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Hart to Hart - The Complete First Season


TITLE: HART TO HART - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON


Info:

Release Date: October 25, 2005 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Color/1979-80
MSRP: $49.95
Number of Discs: 6
Number of Episodes: 23
Running Time: 1139 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: approx. 120 minutes (w/commentary)
Languages: English, Portuguese
Subtitles: English, Portuguese
Closed Captioned
Special Features: Audio Commentary on the Pilot Episode and a Feature: The Hart of Season One


Introduction:

Created by best selling novelist Sidney Sheldon, Hart to Hart season 1 stars Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers as Jonathan and Jennifer Hart; a fabulously rich couple who always seem to find themselves entangled in an exotic blend of mystery, intrigue, and adventure. They are accompanied by their loyal servant Max (Lionel Sander), the smart and sexy twosome jet-set around the world, where they solve cases ranging from espionage to murder.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

You can’t discuss memorable episodes in the first season of Hart to Hart without discussing the two-hour introductory pilot episode. It introduces the Harts, and sets the tone for the entire series to follow. The rest of the episodes are good in their own right, offering varying degrees of action and suspense. There’s really not a bad episode in the bunch.

Some guest stars include:
Episode 7 “Cop Out”: Markie Post (“Night Court,” “Hearts Afire”)
Episode 8 “Max in Love”: Rene Auberjonois (“Star Trek: DS9,” “Boston Legal”)
Episode 10 “With This Gun, I Thee Wed”: Tommy Lasorda (L.A. Dodgers Manager)


Packaging:

The box is the usual for Sony releases, an appropriate number of slim cases inside a cardboard box. The front cover features the Harts posting in front of a Rolls-Royce, which is parked in front of their rather nice home. Rear cover has the two of them in front of the red car that Jonathan Hart drives in the intro. Also dotted on the back are miscellaneous pictures from the series. On each of the three slim cases is a different picture of the duo. On the first case are the Harts in their dress best at a party with drinks. On the second case is the Harts in front of ANOTHER car, while on the third case is the Harts, in more casual attire (relative term with them) with champagne. The interior covers of all three slim cases feature a 70s-like background with various photo stills. Rear cover of all three cases is a close-up shot of the entrance to the mansion with the Rolls parked in front. The SIX ­ yes ­ six discs both reuse preexisting artwork in the set, and throw in some new surprises.

Disc Breakdown
Disc 1:
Cover Art: Same as Slimcase Cover 1
Episodes: 1-3

Disc 2:
Cover Art: The Harts with Jennifer dressed as a Fortune Teller
Episodes: 4-7

Disc 3:
Cover Art: Same as Slimcase Cover 2
Episodes 8-11

Disc 4:
Cover Art: Generic Shot of Harts in Formalwear
Episodes 12-15

Disc 5:
Covert Art: Same as Slimcase Cover 3
Episodes 16-19

Disc 6:
Cover Art: Jonathan, in tux, hugging Jennifer
Episodes 20-23


Menu Design and Navigation:

I wish there was more to write home about. The Sony design department did a decent job on the graphics themselves, but the menus are still the same static and simplistic menus that pretty much every Sony release since the dawn of time has used. On all six discs, the main menu is a rehash of the Cover Art, with menu options to the right. Episode selection menus feature the same shot of the mansion as the Special Features menu, but with the text Episode Selection in a banner at the top. Each menu has a still photo from the episode to the left of the episode title. The Languages menu on each disc features Max holding a cigar, with the dog. Special Features (Disc 1 only) has a shot of the front of the mansion. The menu for the Previews provides the last unique photo in the set, a shot of Jonathan and Jennifer face-to-face after shopping. Previews are Bewitched (TV), The Partridge Family, and 80s Hits movies.


Video and Audio Quality:

Video looks amazing, even viewing in full-screen mode on a laptop in 1280x1024 - the high definition re-mastering of the episodes really shows. The colors are bright and vivid without seeming overly unrealistic. The edges are sharp and clear, without being overly corrected…this is possibly the nicest video I’ve seen on a set of any show set prior to 1990 released by Sony. Audio's a 2.0 Dolby Digital track. Still, sounds amazingly nice on multiple sound setups. NO hiss, vocals are loud and clear, and the music is as dynamic and vivid as can be expected from a 2.0 track. Chapter stops are incredibly well-placed. Episode runtimes are roughly 50 minutes per episode on the one-hour episodes, and is 96 minutes on the two-hour pilot, all but prohibiting the possibility of syndicated rerun-cuts.


Special Features:

The Hart of Season One: Special (22:45): An amazingly well done featurette. It features interviews with the entire cast, plus key crew from the series. It also has outtakes, bloopers, and scenes from the show. One strange thing is that a lot of the outtakes are from 1980-81...season TWO of the series.

Pilot Commentary (1:36:34): Commentary on the two-hour pilot is delivered by Robert Wagner, Stefanie Powers, and writer/director Tom Kaniewicz. There was a fire on the first location shoot of the pilot, in addition to the grass around Stefanie's house being on fire.


Final Comments:

There’s only one big flaw in the set. One. And it’s THE persistent flaw in Sony sets -­ the menus. The nicest photography in the world won’t save dull and lifeless menus. Sony really, REALLY, needs to learn from other studios, and pep up their menus. Animate the menus…put moving clips in places…add the show theme in the background…anything!! I also felt the set was lacking in special features, but again, this IS a Sony release, so any special features are nice to behold. Hopefully they can find deleted scenes, or network promos, or any number of things for inclusion on the season two set.

Otherwise, this is a fantastically well done set of a show that’s better than I remember from the few times I saw it on the Hallmark Channel. I’d recommend the set to any fan of the detective genre of a whole, or anyone looking for an interesting way to spend a couple hours.


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

Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 2.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 3/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 10/07/05

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000ASDFIG/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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