Saturday, August 10, 2013

Digital Digest: Complete Series Sets from CBS; Once Upon a Time - The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review; Perry Mason - Season 9, Volume 2 DVD Review

Welcome to Digital Digest! This week, we've got two reviews, with both Once Upon a Time - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray) and Perry Mason - Season 9, Volume 2. Let's get going!


The big news this week comes from CBS, as they've announced three major complete series sets of classic series on DVD. On November 5, the studio will release the complete series of three series that they've already released individual seasons of (but these new releases will come in new streamlined packaging, and in some cases, include new special features). For fans of sitcoms, there is Family Ties - The Complete Series. Fans of high school drama will be glad to see Beverly Hills, 90210 - The Complete Series. Finally, the classic series Hawaii Five-O comes to DVD with Hawaii Five-O - The Complete Series. We have to be a bit careful for that last one, though... it isn't really the complete series, because it is still missing the second season episode "Bored, She Hung Herself" (which has not been seen in the United States since it originally aired). As usual, these will all include special features that were not included on the original releases, so there are sure to be some complaints! Nonetheless, it is great to see complete series sets.

Meanwhile, Warner Archive has another release coming on Tuesday that is sure to be good news for fans of a classic family comedy-drama series, as they release Eight is Enough - The Complete Fourth Season. As usual, the set will be released as two volumes in one, and it doesn't appear that there will be an option to buy just one of the volumes (but it probably isn't necessary anyway).


Tuesday (August 13) is a busier than usual day for releases. For sitcoms, Universal has The Mindy Project - Season One and CBS has Family Ties - The Seventh and Final Season. We'll have a review of the latter by the end of the weekend. Also, ABC has Once Upon a Time - The Complete Second Season (DVD/Blu-ray), and CBS wraps up Perry Mason with Perry Mason - Season 9, Volume 2. We have reviews of Once Upon a Time and Perry Mason in today's Digital Digest.


Blog Blu-ray Review: Once Upon a Time - The Complete Second Season (ABC Studios, $79.99)
by Pavan

The magic is back! Relive the complete second season of ABC's Once Upon A Time now on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, the hit series that boasts unforgettable characters and a tangled web of romance, action and enchantment. The curse is broken, magic has arrived, and there's no telling what – or who – will be unleashed! Now the exiled fairy tale characters must grapple with a flood of awakened memories as they come to grips with their new "reality." Old loyalties will be tested, new heroes will emerge, and vengeful villains will wreak havoc. Amidst the backdrop of previously unexplored lands and a newly magical Storybrooke, love and sacrifice will set the stage for the ultimate battle between good and evil. From Storybrooke to Fairy Tale Land and beyond, experience all the mystery, romance, action and adventure of the second season of Once Upon a Time, featuring all 22 remarkable episodes and exclusive bonus features, this must-own, five-disc boxed set is pure enchantment on an epic scale. This review will cover the Blu-ray disc version.

Once Upon a Time stars stars Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow White/Mary Margaret, Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan, Lana Parrilla as Evil Queen/Regina, Josh Dallas as Prince Charming/David, Emilie de Ravin as Belle, Colin O'Donoghue as Hook, Jared S. Gilmore as Henry Mills, Meghan Ory as Red Riding Hood/Ruby and Robert Carlyle as Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold. Recurring stars are Michael Raymond-James as Baelfire/Neal Cassidy, Barbara Hershey as Cora/Queen of Hearts, David Anders as Dr. Whale, Raphael Sbarge as Jiminy Cricket/Archie Hopper, Jamie Chung as Mulan, Sarah Bolger as Princess Aurora, Ethan Embry as Owen Flynn/Greg Mendell, Eion Bailey as Pinocchio/August Wayne Booth, Beverly Mitchell as Granny, Tony Amendola as Geppetto/Marco, Lee Arenberg as Grumpy/Leroy, Sonequa Martin-Green as Tamara, Alan Dale as King George and Sebastian Stan as The Mad Hatter/Jefferson.

