Saturday, December 16, 2006

Mini-DVD Reviews: JAG: The Complete Second Season (Nov. 7) and He-Man Season 2, Volume 2 (Sept. 19)

Welcome to another Saturday edition of mini-DVD reviews! Today we have double the pleasure of reviews, with two mini-DVD reviews for you that have been released but you can buy them just in time for Christmas! This week we take a look at CBS DVD's Second Season of JAG and BCI's Season 2 Volume 2 of He-Man. JAG was a huge hit for CBS and this season is where it started on the network, as the first season was on NBC. If you are a fan of Navy NCIS, you know that NCIS is a spin-off of JAG. He-Man of course was one of the most popular '80s animated series and one of the most known animated series of all-time. See Seth Thrasher's mini-DVD review of JAG - The Complete Second Season and my mini-DVD review of He-Man - Season 2 Volume 2:

JAG - The Complete Second Season (CBS, $64.99) brings us the first 15 episodes after the series cancellation by NBC and pickup by CBS! This season introduces us to Major/Lt. Col. Sarah "Mac" McKenzie, played by Catherine Bell. The series was canceled by NBC in 1996 after one season and a 77th place finish in the ratings. CBS saw the potential in the series, and picked it up in January 1997. The show finished out 16 episodes that year, and performed strongly enough for CBS to renew it. Admittedly, this isn't my favorite season, so I can't really speak as well for some of this year's episodes. The episode Full Engagement I do like – Harm takes Mac for a flight, but has to make an emergency landing in the mountains. They surprise a band of poachers who just murdered a game warden, and now want to kill Harm and Mac. I'm also a fan of The Guardian, in which the duo defend a former Navy Seal turned homeless man accused of killing three men who tried to hold up a convenience store.
Menus are as plain as can be - Paramount/CBS's releases have almost always disappointed me when it comes to menus. Only a few sets does it look like more effort is put in. In JAG's case, there is nothing but a still image with all the options on a single page. In this instance, the top half of the front cover art (everything below the JAG logo) is the menu picture, with the menu options (at top) and Complete Second Season text (at bottom) in front of the photo on a grid. I really don't get how NCIS (a spin-off series) can have such wonderful menus while JAG's are so poor. Video quality and audio quality are good. The show is about ten years old, but looks like it was recorded yesterday (lack of HDTV aside). Run-times are in the 46:00 to 47:00, which is about right for the mid-to-late 90s. Chapter stops at the end of each scene. Special features include three commentary tracks, plus the "Setting Sail on Season 2" production feature, and an "Inside the Real JAG Corps" feature, similar to what they did on NCIS S2.
If you're a fan of the show, you've probably picked this up by now, and hopefully you're enjoying it. But with only 15 episodes, minimal features, at a season that may not necessarily be the best in the run, I can't recommend it for blind buys. ESPECIALLY at a $65 MSRP. That's absurd for a DVD set with FIFTEEN episodes. Maybe a rental.

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher
(3.5/5 stars)

