Saturday, October 22, 2011

Digital Digest: More Urkel Coming; American Pickers - Volume Two DVD Review


It's getting kind of spooky around here with the very slow news week that we're having here, but Digital Digest is like a zombie, and we're back for what we do have! This week, we have a review of American Pickers - Volume Two. Also, in keeping up with our Halloween theme, we have another website related to the "spooky and supernatural" as our pick of the week. Let's get moving!


DIGITAL NEWS

We only have news of one new release this week, but it is certain to be one to please many people! The contemporary classic sitcom, Family Matters, is returning to DVD for the second season on February 14. We don't know many details yet, but we assume it'll be just a barebones set. Still, it is good to see the series continuing.

Our only other news concerns a delay for a DVD set that was expected this week. The classic drama It Takes a Thief - The Complete Series was expected on DVD next week, but that has been delayed to November 15. It looks like it is going to be a really good set, though, and we will be reviewing the set in Digital Digest sometime soon.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (October 25) brings only two releases from Shout! Factory, but they are good ones. The best one is Barney Miller - The Complete Series, a 25 disc collection containing every episode of the series and even the first season of the spinoff Fish. The other release for Tuesday is Dennis the Menace - Season Three. Unfortunately, we have not received review copies of either of these sets, but if we do, we'll definitely have reviews of them.

BLOG DVD REVIEW

American Pickers - Volume Two

DVD Review: American Pickers - Volume Two (A&E Home Video/History, $29.95)
by Todd Fuller

In small towns, and along America's back roads, treasures are waiting to be uncovered - valuable relics from our history that are hidden in junk piles, buried in barns and stacked in garages. It takes experts to find them - and turn rust to riches. American Pickers follows two of the most skilled "pickers" - Mike Wolfe, owner of Antique Archaeology, and his business partner, Frank Fritz - as they hunt down objects with historical, collectible and pop culture value that have been long forgotten by their owners. Along the way, they meet people whose own stories open a window into American lives and history. In this collection, Mike and Frank try to strike a deal with NASCAR Champion Ryan Newman, explore the appropriately named Pickens, South Carolina and try to buy a 300-pound boot.

The 2-disc set contains episodes 1-8 from the second season (2010-11). It comes in an Amaray movie-style case, just like the first release. Frank and Mike are pictured on the front holding a car part and shovel and standing on a pile of junk. A synopsis of the set, episode titles and the DVD specs are listed on the back of the case. Frank and Mike are featured on the spine of the case. There is an insert inside that promotes their new book: American Pickers Guide to Picking. There are no episode summaries included. An episode guide would have been nice to have for reference. The discs have the same photo of Frank and Mike that is used on the front of the case. The show logo is at the top, and the episode titles are listed at the bottom.

The main menu opens with a montage of video clips that play while some music can be heard in the background. These clips run about 20 seconds before leading to the static menu. They feature the same photo of Frank and Mike that is used elsewhere. Episode titles are listed on the left side of the screen in white text. The highlighed episode is in yellow and turns gray upon your selection. When you select an episode, it takes you to another menu where you can choose specific scenes. Different backgrounds of the various locations are used on these menus. Chapters are placed at the appropriate places.

As you might expect from such a recent show, the video and audio quality is excellent. They are presented in 1:33.1 format. The total running time of the 2 discs is approximately 6 hours, 16 minutes. All of the episodes appear to be unedited, with running times of over 43 minutes. If you want high definition episodes, they can be found on iTunes or Amazon.com . The audio is a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track. Closed captioning is available on the episodes.

The episodes are in their original one-hour format. Episode summaries and airdates are courtesy of the American Pickers Official Site. Here is the episode breakdown by disc, including the original airdates and runtimes:

Disc 1

Art of the Deal (06/01/10) (43:44) - Mike and Frank comb through a master collector's untouched outbuildings in North Carolina. After getting past a few petrified hams they find a true gem, a 1950 Studebaker that Mike falls in love with. But can Mike negotiate a deal at a price that makes sense? Mike then becomes obsessed with a 1934 pre-Airstream trailer and the negotiation becomes a classic in its own right. Next, hoping to sell a choice vintage sign, they pay a visit to friend and NASCAR champion Ryan Newman, who has a surprise of his own for the guys.

Buddy's Booby Trap (06/14/10) (43:18) - Mike and Frank visit a local legend in North Carolina. After picking through an accumulation of school busses and a burned down storage house, they come across an item the guys have never seen before, place bets on what it actually is, and get surprised by what the appraiser says about it. Frank goes into picking-turbo-mode when he finds a gold mine of signs on a 20 acre farm. Also, a mother/daughter team catches the picking bug and gives the guys a run for their money as they dig through their grandfather's garages and outbuildings.

