Saturday, June 15, 2013

Digital Digest: One Last Bang of the Gavel for Night Court; Falcon Crest - The Complete Third Season DVD Review

Welcome to Digital Digest! We're getting very close to the official start of the summer season, but we don't stop for reruns around here. This week, we have a review of Warner Archive's release of Falcon Crest - The Complete Third Season. Let's get going!

DIGITAL NEWS

We spent a long time waiting on seasons of the sitcom Night Court when it was first released, but once it transitioned to Warner Archive, the waiting time between seasons shrunk dramatically. Now, all of that waiting has paid off, as Warner Archive released the final season this week, in Night Court - The Complete Ninth Season. The three-disc, 22 episode collection includes the ending of the classic series (aside of course from that wedding that fans were sure would happen, but didn't... you'll have to turn to 30 Rock for an attempt to see that happen).

Meanwhile, over at Warner Home Video, a release is finally set for The Middle - The Complete Third Season on DVD. For some unknown reason, this release never quite made it out when all of the other 2011-2012 seasons of on-going series was released, but we'll certainly take it a year late if we have to. The date that has been set for this release is October 8, so it is still a while off. Nonetheless, it is coming.

Perhaps what many fans are interested in from Warner Home Video, though, is The Big Bang Theory, and now, there seems to be a date for The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Sixth Season (DVD and Blu-ray). As of right now, it appears that we'll be seeing that in stores on September 10.

Finally, Universal has set a new date for The Office - Season Nine (DVD and Blu-ray). You can expect to find this set in stores on September 3. As of right now, there is no indication of any complete series set in the works to bundle all of it together, but I wouldn't be completely surprised to see one. This is a series that would certainly seem to work in that form.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW
Tuesday (June 18) brings the release of the FX series Wilfred with the Fox release of Wilfred - The Complete Second Season (DVD and Blu-ray). Also, ABC Studios has Body of Proof - The Complete Third Season. We'll have a review of that set next week.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW
 


Blog DVD Review: Falcon Crest - The Complete Third Season (Warner Archive, $49.95)
by skees53

The 1980s was a busy decade for primetime soap operas. Although they all began in the late 1970s with Dallas, it wasn't long before there were many other series with twists of their own. Perhaps the last debut of the "successful" primetime soap operas, though, was yet another series from Lorimar (which had already brought Dallas and Knots Landing), this time Falcon Crest. It was a series much like Dallas, a story about a  family constantly fighting for control over the family business. Except this time, the family business was wine, and instead of a corrupt man at the top, it was a woman: Angela Channing (played by Jane Wyman, the first wife of the then newly elected President Reagan). The series followed the constant feuding of the family, and managed to last for nine seasons and 227 episodes. After a long wait since the release of the second season, Warner Archive now brings us Falcon Crest - The Complete Third Season. The seven disc set (presented in two volumes, but you'll have to buy them both together) brings all 28 episodes of the 1983-1984 season together in a set available exclusively directly from the Warner Archive website (and will likely be available at other websites soon).

If you are not familiar with this series (or this season), you may want to skip the next few paragraphs, as they may be a "semi-spoiler." It is hard to talk about series like this without spoiling some of the plots, but I will attempt to be at least somewhat vague in these descriptions, and at times, describe only some of the smaller plots that are not necessarily critical stories.

This season begins by picking up from a cliffhanger in "Cimmerean Dawn," where a fatal gunshot (you'll have to watch to find out who was shot!) changes the lives of everybody. Angela uses a bit of blackmail to get Chase declared incompetent in "Penumbra." Unfortunately, that very plan may potentially backfire on Angela in "Conspiracy." The competency battle heads to court in "Partners," and Angela is in for quite a big unpleasant surprise. Chase makes his return to Falcon Crest in "Judge and Jury," but of course, Angela isn't interested in seeing that go too well. Judgement day has arrived for Julia on her murder charges in "The Wages of Sin." In "The Last Laugh," Julia enters prison, but quickly finds that not all enemies of the Channing family are on the outside, but she may just find some protection in the next episode, "Solitary Confinements."

Some of Angela's corruption becomes uncovered while Dr. Lantry is being investigated in "Chameleon Charades." In "Double Dealing," Angela manages to get Dr. Lantry in jail, but now he poses an even bigger threat to her. Dr. Lantry confesses what he did to Chase in "The Betrayal," but it may be too late to implicate Angela when he gives himself a lethal dose of morphine. The story continues in "Coup d'Etat," where Chase could really use Dr. Lantry's testimony to take down Angela once and for all... but is time running out for him to testify? Yet another battle is brewing between Chase and Angela in "No Trespassing." Angela thwarts another plan of Chase's in "Sport of Kings."

