Saturday, January 16, 2010

Blog DVD Review: 21 Jump Street - The Complete First Season (1/19)

We won't cover the final day of the TCA winter press tour for cable, since it really is short and nothing notable.

Welcome to our weekly Saturday Blog DVD Review and it's our first one of 2010. Today we take a look at Mill Creek's 21 Jump Street - The Complete First Season. I know this series came out on DVD from Anchor Bay, but now Mill Creek is re-releasing the series. Johnny Depp leads his band of agents in the special Jump Street division by going undercover to infiltrate local schools to put a stop to crime and keep students safe from corrupt influences in this '80s hit! See skees53's Blog DVD Review of 21 Jump Street - The Complete First Season:

21 Jump Street - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek, $14.99) contains all 13 episodes of the freshman season of the series about a special group of undercover agents going undercover as high school freshmen to put a stop to crime in schools. The Jump Street division, a group of youthful looking officers posing as high school students, are lead by Officer Tom Hanson (Johnny Depp in his earliest acting days) deals with some of the most difficult issues facing high school students including alcoholism, hate crimes, drugs, racism, abuse, and sexual promiscuity. The Jump Street division is made up of a very diverse group of officers, including Officer HT Ioki (Dusting Nguyen), Officer Judy Hoffs (Holly Robinson Peete), Officer Doug Penhall (Peter DeLuise), and Captain Adam Fuller (Steven Williams). The series was never shy of the tough issues, handled the controversies in each and every episode. The series was co-created by Patrick Hasburgh and Stephen J. Cannell, and debuted in April 1987 on Fox, being among the first series to air on the network.

In the series pilot, "21 Jump Street Chapel," the Jump Street division must go undercover to find a violent drug dealer while rookie officer Hanson has to prove that he is worthy of his badge to a veteran officer. Bill Jayne guest stars in "America, What a Town," where Hanson has to investigate a car theft ring. Josh Brolin guest stars in "My Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades," where an investigation into a student's death may uncover that the student was also raped. In "Worst Night of Your Life," a girl's school may not be full of little angels when Hoffs has to go undercover to investigate a series of arsons. A teacher's car is pipe-bombed in "Gotta Finish the Riff."
Hanson and Penhall are undercover investigating drug dealers in "Blindsided" when a student asks Hanson to assassinate somebody. A possible loan shark operation is investigated in "Next Generation." In "Low and Away," the Jump Street division is assigned to protect a student in the witness protection program. It's an full blown underage pornography investigation in "16 Blown to 35." Jason Priestley guest stars in the season finale, "Mean Streets and Pastel Houses," where the division must investigate some houses being vandalized.

The packaging for this set very likely ranks as one of the worst designs that I have ever seen. When I first saw the package, I was impressed with the effort to create professional looking artwork (it is nothing special, but it is professional looking), but when I opened up the case (a double-thick keep case), I found two black paper sleeves containing the discs. Yes, two black paper sleeves. The sleeves are secured in the case so that they don't just float around, but it is still one of the worst designs that I have ever seen. If that isn't bad enough, the paper sleeves are very tight, and it is difficult to pull the discs out of them. It appears that several other Mill Creek titles released recently have this same packaging style, which is a shame because some older Mill Creek releases that I own have more standard packaging. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-7, and Disc 2 contains episodes 8-13.

The menus on the set are very basic, but professional looking, with the main menu having the opening theme music playing and the series logo in the background, with options of Play All and Episode Select. When you choose Episode Select, you get a menu that is designed to look like a page from a yearbook with all of the episode titles. The closing theme music plays on this menu. Once you select an episode, it plays immediately without any other menus, although chapters are placed throughout each episode.

The video and audio quality on this set is, to put it lightly, below average. It appears that the episodes were taken from some poor quality videotape transfers, with the biggest issue being pixelation. It isn't quite so bad on a smaller TV, but if you put it on a 50 inch LCD TV, it looks terrible. The audio sounds fine, although it isn't very clear at times and sounds very dull. Unfortunately, the episodes are not closed-captioned, which is a shame because the episodes were closed-captioned on the previous release from Anchor Bay.

The series originally used a lot of music, and it should be no surprise that at a $14.99 MSRP, most of it has been replaced in this set. Some of the runtimes of the episodes themselves are an issue of concern, as they vary widely, anywhere from 44 minutes to 48 minutes. It is very likely that some scenes are missing, but I am unable to confirm that for certain. Runtimes for each episode are as follows:

Disc 1:
1. Jump Street Chapel, Part 1 (45:57)
2. Jump Street Chapel, Part 2 (44:45)
3. America, What a Town (47:55)
4. Don't Pet the Teacher (46:43)
5. My Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades (45:57)
6. The Worst Night of Your Life (45:23)
7. Gotta Finish the Riff (47:01)

Disc 2:
8. Bad Influence (46:32)
9. Blindsided (47:07)
10. Next Generation (47:03)
11. Low and Away (47:11)
12. 18 Blown to 35 (47:05)
13. Mean Streets and Pastel Houses (47:04)

The set contains no special features at all, unlike the previous Anchor Bay release. Still, at $14.99, I didn't really expect to find any, but perhaps some promos from the original airing would have been nice to see, as those are usually easy to get without inconveniencing anybody.

