Saturday, April 24, 2010

Digital Digest: DVD Reviews of The Unusuals - The Complete Series; I Love Lucy - The Movie; Perry Mason - Season 5, Volume 1

We have a busy week this week for Digital Digest, with more news about your favorite shows on home media, a look at the releases coming out this week, and (for the first time ever) THREE DVD reviews! We'll be looking at The Unusuals - The Complete Series, I Love Lucy - The Movie and Other Great Rarities, and Perry Mason - Season 5, Volume 1. So we'll forgo a lengthy introduction this week to get you into this version of Digital Digest!

DIGITAL NEWS

We've been reporting on a lot of current series being released on DVD lately, as it is pretty common to hear a lot about these releases this time of year. This week, we have word, thanks to a pre-order link on Amazon.com, that the CBS sitcom Accidentally on Purpose - The First Season is slated for a DVD release with an unknown date at a $41.99 MSRP. Of course, the future of that series is still up in the air as of right now, so that title could be changed to The Complete Series... we'll have to wait and see on that.

Even more strange, though, is the announcement of upcoming and not-yet-aired seasons of two cable series. The Boondocks - The Complete Third Season ($49.95 MSRP) and My Boys - The Complete Fourth Season ($39.95 MSRP), neither of which has aired yet, are already available for pre-order on Amazon.com, also with an undetermined release date. Of course, since these details are all very sparse right now, we will definitely update you when we actually do know something. Obviously, the studios are already thinking about home media before a season even gets a chance to air these days, which is definitely a positive since it ensures that everything is preserved for the DVDs.

The highly anticipated release of The Lucy Show - The Official Second Season isn't too far away, with a scheduled release date of July 13. The cover art gives us a brief glimpse into the special features on the set, including cast commercials, newly recorded interviews, and (as it says) "much more." Given the special features on The Lucy Show - The Official First Season, I'm willing to bet that much more will mean exactly what it sounds like, with emphasis on "much." But before that comes out, don't forget that Here's Lucy - Season Three (which will similarly be loaded with special features) is headed to stores on June 15 and I Love Lucy - The Movie and Other Great Rarities which comes out on Tuesday!

We already reported a few weeks ago the upcoming releases of Adam-12 - Season Five and The Patty Duke Show - The Complete Third Season from Shout! Factory, but now we have release dates for both of them! Expect Adam-12 on August 10 and The Patty Duke Show on August 24. Not many details have emerged about these releases yet, but of course, we'll have them as soon as we possibly can. My best guess would be that they will contain few (if any) special features, but you never know what they'll throw in.

Andy Griffith is back for another season of the great 80's legal drama Matlock with Matlock - The Fifth Season on July 20! It comes at a $49.99 MSRP. And while we are talking about legal dramas, we already have a follow up on the very recent release of Ally McBeal - The Complete Second Season (see our review from last week), as Ally McBeal - The Complete Third Season is already scheduled for July 13. Of course, if you just can't wait for season 3 (or 4 or 5), you can always pick up Ally McBeal - The Complete Series, which has been available since October!

Mill Creek Entertainment is up to their usual trickery again with placing unannounced titles in stores, and once again, something that hasn't been announced is already showing up at Target! Target recently started stocking in some (though not all) stores a 21 Jump Street two season pack that includes both seasons 3 and 4, which is odd, because 21 Jump Street - The Complete Second Season hasn't even officially had a general retail release (although it, too, can be purchased at Target in a two season pack with 21 Jump Street - The Complete First Season). The best part is that it is only $14.99 for the two season pack at Target! In trying to find answers, though, I found something even more interesting on the homepage of Mill Creek Entertainment. There is a graphic that advertises a contest that Mill Creek Entertainment is currently having, and in the picture, it can be very clearly seen that there is a package depicting 21 Jump Street - The Complete Series! We can only assume it'll be coming, but the question is when. Of course, Anchor Bay Entertainment has previously released all five seasons of 21 Jump Street, but Mill Creek's offerings bring practically the same thing at pennies on the dollar!

Finally, the series Jersey Shore... no, forget it, I'm not even going to talk about it. We'll never sink this low on Digital Digest!


UPCOMING WEEK PREVIEW

Next week (April 27) brings us a couple of repeats (DVDs that have already been released as part of larger collections), including I Love Lucy - The Movie and Other Great Rarities and It's Garry Shandling's Show - The Complete First Season. Fans of these series will probably already own the aforementioned sets as part of the larger sets, but they may appeal to some viewers. As we already mentioned, we have a review of I Love Lucy - The Movie and Other Great Rarities today in Digital Digest. Additionally, we have two Lifetime sitcoms coming, including Sherri - The Complete Season One and Rita Rocks - The Complete Season One. Look for reviews on those coming up on our regular review page soon.


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

Last season, ABC brought to American viewers the comedy-drama The Unusuals, which stared Amber Tamblyn as a detective who was transferred from New York City's vice-squad to the homicide unit for one reason: to clean up the corruption that exists within. The series made it through 10 episodes, but was not renewed for a second season. It is now available as an amazon.com exclusive, in The Unusuals - The Complete Series.