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

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
JAG TV.com Page


He-Man - Season 2, Volume 2 (BCI, $49.98) brings the final 32 episodes from the series' second and final season. BCI has done a VERY nice job with this series. The series had two seasons, but each season had 65 episodes each. Like Thundercats, this was a first-run syndicated series and aired weekdays after school in the 80s, so every day was basically a new episode. BCI had two volumes for each season, which was a smart move. So, of the 130 episodes, we got them on just four six-disc sets...not bad at all. Plus extras were included. And now the final episodes are on DVD, meaning we have the entire series now on DVD! Comparing the He-Man and Thundercats DVDs, I think He-Man's sets were produced with more quality and the price is cheaper, too...Warner did a great job with Thundercats, but BCI did even a better job with He-Man. I wish BCI released Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles too, because Lionsgate is doing a lousy job on the video quality and the series is coming out in just 12-13 episodes a set. BCI would have done at least 30 episodes a set and with great extras, oh well...back to He-Man. In these finale episodes we have lots of action and adventure and of course the morals! It was so much fun back then watching this show, and it still is on these DVDs. The menu screen has the options of Play All, Episodes, and Settings, with nice animated menus. There are two different versions of the animated menus, discs one, three and five have one version; and discs two and four have another. Nice change. Disc 6 has all extras so that is different. When we select a sub-menu we get a nice transition music or even a nice transition video. When we select Settings, we change from English to Spanish, or vice versa. When we go to Episodes, nice animation and music plays with the episode title listed, you can choose play or select chapters to get to a scene faster. If it has commentary you can turn it on or off from here, too. The director and writers of each episode are listed along with a nice long synopsis of the episode. This is the most informative episode menu I have ever seen. Nicely done! Chapters sub-menu has 4 stops with a nice little video in the box of each and interesting facts from Orko on the right...again informative! The video is on par with the other volumes and the audio is also decent. The show is older than Turtles, and it looks SO much better than those DVDs...shame on Lionsgate. The packaging is the same style as the other sets, a nice outer box with a very nice looking digipak. There are nice images on the digipak along with memorable quotes from the episodes on this set. Each disc has its own section, so no overlapping and easy to take out. A nice episode booklet comes with the set that details so much along with two collectible 4 X 6 cards by two wonderful artists. On the episode itself, each one runs around 21:30 or so. When you choose an episode it shows a black screen with the words He-Man and the announcer says He-Man! There are three audio commentary episodes on this set. On disc one we have one for "The Greatest Show on Eternia," disc four has one for "The Problem with Power" and disc five has one for "Bargain with Evil." The commentary is hosted by the producer of this DVD Andy Mangels and has commentary from crew members from the show: Lou & Erika Scheimer, Larry DiTillio, Tom Sito, Tom Tataranowicz, and Dave Teague. As for the rest of the extras, they are all on disc six. Disc six seems to have the closing theme playing in the background. All the extras are listed on the main menu. The first option is Documentary Features, there are two of them: "The Stories of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Season 2 Part 2" and this runs 34:15. The creators reveal inside secrets from episodes 99-130, which are on this set. The next documentary is "Animating He-Man and the Masters of the Universe" and this runs 36:27. See how the "Power" was created! Then the next extra is called "Character Profiles." 50 detailed profiles of various Characters, Creatures and Artifacts. When selecting one from each category, you get some text and you can play a little clip related to what you chose. Very cool. Then we have "Animated Storyboards." This is very interesting and I have never seen this done on DVD...the episode plays in Picture-in-Picture with the storyboards playing as the main video, you can switch to Episode View and the storyboards would go in the PIP while the episode goes to the main video, or you can choose Side-by-Side view and have both the same size. There are two episodes that this can be done for..."Revenge is Never Sweet" and "The Problem with Power." Then we have 5 scripts from episodes that can be accessed on your computer via DVD-ROM. They are in PDF format, so you will need Adobe Acrobat. Then we have a 1:06 trailer for The New Adventures of He-Man Season 1, Volume 1 coming soon (Dec. 26, that is). We hope to give you a mini on that in the coming weeks. Finally, we have an Image Gallery where we can see various Background Artwork and Character Design Sheets.
This is indeed a wonderful set and BCI should be very proud how they handled this series. Fans of this show have not seen the show on TV in years and the DVDs BCI produced were of high class. They are releasing spin-off She-Ra as we speak and The New Adventures of He-Man is coming in a few weeks. By the power of Grayskull I give you the power to buy this DVD by clicking on the link below! He-Man!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
(5/5 stars)

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

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
He-Man TV.com Page


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, January 29

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Sunday, January 29

  • Lauren London (The Game) - Catch Lauren on Watch What Happens: Live at 3:30am on Bravo.


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

Abbott Elementary - The Complete First Season Frasier - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Ghosts - Season One The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - 70th Anniversary Ultimate Christmas Collection Hogan's Heroes - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

10/04 - Mr. Mayor - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) (DVD)
10/04 - The Munsters - Marineland Carnival with The Munsters TV Cast
10/18 - Abbott Elementary - The Complete First Season
11/08 - Frasier - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
11/08 - Young Rock - Season Two (Blu-ray) (DVD)
11/15 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Seven / The Complete Season Eight
11/22 - That '70s Show - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
11/29 - Ghosts - Season One (Blu-ray) (DVD)
12/06 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - 70th Anniversary Ultimate Christmas Collection
12/13 - And Just Like That... - The Complete First Season
12/13 - Hogan's Heroes - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
01/03 - Andy Richter Controls the Universe - The Complete Series (2023 Release)
01/27 - Master of None - Season Three / The Complete Series
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