Saturday, April 06, 2013

Digital Digest: Arrested Development Returning in a Big Way; Shout! Factory Updates; Petticoat Junction - Return to Hooterville DVD Review

Welcome to Digital Digest! This week, we've got some updates on Arrested Development, Shout! Factory titles, and a review of Petticoat Junction - Return to Hooterville. Let's get going!


We're sure that fans have already heard the "big news" by now (and we've been talking about it for quite some time), but fans of the sitcom Arrested Development now have a firm date on when they'll be able to enjoy new episodes on Netflix. On Sunday, May 26 at 12:01 AM (that is Memorial Day weekend), the new episodes will debut on the streaming service. But it won't be one episode of the series, or even two for that matter. In fact, it will be a whopping fifteen new episodes of the series, all on one day! We have a feeling that fans of the series will be right there at 12:01 to stream all fifteen episodes. Arrested Development centers around Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) and his eccentric family comprised of his son George Michael (Michael Cera), his father George Bluth Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor), his mother Lucille (Jessica Walter), his brothers George Oscar Bluth II (Will Arnett), Buster Bluth (Tony Hale) and sister Lindsay Funke (Portia de Rossi), and Lindsay's husband Tobias (David Cross) and their daughter Maeby (Alia Shawkat). As of now, this is slated to be the final season of the series (a way to wrap it up since Fox didn't allow that six years ago), but if more episodes are to come, we'll let you know!

Heading back over to the DVD side of things, some pre-order listings for some Shout! Factory releases popped up online lately, with one of the biggest ones being for The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis - The Complete Series. It was announced a few months ago that this would be coming, but now a preliminary release date of July 2 has been set for this megaset. No details have been given yet on what (if any) special features will be included, but so far it is known that it will be a 20 disc set that will come at a $139.99 MSRP.

Meanwhile, Shout! is moving ahead with Quincy, M.E. with a July 9 release of Quincy, M.E. - Season 6. The five-disc set will come at a $39.97 MSRP. And, to follow up both of these releases, Shout! has the long-awaited release of The Jack Benny Program - The Lost Episodes coming up on July 23. It sounds like it'll be a busy summer for Shout!, and we can't wait to see what may be in store for August!


Tuesday (April 9) isn't a big release date, but it does bring us the long-awaited release of Family Ties - The Sixth Season (review) and The Dick Van Dyke Show - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray).


Blog DVD Review: Petticoat Junction - Return to Hooterville (MPI, $14.98)
by skees53

In the early '60s, Paul Henning had made The Beverly Hillbillies a success for CBS. In fact, it was so successful that CBS craved more from the creator, and he came back to bring more success in 1963 with Petticoat Junction. It went on to last for almost a decade with over 200 episodes, until it was eventually canceled... in fact, it left the air even before CBS did their complete "rural purge." Although there have been some DVD releases of episodes of the series, MPI has now put together a single DVD that is essentially a "special features" DVD, bringing fans a full-length documentary, cast commercials, cast appearances on other series, and more.

Before we even begin, we should give an important disclaimer: much of the material seen on this DVD is a repeat of the special features from MPI's release of Petticoat Junction - The Ultimate Collection (review). The main feature on this DVD is "The History of Hooterville" (46:37). In this interview, we hear from Linda Kaye Henning, Gunilla Hutton, Mike Minor, Frank Cady, Shirley Mitchell, and Charles Lane as they all relive the history of the series through all seven seasons and recount their own personal memories of the series. Like many features, this is a "repeat" feature from 2005, which explains why Frank Cady and Charles Lane both appear in it. However, there is a slight update at the end for the "in memory of" screen, as Lane and Cady's names have been added to that list.

Cast commercials (10:18) is a series of cast commercials used from the first season of the series. These are basically plugs that cast members did (in character) at the end of the episode for the sponsor of the series, which happened to be Procter & Gamble. This is almost like what was included on the previous release from MPI, but they actually included nine this time (as opposed to just eight). However, Linda Kaye Henning's introduction is gone.