DVD Review: The Unusuals - The Complete Series
by Pavan

The Unusuals - The Complete Series (Sony, $29.95) is now on DVD with all 10 episodes from its short run. The series premiered in April 2009 on ABC and went into the summer season, but the ratings were not too good and the series was not renewed, unfortunately. The series is a quirky procedural with a nice mix of comedy and drama and deals with the unusual cases department. The series is created by Noah Hawley. In the series, Detective Casey Shraeger (Amber Tamblyn) has just been transferred to the NYPD's Homicide unit from Vice and is instantly thrown into a setting of bullets and bodies. As she begins her new assignment, Casey finds that the squad is full of secrets, which serves her well, since she's keeping a few of her own. She meets her new partner, Jason Walsh (Jeremy Renner), whose last partner, Detective Burt Kowalski, was just murdered. Tasked with tracking down the murderer, Walsh races off to investigate Kowalski's past, with Shraeger trailing behind.

As the duo seeks out the cop killer, the secrets and eccentricities of the rest of the department begin to emerge: Prank-magnet and social climber Detective Eddie Alvarez (Kai Lennox) has no qualms about stealing cases, as long as he can turn them into front-page stories that make him look good; Detective Eric Delahoy (Adam Goldberg) is trying to get himself killed in the line of duty for reasons known only to him and his doctor; his partner, Leo Banks (Harold Perrineau), is convinced he is going to die and refuses to take off his bulletproof vest; and the very religious Detective Henry Cole (Josh Close) is trying to keep his unholy past from both his streetwise partner, Alison Beaumont (Monique Gabriela Curnen), and from his boss, Sgt. Brown (Terry Kinney), who is struggling to rid the Second Precinct of corruption.

As for the episodes, there are only ten of them. Each should be watched in order, but you really don't have to as they are not too connected with each other. The series opens with the "Pilot," as Det. Shraeger is quickly moved to homicide to help investigate the murder of a fellow officer and finds out if he was crooked or not and Casey begins to find out some interesting facts about her new co-workers. In the very next episode "Boorland Day," one of New York's oldest family of criminals, the Boorlands, go on a crime spree that has the detectives running all over the city, but when Walsh and Shraeger learn the surprising reason behind the family's cluster of crimes, they use this information to negotiate its end; meanwhile, Sergeant Brown tells Shraeger that Walsh's former partner, Kowalski, was a dirty cop and asks her to dig into Walsh's past and Cole's efforts to keep his criminal past a secret are threatened by the arrival of Frank Lutz, Cole's former partner in crime. In "42," Banks continues to be haunted by the number 42 while he and Delahoy investigate a string of bus robberies -- one passenger, a clairvoyant, tries to help them catch the robber with her predictions, causing Banks to question whether fate can be stopped. In "The Dentist," while Sergeant Brown is away, Alvarez is in charge, and things aren't going well -- a U.S. Marshall named Foster convinces Alvarez to release Bo Keebler, a man recently collared for trying to rob a Chinese restaurant, into his custody, while Banks decides to stay in his apartment until he turns 43 in order to avoid getting killed. In the finale, "E.I.D.", Beaumont and Cole interview a couple regarding a break-in at their home, although nothing was taken, the couple discovered that an adult film they rented was shot in their apartment, meanwhile Scraeger becomes emotionally invested in trying to help a serial accuser who was the victim of a violent attack 10 years ago after disappearing from a big prep school party.

The episodes are unedited at just over 43 minutes and have all the original music, of course since this series is basically new. This DVD set is ONLY available on Amazon.com as an Amazon Exclusive. Here are all of the episode titles with runtimes included:

Disc 1:
1. "Pilot" (43:15)
2. "Boorland Day" (43:12)
3. "One Man Band" (43:14)
4. "Crime Slut" (43:14)
5. "42" (43:14)

Disc 2:
6. "The Circle Line" (43:13)
7. "The Tape Delay" (43:12)
8. "The Dentist" (43:11)
9. "The Apology Line" (43:11)
10. "E.I.D." (43:11)

Moving on to the packaging, since this is an Amazon.com Exclusive, the packaging is pretty basic. It is a movie style case, with a shot of Shraeger and Walsh on the cover with NYC in the background. Walsh is holding a gun. The show logo and the two main stars' names (Tamblyn and Renner) are on the top. On the bottom the tagline, "Not your usual cases. Not your usual cops" is printed. The back of the case has a quote from People Magazine, another cool shot of Walsh and Shraeger, some episodic photos, and some info on the series and set. Inside the case, we have the two discs on each panel itself. There is no artwork on the disc, it is plain with the show logo and disc number. The inside of the case has no artwork either, but we do have a nice episode leaflet that has episode titles, synopsis, and credits for each episode.

The menus on the set are pretty basic, too, but the artwork is good. The main menu is blue in color with a NYC background. On disc one we have a shot of Shraeger on the main menu and on disc two it is Walsh. There is no music playing in the background, unfortunately. Menu options are: Play All, Episode Selections, Subtitles, and On the Set with The Unusuals. The latter is only on disc one, as it is a special feature. Disc two only has a Previews option, showcasing other Sony products on Blu-ray and stuff like Rescue Me, The Shield, and Damages. The Episode Selections menu has episode number, title, and a screenshot from the episode, while the Subtitles menu has us in English SDH only. There are about 7 chapter stops per episode and they are all at the appropriate places.

