Saturday, September 28, 2013

Digital Digest: Family Ties Complete Series DVD Details; The Beasts are on the Streets DVD Review

Welcome to Digital Digest! This week, we have a review of the 1978 Hanna-Barbera TV movie The Beasts are on the Streets, along with all of your other regular features. Let's get started!

DIGITAL NEWS

This week, a list of special features for the upcoming CBS release of Family Ties - The Complete Series was released, and while there is only one additional bonus disc, it appears that it will include a lot of great goodies. Among those goodies are archival interviews, a 2008 cast reunion, the pilot for the spinoff The Art of Being Nick, an episode of Day by Day featuring a Family Ties crossover, a sales presentation, a blooper reel, and more. It appears that those who purchased the individual seasons are out of luck on these bonus features, for now at least, although we're certainly hopeful that there will be some option to purchase this separately in the future as has been done with a few other releases from CBS.

It has been a little over a year since we last saw a release of Alfred Hitchcock Presents from Universal, and it appears that we are finally about to see the next season in Alfred Hitchcock Presents - Season Six. But it won't be a traditional release as the first five seasons have been. Instead, it appears that Universal will be dipping their toes into MOD releases with this release, something that we have not seen much of from Universal as far as TV series are concerned. With this release, we'll be left with only one more season of the half-hour version of the series to be released on DVD.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (October 1) is another busy day for TV on DVD releases. First up are two sitcoms releases from Fox, with How I Met Your Mother - The Complete Season 8 and New Girl - The Complete Second Season. Sony has the MOD conclusion of the series Happy Endings in Happy Endings - The Complete Third Season. For those interested in something older, CBS has The Beverly Hillbillies - Season 4 and Petticoat Junction - Season 3, both of which are available exclusively at Walmart. Mill Creek has some re-releases and some completely new releases, with Wings - Seasons 1 and 2, Highway to Heaven - The Complete Second Season, and Heathcliff - Season One, Volume Two. Finally, Universal kicks off the busy season of complete series releases that are coming our way in time for the holiday shopping season, with Magnum, P.I. - The Complete Series and Murder, She Wrote - The Complete Series.

BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

The Beasts are on the Streets

DVD Review: The Beasts are on the Streets (Warner Archive Collection, $18.95)
by Todd

A careening tanker truck rips through the fence of a wild animal park, unleashing an untamed force of nature on an unsuspecting community. The Beasts are on the Streets! Bison, zebras, camels, antelopes and ostriches stampede down the highway. Elephants and rhinos crush cars. A panther terrorizes a family's pet dog. A tiger turns a fleeing bystander into helpless prey. A lion prowls near a home. A local amusement park becomes an arena for a vicious bear-vs.-tiger clash. As park rangers and local cops scramble to recapture the escaped animals, two trigger-happy good ol' boys decide to go big-game hunting. Carol Lynley, who fought her way through an upside-down luxury liner in The Poseidon Adventure, returns to the disaster-pic genre as a dedicated veterinarian thrust into the forefront of the people vs. beasts panic. Also in the cast: Philip Michael Thomas before he shot to fame in Miami Vice.

The Beasts are on the Streets

The Beasts are on the Streets aired on NBC on May 18, 1978. Hanna-Barbera makes another all-too-rare foray into primetime live-action for this fur and feather-flying disaster flick. It was produced by Joseph Barbera and Harry R. Sherman. The teleplay was written by Laurence Heath. Frederic Louis Fox provided the story. Peter R. Hunt, who is known for his work as a film editor on many early James Bond films and as the director of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, is the director. The movie stars Carol Lynley as Dr. Carol McCauley, Dale Robinette as Kevin Johnson, Billy Green Bush as Jim Scudder, Philip Michael Thomas as Eddie Morgan and Casey Biggs as Rick. Co-starring are Burton Gilliam as Al Loring, Sharon Ullrick as Lucette Gaynes and Anna Lee as the lady in bed, Mrs. Jackson.

The movie comes in a standard Viva eco-box case. The cover art features Philip Michael Thomas, Carol Lynley, Dale Robinette, a tiger, elephant and a lion. The Beasts are on the Streets is written in a large red front. The movie's stars are listed at the top of the case. On the back of the case, there are three screenshots from the movie. A short synopsis of the film, the cast and crew credits, and the DVD specs are provided.

Although the movie is over 35-years-old, the video and audio quality is pretty good. I have a homemade VHS copy from about 25 years ago, so it's nice to finally see an upgrade. It's presented in its original full screen 1.37:1 format. The video wasn't remastered for his release, so there is some minor dirt, debris and digital artifacts. There are no major problems. It's all very watchable. The movie was shot on location in Grand Prairie, Texas. The picture has a sharp image. The colors are still quite vivid. For the closing logo enthusiasts, they have a logo for Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc. The audio is a Dolby Digital English mono track. There is no hiss. The dialogue is clear and easy to understand. Composer Gerald Fried provides a nice disaster flick score. There are no subtitles or closed captioning. The main menu is just a generic Warner Bros. water tank image where you can play the movie. No scene selections are available, but there are chapter stops. Unfortunately, there are no special features or even a trailer or promo spot included. The DVD-R disc has a picture of a tiger, Dale Robinette and Carol Lynley. The movie has a total running time of 96 minutes.