Melissa and Lance play a little game of blackmail in "Power Play." Angela's latest scheme involves almost literally trading custody of a baby for land in "Changing Times." In "Tests of Faith," an escaped mental patient is on her way to Falcon Crest, but she knows it pretty well anyway. She continues to make her way back to Falcon Crest (but not without attention now) in "Little Boy Blue." In "The Gathering Storm," Lance finds out about the baby selling scheme, and is not too pleased. Maggie is in a bit of medical trouble in "Love's Triumph." Julia is still on the loose in "For Better, For Worse," and make no mistake: she isn't done with her murderous ways. Julia may have done it again in "The Avenger." The season ends with "Ashes to Ashes," which brings fans another one of those famous cliffhangers that we all knew and loved in these series.

The episodes seem to be unedited, with runtimes as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "Cimmerean Dawn" (49:11)
2. "Penumbra" (49:09)
3. "Conspiracy" (49:04)
4. "Partners" (49:09)

Disc 2:
5. "Judge and Jury" (49:07)
6. "The Wages of Sin" (49:11)
7. "The Last Laugh" (49:09)
8. "Solitary Confinements" (49:07)

Disc 3:
9. "Chameleon Charades" (49:09)
10. "Double Dealing" (49:08)
11. "The Betrayal" (49:09)
12. "Coup d'Etat" (49:10)

Disc 4:
13. "No Trespassing" (49:11)
14. "Sport of Kings" (49:02)
15. "Queen's Gambit" (49:09)
16. "Bitter Harvest" (49:04)

Disc 5:
17. "Power Play" (49:11)
18. "Changing Times" (49:09)
19. "The Aftermath" (49:09)
20. "Tests of Faith" (49:10)

Disc 6:
21. "Little Boy Blue" (49:09)
22. "The Gathering Storm" (49:09)
23. "Final Countdown" (49:09)
24. "Love's Triumph" (49:09)

Disc 7:
25. "Win, Place, and Show" (49:09)
26. "For Better, For Worse" (49:05)
27. "The Avenger" (49:09)
28. "Ashes to Ashes" (49:09)

The set is packaged in two separate Viva cases, although both have the same artwork. I'm guessing that the reasoning behind this is because it is a lot easier to produce 3 or 4 disc sets than it is to produce a 7 disc set as manufacture on demand (MOD) product. Part 1 contains Discs 1-4, and Part 2 contains Discs 5-7. As of right now, you can only buy the two volumes as one set. The cover artwork has a large cast photo, along with a few episode snapshots along the bottom of the front cover. On the back, there is a brief description of the third season, along with a few more episode snapshots. The discs inside each case all list the episode titles included on each disc. Of course, even though this is technically a MOD product, like most Warner Archive releases, the initial copies of this set are actually pressed DVDs, and not DVD-R products.

The menus on the set are pretty simple. On the main menu of each disc, you'll essentially find the exact same artwork as seen on the cover of the set, although it is a little different for both parts of the season. Part 1 discs have the large cast photo on the menu, while Part 2 discs have the small snapshot photos on the menu. The episodes, along with a Play All option, are listed on the right side of the main menu. Once you play an episode, it starts immediately. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.

The video quality of the episodes on the set is similar to the quality of the episodes of Dallas on DVD. If you haven't seen that series on DVD, you should know that is not necessarily a compliment, but it isn't a huge disaster either. Basically, the video looks rather dated, the colors seem a bit unnatural at times, and you'll find a lot of scratches here and there. The audio is a somewhat dull mono track. All in all, it isn't as bad as it may, but it is just typical quality for something from the early '80s that hasn't really been remastered. Unfortunately, there is no closed-captioning.

As is common with most Warner Archive releases, this set has no special features.
It took quite a while to get from the second season to the third season, but I'm hopeful that this means that the series is back on track to be completed. There were four big prime time soaps in the '80s, and all of them had very long runs. We still have an entire six seasons to go for this one. The series has a pretty big fanbase, and it probably goes without saying that those fans will want to own this set. But I think fans of other similar series, particularly Dallas and Dynasty, will find this series enjoyable as well.