The video and audio on the set looks really good, as they should be. The video is available in a nice widescreen, and if your DVD player upconverts to HD, it looks like it is in Blu-ray. The audio is also very good and is presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital. This set is from material from 2009, so it is only a year old and of course it is very well presented here in both video and audio. I don't see any closed-captioning mention, but there are subtitles in English SDH.

Since this is an Amazon.com Exclusive, I wasn't expecting ANY bonus features...but we do have one! It is a featurette titled "On Set with The Unusuals." It runs 5:20 and we basically get a taste of the show and characters. Interviewed are Robert DeLaurentis (executive producer), Noah Hawley (executive producer/creator), Amber Tamblyn, Jeremy Renner, Peter Tolan (executive producer), Kai Lennox, Monique Curnen, and Joshua Close. I wish we had some more, like deleted scenes, but I'm just glad we got SOMETHING!

This is a decent set and if you have never watched the show, you should watch it. It is only 10 episodes and you'll be done fairly quickly. If you were a fan of the show, then you certainly need to buy it. It is too bad the show was canceled, because it was the perfect procedural. I don't like many of those shows, but this was different and not your usual procedural. Noah Hawley has another ABC pilot in the works (titled Generation Y) and I hope it makes it on air. He has good taste and I hope America tunes in if that series makes it on air. As for this set, it is good. You can only buy it on Amazon (see the link below). It has all of the episodes presented well and a nice featurette. So, get ready to watch some unusual cases and unusual cops in action! It is fun!

(4/5 stars)

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Related links:
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The Unusuals on TV.com


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

After the first season of I Love Lucy on CBS, Desilu decided to create a theatrical movie based upon the series. Of course, at that time, reruns were less common, so they decided to take the easy route of taking three episodes of the series together and add footage to link them together. The movie ended up not being released (to avoid competition with the film The Long, Long Trailer) and was never seen until nearly a half century later. It was eventually released on DVD as part of I Love Lucy - The Complete Series, but now it is available as a stand-alone disc with bonus features in I Love Lucy - The Movie and Other Great Rarities.

DVD Review: I Love Lucy - The Movie and Other Great Rarities
by skees53

I Love Lucy - The Movie and Other Great Rarities
(CBS DVD, $19.99) presents the entire full-length feature film based upon the classic that was shelved for over 50 years, along with some nice special features. In 1953, Desilu edited together a film that linked three episodes: "The Benefit," "Breaking the Lease," and "The Ballet." The film starts with moviegoers going into a theater where Desi Arnaz (as himself) "premieres" the film for the audience, and even has the audience members showing their excitement for the film--in a sense, breaking the fourth wall. Once Desi is able to introduce the film, it starts playing on the big screen and goes in to the episodes that we are all familiar with from the first season. If you've seen the episodes, the movie honestly isn't all that much, as it just presents them in a connect storyline (which really isn't all that connected anyway). The movie runs at 1 hour, 26 minutes.

There is obviously much more to this, though. There are many very nice "rarities" on this DVD, beginning with the episode of the series, "Lucy Goes to Scotland" (26:27). But there is something unique about this episode this time. It is actually presented in full color! It is the only episode of the series that has been fully colorized, and it looks unbelievably great in color, especially since the episode uses very vivid imagery and costumes that almost necessitate color. Black and white purists, of course, will never like any colorization, but this one looks really good.

We also get to see Lucy and Desi's first joint TV appearance, from The Ed Wynn Show in 1949. It only runs about 3 minutes, so there isn't really a whole lot to see here. Next, there is a clip from the 1954 Emmy Awards--the Sixth Annual--where the series wins an Emmy and Desi Arnaz pays tribute to William Frawley, who was upset about being snubbed for Best Supporting Actor (an award that Art Carney ends up taking home). Finally, we have an On-Set Commercial from the series premiere from Philip Morris (2:17), which is basically an extended cigarette advertisement from the Ricardo living room. You'd never see anything like that on TV today!

The DVD comes packaged in a regular DVD case with a color photo of Lucy and Desi on the front, standing in front of a movie marquee. Inside, we find the disc (which has no artwork, like almost everything else from CBS DVD). The menus on the DVD are very basic, with every option being presented on the main menu (along with an option to turn on Spanish subtitles). Additionally, there are production notes on the sub-menu for just about every one of the features.

The video quality on most of the features is excellent, especially on the movie and the episode "Lucy Goes to Scotland." It is amazing how well this series has been preserved over the years, but especially the movie footage, which hasn't been seen in decades. The Emmy footage and the first joint TV appearance both come from kinescopes, so they are a little rough, but viewable. The audio is fine on all of the features, presented in mono, and close-captioning as well as Spanish subtitles are available.

