Saturday, January 14, 2012

Digital Digest: April Showers of DVD Releases; Kojak - The Complete Movie Collection DVD Review


Happy Saturday and welcome to Digital Digest! We are very happy to say that we have a very busy news week this week, perhaps one of our biggest ones in months. And of course, we have our preview of Tuesday's releases and a review of Shout! Factory's upcoming release of Kojak - The Complete Movie Collection. Let's get going!


DIGITAL NEWS

April is going to be a very busy month for DVD releases, but what will perhaps be the most anticipated release is a series that Warner Home Video is releasing on DVD in season format for the first time ever: Eight is Enough! Finally, the Bradford family is coming to DVD with the April 17 release of Eight is Enough - The Complete First Season. The classic '70s comedy-drama ran for five seasons, and the first season only included nine episodes. But in any case, I'm sure that fans will be happy to see this series make it to DVD.

We mentioned just two weeks ago in our 2012 DVD Preview that there were rumors of Car 54, Where Are You? - The Complete Second Season would be coming to DVD in February, but at that time, it was just that--a rumor. But now, there is confirmation that the second (and final) season of the classic series is coming to DVD, just not in February. Look for Car 54, Where Are You? - The Complete Second Season to arrive on DVD on April 10.

Laverne & Shirley appeared to be an abandoned series with no new releases for almost four years, but that is all about to change on April 10. This week, CBS Home Entertainment announced their upcoming release of Laverne & Shirley - The Fifth Season. There is no word on whether the series related to it (Happy Days and Mork & Mindy) will also have follow-up releases anytime in the near future, but hopefully they will later this year. We'll let you know when and if we know!

The really surprising announcement from CBS Home Entertainment, though, is the announcement of the complete series of a short-lived series from the early '90s starring Bob Newhart. On April 3 (yes, another date in April!), look for Bob - The Complete Series on DVD. The DVD set will contain all 33 episodes of the short-lived series. Speaking of Bob Newhart, there is still no word as to what is going on with his first series, The Bob Newhart Show. The final two seasons have been available to pre-order on amazon.com for months, but they don't appear to be on the way anytime soon.

Yet another April release on the horizon is Designing Women - The Complete Sixth Season. On April 3, Shout! Factory will bring the next-to-last season of this series on DVD, bringing it one step closer to completion. Hopefully, we will see the series completed by the end of the year.

A series that Shout! Factory will complete by the end of the year, though, is Adam-12. While Adam-12 - Season Six isn't even out yet (it will be on Tuesday), Adam-12 - The Final Season (the official title for the seventh and final season) will be out on yet another day in April, on April 10. The series appeared to be abandoned at one point in time, so it is great to see it get all the way to the seventh season finally.

After all of those April releases, we end with one release that is actually coming a bit earlier than April, in fact, in March. On March 27, just ahead of the premiere of the sixteenth season, South Park - The Complete Fifteenth Season heads to DVD and Blu-ray! The three disc DVD set (and two disc Blu-ray) set will contain plenty of special features.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (January 17) has two releases from Shout! Factory, one which will only be sold as a Shout! Select title and the other that will have a regular retail release. The Shout! Select title that is being released on Tuesday is Webster - Season Four, and the regular retail release is Adam-12 - Season Six. So far, we have not received review copies of either of these.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW


Blog DVD Review: Kojak - The Complete Movie Collection (Shout! Factory, $29.98)

Ever wonder "who loves ya, baby?" Apparently, it is Shout! Factory, as they have recently licensed the classic detective series Kojak for release on DVD. Their next release in the classic series, though, is not one of the five seasons of the series, but rather a collection of all eight of the movies related to the series starring Telly Savalas, beginning with the 1973 pilot movie, movies from 1985 and 1987, and all five of the movies that aired as part of the ABC Mystery Movie series (in rotation with other franchises) in the 1989-1990 TV season.

The first movie included in this set is 1973's "The Marcus-Nelson Murders" (2:18:46), which actually served as the pilot movie for the series and was not included in Universal's original release of the first season. In this movie, Kojak suspects that a black youth who confessed to a murder of two white women is innocent of the crime, and was in fact coerced by the police into a confession by unethical means. Look for appearances by Lawrence Pressman and Ned Beatty in this movie.

