Saturday, August 31, 2013

Digital Digest: Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman DVD News; Scandal - The Complete Second Season DVD Review

Welcome to Digital Digest! It's Labor Day weekend, but we're here just like we are every other weekend with your news and our regular features, including a review of Scandal - The Complete Second Season. Let's get started!


DIGITAL NEWS

Mill Creek announced a new partnership with Sony to release certain series on DVDs this week, but it really isn't anything new... at all. While the deal will include several classic sitcoms including Bewitched, The Jeffersons, Charlie's Angels, and more, it appears that the arrangement will exclusively be re-releases of products that Sony has already released. But, of course, it is possible that this arrangement could be expanded in the future and we'll see more.

Not every Sony series has been abandoned, however, and studios like Shout! Factory continue to bring us some of their classic series. The latest announcement brings something huge to DVD with Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman - The Complete Series. The 38 (yes, 38) disc set brings the entire series to DVD  on December 3, although it is not yet clear how "complete" this release will be. The runtime listed on amazon.com (which is not always correct, for what it is worth) says 8100 minutes, which would suggest roughly 350 episodes, or maybe fewer episodes and some special features. There were 325 episodes of the series under the Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman title and an additional 130 under the Forever Fernwood title. We won't speculate one way or the other what the situation is, but we'll definitely follow up when we do know.

MPI has been rather quiet in regards to releases in recent months, but it appears that a few "best of" DVDs will be coming from the studio in October. On October 22, the studio will release "best of" collections for The Doris Day Show, Family Affair, and The Mothers-in-Law.

Finally, it isn't too late to enter our contest to win a copy of the limited edition release of Mama's Family - The Complete Series. Complete contest details, including how to enter and rules, can be found here.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (September 3) has plenty of great releases. First up, Universal has the final season of The Office in The Office - Season Nine (DVD/Blu-ray), as well as the release of Parks and Recreation - Season Five on DVD. Meanwhile, ABC has their release of Scandal - The Complete Second Season, which we review in today's Digital Digest. Of course, the biggest release for next week (perhaps one of the biggest of the year) doesn't exactly "come out" on Tuesday, but is set to begin shipping next week, and that one is StarVista Entertainment's Mama's Family - The Complete Series. We are eagerly anticipating this set, and hope to have a review as soon as possible.

BLOG FEATURE REVIEW



Blog DVD Review: Scandal - The Complete Second Season ABC Studios, $45.99)
by Pavan 

Scandal is back for a second season and it's better than ever, people! Experience every breathless, jaw-dropping moment as Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and her team of "gladiators in suits" turn up the heat and raise the stakes in Scandal: The Complete Second Season. For Olivia Pope and Associates, cleaning up other people's messes takes a shattering personal toll. Season 2 blows the lid off Quinn's identity, exposes Huck's dark past, and uncovers Olivia's darkest secret - something so shocking and enormous that it threatens the entire nation. From boardrooms to bedrooms, relive all 22 episodes of Scandal's explosive second season - plus exclusive, never-before-seen bonus features in this riveting 5-disc set.

The second season stars Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, Columbus Short as Harrison Wright, Guillermo Diaz as Huck, Darby Stanchfield as Abby Whelan, Katie Lowes as Quinn Perkins, Tony Goldwyn as President Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III, Bellamy Young as Mellie Grant, Joshua Malina as David Rosen and Jeff Perry as White House Chief of Staff Cyrus Beene. However, there are many recurring stars such as Scott Foley as Jake Ballard, Kate Burton as Vice President Sally Langston, Dan Bucatinsky as James Novak, Brenda Song as Alissa, Norm Lewis as Senator Edison Davis, Gregg Henry as Hollis Doyle, Debra Mooney as Supreme Court Justice Verna Thornton and Matt Letscher as Billy Chambers. The series aired for the last seven weeks of the season and delivered solid and steady rating. Guest stars include Kurt Fuller as Grayden Osborne, Eric Mabius, Lisa Edelstein, and Andrea Bowen. The series has always generated buzz and acclaim, with trending topics on Twitter during every episode, but this second season exploded in the ratings (especially after the eighth episode of the season) and became the #1 drama on television at 10pm. We mentioned back on our first season review that look for a bright future for this acclaimed series that will keep getting better. And we were right!