All in all, this is a great DVD, but I'm not sure who it is really great for. If you are a devoted fan, you'd want to get The Complete Series, which includes this exact same DVD (everything on it is the same except the label art) and every episode of the series. If you aren't such a big fan of the series, then the season sets would suffice, as this really only provides a few minutes of footage that can't be found elsewhere. I guess the best person that this DVD would be for is those who own the season sets and just want to add this disc without repurchasing the whole series. That isn't to say that this is a bad DVD, and it is great that CBS DVD put it out, but it would have been better had they released it at the same time as The Complete Series set. No matter how much you love Lucy, this DVD may not be necessary.

(4/5 stars)

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I Love Lucy on TV.com


BLOG FEATURE REVIEW

Legal dramas are a major genre of television, and many of the top-rated and most watched series all throughout history have been legal dramas. But before all of the rest came along, there was one guy who had the first truly successful TV legal drama, who managed to win every single case no matter what: Perry Mason. Here is our review for CBS DVD's latest installment of the series, Perry Mason - Season 5, Volume 1.

DVD Review: Perry Mason - Season 5, Volume 1
by skees53


Perry Mason - Season 5, Volume 1
(CBS DVD, $19.99) brings justice the wrongfully accused once again in fifteen episodes of the classic courtroom drama. The series was the pioneer for all legal television dramas and set the tone for decades of courtroom dramas. But Perry Mason was a little different from the courtroom dramas today, most of which portray the prosecutor as the "good guy" who is given a blatantly obvious case of guilt for the defendant and is trying to push a jury for the harshest possible outcome. Perry Mason was a defense attorney who took these "blatantly obvious" cases and successfully managed to defend his client's innocence, and he won every single time (although there was one infamous episode where he actually lost).

The fifth season begins with "The Case of the Jealous Journalist," where a drowning death of a prominent newspaper editor leads to a string of consequences as heirs fight to take control of the paper... and you know one of those consequences will be another death. Jealousy and blackmail turns a lovely wedding into a murder in "The Case of the Missing Melody." A violent storm at sea forces a ship to have to toss the freight in "The Case of the Malicious Mariner," but as it turns out, the captain gets killed too in the process. In "The Case of the Crying Comedian," a man discovers a former love of his has escaped from a sanitarium, and also that her husband is dead... but he knows she couldn't be to blame, so what can be done? The paranormal must be used to solve a murder in "The Case of the Meddling Medium."
In "The Case of the Posthumous Painter," an artist fakes his own death in order to see the values on his paintings rise, but forgets to tell his wife of his plan leading to real trouble for her when she finds out and he ends up murdered. A health club owner is killed with a dumbbell in "The Case of the Left-Handed Liar," and one of his own employees is accused. In "The Case of the Renegade Refuge," a journalist is murdered while trying to hunt down a Nazi war criminal in the United States. A millionaire bribes his daughter-in-law when he thinks she is responsible for his son's shortcomings, but when the son ends up dead, she is charged with murder in "The Case of the Unwelcome Bride."

Each episode is unedited, it appears, and there aren't even any of the usual CBS DVD disclaimers, which is a very positive sign. Runtimes are as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "The Case of the Jealous Journalist" (51:49)
2. "The Case of the Impatient Partner" (52:00)
3. "The Case of the Missing Melody" (50:51)
4. "The Case of the Malicious Mariner" (50:46)

Disc 2:
5. "The Case of the Crying Comedian" (50:49)
6. "The Case of the Meddling Medium" (50:47)
7. "The Case of the Pathetic Patient" (50:47)
8. "The Case of the Traveling Treasure" (50:51)

Disc 3:
9. "The Case of the Posthumous Painter" (50:55)
10. "The Case of the Injured Innocent" (50:50)
11. "The Case of the Left-Handed Liar" (50:53)
12. "The Case of the Brazen Bequest" (50:53)

Disc 4:
13. "The Case of the Renegade Refugee" (50:47)
14. "The Case of the Unwelcome Bride" (50:49)
15. "The Case of the Roving River" (50:46)

Once again, the packaging is just a standard Viva pack (as is common with all CBS DVD products now), with a photo of Perry Mason on the front and some black-and-white still photos on the back. Inside the case, we find episode descriptions and original airdates for each episode on the set. There is no disc artwork at all aside from the series logo on a gray background. There are four discs, with four episodes on the first three discs and three episodes on the fourth disc.

As has been the case with previous releases, the video and audio quality is spectacular. Who could have imagined a series this old looking almost flawless on DVD? There is still some occasional grain and debris, but these episodes mostly look great. The audio is fine too, presented in mono. Each episode is closed-captioned.

There are no special features once again, and it appears that CBS DVD has no intention of including any on this series (aside from the 50th anniversary release a few years back). It is a shame, really.

This is a great set of episodes, but this is the ninth release of the series and CBS DVD only halfway finished with it, mostly because of the half season release model. If they had released it as full seasons, the series would be done now. Still, this poor business practice that CBS DVD engages in doesn't devalue this set at all. It is a great set with great episodes, but I would still like to have the rest of the season in this set. With strong sales on this series (strange, but true, this is actually a top-seller on DVD, presumably due to those in the legal profession who see Mason as an idol), I'm sure we'll see the remaining episodes soon, and perhaps it'll all be remedied with a giant 80 disc complete series set or something along those lines.

