Saturday, April 27, 2013

Digital Digest: New Dick Van Dyke Blu-rays; The Roman Holidays on DVD; Dr. Kildare - The Complete First Season DVD Review

Welcome to Digital Digest! On this last weekend of April, we've got exactly what the doctor ordered with our review of Dr. Kildare - The Complete First Season, and of course all of our regular features. Let's get started!


Image has long ago released The Dick Van Dyke Show - The Complete Series (Blu-ray), but for those wanting the series in smaller chunks, another season is on the way on July 2 as they release The Dick Van Dyke Show - Season Four (Blu-ray). We anticipate that this release will be identical to the fourth season as seen on the release of the complete series, of course.

Warner Archive brought a rare Hanna-Barbera gem out of the archives this week with their release of The Roman Holidays - The Complete Series. The two-disc set contains all 13 episodes of the animated series. For those unfamiliar with the series, it is an animated series all about tackling family life circa AD 63. Augustus “Gus” Holiday (Dave Willock) is the man of the clan, lovely and level-headed spouse Laurie (Shirley Mitchell) keeps things on an even keel while teen-age trouble maker Happius (Stanley Livingston) and child prodigy Precocia (Pamelyn Ferdin) threaten to break the Pax Familia.


Tuesday (April 30) isn't a big day for releases, but it brings a pair of releases of two seasons of a hit NBC series from the past to Blu-ray with Warner Home Video's releases of Friends - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray) and Friends - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray).


Blog DVD Review: Dr. Kildare - The Complete First Season (Warner Archive, $49.95)
by skees53

The doctor is in, as Dr. Kildare debuts on DVD with Dr. Kildare - The Complete First Season. But Dr. James Kildare (Richard Chamberlain) was not like many other TV doctors at the time, in that he wasn't an accomplished physician. Instead, much like those on the sitcom Scrubs, Dr. Kildare was an intern... but a very gifted intern. Under the watchful eye of Dr. Leonard Gillespie (Raymond Massey), Dr. Kildare managed to turn medicine into not only his job, but in fact a very special gift and talent. The medical drama debuted on NBC in 1961 and lasted until 1966, and was a pioneer for all medical dramas seen on TV past and present.

The series begins with "Twenty-Four Hours," where Dr. Kildare is determined to do the best work possible to get a residency under Dr. Gillespie. Kildare has to prevent a smallpox epidemic in "Immunity." The family of a taxicab driver threatens to sue for malpractice in "Admitting Service." In "The Lonely Ones," Kildare is upset over the death of a homeless person in the E.R. Kildare goes from doctor to patient after a little accident in the hospital in "The Patient." A patient is in a coma in "For the Living," and there appears to be little chance that he'll come back... but his wife isn't going to hear it.

A modern day Scrooge hits the hospital in "Season to be Jolly." In "Johnny Temple," Kildare and Gillespie struggle with trying to figure out what to do with a mentally disturbed teenager. A hospital administrator fires a city appointee in "The Administrator." In "Oh My Daughter," Gillespie tries to figure out why his daughter reacts the way that she does to the news of her pregnancy. There is a food poisoning outbreak in "The Search," and it is a race against time. In "The Bronc Buster," Kildare has to help his rowdy cousin adjust to urban life. A critically ill patient will only continue to suffer if she doesn't get the proper care in "The Witch Doctor."

Kildare is on duty in obstetrics in "Solomon's Choice." A nun can't stay out of the affairs of other patients when she is admitted for gallstones in "A Very Present Help." In "The Horn of Plenty," Kildare refuses to give preferential treatment to a wealthy patient... even while under pressure to do so from others. There is a race to find a cure for a rare blood disease in "Something of Importance." In "The Road to the Heart," a deaf boy's mother isn't too interested in hearing about something that may restore her son's hearing. The set ends with "The Eleventh Hour," which is an episode that actually never aired as part of the series originally even though it was intended to, and instead aired as a pilot on its own the following season.

The episodes are invariably around 50:15. Exact runtimes are as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "Twenty-Four Hours" (50:16)
2. "Immunity" (50:11)
3. "Shining Image" (50:15)
4. "Winter Harvest" (50:15)

Disc 2:
5. "A Million Dollar Property" (50:13)
6. "Admitting Service" (50:12)
7. "The Lonely Ones" (50:13)
8. "Holiday Weekend" (50:10)

Disc 3:
9. "The Patient" (50:16)
10. "For the Living" (50:15)
11. "Second Chance" (50:14)
12. "Hit and Run" (50:15)

Disc 4:
13. "Season to be Jolly" (50:14)
14. "Johnny Temple" (50:13)
15. "My Brother, the Doctor" (50:15)
16. "The Administrator" (50:14)

Disc 5:
17. "Oh, My Daughter" (50:15)
18. "The Search" (50:14)
19. "The Glory Hunter" (50:15)
20. "The Dragon" (50:13)

Disc 6:
21. "The Stepping Stone" (50:13)
22. "The Bronc-Buster" (50:14)
23. "The Witch Doctor" (50:14)
24. "The Roaring Boy-O" (50:14)

Disc 7:
25. "Solomon's Choice" (50:11)
26. "A Very Present Help" (50:12)
27. "One for the Road" (50:12)
28. "The Horn of Plenty" (50:17)

Disc 8:
29. "The Chemistry of Anger" (50:13)
30. "Something of Importance" (50:12)
31. "A Distant Thunder" (50:15)
32. "The Road to the Heart" (50:06)

Disc 9:
33. "Operation: Lazarus" (50:14)
34. "The Eleventh Hour" (50:44)

The set comes packaged in two Viva cases, with the first one containing the first five discs (Part One) and the second containing the remaining four discs (Part Two). The artwork is exactly the same on both cases, with a large photo of Dr. Kildare on the cover and the series title along the left-hand side of the case. There are some episode snapshots on the back, along with a description of the entire season. Inside, the only thing you'll find are the discs, all of which have the same artwork that is seen on the cover.

