Saturday, June 01, 2013
Digital Digest: Big Release for Mama's Family in the Works; Wilfred - The Complete Original Series DVD Review; Pretty Little Liars - The Complete Third Season DVD Review
"Well, good Lord!" TVShowsOnDVD.com delivered what may be one of the biggest sitcom surprises on DVD in a long time this week as they discovered pre-order listings for both of the first two seasons of Mama's Family on Amazon.com. Of course, several years ago, Warner Home Video brought us Mama's Family - The Complete First Season (which turned out to be a rather disappointing release with syndicated versions episodes). As for the pre-order listings for the first two seasons they have since been removed... but TVShowsOnDVD.com did a little bit of further investigation and found that, in fact, Time-Life is not only going to release the first two seasons, but actually the entire series! And it gets better... the episodes will be uncut versions of the series (not seen since the original run of the series) along with plenty of special features. There is no date set or any details given for this set yet, but this is one that we'll be watching VERY closely.
That isn't all that Time-Life has planned, though! TVShowsOnDVD.com reports that they've got a little bit more of the series that Mama's Family was a spinoff of, with a release of The Carol Burnett Show - Christmas with Carol. The release will come October 1, and will feature two full episodes of the series, along with sketches from 1967 and 1968 Christmas episodes of the series. We'll have more on this once we know more.
Amazon.com has been testing out some new pilots lately, as they want to get into the game of airing their own original series for Prime members. They presented some of their own original pilots, and viewers had the opportunity to choose which one they wanted to see made into a series... and now we have the results! The winners are Alpha House, Betas, Annebots, Creative Galaxy, and Tumbleaf. While the last three are children's series, the first two are comedies. Alpha House is a comedy series that comes from Doonesbury creator Gary Trudeau, and is a political series about four U.S. Senators (one of them played by John Goodman) living together in one house. Betas follows four friends and their attempt to strike it rich with a new mobile social networking app.
UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW Tuesday (June 4) has one sitcom release, but it is only a "best of" release with McHale's Navy - 20 Timeless Episodes. Other releases include Wilfred - The Complete Original Series and Pretty Little Liars - The Complete Third Season, both of which are reviewed today in Digital Digest.
BLOG FEATURE REVIEW
Blog DVD Review: Wilfred - The Complete Original Series (Fabulous Films, $39.98)
Jason Gann has become one of America's favorite "human dogs" in the FX hit series Wilfred, but before that, he played that same role in the Australian series that the U.S. series was adapted from. No, there is no Elijah Wood in this series, but in this series, Wilfred (Gann) is joined by Adam (Australian actor and series co-creator Adam Zwar) as Adam sees Wilfred as a man in a dog suit... something that the rest of the world doesn't see! This four disc set, from Fabulous Films (and marketed by Shout! Factory), includes all sixteen episodes from both seasons of the series.
The series begins quite a bit differently from the U.S. version, with the episode "There is a Dog," where Adam is invited back to Sarah's (Cindy Waddingham) place after a concert, and is introduced to Wilfred... a dog that he sees as a man dressed as a dog. In "Dog Day Afterglow," where Sarah convinces Adam that she and Wilfred come as a package, and he must learn to love Wilfred. Wilfred and Adam are at war with one another in "Dogs of War." A trip to the beach goes wrong for Adam in "Walking the Dog." In "The Dog Whisperer," Wilfred's behavior problems demand the attention of a reality TV veterinarian. An old friend of Sarah's shows up in "Dog Eat Dog," and Wilfred has a reason to be worried! Wilfred ends up in trouble in "Barking Behind Bars," and Adam isn't going to help. Sarah and Adam are on the splits in the first season finale "This Dog's Life."
In "Kiss Me Kat," Adam decides to ask Sarah to marry him... if Wilfred will let him. In the two-part episode "Dog of a Town," Adam gets to meet Sarah's parents (who happen to be nudists), and Wilfred confronts his father... and subsequently runs away. Wilfred ends up in rehab in "Honey, You're Killing the Dog." Wilfred has... well, performance problems... when he meets a Swedish dog in "The Ice Dog Cometh." Wilfred's latest girlfriend is expecting in "The Dog Father." In "Dog Star," Wilfred decides that he wants to be in commercials, and wants Adam to be his manager. The series ends with "Bite Club," where Wilfred decides to help Adam earn money... by putting himself into an illegal dog fight.
