Saturday, July 03, 2010

Digital Digest: Matlock - The Fifth Season DVD Review (7/20)

Welcome to another edition of Digital Digest! Our normal Digital Digest blogger (skees53) will be gone and missed for the next few months, if you didn't know yet. As always, we have the latest news, upcoming releases for Tuesday, and our DVD review this week is of CBS DVD's Matlock - The Fifth Season. It's a light news week it seems I guess because of the 4th of July weekend, so glad you can make it.


DIGITAL NEWS

Looks like the summer doldrums have come because it was an uber slow week in terms of digital news. Maybe the 4th of July holiday has something to with that? Warner Home Video has sent out the press release and cover art for The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Third Season streeting Sept. 14. Pre-order it on both DVD ($44.98 MSRP)and Blu-ray ($54.97 MSRP). Meanwhile, Warner Home Video has also sent out a press release and an updated cover art for The Middle - Season 1 streeting on Aug. 31. Pre-order today!

The only other story of note was a TVShowsonDVD.com story on where's Season 4 of Boy Meets World. Lionsgate is re-releasing the first three seasons that Buena Vista released, but still nothing on season four. It's such a slow week, that is all we have. No exclusives or anything. Hopefully it picks up next week. We'll be here still when it does, but to make up for that we have a cool review of Matlock today!

For more information on titles that we won't cover with full or blog DVD reviews, you can head on over to the news section of TVShowsOnDVD.com for all of the latest details.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (July 6) will only have two sitcoms in store. Shout! Factory will release Rhoda - Season 3. Look for our review by the end of this weekend. Also out on Tuesday is CBS DVD's The Game with The Third Season. We will also have a review of that up by the end of the weekend. And also of note Dragnet - Season 2 is coming from Shout! Factory. If all goes planned, that will be our blog review next week.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

It's time for a DVD review of Grandpa Simpson's favorite show! Yes, Matlock: The Fifth Season! The format of the show was similar to that of Perry Mason, with Matlock identifying the murderer and then confronting him or her in a dramatic courtroom scene near the end. One difference, however, was that whereas Mason usually exculpated his clients at a pretrial hearing, Matlock usually secured an acquittal at trial, from the jury. See our review of this DVD release below!

DVD Review: Matlock - The Fifth Season
by Seth

Matlock: The Fifth Season (CBS, $49.99) is back on the docket for another 21 great episodes of the great courtroom and crime drama Matlock. While the show is often stereotyped in popular culture as being a show designed mainly to appeal to the elderly, it does have quite a strong draw among the less aged. In some ways, particularly when Don Knotts shows up for one of his periodic episodes, it feels almost like a continuation of his Andy Taylor role two decades earlier. Sure he's called Ben Matlock, but deep down inside he's still playing some version of the same character, and that's appealing. The show also stars Nancy Stafford, Clarence Gilyard, and Julie Sommars.

Two episodes in the fifth season take place in an unusual setting - Los Angeles. Early in the season – the season's double-length second episode – Ben travels out west to the City of Angels to try a case. Proving that no good deed goes unpunished, Ben first gets charged with Contempt of Court, then later is accused of murder after the judge who charged him turns up dead. Michelle and Conrad then fly out to Los Angles to help out. The episode originally aired and promoted on NBC as A Matlock Movie Mystery (hence, the double-length running time) before going under its normal title of "Nowhere to Turn."

Ben apparently didn't let a negative experience dissuade him from returning to the city in the season's finale. In the final episode for the show's next to last season on NBC, Ben is tricked by Julie into flying out west...where he then gets to meet a one-time movie queen, a favorite of Ben's, who is now a cosmetics mogul...that's on trial for killing her blackmailing ex-lover. Speaking of celebrity, if you watch the episode "The Madam," you get to see half the principal cast for the later series Walker, Texas Ranger. Clarence Gilyard, who of course was a regular on Matlock at the time, would later go on to play Travette, while the episode features an appearance by actor Noble Willingham, who would go on to play CD on the series. Also appearing this season in a recurring role is Andy's old sidekick from The Andy Griffith Show, Mr. Don Knotts! Don was always great no matter the show, but there's something about the pairing of Andy and Don that's just television gold. Other guest appearances this season include Amy Yasbeck (Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Wings), Mike Farrell (M*A*S*H), and Diana Muldaur (L.A. Law, Star Trek: The Next Generation).

With regards to edits: "The Secret, Part 2" runs THIRTY SEVEN MINUTES. That's 37, with a 3. There's NO way on the face of this earth that's in the same zip code as a proper runtime. Seriously, that's TEN minutes shorter than ANY other episode. Especially given that the show did air as two parts originally, *something* has been lopped off drastically. TEN minutes. And you can't just attribute it to being a part 2. "The Trail, Part 2" later in the set runs 46:34. While I'm sure NBC would have appreciated the extra advert slots, it's just ridiculous to think it's intact. CBS DVD's having put its "Some episodes may be edited" disclaimer here is like putting a disclaimer on a porcupine warning that it may be sharp and pointy.

