Saturday, May 18, 2013

Digital Digest: Family Ties, The Office, and More in August; Route 66 - The Complete Fourth Season DVD Review


Welcome to Digital Digest! This weekend, we've got a review of Route 66 - The Complete Fourth Season, and of course, we have all of your regular features. Let's get going!


DIGITAL NEWS

Last week, we mentioned Family Ties - The Seventh Season is now available to pre-order, but now we have a date for this highly anticipated release of the final season of the series. It is scheduled for release on August 13... which, by the way will be a very busy date for releases across the board! Another release that is coming on that same date is another final release, this time for Perry Mason. CBS will be releasing Perry Mason - Season 9, Volume 2 to stores on this same date.

It won't just be the old series getting all of the releases on August 13, though! Universal has two releases of some of their current series, and once again, one of these is a final season release. That release is, of course, The Office - Season Nine (DVD, Blu-ray/Digital Copy). It isn't completely clear if the Blu-ray/Digital Copy release will include the DVDs (as was included in the Season Eight version), but we'll let you know whenever we know.

Somewhat related to The Office is the current series of former cast member Mindy Kaling, and her current series The Mindy Project is also coming to DVD on (you guessed it) August 13. The Mindy Project - Season One will come at a $29.99 MSRP.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (May 21) has only one release of interest to us, but it is a good one, with the CBS release of Laverne & Shirley - The Sixth Season.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW


Blog DVD Review: Route 66 - The Complete Fourth Season (Shout!, $29.93)
by skees53

It's been a while since we've taken a journey along Route 66, but last time, we saw some changes in that journey. The series still follows two guys as they travel across the country in their Corvette, finding odd jobs and new friendships along the way. But at the end of the third season, George Maharis (who played Buz) left the show and was replaced by Glenn Corbett in the role of Linc Case. But the journey is far from over. In Route 66 - The Complete Fourth Season, fans can enjoy the final 23 episodes of this classic anthology series, and see where the journey takes Tod (Martin Milner) and Linc as they finish up their journey along Route 66.

The season begins with "Two Strangers and an Old Enemy," where a former World War II air ace and his plane are suddenly missing. Tom Bosley and Joan Crawford guest star in "Same Picture, Different Frame," where Linc has to protect a summer camp counselor. William Shatner and Audra Lindley guest star in "Build Your Houses with Their Backs to the Sea." In "And Make Thunder His Tribute," Linc and Tod get involved in a farming family dispute in Minnesota. Tod and Linc's car break down in "I Wouldn't Start From Here," but they find help from a farmer who has no modern conveniences. A very young Stefanie Powers plays a reporter in "A Cage in Search of a Bird."

Jean Stapleton guest stars in "93 Per Cent in Smiling," where a neighbor's baby son turns up missing. In "Child of a Night," Tod and Linc attempt to fulfill a dying man's wish: to deliver $38,000 to the child of a woman he met 25 years ago. Linc violently attacks a man for seemingly no reason in "Like This, It Means Father... Like This - Bitter... Like This - Tiger...," but as it turns out, there is a reason, and it has to do with Vietnam. Linc has to fill in for the role of a boxer in "Cries of Persons Close to One." In "Who in His Right Mind Needs a Nice Girl," a shy librarian is attracted to a drifter, but he has a huge secret that would probably make her regret being with him. A teenager accidentally kills his only friend in "Follow the White Dove with the Broken Wing," and things are about to get bad for Tod and Linc as well. The route comes to an end for both Tod and Linc in the two part series finale, "Where There's a Will, There's a Way."

Disc 1:
1. "Two Strangers and an Old Enemy" (50:11)
2. "Sam Picture, Different Frame" (50:09)
3. "Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!" (50:18)
4. "Where are the Sounds of Celli Brahms?" (49:44)
5. "Build Your Houses With Their Backs to the Sea" (50:15)

Disc 2:
6. "And Make His Tribute" (50:15)
7. "The Stone Guest" (50:15)
8. "I Wouldn't Start from Here" (50:09)
9. "I'm Here to Kill a King" (50:12)
10. "A Cage in Search of a Bird" (49:41)

Disc 3:
11. "A Long Way from St. Louie" (49:52)
12. "Come Home Greta Inger Gruenschaffen" (50:04)
13. "93 Per Cent in Smiling" (50:20)
14. "Child of a Night" (50:10)
15. "Is it True There are Proxies at the Bottom of Landfair Lake?" (50:14)

Disc 4:
16. "Like This, It Means Father... Like This - Bitter... Like This - Tiger..." (49:13)
17. "Kiss the Monster - Make Him Sleep" (50:12)
18. "Cries of Persons Close to One" (50:19)
19. "Who in His Right Mind Needs a Nice Girl" (49:16)

Disc 5:
20. "This is Going to Hurt Me More Than it Hurts You" (49:12)
21. "Follow the White Dove with the Broken Wing" (49:55)
22. "Where There's a Will, There's a Way (Part 1)" (50:14)
23. "Where There's a Will, There's a Way (Part 2)" (50:15)

Like most recent Shout! Factory releases, this set comes in a standard Viva case. There is a portrait of Tod and Linc, as well as the Corvette, on the cover, and a listing of episodes on the back of the case. Inside the case, you'll find the five discs, with a black and white photo of the inside of the Corvette as the background artwork underneath the discs.

The menus on the set are nothing too special, but they do the job. Basically, the menu just lists the episodes on the disc and a play all option, with the highway in the background photo. The theme song also plays on the menu screen. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.

