Saturday, June 29, 2013

Digital Digest: Mama's Family DVD Update; CSI: NY - The Final Season DVD Review; The FBI - The Fifth Season DVD Review

Welcome to Digital Digest! This week, we have reviews of CSI: NY - The Final (Ninth) Season and The FBI - The Fifth Season. Let's get going!


One of the most anticipated upcoming DVD releases (at least for us, anyway) is StarVista's big release of Mama's Family - The Complete Series. Now, it isn't just something being talked about... it is truly happening! Set to be shipped the week of September 2, you can pre-order the 24 disc set for $199.99 (you can pay in installments if that works better for you). The set will come with a collectible book, "Mama's Photo Album," and will include two entire discs worth of bonus features, with interviews from the entire cast (well, at least from the syndicated seasons), bloopers, and more. We can't wait for this release!

We have talked a bit about Warner Archive's streaming service Warner Archive Instant over the past few months, and they're very slowly getting new content added to the service... but they're working on it. This week, they added episodes from the first season of of Medical Center to their TV offerings. Speaking of Medical Center, more episodes of that were released on DVD from Warner Archive this week as well, with their release of Medical Center - The Complete Third Season. We hope to have a review of this set soon.


Tuesday (July 2) has Shout! Factory's release of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis - The Complete Series. This is an excellent release, and you can read our review of it here. Also, Image has The Dick Van Dyke Show - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray). Finally, Sony has Last Resort - The Complete Series.


CSI: NY - The Final (Ninth) Season

DVD Review: CSI: NY - The Final (Ninth) Season (CBS DVD/Paramount Home Video, $64.99)
by Todd Fuller

In this final season of CSI: NY, the rush for justice never ends. Still reeling from a shooting incident that nearly took his life, lead detective Mac Taylor (Oscar nominee and Emmy winner Gary Sinise) defies the odds to get back on the streets. His second-in command Det. Jo Danville (Emmy winner Sela Ward) never misses a clue, including warning signs hinting that her boss's mind suffers from the aftermath. But in spite of personal challenges, this team of relentless crime-fighters, Danny (Carmine Giovinazzo), Lindsay (Anna Belknap), Sid (Robert Joy), Adam (A.J. Buckley), Sheldon (Hill Harper) and Flack (Eddie Cahill) crack the most impossible cases. From an arsonist with a personal grudge to a twisted serial killer who patterns his murders after a popular board game, no perpetrator can outrun the clues they leave behind. But when the woman Mac loves is victimized in a complex kidnapping, they'll need the additional assistance of D.B. Russell (Ted Danson) from CSI: Crime Scene Investigation).

Take a closer look at the evidence in all seventeen thrilling episodes collected in this five-disc set from the ninth and final season (2012-13) of the gritty crime drama. The attractive packaging has a photo of the stunning Sela Ward and her co-star Gary Sinise. There's an embossed CSI: NY logo in the center of the box. The Final Season is noted in the top left of the cover. As with the previous three seasons, it comes in a clear plastic Viva snapcase inside a cardboard box. Both the case and packaging have the same design, which uses the familiar black and blue color scheme. On the back of the case, there is a montage of photos of the nine main cast members with the New York City skyline at night in the background. A short synopsis of the set, a listing of the special features and the DVD specs are provided. Opening up the snapcase, there is a content locator which lists the episodes and the special features by disc on the inside cover. A less-cropped version of the New York City skyline photo is used in the background. Discs 1-4 are held in a flip holder in the center of the case. Disc 5 is an embedded holder in the back of the case. The discs have just a plain silver background with the CSI: NY logo on them. Each disc has the episode titles printed on them.