Disc 1:
The Mother: 47:03
Nowhere to Turn: 1:35:55
The Madam: 46:35

Disc 2:
The Personal Trainer: 46:35
The Narc: 46:35
The Secret Part, 1: 46:34

Disc 3:
The Secret, Part 2: 37:25
The Brothers: 47:03
The Cover Girl: 47:03

Disc 4:
The Biker: 47:04
The Broker: 47:01
The Fighter: 47:03
The Critic: 47:02

Disc 5:
The Parents: 47:04
The Man of the Year: 47:03
The Arsonist: 47:04
The Formula: 47:03

Disc 6:
The Trial, Part 1: 46:33
The Trial, Part 2: 46:34
The Accident: 47:03
The Celebrity: 47:04

It's a CBS DVD release, so don't expect too much time spent on the packaging or design sections. Listen, I know that these clear hard plastic packages have become the standard for TV DVD. Yes, I know that the packaging is being used not only by CBS, but by Fox, ABC/Buena Vista, and at least one or two other studios are releasing their stuff almost entirely in this format now. I don't care. My experiences with this packaging are forever colored by my early experiences with it. When every DVD set you receive for over a year in the package type is broken on receipt, you tend to have a low opinion. Does the package do a great job of storing six DVDs in a remarkably slim container? Absolutely. Am I worried that one small bit of plastic breaking could lead to half a dozen discs floating around the box? You bet. Box art itself is well-designed, with all the colors, and logos, and cast photos being complimentary to one another. I'm never a fan of a cast photo that's been Photoshopped together from individual photos, as is the case here, but it's really not that big of a deal.

Getting to what's ON the DVD? First of all, I really do have to hand it to the graphic design team, the two menus that DO exist on the set (Main Menu and a "Set Up" menu that toggles subtitles) are extremely well designed...though some sort of background music might be nice.

The video looks to be a tad cleaned up compared to its WGN America airings, but you aren't going to be blown away by eye-popping visuals. Audio too is rather sedate. Does the stereo track do a serviceable job? Yes. Is it going to knock your socks off? No. Chapter stops occur at the end of each act.

No special features to redeem the set. When you take into account the fact that one episode appears to be short by ten minutes, there are serious, serious flaws in the set. 37-and-change minutes is just NOT right. I don't care if it is the second part or night, NO TV show in 1991 ran that short. Heck, the only show in 2010 that runs that short is The Price is Right, which clocks in at 38 minutes or so per episode. There are only two series I've ever seen that featured a worse edit. WKRP in Cincinnati was edited abysmally top to bottom, and in addition there was a DVD set of Tracey Takes On (I believe it was the third and fourth seasons) which featured episodes sometimes cut by up to half. Those two? Definitely worse. But few DVD sets can claim to have an episode with a full 25% missing, and this set can claim just that. If you care about edited episodes, you've probably already canceled your order and I'm sorry to hear that. The show is immensely enjoyable, but a 25% edit to an episode is just a tough pill to swallow. If you love the show, by all means buy it, but I can't in good conscience recommend a set with one episode cut so substantially. Especially since no episode like this was edited on the first four sets.

(3/5 stars)

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

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


LOOKING AHEAD

Come on back right here next week for more news and reviews. You'll have to come on back next week to see what the review here will be (maybe Dragnet?)! And don't forget to read our full DVD reviews, as we will put up reviews for The Game and Rhoda there. Until next time, keep it digital America! Happy 4th!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, March 29

Last Man Standing - "Break Out the Campaign" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Vanessa turns to Mike and Carol for advice on her State Assembly campaign; Kyle is overcome with anxiety when Ed gifts him an expensive watch.

Outmatched - "Royal Rumble" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Mike and Kay get caught in a lie about Leila's birthdate, they throw her a party with a theme of her choice; Brian, Nicole and Marc struggle with the news that Rita and Irwin would be their guardians if something happens to Mike and Kay.

The Simpsons - "Screenless" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Marge implements a screen time limit for the whole family, she realizes that she is the one addicted -- not her husband and children.

Duncanville - "Pilot" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Annie worries about her very average teenage son.

Bob's Burgers - "A Fish Called Tina" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Tina goes too far trying to be a perfect mentor; Bob and Linda test out the gym next door.

