Saturday, April 06, 2013

Digital Digest: Arrested Development Returning in a Big Way; Shout! Factory Updates; Petticoat Junction - Return to Hooterville DVD Review


Welcome to Digital Digest! This week, we've got some updates on Arrested Development, Shout! Factory titles, and a review of Petticoat Junction - Return to Hooterville. Let's get going!


DIGITAL NEWS

We're sure that fans have already heard the "big news" by now (and we've been talking about it for quite some time), but fans of the sitcom Arrested Development now have a firm date on when they'll be able to enjoy new episodes on Netflix. On Sunday, May 26 at 12:01 AM (that is Memorial Day weekend), the new episodes will debut on the streaming service. But it won't be one episode of the series, or even two for that matter. In fact, it will be a whopping fifteen new episodes of the series, all on one day! We have a feeling that fans of the series will be right there at 12:01 to stream all fifteen episodes. Arrested Development centers around Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) and his eccentric family comprised of his son George Michael (Michael Cera), his father George Bluth Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor), his mother Lucille (Jessica Walter), his brothers George Oscar Bluth II (Will Arnett), Buster Bluth (Tony Hale) and sister Lindsay Funke (Portia de Rossi), and Lindsay's husband Tobias (David Cross) and their daughter Maeby (Alia Shawkat). As of now, this is slated to be the final season of the series (a way to wrap it up since Fox didn't allow that six years ago), but if more episodes are to come, we'll let you know!

Heading back over to the DVD side of things, some pre-order listings for some Shout! Factory releases popped up online lately, with one of the biggest ones being for The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis - The Complete Series. It was announced a few months ago that this would be coming, but now a preliminary release date of July 2 has been set for this megaset. No details have been given yet on what (if any) special features will be included, but so far it is known that it will be a 20 disc set that will come at a $139.99 MSRP.

Meanwhile, Shout! is moving ahead with Quincy, M.E. with a July 9 release of Quincy, M.E. - Season 6. The five-disc set will come at a $39.97 MSRP. And, to follow up both of these releases, Shout! has the long-awaited release of The Jack Benny Program - The Lost Episodes coming up on July 23. It sounds like it'll be a busy summer for Shout!, and we can't wait to see what may be in store for August!

UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Tuesday (April 9) isn't a big release date, but it does bring us the long-awaited release of Family Ties - The Sixth Season (review) and The Dick Van Dyke Show - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray).


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW


Blog DVD Review: Petticoat Junction - Return to Hooterville (MPI, $14.98)
by skees53

In the early '60s, Paul Henning had made The Beverly Hillbillies a success for CBS. In fact, it was so successful that CBS craved more from the creator, and he came back to bring more success in 1963 with Petticoat Junction. It went on to last for almost a decade with over 200 episodes, until it was eventually canceled... in fact, it left the air even before CBS did their complete "rural purge." Although there have been some DVD releases of episodes of the series, MPI has now put together a single DVD that is essentially a "special features" DVD, bringing fans a full-length documentary, cast commercials, cast appearances on other series, and more.

Before we even begin, we should give an important disclaimer: much of the material seen on this DVD is a repeat of the special features from MPI's release of Petticoat Junction - The Ultimate Collection (review). The main feature on this DVD is "The History of Hooterville" (46:37). In this interview, we hear from Linda Kaye Henning, Gunilla Hutton, Mike Minor, Frank Cady, Shirley Mitchell, and Charles Lane as they all relive the history of the series through all seven seasons and recount their own personal memories of the series. Like many features, this is a "repeat" feature from 2005, which explains why Frank Cady and Charles Lane both appear in it. However, there is a slight update at the end for the "in memory of" screen, as Lane and Cady's names have been added to that list.

Cast commercials (10:18) is a series of cast commercials used from the first season of the series. These are basically plugs that cast members did (in character) at the end of the episode for the sponsor of the series, which happened to be Procter & Gamble. This is almost like what was included on the previous release from MPI, but they actually included nine this time (as opposed to just eight). However, Linda Kaye Henning's introduction is gone.

Outtakes and Production Footage (22:04) is something new for fans. For one of the first times (ever), we actually get to see some full color footage from the series on DVD! This features a lot of clips of recording stock footage for the series, photos from production, and a few outtakes from some of the color episodes of the series. Unfortunately, all of this is silent in the sense that none of the audio is included with the clips... but there IS some audio, as Linda Kaye Henning and Jim Pierson talk about what is going on in the form of commentary. Despite how technical it is, I really enjoyed it.

"The Girls From Petticoat Junction" (2:10) seems to be mostly a promotional plug for an album called Sixties Sounds - The Girls From Petticoat Junction, which features Linda Kaye Henning, Meredith MacRae, and Lori Saunders.

"Shady Rest Memories" (14:14) is one of the "new" special features for this set, and it is almost like an extension to the main feature. Here, Jack Bannon (son of Bea Benaderet, series dialog coach, and guest actor on the series) talks a lot about his own memories of the series. He spends a lot of time talking about his memories of his mother as well, of course, which fans of the series are sure to appreciate.

