Saturday, February 23, 2008

Mini-DVD Review: The Smurfs - Season 1, Volume 1 (Feb. 26); Solomon's Weekly Rant

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for mini-DVD reviews and Solomon's Weekly Rant! First up, are the mini-DVD reviews. Today week we take a look at Warner Home Video's The Smurfs: Season 1, Volume 1. The Smurfs of course is the classic Saturday morning animated series about those little blue people. Smurftastic!. See my mini-DVD review of The Smurfs: Season 1, Volume 1:

The Smurfs: Season 1, Volume 1 (Warner, $26.98) brings us the classic Saturday morning animated series that lasted nearly a decade, on DVD for the first time and the episodes are remastered. The long wait is over...The Smurfs are on DVD for the first time ever! They're finally here! Handy, Hefty, Grouchy, Brainy, Lazy, Dreamy, Smurfette, Papa Smurf and more of your favorite little blue people bring you the greatest show on Smurf. It's Season One, Vol. 1 of The Smurfs, the Emmy-winning animated series [Outstanding Children's Entertainment Series 1982-83] that delighted Saturday morning cartoon fans for nearly a decade. Of course, where Smurfs are, you'll also find evil wizard Gargamel and his cat Azrael - plus monsters, dragons and trolls - keeping the Smurfs on their tiny blue toes throughout 19 cartoon escapades. Ready for adventure, laughs and enchantment? Abso-Smurfly!
Let's now move on to the packaging. We have a thin outer box that holds a very thin digipak case. The front cover of both the box and case are the same, we see the land of Smurf in the background in a nice and blue sky with Papa Smurf and Smurfette featured, while the other Smurfs are at work. The cover is red and blue. The title of the show is on the top, with a mention below that that this is Season One, Volume One! To the back of the box we go, we get a nice synopsis of the series, along with a list of the special features in a mushroom. We see one of the Smurfs sleeping below a tree with the evil Gargamel watching. When we open the case, we get more colorful backgrounds. On the left we have a disc-by-disc breakdown of what we can expect episode title wise and extras wise. The left also has a nice blue sky background with Gargamel after two Smurfs in the grass. On the right side, we see both discs...overlapping each other, ugh...I hate that. Both discs are in a white background with four Smurfs characters on each disc. When you remove both discs from the case, you can see a nice background of the land of Smurf, with nearly all of the Smurfs. The back of the case has another nice background with a blue sky and Smurfette being romanced by a Smurf, Romeo & Juliet style.
The menu screens are very nice. We see the land of Smurf in the background with Gargamel approaching. It is very colorful. The catchy theme is playing in the background. Auto trailer for Looney Tunes starts off disc one before the main menu comes. Options for the main menu are: Play, Episodes, Trailers (disc 1 only), Languages , Special Features (disc 2 only). Trailers has five other things to preview from the Warner library. Languages has an option to turn on English subtitles. Episodes have a list of episodes obviously. Now the packaging listed disc two as being double-sided, but it is not. Very strange.
The video and audio is tremendous. The Smurfs never looked better. The packaging states that the episodes are remastered I am very impressed. Warner did a great job on this once again, but not as good as the Charlie Brown remastering, but still good. Originally season one was an hour long show on Saturdays with three mini episodes in the hour, however after about 2-3 episodes they started to repeat one of the mini episodes from the previous week the following week so they can cover the full hour. So it makes no sense on this DVD to have some repeats of a mini episode, so Warner has removed the repeats. The first two episodes on the set are 47:40 and 47:42 and have 3 chapter stops each, for each mini episode. After that, NBC started to repeat a mini episode. The episodes usually lasted approx. 12 min, 12 min, and 24 min or so for the full hour. Episode 3 on this set is 35:42 with 2 chapter stops, which means only 2 mini episodes are here...so no repeat from the previous week. The 4th episode is 23:37 and has one chapter stop, which means just one episode. On to disc two, episode 5 is 34:12 and has no opening or closing theme. The next episode is 24:30 and has no closing. The rest of the episodes run 35:42, 35:40, 25:32, and the bonus episode runs 24:22. I don't know how they could have handled this, but they are splitting season one in half (meaning in two volumes), so they could have just left the repeats in there so we could get the original NBC versions. I know that would be weird to have repeats, but why split them up in two volumes anyway? I would have rather have season 1 in full without the repeats on 4 or 5 discs...that would work the best and it would have fit. The show has like 9 seasons, splitting them up in two volumes per season would be too much.
As for special features, we get the bonus episode (The Smurfs' Springtime Special), as I mentioned earlier. We also get a Smurfs Music Video that runs 1:27. It is not really an extra. Warner could have done so much better than that. Their animation sets usually have great audio commentaries which is missing here.
I highly do recommend this set for any Smurfs fan and classic animation in general. I'm sure many of us grew up with this classic. I know I loved watching this in the 80s...and I still love it. The set is good, but it could have been so much better. The extras are lacking and the episode situation is a mixed bag...I don't know how I would have handled it, but one thing for sure is I would not have split the season in two volumes. Also, I didn't like inside the case it mentioned disc two is double-sided, which it isn't. Other than that, the episodes are great and look great, too. I can't wait until volume two so we can finish off the first season. Then let's hope the sales are very high (I think they already are as this set is very high in the rankings on Amazon) so we can get the remaining seasons each on one volume instead of two. So click below to order this DVD, if you haven't already. You better hurry before that Gargamel sees you and his lazy cat Azrael. Smurf to it!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
(4/5 stars)

