Saturday, November 18, 2006

Mini-DVD Reviews: Perry Mason: Season 1 Volume 2 (Nov. 21); CSI: The Complete 6th Season (Nov. 14)

Welcome to another edition of Saturday mini-DVD reviews! Today we take a look at CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment's Perry Mason: Season 1, Volume 2 and CSI: The Complete 6th Season.
See skees53's mini-DVD review of Perry Mason: Season 1, Volume 2.

Perry Mason - Season 1, Volume 2

Perry Mason: Season 1, Volume 2 (CBS DVD, $49.99) contains all 20 episodes from the second half of the first season of the classic courtroom drama. Raymond Burr stars as the all-star attorney Perry Mason that'll help the underdog client prove their innocence no matter what odds are stacked against them. This 5-disc set contains the 20 episodes from the second half of the first season beginning with the February 1, 1958 episode, "The Case of the Lonely Heiress," and going until the final episode of the first season, "The Case of the Rolling Bones."
In the second half of the first season, Perry has the daunting tasks of defending a woman when a con artist that caused her sister to commit suicide is suddenly poisoned ("The Case of the Lonely Heiress"), working with an important witness that has multiple personalities ("The Case of the Deadly Double"), working with a witness that claims to be able to identify somebody by the shoes they are wearing ("The Case of the Daring Decoy"), and many more cases where the person that should have done it, well, didn't do it! These particular episodes, despite its age of the series, has guest stars that many classic television fans will recognize, including Denver Pyle, Yvonne Craig, John Hoyt, Nancy Kulp, and more. Sadly, despite the fact that Perry Mason has an unusually large fan-base for a show as old as it is, the set is totally void of any special features, but the excellent presentation of the episodes along with the excellent video and audio quality requires that I give this set a verdict of not-guilty (or if it makes more sense this way, it is just a pretty good set!).
-- Reviewed by skees53
(4/5 stars)

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Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
Perry Mason TV.com Page



CSI: Crime Scene Investiation - The Complete Sixth Season

CSI.: Crime Scene Investigation - The Complete Sixth Season (Paramount Home Video/CBS DVD, $89.99)

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is a fast-paced drama about a passionate team of forensic investigators trained to solve crimes the old-fashioned way – by examining the evidence. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is on the case 24-7, scouring the scene, collecting the irrefutable evidence and finding the missing pieces that will solve the mystery.

My Review: CSI remains my favorite series in the CSI franchise. It just is consistently good every week, and they keep it fresh with interesting storylines.
While some of the original characters like Grissom have had less of a role in recent seasons, the entire cast is outstanding. I'm not sure if the show has reached its peak. Grey's Anatomy has presented a strong challenge, but CSI has continued to put up impressive numbers.

This 7-disc set contains all 24 episodes of the sixth (2005-06) season. The episodes are presented in Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1) with Dolby Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround or Spanish 2.0 Surround audio. It has a running time of 17 hours, 21 minutes. C.S.I's packaging has remained pretty consistent throughout all the seasons. The faces of the 5 main cast members are featured on the cover. The inside case is in a book format that you can flip through to get to the discs. Each disc features a different half-photo of one of the cast members and the CSI logo. The menus are very stylish and easy to navigate. They have a montage of video clips, with some intrumental music playing in the background. Options are available for Episode Selection, Set Up, Previews (only on Disc 1), and Special Features. On the Set Up menu, you can choose either Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround or Spanish 2.0 Surround. Closed captioning is availble for all of the episodes. As you would expect from such a recent show, the video and audio quality is outstanding.

Like the other CSI releases, this set includes an impressive amount and variety of special features. There are 7 audio commentaries available for 6 of the episodes by the crew and one of the cast members. They are insightful and interesting and add a lot of trivia facts. I would have liked to hear more commentaries from the cast. Six exclusive featurettes are found on Disc 7.

"Shooting Stars" - Audio Commentary by Writer/Director Danny Cannon
"Gum Drops" - Audio Commentary by Writer Sarah Goldfinger and Director Richard J. Lewis
"A Bullet Runs Through It, Part 1" - Audio Commentary by Showrunner/Co-Writer Carol Mendelsohn and Technical Advisor/Writer Rich Catalani
"A Bullet Runs Through It, Part 1" - Audio Commentary by Danny Cannon
"A Bullet Runs Through It, Part 2" - Audio Commentary by Carol Mendelsohn and Director/Producer Kenneth Fink
"Killer" - Audio Commentary by Executive Producer Naren Shankar, Writer Dustin Lee Abraham and Kenneth Fink
"Poppin' Tags" - Audio Commentary by Dustin Lee Abraham and Actor George Eads

The Scene of Sound (26:42) - Follow the process of creating final sound for Episode 607 "A Bullet Runs Through It, Part 1." This was a fascinating featurette that has
a lot of behind the scenes type footage. They show how they do the mics, the spotting session, music score, foley artists, ADR stage/looping and the final mix. There's a lot of work for them to do in a short period of time.

