defendant" (46:52)
12. "The Kidnapping (Part 1)" (47:44)
13. "The Kidnapping (Part 2)" (47:14)
14. "The Temptation" (47:16)

Disc 5:
15. "The Crook" (47:44)
16. "The Murder Game" (47:46)
17. "Brennen" (47:13)
18. "The P.I." (47:44)

Disc 6:
19. "The Godfather" (47:45)
20. "The Idol" (1:32:18)

Given that this is a CBS DVD release, it should come as no surprise that the packaging is exactly the same as all other CBS DVD releases. The discs come packaged in a standard Viva case, and there is a cast photo on the cover. On the back, you'll find another cast photo, along with a brief description of the set. Inside, there are the six discs, each of which have the standard gray CBS DVD artwork. There are also episode titles, descriptions, and airdates printed inside of the case.

The menus for this set are similar to the menus used on the seventh season. The main menu has a still photo of Matlock, along with a few episode snapshots, and a list of all of the episodes. There is also a Play All and Subtitles option. Once you select an episode, you get an episode menu. This menu has a photo snapshot from the episode, and gives you the option of playing the episode or the episodic teaser. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.

I'm not really convinced that much has been done as far as trying to make the video quality the best that it can be, but despite that, it really looks decent, and about how one would expect it to look. The picture is a bit soft, but I don't think it'll bother people too much. The audio is decent, but nothing spectacular. Each episode contains English subtitles.

There isn't much in regards to special features, but each episode does include a 30 second teaser, which CBS bills as a special feature. Really, I feel that this is something that should have been included regardless, but I probably shouldn't complain considering that they did include them, at least. These can be accessed from the episode menus.

Once again, CBS has another great set of episodes... but no special features. It is really a shame that they didn't get Andy Griffith to participate in some of the special features on previous releases. That opportunity is now gone, and the most that they could hope to do at this point is to go with archival footage. Still, it is great to see CBS getting close to completing this series on DVD, and after this, there is only one more season to go. I hope (and honestly expect) that we'll see this final season by the end of this year, giving fans once and for all, the opportunity to watch the entire series on home media.

(4/5 stars)

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

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Matlock on TV.com


FOLLOW ME 


Who to Follow: Bill Cosby (Twitter), "Comedy/Education"
Claim to Fame: Does he REALLY need an introduction? Everybody knows exactly who Bill Cosby is. His earliest days included a starring role on the series I Spy, as well as The Electric Company, but he became really big in the '80s as the star of one of the biggest sitcoms ever, The Cosby Show. Even though he isn't starring in any series right now, he still remains active in life and is nonetheless loved by his fans worldwide.
Why You Should Follow Him: We love Bill Cosby... who doesn't? He has entertained so many generations of fans that you would be hard-pressed to even find a single person who hasn't enjoyed something that he has done at some point in their life. Although he doesn't keep his Twitter feed going at full speed several times a day (or even every week for that matter), he does drop in from time to time to offer nuggets of wisdom about life and to entertain us with his thoughts about sweaters (why not?). Also, he keeps fans updated on what he is doing in life and even responds (with his own breed of humor) to rumors about his death... which, of course, are not even close to the truth.
Pick of the Tweets: "People who try to do very little, do just that." (October 25, 2012)

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


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November)

Dr. Ken - Season One Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season The Lucy Show - The Complete Series The Mindy Project - Season Four

10/04 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Christmas Special (Colorized)
10/04 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #1 (Colorized)
10/11 - Dr. Ken - Season One
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Series
10/11 - Nurse Jackie - Seasons One and Two
10/11 - Weeds - Seasons One and Two
11/01 - Schitt's Creek - Seasons One and Two
11/08 - Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season
11/08 - Your Family or Mine - Season One
11/15 - Community - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Lucy Show - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Mindy Project - Season Four
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, December 2

Last Man Standing - "Precious Snowflakes" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Mandy chooses local-celebrity Mike as the speaker for her business school’s graduation. After learning that the school requires his speech to be PC and micro-agression free, Mike decides whether or not to play by the rules. Meanwhile, Eve’s friend Cammy (Sarah Gilman) is home from college, bragging about how fantastic her new life has been, leaving Eve feeling slightly fruitless and discouraged.

Dr. Ken - "D.K's New Girlfriend" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When D.K. overhears Allison complain about him overstaying his welcome, he decides to move in with his girlfriend of three weeks. Meanwhile, Pat wants Dave to pretend he’s his adopted son; and Allison is convinced Molly wants to talk about something when she suggests they do a spa day, but the tables turn when Molly is the one doling out the advice.

I Love Lucy - "I Love Lucy Christmas Special" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The I LOVE LUCY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL features “The Christmas Episode” and the newly colorized “Lucy Gets in Pictures.” Both were colorized with a vintage look, a nod to the 1950s period in which the shows were filmed. The main titles and end credits of the two episodes are seamlessly combined into one set at the beginning and end of the hour, with no interruption between the episodes.

“The Christmas Episode” finds the Ricardos and Mertzes decorating Lucy and Ricky’s Christmas tree and reminiscing about how their lives have changed since the arrival of the Ricardos’ son, Little Ricky (Keith Thibodeaux). Flashbacks recall the night Lucy tells Ricky she is pregnant, the time Lucy shows up unexpectedly as part of a barbershop quartet and the day Ricky and the Mertzes rehearse taking Lucy to the maternity ward.

“The Christmas Episode” was first broadcast on CBS in December 1956. The episode was not included in the series’ long history of rebroadcasts, first on CBS Daytime and later in syndication. Thought to be lost, CBS rediscovered the episode in 1989.

In the newly colorized “Lucy Gets in Pictures,” Lucy’s lifelong dream of appearing in a motion picture seems to have come true when Ricky arranges for her to play a showgirl in a new musical. Unfortunately, the enormous feathered headdress she is expected to wear as she descends a staircase proves to be too cumbersome. After numerous mishaps on the stairs, the musical’s frustrated director (Lou Krugman) decides to make a change.

“Lucy Gets in Pictures” was originally broadcast Feb. 21, 1955, and was an immediate favorite not only of viewers, but of Lucille Ball herself. She restaged the famous headdress scene, again with Krugman, in the 1962 CBS special, “Opening Night,” and in 1965 in a slightly modified form, this time with actor Danny Thomas, in her second CBS series, “The Lucy Show.”

Liv and Maddie: Cali Style - "Cali Christmas-a-Rooney" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Maddie gets upset that she can't be in Wisconsin for Christmas, so Liv helps cheer her up.

Girl Meets World - "Girl Meets a Christmas Maya" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
As Christmas approaches, Riley gets excited to celebrate her favorite holiday, but for Maya, the holidays only bring back unhappy memories from her childhood.

Bunk'd - "How the Griff Stole Christmas" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The holidays arrive at Camp Kikiwaka with everyone in good spirits -- except for Griff.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 28)

Friday, December 2

  • Chelsea Handler (Are You There, Chelsea?) - Watch Chelsea on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) - John appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Andrew Rannells (Girls/The New Normal) - Andrew is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men/The Powers That Be/Bosom Buddies) - Holland chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory) - Melissa appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Busy Philipps (Vice Principals/Cougar Town) - Busy guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat) - Randall stops by LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Scott Patterson (Aliens in America) - Scott is a guest on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Kevin Quinn (Bunk'd) - Kevin appears on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Miss Piggy (The Muppets) - NBC's Today catches up with Miss Piggy in the 10am hour.
  • Gaby Hoffmann (Transparent/Someone Like Me) - Gaby appears on Chelsea on Netflix.