Outtakes and Production Footage (22:04) is something new for fans. For one of the first times (ever), we actually get to see some full color footage from the series on DVD! This features a lot of clips of recording stock footage for the series, photos from production, and a few outtakes from some of the color episodes of the series. Unfortunately, all of this is silent in the sense that none of the audio is included with the clips... but there IS some audio, as Linda Kaye Henning and Jim Pierson talk about what is going on in the form of commentary. Despite how technical it is, I really enjoyed it.

"The Girls From Petticoat Junction" (2:10) seems to be mostly a promotional plug for an album called Sixties Sounds - The Girls From Petticoat Junction, which features Linda Kaye Henning, Meredith MacRae, and Lori Saunders.

"Shady Rest Memories" (14:14) is one of the "new" special features for this set, and it is almost like an extension to the main feature. Here, Jack Bannon (son of Bea Benaderet, series dialog coach, and guest actor on the series) talks a lot about his own memories of the series. He spends a lot of time talking about his memories of his mother as well, of course, which fans of the series are sure to appreciate.

"Original Promotional Spots" (3:44) is a series of original promos for the series from CBS. All of these are presented in color.

"Before Benji: The Story of Higgins" (16:38) is a short documentary about the life of Higgins, the four-legged actor who played the unnamed dog on the series. Of course, it mostly focuses on his more famous role as Benji. This is a very old documentary that was very obviously made in 1976, and has all of the production qualities of a bad '70s film strip... but to be honest, that actually makes it much more interesting and gives it a very nostalgic feeling.

"A Cannonball Christmas" (30:28) is actually a full-length episode of the series, which is "padded" a bit with an introduction from Linda Kaye Henning, and even a special Christmas message from Linda Kaye Henning and Frank Cady at the end of the episode.

Finally, there are some Special Petticoat Appearances, which gives us appearances of cast members on other series (or in some cases, radio... you didn't think MPI would let a release slide without a Let's Talk to Lucy feature, did you?). These include appearances of Bea Benaderet on Talent Scouts (3:02), The Danny Kaye Show (29:55), and Let's Talk to Lucy (17:45). For Linda Kaye Henning, we get to see appearances from Keene at Noon (10:38), The Song Is You (5:02), and The Perfect Match (21:44). The most interesting of all of these is The Perfect Match, which is apparently a long lost '60s game show where a high tech computer matches up couples... and prizes are involved too. The winner of the episode seen here won an attache case.

The packaging for the DVD is rather standard, using a basic Amaray case. On the cover, there is a photo of the girls from Petticoat Junction, and there are a few more photos on the back. There is a list of some (but not all) of the features on the back as well. The disc itself has the same photo seen on the front cover of the DVD case.

The DVD is packaged in a standard DVD case, with a cast photo on the cover (you'll notice that only three of the eight people pictured were original cast members). There are a few more photos on the back, along with a brief description of the movie and a list of special features. Inside, you'll find the disc, which has the same artwork as seen on the cover.

The menus on the DVD are fine, but nothing very special. The main menu simply has a list of all of the options on the DVD, along with a "Next" option (since they don't all fit on one menu). There is an option to turn on subtitles, but unfortunately, those are only available for the main feature on the DVD. Chapters are placed in all places where they should be in each feature.

For a DVD like this, it isn't really productive to comment on the video and audio quality. Most of the material on here is archival footage with questionable sources, so aside from the interviews, expect it to things to look OK at best. However, nothing is really terrible. The audio on the DVD is in mono, of course, and while the set proclaims to have subtitles, you'll only find it on the main feature (The History of Hooterville).

I wouldn't call this a bad DVD, but it only offers special features for the series, and nothing more. In addition, some of these are special features that we've seen before (but not quite as many as I initially believed). If you're a huge fan of the series, you'll want to own this DVD. But if you are anything but a huge fan, you may or may not be interested in this. It gives a lot of special features, but doesn't get us any further in getting more episodes on DVD (which in all fairness, MPI isn't responsible for that holdup). In short, this is a great collection of features for fans of the series, but if you're looking for episodes, you'll just have to wait for CBS to release more.