We think the second season is superb and action-packed. The series continues to be a Sunday staple at 8pm on ABC. The writers of Lost has brought this series to us and this is the only show that has even come close to that show since that series ended. Jennifer Morrison is great and beautiful while Ginnifer Goodwin and Lana Parrilla are superb and have great chemistry. The addition of Emilie de Ravin is excellent as well as Colin O'Donoghue. We wish the Emmy's would have recognized this show, especially Robert Carlyle. Every episode has to be seen in order, but I will try to pick the most memorable episodes. WARNING: Don't read the descriptions if you have yet to start the second season! In the season premiere, "Broken," the people of Storybrooke realize who they really are... and set out to confront Regina, who they believe is responsible, while in the fairytale world, Prince Phillip and Mulan rescue Aurora from her sleeping curse, but a mysterious wraith stalks Phillip and he may be forced to make the ultimate sacrifice. In "The Crocodile," in the real world, Belle decides to leave Gold when she realizes that he isn't being honest with her, however someone else from her past threatens her future, while in the fairytale world, Rumplestiltskin discovers that his wife Milah isn't dead as he believed and goes to confront the pirate captain that took her. In "Tallahassee," Mary Margaret and Hook scale the beanstalk to recover the compass from the Giant, but as she climbs, Emma remembers the one time that she fell in love and was abandoned... unaware of the whole story of what happened.

In "Queen of the Hearts," while David lies in a coma, Gold and Regina plan to make sure that no one comes to Storybrooke through the portal, while Emma and Mary Margaret race Cora and Hook to the portal, and in the land that was, Regina makes a startling revelation to her mother. In "The Cricket Game," Regina tries to show the people of Storybrooke that she has changed, but things go awry when she's accused of murder and in the fairytale world, Snow and James must decide what to do with the Evil Queen. In "Tiny," Hook takes David and Mary Margaret to his ship and reveals Cora's secret weapon: Anton the Giant and when they free him, he mistakes David for James, the man who betrayed him in the Enchanted Forest, and goes on a rampage, while Emma takes Henry and Gold out of Storybrooke, and in the fairy tale world, Anton has his first encounter with humans... including one named Jack. In the next episode "Manhattan," in New York, Emma confronts Gold's son Bae, only to discover that he is her ex-lover, Neal, while in Storybrooke, Hook helps Cora and Regina locate Rumplestiltskin's dagger and in the fairytale world, Rumplestiltskin goes off to war and receives a cryptic warning from a blind seer. In "Welcome to Storybrooke," Gold is forced to intervene when Regina comes up with a way to get revenge on Mary Margaret and bring Henry back into her life, meanwhile 28 years ago, Regina wakes up in Storybrooke, the town created by her curse, but soon discovers two outsiders that could pose a threat to her plans. In "The Evil Queen," Regina comes up with a plan to use a failsafe built into her curse to destroy Storybrooke and its residents while she and Henry escape to the Enchanted Forest, when Henry rejects her, Regina turns to Hook... who has allies of his own, meanwhile in the fairytale world, Regina has Rumpelstiltskin disguise her as a peasant so that she can find the renegade Snow and kill her. On the thrilling season finale, "And Straight On 'Til Morning," while Regina tries to delay the end of Storybrooke after Greg and Tamara set off the failsafe, David and Hook race to get the magic beans and create a portal so the townspeople can evacuate, while decades ago in Neverland, Hook takes Bae under his wing and must decide whether to give him up to the Lost Ones or not.