(4/5 stars)

To purchase this DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Warner Archive

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Falcon Crest on TV.com


FOLLOW ME

Who to Follow: Mr. T (Twitter), "Footballer, wrestler, soldier, bouncer, bodyguard & actor. Professional pitier of fools."
Claim to Fame: I "pity the fool" who would even ask this question! But in case you do, this man was born as Laurence Tureaud... although few people probably know that. After graduating from high school, he joined the military and even tried out for the Green Bay Packers. That didn't work out, so he became a bodyguard and a bar bouncer. Eventually, he became known to the American public and went on to play the role of B.A. Baracus in the classic series The A-Team.
Why You Should Follow Him: This shouldn't even be a question. Mr. T is a bit of an outlandish character that we all came to love on The A-Team for his tough but loveable attitude. Very few people can truly call themselves an icon of American culture, but he is certainly one of them. Reading his Twitter feed is a lot like reading lines of what B.A. Baracus would be saying on The A-Team if it were still on the air today. Lately, he has been talking quite a bit about the NHL playoffs, which he is clearly a very big fan of, but he also gives a lot of opinions about who he thinks the fools are in society... and whether you agree with him or not, they're all pretty humorous to read. You'll even find some of his religious beliefs sprinkled throughout his Twitter feed, as it may surprise some people to find that he is devoted Christian... although it shouldn't be incredibly surprising, as his own father was a minister.
Pick of the Tweets: "There are three Ts in @twitter - but only one that counts!" (June 6, 2013)

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


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, November 13

The Conners - "The Separation of Church and Dan" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Geena learns that D.J. hasn’t been taking Mary to church while she’s been away, she insists they go as a family to uphold her traditional values. To make matters worse, Mary refuses to attend without her cousins Harris and Mark, leaving D.J. in the last situation he wants to be in – at the mercy of Darlene. Meanwhile, Mark’s attempt to conduct an unbiased survey on the upcoming election for his school project goes south when Jackie volunteers to help.

The Kids Are Alright - "Peggy's Day Out" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
To hide a mess Eddie made, his girlfriend, Wendi, tries to distract Peggy by insisting she take a day off with a fun day out while they take care of the housework. To everyone’s surprise, Peggy accepts the offer and requests Wendi tag along, with the ulterior motive of teaching her a lesson. Meanwhile, Eddie enlists the help of his brothers to clean up and keep Mike out of the house while Wendi and Peggy are out. Elsewhere, Pat introduces Timmy to his secret dog.

black-ish - "Purple Rain" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
The family is shocked to learn that Jack and Diane are not familiar with the iconic music of Prince. One by one, each member of the family works to explain Prince’s tremendous impact on their lives through his music.

Splitting Up Together - "War of the Wagners" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Lena and Martin’s escalating battle for control of the house is put on hold when Milo announces he wants to go to a school for the gifted – to which they think he will not be accepted. Meanwhile, they both meet a contractor for the house, Vlad, but Lena undermines him and scares Vlad away. Things get uglier between Lena and Oliver after she introduces a new member to the family as payback for all the back-and-forth about the house. Elsewhere, Lena and Martin give conflicting advice to Mason on how to deal with his recent breakup.

The Guest Book - "Two Steps Forward, One Step Back" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Mike and his family hate spending every summer in a subpar vacation home far from the beach; in order to afford paying a booking fee for their dream house, the Barefeet Retreat, Mike pulls double shifts and ends up paying more than he bargained for.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 12)

Tuesday, November 13

  • Jason Mantzoukas (The League) - Catch Jason on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Jenifer Lewis (black-ish/The PJs) - Jenifer appears on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm.
  • Taran Killam (Single Parents) - Taran visits E!'s Busy Tonight at 10pm.
  • Paul Shaffer (A Year at the Top) - Paul stops by The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • The Cast of The Conners - Michael Fishman, John Goodman, Lecy Goranson, Laurie Metcalf and Maya Lynne Robinson are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Jamie Foxx (The Jamie Foxx Show) - Jamie previews the film Robin Hood on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) - Tig appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Tatyana Ali (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/Love That Girl!) - Tatyana talks about her upcoming two Holiday movies for Lifetime and Hallmark on E!'s Daily Pop at 12pm.
  • Damon Wayans Jr. (Happy Together/Happy Endings/New Girl) - Damon is a guest on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Bryan talks about The Upside Down and Network on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Ashley Tisdale (The Suite Life of Zack & Cody/Clipped) - Ashley appears on the BUILD Series at 4pm.


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

The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection Alice - The Complete Eighth Season Step by Step - The Complete Third Season

10/02 - The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 6th Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 7th Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 8th Season
10/02 - Ghosted - The Complete First Season
10/02 - The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One / Volume Two
10/02 - Police Squad! - TV and Movie Collection
10/02 - Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection
10/16 - Community - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
10/23 - Alice - The Complete Eighth Season
10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Two
10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Three
10/31 - The Bad News Bears - The Complete Series - All 26 Episodes
11/01 - Episodes - Season 5
11/05 - Robin Williams - Comic Genius (includes Mork & Mindy)
11/06 - American Dad! - Volume 13
11/20 - Step by Step - The Complete Third Season
11/27 - What I Like About You - The Complete Third Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest