Saturday, February 09, 2013

Digital Digest: Warner Archive to Compete with Hulu and Netflix?; 6-Film Family Movies DVD Review

Regardless of whether or not you're snowed in this weekend, welcome to Digital Digest! We've got some interesting news from Warner Archive that isn't about selling DVDs this week, along with your other regular features... including a review of a collection of some family flicks, with Echo Bridge Home Entertainment's 6 Film Family Movies, which includes movies starring TV stars such as John Ritter and Matthew Perry. Let's get going!


DIGITAL NEWS

It appears that Warner Archive is on the verge into expanding to something even bigger... and it has actually already started, somewhat at least! While they haven't said a whole lot about it, a new service called Warner Archive Instant has popped up in the past week, and this appears to be another streaming video service, but the twist here is that it appears that this service will focus on older and more obscure series and movies. Here is a description of the service, straight from their own FAQ:
"Warner Archive Instant is the new streaming service of the Warner Archive (WarnerArchive.com). Warner Archive Instant lets you instantly view hundreds of rare and hard-to-find movies, TV shows and cartoons, culled from Warner Bros. library - the largest entertainment library in the world. Now is your chance to discover - and rediscover - rare movies and TV shows you can't find anywhere else (and some favorites you can) from Warner Bros., MGM, RKO, New Line, Monogram, Allied Artists, Lorimar and more."
So far, under series, they show episodes of 77 Sunset Strip, The Adventures of Superman, Hawaiian Eye, Cheyenne, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and Gilligan's Island. While we'd like to see more sitcoms in the mix, this seems to show that they'll be digging much deeper than the usual stuff we see on DVD! But don't bother going over to check all of this out right now... currently, this project is in the beta testing stage, so even though we're able to see what is being offered, none of us can actually check it out yet unless you happen to be a beta tester. In any event, though, we look forward to see what will come out of this! Warner was a pioneer of online TV streaming when they partnered with AOL for the (now defunct) In2TV service in 2005, which was one of the first ad supported services that allowed people to watch retro TV series, and it looks like Warner could be ready to impress us again in a different way. We'll definitely keep you posted!

Speaking of Warner Archive, it wasn't that long ago that they released the classic David Janssen detective drama Harry O - The Complete First Season on DVD, but this week, they managed to finish up the series with Harry O - The Complete Second Season. It is definitely to see that this under-appreciated gem of '70s TV is available to own on DVD! We hope to have a review of this new set in a few weeks.

On April 9, Image has their release of The Dick Van Dyke - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray), but if you can't wait too long for the second season, you won't have to... the second season will follow on May 7.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (February 12) has a release slate that features the final ten episodes of a Showtime series with Weeds - Season Eight (DVD/Blu-ray), as well as Nurse Jackie - Season Four (DVD/Blu-ray). Also, for fans of legal drama, CBS has Matlock - The Eighth Season.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW


Blog DVD Review: 6-Film Family Movies (Echo Bridge, $14.99)
by Pavan 

We usually don't cover movies here on the blog, but we have six very good films here and star many TV stars. Four films are TV movies, while two more are theatrical films. John Ritter, Joanna Kerns, Matthew Perry, and a young Reese Witherspoon lead the TV movie pack in this set, while Meryl Streep and Sharon Stone lead the theatrical films on this set. The 2-disc set from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment releases this Tuesday (Feb. 12).

Disc 1:

"Music of the Heart" 1999/Miramax (2:03:08) - Even after a decade of success stories teaching music to inner-city youth, Roberta Guaspari (Meryl Streep) finds her violin program may be cut. Also stars Aidan Quinn, Angela Bassett, Gloria Estefan, Jane Leeves, and Kieran Culkin

"Leave Yesterday Behind" 1978/ABC (1:36:37) - A talented young polo player (John Ritter) is left paralyzed and must overcome the obstacles of his injury. Also stars Carrie Fisher, Buddy Ebsen, and Robert Urich.

"Solomon's Choice" (1:32:01) 1992/NBC - A family is torn when their teenage daughter (Reese Witherspoon) is diagnosed with leukemia and their medically-unstable son is the best bet for a bone marrow transplant. Stars in this TV-movie include Joanna Kerns, Jeremy Sisto, and Bruce Davison. Also known as "Desperate Choices: To Save My Child."

"The Ron Clark Story" 1996/TNT (1:30:27) - An innovative teacher (Matthew Perry) takes risks and dreams big in one of Harlem's toughest classrooms. In this installment, you'll also see Ernie Hudson and James Dugan.