The menus on the set are (not surprisingly) designed exactly like the cover art... but at least it looks professional, unlike what some other studios have a tendency to do on DVDs lately. From the main menu, options include Play All and a list of episodes. Once an episode is selected, it plays immediately. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.

I wasn't sure what to expect for the video and audio quality on this set, but what we actually get in terms of video and audio quality is simply amazing... this is one of the best looking series I've seen on DVD, which says a lot for a series that is 41 years old. The video is mostly crystal clear, with only minimal grain and debris, and the audio is plenty loud and clear. Unfortunately, though, the episodes are neither closed-captioned not subtitled.

There are no special features on this set, unless one counts the episode "The Eleventh Hour" (which was later retooled to serve as a pilot for that series) as a special feature. Technically, the episode never actually aired in this form, but it was intended to air in the first season.

It is important for us to note that this is a release from Warner Archive, and that it cannot be purchased in stores. Furthermore, while the set will eventually be a manufacture-on-demand product, Warner Archive is currently selling "pressed" versions of the set to meet consumer demand, so we'd suggest that fans get in on this before it moves to a DVD-R version! In any event, this is an excellent release of an excellent series, and there is nothing to complain about here at all. Although I didn't have an opportunity to watch many episodes of the series prior to this review (there are so many, and they're so long), I was very impressed with what I did see, and I can't wait to get through the rest of this set. This was my first time watching the series, but it truly did meet my expectations, and has actually made me more curious than ever about other early medical dramas. It certainly is no Grey's Anatomy (which may be a good or bad thing depending upon your perspective), but it is solid classic TV at its best.

(4/5 stars)

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Warner Archive

Related links: DVD Reviews Page
Dr. Kildare on


Who to Follow: Charlie Sheen (Twitter), "Actor, Producer, Winner "
Claim to Fame: Carlos Irwin Estevez... or as he is better known, Charlie Sheen... was born with the acting gene, as his father Martin Sheen was already starting an acting career before Charlie was born. Charlie Sheen got his start in the 1984 film Red Dawn, and went on to find plenty of success in the film industry. But in the year 2000, while his father was playing the president on the NBC drama, The West Wing, Charlie Sheen found his first sitcom role working in the mayor's office in the ABC sitcom Spin City, replacing Michael J. Fox. Later, Sheen went on to one of his biggest roles ever on the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men, a role that didn't exactly end very well (we'll spare the details, because hopefully everybody knows by now). Currently, Sheen is on his third sitcom attempt with FX's Anger Management, a series that mirrors his life in many ways.
Why You Should Follow Him: Why shouldn't you follow him? He's winning. We'll be the first to admit that Charlie Sheen is perhaps the most unorthodox person we've ever used for our Follow Me, and that he isn't exactly the friendly guy that readily and frequently interacts with his fans as many of our choices have been. But he is by all means a sitcom legend, currently in his third starring role in a sitcom, and is a funny guy (even when he doesn't exactly intend to be). At the time of our inclusion of Mr. Sheen, we can say that he seems to be relatively stable, and we hope that things stay that way. Regardless, he managed to rise to the top of the Twitterverse two years ago following his spat with Chuck Lorre, and is perhaps one of the biggest celebrities on Twitter with his nearly 10 million followers.
Pick of the Tweets: "tune in tonight & check out my favorite ex-wife on Anger Management FX @9p She rocks. She's smoking hot. Come on guys it's @DeniseRICHARDS!" (April 4, 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

Friday, October 28

Bunk'd - "Treehouse of Terror" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Zuri, Jorge and Tiffany enlist the support of an unexpected camper to help restore an abandoned treehouse, so they can use it as a new hangout; Emma and Lou and Ravi and Xander get competitive during a friendly game of billiards.

Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse - "Do What You Gotta Do" (OWN, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Joseph experiences an episode of sexual frustration due to Leslie's vow of chastity.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 24)

Friday, October 28

  • John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - Watch John on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Drew Carey (The Drew Carey Show/The Good Life) - Drew visits on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He also talks about The Price is Right on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Kevin Hart (The Big House/Undeclared) - Kevin appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine?/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ricky Gervais (The Office) - Ricky stops by LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Colin Hanks (Life in Pieces) - Colin joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Melissa Joan Hart (Melissa & Joey/Sabrina, the Teenage Witch/Clarissa Explains It All) - Melissa looks back at her earliest memories on Clarissa Explains It All – and says she was really bossy on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Damon Wayans (My Wife and Kids) - Damon is a guest on The Real, so check your local listings.