Gordon's Gold Mine (06/21/10) (43:27) - In aptly named Pickens, South Carolina, the guys scour the sprawling inventory of a father-and-son picking duo. They uncover plenty of rare and unusual items... But can they make a deal with the two pro collectors? Next, the guys meet Mary who has inherited a 300-acre property, home to a huge untouched collection. After warming up with a few impulse purchases, Mike and Frank get serious. Plus, while trying to convince the guys to take her on the road, Danielle leads them to an inconspicuous cement factory. It's the "Holy Grail" of picking--Gordon's collection includes a jam-packed vintage general store, and building after building of unbelievable retro treasures.

Smooth Operators (06/28/10) (43:19) - As the guys are winding down their trip through the South, Danielle finds them the mother lode of rare motorbike parts in an old warehouse packed with new vintage Harley stock. Can they convince the sentimental and savvy owner Billy to part with some choice items? The guys make an incredible discovery guaranteed to impress their friend and NASCAR champion Ryan Newman. Plus there's plenty more finds on the 11-acre property littered with racecars and jam-packed outbuildings. And, back in Iowa, Mike and Frank have a field day scouring an incredible collection of one of their decorator clients. But will they spend all their money before coming across the real treasure?

Disc 2

Getting the Boot (07/05/10) (43:32) - While in Kansas, the guys comb through a promising farmyard littered with stuff but are frustrated when they find nothing at all to buy. Their luck changes when they meet demolition expert Johnny Walker. His collection is staggering. But will he agree to part with a rare grave marker and giant 300-pound boot? The next day, Johnny refers the guys to his collector neighbors. Junior's magnificent oilcan collection leaves Frank speechless, but unfortunately so does his sky-high prices. Morris on the other hand proves to be in a wheeling and dealing mood when the guys pull into the old service station that now houses his sprawling collection of automotive memorabilia.

Easy Riders (07/26/10) (43:20) - Mike and Frank are in Missouri, heading towards an inherited old farm with plenty of promise. But then Danielle calls with news about an ultimate prize. She's tracked down a prolific collector with a rare 1937 Harley Knucklehead. Close to their target, and revved up about the classic bike, the guys agree to speed pick the old farm before moving on. But once there, Mike gets lost in multiple outbuildings filled with possibilities. Everything is for sale--but anything of value? Down the road, their next pick is with a self-made man who keeps his incredible collection of "mantiques" in a 1920s Ford dealership and theatre from the same era. The guys are in pick heaven...and when they spot the Harley Knucklehead, high-roller negotiations begin. Can they seal the deal? And finally, in spite of the unwelcoming sign on her sprawling property, Darlene is anything but.

Psychic Pickings (08/02/10) (43:45) - While picking in Missouri, the guys stop in at Sam and Stan's steel yard where the father-son duo takes them on a high-speed golf cart tour of their massive hangar and outbuildings, loaded with heaps of metal and rusty junk. But can Mike and Frank uncover anything worth buying? The team goes freestyling and comes across an old farm where the owners are about to have an auction and badly need Frank and Mike's help. And, in Illinois they come across Greg, who claims he's a psychic picker. He's filled his mammoth home, a former prison, with rare objects and cultural artifacts. But is anything for sale? Plus the guys challenge Danielle to sell an old Studebaker they had picked. Does she rise to it?

One Pony Town (08/09/10) (43:19) - Thanks to his vast collection of stuffed animals and weird curios, lifelong picker and yard sale aficionado Lester is known by his neighbors as the "spooky collector." Tension builds between Mike and Frank over the value of the animals, but both are thrilled to comb through his jam-packed outbuildings. Later on, the guys visit a hard-core Illinois collector who says he wants to downsize. But although his overcrowded building is technically for sale, he doesn't seem ready to part with anything. Missing family and friends, the guys pay a return visit to their "picking mamma," Judy. While scouring her mammoth former factory home, they have a great time, do great business and get a surprise. Plus an appraiser gives Mike some impressive news about a tiny stuffed horse.

Unfortunately, there are no special features included. It would be nice to see some deleted scenes, cast interviews or other featurettes. Fans would crave this type of bonus material.

I first watched American Pickers on History's sister channel Lifetime last December. After viewing a few episodes, I instantly became hooked. This is a show that is both educational and entertaining. They meet some unusual characters on their trips that have some fascinating stories to share. It's easy to see why this is one the biggest hits on cable. Mike and Frank have known each other since the 8th grade and work well together. They are kind of like a modern day Laurel & Hardy. Danielle is also an important part of the show and business. She's the glue that keeps things running smoothly and sends them out on the leads. Sometimes I think they play up the profit angle a little too much, but these guys know their stuff and have a business to run. I don't think they ever intentionally make lowball offers. Their offers usually seem pretty fair. It's all about negotiation. I think most people are just happy to clear some space and get rid of some of their junk that would otherwise be collecting dust. Another interesting aspect of the show is that sometimes they get shut out when people don't want to sell their items. Some of the items they buy end up being worth a lot less than they expected.

