Saturday, November 10, 2012

Digital Digest: Night Court, Eight is Enough, Return of the Beverly Hillbillies, and more to DVD; The Streets of San Francisco - Season 5 (Volumes 1 and 2) DVD Review


Welcome to Digital Digest! We've got a lot of news for you this week (quite a change from the past few weeks), along with our review of The Streets of San Francisco - Season 5 (Volumes 1 and 2). Let's get going!

DIGITAL NEWS

Get ready to cue the sax as bang the gavel as Night Court returns to DVD once again! This week, Warner Archive brought the series one season closer to completion with their release of Night Court - The Complete Seventh Season! We'll have more about this set in the upcoming weeks as we learn more information. By the way, remember last week when we said that we had a Warner Archive announcement that we couldn't disclose just yet? Well, you're probably thinking that Night Court was, in fact, that release. However, it is not! We can now tell you that this "mystery release" coming soon from Warner Archive (we don't exactly know when it'll be out, but we anticipate it being very soon) is the second season of Eight is Enough. We'll have more on this when the time is appropriate, but for now, we can tell you that it'll be released as two separate volumes on the same date.

MPI released My Favorite Martian - Season 3 on DVD a few weeks ago, but the set came with an insert that provided a bit of news... and we honestly don't have a whole lot of details about two of the releases mentioned on it. First, it showed packaging for the made for TV movie Return of the Beverly Hillbillies. This was recently made available as a MOD offering on amazon.com, but this MPI offering, whenever it appears, could be more interesting. The problem is, we really have no clue about any details regarding this. We have even fewer details about the packaging shown for Petticoat Junction: Return to Hooterville. Honestly, we're not sure what it is (Is it a retrospective? A collection of episodes?), but it has a banner on it that says "50th Anniversary Collection" which leads us to believe that it may just be a collection of episodes, perhaps similar to the set they released a few years ago. You can see the entire insert (the remaining releases are things that have been out for a while) below.


Mill Creek made a few announcements this week, including one surprise announcement of a complete series of something that they've never released before. On January 8, they'll release the final two seasons of one of the Carsey-Werner sitcoms with 3rd Rock from the Sun - The Complete Season Five and 3rd Rock from the Sun - The Complete Season Six. The big surprise, though, is their announcement of Hearts Afire - The Complete Series. The show itself isn't new to DVD, but the season sets were previously released by Image, which makes this Mill Creek announcement surprising.

Shout! Factory has made many licensing deals, few of which are ever completely surprising, but this week they made a licensing deal which is, in fact, surprising. This week, the studio announced a licensing deal with Warner to release season 2 through 5 of MADtv. This is huge, since Warner almost never does these licensing deals (although they did make a similar one for Max Headroom and Norm with Shout! a few years ago). The deal also includes the animated Beetlejuice series.

Finally, we have some MOD news this week, as Fox recently released Raising Hope - The Complete Second Season as a MOD title. The first season was released as a standard release, so it seems likely that it didn't perform as well as hoped... but nonetheless, fans will get more of the series on DVD.


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (November 13) is a huge re-release day, where there isn't actually anything completely new to home media, but instead things upgrade from DVD to Blu-ray or are simply re-released in new packaging. There are two big complete series sets being released on Blu-ray for the very first time, with The Dick Van Dyke Show - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) and Friends - The Complete Series (Blu-ray). Warner Home Video re-releases another complete series on DVD with The Flintstones - The Complete Series. And finally, Inception has a re-release of The Real McCoys - Complete Season 2.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

The Streets of San Francisco - Season 5, Volumes 1 and 2

DVD Review: The Streets of San Francisco - Season 5, Volumes 1 and 2 (CBS, $45.98 each or $89.98 together)
by skees53

Lt. Mike Stone (Karl Malden) returns to fight crime in San Francisco in The Streets of San Francisco - Season 5 (Volumes 1 and 2), but this time, he is without his original partner. By the fifth season, Michael Douglas was beginning to see his own career take off (a successful career that continues even through this day), so the producers wrote off the character of Steve Keller, explaining that he had taken a job teaching at a local college, and introduced a new partner for Stone: Inspector Dan Robbins (Richard Hatch). These changes weren't popular for the series at all, and this season ended up marking the last for the series... but regardless, the fifth season still produced many excellent episodes (nearly all of them) that are worth watching again.