Moving on to the menus, they are stylish and easy to navigate. There are no previews on this release, so it jumps right to the main menus. A montage of video clips from the show is played on the main menu. There are a couple of nice music cues from Bill Brown used in the background. Options for Episode Selection, Set Up and Special Features are available at the bottom of the screen in blue bars with neon blue light borders. When you choose Episode Selection, there is a brief transition scene with Anna Belknap. The episode titles are listed vertically in the same blue bars. Deleted scenes for the four selected episodes can be played from this screen. The Set Up menu has a nice night photo of the New York City skyline. You can choose English 5.1, English Stereo or EspaƱol audio. English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing are available on all of the episodes. Various images are used on the Special Features menus. The special features are not rated any may not be subtitled. Chapters are placed at the appropriate places within the episodes.

As you would expect from such a recent show, the video and audio quality is outstanding. The episodes are presented in anamorphic widescreen enhanced for 16:9 TVs with English 5.1 Surround and Spanish Stereo audio available. CSI: NY has the darkest and grittiest look of the CSI franchise shows. All of the original music appears to be intact. Episodes are presented in their original broadcast order and numbered by the production number. The broadcast and production order were the same this season. The CSI crossover episode, "In Vino Veritas," is presented on Disc 4. Running times are between 41-44 minutes in length. The set has a total running time of approximately 12 hours, 17 minutes. Hopefully we'll see some seasons released on Blu-Ray in the U.S. at some point.

Here is the episode breakdown by disc, including the runtimes:

Disc 1
Episode 901 "Reignited" (44:17)
Episode 902 "Where There's Smoke..." (41:54)
Episode 903 "2,918 Miles" (41:33)
Episode 904 "Unspoken" (44:11)

Disc 2
Episode 905 "Misconceptions" (44:18)
Episode 905 "The Lady in the Lake" (44:13)
Episode 907 "Clue: SI" (43:05)
Episode 908 "Late Admissions" (44:12)

Disc 3
Episode 909 "Blood Out" (43:33)
Episode 910 "The Real McCoy" (44:10)
Episode 911 "Command + P" (42:38)
Episode 912 "Civilized Lies" (44:14)

Disc 4
Episode 913 "Nine Thirteen" (44:17)
Episode 914 "White Gold" (41:54)
Episode 1313 "In Vino Veritas" (CSI crossover episode) (43:23)
Episode 915 "Seth and Apep" (41:57)

Disc 5
Episode 916 "Blood Actually" (44:09)
Episode 917 "Today Is Life" (42:53)

Over 50 minutes of special features are included. Five featurettes are included. Two focus on the season premiere, "Reignited." Two deal with two other episodes of the season There is also one on the crossover episode with CSI. Deleted scenes are included for four episodes. Once again, a gag reel is included for the season. Unfortunately, there are no audio commentaries included for the third consecutive season.

Disc 1
Deleted Scene for "Where There's Smoke" (2:32) - A montage scene of Danny at the lab. He is later joined by Lindsay and Adam to discuss the evidence. I dig the music cue by composer Bill Brown used in the montage scene.

On Thin Ice (4:13) - Join CSI: NY favorites Eddie Cahill, Carmine Giovinazzo and A.J. Buckley as they show off their ice hockey skills for the season opener, "Reignited." Interviews include Executive Producer Zachary Reiter, Co-Executive Producer John Dove, Co-Executive Producer Trey Callaway. The episode begins with the annual FDNY vs. NYPD charity hockey game, which is a real event. Some behind-the-scenes footage is shown. It's always nice to see hockey worked into television series.

Fireworks (3:29) - Season nine opens with a bang - literally. Go behind-the-scenes and learn what it took to create the explosive beginning to a memorable season. Interviews include Co-Executive Producer Trey Callaway, Special Effects Supervisor David Kelsey, Special Effects Jeffrey Knott and Eddie Cahill. This was a very cool shot. It's great to see they are still doing practical special effects and not just CGI all the time.

Disc 2
Deleted Scene for "Misconceptions" (:46) - Lindsay, Mac and Jamie talk about Nathan being interrogated. There are two dubbed voiceovers here.