Anyway, as for this set, there are many memorable episodes in this suspenseful juicy series. All 22-episodes are a must see and is easy to watch. It's just so good and there is nothing like it on television. You'll be hooked. So catch up or start today as season three will start October 3 at 10|9c on Thursday nights! The season starts off with the episode "White Hat's Off," where Quinn's true identity is revealed and as the Pope & Associates team digs deeper into her past they find that she may be their biggest scandal yet, while Cyrus and First Lady Mellie put President Grant in a compromising position during a live television interview and a Rhode Island Congressman requires Olivia's help. In "Defiance," Harrison leads the team on the case of billionaire's son who is worried about his father's mental state, while Olivia works with a senator who had an affair with a 21 year old and is now resigning from his position and Cyrus and Mellie plan a birthday gala for President Grant, as the Pope & Associates team digs deeper into an investigation into rigged voting machines. The series really exploded during the episode "Happy Birthday, Mr. President," as President Grant is rushed to the hospital following the attempt on his life, as a series of flashbacks reveals more about Olivia's time in the White House and her relationship with the president, while despite Olivia's best efforts to retain the office of president for President Grant, Vice President Langston is inaugurated as president to serve until President Grant recovers. In the powerful episode "One for the Dog," while Huck is being held in an underground location and being tortured after being framed for shooting the president, the president is still in a coma, but to save Fitz's presidency Mellie forges his signature saying he is awake and ready to head back to office, but Acting President Sally Langston isn't buying it, so Olivia does what she does best and manages the crisis.

In "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot," 10 months after discovering the truth behind Defiance, Fitz is still struggling to figure out whom he can actually trust, while Olivia is trying to move on with her life, and she meets a handsome stranger, Jake Ballard (Scott Foley), who sparks her interest, but when Fitz and Olivia are forced to be in the same room again, real sparks fly and things get heated. In "Snake in the Garden," Hollis Doyle calls Olivia in when his daughter is kidnapped under suspicious circumstances, while Olivia and Jake continue their relationship whilst Quinn and Huck's friendship strengthens, but problems at the White House spring up as Cyrus fights to be back in the president's corner whilst Mellie confronts Fitz and the mole is exposed and taken care of, though all is not as one might expect. In the amazing episode "Seven Fifty-Two," secrets from Huck's life before Pope and Associates are revealed, as Olivia and Fitz engage in an emotionally charged conversation, unaware of the fact that someone could be watching, and Olivia's team comes together to help one of their own, while Cyrus is becoming increasingly skeptical of Jake, and Mellie makes a decision that could bring down the White House. In "Any Questions?" Cyrus is at the center of a big scandal at the White House, while Olivia is betrayed by someone close to her and Fitz announces his re-election campaign. And in the juicy and thrilling season finale, "White's Hat Back On," as they get closer to uncovering the mole's identity, Olivia and her team find themselves in an increasingly dangerous situation as the latest White House scandal pushes Cyrus over the edge, while David is instrumental in uncovering the identity of the mole and a secret about Olivia's life hits the media.

Episodes are usually around 43 minutes and unedited (with a few extended episodes at 45, 46, and 50 minutes each), as they should be. Runtimes are below:

Disc 1:
1. "White Hat's Off" (43:00)
2. "The Other Woman" (43:01)
3. "Hunting Season" (43:00)
4. "Beltway Unbuckled" (42:58)
5. "All Roads Lead to Fitz" (43:02)

Disc 2:
6. "Spies Like Us" (42:59)
7. "Defiance" (43:01)
8. "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" (43:00)
9. "Blown Away" (43:00)
10. "One for the Dog" (43:00)

Disc 3:
11. "A Criminal, a Whore, an Idiot and a Liar" (43:01)
12. "Truth or Consequences" (43:01)
13. "Nobody Likes Babies" (45:00)
14. "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" (43:01)

Disc 4:
15. "Boom Goes the Dynamite" (43:01)
16. "Top of the Hour" (43:01)
17. "Snake in the Garden" (43:00)
18. "Molly, You In Danger, Girl" (43:01)
19. "Seven Fifty-Two" (46:01)

Disc 5:
20. "A Woman Scorned" (43:00)
21. "Any Questions?" (43:01)
22. "White Hat's Back On" (43:00) (EXTENDED FINALE also available: 50:25)

The DVD once again comes in a case held by an outer thin box. The thin outer box is in black with another nice facial shot of Olivia Pope with what appears to be President Grant looking at her and the series logo at the bottom and the complete second season mention is on the top. The back of the thin outer box has info on the set and series, with nice quotes from TVLine and EW. We have a nice cast photo as well. There is also a box showcasing the bonus features as well. When we remove the outer box, we get to the case. The case has the same artwork as the thin box, both cover and back, so everything is the exact same. Inside the case we have a cool cutouts of each cast member on the panels itself. There is also a disc-by-disc breakdown below the photos on the panels listing episode titles per disc. As for the discs themselves, disc one is on a little plastic holder that you can flip like a page in a book, while disc two is on back side of that holder. Same goes true for discs three and four, but disc five is on the right panel itself, though. Each disc is in the black design with the series logo in red and has character artwork. Disc one holds episodes 1-5 and has the same shot of Olivia as the cover art. Disc two holds episodes 6-10 and has artwork of both Fitz and Olivia. Disc three holds episodes 11-14 and has artwork of Cyrus and Mellie. Disc four holds episodes 15-19 and has artwork of Huck and Quinn. And finally disc five holds episodes 20-22 plus the bonus features and has artwork of Harrison, Abby and David Rosen. There is no insert booklet showcasing other ABC TV DVDs that are coming soon as we had for the season one set.

