Saturday, May 15, 2010

Digital Digest: Hunter - The Complete Second Season DVD Review

Our weekly news and reviews roundup is here once again and let me start off by saying that it has been a slow week... BUT sometimes big things come in small packages! This week, we have some details about a release of a classic 80's sitcom that appeared to be abandoned on DVD that will now be getting a complete series release... and sooner than you think! We've also got a review of Mill Creek Entertainment's release of Hunter - The Complete Second Season. So enough with the suspense, let's get going!

DIGITAL NEWS

Before we get into the "big news" item for this week, we still have a few loose ends to tie up with DVD releases of on-going series that we knew would be on the way anyway. This week, it is the "legendary" CBS sitcom, How I Met Your Mother, and How I Met Your Mother - Season Five is coming sometime later this summer (most likely before the new season begins). The only thing known at this point is the MSRP ($39.98), as no release date or any other information has been given so far. Still, you can pre-order it now from Amazon.com. One question that remains, though, is will there be a Blu-ray release? There isn't one available for pre-order just yet, but since Season Four was indeed released on Blu-ray, it seems likely that Season Five will be as well. But only time will tell. Other announcements of on-going series this week include two first season releases of a pair of NBC dramas that likely won't see a second season, including Mercy - Season One and Trauma - Season One. While few details are known about the Mercy release at this time, Trauma will be released on August 10 at a $39.98 MSRP.

As mentioned in our introduction this week, we have big news about a complete series release of a classic 80's sitcom... and now we will talk about that! That classic 80's sitcom is none other than the NBC sitcom starring Nell Carter, Gimme a Break! Yes, Gimme a Break! - The Complete Series is coming soon to DVD... but only in Canada. However, since Canada is a Region 1 nation, you can also purchase and watch these DVDs on your DVD players in the United States with no problems at all! In the United States, Universal released Season 1, then left the rest of the series abandoned. In Canada, VEI released the first two seasons, but then somewhat gave up on the idea of releasing the rest--until now, that is! The 18 disc set is scheduled to be released on July 20 at a very reasonable CAN$59.95 MSRP, but you can pre-order it now from Amazon.ca and get it for around $50.00 (American) shipped to the United States! That works out to less than $9 a season! No word on any special features at this time, though I doubt that there will be any. We do have a look at the cover art (which may not be final), courtesy of Amazon.ca, as shown below:



21 Jump Street - The Complete Second Season is coming out on Tuesday, but if you just can't wait to see the rest of the series, you don't have to! 21 Jump Street - The Complete Series is currently available at Best Buy as a store exclusive, for $39.99. Of course, it can be expected that a general release will follow up on that soon.

Our final two pieces of news about releases come to us courtesy of TVShowsOnDVD.com, and they include the announcement of one very old classic that appeared to be abandoned on DVD and the announcement of a more recent series that has never been released on DVD. First, the very old classic is The Real McCoys. After appearing to be abandoned on DVD for some time, The Real McCoys - Season Four is on the way, and set for release on June 29 at a $29.98 MSRP. As for the more recent series, that would be the ABC sitcom from a few years ago, Less Than Perfect, with a release of Less Than Perfect - Season One, set for a release by Lionsgate on September 14. It isn't available for pre-order yet.

Since it has been a slow news week, we thought we'd give you another one of our "bargain bonus" news pieces, where we tell you about great deals that can be found on DVDs! This time, it is our good friends at Big Lots--again--with some new DVDs that have been popping up in all of their stores nationwide! Plenty of Mill Creek Entertainment DVD sets have been showing up in stores recently, including the Stephen J. Cannell series 21 Jump Street, Booker, The Greatest American Hero, Hunter, Tenspeed and Brown Shoe, Wiseguy, and more! But those series are far from all of them, as many of their game show releases, public domain classic series, Shout! Factory "best of" selections, and others have also made a big appearance in the bargain bin at Big Lots! They can all be found for $5, but like most Big Lots deals, don't wait too long if you are interested! There is one word of caution, though... some of these releases are NOT the full releases as they were originally released by Mill Creek, and sometimes contain only half of the original set. You can tell these by the ones that have indicators such as "Volume 1" or something along those lines. It is interesting to note, though, that The Greatest American Hero - The Complete First Season is being released by Mill Creek officially this coming Tuesday, yet it is already available at Big Lots ahead of street date!

UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Next week (May 18) only has one sitcom release in store, and that is California Dreams - Season 3. It is being released as a Shout! Select title (meaning it won't be available in regular stores), but you can order it now from Amazon.com. The other releases of note are all actually re-releases of some Stephen J. Cannell series from Mill Creek, including Hunter - The Complete Second Season, The Greatest American Hero - The Complete First Season, and 21 Jump Street - The Complete Second Season. All of these come at a $14.98 MSRP. But there's more! There will also be a release of The Greatest American Hero - The Complete Series, at a $29.98 MSRP. We have a review of Hunter today, and hope to have reviews of the rest soon!


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

Rick Hunter is a detective who doesn't take crap from anybody, and he proves that once again in Hunter - The Complete Second Season. He didn't care how he got the job done, just as long as he got it done and appropriate justice was served in the end. Though technically a re-release of an older release of the series from Mill Creek, this value-priced selection brings every episode of what was at the time (and even still to this day) one of the grittier detective dramas on TV.

DVD Review: Hunter - The Complete Second Season
by Pavan

Hunter - The Complete Second Season (Mill Creek, $14.98) brings all 23 episodes of the 80s NBC series to DVD...again. Get ready to reload as L.A. homicide detective Rick Hunter (Fred Dryer) and his partner Dee Dee McCall (Stepfanie Kramer) are back on the job! This season aired on NBC in the 1985-86 season and moved to Saturday nights and flourished after comedies. Though the last few episodes of the season aired on Tuesdays after The A-Team. Like the previous set from Mill Creek, this is the second time that the second season has been released on DVD; it was previously released by Anchor Bay, and now, Mill Creek Entertainment is releasing it again as a value priced selection.

The second season features little bit of everything--Hunter and McCall take on deadly heists, killer porn stars, gangland murders, international terrorists, punk rockers, and more. As with the previous set, the music is missing on this set and it seems that all of the original music within the episodes has been replaced. I don't have any NBC airings to compare to nor do I have the Anchor Bay season two set.
As for the episodes itself, the season premiere "Case X," has McCall going undercover to solve a string of female porn star murders. Sam Anderson guest stars. In "Night of the Dragon," Hunter and McCall spend their time off investigating a shooting they witnessed in Chinatown. In the two-part episode, "Rape and Revenge," while investigating a rape and murder at a foreign consulate, McCall finds herself the victim of the same rapist, a diplomat who escapes prosecution for the crime because of diplomatic immunity. Hunter vows to get revenge and ravels to the (fictional) country of Curaguay to hunt down Raoul Soriano in retaliation for the rape of Dee Dee McCall. In "Waiting for Mr. Wrong," a flashy yet deadly jewelry store robbery leaves Hunter and McCall with a dead body and a cold trail. In "War Zone," the murder of a hooker is connected to a pharmaceutical theft. In "Scrap Metal," Hunter receives information about his late father from a hitman who is on his deathbed. In the two-part episode, "The Beautiful & the Dead," a body disappears from Hunter's apartment and as he and McCall investigate, they find that a Russian defector and Federal agents are connected to the case. And in the season finale "Saturday Night Special," Hunter and McCall investigate a witness' claim that a series of skid row murders are being committed by the reporter who is covering the story. Ann-Marie Johnson guest stars.

Other guest stars include Tony Plana, Jordan Charney, Robert Englund, Jane Russell, Robert Davi, Bruce Davison, Jesse Ventura, Sheryl Lee Ralph, John Matsuszak, and Isaac Hayes.

Even though all of the music within the episodes has been replaced, it appears that other than that, the episodes are largely unedited, although some seems suspicious, running below 47:00. Runtimes are as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "Case X" (48:10)
2. "Night of the Dragons" (47:02)
3. "The Biggest Man in Town" (46:02)
4. "Rich Man" (48:24)
5. "Killer in the Halloween Mask" (47:57)
6. "Rape & Revenge: Part 1" (47:52)

Disc 2:
7. "Rape & Revenge: Part 2" (48:44)
8. "Six Million Dollar Misunderstanding" (46:39)
9. "The Big Fall" (48:14)
10. "Waiting for Mr. Wrong" (48:39)
11. "Think Blue" (48:26)
12. "Blow Up" (47:10)

Disc 3:
13. "War Zone" (46:45)
14. "Burned" (47:27)
15. "Scrap Metal" (46:51)
16. "Fagin 1986" (46:22)
17. "62 Hours of Terror" (47:54)
18. "Death Machine" (46:53)

Disc 4:
19. "The Set Up" (48:04)
20. "The Beautiful & the Dead: Part 1" (48:12)
21. "The Beautiful & the Dead: Part 2" (45:42)
22. "The Return of Typhoon Thompson" (47:06)
23. "Saturday Night Special" (48:00)

Like the previous set, the menus are very basic, but also nicely done, with the theme song playing on the main menu and options of Play All and Episode Select. The main menu has a close-up of a building before zooming into Hunter holding a gun and wearing sunglasses. When you go to Episode Select, it takes you to a menu that lists all of the episode numbers and titles, where the theme song continues to play. There are no scene selection menus, but chapters are placed appropriately throughout each episode. However, we only get 3 chapter stops per episode. Not enough!

