Saturday, February 16, 2013

Digital Digest: New CBS Offerings on Amazon Prime; Harry O - The Complete Second Season DVD Review

Welcome to Digital Digest! We don't really have any President's Day weekend specials for you, but we do have all of our regular features, as well as a review of Warner Archive's release of Harry O - The Complete Second Season. Let's get going!


This week, CBS and announced an agreement that will bring more CBS content to the Amazon Prime streaming service. While some CBS programming has been available for some time on the service, this latest agreement will add unlimited streaming of series including Everybody Loves Raymond, Jericho, The L Word, and more to subscribers. New programs from this agreement are already available to watch on the service.

The NBC series 30 Rock recently came to an end, and fans won't have to wait too long to finish up the series on DVD. Look for 30 Rock - Season 7 on DVD on April 30. Not a lot of details are known about the set at this time, but it will come at a $44.98 MSRP.


Tuesday (February 19) doesn't have any new sitcom releases, but there are two other releases of note, including the TMG release of Grizzly Adams - Season Two and Alvin and the Chipmunks - Easter Collection.


Blog DVD Review: Harry O - The Complete Second Season (Warner Archive, $49.95)

Harry Orwell (David Janssen) is back on DVD for the second (and sadly, as the packaging so bluntly puts it, final) season of Harry O. Running for two seasons on ABC in the mid 70s, the series was among the first of a new breed of private eye series, where the private eye was just an ordinary guy who had his own problems in life. Despite only lasting two seasons, the series was retooled a couple of times, but for this season stays pretty much consistent throughout.

The season begins with "Anatomy of a Frame," where Harry must help Lt. Trench after he is framed for murder. Larry Hagman guest stars in "One for the Road," where a lawyer is framed for drunk driving by her deranged husband. Diamond smugglers kidnap Sue (Farrah Fawcett) in "Lester Two." In "Shades," a housekeeper wants her name cleared after she kills a small-time hood. Adam Arkin and Katherine Helmond guest star in "Portrait of a Murder," where a mentally challenged man is accused of several murders. In "The Acolyte," Harry has to rescue a woman from a cult. A plan crash uncovers an attempted murder in "Mayday." The old folks home may be doing some things wrong in the way they care for patients in "Tender Killing Care." In "APB Harry Orwell," Harry becomes a "fugitive" (perhaps not a role too difficult for Janssen to play!) after he is framed for murder and escapes to find the real killer (it wasn't a one-armed man). A psychiatrist deals with a murderer among a group involved in group therapy in "Group Terror." Harry's ex-wife is taken hostage in "Reflections." A cop is accused of murdering his daughter's boyfriend in "Exercise in Fatality."

Harry's former partner is killed while investigating an old murder in "The Madonna Legacy." In "Mister Five and Dime," a case involving a gang of armored car thieves keeps getting more and more complicated. A gambling club owner is murdered in "Book of Changes," but things may only get worse if his book of clients is found by extortionists. Things go badly for everybody involved when a con artist takes Harry hostage in "Past Imperfect." In "Hostage," Harry has to intervene in a hostage crisis where Trench is taken as one of the hostages. Harry investigates the killing of a private eye in Chinatown in "Forbidden City." A rape victim hires Harry after her case is dropped due to lack of evidence in "Victim." In "Ruby," an old friend of Harry's hires him to exonerate her son, but what he discovers is a very complicated case with plenty of twists and turns. The series makes an attempt to have a spinoff in "The Mysterious Case of Lester and Dr. Fong." The series ends with "Death Certificate," where Harry investigates a doctor suspected of fatal malpractice.

The episodes seem to be unedited. Runtimes are as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "Anatomy of a Frame" (50:16)
2. "One for the Road" (50:14)
3. "Lester Two" (50:11)
4. "Shades" (50:18)

Disc 2:
5. "Portrait of a Murder" (50:16)
6. "The Acolyte" (50:13)
7. "Mayday" (49:46)
8. "Tender Killing Care" (50:16)

Disc 3:
9. "APB Harry Orwell" (50:12)
10. "Group Terror" (49:40)
11. "Reflections" (49:47)
12. "Exercise in Fatality" (49:15)

Disc 4:
13. "The Madonna Legacy" (49:20)
14. "Mister Five and Dime" (50:17)
15. "Book of Changes" (50:17)
16. "Past Imperfect" (50:13)

Disc 5:
17. "Hostage" (50:22)
18. "Forbidden City" (50:09)
19. "Victim" (50:11)
20. "Ruby" (50:19)

Disc 6:
21. "The Mysterious Case of Lester and Dr. Fong" (50:17)
22. "Death Certificate" (49:29)

Warner Archive has, not surprisingly, left the packaging consistent with the previous season, except this time they have gone with a green color scheme. The cover art has a photo of Harry inside of a big O (much like the opening credits), and on the back, there is a description of the season, along with a few episode snapshots. Inside the case (it is a standard Viva case, of course), you'll find the six discs, all of which have the same artwork as seen on the cover. Episode titles are printed on each disc. There are no episode descriptions included.

