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


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

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03/03 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Now... In Living Color! (Blu-ray)
03/07 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Second Season
03/07 - Mama's Family - Mama's Favorites
03/07 - That '70s Show - The Complete Series - Flashback Edition (Blu-ray)
03/07 - What I Like About You - The Complete Second Season
03/07 - You Me Her - Season One
03/14 - Newhart - The Final (Eighth) Season
03/14 - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Season Two
03/21 - Master of None - Season One
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
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Saturday, April 22

Henry Danger - "Green Fingers" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
fter Schwoz creates a disease that accidentally effects Charlotte, Henry, his family, and even Ray, he quarantines them in Henry’s house in order to find a cure.

Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn - "This Little Piggy Went to the Harpers" (Nickelodeon, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When The Quads kidnap a rival soccer team’s pig mascot as a prank, they have to pass it off as Anne’s surprise birthday present in order to not get caught forgetting her birthday.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 17)

Monday, April 24

  • Kathryn Hahn (Happyish/Transparent/Free Agents) - Watch Kathryn on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. She also talks about the new series I Love Dick on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Allison Janney (Mom/Mr. Sunshine) - Allison appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. She also chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Jim Gaffigan (The Jim Gaffigan Show/My Boys/Welcome to New York) - Jim visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Andrea Martin (Great News/Difficult People/Working the Engels) - Andrea stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Briga Heelan (Great News/Ground Floor) - Briga is a guest on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Matt Walsh (Veep), Mary Holland (Blunt Talk) and Timothy Simons (Veep) - Matt, Mary and Timothy are guests on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) - Kumail drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • John Leguizamo (The Brothers Garcia) - John guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother) - Cobie talks about making her Broadway debut in Present Laughter on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Katie Gill (Baby Daddy) - Katie is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Lisa Kudrow (Friends/The Comeback) - Lisa joins Clinton Kelly in the kitchen to make a delicious dessert with an ingredient she’s never had before—Rhubarb on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Alfonso Ribeiro (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/In the House/Silver Spoons) - Alfonso will be on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Kate Walsh (Bad Judge/The Drew Carey Show) - Kate talks about 13 Reasons Why on the AOL Build Show at 11am.
  • Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.