"Original Promotional Spots" (3:44) is a series of original promos for the series from CBS. All of these are presented in color.

"Before Benji: The Story of Higgins" (16:38) is a short documentary about the life of Higgins, the four-legged actor who played the unnamed dog on the series. Of course, it mostly focuses on his more famous role as Benji. This is a very old documentary that was very obviously made in 1976, and has all of the production qualities of a bad '70s film strip... but to be honest, that actually makes it much more interesting and gives it a very nostalgic feeling.

"A Cannonball Christmas" (30:28) is actually a full-length episode of the series, which is "padded" a bit with an introduction from Linda Kaye Henning, and even a special Christmas message from Linda Kaye Henning and Frank Cady at the end of the episode.

Finally, there are some Special Petticoat Appearances, which gives us appearances of cast members on other series (or in some cases, radio... you didn't think MPI would let a release slide without a Let's Talk to Lucy feature, did you?). These include appearances of Bea Benaderet on Talent Scouts (3:02), The Danny Kaye Show (29:55), and Let's Talk to Lucy (17:45). For Linda Kaye Henning, we get to see appearances from Keene at Noon (10:38), The Song Is You (5:02), and The Perfect Match (21:44). The most interesting of all of these is The Perfect Match, which is apparently a long lost '60s game show where a high tech computer matches up couples... and prizes are involved too. The winner of the episode seen here won an attache case.

The packaging for the DVD is rather standard, using a basic Amaray case. On the cover, there is a photo of the girls from Petticoat Junction, and there are a few more photos on the back. There is a list of some (but not all) of the features on the back as well. The disc itself has the same photo seen on the front cover of the DVD case.

The DVD is packaged in a standard DVD case, with a cast photo on the cover (you'll notice that only three of the eight people pictured were original cast members). There are a few more photos on the back, along with a brief description of the movie and a list of special features. Inside, you'll find the disc, which has the same artwork as seen on the cover.

The menus on the DVD are fine, but nothing very special. The main menu simply has a list of all of the options on the DVD, along with a "Next" option (since they don't all fit on one menu). There is an option to turn on subtitles, but unfortunately, those are only available for the main feature on the DVD. Chapters are placed in all places where they should be in each feature.

For a DVD like this, it isn't really productive to comment on the video and audio quality. Most of the material on here is archival footage with questionable sources, so aside from the interviews, expect it to things to look OK at best. However, nothing is really terrible. The audio on the DVD is in mono, of course, and while the set proclaims to have subtitles, you'll only find it on the main feature (The History of Hooterville).

I wouldn't call this a bad DVD, but it only offers special features for the series, and nothing more. In addition, some of these are special features that we've seen before (but not quite as many as I initially believed). If you're a huge fan of the series, you'll want to own this DVD. But if you are anything but a huge fan, you may or may not be interested in this. It gives a lot of special features, but doesn't get us any further in getting more episodes on DVD (which in all fairness, MPI isn't responsible for that holdup). In short, this is a great collection of features for fans of the series, but if you're looking for episodes, you'll just have to wait for CBS to release more.

(4/5 stars)

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

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Petticoat Junction on TV.com


FOLLOW ME 


Who to Follow: Sarah Chalke (Twitter), "I can write with my feet."
Claim to Fame: Sarah Chalke first became known to American TV audiences in 1993 when she played Becky (well, one of them anyway) on the popular sitcom Roseanne. Even though she only sporadically played the role (constantly swapping the position with Lecy Goranson, the "other" Becky), Chalke later went on to star as Dr. Eliot Reed in Scrubs. In addition, she has appeared in How I Met Your Mother and Cougar Town, and currently, she stars in the ABC sitcom How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life).
Why You Should Follow Her: Chalke is, by all means, well on her way to becoming a sitcom legend. She isn't even 40 yet, but she has already spent a large chunk of her adult life as a sitcom actress, and regardless of what happens with her new series, it seems unlikely that she will be disappearing from our screens anytime soon. She is still relatively new to Twitter, but we don't anticipate her leaving soon, and only expect her to become a bigger star as time goes on.
Pick of the Tweets: "One of my favorite things is Brad Garrett going for a jog in jeans and a sweater" (April 3, 2013)

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


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, December 15

The Simpsons - "Bobby: It's Cold Outside" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Sideshow Bob gets contracted as the mall Santa; someone steals all the Christmas packages off people's front porches.

Bless the Harts - "Miracle on Culpepper Slims Boulevard" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Louise invites the Harts and Brenda to her annual Christmas party in lieu of a bonus, the extravagance makes Jenny feel insecure; Betty tries to figure out how to give the family the best Christmas presents on a budget.

Bob's Burgers - "Have Yourself a Maily Linda Christmas" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Linda works a temp job at the post office to make extra money for the holidays; Bob and Tina get trapped at home with Linda's fussy family; Gene and Louise scramble to find the perfect gift for Tina.

Family Guy - "Christmas Is Coming" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Meg has a surprising response after she takes Stewie to the mall to meet Santa; Brian must help Stewie process the experience.

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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