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Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Full DVD Reviews Page
The Smurfs TV.com Page
The Smurfs Official Page


Solomon's Weekly Rant
Saturday, February 23, 2008
"Malcolm Airs More Than Strokes; Too Early for DTV Switch Notice; Amen Returns to TV One"
By Solomon Davis

I applauded BET this past week for adding Diff'rent Strokes to their program schedule but then I noticed something odd. I noticed that the sitcom Malcolm & Eddie, another show that BET just added, has six airings a day while Diff'rent Strokes only has 2 airings. So why does that show get all this great treatment and it was added at the same time as Diff'rent Strokes? I see no reason why Diff'rent Strokes can't have a repeat airing of the morning episodes which would still be less than six airings a day. I'm very confused as to why BET would treat one of its new acquisitions much better than the other. especially since I think Malcolm & Eddie is nothing but a UPN reject from the 1990's which is definitely not on the entertainment level as Diff'rent Strokes. I am happy they are adding Sanford and Thea to weekends, though!

The last time I checked February 17, 2009 was a year away and from the way the media has been talking about television switching to digital you would think today is January 23, 2009. Why all the hype about DTV now when the switch is 12 months away? It would make more sense to talk about DTV in the Fall 2008 but to see all those commercials about it in early 2008 is just crazy, not to mention the commercials were airing in Fall 2007 as well. Everyone understands that this will be a major move in television but can we just wait until the next TV season to remind everyone that the switch to digital is approaching? The strange thing about all of this is someone who doesn't have cable or a converter box on February 18, 2009 will still be able to get one of those things on February 19, 2009 to watch TV so what is the big deal?

TV One hasn't changed at all since it started and going by their recent TV show change they have no intention on ever changing. Why in the world would they bring back a TV show to their schedule next month that they already had? TV One is actually bringing back Amen next month from hiatus which is no where near a sexy TV show acquisition of what BET just did. TV One fans have seen Amen already and it's time for something new now since this network just completed 4 years as a cable channel. Yeah, The Hughleys are coming in April, but what about bringing on The Jeffersons or something? Thank goodness for the network called BET since that station has the ability now to make TV fans feel thankful for having cable service and not the "ripped off" feeling you get from watching that joke of a station called TV One. This channel is definitely qualified to be on the basic cable package since it doesn't have much to offer TV fans on a year by year basis.

Agree or disagree with Solomon? Discuss it here.