Disc 2:

"The Mighty" (1:40:26) 1998/Miramax - Two teens with disabilities unite and overcome their individual limitations together. Starring Sharon Stone, Gena Rowlands, Gillian Anderson, James Gandolfini and Kieran Culkin. .

"A Song from the Heart" (1:30:36) 1999/CBS - When a handsome composer enters the life of blind cellist Maryann Lowery, she learns that her true love has been beside her all along. Starring Amy Grant, D.W. Moffett, and Keith Carradine.

As far as packaging goes, it is a movie style case. The cover art for this set has the covers for each movie on left, with five of the major star names on top (Matthew Perry, Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon, John Ritter and Sharon Stone). The title "6 Family Movies" is on the right side in big lettering. Back of the case has a description of each movie and star listings. There is no artwork inside, just the discs. Disc one is on the black holder that you can flip like a page in a book, while disc two is on the right panel itself. Disc one has just the titles listed in the artwork in a blue sky background. Disc two is double-sided for some reason, so there is no artwork. Only two films on that disc but for some reason it is double-sided? Weird, since disc four is single-sided and has more movies (4).

The menus are pretty cool. Each movie has a main menu, which I like. We get the cover artwork on each main menu, and you can toggle between the movies by selecting Previous and Next. On each main menu we have Play and Chapter Selection. There are 10 chapter selections for each film except for "A Song from the Heart" has 15. The stops aren't really where they should have a chapter stop, though.

The video and audio quality on these DVDs is good. We have films mostly from the '90s, with just one film pretty old in "Leave Yesterday Behind" from 1978, so I wasn't really expecting a whole lot for that but that film is pretty good in video quality. All of the other ones are from the '90s so they look better and are on par on how they should look. Four of the films are widescreen, so they look the best. The audio, seems to be without any major issues and each film sounds great. There are no subtitles or closed-captioning, as there is no mention of any captioning on the packaging even.

There are no special features on this set and I don't think anyone expected any either.It would have been nice to have the original promos for the TV movies and the trailers for the theatrical movies on here, but it doesn't really matter.

It's a good set. I am not sure why they went with a mix of theatrical and TV movie, but I preferred the TV movies on this set. They are more rare and more interesting to watch. I hope Echo Bridge continues to bring out more TV movies on DVD. "Leave Yesterday Behind" is finally on DVD and I have been waiting for it for years. Now if they could get the John Ritter/Henry Winkler TV movie "The Only Way Out" I'd be ecstatic, since that film hasn't aired on TV since like the late '90s. As long as they give us some sitcom stars starring in these TV movies, we would love it! There are so many out there ye to be released on DVD, especially from the '70s-90s. My only gripe really with this set technically is why disc two was double-sided. I can't figure out why they would. I still recommend you getting this set for the great movies. It's good fun with familiar stars but films you probably have rarely seen! That's good because it is new to you!

(3.5/5 stars)

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Who to Follow: Wilmer Valderrama (Twitter/Facebook), "Self discovery is my hobby.. Changing the world my daily task."
Claim to Fame: Best known for playing Fez on That '70s Show, Valderrama has also appeared in many movies and also makes guest appearances in sitcoms in recent years, including Are You There, Chelsea?, Men At Work, and most recently, Raising Hope and Suburgatory.
Why You Should Follow Him: Valderrama is simply an easy-going actor who is worth following just for a bit of optimism. He seems to really appreciate his fans, and if you go through and read his postings, you'll find that he manages to keep positive on literally everything. No matter how hard you look, you'd be hard pressed to find anything negative. He is also good at keeping his fans updated on what is going on in his life, and gives us plenty of updates of his happenings in the form of photos.
Pick of the Tweets: "You don't know cardio till you chase the ice cream man down three blocks... #IceCreamSandwich" (November 14, 2012)

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


New on DVD/Blu-ray (April/May)

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
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, May 25

The Goldbergs - "Agassi" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Adam feels like he’s losing his best friend, Chad, so he attempts to join the tennis team.  When Chad picks Dave Kim as his partner, Adam vows to take him down with Barry in a tennis match, channeling Andre Agassi.  Meanwhile, with the help of Beverly, Erica deals with her post-break up depression just in time for Valentine’s Day.

American Housewife - "The Club" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Anna-Kat develops a fear of water and stops bathing, her therapist suggests the Ottos get her to go swimming. But can Katie get over own her fear of wearing a bathing suit in public at the Westport Country Club so she can help her kid out? Meanwhile Oliver gives his dad a style makeover after students at the college give Greg a low “jalapeƱo” score.