Next up is 1985's "The Belarus File" (1:34:32), where Kojak investigates the death of several elderly Russian men. But it becomes disturbing is when Kojak finds who is behind the murders, and how their existence in the United States is with the full knowledge and approval of the US government. In 1987's "The Price of Justice" (1:35:24), the bodies of two young boys are found in the Harlem River, and all evidence seems to point to their mother being the obvious suspect. But Kojak is a smart guy and he is pretty sure that is wrong. So is she innocent, and if so, can he prove it?

The remaining five movies are all from the 1989-1990 season, as part of ABC's Mystery Movie rotation. These begin with "Ariana" (1:36:01), where an enemy of Kojak's and a drug lord use a pretty Greek woman to bait a trap for Kojak. In the next movie, "Fatal Flaw" (1:34:28), Kojak investigates the murder of a writer responsible for a mob exposé, but in the process, discovers that the dead man's wife is an old flame (played by Angie Dickinson). Also look for Don King and Sally Jessy Raphaël in this one. In "Flowers for Matty" (1:35:29), Kojak puts himself into "high society" to investigate some arts thefts that may be tied in with some major crime. In "It's Always Something" (1:35:59), Kojak's latest investigation leads him to being framed as a suspect in the murder of a call girl. The final movie, "None So Blind" (1:36:04), has Kojak becoming suspicious of a wealthy department store owner and his family after the death of an accountant. Jerry Orbach and Rip Torn both appear in this movie

The packaging for the set is very basic, with the set being in a standard Viva case. On the cover, we have a large photo of Kojak sucking a lollipop and standing in front of the New York City skyline. There are several snapshots from the movies, as well as another large photo of Kojak on the back of the case. Inside, you'll find the four discs, all of which have the same artwork as the cover art. There is also a listing of all of the movies, along with descriptions for each one, printed inside the case. The set contains eight movies, and each disc contains two of those movies.

The menus on the set are basic, but very nicely done. They are fairly identical on each disc, with a large photo of Kojak on the main menu, with options of Play All and a listing of the episodes. In the background of all discs, we have the Mike Post ABC Mystery Movie theme from 1989-1990 playing, which is actually really nice to hear on the set, even if it doesn't exactly fit in on the first disc. Chapters are placed throughout each movie.

All of these movies look and sound great. Of course, the 1973 pilot looks worse than the rest of the set, but that is understandable, as it is the oldest movie on here. The audio sounds great all throughout the set. But one thing that I did find interesting about the video is the aspect ratio. The first three movies are presented in full-screen, as one would expect, but the five ABC Mystery Movie ones are presented in anamorphic widescreen. This is an interesting choice, and I'm honestly not sure how it affects this set. For me, I think it made the movies look even better, but some fans may disagree with that assessment. Unfortunately, there are no subtitles or closed-captioning on any of the movies.

Surprisingly, the set does have one special feature, and it is even a special feature that was produced exclusively for this set. On Disc 4, we have the "Who Loves Ya Baby" featurette (31:46), where we have a very nice documentary covering Kojak. This featurette isn't exactly about just the movies, but most of the footage used here is from the movies. Most of the interviews here consist of members of Telly Savalas' family (members of his family often appeared in Kojak), but we also see a few other people, including Angie Dickinson, who starred in the "Fatal Flaw" movie.

Watching this set was actually the first time I've ever truly watched Kojak. I have seen bits and pieces of a few episodes here and there over the years, but I have never actually sat down and watched the series at length, much less full-length movies. But I really enjoyed this set, and wish that there were more of these movies. I really like the detective series where the detectives don't see everything in the world in black or white, and actually have some depth perception and are capable of getting it right without resulting to corruption. And Theo Kojak manages to do that. Honestly, I have to admit that most of the movies on here (aside from the pilot, of course) reminded me of some of the prominent detective series of the 80s, such as Hunter or Miami Vice, but I don't really see that as a bad thing. After all, those were also great series. And I think that fans of series such as those, and naturally fans of Kojak, are guaranteed to love this set.