(4/5 stars)

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

Related links:
SitcomsOnline.com DVD Reviews Page
Perry Mason on TV.com


LOOKING AHEAD

We'll be back next week with more news and a review of Marcus Welby, M.D. - Season One and a review of MPI's upcoming Honeymooners DVDs. We will be doing a lot of reviews in Digital Digest for the next few weeks, as there are a lot of DVDs to review in our backlog, but in a few weeks, we will return with some feature articles! If there is anything that you would like to see us cover, tell us on our message board or Tweet/Facebook us. We don't know what you want out of this feature unless you tell us, and we want to make it a very enjoyable blog feature! Until next time, keep it digital!

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Blog DVD Review: Perry Mason - Season 4, Volume 1

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for the blog DVD review! Today we take a look at CBS DVD's Perry Mason: Season 4, Volume 1. Perry Mason of course is the very popular law series. The series stars the great Raymond Burr. See skees53's blog DVD review of Perry Mason: Season 4, Volume 1:

The verdict is in for Perry Mason: Season 4, Volume 1 (CBS DVD, $49.99), and the verdict is: a great DVD set! Perry Mason, of course, is the classic 1950s/1960s TV series that starred Raymond Burr as a defense attorney that would take virtually any case that you would look at and say "nobody could win that case," yet he got a victory in all but one episode. The series was one of the first prominent law dramas to ever air on TV (and the oldest one that we even recognize these days) and aired for nine seasons on CBS. This DVD set presents the first 16 episodes of the 1960-1961 season in a four disc set.
Robert Redford guest stars in "The Case of the Treacherous Toupee," where a hairpiece may help clear a suspected murderer. A woman and her new lover (her husband's nephew) get involved in an extortion scheme gone wrong in "The Case of the Ill-Fated Faker." In "The Case of The Lavender Lipstick," Perry must defend a woman that is accused of killing her boss--and she was to be the heir of his fortune. A clown discovers that his wife is a bigamist in "The Case of the Clumsy Clown," and soon after, she turns up dead. Who else can prove him not guilty?
A girl's family is lost in "The Case of the Nine Dolls," but her family being lost may be the least of her worries. In "The Case of the Loquacious Liar," a man is threatened by his stepfather, but his stepfather is the one that turns up dead. John Hoyt guest stars in "The Case of the Resolute Reformer," where a land purchase deal ends in murder. In "The Case of the Fickle Fortune," a man hires Perry after it is discovered that another man that stole a large amount of money from him has been murdered.
The packaging on the case is the typical cheap CBS DVD movie style case that we all have a love-hate relationship with. They are nice, thin, and seem to "standardize" our collections, but they also scream "cheap" at the same time. As far as disc artwork, there really isn't any aside from the standard gray CBS DVD background with the show logo on each disc. Each disc contains exactly four episodes.
The menus on the set are very, well, basic. The main menu on each disc has a picture of Perry with a listing of episodes next to him, as well as a Play All option. You can't get simpler than that. Chapters are placed in all of the appropriate places.
As the case has been with previous sets, the video and audio quality on this set is excellent. The picture is crystal clear with very little grain (you can't even notice what is there unless you are paying VERY close attention) and the video is presented in pristine black and white. The audio is perfectly fine too, being presented in glorious mono (hey, it was the early 60s) with closed-captioning available for those that require it. The episodes appear to be unedited, as each one runs at almost exactly 52 minutes. That is further backed up by the fact that the set surprisingly does not have the standard CBS DVD disclaimer about episodes being edited. How often does a CBS DVD not have that?
Sadly, despite the fact that these sets always have great video and audio quality, and are always unedited, this set once again lacks in special features. CBS DVD did release a special anniversary set about a year ago that had some very nice special features, but it would be nice to have those on the season sets too. There has to be some old footage with Raymond Burr that they could include somewhere!
CBS DVD is keeping these sets very basic, but I'm still impressed with the quality of the episodes, and the fact that (as far as I can tell) they have yet to put out any truly inferior sets. The only thing that is frustrating about these sets is the half season model. With this model, it'll take 11 more releases to get the entire series out on DVD! But it has been popular with fans everywhere, and I'm sure that fans will support any number of releases. But there is no need to take CBS DVD to trial over this, because this is a set that fans of one of America's greatest defense attorneys (let us not forget about our good friend Matlock, of course) are sure to appreciate.

-- Reviewed by skees53
(4/5 stars)

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Amazon.com

Related links:
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Perry Mason TV.com Page

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hallmark Channel Revises Sundays in January; Fox Announces Idol Dates, Orders New Midseason Series

We gave you Hallmark Channel's January 2009 highlights last month, now we have some changes in store for Sundays! Sundays from 10am-3am has been changed totally! Effective Sunday, January 4, we will now get a block of 7th Heaven from 10am-3pm, that's five straight episodes of the Camden family on family day...Sunday! This will basically replace a movie, Diagnosis Murder movie, a Perry Mason movie, and a Matlock movie. Regular movies will now air from 3pm-1am, yes, five straight movies will air. These movies will basically replace the four Murder, She Wrote episodes in the evening. Finally, we get more I Love Lucy! As I Love Lucy will also air Sunday nights from 1-3am now replacing the Matlock movie. So to recap the times for I Love Lucy now...Saturdays 6-9am & 1-3am, Sundays 8:30am-10am & 1-3am, weekdays 8-9am and weekdays 4-5pm. Whole lotta Lucyyyyyyyy!