I enjoyed watching the episodes on this set, but make no mistake, this set is by no means an award-winning set. To be fair, I don't blame Mill Creek Entertainment for the flaws in the set (aside from the poor packaging), in fact, I think that Mill Creek did fans of the series who want to see it on DVD a service by licensing it and releasing it. I have a feeling that other studios passed on this series due to the quality issues, and Mill Creek saw it as an opportunity to release it themselves. Mill Creek has always been a company that releases low-budget sets at a low price, but at the same time, they've always had the ability to make the best of each and every set that they release.
Fans of the series will be disappointed by this set, but unless Stephen J. Cannell Productions gets their act together and releases masters to some company that are not like this, this is the best we will ever be able to see. The problems do not fully take away from the enjoyment of the series, but it is a slight hinderance, and sadly, I doubt that any future releases will be any better. But at the very least, this set is a way to enjoy a great series that doesn't currently air on TV and isn't available in a better form on DVD.

-- Reviewed by skees53
(2/5 stars)

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Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Wednesday, August 17

Abbott Elementary - "Pilot" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
In this workplace comedy, a group of dedicated, passionate teachers — and a slightly tone-deaf principal — are brought together in a Philadelphia public school where, despite the odds stacked against them, they are determined to help their students succeed in life. Though these incredible educators may be outnumbered and underfunded, they love what they do — even if they don’t love the school district’s less-than-stellar attitude toward educating children.

Abbott Elementary - "Work Family" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After Jacob reveals a detail about his personal life, Janine realizes she doesn’t know the other teachers as well as she thought. Meanwhile, as Gregory’s stern teaching approach is causing his whole class to underperform, Barbara and Melissa teach him how to relax and make his lessons more fun.

Abbott Elementary - "Step Class" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Janine is thrilled when Ava asks to help her teach the after-school step class, but the two don’t see eye to eye on how to run the program. Later, when Barbara, Melissa and Jacob plan an “eat-off” to decide who makes the best pizza in Philadelphia, Gregory is forced to reveal a secret.

Abbott Elementary - "Desking" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When the students start participating in a new online trend that causes disruption to the school, the teachers band together to put an end to it. Meanwhile, Mr. Johnson provides comforting life advice to Gregory; and later, the teachers finally meet Jacob’s boyfriend, Zach, who joins in to help stop the students “desking”.

Wellington Paranormal - "Mobots" (The CW, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Officer Minogue meets Officer O'Leary's mom when they use her house for a stakeout to investigate why a mass quantity of obsolete electronics goes missing.

Wellington Paranormal - "The Invisible Fiend" (The CW, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Minogue and O'Leary investigate a mysterious home invasion with no visible signs of entry, managing to arrest an invisible creature and bring it back to the station for questioning.

grown-ish - "You Don't Know Me" (Freeform, 10:00PM ET/PT)
The girls enlist Junior's help to find their shady roommate, Lauryn, who has a habit of mysteriously disappearing; Junior wonders if Annika is starting to catch feelings for him; Aaron suspects that Doug isn't being honest with him.

Everything's Trash - "Rom-Coms Are Mostly Trash" (Freeform, 10:30PM ET/PT)
After Phoebe suddenly sees Michael in a new light, she attempts to set him up with Malika, who already has her eye on an old flame; Jayden worries that he and Jessie have lost their spark, so they decide to spice things up.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 15)

Wednesday, August 17

  • Alison Brie (GLOW/Community) - Watch Alison Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Sasheer Zamata (Home Economics/Woke) - Sasheer appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Nicole Byer (Grand Crew/Loosely Exactly Nicole) - Nicole guest hosts Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Demi Lovato (Sonny with a Chance) - Demi co-hosts The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Kenan Thompson (Kenan/Kenan & Kel) - Kenan will be on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Zazie Beetz (Atlanta) - Zazie appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Simu Liu (Kim's Convenience) - Simu chats with the ladies of The View on a repeat on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Susan Walters (Dear John/The War Next Door) - Susan is a guest on a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Blair Underwood (The New Adventures of Old Christine) - Blair will be on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Kel Mitchell (Game Shakers/Kenan & Kel) - Kel appears on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Sherri Shepherd (Mr. Iglesias/Trial & Error/Sherri/Less Than Perfect/Suddenly Susan) - Sherri guest hosts a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Josh Peck (Grandfathered/Drake & Josh) and Rhea Perlman (Cheers/Pearl/Kirstie) - Josh and Rhea talk about Netflix's 13: The Musical on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
  • Murray Bartlett (Physical/Looking) - Murry talks about White Lotus on ABC's GMA 3: What You Need to Know at 1pm.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (April-August)

Up All Night - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) The Danny Thomas Show (aka Make Room for Daddy) - The Complete Fourth Season Becker - The Complete Series (2022 Release) The Neighborhood - Season Four The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Three

04/05 - Up All Night - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
04/26 - The Danny Thomas Show (aka Make Room for Daddy) - The Complete Fourth Season
04/26 - Jackie Gleason TV Treasures - 70th Anniversary Collection (including Honeymooners Rarities)
05/03 - No Activity - Season Three
05/13 - The Donna Reed Show - The Complete Seasons 1-5 (Time Life)
05/31 - Becker - The Complete Series (2022 Release)
06/14 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Eleventh Season
06/14 - Hacks - Season One (Blu-ray) (DVD)
06/14 - Rutherford Falls - Season One (Blu-ray) (DVD)
06/21 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season One / Season Two
07/19 - The Neighborhood - Season Four
07/19 - Reno 911! - The Hunt for QAnon (Blu-ray) (DVD)
07/26 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Three / Season Four
08/16 - And Just Like That... - The Complete First Season (Warner Bros. - Canada)
08/16 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Fourth Season (Blu-ray) (DVD)
More Recent and Upcoming TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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