The episodes appear to be unedited, with runtimes are as follows:
1. "There is a Dog" (25:03)
2. "The Dog Day Afterglow" (23:44)
3. "Dogs of War" (25:02)
4. "Walking the Dog" (24:02)
5. "The Dog Whisperer" (24:09)
6. "Dog Eat Dog" (24:46)
7. "Barking Behind Bars" (24:44)
8. "This Dog's Life" (23:28)
9. "Kiss Me Kat" (24:50)
10. "Dog of a Town (Part 1)" (24:06)
11. "Dog of a Town (Part 2)" (24:18)
12. "Honey, You're Killing the Dog" (24:41)
13. "The Ice Dog Cometh" (23:41)
14. "The Dog Father" (24:41)
15. "Dog Star" (24:43)
16. "Bite Club" (25:05)
The DVD is packaged in a standard four disc Amaray case. The cover has a cast photo, while there are several episode snapshots and a description of the series on the back. Inside, the four discs all have the same artwork as seen on the cover. There is also an episode booklet included inside the case, that includes some very lengthy descriptions for each episode... unfortunately, there are some very bad typos and other issues in here. But you can still get the general idea of what each one is about.
The menus on the set are very nice. The main menu has a series of video clips playing from the episodes, along with the closing music from the series. From the main menu, there is a list of all of the episodes, along with a Play All option and a Special Features option (except on Disc 3). Once you select an episode, you get an episode menu that allows you to either play the episode or view the Stills Gallery for the episode.
The video and audio quality on these episodes is pretty good, which is great for a series that originated in another country. Often, there are frame rate issues that pop up, but Fabulous Films has a tendency to understand these issues that DVDs have when going from one country to another. Unfortunately, the episodes are neither closed-captioned nor subtitled.
There are a few special features on the set. First, there are photo galleries for each episode on the set. On Disc 1, there are several short outtakes, along with a trailer for the first season. (4:10). On Disc 2, there is a pair of crew montages about the first season (7:08) featuring Gann and Zwar. Finally, on Disc 4, we have "Making Of" (28:22), which is a nice behind-the-scenes documentary of the series with the cast and crew, "Wilfred Bites" (6:58), which is just a compilation reel from the series, and finally more outtakes and bloopers (5:44). While few of the special features really jumped out at me as being extraordinary, it is nice to see the effort that was made on here. It seems that Fabulous Films always does a decent job in this area.
I had never seen this version of the series prior to this release, but in watching it, I have to say that I enjoy it just as much as the American version. They aren't really the "same" series at all, especially considering how different the character of Adam is from Ryan in the US series, yet they both have the same common idea of a man in a dog suit that the rest of the world sees as just an ordinary dog. There is one thing that should be said about this series, though: some of the language and dialog is much stronger than in the FX series (there is even a disclaimer about "very strong language" on the back), so be prepared not only for some of that, but also for nudity. If you're a fan of the American series, I'd strongly encourage picking up this series. Even though I've seen all of the episodes of that one that have aired so far, I still felt like I was getting something new out of this. It is kind of a shame that this is all we'll ever get to see out of this version of the series, but at least it had the chance to go out on top (as nearly all British and Australian series do), and we have a chance to see them all in this set.
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BLOG FEATURE REVIEW
Blog DVD Review: Pretty Little Liars - The Complete Third Season (Warner, $59.98)
Never trust a pretty girl with a dirty secret, but trust us that Pretty Little Liars is back on DVD with The Complete Third Season! The popular ABC Family original drama series starring Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale, Shay Mitchell, and Troian Bellisario all return for 24 more episodes in the buzzed-about third season on this five-disc DVD set from Warner Home Video just in time for the fourth season premiere on ABC Family (June 11). As the third season begins, a summer has passed since Hanna, Aria, Emily and Spencer found out about Mona being "A" and the death of Maya. With the terror seemingly over and an alleged murderer now behind bars, the town of Rosewood is slowly healing from old and new wounds. Find out what will happen next because there is always something going on in Rosewood!