Fox has announced the American Idol schedule through March 10 (3/11-5/20 dates and times will be announced at a later date). As we know, Idol launches Jan. 13 and 14 with a two-night premiere from 8-10pm both nights. Then it will regularly air 8-9pm on both Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but there are times when it will be expanded to 8-10pm and two special Thursday airings will air on Jan. 29 and March 5. March 5 is the first night of March sweeps, as this year there is no February sweeps due to the transition to DTV on Feb. 17.
Why is this Idol schedule important? Because it looks like Bones will be preempted on Thursday, Jan. 29 now, since Idol is airing that night leading into the season premiere of Hell's Kitchen. Bones will return the following week (Feb. 5), though. Bones moves to the Thursdays at 8pm slot on Jan. 15 leading into the final two episodes of Kitchen Nightmares on Jan. 15 and 22.
Also, only 4 episodes of Fringe will air after American Idol through March 10 it seems. Fringe is slated to air for four weeks in a row on 1/20, 1/27, 2/3, and 2/10, then Idol expands to two-hours the next four weeks AT LEAST, so Fringe will probably not return until the end of March sweep. The news is better for new drama Lie to Me out of Idol, Idol will only be two-hours on a Wednesday on Feb. 11, so Lie to Me will air for three straight weeks then be preempted then air again for another three weeks at least, maybe more.
Meanwhile, Fox has ordered 13 episodes of Glee, an inspiring musical comedy series from Ryan Murphy. The one-hour series follows an optimistic high school teacher as he tries to transform the school's Glee Club and inspire a group of ragtag performers to make it to the biggest competition of them all: Nationals. The show will debut in 2009 and features a soundtrack of hit songs from past to present. It could be the perfect fit out of American Idol, so Fringe and Lie to Me need to do very well, if not then Glee will fit like a glove likely out of Idol.
View our previous story on Fox's 2009 midseason schedule for the rest of the schedules besides Tues-Thurs.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Blog DVD Review: Perry Mason - The Third Season, Volume 2 (12/2)

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for the blog DVD review! Today we take a look at CBS DVD's Perry Mason: The Third Season, Volume 2. Perry Mason of course is the very popular law series. The series stars the great Raymond Burr. See skees53's blog DVD review of Perry Mason: The Third Season, Volume 2:

Perry Mason: The Third Season, Volume 2 (CBS DVD, $49.99) presents the final 14 episodes of the third season of the classic courtroom drama on a four-disc DVD set. Mason is the attorney that everybody defendant calls upon when they are innocent, but find that proving their innocence will be virtually impossible. But nothing is too difficult for Mason, and he can take on (and win) even the toughest cases, particularly those accused of murder and theft. Can he win them all? When you know the law like Perry Mason does, you most certainly can!
Virtually all of the episodes (all but one) in this set are about murder cases, as this was a common crime that was frequently part of the series. In "The Case of the Prudent Prosecutor," Hamilton Burger's friend is accused of murder, so who will take the case? Mason, of course! In "The Case of the Gallant Grafter," a man is accused of embezzling money from his company, but that isn't his only problem when his accountant turns up dead. A novelist may have been a murderer in "The Case of the Mythical Monkeys," but her assistant is the one that is on trial. A cigarette girl is threatened by gamblers in "The Case of the Singing Skirt," but where will she go when she is accused of murdering the wife of one of the gamblers that she loves? In "The Case of the Madcap Modiste," a dress designer makes a fool of her husband on national TV, but when she is suddenly poisoned, who will defend the fool that is accused of poisoning her? In "The Case of the Ominous Outcast," a man shows up in a small town and looks exactly like a bank robber--and goes down for his appearance Who will defend him?
The packaging is the standard CBS DVD packaging that we have all become accustomed to by now, with a standard DVD case. Inside the case, you'll find the four discs, each of which has no artwork other than the series logo on a gray background. Episode titles, descriptions, and airdates can be found inside the case. The menus on the set are very basic, with the main menu presenting just a list of all of the episodes and a Play All option.
As has been the case with all of these Perry Mason sets, the video and audio quality seem to be impressive, particularly considering the age of the series. There are minor issues here and there, but generally speaking, we have a crystal clear picture and loud and clear audio. It is always great to see that this is done right. Closed-captioning can be found on all of the episodes for those that need it. Also, just as in Season 3, Volume 1, some of the sponsorship logos are left intact on the closing credits, which is very nice to see. These can be found on roughly half of the episodes. There is one MINOR area of concern about this set, though. This set has finally succumbed to having the standard CBS DVD disclaimer about episodes potentially being edited and having changed music. The good news, though, is that I couldn't find any obvious edits or changes, but the bad news is that saying that doesn't necessarily mean much, as I have no clue what every single line of dialog should be or what music should be in each episode. I would imagine that edits, if any, could not be too severe, as these older series very rarely made use of copyrighted materials. On the bright side, each episode comes in at either 51:20 or 52:40 (usually 52:40 for the ones that contain the sponsorship logos in the closing credits).
Unfortunately, special features are once again not to be found on this set. For a series this popular, you would think that they would load the set with special features, but that wasn't meant to be. Of course, fans can always turn to the 50th Anniversary collection for some nice bonus features.
All in all, it can be said that this is a great set of episodes, although if CBS DVD insists on continuing to do half seasons of the series, they really need to beef up on special features! These sets carry a hefty price tag, and at MSRP, it would cost fans at least $900 to own every single release of the series, assuming each one is released as a half season. The worst part is that a lot of this money is probably padding the pockets of the DVD producers, as I would imagine that there aren't quite as many people making money off of this series as there are many other series. Fans of Perry Mason, or even fans of any courtroom drama, are certain to love and appreciate these episodes. They'll definitely want to add this DVD to their collection.
-- Reviewed by skees53
(4/5 stars)