The final season begins with the two-part episode "The Thrill Killers," where a murder trial becomes a hostage situation. Michael Douglas appears in this episode as a "special guest star" to explain why he leaves the police force. A millionaire wants his daughter's murderer... dead or alive... in "Dead or Alive." Stone could be the target of a murderer in "The Drop." The father of a 16 year old girl is murdering her "johns" one-by-one in "No Minor Vices." A singer-songwriter could be a murderer in "In Case of Madness." In "'Til Death Do Us Part," Stone is charged with protecting a former bookkeeper's wife. In "Child of Anger," Stone and Robbins have a bigger mystery on their hand after the daughter of a clothing designer confesses to murdering her latest fling. Stone and Robbins are in hot pursuit of a motorcycle gang wreaking havoc on the city in "Hot Dog." Paranoia leads to a cop being shot in "Castle of Fear." In "One Last Trick," a prostitute goes back to work to smoke out the killer of a "coworker." In "Monkey is Back," Stone has to stay one step ahead of an ex-con who is released and now out for revenge.

Volume 2 begins with "The Cannibals," where a mobster steals loot from his father and buys immunity from the Feds by offering to testify against his dad. Stone investigates a domestic violence situation that leads to more complications in "Who Killed Helen French?" In "A Good Cop... But," Stone needs to find a cop killer before it is too late. A dirty copy places a weapon on a drug dealer he roughed up in "Hang Tough." In "Innocent No More," Stone wants to get violent youth gang members tried as adults. Stone has doubts when an ex-con in the midst of rehabilitation is accused of murder in "Once a Con." Stone is on the search for a man who escapes from a mental institution looking for the wife that he allegedly killed in "Interlude." A bodybuilder's short fuse leads to murder in "Dead Lift." A divorce gets very complicated in "Breakup." In "Let's Pretend We're Strangers," Robbins gets romantically involved with a public defender, which throws some more complications into a case she is representing. A San Quentin guard is on the hunt for convicts who escaped under his watch in "Time Out." The series ends with "The Canine Collar," where a jewel thief is determined to find a missing dog collar containing stolen diamonds.

Typically, I like to list guest stars with the episodes, but there were way too many in this set... so we'll just list a few here: Susan Dey, Patty Duke, Norman Fell, Paula Kelly, Doris Roberts, Dick Van Patten, Marion Ross, Ron Glass (the ones listed so far were just in the first episode of the season), Tom Bosley, Max Gail, Dabney Coleman, Eugene Roche, Parker Stevenson, Maureen McCormick, Desi Arnaz Jr., Gerald McRaney, Don Johnson, Ned Beatty, Mark Hamill, Carl Weathers, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pernell Roberts, and many, many more!

Although there are standard disclaimers on the packaging, the episodes seem to be unedited. I couldn't say for sure, though. One slight exception is the season premiere, which originally aired as a two hour episode, but from what I understand everything is still there, it is just that the episode was split in to two parts. Runtimes are as follows:

Volume 1:

Disc 1:
1. "The Thrill Killers (Part 1)" (50:11)
2. "The Thrill Killers (Part 2)" (48:14)
3. "Dead or Alive" (50:16)
4. "The Drop" (49:46)

Disc 2:
5. "No Minor Vices" (50:15)
6. "In Case of Madness" (50:15)
7. "Till Death Do Us Part" (50:17)
8. "Child of Anger" (50:15)

Disc 3:
9. "Hot Dog" (49:03)
10. "Castle of Fear" (50:16)
11. "One Last Trick" (50:14)
12. "Monkey is Back" (49:04)

Volume 2:

Disc 1:
1. "The Cannibals" (50:15)
2. "Who Killed Helen French" (50:16)
3. "A Good Cop... But" (50:15)
4. "Hang Tough" (50:14)

Disc 2:
5. "Innocent No More" (50:01)
6. "Once a Con" (50:16)
7. "Interlude" (50:18)
8. "Dead Lift" (50:07)

Disc 3:
9. "Breakup" (49:16)
10. "Let's Pretend We're Strangers" (50:14)
11. "Time Out" (49:44)
12. "The Canine Collar" (50:05)

Both of these sets have standard packaging that is very much in line with the previous releases. Both volumes have cover art with Hatch and Malden (different poses) with San Francisco skylines in the background. The back of each Viva case has a few episode snapshots and a brief description of the episodes on the particular volume. Inside the case for each volume, you'll find the three discs, each containing four episodes. The discs are the standard CBS discs with the series title and episodes listed on a gray background. Episode titles, descriptions, and airdates are listed inside each case.