As for the packaging, it is still cheap like it was on the previous set. Basically, it has a double thick keep-case with four black paper sleeves inside. This is TERRIBLE and cheap! The cover art has a shot of Hunter and McCall with guns and you see some building in his background. The back of the case has several episodic photos as well as basic series information. The disc artwork is the same on each disc, with same artwork as the cover art. Each disc has the episode titles contained on the disc printed on the disc. But again, there are no other episode lists contained within the set.

The video and audio is good. There is nothing to complain about. It "works for me!" It is about as good as it gets for episodes from 1985-86. A few tidbits, at the end of the first part of the first two-part episode, at the end of the episode it says "Next Week: The Revenge," while at the end of the first part of the second two-part episode it says "To Be Continued." Both second parts do not have a recap or anything of the first part. Each episode on this set does have a 30 second preview of the episode, with clips from the episode.

One again, there are no special features on the set. Mill Creek is really taking the Anchor Bay version of this series and re-releasing it. But they cheapened the packaging. Other than that, it is probably the same. I don't have the Anchor Bay sets to compare, though. Anchor Bay stopped after season three, so let's hope Mill Creek releases all seven seasons and we finally get seasons 4-7 on DVD!

There are once again the same problems with this set as with the previous set, but again the price is very cheap that it is worth it. For die-hard fans, I don't think this set works, but for a casual fan, they'll certainly say "works for me." It is too bad the packaging is cheap and the episodes don't have original music. If you have the Anchor Bay version, you really don't need this set. This is my first DVD of this series, so I think I'll want to buy season one cheap. I have always liked this show, so I hope Mill Creek continues and releases each season on DVD. This set "works for me," but for big fans, I am not so sure. You'll have to decide yourself if you need this set!

(3/5 stars)

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Amazon.com


LOOKING AHEAD

We'll be back next week with more news (no matter how big or small that news is) and a review of 21 Jump Street - The Complete Second Season. We'll also have another special feature story for next week, so you won't want to miss that! In the meantime, we want to hear what you think about Digital Digest, so let us know on our message board or Tweet/Facebook us. Until next time, keep it digital!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Monday, August 10

The Neighborhood - "Welcome to the Digital Drive" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Calvin reluctantly agrees to let Marty create a website for his auto shop in the hopes of drumming up more business. Also, with Gemma out of town for a school retreat, Dave makes it his mission to prove to his son, Grover, that there’s more to life than his favorite gadgets.

Bob Hearts Abishola - "Tough Like a Laundromat Washing Machine" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Bob hires Abishola to take care of Dottie in his home while she recovers. Also, Dottie has a hard time dealing with her limitations and takes it out on Abishola.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 10)

Monday, August 10

  • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Watch Bryan on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Tracee Ellis Ross (black-ish/Girlfriends) - Tracee appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs/Rules of Engagement/Reno 911!) - Wendi is a guest on a repeat of A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Liza Coshy (Liza on Demand) - Liza guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Adam Pally (Indebted/Champaign Ill/Making History/The Mindy Project/Happ Endings) - Adam appears on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Olivia Munn (Perfect Couples) - Olivia is a guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jim Gaffigan (The Jim Gaffigan Show/My Boys/Welcome to New York) and Mckenna Grace (Young Sheldon) - Jim and Mckenna talk about Troop Zero on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Adam DeVine (The Righteous Gemstones/Modern Family/Workaholics) - Adam talks about Discovery's Shark Week on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. He talks about Bad Ideas on People Now at 1pm.
  • D.L. Hughley (The Hughleys) - D.L. talks about Surrender White People: Our Unconditional Terms For Peace on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
  • Joel McHale (Community/The Great Indoors) - Joel talks about The Darkest Timeline podcast and Becky on Access Daily, so check your local listings.


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

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06/09 - Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season
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