Family Guy - "Peter & Lois' Wedding" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
The Wi-Fi goes out in the Griffin house, leaving the family with nothing to do for the evening; Peter and Lois decide to tell the kids the story of how they met and fell in love in the '90s.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 23)

Friday, March 27

  • Tina Fey (30 Rock) - Watch Tina on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Jim Gaffigan (The Jim Gaffigan Show/My Boys/Welcome to New York) - Jim is a guest on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Glenn Howerton (A.P. Bio/The Mindy Project/That '80s Show) - Glenn appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • John Krasinski (The Office) - John is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Garcelle Beauvais (The Jamie Foxx Show) - Garcelle visits The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Amy Poehler (Bless the Harts/Parks and Recreation) - Amy appears on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) - Nick talks about Devs on Couch Surfing at 8am.
  • Christopher Knight (The Brady Bunch) - Christopher is a guest on a repeat of The Doctors, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (January/February/March)

My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume One Martin - The Complete Series Step by Step - The Complete Sixth Season Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - The Complete Series

01/02 - My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume One
01/02 - My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume Two
01/14 - Veep - The Final (Seventh) Season (Blu-ray)
01/14 - Veep - The Complete Series (DVD)
01/21 - Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Third Season (WBShop.com)
01/21 - The Mindy Project - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
01/28 - Ballers - The Complete Fifth and Final Season
01/28 - Ballers - The Complete Series
01/28 - The Mindy Project - The Complete Series (DVD)
02/04 - Martin - The Complete Series
02/11 - Step by Step - The Complete Sixth Season (WBShop.com)
02/18 - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
02/25 - Better Things - The Complete Third Season
03/17 - Crashing - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

03/28 - SitcomsOnline Digest: One Day at a Time a Hit in Ratings; Late Night Talk Set to Return Next Week
03/27 - Fri-Yay: Review of One Day at a Time Season 4 Premiere; NBC Sets Will & Grace Finale Night and Special I Love Lucy Episode
03/26 - CBS Slates Primetime Special from Home with James Corden; Fox Announces Living Room Concert for America
03/25 - Antenna TV Schedule Change on March 30, Doubling Up Comedies; Millionaire 20th Anniversary Premiere Celebs
03/24 - ABC Giving A Modern Farewell to Series; Samantha Bee Returns from Home on Wednesday
03/23 - Bounce Sitcom Returns April 1, No Foolin'; Never Have I Ever Gets Netflix Premiere Date
03/22 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of March 23, 2020)
03/21 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Netflix and Hulu to Share Rights to Community; Preview of New Netflix Series Never Have I Ever
03/20 - Fri-Yay: Best Sitcom Episodes for Coronavirus Isolation; Antenna TV Weekend Binge Marathons for Tough Times
03/19 - Conan Returns March 30 via iPhone Video; Showtime Alters Schedule for Black Monday
03/18 - Billboard Music Awards Postponed on NBC; Acorn TV Extends Free 30-Day Trial
03/17 - Network Upfronts Canceled But Will Go on Digitally
03/16 - Hallmark Slots More Golden Girls, Frasier; Primetime Schedule Changes Due to Coronavirus
03/15 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of March 16, 2020)
03/14 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Shout! Factory Acquires Broadcasting and Streaming Rights to Stephen J. Cannell Library; Schitt's Creek Plans for Series Finale
03/13 - Fri-Yay: One Day at a Time Moves to Pop TV and Takes Jab at Former Home; Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt's Creek Farewell
03/12 - Quibi Announces Fire Island Sitcom; ABC Picks Up 4th Season of Red Hot Drama
03/11 - Apple TV+ Animated Comedy Premieres May 29; Brooke Burns Returns to GSN to Host Game Show
03/10 - Netflix's Lost in Space Gets Final Season; Remembering Sitcom Writer Earl Pomerantz
03/09 - Hulu Gears Up for Comedy Premieres in May; Quibi Programming Slate for April 6 Launch
03/08 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of March 9, 2020)
03/07 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Kids in the Hall Returning for New Episodes; Pop TV Cancels Florida Girls and Other Originals
03/06 - DuckTales Returns with New Season and Cross-Overs with Disney Shows; Isla Fisher Joins CBS All Access Comedy
03/05 - The CW Spring and Summer 2020 Schedule; Kim Fields Joins Netflix Sitcom
03/04 - Hulu's Future Man Returns for Final Season; NBC Escapes with Celebrities
03/03 - Just Roll With It Brings Out the Guest Stars; Quibi Announces Comedy Talk Series
03/02 - Courteney Cox Nabs Starz Horror Comedy; Superstore Losing Series Star
03/01 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of March 2, 2020)
02/29 - SitcomsOnline Digest: America Ferrera Leaving Superstore; NBC Renews Several Dramas for Three Seasons
02/28 - Fri-Yay: How Much Do Live Ratings Still Mean?; Disney+ Gets Proud Family Revival Series