The menus on this set are very basic, but still nicely designed. The main menu has artwork that is identical to the cover art, and simply lists all of the episodes on the disc, along with a Play All option. Once an episode is selected, it plays immediately. Chapters are placed throughout episodes.

The video and audio quality of the set is about the same as the previous release, which means that it is perfectly fine... but nothing extraordinary. When the first season came out, it was advertised as being "newly remastered," but this one does not carry that same description. But honestly, the episodes on this set look no better (or worse) than the first season, which leads me to believe both sets got the same treatment. Mostly, there are issues with grain and debris (and some of the opening teasers look particularly bad), and while the episodes do not look like some of the extensively remastered episodes we get from some studios, I don't see any issues of true concern here. The audio is loud and clear, and in mono of course. The episodes do not have closed-captions or subtitles.

This set doesn't contain any special features.

This really has to be one of the best series that I've discovered primarily through DVD, and it is especially great that it made it onto DVD (and was finished in just months) with only lasting two seasons. This just goes to show that even the rarest of series can succeed on DVD, and find a new audience after being rarely seen over a period of nearly 40 years. Warner Archive has done an excellent job with this series, and I feel that this is a must own for fans of private eye series of the 70s and 80s.

(4/5 stars)

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Warner Archive

Related links: DVD Reviews Page
Harry O on


Who to Follow: Ben Savage (Twitter), "Actor. Writer. Stanford grad. Sushi connoisseur. Zac Efron fan."
Claim to Fame: In the late 80s, teenage girls had a heartthrob in a Savage, but that was actually his older brother Fred Savage. The younger Ben Savage never quite managed to achieve that heartthrob status that his older brother reached, but his starring role as Cory Matthews in the ABC series Boy Meets World.
Why You Should Follow Him: He was Cory Matthews... and that should really be in all caps. If you ever watched TGIF in the 90s, you remember this show. And some people, myself included, have learned to appreciate the show even more in reruns. It is one of the few shows out there with a fan base that includes a lot of people who are "Generation X" (the oldest of whom are already in their 40s) and younger. In fact, it is so popular that there is actually a Girl Meets World spinoff in the works for Disney Channel... and yes, Savage will return, this time as a father. But let's just bring this back to Savage himself for a moment. He is an excellent actor who seems to really respect his fans. He is a very humorous person, and he is probably one of the few child stars of the 90s who actually talks to Snooki on Twitter.
Pick of the Tweets: "Honey Boo Boo's mom is exactly right: "All that vajiggle jaggle is not beautimous". Am I the only one who wants to move in with this family?" (August 9, 2012)

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

New on DVD/Blu-ray (September)

The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season Modern Family - The Complete Season 7

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

Saturday, October 22

Superstore - "Guns, Pills and Birds" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Amy (America Ferrera) assigns an uncomfortable Jonah (Ben Feldman) to the gun section of Cloud 9, Jonah abuses his right-to-refuse sale to anyone that causes concern, causing an open-carry protest to gather in the store. On principle, Glenn (Mark McKinney) attempts to purchase all of the store's morning-after pills, but finds himself in a moral dilemma when he can't afford them. Dina (Lauren Ash), Garrett (Colton Dunn) and Mateo (Nico Santos) hunt down a crow that has flown into the store.

The Thundermans - "Happy Heroween" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
It's a major Halloween storm outside, but inside Colosso keeps the family spooked by telling three scary stories that are sure to terrify even the bravest of superheroes.

School of Rock - "Welcome to My Nightmare" (Nickelodeon, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Mr. Finn's class decides to celebrate Halloween in school after Principal Mullins, who hates the holiday, goes home sick. When she returns sooner than expected, they have to scramble to keep her from finding out the truth.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 24)

Saturday, October 22

  • Jim J. Bullock (Too Close for Comfort) - Jim talks about touring the U.S. in Kinky Boots on Oprah: Where Are They Now? at 10pm ET/PT on OWN.
Sunday, October 23
  • Patti LaBelle (Out All Night) - Catch Patti on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
Monday, October 24
  • Ricky Gervais (The Office) - Watch Ricky on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Tom Hanks (Bosom Buddies) - Tom appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He also talks about Inferno on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Elijah Wood (Wilfred) - Elijah is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ana Gasteyer (People of Earth/Lady Dynamite/Suburgatory) - Ana visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) - Nick stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) - Zooey is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Michael Chiklis (Daddio) - Michael drops by Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Jameela Jamil (The Good Place) - Jameela appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Aya Cash (You're the Worst) - Aya talks about You're the Worst on the AOL Build ShoW at 2pm. She will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Will is a guest on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Mary Steenburgen (The Last Man on Earth/Ink) - Mary talks about The Last Man on Earth on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. She will also be on the AOL Build Show at 12:30pm.
  • Anna Camp (The Mindy Project) - Anna talks about Good Girls Revolt on People Now at 8:30am.
  • James Brolin (Life in Pieces) - James is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.