The third season stars Troian Bellisario as Spencer Hastings, Ashley Benson as Hanna Marin, Lucy Hale as Aria Montgomery, Shay Mitchell as Emily Fields, Sasha Pieterse as Alison DiLaurentis, Holly Marie Combs as Ella Montgomery, Ian Harding as Ezra Fitz, Keegan Allen as Toby Cavanaugh, Tyler Blackburn as Caleb Rivers, Janel Parrish as Mona Vanderwall, Laura Leighton as Ashley Marin, and Chad Lowe as Byron Montgomery. However, there are many recurring stars such as Drew Van Acker as Jason DiLaurentis, Cody Allen Christian as Mike Montgomery, Brant Daugherty as Noel Kahn, Torrey DeVitto as Melissa Hastings, Yani Gellman as Garrett Reynolds, Julian Morris as Wren Kingston, Nia Peeples as Pam Fields, Brendan Robinson as Lucas Gottesman, Lindsay Shaw as Paige, Bryce Johnson as Darren Wilden, Amanda Schull as Meredith, Vanessa Ray as CeCe Drake, Sterling Sulieman as Lyndon James/"Nate St. Germain," Lesley Fera as Veronica Hastings and Tammin Sursok as Jenna Marshall. The first half of the third season aired in summer 2012, while the second half aired in the winter of 2013, similar to the the previous two seasons. For this season we got two halves of 12 and 11 episodes each, and also a another special Halloween episode in between. The series returns Tuesday, June 11 for its fourth season and it leaves off where the intense and shocking third season finale left off. Tune in Tuesdays at 8/7c for the fourth season all-summer long on ABC Family!
Anyway, as for this set, there are many memorable episodes in this shocking and revealing season. In the season premiere, "It Happened 'That Night'," Emily goes missing one night at a slumber party at Spencer's and the girls find Emily at the graveyard who doesn't remember a thing other than getting wasted, while Hanna secretly begins visiting Mona at Radley. In "Kingdom of the Blind," Spencer's mom decides to take Garrett as a client, but Spencer is convinced that her mother only agreed to do this by force and after she begins to investigate, her suspicions are not confirmed and she comes across a bigger Hastings family secret. In "Stolen Kisses," Emily tries to figure out what happened the night she was drugged and also tries to fix things with Paig, while Ezra's mom gives insight into Ezra's past to Aria, as Spencer and Caleb hack a website for Mona and Hanna also tries to help out. On the mid-season finale, "The Lady Killer," Maya's trial gets underway, and Emily can't stand the media attention, as "A" then extends a branch to the girls, who are skeptical and someone close to the girls betrays them. On the mid-season premiere, "She's Better Now," Mona is released from the sanitarium and returns to school, but she faces an uphill battle in which she must prove to Hanna, Aria, Emily and Spencer that she has transformed and can be trusted. In "Misery Loves Company," Aria is down for the count when sidelined by the flu, so Hanna and Emily are on their own to follow up on a new clue, but surprisingly, Meredith steps up to help take care of Aria while her father is away, but when it starts to look like Meredith may have ulterior motives to her nursing Aria back to health, Hanna and Emily turn their attention towards saving their friend. In "Dead to Me," now that Ali's remains are back with her family, the DiLaurentis' are set to bury her again, giving Aria, Emily, Hanna and Spencer another opportunity to say goodbye to their friend, but with everything that has gone on since Ali's disappearance, the girls are divided about going to yet another memorial. In "What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted," when dealing with matters of the heart, people react in many different ways: still crushed over her break-up, Spencer continues her downward spiral as she now takes her anger and hurt out on Mona, but Caleb, on the other hand, hides his pain by being closed off when discussing his father, a sHanna devises a plan to bring father and son back together, will that help Caleb heal old wounds or just make things harder and Aria, who is still missing Ezra, finds she is spending more time with Wes. In "I'm Your Puppet," as "A" continues to play games, the stakes are raised higher as each girl is forced into difficult positions: Aria starts to seriously contemplate her relationship with Ezra as his new family situation continues to eat away at her, while Hanna is thrown into the middle of Caleb's family drama when Jamie's shady past comes back to haunt him, and Emily is determined to prove Spencer wrong in hopes of helping her, but she might not be ready for what she finds. And on the shocking season finale " A dAngerous gAme," Spencer is back home and presenting a good front, but Aria, Hanna and Emily are not so sure their friend is fully back after seeing how fragile she was just a day or so before, but unfortunately the girls don't have much time to ponder Spencer's health as shocking revelations are brought to the forefront, as with so much happening and new information being uncovered, will the Liars be ready for what is waiting for them?
