Saturday, July 23, 2011

Digital Digest: Hey Dude - Season One DVD Review

Welcome to Digital Digest, your cool refuge from the very hot weather many of us have been facing this summer! This week, in addition to our regular news and upcoming week preview, we have reviews of Hey Dude - Season One (note: we planned to have some animated series DVD reviews, but that will be postponed to next week). We've also got a new feature that we are introducing this week that will appear every week at the end of Digital Digest called "Click of the Week," where we introduce you to a different website every week that you may not have (or in some cases, perhaps you have) visited before. So let's get going!


DIGITAL NEWS

CBS material has been on Netflix for some time now, but now that exclusivity with Netflix seems to be over. Now, that doesn't mean that the material will be leaving Netflix, but now, it will also be available to view on amazon.com for their Amazon Prime members! This brings a new level of competition to the online streaming game as amazon.com is trying to step up their game in competing with Netflix. According to the press release:
Amazon Prime customers will be able to instantly watch thousands of episodes from the CBS library at no additional cost to their membership. With the deal, Amazon will add 2,000 episodes to grow the total number of Prime instant videos to more than 8,000 movies and television shows, and offer full seasons for 18 popular television series, including The Tudors, Numb3rs, Medium, the complete Star Trek franchise, Frasier and Cheers. Starting this summer, dozens of CBS shows will also become available to Amazon Instant Video customers.

"Our new deal with CBS makes Amazon Prime even better for customers," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com CEO. "We're excited to add thousands of popular CBS programs to our already great selection, all of which stream at no additional cost to Amazon Prime members."
Mill Creek just recently acquired the rights to release several Carsey-Werner series, but they are really hitting the ground running. Several season 1 and season 2 announcements were made a few weeks ago, but this week, there is even more! On September 27, they will release Roseanne - Tricks and Treats, which will contain every Halloween episode of the classic sitcom (note that there was a previous Halloween release by Anchor Bay, but that one did not include one of the episodes). Additionally, on October 11, they get into the winter holiday season with That 70s Show - Holiday Edition, which contains a 10 episode mix of Christmas, Halloween, and Thanksgiving episodes of that series. Neither of these is available to pre-order yet.

Fox is getting into the animated spirit just in time for Christmas. We already mentioned a few weeks ago that December 6 will tentatively (this isn't confirmed yet) bring The Simpsons - The Fourteenth Season, but just one week later, on December 13, comes Family Guy - Volume 9. But you can't stop shopping for your animated fan just yet! Yet another week later, on December 20, comes Futurama - Volume 6 comes to DVD. As for Futurama, will a Blu-ray Disc release also be in the works? We don't know just yet.

Finally, we have this from TVShowsOnDVD.com about another release of Celebrity Bowling. This time, it is bowling with the Brady Bunch in Celebrity Bowling - The Bradys Go Bowling. The 50 minute disc will be released on October 11 at a $9.98 MSRP.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (July 26) has a trio of "best of" releases from MPI, including Here's Lucy - Best of Collection, The Color Honeymooners - Best of Collection, and The Honeymooners: The Lost Episodes - Best of Collection. Also, Shout! Factory has Dennis the Menace - Season Two on tap.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

It's time to get down to the ranch with one of Nickelodeon's earliest original series, Hey Dude. Premiering in 1989, the comedy series followed a ranch owner, his son, and five teenage summer employees through their summer employment on the ranch. Here is our review of Hey Dude - Season One.

DVD Review: Hey Dude - Season One (Shout! Factory, $19.93)

“It’s a little wild and a little strange, when you make your home out on the range,” states the first few lines of the show’s theme song and when you watch this show, you believe it. Hey Dude aired on Nickelodeon from 1989-1991 (and in reruns for nearly a decade after that.)

The series takes place on the Bar None Dude Ranch (hence the title) in Arizona. In the first episode, it’s explained that New York City nerdy accountant Ben Ernst (David Brisbin) bought the ranch to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, bringing his pre-teen son Buddy (Josh Tygiel) with him, who would have rather stayed in the city. A group of teens from a wide variety of backgrounds is hired to staff the ranch, and it’s here where most of the storylines come from. The first season only featured four teens: Ted (David Lascher,) a troublemaker who’s always trying to find a new scheme; Danny (Joe Torres,) a less uptight Hopi Native American; girl-next-door Melody (Christine Taylor); and rich girl but great horse rider Brad (Kelly Brown.) Also on hand were ranch hand Lucy (Debra Kalman) and Buddy’s dog Cassie.