Modern Family - "Do It Yourself" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Feeling empowered after his successful do-it-yourself  project, Phil convinces Jay to co-invest in a property he has always wanted to develop. Meanwhile, Claire’s new obsession with a TV chef and her new love of cooking Sunday dinners hasn’t been as tasty as she thinks. Haley is the family’s only hope to add a little spice to the situation. At the Pritchett-Tucker house, Cam and Mitchell see that the family is too reliant on technology, so they attempt to teach Lily the importance of hard work, which ends disastrously. Back at the Pritchett’s, Jay feels replaced when he sees Gloria has hired Coach Gary (Payton Manning) to coach Joe and serve as a handy man.

Modern Family - "Heavy Is the Head" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Despite their lofty hopes, Phil and Jay’s property investment might turn out to be a bust, forcing Phil to rethink his original dream. Meanwhile, Cam lands in the hospital due to a head injury and refuses to have an MRI thanks to a traumatic incident with a well when he was a child. Determined to finally impress Claire and keep her from re-gifting her birthday present, Gloria surprises her with a day of luxury at the office. However, after Claire had to implement some rather harsh budget cuts at work, a massage at her desk may not be sending the right message.

black-ish - "Auntsgiving" (ABC, 10:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Pops’ older sister Almaviligerais unexpectedly arrives for Thanksgiving, much to everyone’s delight except Ruby, who can’t stand her ex-sister-in-law. While Bow and Dre go on their last vacation before the baby arrives, the kids try to figure out why Ruby hates Almaviligerais so much.

Speechless - "D-I-- DING" (ABC, 10:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After leaving a note behind Maya’s back, Ray takes sides against the family when Maya dings a nearby car.  Following through on a promise, Jimmy and Dylan share a moment, as father and daughter are on a search in the back room at the local supermarket while JJ teaches a rude customer a lesson, and a moonlighting Kenneth hides his side job from the DiMeos.

The Big Bang Theory - "The Emotion Detection Automation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Sheldon beta-tests an MIT invention after hearing it can help him read people’s emotions. Also, Leonard can’t hide his feelings when Penny announces her brother is coming to town, and Raj invites his ex-girlfriends over to give him dating advice. Laura Spencer, Katie Micucci, Alessandra Torresani and Katie Leclerc return as Raj’s ex-girlfriends.

Superior Donuts - "What's the Big Idea?" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Franco’s creative new donut flavors become bestsellers, Arthur tries to prove he’s still relevant by coming up with a unique one of his own. Also, Fawz works to dream up an inventive password in order to keep Maya and James from stealing his store’s WiFi.

Mom - "Sword Fights and a Dominican Shortstop" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Christy considers giving up her dream of becoming a lawyer when Bonnie’s ex-girlfriend, Jeanine (Rosie O’Donnell), offers her a lucrative job in real estate. Also, Adam is very curious about Bonnie’s past with women.

Life in Pieces - "Eyebrow Anonymous Trapped Gem" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Tim accidentally shaves off a huge chunk of eyebrow before an important photoshoot, he hopes Jen and Colleen’s grooming expertise can fix it. Also, when Gigi passes away, Greg makes an anonymous donation with the money she left him, but later realizes he wants to be recognized for it; John learns firsthand what Gigi’s life was like at the nursing home; and Joan honors her mother’s memory with unusual jewelry.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 22)

Thursday, May 25

  • Jada Pinkett-Smith (A Different World) - Catch Jada on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Jamie Foxx (The Jamie Foxx Show) - Jamie is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. He will also be on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Laurie Metcalf (The Big Bang Theory/The McCartyhs/Roseanne) - Laurie stops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Bryan appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Zach Woods (Silicon Valley/The Office) - Zach visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Wanda Sykes (The New Adventures of Old Christine/Wanda Large) - Wanda appears on a repeat of Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm.
  • Whitney Cummings (whitney) - Whitney is a guest on a repeat of @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • The Cast of Veep - Julia Louis Dreyfus, Tony Hale, Anna Chlumsky, Reid Scott, Matt Walsh, Timothy Simons, Kevin Dunn, Gary Cole and Sam Richardson are guests on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Chelsea Handler (Are You There, Chelsea?) - Chelsea stops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Sherri Shepherd (Trial & Error/Sherri/Less Than Perfect) - Sherri appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Tiffani Thiessen (Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The College Years) - Tiffani kicks off summer with recipes that are included in People's Summer Grilling special issue on People Now at 8:30am.