(4/5 stars)

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

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Kojak on TV.com


CLICK OF THE WEEK

Just My Show (www.justmyshow.com) - This week, our Click of the Week is a more general pop culture website rather than a website just about television, but don't worry. We aren't becoming the VH-1 of websites, but instead we bring you this website because in the midst of the content that can be found on it, a great chunk of it (really, a majority) is TV related content on it. So with that long-winded introduction, what exactly is Just My Show? Well, we've actually mentioned it on our blog (though not in Digital Digest) several times in recent years. It is a website that has some very nice interviews with pop-culture icons, particularly classic TV stars, in a convenient podcast form.

There are many different ways to get started with the website, but I suggest going with the alphabetic list that is presented. This seems to make the navigation and finding a celebrity that you may be looking for rather simple, though some may prefer other means of navigating. From there, you can find links to all of the shows, featuring guest stars such as Harry Anderson, Chris Burke, Gary David Goldberg, Dave Madden, Marion Ross, Alan Young, and many others. Many of these are not isolated interviews, but many of the podcasts feature multiple guests, and run anywhere from 10 minutes up to an hour (with most near the 30 minute mark). And the website is on top of the technology curve as well; although you can certainly sit at your computer and listen to these interviews, they are also available to download from iTunes to your iPod, iPhone, or any other of the numerous portable devices. There is a lot to listen to here, and it is definitely worth checking out.

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


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, December 8

Norman Lear: A Life on Television

CBS announced the new entertainment special Norman Lear: A Life on Television, to air tonight - Friday, Dec. 8 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and streaming on Paramount+ (live and on demand for Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscribers, or on demand for Paramount+ Essential subscribers the day after the special airs). Presented by Entertainment Tonight, this one-hour special features new interviews with stars of the long-running comedies Lear created, including Jimmie Walker from Good Times and Mackenzie Phillips from One Day at a Time, in addition to never-before-seen interviews from the ET vault. Also included with this new footage and interviews is an in-depth sit-down interview with Lear that ET host Kevin Frazier conducted when Lear celebrated his 100th birthday, in which he reflected on his lengthy, groundbreaking career.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 4)

Friday, December 8

  • Eddie Murphy (The PJs) - Watch Eddie on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Da'Vine Joy Randolph (Only Murders in the Building/High Fidelity/People of Earth/Selfie) - Da'Vine appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • John Caponera (The Good Life) - John is a guest on a repeat of Comics Unleashed with Byron Allen on CBS between 12:37-1:37am.
  • Robert Smigel (Let's Be Real) - Triumph the Insult Comic Dog aka Robert Smigel chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Noah Galvin (The Real O'Neals) and Molly Gordon (Ramy) - Noah and Molly talk about Theater Camp on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Eric Stonestreet (The Santa Clauses/Modern Family) - Eric talks about The Santa Clauses on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Kenan Thompson (Kenan/Kenan & Kel) - Kenan sits down with Sherri to talk about his new book, When I Was Your Age, on Sherri, so check your local listings.
  • Sebastian Maniscalco (Bookie) - Sebastian appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (September-December)

Family Matters - The Complete Series Step by Step - The Complete Series ALF - The Complete Series (Deluxe Edition) Leave it to Beaver - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) The Odd Couple - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

09/05 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Sixth Season
09/12 - Abbott Elementary - The Complete Second Season
09/12 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-6 (Blu-ray) (DVD)
09/26 - Family Matters - The Complete Series
09/26 - Step by Step - The Complete Series
10/10 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Thirteen / The Complete Season Fourteen
10/17 - ALF - The Complete Series (Deluxe Edition) (Shout! Factory Special Offers)
10/17 - Night Court (2023) - The Complete First Season
11/07 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Sixth Season (Blu-ray) (DVD)
11/14 - Leave it to Beaver - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
12/05 - Father Knows Best - The Complete Series
12/05 - The Odd Couple - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
12/12 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - The Complete Series
12/12 - Looney Tunes Collector's Choice - Volume 2 (Blu-ray)
12/12 - That Girl - The Complete Series
12/19 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Official Restored Complete Series

That Girl - The Complete Series The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Official Restored Complete Series

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