Episodes are usually around 44 minutes and unedited, as they should be (the finale for some reason ran shorter than every other episode). It's cool to see a show at 44 minutes these days. Runtimes are below:
1. "It Happened 'That Night'" (44:23)
2. "Blood is the New Black" (44:23)
3. "Kingdom of the Blind" (44:22)
4. "Birds of a Feather" (44:25)
5. "That Girl is Poison" (44:13)
6. "The Remains of the 'A'" (44:22)
7. "Crazy" (44:22)
8. "Stolen Kisses" (44:20)
9. "The Kahn Game" (44:11)
10. "What Lies Beneath" (44:10)
11. "Single Fright Female" (44:13)
12. "The Lady Killer" (44:11)
13. "This is a Dark Ride" - Halloween episode (44:19)
14. "She's Better Now" (44:19)
15. "Mona-Mania" (44:14)
16. "Misery Loves Company" (44:21)
17. "Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Inferno" (43:55)
18. "Dead To Me" (44:20)
19. "What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted" (44:23)
20. "Hot Water" (44:20)
21. "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" (44:21)
22. "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?" (44:22)
23. "I'm Your Puppet" (44:19)
24. "A dAngerous gAme" (42:52)
The set comes in an outer box holding a keep case inside, like previous sets. The artwork is the same on the front side for both with artwork of the four girls sitting on a couch in an A background. Time to bring your A game, as the tagline says at the bottom of the cover! The back of both the box and case have info on the series and set and another shot of the girls walking and there is another A letter background. We also have four episodic images and a list of special features. Ashley Benson is quite a catch, isn't she? When we open the case, we have some inserts again on the left side. We have an ad insert promoting all-new episodes on ABC Family this summer and to download season four from your favorite digital retailer. The other insert is a nice episode booklet! It is nicely designed again and filled with great episodic photos and a great shot of the girls in jeans wear on the front. We have a disc-by-disc breakdown with episode number, title, writer, director, original airdate and of course a synopsis. There is a little scissor image also if there are any deleted scenes available for that episode. The last page has a nice credit list of all the series regulars. This is similar to the previous set.
Anyway back to the case, we have two plastic holders that we can flip like a book in the middle and they each hold two discs, with the first disc on the front and the second disc on the back. So that covers four discs, but the last disc is on the right panel itself. The disc artwork is simple. We have a different colors on each disc along with a huge A letter, the show logo and disc number. Simple, but effective. However, for the second straight set there is no artwork at all on the panels itself. Disappointing, as we wanted to see more cool artwork like on the first season packaging. More Ashley Benson, the better!
The menu design is good and uses the same artwork as the cover art but it is more of a wide shot and we see more, similar to the previous sets. It's a nice brownish color scheme. We have no auto trailers this time before the main menu on disc one, so that's good. Unfortunately once again there is no music playing in the background on the main menu, which is disappointing as this show has a good theme. The menu options are Play All, Episodes, Deleted Scenes, Special Features and Languages. The artwork for all the submenus are good. Languages features audio in English but you can have subtitles in English, French, Espanol, or Thai. Deleted Scenes option doesn't have a submenu, so it just plays them automatically. Episodes option lists the episode numbers on a little TV screen image, episode titles, and if there is a deleted scene for that episode you can watch it by highlighting the scissor image. I think you're better off watching the deleted scenes through the episodes menu than the deleted scenes option itself so you know which episode the deleted scene was intended for. And Special Features option is only on discs three and five and it lists all the non-deleted scenes extras that we have.