NYPD Clue (8:45) - In the ninth season episode "Clue: SI," the investigators go after a serial killer who chooses his victims based on the popular board game 'Clue.' The cast and crew discuss what it took to translate the classic detective game into an inspired storyline. Interviews include Co-Executive Producer Trey Callaway, Supervising Producer Steven Lilien, Supervising Producer Bryan Wynbrandt, Director Oz Scott and Property Master Leonard Hancock. They talk about the inspiration for the episode, the various locations where the episode was shot, and the weapons the props department recreated.

Disc 3
Deleted Scenes for "Civilzed Lies" (2:43) - Lindsay talks to Jason. Mac, Jo and Jamie take a photo of Adam in a dead man's clothes.

Disc 4
Deleted Scene for "Nine Thirteen" (:52) - Jamie confronts Calvin when he tries to get into a cab. Danny and some police officers take in for questioning.

Vegas/New York Crossover (2:53) - Catch a glimpse and go behind-the-scenes into the Vegas/NY crossover episode featurette which includes key cast and crew interviews. Interviews include Executive Producer of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Don McGill, Ted Danson, Gary Sinise, Elisabeth Shue, Eddie Cahill and Sela Ward. This featurette is just way too short for a major crossover episode. It could have easily been 20-30 minutes and been the highlight of the special features. Maybe there will be a more in-depth featurette on the CSI DVD release.

Disc 5
A Day Off With... (23:31) - Join the cast and Co-Executive Producer Trey Callaway as they recount the episodes that showcased each character's 'day off' from the New York crime lab. Interviews include Gary Sinise, Co-Executive Producer John Dove, Eddie Cahill, Kathleen Munroe, Executive Producer Zachary Reiter, Staff Writer Sarah Byrd, A.J. Buckley, Robert Joy and Sela Ward. They show Flack's day off, shooting at Yankees Stadium, Linday's day off, Adam's day off and seeing his father with Alzheimer's, the identity of the guardian angel, Jo's day off and her follower, Mac's day off and the CSI crossover in Las Vegas.

Gag Reel (3:40) - I like their music choices for these gag reels.

That's a wrap for CSI: NY. Although it was my least favorite series in the CSI franchise, they put together 9 solid and enjoyable seasons. I liked Melina Kanakaredes, but it would have been interesting to see Sela Ward in all 9 seasons. I think the show probably could have been canceled a season or two ago, but it's nice that CBS kept it going even though seasons 8 and 9 had a reduced amount of episodes. The show still was doing well on Friday nights. A milestone tenth season would have been great to watch.

Season nine began with a bang. Some of my favorite episodes this season included "Misconceptions," "The Lady in the Lake," "Clue: SI," "Nine Thirteen," "White Gold," and "Today Is Life." The only disappointment with the season is that there was no real series finale to wrap everything up. With a reduced amount of episodes and the uncertainty of whether it would be back or not, there probably was just no time.

The special features are pretty decent. I miss the audio commentaries. They dropped them for the final three seasons. Since these special features were likely produced before learning they wouldn't be back for a tenth season, there's no mention that this was the final season of the series. Overall, it was a good run for CSI: NY. It didn't get the attention of the other two CSI series, but it's worth checking out if you enjoy forensics and crime shows in general. It will continue to live on DVD and in syndication for years to come.

(4/5 stars)

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Related links: Main Reviews Page
CSI: NY Official Site
CSI: NY Page



Blog DVD Review: The FBI - The Fifth Season (Warner Archive, $49.95)
by skees53

Warner Archive has returned once again with more of the "most wanted" in The FBI - The Fifth Season. The Quinn Martin series (one of his most successful) featured a story each week about a most wanted criminal whom had been caught by the FBI. Of course, as is most convenient in a series like this, we have a regular character, Lewis Erskine (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.) who happens to be the agent on every case, along with his assistants Tom Colby (William Reynolds) and Arthur Ward (Philip Abbott). The cases were based upon real cases, and the series was even produced with the support of then FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. The Fifth Season DVD set, which can only be purchased from Warner Archive, includes all 26 episodes of the 1969-1970 season of the series.