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mini-DVD Review: Perry Mason Season 3, Volume 1

It is Saturday, so that must mean it is time for the mini-DVD review! Today we take a look at CBS DVD's Perry Mason: The Third Season, Volume 1. Perry Mason of course is the very popular law series. The series stars the great Raymond Burr. See skees53's mini-DVD review of Perry Mason: The Third Season, Volume 1:

Perry Mason: The Third Season, Volume 1 (CBS DVD, $49.99) brings order back to the courtroom with the first 12 episodes of the 3rd season of the courtroom drama of the 50s. The three-disc set contains even more of the attorney defending the most impossible of cases, with the defendant knowing that the judge is going to lower the boom on them and find them guilty as charged, except by some miracle, Perry finds that despite all evidence supporting the other side, his client is always innocent and he is able to prove that in a court of law.
There are many great episodes in this set, beginning with the first one, "The Case of the Spurious Sister," where a man's wife turns up dead after she tells him she is going to divorce him. So where do all fingers get pointed? A jeweler turns up dead after accusing a young woman of theft in "The Case of the Blushing Pearls." Perry has to defend, of all people, Paul Drake, in "The Case of Paul Drake's Dilemma." In "The Case of the Golden Fraud," a golden coin in a parking meter may play a part in one of Perry's cases. In "The Case of the Artful Dodger," a man is about to inherit a large sum of money, except a bunch of people turn up dead that he just so happens to be avoiding. Perry can't get a break from his cases, not even while on a hunting trip, as shown in "The Case of the Violent Village."
The video and audio quality on the episodes is, as usual, excellent. This has never been an issue on these sets, and isn't this time either. Closed-captioning can also be found on all of the episodes. A nice little feature, though probably unintentional, is the fact that many episodes have their original sponsorships on the closing credits, from Colgate. And CBS DVD has actually left the original CBS logo intact this time, although the CBS Television Distribution logo plays immediately after it. But there is bad news about the case. Unlike the previous sets that included the double slimcases, we now have the standard Amaray style case that CBS DVD seems to use for everything. It is simple packaging, but just seems so cheap to be using, particularly on a show as expensive as this one is on DVD.
Unfortunately, as has been the case with the previous sets, there are no special features, which is outright disappointing. Apparently they were able to find some nice special features for the 50th Anniversary release, so why couldn't they come up with more for the season sets? Commentaries, interviews, and other special features would have been nice. I find it ridiculous that CBS DVD continues to release this in half season sets. Although the first season had many episodes, there aren't as many in these later seasons, and it would be more practical to put them out as full season releases. Instead, CBS DVD chooses to continue releasing half seasons and putting full season prices on the sets. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with the quality of the episodes on the set, but is the set really worth as much as fans are paying to buy the series on DVD? Not really. But don't be fooled—this is a great show that fans of classic TV and courtroom drama are sure to enjoy.
-- Reviewed by skees53
(4/5 stars)

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

CBS.com Adds More TV Classics, Includes Family Ties; ION Television and ION Life Acquire Two Series

We told you a few months back that CBS.com has added classic TV shows for free, programs such as Twilight Zone, Star Trek, Melrose Place, Hawaii Five-0 and MacGyver are under the "TV Classics" section of cbs.com's Video section. But now more episodes of those are added and more new shows! Among the new series added at CBS.com's TV Classics section are Twin Peaks, Beverly Hills 90210, The Love Boat, Family Ties, and Perry Mason.
All of these shows are from Paramount Television, a division of CBS. So that is how shows like Family Ties (NBC), Beverly Hills 90210 (Fox), and The Love Boat (ABC) are on the CBS.com website.