The episodes on this set are all unedited, obviously, with the episodes at 43 minutes. Here are the runtimes for this set:

Disc 1
1. "Broken" - 43:02
2. "We Are Both" - 43:02
3. "Lady of the Lake" - 43:03
4. "The Crocodile" - 43:01
5. "The Doctor" - 43:04

Disc 2
6. "Tallahassee" - 43:01
7. "Child of the Moon" - 43:03
8. "Into the Deep" - 43:04
9. "Queen of Hearts" - 42:56
10. "The Cricket Game" - 43:03

Disc 3
11. "The Outsider" - 43:02
12. "In The Name of the Brother" - 42:58
13. "Tiny" - 43:02
14. "Manhattan" - 43:02

Disc 4
15. "The Queen is Dead" - 43:03
16. "The Miller's Daughter" - 43:01
17. "Welcome to Storybrooke" - 43:03
18. "Selfless, Brave and True" - 43:03

Disc 5
19. "Lacey" - 43:04
20. "The Evil Queen" - 43:03
21. "Second Star to the Right" - 42:53
22. "And Straight On 'Til Morning" - 43:04

Let's now move on to the packaging for this Blu-ray set! We have a thin outer box holding the Blu-ray case. The cover art for both has the Once Upon a Time logo in the middle with head shots of Hook, Evil Queen, Rumpelstiltskin, Emma, Snow White and Prince Charming on top, while below the logo we have a shot of Emma from her backside looking on to the dark sky that is coming to Storybrooke. There is a mention of The Complete Second Season right above the series logo. The cover of the outer box is actually a hologram, so if you move it a little, the Emma looking on shot turns into Hook's ship. Very cool. The back of both the outer box and case has three episodic photos and a nice gallery photo of Red Riding Hood, Belle and Henry. We also have info on the series and set as well, with a bonus features box. The color scheme is purple. Inside the Blu-ray case we go, there is no insert booklet this time on the left showcasing other ABC TV DVDs. Oh well, not a big deal. As far as the discs itself go, disc one is on a little plastic holder that you can flip like a page in a book. Disc two is on the back of that little plastic holder. Discs three and four are the same way in a second little plastic holder, while disc five is on the right panel itself. All similar to the previous set. All five discs are in a dark blue color with the series logo and showscases our beloved characters. Disc one has episodes 1-5 and we have artwork of Henry & Emma. Disc two has 6-10 and we see artwork of The Evil Queen. Disc three has episodes 11-14 and we have artwork of Snow White and Prince Charming. Disc four has episodes 15-18 and we have artwork of Rumpelstiltskin. And disc five has episodes 19-22 and we artwork of Hook. As for the panels, we have nice cast photo that extends onto both panels itself. There is also a disc-by-disc breakdown below the cast photo on the panels listing episode titles per disc.

The menu screen is very cool and great like season one's menu. Blu-ray menus are so much different I think, and they are better than regular DVDs. Background music from the show is playing in the background, as we have artwork of the woods in dark blue (similar to the title card on the series). Each disc has a different item in the woods (Hook's ship, a beanstalk, a dog, a jeep and the clock tower). We have options for Episodes, Bonus Features, Set Up, Season Play and Sneak Peeks. When we select Episodes, on Blu-ray there are no sub-menus, so a pop-up box pops up and you choose the episode with the titles listed. Bonus Features options pops-up all the extras on that disc, including the deleted scenes. The Set Up pop-up has the option for Languages and Subtitles, with audio in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio or English 2.0 Dolby Digital and subtitles in English, Thai, Chinese, Espanol, Portuguese, and French. Season Play is very cool, it is a feature exclusive to the Blu-ray Disc releases. This feature allows you to never have a problem keeping track of where you are (which episode, disc, time stamp) on the season of the show. This feature prevents you from getting lost as to which episode you were on when trying to come back and continue watching an entire season of a show. VERY cool! Sneak Peaks is just on disc five for The Lone Ranger, Peter Pan, Mulan andMarvel's Avengers Initiative . Disc one has auto trailers for Revenge Season 2 DVD, Castle Season 5 DVD, ABC TV on DVD and The Little Mermaid Blu-ray.