The menu design is once again great! We first have a shot of the White House, then we see clips from the series playing in the background as we have background music from the show playing (with the trademark camera snapshot sounds mixed in). Before the main menu, we have auto trailers on disc one for Revenge Season 2, ABC TV dramas on DVD, Castle Season 5 and Once Upon a Time Season 2. Back to the main menu, the options are: Play All, Episode Selection, Bonus Features, Set Up and Sneak Peeks. Sneak Peeks is only on disc five and has different trailers (ABC Image promo and Lone Ranger). Set Up gives us the option for subtitles in English, French, Espanol, and Portuguese. You can also register your DVD here. Bonus Features is just on disc five and lists what is available, while Episode Selection gives us an episode number and title. This is pretty much similar to the first season set.

Video and audio quality are both outstanding, similar to the first season and other recent ABC TV DVDs we have reviewed like Revenge. We have Digital Dolby 5.1 surround sound and it is perfect. For the video, we are in widescreen (1.78:1), enhanced for 16x9 televisions. It is excellent quality but that is expected for newer/current series. As I keep saying, if anything goes wrong with audio/video for current series, then there is a major problem. Each episode has 7 chapter stops, so it is easy to jump through an episode if you are looking for something in particular, like any steamy scene between Olivia and the President--viewer discretion advised, indeed! This is not Blu-ray, but it is still excellent!

There are some special features on this set as well! They are all on disc five. First up, we have an Extended Finale for "White Hat's Back On" (50:25) and this is actually listed inside the Episode Selection menu rather than Bonus Features. Yes, we get seven more minutes of footage from the season finale! It is even more amazing and a must-see! The rest of the extras are listed inside Bonus Features. The first one is the featurette "A Closer Look: President Grant's Assassination Attempt" (4:50). We get an inside peek at how one of season two's most pivotal scenes was shot (pun intended!). This is the episode that skyrocketed the series into a top series status. It's a very good and informative featurette and has interviews with Shonda Rhimes (creator/executive producer), Betsy Beers (executive producer), Oliver Bokelberg (director), Don Ruffin (stunt supervisor), Rajeev Dassani (visual effects supervisor), Tony Goldwyn, and Bellamy Young. Then we have a second featurette and this one is called "Being Huck" (8:02). In this inspiring piece, spend the day with Huck himself (Guillermo Diaz) and get to know the man behind the eclectic yet oddball character. This is probably the better featurette because it is longer and has more feedback. Interviewed are Guillermo Diaz, Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington, Betsy Beers, and Darby Stanchfield. Next up we have A LOT of deleted scenes. 38 of them, in fact. We didn't have any for the first season but now we have many on this set. Here are the episodes and timings: #201 (1:31), #202 (0:50), #204 (0:25, 0:55), #205 (0:44), #206 (0:47), #207 (0:16), #209 (1:08, 0:28, 0:41), #210 ((0:29), #211 (0:33, 1:39, 1:11), #212 (0:59), #213 (0:38, 0:43, 0:46, 0:42, 1:01, 0:30, 1:00, 0:41, 0:37), #215 (1:00), #217 (0:34, 0:16), #218 (0:55), #219 (0:36, 2:27, 0:41, 1:33, 1:07), #220 (0:25, 0:39, 0:56) and #221 (0:18, 0:37). And finally we have season two "Outtakes" (4:40). We didn't have any bloopers for the first season set, but we have some here! Fans will laugh out loud at these funny, unseen uncensored moments from the set of this hit series. They are sure having fun!

This is a nicely done set for an even better show. You have a month to watch, catch-up, or refresh yourself on all 22 episodes and be ready for season three, which begins Thursday, Oct. 3 on ABC. The series just gets better and better, and juicer and juicer. Kerry Washington and guest star Dan Bucatinsky have been nominated for Emmy's and they should win them, especially Kerry. As for the DVD, it is well done and similar to the first set and previous ABC TV DVDs. We get great audio/video, menus, packaging and special features. I think the features are better than the first season with deleted scenes and bloopers added, along with the extended finale. The featurettes could have been better as we only have two, while the first set had three. I still wish this series had audio commentaries though. That's my only real gripe, but that is not a big deal. ABC Studios knows how to make good DVDs, especially for their current series. If you haven't watched this series yet, you're crazy. Everyone should be watching this show for great television. If you need to catch-up, you need to do it right now. It is very well written and acted. So as Hollis Doyle would say "Git!" and click below to buy this DVD. It's pure electric and so fast-paced! Suit up!