Episodes involve Mr. Ernst’s sometimes vain attempts to become accustomed to ranch living, Ted’s wild schemes (some of which involve trying to win over Brad,) and the various problems that go along with a dude ranch: wild horses, annoying guests, and getting in trouble with management.

The show was mainly geared towards teenagers, and while I wasn’t quite in that age range when the show originally aired, I still enjoyed it and thought it was funny. The laughs mostly tend to hold up here. Some of the jokes do tend to be a bit on the corny side, but in my opinion, that only makes the show that much more endearing.

The episodes run around 24 minutes each and thus, appear to be uncut.

Disc 1:
1. Day One at the Bar None (24:01)
2. Battle of the Sexes (24:01)
3. Goldilocks (24:02)
4. Ted’s Saddle (24:01)
5. The Competition (24:02)
6. Rehearsal for Romance (24:01)
7. Perfect Father (24:01)

Disc 2:
8. The Good, the Bad, and the Obnoxious (24:02)
9. Rainmen (24:01)
10. Ted & Brad Get Handcuffed (24:01)
11. Suspicion (24:01)
12. Employee of the Week (24:03)
13. Pain in the Neck (24:00)

This two-disc set comes in a clear Amaray case with a page to hold the second disc. The outer artwork, while attractive at first glance isn’t without problems. All of the artwork has a western dude ranch motif, which looks good. The front of the case has the show’s logo, the words “Season 1” and a cast photo from the first season. The photo, however, appears to be at a very low resolution. It’s a little pixilated, and not very clear. Looks like it may have come from an internet fan site or something. The rear cover features some more (clearer) photos of the cast and a description of the series. The interior of the box maintains the western motif, and each side of the case lists the episodes and gives a short description. The discs themselves have the show’s logo and a photo of the cast.

The main menu is quite attractive and features the same photo as the front cover (although clearer) and gives the options of Play All or Episodes (and on disc two, Bonus Feature). The show’s logo animates onto the screen in the same way it does during the opening theme, and the show’s closing theme song plays. Another piece of background music plays as you select one of the menu options. Chapter marks are placed at appropriate spots throughout the shows. There are however, no closed captions or subtitles.

Audio and video quality are very good considering the age and source of this series. This was a videotaped show from the late 80s/early 90s, and was really Nickelodeon’s first venture into episodic television. The videotape masters, while not always the sharpest, are as clear as one could really expect them to be. Audio is clear and in stereo. Mainly the music benefits from the stereo sound, but there are some other effects, including making actors’ voices sound like they are coming from off-screen.

There is only one special feature on this set, but it is a nice one. “Interview With Christine Taylor” runs 17:05. In the interview, Christine reveals a lot of interesting facts from behind the scenes, including how she got the role of “Melody,” how the cast interacted (varying from being friends, to having crushes on each other, to getting mad and not speaking to each other) and the effect that the show has had on the rest of her career and the rest of the world. Christine has had a wide and varied career, including playing Marcia Brady in both of the Brady Bunch movies, and tons of other roles on television and in movies, and is now married to megastar Ben Stiller. She says she owes it all to her first big break, “Hey Dude.” She also shares an interesting story about how a girl who looked about her age came up to her saying “You were Melody on Hey Dude! I watched that show since I was five years old!” and someone else tells her that girl was Paris Hilton.

While I thoroughly enjoyed that interview, there are other bonus features that could have been included, and hopefully are on future sets. Anything from Nickelodeon promos, to blooper reels (which Christine mentioned in her interview) would have been good to include. At least there are four seasons to go.

In general, I think this is a very good set and Shout Factory did a good job putting it together. The show brings back a lot of memories for me, having watched it on Nickelodeon in the early 90s (back-to-back with Salute Your Shorts, another show I hope comes to DVD eventually). The show wasn’t ground breaking comedy, and it wasn’t great television, but it was a neat little show that appealed to the Nickelodeon crowd at the time, and it’s great that so many of these retro Nick shows are finally getting proper treatment on DVD. I hope to see future seasons of this show released soon.