The video is great, as it should be in full HD (1080p widescreen)! This is the Blu-ray version so it is flawless. Everyone should own a Blu-ray player as the video quality is just superb and you feel like you are right inside the show. I have watched all 22 episodes on ABC in HD and it looks even better in Blu-ray! The audio is very good in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. That is the best you can get so you know it will be clear and crisp. Each episode has 8 chapter stops. We also hear the closing theme, as on ABC there are next week's promos playing over the credits. There is not much else to say, and that's a good thing!

As for special features, we have a WHOLE lot here. Each disc has special features once again. We have audio commentary on each disc. There is a warning that lets us know these should be viewed after you watch each episode, because the commentaries contain spoilers. On disc one, we have audio commentary for the season premiere "Broken" from series stars Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas. They even have great chemistry while doing an audio commentary. They are such a perfect couple. On disc two, we have audio commentary for the episode "Queen of Hearts" co-creators/executive producers Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz and star Lana Parrilla! On disc three we have audio commentary for the episode "Manhattan" from Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz and star Robert Carlyle! Even being under the weather, Robert is a class act. On disc four, we have audio commentary for the episode "The Miller's Daughter," from writer Jane Espenson. But wait, there's more! We have another episode with audio commentary on disc four, "Welcome to Storybrooke" from writers Ian Goldberg and Andrew Chambliss. And the final audio commentary is on disc five for the season finale "And Straight On 'Til Morning" from co-executive producer David H. Goodman and star Colin O'Donoghue! So we have six episodes with audio commentary (up from the five we had on season one) and these six are really great classic episodes!

The rest of the bonus features are on disc five. The first one is exclusive to Blu-ray, titled "A Fractured Family Tree" (7:08) narrated by ABC's Modern Family star Sarah Hyland (Hayley!). We explore the tangled magical genealogy behind the series' fairytale family and interviewed are Josh Dallas, Jared Gilmore, Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin, Michael Raymond-James, Lana Parrilla, and Robert Carlyle. This was REALLY well done Sarah is really fun to listen to. It's only for Blu-ray! Next up we have "Good Morning Storybrooke" (12:08) this is a Good Morning America style series but in Storybrooke. GMA? No it's GMS! You'll see your favorite Once characters even appear like Belle, Red Riding Hood and Dr. Whale! Then next we have "Sincerely, Hook" (5:22) where we set sail with Colin O'Donoghue (Killian Jones/Captain Hook) and learn more about the man behind the hook! Then next up we have "Girl Power" (13:04) where we enjoy a high impact look at Storybrooke's fearless females as they fight for love and justice between the realms of magic and reality. Interviewed are Ginnifer Goodwin, Lana Parrilla, Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz (co-creators), Andrew Chambliss (producer), Jane Espenson (consulting producer), Josh Dallas, Christine Boylan (producer), Jennifer Morrison, Jared Gilmore, Dave Hospes (stunt coordinator), Michael Raymond-James, Emilie de Ravin, Robert Carlyle, Jamie Chung, and Keegan Connor Tracy.

We aren't done yet! We have "Fairest Bloopers Of Them All" (3:12), which are of course often hilarious outtakes fans won't want to miss. We get a minute more worth of bloopers this season, too! And finally we have deleted scenes. It isn't many as say Revenge has, but still good stuff! The deleted scenes are around 10 1/2 minutes or so. We have eight deleted scenes, which is just off of the nine we got from the first season's set. Great to see stuff that didn't make the show!

I highly do recommend this Blu-ray set for any Once fan or even any fair tale fan. It is such an interesting take on those classic fairy tale characters we all know and love. The show makes you think, and I love that. This is really a great show and I hope you all buy this Blu-ray disc (or even the DVD). There are many special features that will keep you glued for many more hours than just the 22 episodes. The quality of Blu-ray sets is just superb and this one is among the best of this year again. We don't have as many special features as the first season set, but it is still jam-packed with many extras. If you haven't started this season or need to catch-up, this is the perfect time to do so before the new season premieres Sunday, Sept. 29 at 8/7c on ABC. Catch up now! If you're still on the fence then you are crazy. You'll be hooked (no pun intended) I'm sure. Be prepared to be spellbound because magic is coming to Storybrooke in season two but there is no magic needed to order this set by clicking on the links below!