DISCLAIMER: Remember, Solomon is not the voice of SitcomsOnline. He is just stating his opinions and does not reflect what SitcomsOnline says or thinks. It is just his 'View' but it is always quite entertaining.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, August 9

Last Man Standing - "Yours, Wine, and Ours" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After a chat with Bonnie, Mike struggles to balance his need for "me time" and finding common hobbies with Vanessa.

Duncanville - "Witch Day" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
The town celebrates its annual Witch Day, which involves pronouncing a mortified Duncan the "town virgin" for the big ceremony; Annie and Jack steal a dead woman's chili recipe.

The Simpsons - "Warrin' Priests" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Bode, a young charismatic new preacher, comes to town and shakes things up at church, Reverend Lovejoy investigates his mysterious past.

Bless the Harts - "Cremains of the Day" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Violet, David and Leonard take Wayne on a ghost hunt to cure his fear of ghosts; Jenny and Betty honor Jenny's late father on his favorite holiday.

Bob's Burgers - "Three Girls and a Little Wharfy" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Louise skeptically joins Jessica and fifth-grader Megan in their search for Wharfy, a mythical sea monster; Bob takes an online master class by a world-renowned chef.

Family Guy - "Absolutely Babulous" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Stewie receives a participation medal in his school's toddler games, he begins to question everything he has ever won; Peter causes a fight between Lois' parents and must repair the damage he caused.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 3)

Friday, August 7

  • Joel McHale (Community/The Great Indoors) - Joel guest hosts a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Laura Benanti (The Detour/Go On) - Laura is a guest on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Josh Gad (Avenue 5/1600 Penn/Back to You) - Josh appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Tony Shalhoub (We Are Men/Wings) - Tony is a guest on a repeat of A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Regina King (227) - Regina appears on a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Julie Bowen (Modern Family) - Julie is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Lena Waithe (Master of None) - Lena appears on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Eva Marcille (Born Again Virgin) - Eva guest hosts a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Kim Fields (Living Single/The Facts of Life/Baby, I'm Back) - Kim is a guest on a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Sofia Vergara (Modern Family/The Knights of Prosperity/Hot Properties) - Sofia appears on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry is a guest on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Dennis Quaid (Merry Happy Whatever) - Dennis talks about his new podcast The Dennissance on a repeat of Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
  • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' Mr. Cooper/For Your Love) - Holly is a guest on a repeat of Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
  • Christopher Meloni (Surviving Jack/The Fanelli Boys) - Christopher talks about Hulu's Maxxx on a repeat of Access Daily, so check your local listings.
  • Raven-SymonĂ© (Raven's Home/That's So Raven/Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/The Cosby Show) - Raven-SymonĂ© talks about her new album The Reintroduction on a repeat of Access Daily, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (April/May/June/July/August)

Step by Step - The Complete Seventh and Final Season The Good Place - The Final (Fourth) Season Head of the Class - The Complete First Season Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Seven

04/07 - Cheers - The Complete Series (2020 Release)
04/14 - Police Squad! - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
04/14 - The Righteous Gemstones - The Complete First Season
04/21 - Step by Step - The Complete Seventh and Final Season (WBShop.com)
05/05 - Kidding - Season 2
05/19 - The Good Place - The Final (Fourth) Season
05/19 - The Good Place - The Complete Series - Collector's Edition (Blu-ray)
05/26 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
05/26 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Series
06/02 - Work in Progress - Season 1
06/09 - Head of the Class - The Complete First Season (WBShop.com)
06/09 - How to Be a Gentleman - The Complete Series
06/09 - Letterkenny - Seasons 3 & 4
06/09 - Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season
06/09 - No Activity - Season 1
06/09 - Superior Donuts - Season Two
06/23 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 10th Season
06/23 - Fresh Off the Boat - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
06/23 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Seventh Season
06/23 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Third Season (Blu-ray)
06/30 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Seven
07/07 - Will & Grace - The Revival - Season Three - The Farewell Season
07/21 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Tenth Season
07/21 - The Unicorn - Season One
08/11 - Final Space - The First and Second Seasons (Blu-ray)
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