The video and audio quality for these sets has been very much hit or miss along the way, but I think it is pretty safe to say that it has been "hit" for this season. Some of the very early season 1 episodes had some weird cropping issues done by the previous studio that released the series, not Shout! Factory. Since the other studio never released this season, it was really in Shout! Factory's hands to prepare this season for DVD, and they did an excellent job on quality. The episodes are not closed-captioned.

There are no special features on the standalone release of the fourth season, although you can find some in the complete series release of the series.

I really enjoyed this season of the series... in fact, I wouldn't even say that the series went "downhill" in this season as shows often do. I thought that it was pretty interesting how this season seemed to begin signaling changes that were coming ahead in American culture and society. In particular, this was probably one of the first series, especially in this season, to actually acknowledge that something was going on in Vietnam, particularly indicated by the episode where a Vietnam veteran (Linc) attacks one of his fellow soldiers whom he felt was responsible for the death of two other soldiers. It really makes me wonder how the series would have handled the wave of protests and dissidence that really didn't even start until about a year after the series ended.

I'll just be perfectly honest in my assessment of this set. First, I should acknowledge that even though I am reviewing the fourth season, the set that I actually own is Route 66 - The Complete Series, which includes a nearly identical fourth season set (same packaging, episodes, and disc authoring... the only difference is that the complete series version of the fourth season includes a bonus disc). If you already own the Route 66 DVD sets that were released by Infinity, then I don't see any problem with buying the Shout! Factory set to complete your collection. But if you own none of the previous releases of the series, skip this standalone season four release and head straight to the complete series release. You'll have a much nicer collection, and it really isn't a very expensive set. In either case, you'll find that Shout! Factory did a pretty good job (aside from complaints about some of the season 1 episodes), and you can enjoy the journey across the country from beginning to end.

(4/5 stars)

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Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Route 66 on TV.com


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Who to Follow: Florence Henderson (Twitter), "Known as America's favorite TV mom on The Brady Bunch. I’m also a Broadway veteran, talk show host, producer, recording artist, author, motivational speaker"
Claim to Fame: Although she started her career on the stage, Florence Henderson made early appearances on TV filling in for Johnny Carson as guest host on The Tonight Show. Later, she had a stint on The Today Show (when Matt Lauer was only a child, for what it is worth). But what she became best known for was her role as Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch, and although she has remained active since then, that is a character that she will always be known and loved for.
Why You Should Follow Her: Florence Henderson played one of America's favorite TV moms, and we all love her for that. But a lot of who she is in real life seems to be a lot like Carol Brady, and is a very gentle person who loves maintaining an active career, loves her "made for TV" family, and loves her fans. She really does embody the spirit of that character that she played on TV four decades ago, and she'll still be around to entertain us for many more years.
Pick of the Tweets: "what are you doing for your Mom today???? Hugs & love are always the greatest gift" (May 12, 2013)

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


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November)

Dr. Ken - Season One Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season The Lucy Show - The Complete Series The Mindy Project - Season Four

10/04 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Christmas Special (Colorized)
10/04 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #1 (Colorized)
10/11 - Dr. Ken - Season One
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Series
10/11 - Nurse Jackie - Seasons One and Two
10/11 - Weeds - Seasons One and Two
11/01 - Schitt's Creek - Seasons One and Two
11/08 - Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season
11/08 - Your Family or Mine - Season One
11/15 - Community - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Lucy Show - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Mindy Project - Season Four
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, December 8

The Big Bang Theory - "The Military Miniaturization" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Colonel Williams (Dean Norris), an Air Force representative from the Department of Material Command sits down to talk with Wolowitz.

The Great Indoors - "@Emma" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Emma quits after being turned down for a raise, Jack and Roland become the magazine’s newest and worst ever social media managers. Also, in a misguided attempt to boost business, Eddie re-brands his bar as “magic-themed.”

Mom - "Cornbread and a Cashmere Onesie" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Christy and Bonnie worry about Jill after her cry for help on the anniversary of her mother’s suicide.

Life in Pieces - "Swim Survivor Zen Talk" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When John decides to try out for “Survivor,” Tim gets jealous and attempts to undermine his audition tape. Also, Colleen confesses she can’t swim when she and Matt discuss Hawaii as a honeymoon destination; Jen pretends to get hooked on meditation so she can use the time to play cell phone games; and Heather gives Sophia the “sex” talk. “Survivor” host Jeff Probst guest stars as himself.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 5)

Thursday, December 8

  • Jennifer Aniston (Friends) - Catch Jennifer on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Lola Kirke (Mozart in the Jungle) - Lola is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley/The Goodwin Games/Carpoolers) - T.J. appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Anna Camp (The Mindy Project) - Anna stops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Emeril Lagasse (Emeril) - Emeril guest co-hosts Rachael Ray and makes sausage-stuffed mushrooms, so check your local listings.
  • Jodie Sweetin (Fuller House/Full House) and Andrea Barber (Fuller House/Full House) - Jodie and Andrea chat with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. Jodie joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Judah Friedlander (30 Rock) - Judah is a guest on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Lori Loughlin (Fuller House/Full House) - Lori is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT. She also talks about what to expect from Season 2 of Fuller House on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Scott Patterson (Aliens in America) - Scott talks about Luke and Lorelai’s wedding scene from Gilmore Girls – and if he thinks the two will ever have a baby on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother) - Josh is a guest on the AOL Build Show at 12pm.
  • Emmanuelle Chriqui (Entourage) - Emanuelle appears the AOL Build Show 3:45pm.
  • Gael Garcia Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle) - Gael is a guest on Chelsea on Netflix.
  • Will Smith (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - Will appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.