(5/5 stars)

To purchase Once Upon a Time - The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray, click below and help support

To purchase Once Upon a Time - The Complete Second Season on DVD, click below and help support

Related links: DVD Reviews Page
Once Upon a Time on 


Blog DVD Review: Perry Mason - Season 9, Volume 2 (CBS, $45.98)
by skees53

Perry Mason is about to rest his case once and for all in Perry Mason - Season 9, Volume 2. It has been a long journey of nine seasons (and eighteen DVD releases!) since the first volume of the first season was released in July 2006, but CBS made it their priority to get all 271 episodes of the classic series on DVD, and now we have them all! For those unfamiliar with the series, it follows defense attorney Perry Mason (Raymond Burr) as he takes on some of the biggest cases out there, where somebody has been murdered and it seems to be a foregone conclusion that the wrongly accused defendant will be convicted... but that won't happen with Mason by their side!

The second half of the season begins with "The Case of the Midnight Howler," where Perry becomes a witness in a murder case where he believes the accused is innocent. Perry must decide if a woman is a grieving widow or a wronged wife capable of murder in "The Case of the Vanishing Victim." A pro golfer is found dead in "The Case of the Golfer's Gambit." In "The Case of the Sausalito Sunrise." the police zero in on one of Perry's clients in their effort to find a cop killer. A fishing trip is interrupted when the wife of Perry's client is found dead in "The Case of the Scarlet Scandal." The series goes to color (for one episode, at least) in "The Case of the Twice Told Twist." In "The Case of the Avenging Angel," an aspiring British pop star is accused of killing his promoter. A jeweler is caught with the body of a jewel thief in his trunk in "The Case of Tasrina's Tiara."

Two women switch identities (and die) in "The Case of the Fanciful Frail." In "The Case of the Unwelcome Well," a foreman is the prime suspect when a greedy oil man is killed. Perry is on the hunt for a killer who looks exactly like him after losing a case in "The Case of the Dead Ringer." In "The Case of the Misguided Model," a model (Mary Ann Mobley) is at the center of a murder case. Perry has to determine if a new head of a crime commission has gone above the law in "The Case of the Positive Negative." In "The Case of the Crafty Kidnapper," a gossip columnist turns up dead, and his assistant is accused. The volume (as well as season AND series) ends with "The Case of the Final Fade-Out," where an egotistical TV star has a fatal final act. Dick Clark guest stars.

As usual, it seems that the episodes are unedited, with runtimes as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "The Case of the Midnight Howler" (51:58)
2. "The Case of the Vanishing Victim" (51:53)
3. "The Case of the Golfer's Gambit" (51:55)
4. "The Case of the Sausalito Sunrise" (51:55)

Disc 2:
5. "The Case of the Scarlet Scandal" (51:58)
6. "The Case of the Twice-Told Twist" (51:46)
7. "The Case of the Avenging Angel" (51:57)
8. "The Case of Tsarina's Tiara" (51:56)

Disc 3:
9. "The Case of the Fanciful Frail" (51:57)
10. "The Case of the Unwelcome Well" (51:55)
11. "The Case of the Dead Ringer" (51:58)
12. "The Case of the Misguided Model" (51:56)

Disc 4:
13. "The Case of the Positive Negative" (51:56)
14. "The Case of the Crafty Kidnapper" (51:54)
15. "The Case of the Final Fade-Out" (51:57)

The set comes in a standard Viva case, as most of the releases of this series have. The cover has (what else?) a large photo of Perry, and on the back, there are some episode snapshots and a brief description of the season. Inside, you'll find the four discs, and a listing of episodes, along with descriptions and airdates.