The season begins with "Target of Interest," where Erskine is investigating a case that may have blackmailed a diplomat to suicide. Jeff Bridges guest stars in "Boomerang," where he plays a man who fakes his own kidnapping… except things take a turn for the worse in his plans. A man is willing to do anything to clear his imprisoned brother of murder in "Gamble with Death." In "Blood Tie," we learn brothers will do anything for one another, but it can be frustrating when you give your brother shelter not knowing that he is on the run from the FBI. In "The Sanctuary," the search is on for an ex-football star wanted for murder and robbery (not who it sounds like, this was almost 30 years before that).

An escaped federal prisoner kidnaps his son in "Journey Into Night," but if he loves his son, he'll need to give him up. In "The Doll Courier," the hunt is on for communists using a porcelain doll to transport top secret microfilm. A widow and her son are taken hostage in "Fatal Imposter." In "Summer Terror," a kidnapping victim has little hope that the FBI will find her, so can she hope that one of the abductors will grow fond of her? Erskine goes undercover driving big rigs in "The Dealer." The season ends with "The Quest," where a man (Earl Holliman) who allegedly murdered his wife escapes from a mental hospital and is convinced that she is still alive… and eventually, even Erskine begins to believe that as well!

The episodes are unedited, with a few even including the original Ford sponsorship in the opening credits. Runtimes are as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "Target of Interest" (51:56)
2. "Nightmare Road" (51:37)
3. "The Swindler" (51:44)
4. "Boomerang" (49:41)

Disc 2:
5. "Silent Partners" (51:37)
6. "Gamble with Death" (51:39)
7. "Flight" (51:28)
8. "The Challenge" (50:37)

Disc 3:
9. "Blood Tie" (51:22)
10. "The Sanctuary" (50:37)
11. "Scapegoat" (51:39)
12. "The Inside Man" (50:38)

Disc 4:
13. "The Prey" (51:39)
14. "Journey Into Night" (51:08)
15. "The Doll Courier" (51:39)
16. "Tug-of-War" (50:39)

Disc 5:
17. "Fatal Impostor" (50:40)
18. "Conspiracy of Corruption" (50:40)
19. "The Diamond Milestone" (50:38)
20. "Deadly Reunion" (50:42)

Disc 6:
21. "Pressure Point" (51:40)
22. "Summer Terror" (51:29)
23. "Return to Power" (51:39)
24. "The Dealer" (50:37)

Disc 7:
25. "Deadfall" (51:30)
26. "The Quest" (51:40)

Like most recent Warner Archive releases of large multi-disc sets, this set comes packaged as two parts in individual Viva cases... but you can only buy both parts together, and they have the same artwork. The cover art features a large photo of Erskine, along with smaller photos of other cast members. The back of each case features the same description of the season (for both cases), and has a few episode snapshots. Inside the case, each disc has the series title, along with a listing of episodes on the disc.

The menus on the set are very basic. The main menu has artwork similar to the cover art, with a Play All option and a listing of all of the episodes on the disc right below that. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.

The video and audio quality of the episodes on this set is simply outstanding. In fact, it is far better than I could have ever imagined it being. While there is some grain and debris on the episodes, it isn't out of control, and the colors are very bright and vivid. Granted, the quality isn't quite as good as The Streets of San Francisco on DVD (which was Quinn Martin's project right after this), but there is little to complain about. The audio is a very nice sounding track, although nothing fancy. The episodes are neither closed-captioned nor subtitled.

The set contains no special features.