The Beasts are on the Streets - Bear vs. Tiger

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! The Beasts are on the Streets has finally arrived on DVD as a manufactured-on-demand release from the Warner Archive Collection. I remember seeing this underrated TV movie gem on a local Atlanta station in the late 1980s/early 1990s. It's a movie that always stuck with me. It was never previously available on DVD or even VHS. The movie has likely largely disappeared from any stations in the last 20 or so years. Unfortunately, there was a real life and tragic situation in 2011 in Zanesville, Ohio, when a man released his exotic animals into the streets. I recalled this movie when hearing about that sad news.

This is just a fun and entertaining movie. It's something you can watch on a lazy weekend afternoon and enjoy. Although it was a made for television film with a low budget, it's a very well made movie. It's kind of like an extended episode of CHiPs, which had one about a loose tiger in the streets. The Beasts are on the Streets features a solid cast, great action, suspense and terrifying scenes, a little humor and plenty of animals. There is excellent directing and cinematography. The highlight of the action scenes is an epic battle between a bear and tiger. There are also some good scenes of a car chase with ostriches and rhinos and another clash of a lion vs. a dog. Although the action is pretty intense, it's still family friendly because there is no gore. My only issue with the movie is how they sped up some of the scenes with the animals running or attacking. They could have used those scenes at the normal transfer rate or sped them up only slightly.

Overall, it's a movie that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys the animals attack and disaster flicks of the 1970s. They just don't make movies like these days. If a movie like this was made today, it would be mostly CGI with few or no real animals used. Although the movie was supervised by the American Humane Society, the animal attacks and fight scenes seemed very real. No animals were hurt during the filming, however.

The Beasts are on the Streets can be purchased via WBShop.com or Amazon.com . Some other animals attack movies to check out from the Warner Archive Collection include The Pack and Razorback.

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller

(4/5 stars)

To purchase the DVD from WBShop.com, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
WBShop.com

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

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
The Beasts are on the Streets Internet Movie Database Entry


FOLLOW ME

Who to Follow: Michael J. Fox (Twitter), "Michael Fox is a father, husband, actor, writer, activist, and purveyor of fine cheeses."
Claim to Fame: The Canadian-born actor was mostly unknown when he was cast as Alex P. Keaton in the sitcom Family Ties, and if that fame wasn't enough, he became even bigger when he was cast as Marty McFly in the Back to the Future trilogy. Once the '80s were done, he had a bit more success in film as an adult, but he hit it big with another series on ABC in 1996, Spin City. It was during the third season of this series that he announced that he had Parkinson's disease and left the series... but now, he has come back to TV yet again with one of NBC's newest sitcoms, The Michael J. Fox Show, a series that is much like who he approaches life: dealing with the challenges that he faces with a positive outlook and a good sense of a humor.
Pick of the Tweets: "This is the third decade in which Tracy and I have shared the screen. But the first-ever spoon lick. Cue the Billy Vera song." (September 26, 2013)

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


New on DVD/Blu-ray (December/January)

American Dad! - Volume 11 Newhart - The Complete Seventh Season I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized) The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two Hooperman - Season One

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

Sunday, January 22

Son of Zorn - "Radioactive Ex-Girlfriend" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
With Craig and Edie’s engagement party around the corner, everyone is figuring out who to bring. Alan struggles to figure out his relationship status with Layla, while Zorn rekindles with his ex, Radiana (Olivia Wilde), who is literally radioactive. All the while, Craig has just received his certificate in relationship counseling and is helping others, but just can’t seem to help himself.

Bob's Burgers - "See Me Now" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Teddy organizes a day trip on his newly refurbished boat in an effort to impress his ex-wife, Denise. Meanwhile, Tina attempts to show that she is responsible enough for a cell phone by taking care of Bob’s prized eraser from the restaurant. Can both Teddy and Tina prove themselves.

The Simpsons - "Friends and Family" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Mr. Burns hires the Simpsons to play his live-in virtual reality family, but excludes Homer so that he may play dad. Now alone, Homer finds a new best friend in girl-next-door Julia, who eats, drinks and thinks like him.

Son of Zorn - "The Battle of Self-Acceptance" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Craig is worried he’s not man enough for Edie and asks Zorn to help him become a warrior. Meanwhile, to get closer to Layla, Alan finds a way to change the thing about which he’s most insecure, but ends up going to extreme.

Family Guy - "Peternormal Activity" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
The guys go to an abandoned asylum seeking inspiration for a new horror movie idea, but end up accidentally killing a man they think is keeping them hostage. Wracked with guilt, they each try to pin the murder on someone else. Meanwhile, Stewie is on a mission to destroy Brian’s glasses because he’s annoyed by how pretentious Brian’s been acting when he wears them.

Bob's Burgers - "Teen-A-Witch" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
With Halloween quickly approaching, Tina reveals her brilliant idea that will finally win her first place in the annual costume contest. When Tammy steals her idea, Tina is forced to seek the help of Mr. Ambrose, who leads her to alternate and other-worldly methods of winning. Meanwhile, Bob is on a mission to figure out who is stealing his perfectly crafted pumpkins.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 23)

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.
Sunday, January 22
  • NeNe Leakes (The New Normal) - Catch NeNe on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
Monday, January 23
  • 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.