The menus on the set are nothing too fancy, and are just like previous sets. There is a large photo of Perry, along with a list of episodes, a Play All option, and a Subtitles option. There are no special effects or anything on the menus. Once you select an episode, it plays right away, with chapters placed all throughout each episode.

As was the case with the previous 17 volumes, the video and audio quality is nothing short of spectacular. Everything looks great in the glorious black and white (except for the color episode, of course, which looks great in color), and the audio is perfectly loud and clear. Each episode has English subtitles.

The special features have been the biggest letdown on these volumes of this series. There is one small one on this set, but it was a carryover from the 50th anniversary release. Basically, it is just an introduction to the episode "The Case of the Twice-Told Twist" (0:35), where Barbara Hale explains why the episode is in color. It isn't anything major.

I never would have imagined that this series would make it onto DVD from beginning to end given how many episodes there were, but it did happen after all. It is very rare to see that level of commitment for any series on DVD. The best part is that a lot of care and effort was put into bringing fans the best quality episodes possible. I don't recall ever seeing any problems with any of these DVDs (aside from the fact that special features were pretty much nonexistent). Now that we've finished the regular series, perhaps CBS can move forward releasing the 30 made-for-TV movies that aired between 1985 and 1995. Granted, they weren't as good as the original series, but I'd like to see the "complete" Perry Mason nonetheless. Fans of the series are going to want to pick this up, and if you've never seen the series, you can catch some (not all) of the episodes in syndication and perhaps you too will want to own this set.

(4/5 stars)

To purchase this DVD, click below and help support

Related links: DVD Reviews Page
Perry Mason on


Who to Follow: Adrienne Barbeau (Facebook/Twitter/Blog), "you can tell this is my official page (adrienne barbeau, actress & author) because i'm the only one who knows my sons' soccer team name."
Claim to Fame: Barbeau had one of the most interest starts in her road to fame, as a go-go dancer who worked for the mob in New York City (seriously), but it wasn't long before she began to get roles on Broadway, and for TV fans, was cast as Maude's daughter Carol in the series Maude. She has also guest-starred in many series, including Kojak, Grey's Anatomy, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Dexter, and Revenge, among others.
Why You Should Follow Her: Barbeau is sort of like one of those unsung actresses out there. We all recognize her, but (unless you're a fan of Maude), you don't stop to think too much about her. But the reality is that she is still actively working (in some of TV's biggest hits), and she even has two sixteen year old twins sons (she jokes that she was the only one in the maternity ward who also had an AARP membership when she gave birth to them at age 51). She seems to be really in touch with her fans, and who knows? Maybe the "biggest thing" in her career has yet to happen.
Pick of the Facebook Posts: "I was watching my boys play varsity soccer yesterday at Mar Vista Park in Santa Monica when a twenty-something young man came up and asked me if I was the actress who’d played Mrs. Neidermeyer on an episode of The Wayans Brothers. My jaw dropped." (March 5, 2013)

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

Sitcoms Airing Tonight / Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows

Thursday, May 23

none scheduled

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 20)

Thursday, May 23

  • Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) - Catch Chris on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC. He also talks about The Garfield Movie on NBC's Today some time between 7-9am.
  • Joe Manganiello (How I Met Your Mother) - Joe appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Thomas Lennon (The Odd Couple/Sean Saves the World/Reno 911!) - Thomas is a guest on After Midnight at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Paul Scheer (Black Monday/Fresh Off the Boat/The League) - Paul appears on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen at 3:30am on Bravo.
  • Brian Baumgartner (The Office) - NBC's Today has TODAY Food with Brian in the 10am hour.
  • Kyra Sedgwick (Call Your Mother/Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Kyra talks about her new play, All of Me, and her upcoming film, Bad Shabbos, premiering at the upcoming 2024 Tribeca Festival on Sherri, so check your local listings.
  • Aasif Mandvi (The Brink) - Aasif is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Golden Brooks (Saturdays/Girlfriends/Linc's) - Golden appears on PIX11 Morning News on WPIX in New York at 9:30am.

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