Of the Quinn Martin shows, this was certainly the longest running one... and, ironically, probably the one that is seen the least in syndication. Admittedly, it is somewhat dated when it comes to some of the stories about stopping the communists and such, as it was about real criminals from over 40 years ago, but it is still fun to watch today. The series reminds me a lot of something like Dragnet, except here, we see more of the story from the side of the person on the run and not just the law enforcement. Fans of crime dramas of the era are sure to enjoy this, just as they would with most other Quinn Martin series. I'm impressed with the quality of what Warner Archive gave us, and I am hopeful that we'll see the rest of the series sooner rather than later.

(4/5 stars)

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Warner Archive

Related links: DVD Reviews Page
The FBI on


Who to Follow: Kathy Najimy (Twitter), "actress, activist, writer, mom, wife & 2 time winning wimbleton pro golfer."
Claim to Fame: Her name may not be one that you immediately recognize, but you know who she is. Before she had a career as a "celebrity," she made a few game show appearances (including one with her family in a 1981 episode of Family Feud), but she became best known with her roles in Veronica's Closet and her voice role as Peggy Hill on King of the Hill.
Why You Should Follow Her: I never knew a whole lot about Najimy outside of her TV and movie roles, but Twitter introduced me to a side of her that I never knew... particularly, she is a very outspoken person with a lot of strong opinions. While this would normally not seem out of the ordinary, it is a very deep and stark contrast to Peggy Hill, who was the housewife and substitute teacher that she played on King of the Hill. But she is nonetheless a funny person who seems to enjoy her fans, and always ends the day with a very nice tribute to a dessert (see her feed to see what I mean).
Pick of the Tweets: "i am just sick and tired of day after day people mistaking me for Eva Longoria. I'm taller than her dang it." (May 24, 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

Saturday, October 22

Superstore - "Guns, Pills and Birds" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Amy (America Ferrera) assigns an uncomfortable Jonah (Ben Feldman) to the gun section of Cloud 9, Jonah abuses his right-to-refuse sale to anyone that causes concern, causing an open-carry protest to gather in the store. On principle, Glenn (Mark McKinney) attempts to purchase all of the store's morning-after pills, but finds himself in a moral dilemma when he can't afford them. Dina (Lauren Ash), Garrett (Colton Dunn) and Mateo (Nico Santos) hunt down a crow that has flown into the store.

The Thundermans - "Happy Heroween" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
It's a major Halloween storm outside, but inside Colosso keeps the family spooked by telling three scary stories that are sure to terrify even the bravest of superheroes.

School of Rock - "Welcome to My Nightmare" (Nickelodeon, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Mr. Finn's class decides to celebrate Halloween in school after Principal Mullins, who hates the holiday, goes home sick. When she returns sooner than expected, they have to scramble to keep her from finding out the truth.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 24)

Saturday, October 22

  • Jim J. Bullock (Too Close for Comfort) - Jim talks about touring the U.S. in Kinky Boots on Oprah: Where Are They Now? at 10pm ET/PT on OWN.
Sunday, October 23
  • Patti LaBelle (Out All Night) - Catch Patti on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
Monday, October 24
  • Ricky Gervais (The Office) - Watch Ricky on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Tom Hanks (Bosom Buddies) - Tom appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He also talks about Inferno on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Elijah Wood (Wilfred) - Elijah is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ana Gasteyer (People of Earth/Lady Dynamite/Suburgatory) - Ana visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) - Nick stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) - Zooey is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Michael Chiklis (Daddio) - Michael drops by Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Jameela Jamil (The Good Place) - Jameela appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Aya Cash (You're the Worst) - Aya talks about You're the Worst on the AOL Build ShoW at 2pm. She will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Will is a guest on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Mary Steenburgen (The Last Man on Earth/Ink) - Mary talks about The Last Man on Earth on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. She will also be on the AOL Build Show at 12:30pm.
  • Anna Camp (The Mindy Project) - Anna talks about Good Girls Revolt on People Now at 8:30am.
  • James Brolin (Life in Pieces) - James is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.