(4/5 stars)

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

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Scandal on TV.com


FOLLOW ME

Who to Follow: Scott Baio (Twitter), "Actor and my wife & I have a foundation for special needs children and to raise awareness to expanded newborn screening."
Claim to Fame: We all know the answer to this. While he is probably now famous just for being Scott Baio, his original claim to fame came when he played Chachi on Happy Days, and later Charles on the '80s series Charles in Charge. But he isn't out of the game at all, as he continues his sitcom tradition in his Nick@Nite series, See Dad Run.
Why You Should Follow Him: He is the quintessential sitcom actor of the '80s... is there really any other reason needed? But in case there is, you'll find that he does use Twitter somewhat actively (not multiple times per day, but enough to keep his fans happy) and he only seems to use it for positive things that everybody can enjoy. On top of that, he runs a great foundation (as his tagline suggests) focused on a certain childhood birth defect known as GA-1, with The Bailey Baio Angel Foundation, and he keeps his fans up-to-date on the happenings of that organization.
Pick of the Tweets: "Subway commercial for a "spicy Italian lover" combo. My kid says "ooooh I'm a spicy Italian lover"! #Trouble" (July 21, 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

Sunday, December 4

The Simpsons - "The Last Traction Hero" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
A workplace accident leaves Homer in a cast, and in a position to sue Mr. Burns. This leaves Marge unfulfilled, so she turns to an unexpected source for romance. Meanwhile, Lisa is made “Bus Monitor” and tries to keep the peace.

Son of Zorn - "Return of the Drinking Buddy" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Zorn’s old friend Headbutt Man (guest voice Rob Riggle) is coming to town. Unfortunately for Zorn, Headbutt Man is now sober. Meanwhile, Alan is invited to a party where his crush, Nancy (guest star Emily Wong), will be. Unfortunately, he has to take Headbutt man’s daughter with him.

Family Guy - "Carter and Tricia" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Carter buys the Pawtucket Patriot brewery and decides to cut some corners to save a few bucks. Peter overhears the plan and runs and tells investigative journalist Tricia Takanawa about Carter’s plan to use toxic chemicals in the beer cans. Meanwhile, Brian’s drivers’ license has expired and he enlists Stewie as an instructor.

The Last Man on Earth - "Whitney Houston, We Have a Problem" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
After finding a mysterious note left by Melissa that says “Goodbye,” the gang sets off to go look for her. Meanwhile, Gail gets stuck on a solo adventure of her own.

K.C. Undercover - "Holly Holly Not So Jolly" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Christmas time arrives and K.C. tells everyone she has to go pick up a last-minute gift, but instead goes to The Organization's therapist, Dr. Levinstein.

Mech X-4 - "Let's Survive in the Woods!" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Principal Grey sets a trap for Ryan, Harris and Spyder while they're on a camping trip, which leaves MECH-X4 and Mark in danger.

Best Friends Whenever - "The Christmas Curse" (Disney Channel, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Shelby and Cyd encourage a homesick Daisy to incorporate a festive 16th-century tradition into their annual Christmas party.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 5)

Monday, December 5

  • Will Smith (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - Watch Will on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Steve Harvey (The Steve Harvey Show) - Steve visits The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. He will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. He chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Jason Bateman (Arrested Development/The Hogan Family/It's Your Move) - Jason visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am and on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Gael GarcĂ­a Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle) - Gael is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Steve Agee (The Sarah Silverman Program) - Steve appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • The Cast of Fuller House - The cast of Fuller House are guests on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Patricia Heaton (The Middle/Back to You/Everybody Loves Raymond) - Patricia stops by Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Miss Piggy (The Muppets) - Miss Piggy and Harry perform Deck the Halls on Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Meredith Hagner (Search Party/Men at Work) - Meredith is a guest on Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Lauren Graham (The Odd Couple/Conrad Bloom/Townies) - Lauren appears on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley/The Goodwin Games/Carpoolers) - T.J. talks about Office Christmas Party on the AOL Build Show at 3pm. He will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET. He can also be heard on The Morning Mash Up on SiriusXM at 9:50am.
  • Bradley Whitford (Happyish/Trophy Wife) - Bradley is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Josh McDermitt (Retired at 35) - Josh can be heard on The Morning Mash Up on SiriusXM at 10:45am.
  • Erinn Hayes (Kevin Can Wait/Guys with Kids/Worst Week) - Erinn talks about Kevin Can Wait on the AOL Build Show at 4pm.