Video and audio quality are both outstanding once again on these DVDs. That is no surprise, but we should still be glad that everything is so crisp and clear. It is HD like quality, even if this isn't a Blu-ray set. So there is nothing much to say here except it is like how you watch it on ABC Family HD, especially if your DVD player upconverts to HD. Each episode has 9 chapter stops, so you can easily find scenes if you are going back. We get to see the full closing credits, too, something that we don't see on ABC Family but if you watch the series on their website, you see these closing credits. I love how we get 44 minutes per episode, as broadcast shows are usually 42-43 minutes these days. We certainly get more content on ABC Family and it seems this season is even longer than previous seasons!
There are special features and nearly all of them are on disc five. The previous four discs have deleted scenes, similar to the previous releases. These are always nice to see. Disc one has two deleted scene from the episode "Blood is the New Black" (1:26). Disc two has a deleted scene from the episode "The Remains of the 'A'" (0:38), two deleted scenes from the episode "Stolen Kisses" (2:25), one deleted scene from "The Kahn Game" (0:30) and a deleted scene from the episode "What Lies Beneath" (1:07). On to disc three, we have a deleted scene from the episode "Single Fright Female" (1:05), a deleted scene from the episode "The Lady Killer" (1:09), a deleted scene from the episode "She's Better Now" (0:34) and a deleted scene from episode "Mona-Mania" (1:27). For disc four we have a deleted scene for "Dead to Me" (1:08). And finally on disc five, we have a deleted scene for the episode "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" (1:42). That's 11 episodes with deleted scenes and a total of 13 deleted scenes! So, that's down from the 18 deleted scenes from the second season DVD but we have more episodes with deleted scenes this time. On disc three we also have "The Lady Killer" Alternate Endings (1:11). We have two more alternate reveals of who is working with Mona on the A-team. It's cool to see this, since they just probably did that so no spoilers are leaked on who the A-team member is. The main special features are all on disc five. The first one is a featurette and is the best special feature on this set. It is titled "Pretty Little Liars and The 'A' Network" (15:09). We are given details on the A Network and explore the Rosewood's secret circle of suspects. There were so many hints along the way! Commenting are Oliver Goldstick (executive producer), I Marlene King (executive producer), Janel Parrish, Ian Harding, Brendan Robinson, Lucy Hale, Shay Mitchell, Troian Bellisario, Keegan Allen, Tammin Sursok, Torrey DeVitto, Sasha Pieterse, Tyler Blackburn, Ashley Benson and Lindsay Shaw. Then we have a VERY fun "Gag Reel" (5:58). This is the first set so far to feature bloopers and it's so nice to finally see these! And finally we have the "Webisodes" that were on ABCFamily.com each week following the mid-season finale leading up to the Halloween episode ("This is a Dark Ride"). These are all leading up to that Halloween episode and had fans hyped up for the special episode. The runtimes were: 0:48, 2:13, 1:10, 2:17, 2:04, 0:58, 2:57, and 1:11. These all featured supporting characters but they were still good!
It's another great season! I think Warner Home Video did an excellent job on this set once again. Yes, this season had one less episode than the previous season, but the Halloween episode was an actual episode this season. We have more episodes with deleted scenes, we finally have a Gag reel, and a very informative featurette! It's just about perfect, but with just some little nitpicks here and there, such as no artwork on the panels again inside the case and still no music on the menus. The important part is we have the episodes in great quality and we can relive these great episodes at any time and go back and find out clues from previous episodes! By the time you finish these 24 episodes, you'll know who is in the A network so far. You'll have to watch and see! Season four, as mentioned, begins Tuesday, June 11 on ABC Family. A special recap episode airs this Tuesday at 8. If you need a refresher or need to catch-up, hurry and get this DVD so you can watch the fourth season every week all-summer! It's time to bring your A game because a lot is revealed this season and there is much more to come, bitches!
