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Alfred Hitchcock Presents - Season Two


TITLE: ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS - SEASON TWO


Info:

DVD Release Date: October 17, 2006 (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)
B&W
MSRP: $39.98
Number of Discs: 5
Number of Episodes: 39
Running Time: Approx. 16 hours, 52 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; English subtitles
Special Features: None


Introduction:

Once again, goooooood evening! The second season of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the show that brought murder back into the home is now available on DVD in a 5 disc set from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. It is all 39 episodes of the second season of one of the most classic series of all time, from one of the greatest movie directors of all time (even though he didn't have as much of a hands-on role with the series as the title may suggest). Each episode has different people (and sometimes big name guest stars, well at least big names at THAT time) and a different story; it is kind of like having 39 different movies-of-the-week!


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

The hardest part about reviewing these Alfred Hitchcock Presents DVD sets is picking out the memorable episodes! There are so many good ones, but at the same time, since you are dealing with different characters and themes in every episode, the show sometimes has some pretty bad stories too that some find to be very boring! So, just keep in mind, these "memorable episodes" are kind of just my opinion, because it is hard for there to be a general consensus on a show like this. Hopefully I don't spoil the endings of any of the episodes here!

In "De Mortius," a man is digging a whole in his basement and his wife is cheating on him--both of which are unrelated at the time--but will they become related? A man reconnects to a childhood sweetheart in "Toby," but does absence make the heart grow fonder? Jessica Tandy guest stars. In "Conversation Over a Corpse," two sisters are about to be put out of their own home by a man that bought and option on the house, but is there anything they can do to stop their eviction?

In "Jonathan," a young man goes to his father's funeral and encounters his much-despised step-mother... but how much does he really despise her, and could his father's death have something to do with her? Nancy Kulp guest stars in a minor role. A strange man keeps following a newlywed couple in "Crackpot;" can anything good come out of that? What would you do if a neighbor asked you to help her dispose of a dead body, that very issue is explored in "Nightmare in 4-D."

A man decides to have some wine with the ex-husband of his new sweetheart in "A Bottle of Wine;" you never know what that can lead to. Rip Torn guest stars in "Number Twenty-Two," where a minor robbery may just be more serious than the suspect thinks. What is a wife to do when her husband is cheating on her? Well you can find out the answer to that in "One for the Road."

A friendly police officer helps a man when his tail light has burned out in "One More Mile To Go," of course, you know the officer won't find anything in the trunk that shouldn't be there... right? Dick York guest stars in "Vicious Circle." A practical joke may go JUST a bit too far when a wino believes the world is about to end in "The Night the World Ended."

A son decides to blackmail his elderly father in "Father and Son," and of course, as you know by now, blackmail on this show ends up very innocently, right? In "The Indestructible Mr. Weems," a man seems to be dying, so a new cemetery decides to pay him $50 a week until he dies if he buys the first plot... but will Mr. Weems die soon enough for the cemetery owners? A woman finds romance while she is in a remote cabin... with a murderer... in "A Little Sleep."


Packaging:

In the typical style of Universal, they have basically just made slight changes to the season one artwork and made that the season two artwork! We have Hitchcock on the front holding a sign that says "Alfred Hitchcock Presents Season Two" and the artwork on the back is the same as season one, although they did change the description on the back of the box. Everything is in a green color scheme this time (as opposed to the purple color scheme used for season one). The box is a little less sturdy this time (but not too bad). On the inside, you'll find a three panel digipak with the discs; Disc 1 is in the first panel, Discs 2 and 3 are in the second panel, and Discs 4 and 5 are in the third panel. Universal was nice enough to include, on the back of the digipak, a listing of episodes and descriptions--much better than the way that you had to get descriptions for season 1 episodes (by selecting the episode from the menu and reading the description on the menu... and while I'm bringing that up, the episode descriptions don't spoil the ending of the episode like they did last time either). The artwork on each disc just has a picture of Hitchcock on a green background. Each disc contains 8 episodes, except for Disc 5 which contains 7 episodes.


Menu Design and Navigation:

Well, they are pretty much the same as season one too, kind of. The main menu once again has Hitchcock holding a clapboard with options of Play All, Episode Index, and Subtitles, and the theme song plays in the background. The Episode Index menu looks pretty much the same as it did with the first season, except this time, when you select your episode, it begins to play immediately--no episode description menus this time (which is a good thing, because those spoiled the ending in many cases in season one). While there is no scene selection menu, Universal was thoughtful enough to include chapters this time! You'll find chapters placed at the beginning of each story, in the middle of the story, and just before Hitchcock's closing segment. This is a definite improvement.


Video and Audio Quality:

The audio and video quality is really pretty bad to be quite honest. But then again, what can you expect from a show that is 50 years old? You'll find scratches and grain all over the place, and I really DO mean all over the place. It is nonstop. And as far as the audio is concerned, the packaging says "Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono" audio, which should make you say "oh great, they must have done a wonderful job with the audio on this set!" Well, that would be wrong. Honestly, if they weren't going to do it right, I don't even know why they bother using Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono audio, because the audio volume levels fade in and out and some episodes have popping and crackling all throughout. And for the hearing-impaired, English language subtitles are available.

To be fair to Universal, though, this IS an old show, and it is really unreasonable to expect them to maintain all of the hundreds of episodes of the show in perfect condition over all of these years. But certainly, a better job probably could have been done. I've seen other shows from this era released by other companies that don't look and sound quite so bad. I should also note that not every episode is a tragedy (well, okay, they are all tragedies but I'm talking about audio and video here). There are some episodes that almost look perfect. Despite all of the audio and video problems, however, I don't think any of them are serious enough to make you want to avoid the set.

I'm not sure if the episodes are edited or unedited, but I would guess unedited. Each episode runs at roughly 25-26 minutes, and as far as I could tell, none of the episodes were missing their opening introduction this time. That actually occurred in one of the first season episodes.


Special Features:

They had a few interviews last time, but they skipped special features completely this time--such a shame. Commentaries or interviews would be nice, but the reality is that most people involved with this show have long since died (of course, Alfred Hitchcock did briefly come back alive thanks to technology in the 1980s, anybody remember that?), so that is probably out of the question unless archive footage can be found. I'd like to see original sponsorships on the episodes myself.


Final Comments:

Universal needs to get moving a lot faster on these Hitchcock sets! This is definitely one of the greatest shows of this genre (actually the only show of this type that I even like, and on top of that, I don't just like it, I LOVE it!), yet we are only on season 2 after an entire year??? The set could have been better with the audio and video quality that didn't, to put it gently, suck, and special features would have been nice, but you can't deny that $39.98 is a REAL bargain for 39 episodes of this classic series. It is also very nice that Universal abandoned those double-sided discs this time... although I didn't personally have any trouble with season one of THIS series, I know many people did, and I have had more than one DVD set with double-sided discs that just don't work like they should. Pick this set up and season one if you haven't already.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 3.5/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 10/17/06

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000HDR814/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

Questions or comments about this set? Post on our message board:

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=185522


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