The only disappointment with this set is that it contains only 8 episodes. This set was originally listed on Amazon.com as the Complete Second Season, but it was delayed several times and eventually changed to Volume Two. Season Two had a total of 26 episodes, so it will be interesting to see if the third volume will contain 8 more episodes or the remaining 18 episodes form the second season. On the plus side, it's listed at under $9.00 on Amazon.com. It's priced very affordably and would be a good blind buy. If you enjoy these 8 episodes, then you could go back and purchase the Complete First Season. They are currently in their third season. A total 50 episodes have aired at this point. New episodes can be seen on History on Sunday nights at 9/8c.

(4/5 stars)

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

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Main Reviews Page
American Pickers Official Site
American Pickers TV.com Page


CLICK OF THE WEEK

The Twilight Zone Archives (www.twilightzone.org) - We continue our Halloween theme for Click of the Week this week with a website for a series that is considered one of the greatest classics of all time, and we have a website that is in a dimension of its own... The Twilight Zone Archives. It is one of the older websites for the series that can be found on the web, but it is also one of the more creative ones, and it is filled with plenty of content to keep you occupied. But before you do anything, be sure that you click on and read the information on how to navigate the website. It is no ordinary website, and you'll need to get accustomed to the unique interface or else you'll be lost!

On the website, you'll find everything that you ever needed to know about the series. Of course, there is the usual episode guide, but what if you want to find episodes by a certain theme? There is a way to look that up. You'll even find episode information for all of the "updated" versions of the series (even that horrid UPN remake). You'll also find flubs, memorabilia, candid reflections on the series, behind-the-scenes information, galleries of props, and so much more on the website. It'll truly take you in to a place called... The Twilight Zone.

That's all for this week. Until next time, keep it digital!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, January 24

American Housewife - "Wildflower Girls" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Katie grows concerned when Anna-Kat is invited to join Westport’s elite scout troop, The Wildflower Girls. Meanwhile, Taylor learns her Carnegie Mellon interview is scheduled with famous alumnus and Broadway star Brecken Phillips (Ian Gomez); and, Oliver befriends the school recluse, Trevor (Tenzing Norgay-Trainor).

Fresh Off the Boat - "The Magic Motor Inn" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
In a selfish move to avoid Jessica’s wrath once SAT scores arrive, Eddie convinces Evan that coaching from former classmate and spelling bee champ Simryn is exactly what he needs to finally win the state spelling bee. However, when it backfires and Evan begins to spiral, Eddie gets some much-needed wisdom from Simryn’s dad. On the other side of town, Jessica and Louis convince Emery to get a job only to be shocked by what he chooses.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 20)

Friday, January 24

  • Penn Badgley (Do Over) - Watch Penn on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Larry appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ali Wong (American Housewife/Are You There, Chelsea?) - Ali is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Tim Robbins (The Brink) - Tim chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Susie Essman (Curb Your Enthusiasm/Bless This Mess/Broad City) - Susie chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Jennifer Anison (Friends/Muddling Through/Ferris Bueller/Molloy) - Jennifer guest hosts The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Selena Gomez (Wizards of Waverly Place) - Selena is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Ashley Williams (The Jim Gaffigan Show/Good Morning, Miami) - Ashley talks about Chris Watts: Confessions of a Killer on People Now at 12pm.
  • The Cast of Indebted - Abby Elliot, Jessy Hodges and Adam Pally are guests on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Retta (Parks and Recreation) and Reno Wilson (Mike & Molly) - Retta and Reno talk about Good Girls on NBC's Today in the 10am hour and on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Jeff Garlin (The Goldbergs/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Jeff appears on a repeat of Access Daily, so check your local listings.
  • Valerie Bertinelli (Hot in Cleveland/Cafe Americain/One Day at a Time) - Valerie will be on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Vivica A. Fox (Mr. Box Office/Getting Personal/Out All Night) - Vivica is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (November/December/January)

Step by Step - The Complete Fifth Season The Big Bang Theory - The Twelfth and Final Season The King of Queens - The Complete Series (Mill Creek) Fuller House - The Complete Fourth Season My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume One

11/05 - The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang - The Complete Animated Series
11/05 - Laverne & Shirley in the Army (Animated Series) - The DVD Edition
11/05 - Letterkenny - Seasons 1 & 2
11/05 - Step by Step - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
11/12 - The Big Bang Theory - The Twelfth and Final Season (Blu-ray)
11/12 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Series (Blu-ray Limited Edition)
11/18 - The Guest Book - Season Two
11/19 - The King of Queens - The Complete Series (Mill Creek) (Blu-ray)
11/19 - The Kominsky Method - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
12/03 - The Simpsons - The Nineteenth Season
12/03 - The Simpsons - Seasons 1-20: Limited Collector's Set
12/06 - 9JKL - The Complete Series
12/10 - Family Guy - Season Seventeen
12/17 - Atlanta - Season 2 - Robbin' Season
12/17 - Fuller House - The Complete Fourth Season
12/17 - Hogan's Heroes - The Complete Series (2019 Release)
12/17 - The Other Two - Season 1
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)
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