(4/5 stars)

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Petticoat Junction on


Who to Follow: Sarah Chalke (Twitter), "I can write with my feet."
Claim to Fame: Sarah Chalke first became known to American TV audiences in 1993 when she played Becky (well, one of them anyway) on the popular sitcom Roseanne. Even though she only sporadically played the role (constantly swapping the position with Lecy Goranson, the "other" Becky), Chalke later went on to star as Dr. Eliot Reed in Scrubs. In addition, she has appeared in How I Met Your Mother and Cougar Town, and currently, she stars in the ABC sitcom How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life).
Why You Should Follow Her: Chalke is, by all means, well on her way to becoming a sitcom legend. She isn't even 40 yet, but she has already spent a large chunk of her adult life as a sitcom actress, and regardless of what happens with her new series, it seems unlikely that she will be disappearing from our screens anytime soon. She is still relatively new to Twitter, but we don't anticipate her leaving soon, and only expect her to become a bigger star as time goes on.
Pick of the Tweets: "One of my favorite things is Brad Garrett going for a jog in jeans and a sweater" (April 3, 2013)

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

Thursday, October 27

The Big Bang Theory - "The Fetal Kick Catalyst" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Penny is surprised to learn she has fans of her performance in “Serial Ape-ist” when she attends Van Nuys Comic Con with Leonard. Also, Amy hosts a Sheldon-style brunch at Penny’s apartment, and Wolowitz makes an impulsive purchase when he starts stressing out about the baby on the way.

The Great Indoors - "Pilot" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Joel McHale stars as Jack, a renowned adventure reporter for an outdoor magazine who must adapt to the times when he becomes the new desk-bound boss to a group of millennials in the digital department of the publication.

Mom - "High-Tops and Brown Jacket" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bonnie and Adam’s relationship is tested when he moves in with her and Christy for a few weeks. Also, Christy learns the hard way that it may be a mistake to try and meet men with Jill.

Life in Pieces - "Annulled Roommate Pill Shower" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Heather and Tim enlist Clementine’s unusual parents, Mary-Lynn (Megan Mullally) and Spencer (Nick Offerman), to help convince Clementine and Tyler to annul their unexpected marriage. Also, Tommy moves in with Colleen, to the chagrin of her roommate, Dougie (Fortune Feimster); John and Joan run into “complications” after John takes the wrong dose of his daily pill; and Jen and Greg keep a secret from the family.

Superstore - "Halloween Theft" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Dina (Lauren Ash) throws a wrench in everyone's Halloween plans when something goes missing from the store and declares that no employee can leave until someone confesses to stealing. Amy (America Ferrera) is determined to find out who is responsible because she doesn't want to miss trick-or-treating with her daughter and Mateo (Nico Santos) prepares for his secret date with Jeff (recurring guest star Michael Bunin). Meanwhile, Jonah (Ben Feldman) and Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom) struggle to bond until they discover they have more in common than they thought. Garrett (Colton Dunn) has a difficult time defending himself during the store-wide investigation.

The Good Place - "Most Improved Player" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Michael (Ted Danson) has a private meeting with Eleanor (Kristen Bell). Meanwhile, Chidi (William Jackson Harper), who has been harboring a secret, contemplates what to do.

Better Things - "Scary Fun" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Sam makes a point.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 24)

Thursday, October 27

  • Martin Short (Mulaney/The Martin Short Show) - Catch Martin on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds) - Mary-Louise visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • January Jones (The Last Man on Earth) - January appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Lauren Lapkus (Clipped/Are You There, Chelsea?) - Lauren is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) - Abbi visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron appears on Chelsea on Netflix. He also talks about Inferno on NBC's Today in the 10am hour and on the AOL Build Show at 2:30pm.
  • Nathan Lane (Modern Family/Charlie Lawrence/Encore! Encore!), John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) and John Slattery (Maggie) - They talk about Broadway's The Front Page on The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Joel McHale (The Great Indoors/Community) - Joel guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) - Miley is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Eva Longoria (Telenovela) - Eva appears on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Angelique Cabral (Life in Pieces/Enlisted) - Angelique talks about Life in Pieces on the AOL Build Show at 11am.