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!

DIGITAL NEWS

This week, CBS and Amazon.com 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.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

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 FEATURE REVIEW


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)

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

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Harry O on TV.com


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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 (April/May/June)

Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season Father Knows Best - Season Five The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Second Season ALF - The Complete DVD Collection The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Series

04/04 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season
04/11 - Father Knows Best - Season Five
04/11 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Third Season
04/11 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/11 - Veep - The Complete Fifth Season
05/02 - Red, White and Blue Collar Sitcoms - Make TV Great Again
05/09 - ALF - The Complete DVD Collection
05/09 - Divorce - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
05/09 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Second Season
05/16 - The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Series
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
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, July 20

The Big Bang Theory - "The Brain Bowl Incubation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After a successful experiment combining their genes, Sheldon will stop at nothing to convince Amy they should procreate. Also, Koothrappali is embarrassed to tell the gang what the new woman he’s dating does for a living.

Life in Pieces - "Awkward Bra Automated Ordained" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Dinner gets awkward for Jen and Matt when they find themselves alone without Greg and Colleen. Also, Lark accidentally locks out Greg and Jen from the house, prompting Greg to install a complicated home automation system; Heather and Tim try to sneak wine into an ice skating show to get out of paying at the venue; and John and Joan agree to an impromptu wedding after Colleen mentions that she’s an ordained minister.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 17)

Thursday, July 20

  • T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley/The Goodwin Games/Carpoolers) - Catch T.J on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Jason Bateman (Arrested Development/The Hogan Family/It's Your Move) - Jason visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Ricky Gervais (The Office) - Ricky is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Abby Elliott (Odd Mom Out) - Abby appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. She will also be on The Wendy Williams Show at 2am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Issa Rae (Insecure) - Issa stops by Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm. She also chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Kate Micucci (Raising Hope/The Big Bang Theory) - Kate is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Queen Latifah (Living Single) - Queen Latifah visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Jada Pinkett Smith (A Different World) - Jada drops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo. She will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am and on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Regina Hall (Grandfathered) - Regina guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Tim Daly (Wings) - Tim is a guest on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Laura Linney (The Big C) - Laura talks about Netflix's The Big C on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Steve Guttenberg (Ballers) - Steve talks about HBO's Ballers on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Madison Iseman (Still the King) - Madison talks about CMT's Still the King on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.