Gadgets & Gizmos - This featurette is hosted by Technical Advisor Rich Catalani and divided into six sections: Borescope with Fiberoptic Camera (:53), Forensic Buddy (1:15), Scanning Electron Microscope (:47), Nicolet Almega (Laser Ablator) (:53), Camlite (1:15), Micro FTIR (1:29). It was cool to see how all these gadgets are used to create the various shots.

Coroner Reports - David Berman and Robert David Hall are interviewed. This featurette is divided into four sections: Respecting the Dead (1:06), Stomach Contents (:51), Special Handlings (1:21), Surprise Findings (:39). I would have liked to see this as a longer segment. It is hard to overlook these guys contributions to the show. They always add some humor.

Apparent Cause of Death (6:52) - Special Effects Make-Up artist Matthew W. Mungle takes us through the process of turning a perfectly healthy actor into a corpis, complete with an exposed chest cavity and a sawed-off skull cap. I know that the
make-up and effects aren't real, but they could sure fool me many times.

Season Six Trajectory (19:18) - CSI's Cast & Crew discuss where CSI is going in Season Six. They talk about the characters, their backgrounds, and the themes of this season. There seemed to be less details on the characters this season than in the past, but when they do it seems to make more of an impact. Melinda Clarke (Lady Heather) returned this season, and she is interviewed as well. This featurette gives a pretty good summary of the season, but where was the mention of the relationship between Grissom and Sara?

The New Title Sequence - CSI's Producers and Visual Effects Artists discuss the process of creating a new opening sequence. They used basically the same opening credits for the first 5 seasons (with only a few new shots tossed in each year). This season they completely re-did it. There are still a lot of the classic scenes used like the exploding apple and Grissom using the sledgehammer on the head.

Final Comments: There are so many crime shows on TV today, but CSI remains the best. I think one of the keys to the success of the show is that they've been able to keep all of the original six cast members. The cast has great chemistry, and they have a great production crew to put it all together. There are no shortage of special features on this set that will give you some interesting details on how much work goes into making an episode. You will definitely want to pick up this set to add to your collection.

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller
(5/5 stars)

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Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation CBS.com Official Site
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation TV.com Page


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, December 5

The Simpsons - "The Star of the Backstage" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
A musical comes to life in Springfield as Marge stages a revival of her beloved high school show -- but her wonderful memories are threatened by the return of a rival from the past.

Bob's Burgers - "Driving Big Dummy" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Bob gets roped into a road trip with Teddy; Linda and the kids compete for the title of employee of the day.

The Simpsons - "A Springfield Summer Christmas for Christmas" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
A cable channel films a Christmas movie in Springfield, and Skinner falls in love.

The Great North - "Brace/Off Adventure" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Judy embarks on a journey after getting some unexpected news from the dentist.

Bob's Burgers - "Yachty or Nice" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When the Belchers get an unexpected invitation to cater the Glencrest Yacht Club's holiday boat parade, Bob wonders if there's a catch; Louise has her eye on the present-loaded Santa Schooner.

Family Guy - "The First No L" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When the family fails to help Lois with the Christmas shopping, she walks out on the family and the Griffins must try to save Christmas on their own.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 29)

Friday, December 3

  • Bill Burr (F Is for Family/Townies) - Watch Bill on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Dwayne Johnson (Young Rock) - Dwayne appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Maya Erskine (PEN15/Casual/Betas) and Anna Konkle (PEN15) - Maya and Anna are guests on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Leah Remini (Kevin Can Wait/The Exes/Family Tools/The King of Queens/Fired Up) - Leah guest co-hosts The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For Your Love/Love, Inc.) - Holly is a guest on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm/Son of Zorn/Suburgatory) - Cheryl will be on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kal Penn (Sunnyside/Deadbeat/We Are Men) - Kal appears on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings. He talks about Comedy Central's Hot Mess Holiday on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
  • Michel Urie (Younger/Partners) - Michael is a guest on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • J. K. Simmons (Growing Up Fisher/Family Tools) - J. K. talks about Being the Ricardos on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Julie Bowen (Modern Family/Ed) - Julie talks about Mixtape on ABC's GMA 3: What You Need to Know at 1pm.


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

Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release) Mom - The Eighth and Final Season Punky Brewster (1984-88) - The Complete Series (2021 Release) I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

10/19 - Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
11/02 - The Honeymooners Specials - A Christmas Carol
11/02 - Mom - The Eighth and Final Season
11/02 - Punky Brewster - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
11/02 - Sex and the City - The Complete Collection (Blu-ray)
11/09 - Saved by the Bell (2020) - Season One
11/09 - Younger - The Complete Series
11/16 - Kevin Can F*** Himself - Season 1 (Blu-ray)
11/23 - Dead Pixels - Seasons One and Two
11/30 - I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series (Mill Creek) (2021 Release) (Blu-ray)
12/07 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
12/07 - Rick & Morty - Season 5 (Blu-ray) (Blu-ray Limited Edition Steelbook)
12/14 - The Abbott and Costello Show - Season 1 (Blu-ray)
12/14 - Letterkenny - Season 9
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