The menus for the set are basic and functional, just like all of the previous releases. On the main menu of each disc, there are stills of Malden and Hatch, while the theme song and clips from episodes play in the background. Options on the main menu include Play All, Episodes, and Subtitles. There are animated transitions to each menu. Upon selecting Episodes, you get a menu where all of the episode titles are listed. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.

Like the previous releases, the episodes on this set have been remastered. However, something is just not quite right about the remastering this time. The first two episodes of the season (which actually aired as a double length episode originally, but are split up here) really do not look all that great, with a lot of artifacts on the video. However, the remainder of the set appears to be fine, and the audio is fine throughout. Each episode has English subtitles.

The video and audio quality of the episodes on this set is excellent. The episodes do show some age, of course, but I honestly do feel that they look and sound as good as anybody could possibly expect. Unfortunately, the set is lacking on subtitles or closed-captioning.

I was hoping that they'd end the series with a "bang" considering that there have been no special features on any of the sets, but unfortunately, they didn't. It would have been nice to have had some sort of special feature about the introduction of Hatch's character in this season.

Once again, we've got another series wrapped up on DVD! It is always nice when these series get completed on DVD, but also a little sad because it marks the end, at least for now. In general, I think CBS did a great job with this series as far as quality (with a few exceptions, most of the episodes of this series have looked absolutely flawless on DVD), but they certainly did manage to disappoint on the special features. In any event, this is one of those series that I never would have expected to see completed on DVD a few years ago, and in the early days of DVD, I would have never even expected to see it on DVD. Now, the whole series is complete. I actually first discovered the series on DVD, and I've been impressed with the series. It goes without saying that the first four seasons with Michael Douglas were better seasons, but I honestly don't think that this season was bad at all, and it is a shame that it had to end here. If you are a fan of crime dramas in general (particularly the "big ones" of the '70s), you really can't go wrong with this set.

(4/5 stars)

To purchase Volume 1, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

To purchase Volume 2, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

To purchase Volumes 1 and 2 together, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com Main Reviews Page
The Streets of San Francisco TV.com Page


FOLLOW ME

Who to Follow: Bob Saget (Twitter), "I like long walks on the beach...and then to be dragged through the sand by an off-road vehicle, and then hurled off a catapult."
Claim to Fame: Danny Tanner from Full House, original host of America's Funniest Home Videos, and currently the voice of future Ted on How I Met Your Mother.
Why You Should Follow Him: For a long time, I always had a pretty low opinion of Bob Saget. His claim to fame began with his days on Full House where he played the squeaky clean good father Danny Tanner, and I always believed that his range was just incredibly limited to being one of TV's lamest characters (regardless of what anybody thinks of Full House, Danny Tanner was pretty lame). It wasn't until I saw Saget's appearance on Saturday Night Live in the mid '90s (see his opening monologue) that I realized that Saget has much more dynamic appeal than he demonstrated on Full House, and is actually a very funny person. When you follow his Twitter feed, you get some of his comedic gold every single day, and it is certainly worth reading. You'll find a lot of Tweets on topics including his (seemingly depressing) dating life, his 87 year old mother, politics,
Pick of the Tweets: (well, at least of the G-rated ones) "Excited my grandmother's coming to visit today. A little scared too, cause she passed away fifteen years ago." (June 1, 2011)

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


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Saturday, December 14

none scheduled

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 9)

Friday, December 13

  • Ana Gasteyer (People of Earth/Lady Dynamite/Suburgatory) - Watch Ana on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Paul Rudd (Living with Yourself/Wild Oats) - Paul appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Danny DeVito (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia/Taxi) - Danny is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Kevin Hart (The Big House/Undeclared) - Kevin visits The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Craig Bierko (Madman of the People/Pride & Joy/Sydney) - Craig talks about Harry Townsend’s Last Stand on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Barry Williams, Maureen McCormick, Eve Plumb, Christopher Knight, Mike Lookinland and Susan Olsen (The Brady Bunch) - The Cast of The Brady Bunch talk about HGTV's A Very Brady Holiday on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.


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

Life with Lucy - The Complete Series 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

10/08 - Leave it to Beaver - The Complete Series
10/08 - Life with Lucy - The Complete Series
10/15 - Mom - The Complete Sixth Season
10/16 - Our Miss Brooks - Season 1 - Volume 1
10/16 - Our Miss Brooks - Season 1 - Volume 2
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)
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
12/10 - Family Guy - Season Seventeen
12/17 - Fuller House - The Complete Fourth Season
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