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 (April/May/June)

Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season Father Knows Best - Season Five The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Second Season ALF - The Complete DVD Collection The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Series

04/04 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season
04/11 - Father Knows Best - Season Five
04/11 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Third Season
04/11 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/11 - Veep - The Complete Fifth Season
05/02 - Red, White and Blue Collar Sitcoms - Make TV Great Again
05/09 - ALF - The Complete DVD Collection
05/09 - Divorce - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
05/09 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Second Season
05/16 - The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Series
06/13 - The Andy Griffith Show - Return to Mayberry
06/13 - That's My Mama - The Complete Series
06/20 - Workaholics - The Final (Seventh) Season
06/20 - Workaholics - The Complete Series
06/27 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Third Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, July 20

The Big Bang Theory - "The Brain Bowl Incubation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After a successful experiment combining their genes, Sheldon will stop at nothing to convince Amy they should procreate. Also, Koothrappali is embarrassed to tell the gang what the new woman he’s dating does for a living.

Life in Pieces - "Awkward Bra Automated Ordained" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Dinner gets awkward for Jen and Matt when they find themselves alone without Greg and Colleen. Also, Lark accidentally locks out Greg and Jen from the house, prompting Greg to install a complicated home automation system; Heather and Tim try to sneak wine into an ice skating show to get out of paying at the venue; and John and Joan agree to an impromptu wedding after Colleen mentions that she’s an ordained minister.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 17)

Thursday, July 20

  • T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley/The Goodwin Games/Carpoolers) - Catch T.J on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Jason Bateman (Arrested Development/The Hogan Family/It's Your Move) - Jason visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Ricky Gervais (The Office) - Ricky is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Abby Elliott (Odd Mom Out) - Abby appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. She will also be on The Wendy Williams Show at 2am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Issa Rae (Insecure) - Issa stops by Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm. She also chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Kate Micucci (Raising Hope/The Big Bang Theory) - Kate is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Queen Latifah (Living Single) - Queen Latifah visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Jada Pinkett Smith (A Different World) - Jada drops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo. She will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am and on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Regina Hall (Grandfathered) - Regina guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Tim Daly (Wings) - Tim is a guest on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Laura Linney (The Big C) - Laura talks about Netflix's The Big C on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Steve Guttenberg (Ballers) - Steve talks about HBO's Ballers on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Madison Iseman (Still the King) - Madison talks about CMT's Still the King on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.