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Official Pretty Little Liars On DVD Page
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Who to Follow: Barbara Eden (Twitter), "The One and ONLY Official Twitter page for legendary actress and Television Icon, Barbara Eden."
Claim to Fame: Barbara Eden got her start singing in the church choir, but it wasn't too much later that she was named Miss San Francisco and had the opportunity to compete in the Miss California Pageant. Through the mid-60s, she was a guest star on anything that she could get a guest starring role in, and along the way even starred in the forgotten sitcom How to Marry a Millionaire. But her big break came in 1965 when she began her role as Jeannie on I Dream of Jeannie. While she has done other roles since then, her iconic role as Jeannie is what she will always be best known for.
Why You Should Follow Her: Eden is one of those "classy" actresses from the golden era of television that nobody can hate. It is very rare (if at all) that you hear anything bad about her, and she is very much proud of her work and legacy, and grateful for her fans. In fact, just a few days ago, she even wore her classic Jeannie costume for a charity event. While she isn't the most frequent user of Twitter out there, you can always count on a bit of Jeannie's magic and kindness in her tweets.
Pick of the Tweets: "Larry Hagman not just a great actor, not just a television icon, but an element of pure Americana. I'll miss him. -Barbara" (November 23, 2012)
That's all for this week. Until next time, keep it digital!
New on DVD/Blu-ray (December/January)
12/06 - Family Guy - Season Fourteen
12/13 - American Dad! - Volume 11
12/13 - Newhart - The Complete Seventh Season
01/03 - Girls - The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray)
01/10 - Broad City - Season 3
01/17 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized)
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume One
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two
01/24 - Hooperman - Season One
01/24 - Hooperman - Season Two
01/31 - Ballers - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest
Sitcoms Airing Tonight
Saturday, January 21
The Thundermans - "Better Off Wed" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The kids learn that Dr. Colosso ruined their parents' wedding years earlier, and want to recreate Hank & Barb's dream day as their anniversary gift. However, Dr. Colosso remains a threat, and they must keep their plans a secret.
Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn - "Keeping Up with the Quadashians" (Nickelodeon, 8:30PM ET/PT)
After binge watching their favorite reality TV show, the Quads decide their lives are every bit as "reality TV" worthy, and decide to make a show of their own. Guest Stars: Maddie Ziegler, Mackenzie Ziegler
School of Rock - "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (Nickelodeon, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Tomika and Zack work on a love song together, leading to a moment that will change their friendship forever. Summer and Lawrence hang out together for the first time, and Freddy helps Mr. Finn with a problem.
Saturday, January 21
- Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show/Cosby) - Phylicia will be featured on Oprah: Where Are They Now? at 10pm ET/PT on OWN.
- NeNe Leakes (The New Normal) - Catch NeNe on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
- Allison Janney (Mom/Mr. Sunshine) - Watch Allison on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- William Shatner ($h*! My Dad Says) and Henry Winkler (Happy Days/Arrested Development/Out of Practice) - William and Henry are guests on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
- Kevin Nealon (Man with a Plan/Weeds/Hiller and Diller/Champs) - Kevin appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
- Jade Catta-Preta (Manhattan Love Story) - Jade is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
- Wendi McClendon-Covey (The Goldbergs/Rules of Engagement/Reno 911!) - Wendi stops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
- Cristela Alonzo (Cristela) - Cristela chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
- Tika Sumpter (The Game) - Tika appears on The Real, so check your local listings.
- Justina Machado (One Day at a Time) - Justina will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
- Jerry O'Connell (We Are Men/Carpoolers/My Secret Identity) - Jerry and Rebecca Romjin talk about Love Locks on NBC's Today in the 9am hour. Jerry will also be on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT and on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
- Retta (Parks and Recreation) - Retta talks about Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.