ION announced that ION Life, its digital network dedicated to active living and personal growth, has reached agreements to add two compelling series to its program lineup. In the network's first commissioned production from NFL Films, ION Life will present the new series, Stories of the NFL, that takes a behind-the-scenes look at the inspirational stories and lives of NFL players on and off the field. The series will air daily on ION Life at 8 p.m., starting Monday, June 2. No, it will NOT air on the regular ION Television.
ION Media Networks has also secured the rights to The 50 Greatest Moments at Madison Square Garden (MSG), an Emmy Award-winning documentary series from MSG Network presenting some of our most celebrated moments in the world's most famous arena. Episodes will air on ION Life, and ALSO simultaneously as part of ION Life's channel showcase presentation on the ION Television Network, on Sundays at 6 p.m., beginning June 15 for 10 straight weeks.
We still have an interview coming with ION Television, so we hope to bring that to you this week. Our questions were submitted, now we are just awaiting the responses. It will be part of our on-going "Seven Questions" series. You won't want to miss this!

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Mini-DVD Review: Perry Mason - Season 2, Part 1 (June 19); Solomon's Weekly Rant: ION Television

Welcome to another edition of mini-DVD reviews! Today we take a look at CBS DVD's Perry Mason: Season 2, Part 1. Perry Mason of course is the very popular law series. The series stars the great Raymond Burr. See skees53's mini-DVD review of Perry Mason: Season 2, Part 1:

Perry Mason: Season Two, Part 1 (CBS DVD, $39.98) brings the first 15 episodes of the second season of the show that featured America's all-time greatest defender (as well as Hamilton Burger, who HAS to be the worst DA EVER) in a four-disc DVD set. In this set, you'll find a case where a man is charged twice for killing the same man, a case where a woman is blackmailed by her ex-husband (who turns up dead), a case where a camera flash becomes part of a murder trial, a case where a parrot's testimony could incriminate one of Perry's clients, and many more. And if you have to ask who won the cases, then you just
don't know Perry Mason! Plus, there are guest roles featuring John Dehner, Joseph Kerns, Edgar Buchanan, and others there were bigger in their own time than they'll be remembered for in this set.
The set itself is presented in double slim cases (which is actually nice to see considering that CBS DVD seems to have abandoned these for other series) with artwork that is very similar to the two season one sets. And what is always amazing about these sets is the video and audio quality... sometimes we get shows that are ten years old that look lousy on DVD, yet somehow with these Perry Mason sets, with episodes that are FIFTY YEARS OLD, we get a beautiful picture on pretty much every episode along with audio that is generally pretty good too (it is improved in this season over the first season sets).
And there is never a need to worry about whether or not these are edited, as every single one runs over 51 minutes (this means that even if you are seeing reruns on a more generous station that airs 44 minute syndicated episodes, you are still missing out on up to 7 minutes per episode).
The only thing missing in this set is (once again) bonus features. Before the first volume was released, there was talk of the studio looking for special features to include in these sets, but so far, CBS DVD has been a disappointment in this area and we have yet to see any special features. Granted, many of the people involved with the show are no longer alive, but there has to be SOMETHING out there for this show... if nothing else, maybe some fans could contribute some special features for this set (there are plenty of Perry Mason fans out there). But in light of the evidence, such as the great episodes and the great quality of the set, I have to give a not guilty verdict to this wonderful DVD set!
-- Reviewed by skees53
(4/5 stars)

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Solomon's Weekly Rant
Saturday, June 16, 2007
"There's a New Girl in Town, With a Brand New BAD Style, And That is ION Television"
By Solomon Davis

I don't know where to start with the ION network because this channel has made my TV watching time very ODD so let's call this channel the "INCREDIBLY ODD NETWORK." One of the odd things about ION is the editing style which seems to be the Microsoft Word version of editing episodes. When watching episodes of Alice, it looks like they just cut and paste instead of cut and blend. It's the sloppiest form of editing I have ever seen in my rerun watching life. Not only that but ION goes to a commercial every 4 minutes during Alice making it impossible to follow a storyline. So why do they want to treat our eyes like a newborn baby and spoon feed us small doses of every episode?
This sloppy editing has made me stop recording Alice and wait for the DVD to be released because the ION episodes needs lots of improvement.
Not only is the editing crappy but the quality of the color of the episodes is very POOR. When watching Alice on ION it looks like the hours of operation for Mel's Diner is 12 midnight to 6am because the lighting is so dim. It makes me wonder if ION is being broadcast from someone's basement because everything presented to viewers just comes out as high school material.
Then the audio for the closing theme of Amen some nights is extra fast making it sound like it's being sung by Alvin & the Chipmunks. "Watch out cause here we come," is ION's motto, I guess.
I think ION should just go back to paid programming because they have shown they don't have the audio or editing skills to air TV sitcoms. Hey ION STOP DESTROYING OLD CLASSIC SITCOMS and get some real editors to work for your station instead of amateurs. People who tune in to see certain TV shows, especially rare to find series such as Alice, want well edited episodes, not SLICED and DICED episodes that are CRAZY GLUED to any scene making the storyline seem very ODD!! So until things change at this station, the new name for this channel is the ION: INCREDIBLY ODD NETWORK.

Agree or disagree with Solomon? Discuss it here.

DISCLAIMER: Remember, Solomon is not the voice of SitcomsOnline. He is just stating his opinions and does not reflect what SitcomsOnline says or thinks. It is just his 'View' but it is always quite entertaining.

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