(4/5 stars)

To purchase this DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Hey Dude
TV.com page


CLICK OF THE WEEK

Bone the Fish (http://www.bonethefish.com) - Remember the website Jump the Shark? It was an excellent website where you could look up practically any TV series that has ever existed, and leave comments as to when the series "jumped the shark." The phrase refers specifically to the moment that the series went from being a great series to an awful series, and usually the moments included major plot changes, deaths, births, and the ever-present category of Ted McGinley. Many of the comments and reasons were often very humorous and fun to read. Then, sadly, a few years ago TV Guide purchased the website and destroyed everything on it, leaving behind their "new" Jump the Shark which consisted of some really lame articles about TV series "jumping the shark" written by their staff writers very infrequently. In a sense, the website itself "jumped the shark."

But enough about Jump the Shark. It is ancient history. But it was certainly missed by many, and the creators of Bone the Fish came together to bring a new website that revives the spirit of the old website that has long by now "jumped the shark." On Bone the Fish, you can log in to vote on when a series "boned the fish" and leave comments on that as well. You can also read comments submitted by other users. It doesn't have as much content as Jump the Shark did (mostly because it is a newer website in an internet age dominated by social networks like Facebook and Twitter, whereas the original Jump the Shark was birthed in a different era), but it is the best continuation of what was. So, check out this website, and until next time, keep it digital!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, August 25

Last Man Standing - "The Courtship of Vanessa's Mother" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Vanessa's mother comes to visit and hits it off with Ed; Mandy and Kyle tutor Boyd, but they may be the ones getting outsmarted.

Last Man Standing - "Dreams vs. Realty" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Mandy nearly gives up on her dream of becoming a fashion designer when she is faced with rejection; Vanessa looks back at her own career path, which stirs up regrets; Mike steps in to help the women in his family realize their dreams.

The Simpsons - "Crystal Blue-Haired Persuasion" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After Homer's work cuts children's health care benefits, Marge turns to buying healing crystals as a cheaper solution for Bart's ADD; Bart begins to succeed in school, prompting Marge to open her own crystals empire and sell to mothers at school.

What Just Happened??! with Fred Savage - "Neighbor" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Fred struggles to discuss the mysterious cliffhanger from "The Flare" and speak with his guests because of a new noisy neighbor on the stage next door; Eric Stonestreet and Randall Park stop by.

Family Guy - "Trans-Fat" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Peter is mistakenly identified as transgender, which leads to an unexpected event and him learning an important lesson.

What Just Happened??! with Fred Savage - "Elevator" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Fred gets stuck in an elevator and is unable to host the show, Taylor must face her biggest fear: hosting the show alone; Ike Barinholz, Jillian Bell and Taran Killam stop by.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 19)

Sunday, August 25

  • Adam DeVine (Workaholics/Modern Family) - Catch Adam on a repeat of Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.


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

The Brady Bunch - 50th Anniversary The Brady-est TV & Movie Collection Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season Two The Good Place - The Complete Third Season Life in Pieces - The Complete Fourth Season Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Six

06/04 - The Brady Bunch - 50th Anniversary The Brady-est Brady Bunch TV & Movie Collection
06/18 - Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season Two (Blu-ray)
07/08 - Man with a Plan - Season Two
07/09 - Broad City - Season 5
07/09 - Broad City - The Complete Series
07/09 - Life in Pieces - The Complete Fourth Season
07/09 - Speechless - The Complete Third Season
07/16 - Eight Is Enough - The Complete First Season
07/17 - The Practice (1976) - The Complete Series (WBShop.com)
07/23 - Brockmire - The Complete First Season
07/23 - What I Like About You - The Complete First Season
07/30 - The Good Place - The Complete Third Season
08/06 - Caroline in the City - The Third Season
08/06 - Caroline in the City - The Fourth Season
08/13 - I Love Lucy - Colorized Collection
08/13 - Leave it to Beaver - Seasons One and Two
08/20 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Six
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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